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.
A federal judge in Kansas who was publicly reprimanded for sexually harassing female employees and having an extramarital affair with an offender resigned on Tuesday, saying he could no longer effectively serve on the court. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia, who was based in Kansas City, Kansas, said in his letter that his resignation will be effective April 1. “In recent months, it has become clear that I can no longer effectively serve the Court in this capacity,” Murguia wrote.
The U.S. designated five Chinese media companies as “foreign missions,” a decision that reflects the Trump administration's view that the communist party of Xi Jinping is imposing increasingly draconian government-control over news services, senior State Department officials said. The State Department's foreign mission designation includes Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp. and Hai Tian Development USA, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday.
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.
A California family in self-quarantine over the coronavirus after a visit to China have found themselves shunned, and even had the police called on them. Amy Deng and her eight-year-old daughter, Daisy, have no symptoms, but following a trip to visit family in Guangzhou over Chinese New Year, they are in self-quarantine monitored by local officials in Santa Rosa, The East Bay Times reports. Ms Deng has closed up her acupuncture and herbal medicine practice with a neighbouring tenant not even allowing her through the shared lobby to pick up client records for fear of the virus.
As the Syrian military backed by the Russian air force takes another strategic town in Idlib, thereby inching closer towards the Turkish border, the endgame for Turkey in Syria has begun. The Syrian government has also taken the key highway that links Damascus to Aleppo and secured Aleppo from the incoming Turkish backed rebel artillery. Diplomatically the first acknowledged meeting between the Turkish and Syrian intelligence chiefs in Moscow just over a week ago heralded the final act in Erdogan's quest to knock over President Bashar al-Assad.
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."
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.
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.
WASHINGTON–Two federal prosecutors have been tapped to manage open investigations and other yet-to-be-substantiated allegations of wrongdoing involving Ukraine, the Justice Department told lawmakers Tuesday. Responding to recent inquiries from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd defended the moves, including the appointment of a Pennsylvania prosecutor to review information supplied by President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has sought to tar Trump rival Joe Biden by attempting to link him to unsupported corruption claims.
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.
Afghanistan on Tuesday declared incumbent Ashraf Ghani winner of a disputed presidential election, but his main rival rejected the result and vowed to form his own government, threatening new turmoil as the United State strives to seal a U.S. troop withdrawal deal with Taliban militants. Polls were held on Sept. 28 to select a president for the fourth time since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Ghani won 50.64% of the vote, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Tuesday.
A 12-year-old boy was tortured and beaten to death by his grandparents and a teenage uncle at their home in Montana, authorities said. In multiple instances, the suspects recorded themselves torturing the boy on their cellphones, police said. James Alex Hurley had been living with his grandparents, James Sasser Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, for about two years after the death of his father, who Batts identified as her biological son, according to a probable cause affidavit.
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.
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?
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South Korea reported 20 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday -- increasing its total by nearly two-thirds -- including a cluster of at least 16 centred on the southern city of Daegu. The trade-dependent nation has been hit by the economic fallout from the virus outbreak in neighbouring China, but until Wednesday's jump, its own case numbers had hardly changed for several days. The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement that 20 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed, raising its total from 31 to 51.
The coronavirus is expected to cost the US travel industry more than $10 billion over the next four years, with more than half of that loss coming in 2020. Although US airlines are working to minimize the impact, hotels, museums, retail and dining sectors, and other businesses that rely on tourist dollars are expected to face major economic fallout from the outbreak. If the coronavirus continues to spread, particularly in other countries, the impact could be significantly worse.
The Federal Judges Association will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss concerns members have over President Trump and top Justice Department officials intervening in the case of longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone. The association has more than 1,000 members, and says it supports a "fair, impartial, and independent judiciary." The group's president, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, told USA Today that members decided they "could not wait" until the organization's spring conference to address the matter. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, and last week, Trump complained about federal prosecutors recommending Stone receive a sentence of seven to nine years.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the “top levels” of the Malaysian government long suspected that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 almost six years ago was a mass murder-suicide by the pilot. Australia, working on Malaysia's behalf, coordinated what became the largest search in aviation history, but it failed to find the plane before being ended in 2017. Speaking in a Sky News documentary to air on Wednesday and Thursday, Abbott said high-ranking Malaysian officials believed veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately downed the jet.
Government air strikes have hit hospitals and refugee camps in northwest Syria and killed about 300 civilians as President Bashar al-Assad's forces press an assault against the last rebel stronghold, the United Nations said on Tuesday. U.N. officials said relief agencies were overwhelmed by the humanitarian crisis as nearly one million civilians, most of them women and children, had fled toward the Turkish border in bitter winter conditions to escape the onslaught. "Civilians fleeing the fighting are being squeezed into areas without safe shelter that are shrinking in size by the hour.
A missing Milwaukee woman and her two daughters were found dead Sunday, the victims of an apparent homicide, authorities said. Amarah J. Banks, 26, Zaniya R. Ivery, 5, and Camaria Banks, 4, were found in a Milwaukee garage Sunday afternoon, Milwaukee police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference. "You have to also understand that foul play was not an initial piece of this investigation, it was a missing investigation that escalated," Morales said.
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.
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.
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.