Donald Trump's envoy to Venezuela was left flustered and visibly angry following an interrogation by Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar over his controversial political past. Elliot Abrams was appointed special envoy to Venezuela last month to help lead the US response to the political crisis in the South American country, which is seeing widespread hunger and violence following the collapse of its economy. On Wednesday, Mr Abrams, who served in the Reagan administration, testified in front of the House foreign affairs select committee, where he was subjected to a fierce line of questioning by Ms Omar.
A federal judge on Friday placed some limits on what longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone and his lawyers can say publicly about his criminal case brought by the special counsel in the Russia probe. But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson stopped short of imposing a broad ban on public comments by the outspoken political operative, issuing a limited gag order she said was necessary to ensure Stone's right to a fair trial and "to maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings." The order bars Stone from making comments about his pending case near the courthouse but it does not constrain him from making other public statements about his case.
Thirteen gay couples filed Japan's first lawsuit challenging the country's rejection of same-sex marriage on Valentine's Day, arguing the denial violates their constitutional right to equality. Six couples holding banners saying "Marriage For All Japan" walked into Tokyo District Court to file their cases against the government, with similar cases filed by three couples in Osaka, one couple in Nagoya and three couples in Sapporo. Plaintiff Kenji Aiba, standing next to his partner Ken Kozumi, told reporters he would "fight this war together with sexual minorities all around Japan."
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro hit out at the United States on Friday for "stealing" billions of dollars and offering "crumbs" in return as humanitarian aid. Tons of US aid is piling up in Colombia close to the border with Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaido has vowed to defy Maduro's efforts to block the supplies from entering the country. "It's a booby trap, they're putting on a show with rotten and contaminated food," said Maduro, speaking at an event in the southeastern town of Ciudad Bolivar.
Amazon.com Inc's decision on Thursday to scrap its proposal to locate a second headquarters in the Queens borough of New York City ignited a sea of duelling reactions on Twitter, with some calling it a victory for working people while others said it meant that fewer people would work. Some people who praised the pullout included references to the wealth of Amazon's chief executive and founder, Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man with an estimated fortune of about $135 billion, while many who saw the decision as a blow to New York cited the loss of potentially tens of thousands of new jobs. The deal negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had offered the world's largest online retailer about $3 billion in incentives, in exchange for the company's promise of 25,000 new jobs in the Long Island City section of Queens.
A British schoolgirl who fled to Syria to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has said she does not regret it, but wants to return to the UK to give birth. Shamima Begum, 19, vanished from her home in Bethnal Green in London four years ago, along with two other teenage girls, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase. A girl who identified herself as Shamima Begum, was found in a refugee camp in Syria as the Isil caliphate collapsed, the Times reported.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to compromise with the European Union over the future of Ireland's border, with just two weeks left to save her Brexit deal. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay privately told the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Monday the U.K. doesn't need to reopen the divorce agreement and would accept other ways to address British concerns, a person familiar with the talks said. On Thursday, members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservatives inflicted another embarrassing parliamentary defeat on the premier after they refused to endorse her approach to resolving the deadlock.
Although the worst of the storm had moved well inland Friday, forecasters said some leftover showers and snow was still likely to fall across the state on Friday and Saturday. The higher elevations of the Sierra could see an additional 3 to 6 feet of snow over the next few days, on top of the 3 feet that fell Thursday, the National Weather Service said. So much snow has fallen in the area that cities are running out of places to put the snow, according to Kevin Cooper of Lake Tahoe TV In Southern California, officials said rain-drenched hillsides could still loosen and collapse, bringing down mud, boulders and debris.
The world's largest airliner, with two decks of spacious cabins and room for 544 people in standard layout, was designed to challenge Boeing's legendary 747 but failed to take hold as airlines backed a new generation of smaller, more nimble jets. Confirming a shake-up first reported by Reuters, Airbus said on Thursday the last A380 would be delivered in 2021. The move comes after Emirates - the largest A380 customer - was forced to reduce its orders for the iconic superjumbo after an engine dispute and a broader fleet review, opting to order a total of 70 of the smaller A350 and A330neo instead.
Orca could help to fill a yawning gap in the American submarine fleet. The U.S. Navy has ordered from Boeing four huge robotic submarines, potentially signally an effort to deploy a large number of crewless undersea boats alongside traditional, manned submarines. The Navy's $43-million purchase of four Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles, or XLUUVs, comes as the fleet struggles to build enough new manned submarines to replace older vessels that are decommissioning as their nuclear cores wear out.
FBI: The ex-Air Force intelligence officer allegedly disclosed information about confidential Pentagon programs.
A Chicago police spokesman confirms that the two suspects arrested in the reported hate crime involving black actor Jussie Smollett are black. Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi also says the suspects were arrested on suspicion of assault and battery. Guglielmi also says at least one of the men in custody worked on "Empire," but he does not know in what capacity.
The Democratic Party's civil war flared anew this week with a battle on the Israeli front. Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., made headlines with a Twitter outburst that criticized Israel backers, which was widely seen as anti-Semitic. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer echoed other party leaders when he called her comments “offensive and irresponsible.” Omar apologized, claiming ignorance of the “painful history of anti-Semitic tropes” — as if she had never heard them before, or been exposed to them her entire life? Rep. Omar seems to be managing her crisis.
Is 400 horsepower not enough for your people- and cargo-hauler in 2019? How does 500, 600, or 700 horsepower sound? From Car and Driver
Big-hearted Britons have penned thousands of uplifting messages to be delivered to single seniors on Valentine's Day in a project aimed at alleviating loneliness. The letters and cards were written in recent weeks and left in ten models of old-fashioned red post-boxes set up in locations across London and several other cities. Red Letter Days, a gift experience company which came up with the idea, will dispatch the messages to needy elderly recipients in selected care homes during Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to agree on military action to oust militants who've seized control of a key region of Syria, amid continued divisions over Ankara's demand for a security zone inside the Middle Eastern country. While Putin urged Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a summit on Thursday to work out ways to “completely destroy the terrorist hotbed” in the Idlib region, a joint statement after the talks referred only to the need for “concrete steps” to restore a September truce shattered by the Islamist takeover last month. Those steps don't include military action, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Californians are experiencing some unusually nasty winter weather this week as an "atmospheric river" passes through most of the state, bringing howling winds and heavy rain. The storm arrived on Tuesday night (Feb. 12) in Northern California and continued into Wednesday (Feb. 13), leading the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue warnings of flash flooding, mudslides and high winds in the region. Atmospheric rivers are huge "rivers in the sky" that cause moisture from the tropics to flow north, from California to Canada.
WILMINGTON, Del. — A note that a Delaware student scrawled on her arm during a school lockdown is going viral online. Shelley Harrison Reed, the mother of the 7-year-old student, posted the haunting image on Facebook after her daughter came home following a lockdown at the Wilmington-area Odyssey Charter School on Feb. 7. Reed said it was the first school lockdown her daughter and 10-year-old son have ever experienced. She wrote they appeared to be fine once they got home.
The freshman Democratic representative celebrated online retailer Amazon's decision Thursday to scrap its plans to build a new headquarters in her New York City district. “I think it's incredible,” Ocasio-Cortez responded when asked to comment on Amazon's about-face. Earlier Thursday, the company announced it was reversing the plan, announced in November, to build new East Coast headquarters buildings in New York City and in Arlington, Va. The Virginia part of the plan will go ahead.
The largest U.S. bank by assets said customers, on depositing money at the bank, will be issued the cryptocurrency that they will be able to use for transactions over the network with other JPMorgan clients. When one client sends money to another over the blockchain, JPM Coins are transferred and instantaneously redeemed for the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars, reducing the typical settlement time, the bank said. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon once criticized the former high-flying bitcoin, calling it a "fraud" in 2017.
The attorney for a white police officer charged with fatally shooting an armed black man in Tennessee is calling for legal discovery documents to be sealed from members of the public. Meanwhile, a police union has launched a digital ad campaign seeking to defend the Nashville officer, Andrew Delke, and bolster his image in public. The officer shot 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick from behind during a foot chase last July and is charged with first-degree murder.
The US Senate has approved President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee William Barr, putting the veteran Republican lawyer in charge of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of any ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia. Democrats had expressed concern over Mr Barr's nomination out of concern he might not fully make public Mr Mueller's findings. Previously attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George HW Bush, Mr Barr has won praise from lawmakers in both parties for his expertise and grasp of the workings of the Justice Department, which he will now head.
The 2018-2019 flu season has been a relatively mild one — and a pretty effective flu shot is part of the reason why. Mid-season estimates suggest that the flu shot has reduced the risk of illness by around 47% in vaccinated people, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Thursday. During the severe 2017-2018 flu season, vaccine efficacy was estimated at just 36%.
The new Bentley Bentayga Speed is claimed to be the world's "fastest production SUV," matching the top speed of the Lamborghini Urus. For now, we settle for 190 mph, a 3-mph bump from the Bentayga's base trim. At 3.9 seconds, Bentley claims a two-tenth improvement to the company's claimed zero-to-62-mph time, although we've already run a regular Bentayga to 60 in just 3.5 seconds.
The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran hailed the planned US withdrawal from Syria as they met for talks Thursday on how to work more closely together in the country's long-running conflict. Hosting his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in the southern city of Sochi, President Vladimir Putin said the three welcomed the expected US pull-out from northeastern Syria. It would be "a positive step that would help stabilise the situation in this region, where ultimately the legitimate government should re-establish control," he told a joint press conference after the talks.