The first impeachment hearings of the week brought more bad news for the White House, as two officials who listened directly to a call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine testified they found it unusual, while a witness called by Republicans defended the honor of former Vice President Joe Biden and said calling for an investigation into him was “unacceptable.” But there were elements in Tuesday's testimony that offered some support to the narrative favored by House Republicans. Jennifer Williams was a staffer for the 2004 George W. Bush campaign before moving into a nonpolitical foreign service position and now serves as a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
Israeli officials announced Wednesday that dozens of world leaders will arrive in Jerusalem for the largest-ever gathering focused on combatting anti-Semitism amid a global spike in violence against Jews. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said the fifth World Holocaust Forum in January will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and the presidents of Germany, Italy and Austria are among the more than 30 heads of state who have already confirmed their participation.
An ammunition dealer who acknowledged selling hundreds of incendiary tracer rounds to the gunman who killed nearly 60 people at a Las Vegas music festival two years ago pleaded guilty on Tuesday to manufacturing bullets without a license. Douglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
On Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation commended Chick-fil-A for its decision to halt donations to several Christian charities but demanded the fast-food chain do more to change its “anti-LGBTQ” brand. GLAAD said it “greet[s] today's announcement with cautious optimism” but warned that the Georgia-based company still has work to do to fix its tarnished image with the LGBTQ community. “In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents,” GLAAD director of campaigns Drew Anderson said in a statement to CNN.
Germany has finally had enough. Angela Merkel, usually measured, deployed the full power of her words on Wednesday night to say she would exert intense pressure on France to allow two western Balkan nations to begin negotiations to join the EU. This came after Macron had vetoed their accession efforts and moved to make it tougher for the bloc to accept new members.
A 16-year-old boy allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border with a remote-controlled car. Border Patrol agents arrested the teen Sunday, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release Tuesday. This attempt comes two years after drug traffickers flew a remote-controlled drone to drop a 13-pound package of methamphetamine across the border, also resulting in an arrest.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Thursday praised the armed forces for taking "timely" action against "rioters" and said calm had returned after days of unrest sparked by a hike in petrol prices. Motorists blocked highways in Tehran before the unrest spread to cities and towns across the country, with petrol pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted. "Incidents, big and small, caused by the rise in petrol price took place in (a little) less than 100 cities across Iran," said a statement on the Guards' official website Sepahnews.com.
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.
A North Carolina county removed a Confederate statue from a historic courthouse early Wednesday, joining the handful of places around the state where such monuments have come down in recent years despite a law protecting them. Preparations began Tuesday night to carefully dismantle the statue of a soldier outside the historic Chatham County courthouse, where it had stood since 1907, and continued for hours overnight, said county spokeswoman Kara Lusk Dudley. The removal comes months after Winston-Salem officials removed a Confederate statue from land there that had passed into private hands.
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?
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
A few days ago, Biden set himself apart from the rest of the top 2020 Democrats by calling marijuana a "gateway drug" and saying "legalization is a mistake." Booker brought that comment up in Wednesday's Democratic primary debate, saying while he has "a lot of respect" for Biden, when he heard that remark, he "thought you might have been high when you said it." After his well-timed zing, Booker explained why he had a problem with Biden's remark.
Three Ukrainian navy boats seized by Russia a year ago were vandalised before being handed back to Ukraine, the country's navy said. The fast gunboats Nikopol and Berdyansk and the tugboat Tany Kapu were welcomed by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and onlookers waving national flags arrived in Ochakiv, a Ukrainian naval port on the Black Sea on Wednesday evening. But Ukraine's navy said the vessels had been stripped bare and left so badly damaged that they had to be towed home by tug.
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.
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.
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 decade after 58 people were killed in the Philippines' worst political massacre, none of the alleged masterminds have been convicted yet, leaving families fearful that justice may never come. Though a verdict is now due next month over the bloodshed that drew international outrage, there is no guarantee of a conviction and the painfully slow-moving trial could still be derailed by corruption or even violence. "We are afraid for the life of the prosecutor or even our judge," said Mary Grace Morales, whose sister and husband were among 32 journalists killed in the attack, making it one of world's deadliest on media workers.
Israel said it struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday in a “wide-scale” operation in response to rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights the day before. Syrian state media only reported that two civilians were killed. The exchange of fire along the increasingly tense frontier comes as Iran and its allies face blowback across the region, with mass protests against Tehran-aligned governments in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as demonstrations in Iran itself over a recent hike in fuel prices.
Donald Trump claimed the first lady thought he had had a heart attack after the "sick" media reported on his unscheduled visit to a medical centre. The president was unexpectedly taken to the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Saturday in a visit that was not listed on his official engagements and which came just nine months after his annual physical. His press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, insisted the president had wanted to take advantage of a "free weekend" to make an early start on his physical since he was "anticipating a very busy 2020".
The Royal Navy may already have identified a possible replacement for its Type 45 destroyers. A version of the new Type 26 frigate, which should enter service with the U.K. fleet in the mid-2020s, ultimately could replace the air-defense-optimized Type 45s beginning in the 2030s. The prospect of developing an air-defense variant of the Type 26 offers some hope to the United Kingdom's beleaguered naval shipbuilders that they might be able to build a large number of ships of different classes without a long break in production.
Vice President Joe Biden was asked Wednesday night how he would address sexual violence. “So we have to just change the culture, period,” Biden said. Biden was one of 10 Democratic candidates to take the stage in Atlanta to debate a range of topics that included, health care, violence, impeachment and defeating President Trump.
The Democratic National Committee released its fundraising numbers during the presidential primary debate on Wednesday night, revealing that the committee lags far behind Republicans in funding for the 2020 elections. The DNC has $8.7 million in cash on hand, but it is $7 million in debt, according to its October Federal Election Commission filing. The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, had raised $156 million and had $61.4 million cash on hand as of the end of October.
Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on Twitter The South African government's selection of a white executive to head the state power utility has outraged some unionists and politicians who see the move as a setback to efforts to address the nation's racial disparities. Andre de Ruyter, 51, is due to become chief executive officer of debt-stricken Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. on Jan. 15 and will be the first white person to be assigned the post on a permanent basis since Allen Morgan retired in early 2001. Jacob Maroga, who was Eskom CEO from 2007 to 2009, and Dan Marokane, the utility's former head of group capital, were among the black contenders.
Moments after Wednesday night's Democratic presidential primary debate ended, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has a “hectoring quality” about her. During CNN's post-game coverage, Gergen first noted that he was “heavily influenced” by watching Wednesday's dramatic impeachment hearings, stating that they made the debate “seem a little flatter” and took “some of the emotional drama out of the evening. I think watching the last few days of these impeachment hearings has made you very, very aware that among Democrats, there are two lanes,” Gergen added.
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.