President Trump on Tuesday exercised his pardon power, granting clemency to or commuting the sentences of nearly a dozen people convicted of crimes, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and junk bond pioneer Michael Milken. Trump also referred to himself as the nation's “chief law enforcement officer,” a title typically reserved for the attorney general. On Tuesday morning, the White House announced Trump's pardoning of former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. for his involvement in a 1998 corruption case against former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only three candidates out of the more than half dozen vying for the White House have a viable path to the nomination, a senior official for the Mike Bloomberg campaign told reporters Tuesday.
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.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial will start on March 17, two weeks after Israel holds its third national election in less than a year, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday. Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli prime minister to be charged with a crime, has denied any wrongdoing in the three corruption cases against him. In addition to his legal battle, Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, is fighting for his political life in a March 2 election, after inconclusive ballots in April and September.
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.
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.
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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.
“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.
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.
Ashraf Ghani won a second term as president of Afghanistan, the country's independent election commission announced Tuesday, but his closest opponent refused to recognize the results, declaring himself winner and potentially endangering peace negotiations with the Taliban. The Taliban also rejected Ghani's win, further putting into question a U.S. peace plan that calls for a reduction in violence followed by a more permanent agreement expected to be signed Feb. 29, between Washington and the Taliban. That agreement would pave the way for U.S. troops to return home, ending America's longest war, and trigger negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict.
Now, a court case involving the deaths of two men killed last March by the FAES reveals another little-known fact that Reuters is the first to publicly disclose: Some of the squad's officers are convicted criminals. According to hundreds of sealed documents submitted by prosecutors in the case, at least two officers accused of involvement in the killings served prison terms before they joined the FAES. The documents – which include autopsies, ballistic reports, officer testimony and personnel files – also show that at least three other members of the same FAES precinct who aren't being prosecuted over the deadly operation have criminal records of their own.
The director of a Chinese hospital at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak became one of its victims Tuesday despite "all-out" efforts to save his life, Chinese health officials said. The death came the same day Chinese officials released data indicating the new virus could be 20 times more lethal than the flu. Liu Zhiming, president of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in Hubei province, died of coronavirus-related pneumonia, China Daily reported.
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.
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."
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?