The Iranian nuclear nonproliferation agreement has been the top foreign policy issue throughout Washington for the past two months. Approving or disapproving the deal was the first order of business for the U.S. Congress until the very last day of congressional action under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (September 17). Hours of debate have been conducted on the floors of the House and Senate, both chambers have held roll call votes, and Senate Democrats bonded together to filibuster a motion of disapproval — a resolution that would have prevented President Obama from providing the Iranians sanctions relief. The Obama administration's main selling point for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is based on the theory that forcing Tehran to downgrade its nuclear program will make the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East — the world's most frenetic and violent region even without nuclear weapons— far less urgent. Yet we should remember that there is in fact a state in the region that already possesses nuclear weapons.
The Vatican on Saturday opened two burial chambers discovered under a trapdoor as it attempts to get to the bottom of a riddle involving two 19th-century princesses and a teenager who went missing 36 years ago. The ossuaries were found last week under the floor of the Pontifical Teutonic College after the shock discovery earlier this month that the bones of the princesses had disappeared from tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery. The graves of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1836 and 1840, were exhumed after an anonymous tip-off that they may hold the remains of a missing Italian youngster.
Police in Hong Kong discovered a stash of a powerful homemade explosive as the semi-autonomous Chinese city readied for another major pro-democracy protest on Sunday following a pro-Beijing rally that attracted thousands. Materials voicing opposition to an extradition bill that has sparked more than a month of demonstrations in Hong Kong were found at the site, local media said, but a police spokesman said no concrete link has been established and that the investigation is continuing. In a rally that aimed to counter the pro-democracy movement, thousands of people filled a park in central Hong Kong on Saturday to support the police, who have been accused of using rough tactics on protesters.
Universal Orlando went under lockdown Saturday night after police received a report of a gunman spotted in a parking garage. Police arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time and, along with Universal security staff, temporarily shut down both of Universal's parking garages to guests while they assessed the area. It was later deemed safe and park activity returned to normal.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday stepped up his attacks on four liberal Democrats in Congress, all women of color who have criticized his policies, calling on them to apologize as he himself faced charges of racism. The Republican president's incendiary comments dovetail with the anti-immigrant stance he has embraced since his 2016 campaign for the White House, which included saying Mexico was sending rapists into the country and seeking to ban people from Muslim-majority nations. Trump ignited controversy last weekend when he tweeted that the Democratic congresswomen should "go back" to where they came from if they do not like the United States.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo acknowledged that Mexico has achieved “significant” progress in controlling the flow of migrants to the U.S., according to a statement Sunday by Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry. The advances mean there's no need to start negotiations for a “safe third country” agreement that would require Mexico to process paperwork for asylum seekers to prevent them from applying in the U.S, Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said, according to the ministry's statement. Mexico's strategy to “guarantee organized, safe and regular flows” of migrants will continue during the next 45 days, the statement said.
Planes and helicopters joined nearly 2,000 firefighters in central Portugal Sunday to battle huge wildfires in a mountainous region where more than 100 people died in huge blazes in 2017. Some 1,700 firefighters and 400 vehicles were deployed in one of the biggest mobilisations ever seen in the area to fight the blazes in the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Lisbon, the rescue services said. Around 20 people have been injured in the blaze, including eight firefighters and 12 civilians, according to the interior ministry.
But since Greg Abbott signed the measure into law in June, county prosecutors around Texas have been dropping some marijuana possession charges and declining to file new ones, saying they do not have the time or the laboratory equipment needed to distinguish between legal hemp and illegal marijuana. Collectively, the prosecutors' jurisdictions cover more than 9 million people — about a third of Texas' population — including in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. The accidental leniency represents one of the unintended consequences states may face as they race to cash in on the popularity of products made with or from hemp.
The next trip to the moon isn't supposed to happen until 2024, but NASA is now ready to put living humans on the surface. On July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA confirmed that work on the Orion crew vehicle is complete. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called the new development "an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity." The Orion capsule is supposed to carry humans to the moon in 2024 as part of the larger Artemis program.
An American citizen who allegedly served as a sniper for ISIS and became a leader for the terrorist group is expected to appear in federal court on Friday after being returned to the United States by the Defense Department, officials said. Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, who was born in Kazakhstan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, is charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department announced on Friday. A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Defense Department had transported Asainov from Syria to the United States.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has used Barack Obama's beloved status among Democratic voters to insulate him from criticism from the massive field of candidates jockeying to be the next president. But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration as evidence that Biden's not up to the task of leading the next one. Barack Obama, personally, is incredibly popular among Democratic primary voters,” Karthik Ganapathy, a progressive consultant now running his own firm, told The Daily Beast.
Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Trump, weighs in on tensions with Iran on 'Hannity.
A Maryland man visiting Alaska with his family was killed and one of his three children was critically injured Friday after their floatplane's takeoff was aborted. Alaska State Troopers identified the deceased man as Joseph Patenella, 57. The critically hurt child was flown to Anchorage for treatment, along with two other family members.
White House adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday pushed back against those who believe President Donald Trump is a racist or is engaging in racist rhetoric, arguing the liberals use that label to censor their opponents. "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace listed several of Trump's statements that have been decried as racist, including his recent suggestion that four congresswomen of color "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came," his unsubstantiated claims that former President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen, his campaign announcement in which he said Mexicans "are rapists," his call for a "complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United Sta...
Iran's top diplomat said on Sunday that only "prudence and foresight" could alleviate tensions between his country and Britain after Tehran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker. "Having failed to lure @realDonaldTrump into War of the Century, and fearing collapse of his #B_Team, @AmbJohnBolton is turning his venom against the UK in hopes of dragging it into a quagmire," Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter. Britain has called Iran's capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a "hostile act".
Iraqi Kurdish authorities announced Saturday they had arrested two suspects involved in the murder of three people, including a Turkish diplomat, in the regional capital Arbil this week. The autonomous region's security council first said its counterterrorism unit had arrested "the main perpetrator" Mazloum Dag, a 27-year-old from Turkey's Diyarbakir region. The council had put out a wanted notice for Dag a day earlier in connection to Wednesday's killing of Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals.
There are plenty of conspiracy theories, recent discoveries, and just plain old misconceptions about the moon. From Popular Mechanics
Taiwan's presidential election next year will be a test of its democracy and value system, President Tsai Ing-wen said at the end of a U.S. trip that drew rebuke from China. Voters in Taiwan will be focused on the future of our country, especially whether we can keep our democratic and freedom way of life,” she said at a press conference in Denver on Saturday, and televised at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Seeking a second term, Tsai will face Kuomintang nominee Han Kuo-yu -- a firebrand mayor who advocates closer ties with China -- in the election on Jan. 11.
Marvin Oswaldo Escobar-Orellana, 31, was arrested after he allegedly shotthe family with which he lived in Des Moines, Iowa, and called 911 on himself. Orellana is the suspect in the murder of 29-year-old Rossibeth Flores-Rodriguez and her two children, Grecia Daniela Alvarado-Flores, 11, and Ever Jose Mejia-Flores, 5, according an Associated Press report. Orellana was deported in both 2010 and 2011, and convicted of illegal entry.
Bill de Blasio blasted Beto O'Rourke on Saturday over the former Texas lawmaker's opposition to “Medicare for All,” accusing his fellow Democratic presidential candidate of engaging in "lazy fear mongering tactics" as the health care policy debate ratchets up. Let's leave the lazy fear mongering tactics to Trump," the mayor of New York tweeted after O'Rourke said getting rid of private health care would force a majority of Americans off their existing insurance. O'Rourke opposes the single-payer health care plan — which would eliminate private insurance — and instead advocates for a plan that preserves employment-based insurance while giving individuals the option to switch to a new Medicare-based program.
Germany's new defence minister has picked an early fight inside the country's troubled coalition, pledging to beef up military spending against the will of junior partners the Social Democrats. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will make it a priority to allocate a budget equivalent to 2 percent of the German economy to the Bundeswehr, the 56-year-old told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper in an interview published on Sunday. The woman known as “mini-Merkel” due to her loyalty to the Chancellor, took over as leader of the Christian Democrats from Angela Merkel at the end of 2018 and is set to take a run at the Chancellery in 2021 at the latest.
Joe Biden's son Hunter made his 2020 presidential campaign trail debut with his father Friday, two weeks after the former vice president praised him for battling through "tough times," including years of drug and alcohol abuse. The younger Biden's appearance at a fundraiser in Southern California on Friday was a sign the former vice president and his campaign see him as an asset to the campaign despite a series of personal problems that had kept him in the background. Hunter Biden, 49, attended the event with his new wife, Melissa Cohen, and his daughter Finnegan at the home of Pasadena City Councilmember John Kennedy.
WASHINGTON – Democrats in the Virginia state legislature say they'll boycott an event at Jamestown, Virginia, commemorating the 400th anniversary of representative democracy in America if President Donald Trump comes. The event had been planned as part of "American Evolution," a series of events at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony, to celebrate key events in American and Virginia history that took place in 1619, according to the event's website. A July 30 gathering had planned to commemorate the first legislative meeting and would feature members of Congress, the Virginia legislature and other state legislatures.
A man is in custody after handing his young neighbor a firework that blew up, causing the boy to lose his arm on his 10th birthday.
A top British representative to the United Nations has declared in a letter to the Security Council that Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker amounted to "illegal interference," and he rejected Tehran's version of events. Iranian authorities impounded the Stena Impero with 23 crew members aboard after patrol boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it Friday in the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz. Iranian officials said the tanker had turned off its transponder after hitting an Iranian fishing boat and was detained after failing to respond to distress calls.