In his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union — who has been widely seen as the impeachment inquiry's most consequential witness — put President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the center of the effort to pressure the president of Ukraine to carry out Trump's political agenda. His testimony supported the accounts by other witnesses that Trump sought to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
In her first public appearance since being deported by U.S. authorities who had jailed her for being a Russian agent, Maria Butina was on Monday offered a job by Moscow to defend Russians imprisoned abroad. During an event for the media, Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, offered Butina, 31, a job working for her commission. Butina, who flew back to Russia on Oct. 26 after being deported, did not say whether she would accept the offer made at what she called her first public appearance since she was mobbed by wellwishers in front of the media at the airport on her arrival home.
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.
The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene from a knife wound to the neck despite immediate attention from colleagues, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.
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.
Elstad Ranch/Flickr Syracuse University's fraternities had their social activities canceled for the rest of the semester after a black student said members of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity called her the N-word. It was the latest in a series of reported racist and anti-Semitic incidents to sweep the upstate New York campus since November 7. Syracuse University has canceled all fraternity social activities for the rest of the semester after a black student reported a racist attack.
The Great Firewall may have been breached. Beijing doubled down Monday after The New York Times published a report on over 400 leaked documents that provided a look into China's mass detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang region, though the government didn't dispute the authenticity of the documents. "It is precisely because of a series of preventative counterterrorism and de-extremism measures taken in a timely manner that Xinjiang, which had been deeply plagued by terrorism, has not had a violent terrorist incident for three years," said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called for the ouster of key White House adviser Stephen Miller after the release of emails that she says establish him as a “white supremacist” — a mindset she suggested President Trump shares. Ocasio-Cortez described Miller's presence as one of the more “disturbing” aspects of the Trump administration. “Stephen Miller has just been exposed as, frankly, a neo-Nazi and a white supremacist,” she said.
The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a police station, Austria's interior minister said, after years of debate over how best to prevent it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis. Having recently carried out a compulsory purchase of the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the border with Germany, Austria will invite architects to submit plans for a redesign of the building. It will house the local police force's offices, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Prince Andrew's recent interview about his relationship with the alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has sparked many questions but one stands out: what happened to Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite friend of the prince who is accused of procuring victims for the disgraced financier. The Duke of York admitted ties to Maxwell and Epstein during the bombshell BBC Newsnight interview – while adamantly denying wrongdoing and expressing regret for continued association with Epstein. Andrew said he met Epstein through Maxwell, the daughter of late media baron Robert Maxwell.
One of the most sought-after presidential endorsements in a key early voting state is from a woman who cannot vote.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom cracked down on oil producers Tuesday, halting approval of hundreds of fracking permits until independent scientists can review them and temporarily banning new wells using another drilling method that regulators believe is linked to one of the largest spills in state history. The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources announced it will not approve new wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground. It's the type of process Chevron uses at an oil field in the Central Valley that leaked more than 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million liters) of oil and water this summer.
Arms covered in cling film and torches in hand as they drop into the sewers, clusters of pro-democracy protesters still inside a Hong Kong campus are plotting increasingly ingenious -- and desperate -- ways to escape a police siege. Among the detritus of a scorched and graffiti-sprayed concourse at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, several plastic covers -- some with torches placed above them -- betray extraordinary underground escape plans. Protesters have removed metal manholes, some making exploratory forays into the fetid tunnels, following rumours of successful exfiltrations from a campus ringed for three days by baton-wielding police determined to arrest them.
If we want to speak about the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Kremlin's propaganda and information war, then we should take a step back in history and have a look at the situation in the Soviet Union, where propaganda was an essential part of the regime's activities. Religion was, in the words of Marx, “opium of the people,” and, in Lenin's words, “opium for the people.” It was a false consciousness and it should, as such, be combated because religion, which promised heaven in an afterlife, prevented the workers from making the revolution.
Senior Islamic State members with access to “huge” amounts of money are in Turkey and plotting a comeback, an Iraqi spy chief has warned. Lieutenant General Saad al-Allaq, head of Iraq's Military Intelligence, claimed in an interview with CNN that Iraq has given Ankara dossiers on nine alleged leaders of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), including top financiers for the terror group. The general said senior Isil figures known as "emirs" have access to vast reserves of cash and were forming new cells in Turkey.
American Airlines admitted Tuesday that whatever knocked out two flight attendants and forced an emergency landing in October was not spilled soap, as the airline had previously claimed. On October 21, American Airlines flight 729 was flying from London Heathrow to Philadelphia, but was forced to land in Dublin, Ireland, when two staff members passed out. American Airlines said at the time that the incident was caused by "an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley."
Public testimony in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump's alleged extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continued on Tuesday afternoon, with former National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison and former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. The testimony of the two men was not as damaging to Trump as Friday's appearance by Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Tuesday morning hadn't been especially good for Trump, either, with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman asserting that it was “improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent.” In an unusual move, the White House used its Twitter account to impugn Vindman's personal reputation.
More than 15,000 people were expected to flood downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday for what could be the largest Indiana Statehouse rally in more than 20 years. The Red for Ed Action Day, organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association and other labor groups, was expected to include educators from every corner of the state showing up as lawmakers return to kick off the 2020 legislative session. Keith Gambill, ISTA president, said teachers were there to demand bold action from lawmakers.
A Saudi princess and activist has been detained and placed under house arrest on suspicion of trying to flee to Europe, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. Sources close to Princess Basmah told the publication she disappeared in December 2018 and was detained in March 2019 on suspicion of seeking to flee under the guise of urgent medical care in Switzerland. When Princess Basmah finally responded to Bennett's phone calls she was "sounding very much like a hostage," he told DW.
Researchers analyzed the genomes of 104 labrador retrievers between the ages of 4 weeks and 16 years old. Break out your graphing calculator: The team also came up with a new formula to calculate a dog's age. Scientists have gained new insight into the epigenetic clock that controls how dogs age and have devised a new formula to pinpoint exactly how old that good boy or girl in your life is.
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.
A former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong was tortured by Chinese secret police who suspected the city's recent pro-democracy uprising was partially orchestrated by the British, the worker told Wall Street Journal in several interviews. Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who was a member of the British consulate's business-development team, was on his way back to the city from a trip to mainland China when he was detained near the border crossing on August 8. U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the treatment of Cheng by Chinese authorities “amounts to torture.
Key Point: Sanctions would likely prevent any huge arms sales to Iran. The air force's squadrons fly American-made F-14s, F-5s and F-4s dating from the 1970s, some 1980s-vintage MiG-29s and Sukhoi fighter-bombers and a few J-7s that the Islamic Republic bought from China during the 1990s. Iran's only recent acquisitions are locally-made, reverse-engineered copies of the F-5.