President Trump and his supporters are choosing a path much different than that taken by the redeemed Bill Clinton, and much more like that taken by the disgraced Richard Nixon, in refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing in the Ukraine matter as a strategy to beat conviction and removal. Clinton ended up rising in popularity after admitting to his indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky. Once Clinton and his supporters were willing to confess error, the steam was largely taken out of the sails of independent counsel Kenneth Starr and the House impeachment managers seeking to remove the president.
Twitter/AliBaroodi A well-known ISIS preacher was captured by Iraqi police, but he was apparently so overweight he had to be taken away in the back of a truck. Police said he incited extremist ideology and pledged allegiance to ISIS during their control of Mosul. Pictures posted to social media appear to show al-Nima being put in the back of a pickup truck by Iraqi forces.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office charged Fredrick Hampton, 50, on Thursday with abuse of Paighton Houston's corpse. Hampton hasn't been charged with involvement in the 29-year-old's death, news outlets reported. Hampton was initially held in the Birmingham City Jail beginning Dec. 28 on suspicion of kidnapping, but he was released two days later after investigators failed to gather enough evidence to charge him with a crime, news outlets reported.
A week ago, koalas at an Australian wildlife park were in the path of raging bushfires. On Friday, they were soaking wet and being carried to safety from flash floods. Months of drought that have contributed to Australia's catastrophic bushfire season have this week given way to huge downpours in some of the blaze-ravaged areas.
Five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down an airliner last week said on Thursday that Tehran should pay compensation to families of the victims, and warned that the world is watching for its response. Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain said Iran should hold a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations," in a statement issued after a meeting of officials in London. Iran admitted on Saturday it had shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane in error, after initially denying it had a role in the incident.
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, says he told Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash that in exchange for information that could discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, he would try to stop Firtash's extradition to the U.S. to face corruption charges. Firtash, who is believed to have ties to the Russian mob, was in Vienna fighting extradition. During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas said he was told Firtash's camp claimed to have evidence that one of Mueller's prosecutors was doing some "illegal stuff," and he was tasked with securing this evidence.
An actress who had a role in "Marriage Story" and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room on the Emerald Princess ship was infested with bedbugs and left them with bites all over their bodies. Connie and Alvin Flores allege in a lawsuit, filed in November 2019, that their stateroom aboard the cruise they took a year earlier was "infested with hundreds of bedbugs." The pair cruised from Nov. 28, 2018, through Dec. 4, 2018, out of Los Angeles. Connie Flores played an "arguing woman" in "Marriage Story," and is now speaking publicly about the suit.
House Oversight Committee Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows issued nine demands to FISA Court presiding judge James Boasberg in a Thursday letter in response to the appointment of Obama Department of Justice lawyer David Kris to help oversee the FBI's reform of FISA applications. The letter, obtained by National Review, asked Boasberg to identify who else besides Kris was considered, whether Kris's past defense of the FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page was taken into account, and whether “the FISC bears any responsibility for the illegal surveillance of Carter Page,” among other concerns.
GOP Sen. Martha McSally on Thursday called a CNN reporter a "liberal hack" when asked whether she'd support allowing new evidence into President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The Fox News host Laura Ingraham invited McSally on her prime-time show Thursday, where the two laughed about the incident. The Fox News opinion host Laura Ingraham was thrilled to see Republican Sen. Martha McSally publicly slam a CNN reporter on Thursday.
“My view is that, as long as we insist on the 'one country, two systems' principle, with the in-depth implementation of the principle and ample understanding, which fits the interests of Hong Kong citizens, then there is sufficient reason to believe that 'one country, two systems' will be practiced smoothly in the long term, and will not be changed after 2047,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told lawmakers at a question-and-answer session at the city's Legislative Council on Thursday. The comments are some of Lam's most detailed statements on the long-term political future of the former British colony, which was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 on the promise that Beijing would leave its capitalist economy and political freedoms untouched for 50 years. During a 2017 visit to the financial hub marking the anniversary of its handover, President Xi Jinping said he hoped for the “smooth and long-term successful practice” of “one country, two systems,” according to Hong Kong's pro-China newspaper Wen Wei Po.
Texas on Wednesday carried out the first execution of the year in the United States, putting to death by lethal injection a man convicted of killing his wife 15 years ago because she wanted a divorce. John Gardner, 64, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after multiple incidents of physical violence and filed for divorce.
The Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center said Thursday that the evidence — documents produced by IS itself — could help identify individuals responsible for atrocities during the militants' four-year reign of terror and lead to criminal prosecutions. The 24-page report, called “Judge, Jury and Executioner,” is based on dozens of documents obtained by SJAC from inside Syria and collected by a local activist from abandoned IS offices in Raqqa province, where the militants also had their self-declared capital in a city that carries the same name.
A major healthcare conference in San Francisco this week has sparked a debate about the California city's homeless crisis as wealthy executives and investors complain of feeling 'unsafe'. The city rakes in $51m (£39m) each year from the annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference despite growing concerns about the city's homeless population among attendees of the healthcare industry's leading conference, according to Bloomberg News. The nearly 10,000 attendees have regularly criticised San Francisco's homeless crisis, Bloomberg reported, with one CEO describing it to the news outlet as “the Bill Clinton of cities”.
Australia's peak tourism body estimated the country's bushfire crisis has so far cost the industry almost A$1 billion ($690 million) and called for urgent help from the government to lure back visitors. Industry bosses were due to meet with Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham later on Thursday as storms and heavy rain brought some respite from months of fierce bushfires across Australia's east coast. The fires, which have killed 29 people and razed bushland across an area the size of Bulgaria, have hit several coastal towns at the height of the profitable summer season.
Bernie Sanders, a top competitor in the Democratic primaries, has attacked Joe Biden for bringing “just a lot of baggage” into the race. Go back over 40 years, to the start of Iran's long conflict with the United States. On April 1, 1979, the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed.
Key point: America should be worried. A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.
Molly Riley/Reuters Native American woman Tara Houska says a TSA agent grabbed her braids, whipped them like reins and said "giddyup" while she was going through security at the Minneapolis airport on Monday. A TSA official apologized to Houska for the incident, and released a statement saying "improper behavior is taken seriously" by the agency. The Transportation Security Administration was forced to issue an apology on Tuesday after a Native American woman described on Twitter a humiliating experience going through security at the Minneapolis-St.
Rudy Giuliani is President Trump's personal Batman. On Thursday, Trump had nothing but high praise for Giuliani, his personal lawyer. He told reporters in the Oval Office that Giuliani is "one of the great crime fighters in the history of our country" and "having him on my side is a great honor for me."
The U.S., Japan and South Korea are keen to invest in Indonesia's Natuna Islands as President Joko Widodo steps up efforts to rebuff Chinese claims over the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. The countries are interested in building fisheries processing and manufacturing industries in Natuna, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday. Indonesia can manage the sea dispute with China without going into a war, Pandjaitan, a former general, said.
The Philippines said Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state. Duterte's government briefly banned Filipinos deploying for work in Kuwait two years ago amid a diplomatic row that began with the discovery of the remains of a murdered Filipina maid in her employers' freezer.
A federal judge on Thursday postponed the sentencing of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, two days after Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan did not immediately rule on Flynn's request. In his bid to withdraw his plea, Flynn said the Justice Department had reneged on its deal with him by recommending that he be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison for lying to the FBI.
A Republican lawmaker is facing calls for a sexual harassment investigation after he told a young female reporter that a group of high school boys “could have a lot of fun” with her. Peter Lucido, a Michigan state senator, has been accused of making inappropriate comments to local reporter Allison Donahue during a tour of the state Capitol. Ms Donahue said the senator told her he would speak with her after addressing a group of about 30 boys who were visiting from De La Salle Collegiate, a nearby all-boys Catholic school.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet senior conservative lawmakers on Thursday to resolve a dispute in her own party over whether to bar China's Huawei [HWT.UL] from the country's 5G network rollout, party sources said. Merkel's conservatives are divided on whether to support a proposal by their Social Democrat junior coalition partners that, if approved, would effectively shut out the Chinese technology giant from the network. Handelsblatt business daily was first to report on Wednesday the planned meeting between Merkel and senior conservative lawmakers.
At a celebration of the Russian Orthodox New Year on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chose a grim message, the sarcasm of which left his audience on edge. But, then, Medvedev probably knew what Wednesday would bring—the resignation of his entire government—and the audience did not. On national television, the prime minister read at length from Anton Chekhov's story "A Night in the Cemetery," which suggests with ironic wit that celebrating the coming of the New Year is a foolish pursuit, unworthy of a properly functioning mind, since “every coming year is as bad as the previous one,” and the newest year is bound to be even worse.