Relatives of six American oil company employees detained by the Venezuelan authorities have made a powerful appeal for their release, demanding they not be overlooked as tension mounts in the country. The six men – five US citizens and one permanent resident, and all employees of Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) – were detained in November 2017 after being called to Caracas from Houston for a meeting. President Nicolas Maduro went on television to denounce them as “traitors”, saying: “They're properly behind bars, and they should go to the worst prison in Venezuela.” Asdrubal Chavez, a cousin of the late president, was appointed company's new president.
Two brothers who told police that Jussie Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage an attack on himself were linked to the actor through the "Empire" television series, and court documents filed Thursday allege one of the men provided Smollett with designer drugs. Smollett appeared in court for a bond hearing one day after prosecutors charged him with a felony for allegedly concocting a story about being attacked by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, doused him with a chemical and draped a noose around his neck. In a four-page court document laying out the allegations against Smollett, prosecutors allege Smollett hired the brothers, Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, to buy masks and a rope — transactions recorded on surveillance video.
The North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election in the state's Ninth District after overwhelming evidence of vote tampering. Prior to the board's decision, Republican Mark Harris, the declared winner in the race who had been fighting for his election to be certified, changed his position and called for a new election. Harris was initially declared the winner by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but the race was never certified, as evidence began to surface of ballot fraud by employees of the Harris campaign.
Canada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
A California high school student who was banned from wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on campus is challenging her school district for impinging on her First Amendment rights. Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, is a member of Valley Patriots. The conservative activist group asked its affiliates to wear the well-known hat bearing Donald Trump's campaign motto on Wednesday.
Southwest Airlines' flight woes continue, with nearly 400 Thursday flights canceled due to maintenance issues and winter weather. Southwest, the nation's largest domestic carrier, had canceled 389 flights, or 9 percent of its schedule, as of 1:15 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. That is the highest number of cancellations by any carrier and accounts for 51 percent of flight cancellations within, into or out of the United States, according to FlightAware. Southwest attributed the high number of cancellations to weather challenges and continuing maintenance issues that have a pulled a higher-than-usual number of aircraft out of service.
The Roman Catholic Church must repair the "systematic failures" that enabled sexual abuse to take root around the world, and bishops should start policing each other's behavior, leading cardinals said on Friday. Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Mumbai spoke on the second day of a conference of some 200 senior Church officials convened by Pope Francis to confront what he has called the scourge of sexual abuse by the clergy. quot;This past year has taught us that the systematic failures in holding clerics of all rank responsible are due in large measure to flaws in the way we interact and communicate with each other," Cupich said.
On Thursday Google announced that it is making it easier to locate drug disposal locations year-round with enhanced opioid-related query results. Since 2017, the opioid crisis has been officially a public health emergency with Google queries for "medication disposal near me" reaching an all-time high on the platform just last month. In response, the company has improved Maps and Search results of queries like "drug drop off near me" or "medication disposal near me" to display permanent disposal locations, typically pharmacies (like Walgreens or CVS Health), hospitals, or government buildings, where you can discard unused and unneeded medications.
Army trucks blocking a tunnel almost two hours west of Caracas are preventing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido from reaching the Colombian border to oversee the entry of humanitarian aid planned for Saturday. Earlier today, three buses carrying about 40 lawmakers sympathetic to Guaido left Venezuela's capital heading for the frontier. The National Assembly president was traveling separately for security reasons and was unable to cross the tunnel, said Edward Rodriguez, his press team coordinator.
India says it is building dams to stop its share of water from flowing into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir as it seeks to punish its longtime rival for an attack on paramilitary soldiers last week that left 40 dead. Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said that India will harness its share of unused water from three rivers to help Indian states. Pakistan, a country of 200 million people with a largely agriculture-based economy, fears that India may tamper with the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, brokered by the World Bank, which calls for the unimpeded flow of three other rivers through Kashmir and farther into Pakistan proper.
Beginning in 1975, a big black limousine with diplomatic plates would pull up once a month to the no-parking zone outside John Greenagel's office in the handsome Merchants Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco. The man would hand Greenagel, then in his mid-30s, the paper bag, which always contained stale Cuban cigars and a bottle of Stolichnaya without a tax stamp. Yuri Pavlov was a diplomat based at the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco and an undercover KGB officer, but the KGB probably wouldn't have been pleased about who ended up partaking in these delectables.
A guest who appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show said African Americans “need to move on” from slavery because it was abolished “a century-and-a-half ago”. Mark Steyn, a cultural commentator, made the comments on Thursday during a segment discussing 2020 presidential candidates who are in favour of reparations for African Americans. During his rant, Steyn said: “Slavery was abolished a century and a half ago, nobody alive today has a grandparent who was a slave, and in that sense I think you reach a point where, you know, you need to move on.
A federal judge issued a broad gag order forbidding Roger Stone to discuss his criminal case with anyone and gave him a stinging reprimand Thursday over the longtime Trump confidant's posting of a photo of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that it would be "foolhardy" for her not to take any action over the Instagram post and that Stone would "pose a danger" to others in the case if the conditions of his release weren't modified to include a gag order. "Roger Stone fully understands the power of words and the power of symbols and there's nothing ambiguous about crosshairs," the judge said.
Emissions of carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming – could soar to levels not seen in 56 million years by the middle of next century, scientists warned in a study Wednesday. Though it won't happen in our lifetimes, it could very well happen in the lives of our grandchildren or great-grandchildren. "You and I won't be here in 2159, but that's only about four generations away," said study author Philip Gingerich, a University of Michigan paleoclimate researcher.
A Polish charity helping victims of child abuse committed by Catholic priests accused 24 bishops on Thursday of concealing perpetrators of sexual molestation of minors. The "Have No Fear" charity made the allegation in a report released as Pope Francis convened Catholic leaders from around the world to address scandals over child sexual abuse by priests that have ravaged the Church's credibility over the last three decades. The report, which has been delivered to the pope, named Polish bishops whom it said had "concealed clerical crimes and moved pedophilic priests from one parish to another".
A deadly car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group hit US-backed forces in eastern Syria on Thursday as they tried to negotiate the release of civilians trapped in the jihadists' last sliver of territory. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are working towards evacuating civilians remaining in the holdout, so they can finish off the dying IS "caliphate" either through an assault or a surrender deal. The jihadists overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but several offensives have retaken all but half a square kilometre (a fifth of a square mile) of their territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.
Their family says they were involved in volunteering and believed in giving back before they died.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has closed the nation's border with Brazil, amid an escalating standoff over allowing aid from the US to enter the country. In a televised address from the nation's largest military base, Mr Maduro said he was also considering shuttering the border with neighbouring Colombia, two days before the opposition has vowed to move aid from the US and other nations inside Venezuela. Earlier on Thursday opposition leader Juan Guaido set off for the border with Colombia, where much of the US-supplied aid is warehoused.
From countries across the West, hundreds of Muslim citizens found the promise of the caliphate so enticing that they heeded the call to join. Now we are in precisely the situation that anyone could have predicted, and many did: former members of Islamic State, who turned their backs on the West, are now trying to get back to the West. Despite recently urging European countries to take responsibility for their own jihadis and have them back, President Trump says that he has instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ensure that Hoda Muthana, of Alabama, is not allowed back into the U.S. The secretary of state has declared that Muthana “is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States.” In the U.K., the home secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that Shamima Begum — who, like Muthana, joined ISIS but is now pleading to return to her home country from a refugee camp — will be stripped of her British citizenship so that she cannot return to the country.
For one High Point exhibitor, a soon-to-launch design collaboration is poised to add global influence—and a bit of buzz—to the program of this biannual trade show. At the spring market, A.R.T. Furniture, a division of Markor, will debut a collection by Bobby Berk featuring some 70 products for the living room, bedroom, dining room, and outdoors. You may recognize Berk for his impressively speedy home makeovers on the heartwarming Netflix show Queer Eye.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for investment in the crisis-hit western state of Rakhine on Friday, saying the world had "focused narrowly on negative aspects" in the state from which some 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since 2017. Michelle Hennessy reports.
A criminal investigation into whether former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made false statements during an internal probe into a news media disclosure remains open, his attorney said Thursday. "We've had dealings with the U.S. attorney's office" in Washington that has been handling the case, said lawyer Michael Bromwich, who accompanied McCabe to a wide-ranging interview session with reporters. The Justice Department inspector general last year referred for investigation and possible prosecution allegations that McCabe lied under oath when questioned about the source of information in a 2016 Wall Street Journal story about an FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation.
Some countries where the scandal has played out visibly in recent years: ARGENTINA Francis' home country is beginning to see an eruption of the scandal, with some cases even implicating the pontiff himself. As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis played a decisive and divisive role in Argentina's most famous abuse case, commissioning a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial. Despite the study, Argentina's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the conviction and 15-year prison sentence for the Rev.