As President Trump's Republican allies began to make noise Thursday about former Vice President Joe Biden's role in pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire a corrupt prosecutor, Democrats spent part of their opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial knocking down the idea that Biden did anything wrong. “The allegations [against Biden] are groundless,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said during her presentation in the afternoon session. Garcia, who is one of the seven House impeachment managers, spent several minutes going over the facts of what did and did not happen in 2015 when Biden visited Ukraine in his capacity as vice president to former President Barack Obama.
One afternoon in Baghdad in the final months of 2007, a few members of a U.S. special operations task force were monitoring the feed from a Predator drone over the Iraqi capital, scanning for signs of trouble, when they spotted a large crowd gathering in the neighborhood of Sadr City. From their large, air-conditioned tent near Baghdad International Airport, the operators sprang into action. Sadr City was the dense, teeming home to 3 million mostly poor Shiites.
China broadened its lockdown to include at least 13 cities Friday as it strives to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency. The respiratory virus has claimed 26 lives and infected at least 830 people in China since it was first detected at a seafood market in Wuhan last month, according to figures provided by the National Health Commission Friday morning. While cases of the new coronavirus have been detected around the world, from Thailand and South Korea to the United States, WHO said the situation does not yet constitute a global health emergency.
One day after a vigilante group revealed that it was using children as young as 8 as “recruits” for armed defense patrols, Mexico's president said Thursday that drug cartels too are recruiting ever-younger kids. The whole issue has sparked a debate in Mexico over the use of children in armed confrontations, with rights groups saying the practice threatens not only kids' safety, but their mental health. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that because social programs are giving more youths opportunities to study or work, drug cartels are having trouble finding gunmen, leading them to recruit children.
Some locals on the island of St. Thomas, about two miles off the coast of Jeffrey Epstein's private island Little Saint James, say the late financier's alleged crimes were somewhat of an open secret. Epstein is accused of trafficking underage girls to Little Saint James, where he sexually assaulted them and kept them against their will – however, people say Epstein himself rarely left the island. When Epstein was convicted and serving time for procuring an underage girl in Florida for sex, word of his 13-month sentence and his alleged crimes made their way to St. Thomas.
CINCINNATI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agriculture specialists at the Port of Cincinnati have stopped 51 shipments of invasive mitten crabs from being smuggled into the country over the past four months. The shipments containing 3,700 of the live crabs weighed about 3,400 pounds, originated in China and Hong Kong and were destined for businesses and homes in multiple states – mostly New York, a CBP press release said. Nationwide, CBP agriculture specialists and others have refused entry to more than 15,000 mitten crabs since September.
Nigeria's government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said. Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department's recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it.
But for the past decade or so, college costs have actually grown in line with the median household income, and the “origination” of new student loans has slowed down a little. The reason we haven't seen a similar slowdown in overall student debt is that borrowers are making less progress on their loans. And a lot of the time they're doing it on purpose — because they participate in programs that were dramatically expanded during the Obama years, and that forgive debt entirely so long as the borrower first makes small payments for a set period of time.
Maj. Andrei Durnovtsev, a Soviet air force pilot and commander of a Tu-95 Bear bomber, holds a dubious honor in the history of the Cold War. Durnovtsev flew the aircraft that dropped the most powerful nuclear bomb ever. It had an explosive force of 50 megatons, or more than 3,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima weapon.
Billionaire and presidential candidate Tom Steyer reiterated his support Wednesday for reparations for African-Americans suffering from the legacy of slavery. We would retell the story over the last 401 years so everybody understands not just the legalized, institutionalized injustice in racism — which is definitely a huge part of this story — but also the contribution of the African-American community,” Steyer said in an interview with Yahoo News' “Hot Mic With Brittany Shepherd. I don't think we can be the country that we want to be until we acknowledge the past and move to accept the mistakes this country made that are dramatic and obvious, and then repair the damage.
Walking out of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night after the first day of opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., congratulated Adam Schiff, the lead manager for House Democrats, on his presentation of the case. “Good job,” Graham told Schiff. It was unusual praise coming from Graham, one of Trump's staunchest defenders in Congress.
As the Senate wrapped up its long, loud squabbling about the rules of the impending impeachment trial in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, it was obvious that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had successfully lured Democrats into yet another procedural trap. The louder the partisan shouting gets, the more McConnell has succeeded in making the president's crimes seem like just another day in a D.C. that is widely loathed by voters. Now in full control of the trial proceedings, and hence the president's fate, McConnell will hold his attenuated trial, the president will huff and puff about total exoneration, and Democrats, still scared of their own shadows and neurotically obsessing over losing a single white voter who can walk to a cornfield, will have kicked away yet another opportunity to properly leverage their power.
Luo Daiqing, 20, was arrested in Wuhan, China, in July after posting tweets critical of the government while he was studying in the US, according to court documents Axios obtained. The University of Minnesota student was sentenced to six months in prison in November. A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for posting tweets critical of the government, Axios reported Wednesday.
Prosecutors announced Thursday that a sophisticated DNA match has led to the cold case arrest of a Florida man believed to be the “pillowcase rapist" who terrorized greater Miami with a series of assaults on women in the 1980s. Robert Koehler, 60, was arrested over the weekend and was being held without bond Thursday in a Miami jail. The “pillowcase rapist” was so named because he used a pillowcase or other fabric to cover the faces of his terrified victims, usually after he had broken into an apartment or town home, according to investigators.
In November, Utah Governor Gary Herbert proposed a new rule to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors in the state. The passing of the ban was reliant on support of the influential Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex relationships but preaches kindness towards members of the LGBTQ community. The Mormon Church gave its support only after the ban was amended to include certain exceptions for clergy who offer religious counsel, though the church stressed that it opposes conversion therapy.
As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of a swathe of Nazi concentration camps, the hitherto neglected site of the Gusen camp in northern Austria has become a bone of contention, with the Polish government demanding it be better preserved. Much to the surprise of the Austrian government, the Polish Embassy in Austria said in December it wanted to buy the partly private land that hosted the site. Austria's government reacted quickly, announcing in January it wants to refurbish Gusen, indirectly recognising the indifference with which the site had been treated since the end of World War II.
Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!
Iran has invested considerable resources in its ballistic missile forces over the past forty years, for the same reason China and North Korea did: military aviation is an expensive proposition, and developing and maintaining an air force to rival the United States is very expensive indeed. All three countries developed large ballistic missile arsenals of varying sophistication, occasionally trading in illicit information among themselves and others. Iran, as The National Interest pointed out last month, has a large and varied ballistic missile arsenal.
But the fallout could complicate life for Trump's leading Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in the days and weeks ahead — which is exactly what Trump was trying to do when he first launched his Ukraine scheme last summer. As the all-important Iowa caucuses approach, the former vice president appears, at first glance, to be in better shape than his main rivals for the Democratic nomination. Though a new CNN poll shows Bernie Sanders narrowly pulling ahead of Biden for the first time, every other poll released so far this year shows Biden maintaining his longtime national lead by anywhere from 5 to 11 percentage points.
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA New images have been published of the Russian GRU assassination team working in Europe. A video from a case in Bulgaria shows a man connected to the 2015 poisoning of an arms dealer. The suspects in the Bulgarian poisoning are believed to be part of the same Russian unit that conducted the poison attack on Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.
Attorneys representing the family of an Indiana toddler who fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July say their recent inspection of the scene proves the cruise line is lying to the court. Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean filed a motion to dismiss the civil case holding them responsible, claiming that Chloe Wiegand's death was solely caused by the "reckless and irresponsible" actions of her grandfather, Salvatore "Sam" Anello. The cruise line maintains that Anello was aware that the window Chloe fell from was open.
People left in the Chinese city of Wuhan are stockpiling food and fuel, and avoiding the streets, after authorities sealed off the city of 11 million people to try and prevent the spread of a mysterious coronavirus that has killed at least 17 people. The 2019-nCoV virus, first recorded in December 2019, has spread from the city to other parts of China, infecting 571 people in the country as of Thursday morning, as well as in other countries. Authorities closed off transport links to the city, which is a major travel hub, on Thursday morning.
Three alleged members of a white supremacist group were plotting to murder demonstrators at Monday's gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol before they were arrested by the FBI last week, according to court documents. The men were caught discussing their plans on a hidden camera set up in their Delaware apartment by FBI agents. “We can't let Virginia go to waste, we just can't,” said Patrik J. Mathews, one member of the hate group “the Base” that promotes violence against African-Americans and Jews.
A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Feb. 20 for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate decades ago while serving a life sentence for his grandmother's slaying. An affidavit signed on Tuesday said he waives the right to be executed by lethal injection and chooses electrocution.