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.
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.
Afghanistan on Tuesday declared incumbent Ashraf Ghani winner of a disputed presidential election, but his main rival rejected the result and vowed to form his own government, threatening new turmoil as the United State strives to seal a U.S. troop withdrawal deal with Taliban militants. Polls were held on Sept. 28 to select a president for the fourth time since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Ghani won 50.64% of the vote, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Tuesday.
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.
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.
A Turkish prosecutor issued a warrant to detain businessman Osman Kavala only hours after an Istanbul court unexpectedly acquitted him in another case of plotting to overthrow the government during mass protests that rocked the country in 2013. Kavala, who was released earlier on Tuesday after nearly 840 days in prison, will be questioned as a part of an investigation into the 2016 coup attempt against Turkey's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to state-run Anadolu Agency. The legal reversal caps a day that began with a surprise end to a trial that tested the limits of opposition to Erdogan.
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.
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.
Russian intelligence recruited a Mexican citizen to track down the whereabouts of an FBI informant in Miami who previously provided the U.S. government with information on Russian operations “implicating national security interests of the United States. The Mexican man, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, was arrested on Monday after being recruited by a Russian official last year, according to The Miami Herald and the Justice Department. After renting out a specific Miami property at the direction of the official, Fuentes allegedly traveled to Moscow earlier this month for more instructions.
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."
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.
WASHINGTON – The sentencing of Roger Stone, President Donald Trump's longtime ally and friend, will move forward this week despite a request from Stone's attorneys to delay the hearing pending a request for a new trial. Stone's attorneys asked for a new trial last week, after Trump accused one of the jurors of "significant bias." During a brief hearing Tuesday, Stone's attorneys urged U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to delay the sentencing, scheduled for Thursday, arguing that the motion for a new trial must first be resolved.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed a veteran, once close adviser who until recently managed Moscow's relations with war-torn Ukraine. Putin fired Vladislav Surkov, seen as a hardliner by many in Kiev, in a terse two-line statement on the Kremlin website. The decree was issued a week after the Kremlin said a senior Ukrainian-born Russian official, Dmitry Kozak, was now in charge of managing Moscow's relations with Ukraine, effectively sidelining Surkov.
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Conservative activist Kaitlin Bennett, also known as "Gun Girl," incited large-scale student protests Monday when she appeared on Ohio University's Athens campus to film a video. Bennett had arrived on campus to film a President's Day trivia video for the Liberty Hangout, which bills itself as a libertarian media outlet, according to both her and the site. Bennett has been a divisive figure since gaining notoriety in 2018 for posting controversial graduation photos of herself with an AR-10 rifle at Kent State University.
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.
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 campaign team for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) believes the Democratic presidential candidate is surging after a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary last week, but they're also acknowledging they face an uphill battle because of a lack of resources. For example, per The Washington Post, the campaign had to drive the New Hampshire bus to Nevada because they didn't have one there, and Klobuchar's Iowa caucus specialist is handling the same task in the Silver State. "We're putting the airplane together as we're flying," an anonymous Klobuchar campaign adviser told the Post.
A group of human rights activists delivered their final statements in their own defense on Wednesday before a court in Istanbul hands down a verdict in their closely-watched trial on charges of belonging to or aiding terror groups. The case against Amnesty International's former Turkey chairman and 10 other activists heightened concerns about Turkey's treatment of human rights defenders and helped sour Turkey's relations with European nations, notably with Germany.
WASHINGTON–Two federal prosecutors have been tapped to manage open investigations and other yet-to-be-substantiated allegations of wrongdoing involving Ukraine, the Justice Department told lawmakers Tuesday. Responding to recent inquiries from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd defended the moves, including the appointment of a Pennsylvania prosecutor to review information supplied by President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has sought to tar Trump rival Joe Biden by attempting to link him to unsupported corruption claims.
A security guard for an apartment complex with Airbnb rental units has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the 2018 murder of an American tourist. Carla Stefaniak, a Venezuelan-American who lived in Miami, was in San Jose, Costa Rica, celebrating her 36th birthday when she was brutally murdered. On Monday, Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, originally from Nicaragua, was found guilty of fatally stabbing Ms Stefaniak on the night of 28 November, 2018.
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?
Venezuela said on Monday it would suspend TAP Air Portugal flights into and out of the country for 90 days, accusing the carrier of allowing opposition leader Juan Guaido's uncle to bring explosives onto a flight to Caracas last week. Announcing the measure on Twitter, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez left open the possibility of applying fines and other measures in the future. "Venezuela must be respected," Rodriguez said.