President Trump went from berating former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his lack of Harry Potter knowledge to commuting his prison sentence. In 2011, Blagojevich was convicted of wire fraud, attempted extortion, soliciting bribes, conspiracy to commit extortion, and conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes, and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Trump admonished him for sharing "inaccurate" facts about the boy wizard, and once Blagojevich began blathering about "Slithering and Hufflepuff and Ravencloth," it was all over.
Israel will provide hundreds of additional work permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli defense body said Tuesday, in a new step aimed at solidifying an informal cease-fire with the Hamas militant group. COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for civilian Palestinian affairs, said it was lifting certain restrictions on the territory starting Wednesday following days of “relative quiet” in the area surrounding Gaza. Israel blames the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza, for ongoing fire emanating from the Gaza Strip, including a spate of explosive balloons launched from Gaza that have damaged Israeli properties.
A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source's license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same. Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Reuters/Pool China is expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters, accusing the newspaper of publishing a racist headline about the country's battle with coronavirus. On February 3, the Journal had published an op-ed by a foreign-affairs academic titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia." The "sick man of Asia" is a 19th-century term that referred to a time when China was internally divided and exploited by foreign powers — a period that still deeply humiliates the country's leadership.
A campus protest against the “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Bennett was not “a riot,” according to Ohio University police. Ms Bennett, who helps run a conservative website called Liberty Hangout and who often appears on Alex Jones' InfoWars programs, was driven off the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on Monday by a student protest according to the Athens News. She said the students “started a riot” and claims the police “let it happen.
Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of a trade group that lobbied the Obama administration for increased U.S. aid to Ukraine, according to a report Tuesday. From 2012 through 2018, the younger Biden served as a director for the Center for U.S. Global Leadership and was connected as well with its affiliate, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Daily Caller reported. The two groups, which include about 400 larger corporations and non-government organizations, lobbied for increased spending abroad by the State Department's International Affairs Budget, including a special focus on Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed a veteran, once close adviser who until recently managed Moscow's relations with war-torn Ukraine. Putin fired Vladislav Surkov, seen as a hardliner by many in Kiev, in a terse two-line statement on the Kremlin website. The decree was issued a week after the Kremlin said a senior Ukrainian-born Russian official, Dmitry Kozak, was now in charge of managing Moscow's relations with Ukraine, effectively sidelining Surkov.
Russian intelligence recruited a Mexican citizen to track down the whereabouts of an FBI informant in Miami who previously provided the U.S. government with information on Russian operations “implicating national security interests of the United States. The Mexican man, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, was arrested on Monday after being recruited by a Russian official last year, according to The Miami Herald and the Justice Department. After renting out a specific Miami property at the direction of the official, Fuentes allegedly traveled to Moscow earlier this month for more instructions.
The people waiting to board the van have already crossed into the USA, but have been sent back under the Trump administration's so-called Migrant Protection Protocols - known as “Remain in Mexico” – whereby would be asylum seekers must await their appointed hearing south of the border. MPP was rolled out in January last year, since when an estimated 57,000 people now wait south of the border for their asylum hearing date. Tens of thousands more are waiting just for the initial application for asylum.
The campaign team for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) believes the Democratic presidential candidate is surging after a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary last week, but they're also acknowledging they face an uphill battle because of a lack of resources. For example, per The Washington Post, the campaign had to drive the New Hampshire bus to Nevada because they didn't have one there, and Klobuchar's Iowa caucus specialist is handling the same task in the Silver State. "We're putting the airplane together as we're flying," an anonymous Klobuchar campaign adviser told the Post.
The New York Magazine reports former president Barack Obama's radio silence on the 2020 Democratic primary is part of a "choreographed strategy" on the part of Obama, who is "increasingly sure he will need to play a prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions later this summer."
A group of human rights activists delivered their final statements in their own defense on Wednesday before a court in Istanbul hands down a verdict in their closely-watched trial on charges of belonging to or aiding terror groups. The case against Amnesty International's former Turkey chairman and 10 other activists heightened concerns about Turkey's treatment of human rights defenders and helped sour Turkey's relations with European nations, notably with Germany.
WASHINGTON – The sentencing of Roger Stone, President Donald Trump's longtime ally and friend, will move forward this week despite a request from Stone's attorneys to delay the hearing pending a request for a new trial. Stone's attorneys asked for a new trial last week, after Trump accused one of the jurors of "significant bias." During a brief hearing Tuesday, Stone's attorneys urged U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to delay the sentencing, scheduled for Thursday, arguing that the motion for a new trial must first be resolved.
One of two hastily-constructed Wuhan hospitals meant to help handle the surging number of coronavirus patients was less than half full on Tuesday, according to official figures. Its sister hospital, Huoshenshan, is now operating at around its 1,000-bed capacity. The spectacle of the high-speed construction of two brand new hospitals in less than 12 days in Wuhan was a PR coup for the Chinese government.
Conservative activist Kaitlin Bennett, also known as "Gun Girl," incited large-scale student protests Monday when she appeared on Ohio University's Athens campus to film a video. Bennett had arrived on campus to film a President's Day trivia video for the Liberty Hangout, which bills itself as a libertarian media outlet, according to both her and the site. Bennett has been a divisive figure since gaining notoriety in 2018 for posting controversial graduation photos of herself with an AR-10 rifle at Kent State University.
Key Point: London's Astute class submarines are powerful and very well-built. Since the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought in 1963, the Royal Navy has maintained a formidable force of nuclear attack submarines. The latest nuclear attack subs, the Astute class, have become a critical component of the future of the Royal Navy—but, given Russia's resurgence, are they enough?
An Istanbul court acquitted prominent businessman Osman Kavala of charges of plotting to overthrow the government during mass protests that shook the country in 2013. Nine defendants were cleared, and arrest warrants for others living abroad have been rescinded. Others accused in the case include actor Mehmet Ali Alabora and journalist Can Dundar, who have both left the country.
Venezuela said on Monday it would suspend TAP Air Portugal flights into and out of the country for 90 days, accusing the carrier of allowing opposition leader Juan Guaido's uncle to bring explosives onto a flight to Caracas last week. Announcing the measure on Twitter, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez left open the possibility of applying fines and other measures in the future. "Venezuela must be respected," Rodriguez said.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates. Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
Confirmed cases of the new, deadly coronavirus in the United States almost doubled over the holiday weekend thanks to the messy evacuation of Americans from a cruise ship in Japan, while fresh numbers from China suggested the disease might be deadlier than first believed. The U.S. government evacuated 328 American passengers from Tokyo early Monday on two chartered cargo jets, leaving dozens others behind who preferred to stay on the Diamond Princess cruise ship—despite a strong disembarkation recommendation from the federal government. All travelers from Japan were screened before boarding the aircraft “to prevent symptomatic travelers from departing Japan,” according to the CDC.
Los Angeles city and county officials on Tuesday announced a new strategy to speed the process of getting homeless people into permanent housing that is modeled on the federal government's response to natural disasters. The creation of a “Housing Central Command” marks an overhaul of how agencies work together in addressing the growing number of people living on the street, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Previously the system was slowed by red tape and gaps in information showing what housing units were available and who is eligible to move into them, officials said.
A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting to address growing concerns about the intervention of Donald Trump and justice department officials in politically sensitive cases, according to US media reports. Cynthia Rufe, a Philadelphia US district judge who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, which has more than 1,100 members, told USA Today the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to discuss the matter. The meeting comes after more than 2,000 former US justice department officials, including some of the top government lawyers in the country, called on the attorney general, William Barr, to resign in the wake of the Roger Stone scandal.
An ice volcano is a cone-shaped mound of ice formed over a lake by the eruption of water and slush through an ice shelf. "Ice volcanoes occur in locations in which waves hit accumulated ice on the shoreline with some force," said Cort Spholten, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Grand Rapids. "We were cold enough to form ice on the shore of Lake Michigan, and water had broken the surface of that ice," Spholten said.
“Holidays will never be the same,” Jennifer told Dateline. Liz, as she is known by her family and friends, was four months pregnant with her third child. “She got in his truck and that's the last time I ever heard from her,” Amber said.
Key point: Washington wants to sell more weapons to foreign countries. In order to win over customers, the United States is touting its superior (although more expensive) systems. The U.S. government has a message for those nations that would buy Russian and Chines weapons: buyer beware.