White House counselor Kellyanne Conway won't appear at a House hearing Monday on whether she violated a law prohibiting administration officials from engaging in political work while on the public payroll. President Donald Trump directed her to skip the hearing “in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the President,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings. The Department of Justice, he wrote, “has advised me that Ms. Conway is absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters related to her service as a senior adviser to the president,” Cipollone wrote.
Charles Platiau/Reuters The family of a man who died in the Dominican Republic in March is speaking out about his death for the first time, in the wake of similar American deaths on the island. Tracy Jerome Jester Jr. of Forsyth, Georgia, died in the country on March 17 from "respiratory illness." His mother told the Atlanta-based WSB-TV that he called her the night before he died and made a remark about drinking a soda that tasted off.
A 17-year-old with thousands of followers on Instagram was brutally murdered in New York by a man she met online two months ago — and photos of her dead body have been shared on social media by the alleged killer, authorities said. Utica police identified the victim as Bianca Devins. The alleged killer is Brandon Clark, 21, of Bridgewater, New York, police said in a news release Monday evening.
If there is a question of who worked on behalf of the Turkish government to influence the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, then the court should look no further than former national security adviser Michael Flynn, lawyers for Bijan Kian, the Iranian-American businessman and former Flynn partner, told jurors in the Eastern District of Virginia Monday. Kian is charged with two felonies—illegally lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government and conspiring covertly to influence U.S. politics about Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is now living in Pennsylvania. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.
The hijab debate has further polarized Iranians at a time when the country is buckling under unprecedented U.S. sanctions imposed since the Trump administration pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year. It's unclear to what extent the government can enforce hijab compliance amid an economic malaise, including a currency collapse and rising housing prices. There's anecdotal evidence that more women are pushing back against the dress code, trying to redefine red lines as they test the response of the ruling Shiite Muslim clergy and their security agencies.
Pakistan on Tuesday fully reopened its airspace for all civilian traffic, ending months of restrictions affecting major international routes including from India after clashes between the nuclear-armed rivals brought them to the brink of war. "With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic," the state-run Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said. A CAA spokesman confirmed to AFP that the eastern airspace along the border with India had been reopened.
Heavy rain fall in south Florida forced hundreds of land crabs, which burrow underground, out of their holes and into the property of Dan Skowronski, a resident of of Port St Lucie. In a video shared to Facebook, the Florida man witnessed the home invasion with a surprising calm. Florida saw heavy rainfall as Hurricane Barry geared up in the Gulf Coast throughout last week, before making landfall in Louisiana on Saturday.
An anonymous Democratic group leaked an internal poll to Axios on Sunday that shows "swing voters" deeply dislike prominent progressive lawmakers, deepening a public rift within the party. The poll found that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a 22% approval rating and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota had a 9% approval rating among 1,003 "likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education" and knew of the two outspoken lawmakers. "If all voters hear about is AOC, it could put the [House] majority at risk," a Democrat involved in the 2020 congressional races told Axios.
Thirty years after the disappearance of the 15-year old daughter of a Vatican City employee, a case that has mystified Rome for decades, the Vatican has announced that two sets of bones have been found under a stone manhole cover in one of its cemeteries. A request from the family of the missing girl, Emanuela Orlandi, prompted the Vatican to open the tombs of two 19th-century German princesses in the cemetery of the Pontifical Teutonic College on Thursday this week. The family had received an anonymous tip that Orlandi's remains might be buried in that area of the cemetery.
Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next. Former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice sparred with a senior Chinese diplomat on Twitter in an unusual and heated dispute over race in Washington. In a series of Tweets apparently aimed at making a broader point about diplomatic divisions over the mass detention of Muslims in China's Xinjiang province, Lijian Zhao, a diplomat posted in Islamabad, said on Sunday that if “you're in Washington, D.C., you know the white never go” to the southeastern part of the U.S. capital.
Gerald Herbert/AP First responders in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana posted a warning on Saturday for areas with Hurricane Barry flooding. "If the area you live in has high water, watch out for snakes and other critters who are trying to escape the flood waters as well," reads the Facebook post from St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1. The message had a collection of images attached, which show snakes on porches and fences.
Police have arrested a Texas woman who they say has lived with her mother's decaying remains in plain view for the past three years. Investigators believe Jacqueline Crayton fell in the house she shared with her daughter and disabled granddaughter in 2016. Police found Crayton's remains last week while conducting a Child Protective Services investigation at the home where her daughter and granddaughter still live, Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said at a press conference.
A summary of Jeffrey Epstein's assets made public on Monday shows he has $56 million in cash, with another $500 million divided between property and investments. The bare-bones accounting estimates his homes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of them on his private island, are worth $85 million. The financier also listed an $8.6 million Paris apartment, a $12 million Palm Beach estate, a $17 million New Mexico ranch, and his Manhattan mansion—which he says is worth $55 million but prosecutors say is worth $77 million.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly look at developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts in the region. DUTERTE CRITICIZED FOR SHELVING RULING AGAINST CHINA Former Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte's failure to seek Chinese compliance with an arbitration ruling has resulted in "more unlawful acts of intimidation and bullying in the South China Sea." Justice Antonio Carpio added that Duterte's recent statement that he had a verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that effectively allows Chinese to fish in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone will "substantially diminish the arbitral award...
If there's fruit, it's healthy, right? From Delish
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday joined international condemnation of US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen. Ardern, the charismatic young leader who has been hailed as "the anti-Trump" by US media, said she proudly celebrated her country's diversity. "Usually I don't get into other people's politics, but it will be clear to most people that I completely and utterly disagree with him," Ardern told Radio New Zealand.
Just in time for next week's likely House vote on a federal $15 minimum wage, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has come out with a caustic report on the consequences of the policy. The report confirms what even liberal economists caution: A $15 minimum wage would “risk undesirable and unintended consequences” and lead to a survival-of-the-fittest labor market, where only the highest-skilled workers come out on top. The Congressional Budget Office report estimated that a $15 minimum wage would lead to 1.3 million lost jobs by the year 2025, with job losses rising over time due to compounding negative impacts.
Police at Heathrow Airport are investigating how a 12-year-old boy slipped through security and managed to board a British Airways flight to Los Angeles without a ticket or boarding pass. The unaccompanied child, who had no travel documents, mingled with passengers getting on the flight and was only spotted when cabin crew asked to see his boarding pass in order to direct him to his seat. The mystery youngster, who is thought to be Dutch, was not travelling with his parents, and refused to cooperate with cabin crew when he was challenged.
A man has been charged with killing a polar bear and leaving the body to rot outside his home in Alaska for five months. Christopher Gordon, 35, allegedly shot the animal dead when it ventured into his front yard to try and eat some butchered whale meat. He then failed to report the polar bear carcass or attempt to “harvest” it for food between December 2018 and May this year.
The man accused of kidnapping and murdering MacKenzie Lueck will make his first court appearance Monday.
Italian police have seized a large arsenal of weapons, including an air-to-air missile, in raids on neo-Nazi sympathisers, they said on Monday. Elite police forces searched properties across northern Italy following an investigation into Italians who had fought alongside Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a police statement said. During their raids, police discovered a French-made Matra air-to-air missile that appeared to have once belonged to the Qatar armed forces.
The Russian intelligence agency behind 2016's election attacks is training its sights on billionaire financier George Soros, The Daily Beast has learned. The move comes hot on the heels of a surge in U.S.-focused hacking by Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate with similarities to 2016 in targeting and methodology. Laura Silber, chief communications officer for Soros' Open Society Foundations, confirmed the hack attempt, but couldn't provide additional details over the weekend.
One person was killed and 15 injured — including three firefighters — after a house exploded in Southern California on Monday, sending a wall of flames and heavy smoke into the air. The Southern California Gas Company posted on Twitter that crews responded to reports of a damaged natural gas line in Murrieta, a city of about 113,000 people in Riverside County, about 65 miles north of San Diego. The explosion happened around noon Monday, shortly after crews arrived, the company said.
Tom Steyer entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Tuesday, pledging to spend $100 million on his campaign. Steyer adds nothing to the 2020 race, but he can stick around because of his wealth. That is a problem and an indictment of the US political system.