Maria Butina pleaded guilty to acting as an undeclared Russian agent in the U.S. and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, advancing an inquiry into Russia’s efforts to build back-channels to politically connected Americans. The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential U.S. conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington. Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said at the hearing, reading from the government’s statement of facts.
Insurance claims from the recent devastating California wildfires that killed at least 89 people and destroyed 19,000 homes and businesses have reached at least $9 billion, the state's insurance commissioner said Wednesday. "The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. Most of the insurance payouts -- some $7 billion -- concern the Camp Fire in Northern California, which wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recent California history.
Three people missing since last weekend were found alive Wednesday in an underground coal mine in West Virginia, authorities said. The three were located Wednesday inside Elk Run Coal's Rock House Powellton mine near Clear Creek, the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training said in a statement. The mine was described as nonoperational.
A torrent of bomb threats emailed to universities, businesses, schools and news outlets Thursday from New York City to San Francisco sent police departments scrambling to sort out what appeared to be a nationwide electronic hoax aimed at extorting bitcoin from its targets. The New York City Police Department said the threats were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and were not considered credible. There were no reports that any actual explosive devices had been discovered, but the threats alone had forced many police departments to monitor and investigate.
Technology researchers in China have been ordered to not travel to the US unless it is absolutely necessary, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Staff working in sensitive tech sectors were given the warning following the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada, a source told the South China Morning Post. Workers at a research agency were also told to remove any sensitive data from laptops, mobile phones and other devices if travel to the US was essential.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke by telephone with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday and discussed the issue of migration, he said in a tweet. The two leaders discussed the possibility of creating a joint program for development and job creation in Central America and Mexico, Lopez Obrador said. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Luxury retailer appears to be first casualty as calls for a boycott spread on social media Weibo and echoed on state-run media Growing tensions between Beijing and Ottawa over the arrest of a senior Huawei executive have inflicted damage on the luxury clothing retailer Canada Goose, as Chinese consumers call for a boycott of the brand. Shares in the company have plunged nearly 20% since the arrest last week of Huawei’s chief financial officers Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. A Canadian judge granted bail to Meng on Tuesday evening.
Talks in Sweden between Yemen's warring parties on Thursday led to a major breakthrough in blunting a devastating war that has killed thousands and driven the country to famine, with both sides agreeing on a ceasefire in a key port that acts as a lifeline for millions. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced that the Iran-linked Houthi rebels, who control Hodeidah port, had reached a ceasefire there with the Saudi-led coalition that was massing troops in the Red Sea city ahead of a final push into the port.
A disgruntled employee at a Canadian Walmart decided that he wasn’t going to quit quietly. In a video posted to Facebook on Friday, a 17-year-old worker named Jackson Racicot grabbed the PA mic and told everyone in the store what he really thought about working there. Racicot then dove into individual grievances, starting with his manager who apparently had called him “a waste of time.” He goes on to say that promises had been made and not kept, and details the story of how he was given only benefits of a part-time employee even though he worked full-time.
A Florida man testified this week about fatally shooting his best friend ― who was long suspected of falling victim to alligators ― because he was having an affair with the friend’s wife. Brian Winchester told a courtroom in Tallahassee that he killed his best friend, Mike Williams, in 2000 and hid his body because he was having an extramarital relationship with Denise Williams, who is now on trial for first-degree murder, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Winchester’s remarks came as the prosecution presented its case against Williams on Wednesday, the second day of testimony.
Japan is planning to tighten regulation of tech giants like Google and Facebook after an expert panel called for better oversight on competition and privacy, an official said Thursday. Japan has followed in the footsteps of other countries in scrutinising the dominant role played by the world's largest information technology companies, including Big Four tech firms Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Despite bringing benefits, tech giants "tend to monopolise the market through their features such as... low costs and economies of scale," the report said.
Nelson Martinez, the jailed former head of Venezuela's state-run oil giant PDVSA who was arrested last year as part of anti-corruption purge, died in state custody Wednesday, authorities said. The chief prosecutor's office said Martinez suffered from a serious and chronic illness that led to his death at a medical facility where he was undergoing treatment. The death is likely to focus attention on the conditions in which authorities are holding key opponents and former government officials.
Insurance claims from the recent spate of California wildfires, including one ranked as the most deadly and destructive in state history, have topped $9 billion and are expected to grow, the state insurance commissioner reported on Wednesday. The Camp Fire, which erupted on Nov. 8 and quickly incinerated most of the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco, has accounted for the bulk of the claims, just over $7 billion of the total. That fire destroyed more than 18,500 structures, including nearly 14,000 homes, in and around Paradise, and killed 86 people, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
The company now keeps a three-person skeleton staff at its office on 15th Street, a few blocks from the White House, according to a person familiar with its operations. Huawei depleted its ranks in the nation’s capital months before facing what could be the legal fight of its life: a U.S. extradition request to Canada, which on Dec. 1 arrested Huawei’s finance chief over charges she conspired to evade sanctions against Iran. As the legal brawl risked spilling over into efforts by the U.S. and China to ease their trade tensions, President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday in an interview with Reuters that he’d intervene in the case if he thought it would help him get a trade deal with China.
A middle school student in Delaware has been allowed to change his surname after enduring relentless bullying from his peers. Joshua Trump, who is not related to President Donald Trump, will now be known at school as Joshua Berto after dropping his mother’s surname for his father’s. The 11-year-old’s parents told ABC affiliate WPVI that the bullying of their son had been relentless and first started when Donald Trump began his presidential campaign.
President Donald Trump reacts to the sentencing of his former personal attorney and his 46 percent job approval rating in an exclusive interview with Harris Faulkner on 'Outnumbered Overtime.
Turkey will launch a new military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria "within a few days," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, a move likely to further strain ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. In recent months, Turkey has shelled Kurdish positions across the border in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, and has threatened to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG. The YPG is the main component of a Kurdish-led militia in Syria that rolled back the Islamic State group with the help of the U.S.-led coalition.
Toyota gets hip to the beauty of all-wheel drive-and also of beauty. From Car and Driver
The outrage over a light sentence handed to a former Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape has already gotten him banned from his current school. The outcry may also cost the judge who approved a plea agreement that included no jail time. By Thursday night, more than 25,000 people had signed a petition for Judge Ralph Strother of McLennan County, Texas, to either resign or be removed from the bench after he accepted on Monday a deal that allowed Jacob Anderson to plea down to unlawful restraint, with deferred probation, counseling and a fine but no requirement he register as a sex offender.
Procter & Gamble is diversifying its beauty offering with the acquisition of Walker & Company Brands. Walker & Company Brands, which will operate as a separate and wholly-owned subsidiary of P&G, includes the specialized haircare ranges Bevel and FORM Beauty. "When I started Walker & Company Brands, I set out to build a company that would meet the health and beauty needs of people of color on a global scale," said Tristan Walker, CEO of Walker & Company Brands.
Three states resumed executions of death row inmates in 2018 after long breaks, but nationwide, executions remained near historic lows this year, according to an annual report on the death penalty released Friday. The report by the District of Columbia-based Death Penalty Information Center says 25 executions were carried out in 2018, the fourth consecutive year in which there have been fewer than 30 executions nationwide. Since the death penalty was re-instated in the United States in 1976, the number of executions peaked in 1999 with 98.
The artists' first solo museum exhibition premiered during Miami Art Week.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that members of congress from her party will seek to obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns when they take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January - a move the White House is likely to strongly resist. The House Ways and Means Committee will "take the first steps" toward obtaining the documents, said Pelosi, who has the backing of her members to become speaker of the House next month. As it is likely to be a challenging process, it will be up to the committee to figure out how to proceed, she said.
Justin Trudeau wanted to distance himself from the arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive, but China’s detention of a Canadian and Donald Trump’s interventions are dragging the prime minister into the feud anyhow. State security officers seized Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat on leave from the foreign service, in Beijing on Monday, in relation to a national security investigation. The arrest comes nine days after Canada’s capture of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities.
A Southwest Airlines flight headed from Seattle to Dallas was turned back mid-flight after it was discovered that a human heart had been left on board, officials said Thursday. The plane had was over eastern Idaho -- around 600 miles (950 kilometers) into the journey -- when staff discovered the "life critical cargo shipment," meant for delivery back in a Seattle hospital after being transported from California. "Once we realized the error we immediately worked to return to Seattle," airline spokesman Dan Landson told AFP.