Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy demanded on Wednesday to meet Pope Francis to press their call for the Church to apply a zero tolerance policy including the dismissal of bishops who covered up such offences. The 12 victims met with five Vatican officials a day before the start of an unprecedented conference on clerical abuse that aims to guide senior bishops on how best to tackle a problem that has decimated the Church's credibility. All the survivors of abuse who took part in the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, said they were disappointed the pope did not attend, even though he was not scheduled to be there.
U.S.-backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group handed over more than 150 Iraqi members of the group to Iraq, an Iraqi security official said Thursday, marking the biggest repatriation from Syria of captured militants so far. The official said the IS militants were handed over to the Iraqi side late Wednesday, and that they were now in a "safe place" under investigation. The transfer comes as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces is involved in a standoff over the final sliver of land held by IS in eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that an Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join ISIS in 2014 is not a U.S. citizen and, as a result, is not entitled to return to the U.S. with her 18-month-old son, as she had hoped to do. “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said honest business people shouldn't have to live under “constant fear of criminal prosecution,” days after the arrest of one of the country's top foreign investors. Echoing previous exhortations to officials and law-enforcement to stop harassing business, which have produced few results, Putin said Wednesday in his annual state-of-the-nation address that “detention is often extended without good reason” and almost half of cases “don't even make it to court. But he didn't mention Baring Vostok Capital Partners Founder Michael Calvey, the American private equity investor who's in pre-trial detention as the latest prominent business figure to face prosecution.
Canada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
A student involved in a viral confrontation with a Native American man is suing the Washington Post for $250m (£191m) over its coverage of the incident. The defamation lawsuit, filed by Covington Catholic High School pupil Nick Sandmann, claims the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” him due to its “biased agenda” against Donald Trump. The 16-year-old was wearing one of the president's signature Make America Great Again hats when he attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington in January along with classmates from his Kentucky school.
Southwest Airlines, alarmed by a spike in flight cancellations and delays in the past several days due to reported maintenance issues, has taken the unusual step of publicly apologizing to customers and blaming the mess on its mechanics' union. In a statement late Tuesday, Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven said the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which has been in contract talks with Southwest since 2012, has a history of work disruptions and that Southwest will be investigating the "current disruption and exploring all possible remedies.'' He noted that Southwest also has two outstanding lawsuits against the AMFA. "We apologize to our customers who have been inconvenienced by this disruption,'' Van de Ven said.
In fact, the F-21 is an F-16 that Lockheed has upgraded with new cockpit displays, conformal fuel tanks, a larger airframe spine that can accommodate additional electronics, fittings for towed radar decoys, a new infrared sensor and a refueling probe that's compatible with India's Russian-made aerial tankers.
The European Union and Britain are moving towards a separate legal statement in which the bloc would again stress the temporary nature of the so-called Brexit backstop for the Irish border, diplomats in Brussels said. They spoke of a "parallel declaration" or "interpretative instrument" on the backstop, a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May and the head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, met in Brussels to seek a way out of the Brexit deadlock. The backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit.
After months of mostly silence from authorities investigating the disappearance of a Colorado mother on Thanksgiving Day, grim details about her suspected demise emerged this week, including accusations that the woman's fiance beat her to death with a baseball bat while their baby was in the next room. Testimony from investigators at a court hearing Tuesday also revealed that Patrick Frazee had repeatedly asked an Idaho woman with whom he was having an affair to kill Kelsey Berreth, the mother of Frazee's 1-year-old daughter. When she refused, he did it himself, authorities said.
Yvette Gaytan says that Trump's proposed border wall would likely interfere with her property and is unnecessary from what she's seen in the area.
Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Muthana will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. because she is not an American citizen: While born in America, she was the daughter of a diplomat and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. As the secretary put it in his statement, “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman vowed to fight terrorism alongside India after talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, days after New Delhi accused Pakistan of planning a major terror attack in Kashmir. Terrorism is a common concern and Saudi Arabia will cooperate with India in fighting it, including in matters like intelligence sharing,” Prince Mohammed said in a press statement alongside Modi in New Delhi. The comments were part of the Saudi royal's delicate diplomacy, as he visits both nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors amid heightened geopolitical tensions.
Venezuela's military said Tuesday it was on alert at its frontiers following threats by US President Donald Trump and suspended air and sea links with the island of Curacao ahead of a planned aid shipment. Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has vowed to bring aid in from various points Saturday "one way or another" despite military efforts to block it. "The armed forces will remain deployed and on alert along the borders... to avoid any violations of territorial integrity," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
HAGATNA, Guam –Two leading U.S. organizations protecting victims and documenting the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood have called on Pope Francis to sustain the guilty verdict on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron in a case involving sexual abuse of minors, and to defrock or expel him from the priesthood. "It is wrong for Pope Francis to leave Guam Catholics twisting in the wind and waiting to discover the fate of Archbishop Apuron, especially since it has been nearly a full year since the archbishop was found guilty of abusing children," said Zach Hiner, executive director for the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world's largest and oldest survivors group for abuse victims.
Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Thursday refused to comment on the hate-crime hoax apparently perpetrated by Empire actor Jussie Smollett, when asked about the case while leaving a Harlem, N.Y. restaurant with Al Sharpton, who famously publicized the fraudulent hate-crime claim made by Tawana Brawley in the late 1980s. Harris, who previously called the allegedly faked hate crime a “modern day lynching,” has refused to retract her initial claim despite the Chicago Police Department's Thursday morning assertion that Smollett paid two associates to stage the attack. Asked earlier this week about the tweet in which she said Smollett was effectively lynched, Harris seemed unfamiliar with the message and said she could not comment on the case until all the details came to light.
A French TV channel said on Wednesday it had been forced to cut short a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France because of an onslaught of anti-Semitic commentary. "Our country is confronted with a resurgence of anti-Semitism undoubtedly without precedent since the Second World War," President Emmanuel Macron said later on Tuesday in an annual speech to Jewish leaders in France. France 3 television said it went live from the first cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim on Tuesday as President Emmanuel Macron was visiting to pay his respects after more than 90 graves were vandalised with swastikas and anti-Semitic abuse.
Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place. Obama was in Oakland, California, to mark the fifth anniversary of My Brother's Keeper, an initiative he launched after the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The initiative was a call to communities to close opportunity gaps for minority boys, especially African-American, Latino and Native American boys, Obama said to roughly 100 boys attending the alliance's first national gathering.
As tax season starts to heat up, people with big plans for their tax refunds may be surprised to find they are receiving less money than in years past. The initial batch of tax refunds in the first two weeks of the season declined an average of 8.7% from last year as of Feb. 8, according to a report from the Internal Revenue Service. The changes likely stem from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law that passed in December 2017, significantly overhauling the tax code in the U.S. Among the changes were new tax brackets, standard deductions and expanded credits for families with children.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has refused to endorse Bernie Sanders for the 2020 Democratic nomination, despite working on the senator's first presidential campaign. A spokesperson for Ms Ocasio-Cortez, like Mr Sanders a self-described democratic socialist, refused to comment directly on the 77-year-old's Tuesday announcement he is running for a second time. Any endorsement by Ms Ocasio-Cortez is likely to be influential on the outcome of the race, thanks to her massive support among the grassroots of the party.
But wait. Maybe don't cancel that Tesla Model 3 reservation just yet. From Car and Driver
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is barring a US-born former Islamic State propagandist from returning home, making the highly unusual case that she is not a US citizen. Trump's refusal to admit 24-year-old Hoda Muthana comes just as he is pressing Europeans to repatriate their own Islamic State fighters and will likely face legal challenges, with US citizenship extremely difficult to lose. Trump said on Twitter he has "instructed" Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the country" -- a break with usual US protocol not to comment on individuals' immigration issues.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is set to arrive in China on Thursday in the middle of a multi-country swing through Asia that may burnish his image abroad as ties with western leaders remain strained. The visit will include a meeting with President Xi Jinping and a high-level joint dialogue aimed at boosting relations after the nations agreed to promote a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016. He's expected to visit South Korea after that in the final leg of his tour after stops in Indonesia and Malaysia were postponed.
For centuries, the Vatican's canon law system busied itself with banning books and dispensing punishments that included burnings at the stake for heretics. These days, the Vatican office that eventually replaced the Roman Catholic Inquisition is knee-deep in processing clergy sex abuse cases. The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be on display this week as high-ranking bishops summoned by Pope Francis attend an unprecedented four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests Here is a primer on the Catholic Church's regulations for investigating both priests accused of molesting children and superiors who have been accused of covering ...