Ambassador Gordon Sondland's explosive testimony Wednesday that “everyone was in the loop” on President Trump's efforts to secure an investigation of a political rival prompted rank-and-file Democrats to discuss whether it was time to expand their probe. Sondland testified in minute detail — down to the names of staffers and code words used internally to identify officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — how Vice President Mike Pence, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, former national security advisor John Bolton and others knew the intimate details of Trump's plans. “Was there a quid pro quo?” Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified.
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.
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.
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.
Many cities across California this year announced sharp increases in homelessness. For years, city governments have measured homelessness by sending out volunteers on a single night to count, as best they could, the number of homeless people they found on the streets or in shelters. Over the course of a full year, the city counted twice as many homeless people — 17,595 people, a 30% jump from the previous year.
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
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.
Israel has three weeks to stave off an unprecedented third election after former military chief Benny Gantz failed to muster enough support in parliament to form a government and dislodge legally embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Political newcomer Gantz -- the only politician to present a serious challenge to the prime minister over the past decade -- informed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Wednesday that, like Netanyahu before him, he couldn't cobble together a governing coalition.
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.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who began calling for President Trump to be impeached earlier this year, believes we have now reached “the point of no return” where it is inarguably clear that he has committed criminal acts. Ocasio-Cortez discussed the issue with Yahoo News on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as the third day of public hearings was being conducted in the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry. “We're kind of knee-deep here in impeachment inquiry and so at this point, I think we're beyond the question as to whether Trump has committed a crime or whether he's violated the Constitution,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
During his testimony Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee, Gordon Sondland was pressed on why so many members of the Trump administration, including the president himself, were refusing to testify in the impeachment inquiry. I wish I could answer,” responded Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. His remark came at the end of an exchange with Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.
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.
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 speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter at University of California, Berkeley drew hundreds of protesters Wednesday night. KPIX-TV reported that at least seven people were arrested in the rally. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police in riot gear guarded the building's entrances and barricades were erected in anticipation of the protests.
Special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker said during questioning that "others didn't see the distinction" between Burisma and investigating former Vice President Biden.
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.
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.
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.
The FBI recently sought to question the CIA whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump's July 25 Ukraine call — a move that came after a vigorous internal debate within the bureau over how to respond to some of the issues raised by the complaint's allegations and whether they needed to be more thoroughly investigated, according to sources familiar with the matter. An FBI agent in the Washington field office in October reached out to one of the lawyers representing the whistleblower and asked to question the CIA analyst who triggered the congressional inquiry into the president's conduct, one of the sources said. It is unclear what the intended scope of the interview would be or whether the whistleblower's lawyers will agree to it.
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.
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.
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.
Austrian Nobel literature prize winner Peter Handke on Wednesday defended his vocal support for Serbs in the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia, but said he "never bowed down" before Slobodan Milosevic. The Swedish academy's pick last month triggered outrage in the Balkans and beyond because of Handke's admiration for the late Serbian strongman. As well as for his literary works, Handke was widely criticised for speaking at the 2006 funeral of Milosevic, who died awaiting trial for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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 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.