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?
Alumni of the Obama administration reacted with disbelief and outrage to a claim from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham that incoming Trump administration officials found insulting notes left behind for them in their offices. “We came into the White House, I'll tell you something,” said Grisham during a local radio interview Tuesday morning, as reported by CNN's Abby Phillip. In the nearly three years since the presidential transition, no Trump administration officials have mentioned the notes or produced any photos that would support Grisham's charge.
Two gay Saudi journalists who sought asylum in Australia after being threatened at home over their relationship have been held for weeks at an immigration detention centre, their lawyer said Wednesday. The couple arrived in Australia in mid-October on tourist visas but was singled out by airport customs officials -- then taken into detention -- when they admitted plans to seek asylum, lawyer Alison Battisson told AFP. "Australia being very well known for being... a safe place for LGBTI people, they were incredibly surprised and distressed," she said.
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.
The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene from a knife wound to the neck despite immediate attention from colleagues, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.
The United States announced on Wednesday it will provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter for its growing fleet of ships, boosting Hanoi's ability to patrol the South China Sea amid tensions with China. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper disclosed the decision during an address in Vietnam, which has emerged as the most vocal opponent in Asia of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. In his speech, Esper took aim at China, which he accused of "bullying" neighbours, like Vietnam.
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.
The Indian Army plans to buy just 1,800 state-of-the-art sniper rifles and 2.7 million rounds of ammunition -- less than a third of its total requirement -- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, people with knowledge of the matter said. The military pruned its original requirement of 5,720 sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition, which would have cost $140 million, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more modern equipment, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn't public. Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand said he had no comment to offer on the change in procurement plans.
A judge has blocked the scheduled executions of four federal death row inmates, effectively freezing the Trump administration's effort to resume imposing the death penalty in a federal system that saw its last execution more than a decade and a half ago. The order issued Wednesday night by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan halts four executions that U.S. officials planned to carry out starting next month. The only other execution that officials had put on the calendar, also for December, was blocked last month by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Donald Trump has lashed out at his Democratic opponents conducting the House impeachment inquiry, mocked key witnesses giving testimony for their sartorial choices and denied that the onset of a heart attack was what prompted his sudden trip to hospital on Saturday. The inquiry heard from four witnesses on Tuesday who gave more telling details of his administration's coercion of Ukraine and will hear on Wednesday from a man who could prove to be the hearings' star turn, US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor who has already amended his original deposition to say there was a quid pro quo in play in US dealings with Volodymyr Zelensky.
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
Greece announced a plan Wednesday to massively overhaul its overcrowded migrant camps on islands facing Turkey and make borders "air-tight" against a feared new surge of asylum-seekers. "Decongesting the islands is a priority at this stage," the government's special coordinator for migration Alkiviadis Stefanis, a former army general and chief of staff, told a news conference. "These actions are designed to show our determination in dealing with the migrant-refugee crisis," said Stefanis, who is also deputy defence minister.
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.
Six conservationists working to save the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah have been sentenced to prison on internationally criticized espionage charges in Iran, activists said Thursday, even as protests and unrest continue in parts of the country amid a government-imposed internet shutdown. The case against members of the nonprofit Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation show how spying charges and convictions can be levied against dual nationals and those with Western ties in Iran in closed-door trials before its Revolutionary Court. News of the cases comes after demonstrations against government-set gasoline prices rising turned violent in Iran, killing at least 106 people, according to Amnesty International.
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.
A sketch of the young girl whose remains were found at a softball field in Delaware in September was released this week by authorities to help solve the mystery of her death. Smyrna Police Department investigators said they hope the facial reconstruction sketches prompt tipsters to come forward with either the girl's identity or possible suspect information. The department is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Delaware Division of Forensic Science on the case.
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.
An icy moon of Jupiter is looking more and more like it could hold alien life deep in its subsurface sea. On Monday, NASA announced that scientists had officially measured water vapor on the moon, called Europa, for the first time. The discovery is yet another sign that Europa has all the right ingredients for aliens — given the right chemicals and a little deep-sea volcanic activity, it's possible that life could spring up (or already has) deep in the saltwater ocean below Europa's surface.
A woman who spent two years in a nursing facility recovering from spinal injuries she suffered in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history has died. Kimberly Gervais could become the 59th fatality in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, depending upon the coroner's verdict. Police officers raided Paddock's high rise room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Vegas strip minutes after the gunfire stopped, where they found he had killed himself.
In what is becoming common practice for the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence's office responded critically Wednesday to an impeachment witness' public sworn testimony while a hearing was ongoing. Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short released a statement denying U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's claim that he brought up concerns he had that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was "tied to investigations" directly with Pence in September. Short said that the "alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador never happened" and that Sondland was "never alone with" Pence while the two were on a trip to Warsaw, Poland, in September, when Sondland testified the conversation took place.
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.
Washington D.C.) The Navy has laid the keel for its first new, Flight III DDG 51 surface warfare destroyer armed with improved weapons, advanced sensors and new radar 35-times more sensitive than most current systems, changing attack and defensive options for the surface fleet. Navy Flight III Destroyers have a host of defining new technologies not included in current ships such as more on-board power to accommodate laser weapons, new engines, improved electronics, fast-upgradeable software and a much more powerful radar. The Flight III Destroyers will be able to see and destroy a much wider range of enemy targets at farther distances.
'Nancy Pelosi just stated that 'it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump's fate.' @FoxNews In other words, she thinks I'm going to win and doesn't want to take a chance on letting the voters decide. Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system. In her Dear Colleague letter pushing back against Republican anti-impeachment talking points, Nancy Pelosi wrote this: “The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.' That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.” Is he?
An Arizona jury on Wednesday found a human rights activist not guilty of harboring two migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, after the U.S. government prosecuted him for giving them food, water and shelter in the desert. The Tucson jury took just over two hours to decide that Scott Warren, 37, a geography professor, provided the men with legal humanitarian aid in January 2018 and did not deliberately conceal them from U.S. Border Patrol. A previous jury was unable to decide whether he broke the law by letting the men stay in a building near Ajo, Arizona, to recover from a two-day trek.
A white 16-year-old girl is accused of plotting to attack a mostly black church in a north Georgia city, where police say she planned to kill worshippers because of their race. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church has a predominantly black congregation, Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said in a statement Tuesday. “Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” he said.