Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of an Islamist militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday. The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir. The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
Russia on Friday accused the United States of using aid deliveries to Venezuela as a ploy to carry out military action against President Nicolas Maduro's government. "A dangerous provocation, instigated and led by Washington, is planned for February 23," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, pointing to efforts by opposition leader Juan Guaido to pick up US aid being stockpiled on the Colombian border. Guaido's plans to try to bring the aid across the border are aimed at provoking clashes, she said, to provide "a convenient pretext for conducting military action".
While charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for soliciting prostitution brought national attention to the issue of sex trafficking on Friday, data, expert opinion and cases from around the USA show how widespread the problem is. Sex trafficking accounted for 6,081 of the more than 8,500 reported cases of human trafficking in the United States in 2017, according to statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris, a non-profit that operates the hotline on human trafficking, estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
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.
Ford has launched an investigation into the actual emissions of its vehicles after employees reported errors in data given to authorities, the automaker said. "In September, a handful of employees raised a concern... regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our US fuel economy and emissions compliance process," Kim Pittel, an executive responsible for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in a statement released late Thursday. "We have hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation" into specifications used in testing and "applications to certify emissions and fuel economy," Pittel said.
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.
Gaza health officials say the 15-year-old boy was shot by Israeli troops during a protest attended by thousands on the Gaza Strip border. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
Pope Francis is conducting his extraordinary summit with cardinals on the problem of sexual abuse in the Church. The first was Pope Francis's recent laicization of the former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, a man who was notorious for his sexual abuse of seminarians and other priests, while at the same time he was the public-relations face of the Church's response to sexual abuse and cover-up in the early 2000s. McCarrick was finally publicly exposed when an investigation into his abuse of a minor became public last year.
Google-owned YouTube said Thursday it was taking action to close a loophole that enabled users to share comments and links on child pornography over the video-sharing service. The response came after a YouTube creator this week revealed what he called a "wormhole" that allowed comments and connections on child porn alongside innocuous videos. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," a spokesman said in an email to AFP.
Trucks loaded with civilians left the last Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria on Friday, as U.S.-backed forces waited to inflict final defeat on the surrounded jihadists. Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out with civilians inside them, but it was not clear if more remained in the tiny pocket. The village is all that remains for Islamic State in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it lost the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
Venezuela's government is ordering the partial closure of its border with Colombia hours ahead of a U.S.-backed plan to deliver humanitarian aid over the objections of President Nicolas Maduro. Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Twitter that the government was ordering the temporary closure of three crossings in Tachira state because of the "serious and illegal threats" against Venezuela's peace and sovereignty coming from Colombia's government. The border area is where supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido are looking to deliver several tons of emergency food and medical supplies airlifted to Colombia in recent days by the Trump administration.
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. 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. As for the alleged attack, the actor instructed Abel Osundairo to "not hurt him too badly and give him a chance to appear to fight back," according to the filing.
Three of the world's biggest airlines have admitted some of their planes have cameras installed on the backs of passenger seats. American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have new seat-back entertainment systems that include cameras. Companies that make the entertainment systems are fitting them with cameras to offer passengers options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.
Plants on Earth have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, yet President Donald Trump's pick to lead his new climate team insists that they need more carbon dioxide to thrive. Princeton physicist and carbon dioxide-advocate William Happer has been selected to head the brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Security, reports The Washington Post. The atomic scientist — who achieved recognition for his work on atomic collisions and telescope optics, not climate science — maintains that the planet's atmosphere needs significantly more CO2, the potent greenhouse gas that U.S. government scientists — and a bevy of independent scientists — have repeatedly underscored is stoking accelerating climate change.
The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns the company's baby powder may have contained asbestos. The agencies subpoenaed the health care product maker in the wake of several jury awards to plaintiffs who claimed the company's talc products were tainted with asbestos and caused their cancers. The agencies seek documents about those matters and other suits Johnson & Johnson faces filed by shareholders and pension holders over the situation.
Pakistan said it will respond if India launches a military strike, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration announced plans to divert water from its neighbor as tensions between the nuclear-armed countries remained high following a deadly terrorist attack in Kashmir. On Friday, Pakistan's army spokesman said that the country did not want a war with India but warned that Islamabad would retaliate and “dominate the escalation ladder” if New Delhi authorized any military strikes. Pakistan's armed forces shall never be surprised by you, but let me assure you we shall surprise you,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said at a press conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Friday.
World stock markets advanced Friday as investors awaited what they hoped will be encouraging news from US-China trade talks in Washington, dealers said. Europe's key equity markets were modestly higher at the close, building on earlier Asian gains. Wall Street was also higher in the late New York morning as US economic concerns appeared to be eclipsed by hopes that high-level talks between the United States and China will seal a trade war truce.
The operation to destroy Islamic State's final vestige of rule in Iraq and Syria hit a temporary snag on Thursday, as an expected evacuation of the remaining civilians from its last enclave in eastern Syria did not go ahead. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has steadily driven the jihadists down the Euphrates, has surrounded them at Baghouz near the Iraqi border, but does not want to mount a final attack until all civilians are out. Iraqi sources said the SDF handed over more then 150 Iraqi and other foreign jihadists to Iraq on Thursday, under a deal involving a total of 502.
Two Saudi Arabian sisters have spent almost six months hiding in Hong Kong after authorities reportedly foiled an attempt to flee the conservative kingdom, a human rights group says. Using aliases to protect their identities, non-profit Justice Centre Hong Kong said in a statement that Reem, 20, and Rawan, 18, arrived in the city on Sept. 6, 2018, after escaping during a family holiday in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. The pair had booked a connecting flight to Melbourne Australia, where they planned to seek asylum, but they were intercepted upon landing and told their flight had been cancelled.
A Colombian cardinal has warned fellow Roman Catholic bishops at a Vatican summit they could be imprisoned for covering up crimes if they don't properly deal with clergy sex abuse cases. In a remarkable speech at the abuse prevention summit, Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez on Thursday also denounced how bishops tend to believe priests over people reporting abuse allegations. Salazar proposed an obligatory code of conduct that outlines clear norms and penalties when bishops fall short in their handling of sexual abuse, an astonishing proposal from a cardinal of a country where the scandal hasn't erupted in full.
North Carolina's elections board Thursday ordered a new election in the nation's last undecided congressional race after the Republican candidate conceded his lead was tainted by evidence of ballot-tampering by political operatives working for him. The State Board of Elections voted 5-0 in favor of a do-over in the mostly rural 9th Congressional District but did not immediately set a date. The board action came after GOP candidate Mark Harris, in a surprising turn, dropped his bid to be declared the winner and instead called for a new election.
I think it's possible” that President Donald Trump is a Russian asset, disgraced former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. McCabe also said to The Atlantic that FBI brass felt “concern about the president and whether or not he posed a national-security threat that we should be investigating. On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly in Moscow.
Longer, leaner, more luxurious, and more powerful, this grand tourer can cover enormous distances at tremendous speeds. From Car and Driver
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.