In his questioning of David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, Ratcliffe reprised a now familiar defense of the president, that putting a hold on military aid to Ukraine was done out of concern about corruption in the country. The reasons for the hold in summer 2019, during Ukraine's ongoing war with Russia, were not communicated either publicly or within the diplomatic and national security bureaucracy. Citing other recent instances in which congressionally approved U.S. foreign aid had been withheld without explanation, Ratcliffe asked Hale, “So, having no explanation for why aid is being withheld is not uncommon?
During his testimony Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee, Gordon Sondland was pressed on why so many members of the Trump administration, including the president himself, were refusing to testify in the impeachment inquiry. I wish I could answer,” responded Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. His remark came at the end of an exchange with Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.
A Utah woman charged with a crime after her stepchildren saw her topless in her own home is fighting the case that could force her to register as a sex offender, pointing to a court ruling that overturned a topless ban in Colorado and helped fuel a movement. Tilli Buchanan's attorneys argue that Utah's law on lewdness involving a child is unfair because it treats men and women differently for baring their chests. Prosecutors counter that nudity is commonly understood to include women's breasts in American society and that courts have upheld laws based on morality.
Russian investigators said on Thursday they had opened two criminal cases into the management of a company involved in building the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space center in the country's Far East. The announcement came less than two weeks after President Vladimir Putin complained to government officials about corruption at the facility and called for further investigations. Construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome began in January 2011, part of a plan for Russia to reduce its dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which Russia leases from the former Soviet Republic for space operations.
American Airlines admitted Tuesday the powerful fumes that knocked two flight attendants unconscious and forced a flight to make an emergency landing were not caused by spilled soap, as the airline had previously claimed.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) traveled to Europe with three aides from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018, on a $63,000 taxpayer-funded investigative trip, and Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani arrested last month on federal campaign finance and conspiracy charges, helped arrange meetings and calls for his trip, The Daily Beast reports, citing Parnas lawyer Ed MacMahaon and congressional records. Nunes aide Derek Harvey was involved in the Parnas meeting, and he accompanied Nunes to Europe along with fellow aides Scott Glabe and George Pappas.
A 16-year-old boy allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border with a remote-controlled car. Border Patrol agents arrested the teen Sunday, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release Tuesday. This attempt comes two years after drug traffickers flew a remote-controlled drone to drop a 13-pound package of methamphetamine across the border, also resulting in an arrest.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said calls to oust Chinese companies from American stock indexes was contrary to the foundations of capitalism, as he warned against the dangers of decoupling the world's two largest economies. Paulson, who's now chairman of the Paulson Institute, told Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Beijing that moves to reduce ties between the U.S. and China would weaken American leadership and New York's leading role in finance. “When the next crisis comes -- and a crisis will come, because financial crises are inevitable -- we will regret it if we lack mechanisms for the world's first and second-largest economies to coordinate,” Paulson told the forum on Thursday, according to a prepared version of his remarks.
The Royal Navy may already have identified a possible replacement for its Type 45 destroyers. A version of the new Type 26 frigate, which should enter service with the U.K. fleet in the mid-2020s, ultimately could replace the air-defense-optimized Type 45s beginning in the 2030s. The prospect of developing an air-defense variant of the Type 26 offers some hope to the United Kingdom's beleaguered naval shipbuilders that they might be able to build a large number of ships of different classes without a long break in production.
Donald Trump claimed the first lady thought he had had a heart attack after the "sick" media reported on his unscheduled visit to a medical centre. The president was unexpectedly taken to the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Saturday in a visit that was not listed on his official engagements and which came just nine months after his annual physical. His press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, insisted the president had wanted to take advantage of a "free weekend" to make an early start on his physical since he was "anticipating a very busy 2020".
Israel said its warplanes carried out a "very intense" attack against Iranian forces and Syrian army targets in Syria Wednesday, in raids a monitoring group reported killed at least 23 people. In a rare confirmation of their operations in Syria, the Israeli army said they had carried out dozens of strikes against the Iranian elite Quds Force and the Syrian military, in response to four rockets fired at Israel a day before. Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said 23 people were killed in the strikes -- 21 fighters and two civilians.
Nearly three-fourths of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans slain in the last three years were killed with a firearm, according to data published this month by the gun violence prevention advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. The data sheds grim new light on the role of guns in what's been called an epidemic of violence against transgender Americans, as advocates honor the victims with nationwide vigils Wednesday during the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The data is available for the first time publicly via EveryStat for Gun Safety, the group's database detailing gun deaths in America.
An ammunition dealer who acknowledged selling hundreds of incendiary tracer rounds to the gunman who killed nearly 60 people at a Las Vegas music festival two years ago pleaded guilty on Tuesday to manufacturing bullets without a license. Douglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Three Ukrainian navy boats seized by Russia a year ago were vandalised before being handed back to Ukraine, the country's navy said. The fast gunboats Nikopol and Berdyansk and the tugboat Tany Kapu were welcomed by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and onlookers waving national flags arrived in Ochakiv, a Ukrainian naval port on the Black Sea on Wednesday evening. But Ukraine's navy said the vessels had been stripped bare and left so badly damaged that they had to be towed home by tug.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) smoked former Vice President Joe Biden over marijuana legalization during Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate, and that was great. Biden snapped back at Booker to stake his progressive credentials, saying he's OK letting out of jail anyone with a marijuana conviction and expunging their criminal records.
A speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter at University of California, Berkeley drew hundreds of protesters Wednesday night. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police in riot gear guarded the building's entrances and barricades were erected in anticipation of the protests. Coulter was invited to speak by the Berkeley College Republicans for a speech about immigration called “Adios, America,” the Chronicle reported.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made progress on but failed to seal a deal Thursday on the stalled U.S. Mexico Canada free trade agreement, increasing the likelihood the deal won't get a vote in Congress this year. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, the top negotiator on the pact, said he will continue talks with Lighthizer through next week when the House is in recess to maintain momentum on the final changes Democrats are seeking. “The conversation was spirited and it was candid,” Neal told reporters after the meeting.
Designed by world-renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava, these bridges are travel destinations in their own right Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Gore's spirited speech Wednesday night kicked off a series of climate presentations that continued around the globe on Thursday. Called “24 Hours of Reality,” it's an endeavor of The Climate Reality Project, founded by Gore to educate the public and inspire action on climate change. Gore said some of the more than 20,000 climate activists he's trained will present their own takes on climate change as the event continues through Thursday at more than 1,700 locations, as far flung as Antarctica and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The US aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the key Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday to show Washington's "commitment" to freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said, amid tensions with Tehran. The group's move through the strategic waterway separating Iran and the United Arab Emirates towards the Gulf was scheduled, and unfolded without incident, the US Navy said in a statement. It was the first time a US aircraft carrier group went through the strait since Iran downed a US drone in June in the same area.
The eight submarines, including six nuclear-powered ships, sailed from their bases in northern Russia into the cold waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas. At the same time, an additional two boats -- the nuclear-powered Sierra-class attack submarines Pskov and Nizhny Novgorod -- sailed into roughly the same waters for tests and training. The 10 vessels represent around 20 percent of the Russian submarine force.
A U.S. judge on Thursday rebuked Jeffrey Epstein's estate for keeping the late financier's alleged victims in the dark about a fund that would compensate them for claims of sexual abuse. Epstein, 66, hanged himself in a Manhattan jail in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Bennet Moskowitz, a lawyer for the estate, told Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman on Thursday that the fund was an "extraordinary opportunity" for the alleged victims, though he could not say how much money would be available.
The big cats are among the fiercest apex predators in the world. From Popular Mechanics
Andrew Yang didn't get much speaking time at Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, but he made memorable use of the time he got. Near the end of the debate, Yang was asked what he would say, if elected, in his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Well, first I'd say I'm sorry I beat your guy," he said.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken the next step to join the scrum to unseat Donald Trump, formally filing to run as a Democrat for the post of President of the United States. The billionaire Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat-again declared his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission early on Thursday afternoon. Mike Bloomberg 2020 Inc., his campaign committee, also filed FEC paperwork.