President Donald Trump bemoaned a US-led coalition mission to provide aid to Afghanistan and derailed a meeting with top military officials last year, according to an upcoming book by an aide to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "Seriously, who gives a s--- about Afghanistan?" Trump said, according to Guy Snodgrass, a retired US Navy commander and Mattis' former speechwriter.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels and other tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, apparently because Seoul won't defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at the site. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday that Kim had visited the resort and described its facilities as "shabby" and lacking national character. The report said Kim criticized North Korea's policies pushed under his late father as too dependent on the South and vowed that the North would redevelop the site on its own.
Last Oct. 27, millions across America and around the world gasped in horror at the news that a shooting during Shabbat services at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue had killed 11 Jews — the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our nation's history. As we prepare to mark the first anniversary of that attack this weekend, my organization, the American Jewish Committee, is releasing the results of what we believe to be the largest and most comprehensive survey of American Jews ever conducted on the subject of anti-Semitism. Indeed, while two comprehensive surveys of European Jews on anti-Semitism have been conducted in the past decade alone, our research shows no such studies of American Jews have been done for at least half a century.
An Iranian beauty queen is seeking asylum in the Philippines, fearing for her life after Tehran demanded her extradition for a crime she claims she did not commit. Bahareh Zare Bahari, who represented Iran at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila, and who has studied dental medicine in the Philippines since 2014, has been held for six days at the country's Ninoy Aquino airport after Iran slapped an Interpol Red Notice on her for alleged assault. In a series of messages, the distraught Ms Bahari told the Telegraph that the case was a “big lie,” adding that she believed she was being targeted for her political activism and outspoken support of women's rights.
Two members of a US far-right group were each sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for brawling with anti-fascist demonstrators in New York, prosecutors said. The sentencing comes as tensions between white supremacists and leftists simmer in the United States. Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman, members of the Proud Boys group, were found guilty in August by a state court of several counts of attempted assault and rioting.
Chan Tong-kai, who admitted in court to killing his girlfriend in 2018 while on a vacation in Taiwan, was set free on Wednesday and bowed deeply in apology after some brief comments. Chan's case led to months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong after Chief Executive Carrie Lam cited it to introduce deeply unpopular legislation that would allow extraditions to China. The unrest has also spurred animosity between Lam, who was elected to her current position by a committee dominated by Beijing loyalists, and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, whose party favors independence from China.
Monthly premiums for an average 2020 Obamacare health insurance plan will fall about 4 percent from this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Trump administration, which has tried to dismantle the program. The Trump administration has cut back on funding for the health insurance program, which was created by President Barack Obama as part of the Affordable Care Act and is often called Obamacare, and has sought to overturn it in Congress and legal courts. Obamacare provides needs-based subsidies to help low-income people buy health insurance.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Whoopi Goldberg go toe to toe over Trump's “lynching” comments on Twitter.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped to Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's defense Monday against unfounded allegations that she is a Russian asset, which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and commentators at multiple news outlets have recently floated. “Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country. People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset,” Sanders said of his fellow Democratic presidential hopeful on Twitter.
Donald Trump launched a relatively lackluster attack on Wednesday morning against the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine and the devastating testimony on Capitol Hill the previous day of the most senior US diplomat in Kyiv, Bill Taylor. Unlike some of his aggressive and fiercely personal attacks on opponents, the US president appeared to be struggling early on Wednesday in any attempt to discredit the explosive account given by Taylor – a career diplomat who discussed his role in detail with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, earlier this year before accepting the post of acting ambassador to Ukraine. Trump resorted to quoting, on Twitter, the Texas Republican congressman John Ratcliffe, who claimed on Fox News that Ukraine had not been aware that Trump was holding back congressionally approved military aid for the country when he requested an investigation into Joe Biden.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has removed himself from decision-making on a cloud computing contract potentially worth $10 billion, citing his son's employment with one of the original contract bidders. In a written statement Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Esper recused himself from decisions on the so-called JEDI contract "out of an abundance of caution to avoid any concerns regarding his impartiality." The Pentagon is in the final stages of determining the winner of the initial $1 million Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract, which could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years if all options are exercised.
A group of archaeologists and researchers announced Tuesday that they have recreated the face of a medieval man whose remains were dug up in a Scotland museum four years ago. The man, who researchers identified as Skeleton 125, was found among 60 skeletons and 4,272 bone fragments on the site of the Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland construction on the site. Researchers found that Skeleton 125 was more than 46 years old and shorter than the average medieval man.
The Australian government recently released a list of documented thylacine—also known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf—sightings. It remains to be seen whether or not any reported thylacine sightings will be made official—something made especially difficult with no photographic proof or other hard evidence. If the creatures are extinct, there may still be hope to see a living thylacine as scientists have replicated their DNA and may one day be able to use the genetic material to clone the animal.
Zoroastrianism. Years of violence by the Islamic State jihadist group have left many disillusioned with Islam, while a much longer history of state oppression has pushed some in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to see the millennia-old religion as a way of reasserting their identity. "After Kurds witnessed the brutality of IS, many started to rethink their faith," said Asrawan Qadrok, the faith's top priest in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
The new fourth-generation Fit hatchback is here, but its prospects for the U.S. are not looking good. From Car and Driver
Mexico's government isn't being truthful about the botched attempt to capture the son of the world's most notorious drug trafficker, according to a former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hasn't revealed that while trying to bring Ovidio Guzman Lopez into custody, security forces had caught another son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mike Vigil, the former DEA official, said in an interview. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar had also been detained and let go when gunmen overpowered police, Vigil said, citing unverified intelligence he received from top Mexico police sources.
China is drawing up a plan to replace Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam with an "interim" chief executive, the Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the deliberations, which would bring to a close Lam's rule after months of often-violent pro-democracy protests. Lam has become a lightning rod for protests over fears that Beijing is tightening its grip, limiting the freedoms enjoyed under the "one country, two systems" principle enshrined when colonial ruler Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997. Sources told the FT that officials in China want the situation in Hong Kong to stabilise before making a final decision, as they do not want to be seen to be giving in to violence.
The IDF's missile defense shield is composed of four layers: the iconic Iron Dome system for intercepting short-range rockets, David's Sling for medium-range rockets, Arrow-2 against intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and Arrow-3 against ICBM's and potentially satellites. Widely seen as a class-leading missile defense system when it was introduced in 2011, Iron Dome has since come under criticism by several revisionist defense commentators. MIT Professor Ted Postol authored a series of influential if not controversial articles arguing that Iron Dome's true interception rate -- that is, its ability to strike and destroy a rocket's warhead rather than its fuselage-- was under 50%.
President Donald Trump has claimed the US had saved the lives of “thousands” in Syria and took credit for the ceasefire, in a barnstorming speech declaring the end of American involvement in the war. “This is an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else,” he said, addressing reporters at the White House a day after Turkey and Russia brokered a deal for Kurdish-held north-east Syria without the US president. Mr Trump green-lit a Turkish-led offensive along the Syrian border two weeks ago, effectively abandoning Kurdish partners who had helped to defeat Islamic State.
A former federal prosecutor who represented one of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's accusers will lead an independent review of a corruption-plagued unit of the Baltimore Police Department, the department's chief announced Wednesday. Michael Bromwich will have "full autonomy" to conduct the review of the department's Gun Trace Task Force "without interference from us," said Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. Bromwich was the Justice Department's inspector general from 1994 to 1999 and served as the nation's top offshore drilling regulator after BP's deadly Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
Seattle's public-school district has proposed a new math curriculum that would teach its students all about how math has been “appropriated” — and how it “continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities. A draft of the curriculum, which was covered in an article in Education Week, would teach students how to “explain how math and technology and/or science are connected and how technology and/or science have (sic) been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” as well as to “identify and teach others about mathematicians* of color in their various communities: schools, neighborhoods, places of worship, businesses, etc.” Educat...
U.S. forces that crossed into Iraq as part of a withdrawal from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday.
When mass anti-government protests engulfed Lebanon, a taboo was broken as strongholds of the Shiite Hezbollah movement saw rare demonstrations criticising the party and revered leader Hassan Nasrallah. This shattered the myth of absolute acquiesence among Hezbollah's popular base, baffling even those who hail from the movement's strongholds. "No one ever expected that in any of these areas in south Lebanon we would hear a single word against Nasrallah," or Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri, said Sara, a 32-year-old activist who participated in protests in the southern city of Nabatiyeh.
The Virginia city of Norfolk has the right to move its "Johnny Reb" Confederate statue from a busy downtown intersection to a local cemetery, the state attorney general and a local prosecutor have determined. Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney Gregory Underwood filed court papers late Tuesday saying his office and the office of Attorney General Mark Herring have determined the statue, dedicated in 1907, is technically exempt from a state law banning the removal of monuments to war veterans. Underwood says the city would only be governed by the law if the statue were built after 1997.
REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes An Air France flight made an emergency landing in Ireland after a mobile phone found on board was not claimed by any passengers. The flight, scheduled to fly from Paris to Chicago, was met by the police and fire engines when it landed at Shannon Airport, and the police said they scanned the phone. The phone was deemed safe, and the Irish newspaper The Journal reported that it could have been left by a passenger on a previous flight and gone unnoticed by the cleaning crew.