Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept partial payment of tax transfers owed by Israel, which decided to withhold reimbursements in retaliation for payments to prisoners jailed for attacks. "We shall not accept the (tax) money if it is not paid in full," Abbas told a central committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the Palestinian Authority's payments to prisoners jailed for attacks on Israelis.
Roger Stone, a former political adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, was ordered on Tuesday to appear in court this week over Instagram posts that chastised and appeared to threaten the judge presiding over his criminal trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone would need to show cause at a hearing on Thursday as to why the posts did not violate a gag order in the case or the conditions of his release. Stone, who is free on a $250,000 bond and is free to travel to certain U.S. cities without the court's permission, has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
If Pope Francis needed a concrete example to justify summoning church leaders from around the globe to Rome for a tutorial on clergy sex abuse, Sister Bernardine Pemii has it. The nun, who recently completed a course on child protection at Rome's Jesuit university, has been advising her bishop in Ghana on an abuse case, instructing him to invite the victim to his office to hear her story before opening an investigation. Starting Thursday, Francis is convening a summit at the Vatican to prevent cover-ups of sex abuse by Catholic superiors everywhere.
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court bench Tuesday to hear oral arguments for the first time since undergoing cancer surgery in December. According to Supreme Court reporters, Ginsburg smiled as she arrived with her fellow justices at court, taking her seat unassisted at 10 a.m. ET. Ginsburg's public appearance came four days after former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka questioned whether 85-year-old associate justice was still alive, advancing a conspiracy theory that has been circulating in fringe circles since news of her cancer surgery broke.
A married lesbian couple in Indiana were turned away by a tax preparer when they attempted to file their taxes jointly last week, making them one of many victims of the state's anti-LGBTQ laws. Bailey and Samantha Brazzel got married last July and decided to file their taxes jointly for the first time. The couple went to Carter Tax Service in Russiaville to meet with Nancy Fivecoate, a tax preparer Ms Bailey used for the last four years.
Southwest Airlines, alarmed by a spike in flight cancellations and delays in the past several days due to reported maintenance issues, has taken the unusual step of publicly apologizing to customers and blaming the mess on its mechanics' union. In a statement late Tuesday, Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven said the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which has been in contract talks with Southwest since 2012, has a history of work disruptions and that Southwest will be investigating the "current disruption and exploring all possible remedies.'' He noted that Southwest also has two outstanding lawsuits against the AMFA. "We apologize to our customers who have been inconvenienced by this disruption,'' Van de Ven said.
A sixth grade student at a Florida school was arrested for disruption and resisting arrest after a confrontation with a teacher in which he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, reportedly saying the flag was racist and the pledge was offensive to black people. Spectrum Bay News 9 reports that the 11-year-old was removed from class on Feb. 4, suspended for three days, arrested shortly after and taken to a juvenile detention center. The dispute ensued after a substitute teacher at Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland asked him to stand up, reportedly unaware of that the school does not require participation during the pledge.
Late Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency released details of the State Council's Greater Bay Area plan – a project to knit together Hong Kong and Macau with nine mainland cities into a global innovation hub to rival California's Silicon Valley. The trouble is, there's little new on how authorities plan to make this grand vision into a reality. Announced by Premier Li Keqiang in March 2017, the Greater Bay Area forms part of China's push for supremacy in technology, while also binding the former European colonies more tightly into the country.
The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign jihadists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home. The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Islamic State movement in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American jihadist. Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and "deeply regrets" joining the movement.
Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Wednesday over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence after last week's attack on Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. In a statement issued after the meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the Foreign Ministry said it deemed his comments to be "in contradiction with Pakistan's commitments with regards to realizing peace in Afghanistan". Tensions between India and Pakistan have risen sharply since the suicide bomb attack in the disputed Kashmir region, which the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group claimed responsibility for.
Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. The meeting opening Thursday comes at a critical time for the church and Francis' papacy, following the explosion of the scandal in Chile last year and renewed outrage in the United States over decades of cover-up that were exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report. Here is a look at what's in store for the summit.
A Tennessee man was arrested Tuesday for pulling a gun on a couple who were wearing the Make America Great Again hats popularized by Donald Trump's presidential campaign. James Phillips, 57, of Cottontown, Tenn. was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment after he reportedly pulled the gun in a Kentucky Sam's Club store amid an argument, according to his arrest citation.
An Iowa woman whose infant son's lifeless body was found in a baby swing has been imprisoned for life without possibility of parole.
Officials in Alabama are calling for a small-town newspaper editor to resign because of an editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize Washington, D.C. Goodloe Sutton, the editor and publisher of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Ala., wrote the editorial titled “Klan needs to ride again” that ran in the paper last week. “Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” read the Feb. 14 editorial.
Social Security faces a looming funding shortfall roughly 15 years down the road. Despite that dismal backdrop, several proposals continue to be circulated that would enhance benefits for the most vulnerable groups of beneficiaries. As discussed in a series of briefs by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, one proposal would provide enhanced benefits to the elderly at or around age 85, when financial vulnerability increases.
A man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly attacking a Sikh employee of a California 7-Eleven convenience store. The man can allegedly be seen on surveillance footage punching the employee, and throwing coffee on him after he attempted to leave without paying for coffee. The man, identified by police as John Crain, was arrested by the Marysville Police Department.
Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place. Obama was in Oakland, California, to mark the fifth anniversary of My Brother's Keeper, an initiative he launched after the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The initiative was a call to communities to close opportunity gaps for minority boys, especially African-American, Latino and Native American boys, Obama said to roughly 100 boys attending the alliance's first national gathering.
Britain will strip citizenship from a UK teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but now wants to return home with her newborn baby, a lawyer for her family said Tuesday. The case points to a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution or barring them over security concerns as the so-called "caliphate" crumbles. A lawyer for her family, Tasnime Akunjee, said on Twitter that they were "very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship," and that they were considering "all legal avenues".
California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week the state will dramatically scale back a planned $77.3 billion high-speed rail project that has faced cost hikes, delays and management concerns, but will finish a smaller section of the line. The Transportation Department's Federal Railroad Administration said in a letter it wanted to halt funding because the state had "failed to make reasonable progress." It cited Newsom's announcement to scale back the project. Newsom, in a statement, linked the Trump administration action to California leading 15 other states in challenging what he called "the President's farcical 'national emergency,'" to obtain funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Three former Chilean nuns who claim to have been sexually abused over two decades ago by priests in their religious order have hailed comments by Pope Francis earlier this month in which he recognized the abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church. The three nuns, who had been members of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan order in the Chilean city of Molina, 130 miles south of Santiago, told Reuters in an interview on Friday that they were embraced and fondled during the 1990s and 2000s by several priests who had since died. The three, Yolanda Tondreaux, Eliana Macias and Marcela Quitral, told Reuters TV they had reported the abuse to their mother superior but were told either that they were lying or had provoked the abuse and were threatened with being forced to leave the convent.
A student involved in a viral confrontation with a Native American man is suing the Washington Post for $250m (£191m) over its coverage of the incident. The defamation lawsuit, filed by Covington Catholic High School pupil Nick Sandmann, claims the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” him due to its “biased agenda” against Donald Trump. The 16-year-old was wearing one of the president's signature Make America Great Again hats when he attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington in January along with classmates from his Kentucky school.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Airlines are canceling flights and expanding their rebooking waivers ahead of a new winter storm that looks increasingly likely to disrupt flights at airports from the Great Plains into the Northeast. Full story: Airlines already canceling Wednesday flights for new winter storm PREVIOUS UPDATE: Air travelers faced disruptions this week from a new round of wintry weather. A developing storm system was expected to spread a mix of snow, rain and icy weather across a large swath of the United States this week.
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Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said his nation would retaliate if attacked by India, following New Delhi's strongest accusations yet that its nuclear-armed neighbor was responsible for a major terrorist attack in Kashmir. Pakistan will not think of retaliation, Pakistan will retaliate,” Khan said in a televised speech on Tuesday. There will be no other option than retaliation.