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.
Iran's president said Thursday that there is “no limit” to the country's enrichment of uranium following its decision to abandon its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the killing of its top general in a U.S. airstrike. In a speech before the heads of banks, Rouhani said the nuclear program is in a “better situation” than it was before the nuclear agreement with world powers. President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement in May 2018, in part because it did not address Iran's support for armed groups across the region and its ballistic missile program.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
The U.S. military is resuming operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and is working to soon restart training Iraqi forces, U.S. officials said Wednesday, despite deep divisions over the American drone strike that killed an senior Iranian commander in Baghdad and the resulting missile attacks by Iran on Iraqi bases. One official said some joint operations between the U.S. and Iraqi forces have already begun, but there are not yet as many as before. The official said details are still being worked out to restore the training of Iraqi forces, but that could happen relatively soon.
Hajizadeh said that Iran denied the shoot-down "for the betterment of our country's security, because if we had said this, our air defense system would have become crippled and our guys would have had doubted everything." Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP He appears to have meant that Iranian missile defense would have been compromised by a lack of confidence in itself after making such a catastrophic error, rather than any technical fault to stop their equipment working. Hajizadeh is part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful paramilitary force which answers directly to the country's supreme leader and is considered more hardline than its elected government.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For all the righteous uproar it produced and the consequences still unfolding, in a way the killing of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani this month was business as usual. A longtime foe of America, Suleimani was killed by a Hellfire missile from a Reaper drone, like countless Al Qaeda terrorists, Taliban leaders, and other militants. Traveling to Iraq from Syria, Suleimani probably didn't even require the full exertions of America's vast intelligence and special operations manhunting machine.
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.
President Trump's schemes in Ukraine were even worse than we thought. His former lackey Lev Parnas spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday night about his role in the plot to blackmail the Ukrainian president into interfering in the 2020 election and provided new evidence about an apparent effort among Trump associates to harass, stalk, and perhaps even physically harm a sitting U.S. ambassador — Marie Yovanovitch, who was then serving in Ukraine. America is learning what it's like to have a gangster president.
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.
In a Thursday morning interview on "Fox & Friends," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said she doesn't want to hold televised press briefings because reporters "just want their moment to peddle their books."
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday floated the idea of raffling off his predecessor's $130 million jet after the government's efforts to sell the plane over the past year came to nothing. Mexico has yet to find a buyer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which the leftist Lopez Obrador has cast as a symbol of excess and corruption in previous governments in a country where around half the population lives in poverty. Seeking to paint his predecessors as part of an out-of-touch elite, Lopez Obrador has made a point of taking commercial flights, and has auctioned off many government planes and helicopters.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife shared the clip of an eight-point buck shedding its antlers in the middle of the night, captured by a resident of Northfield, Vermont. The wildlife agency posted the footage on Facebook, calling it “spectacular and unique.” It's been viewed more than 277,000 times and shared by over 3,000 users. The animal is called an eight-point buck for its eight antlers, according to the Noble Research Institute, an agriculture research organization.