Islamic State looked close to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday as civilians poured out and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the remaining jihadists wanted to fight to the death. More than 2,000 civilians left the village of Baghouz in a convoy of dozens of trucks. Coalition warplanes could be seen overhead and the sounds of intermittent gunbattles could be heard from the area, which is completely surrounded by the SDF.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said he will not accept regular monthly tax transfers from Israel if it carries out its decision to deduct amounts the Palestinians pay to the families of prisoners and people killed in fighting with Israel. Abbas accused Israel of trying to put political pressure on him and violating longstanding economic agreements. Without those funds, Abbas' autonomy government will fall into a crisis and not be able to pay full salaries to its tens of thousands of employees.
HAGATNA, Guam –Two leading U.S. organizations protecting victims and documenting the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood have called on Pope Francis to sustain the guilty verdict on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron in a case involving sexual abuse of minors, and to defrock or expel him from the priesthood. "It is wrong for Pope Francis to leave Guam Catholics twisting in the wind and waiting to discover the fate of Archbishop Apuron, especially since it has been nearly a full year since the archbishop was found guilty of abusing children," said Zach Hiner, executive director for the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world's largest and oldest survivors group for abuse victims.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said honest business people shouldn't have to live under “constant fear of criminal prosecution,” days after the arrest of one of the country's top foreign investors. Echoing previous exhortations to officials and law-enforcement to stop harassing business, which have produced few results, Putin said Wednesday in his annual state-of-the-nation address that “detention is often extended without good reason” and almost half of cases “don't even make it to court. But he didn't mention Baring Vostok Capital Partners Founder Michael Calvey, the American private equity investor who's in pre-trial detention as the latest prominent business figure to face prosecution.
The current SL reminds us of Benzes bygone, so it's leaving the scene with exclusive colors and body trim. From Car and Driver
A student involved in a viral confrontation with a Native American man is suing the Washington Post for $250m (£191m) over its coverage of the incident. The defamation lawsuit, filed by Covington Catholic High School pupil Nick Sandmann, claims the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” him due to its “biased agenda” against Donald Trump. The 16-year-old was wearing one of the president's signature Make America Great Again hats when he attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington in January along with classmates from his Kentucky school.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that an Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join ISIS in 2014 is not a U.S. citizen and, as a result, is not entitled to return to the U.S. with her 18-month-old son, as she had hoped to do. “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.
In fact, the F-21 is an F-16 that Lockheed has upgraded with new cockpit displays, conformal fuel tanks, a larger airframe spine that can accommodate additional electronics, fittings for towed radar decoys, a new infrared sensor and a refueling probe that's compatible with India's Russian-made aerial tankers.
Canada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
My family made it sound like it would be a lot easier for me to come back to the UK when I was speaking to them in Baghouz. International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Begum held dual citizenship through her Bangladeshi parents.
Kelsey Berreth was beat to death with a baseball bat at the hands of her fiance after he failed to persuade a woman he was having an affair with to commit the killing, investigators said Tuesday.
A Polish charity helping victims of child abuse committed by Catholic priests accused 24 bishops on Thursday of concealing perpetrators of sexual molestation of minors. The "Have No Fear" charity made the allegation in a report released as Pope Francis convened Catholic leaders from around the world to address scandals over child sexual abuse by priests that have ravaged the Church's credibility over the last three decades. The report, which has been delivered to the pope, named Polish bishops whom it said had "concealed clerical crimes and moved pedophilic priests from one parish to another".
President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was granted a few more weeks of freedom Wednesday after his lawyers said he's still recovering from surgery and hasn't had time to get his affairs in order because he's preparing to testify before Congress next week. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III approved delaying the start of Cohen's three-year sentence until May 6. Cohen's lawyer said he was undergoing intensive post-surgery physical therapy and spending substantial time getting ready for testimony he's scheduled to deliver to three congressional committees.
Social Security faces a looming funding shortfall roughly 15 years down the road. Despite that dismal backdrop, several proposals continue to be circulated that would enhance benefits for the most vulnerable groups of beneficiaries. As discussed in a series of briefs by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, one proposal would provide enhanced benefits to the elderly at or around age 85, when financial vulnerability increases.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has refused to endorse Bernie Sanders for the 2020 Democratic nomination, despite working on the senator's first presidential campaign. A spokesperson for Ms Ocasio-Cortez, like Mr Sanders a self-described democratic socialist, refused to comment directly on the 77-year-old's Tuesday announcement he is running for a second time. Any endorsement by Ms Ocasio-Cortez is likely to be influential on the outcome of the race, thanks to her massive support among the grassroots of the party.
A look at Russia's books suggests Vladimir Putin is preparing for war, though not necessarily the kind involving the invincible hypersonic missiles and nuclear torpedoes he's been bragging about for a year. Putin's quietly built a financial fortress that government officials and Kremlin advisers say will safeguard the economy from the escalating salvos they see coming, all while keeping the U.S. and its allies guessing about Russia's military capabilities and intentions. It's a goal Putin's been pursuing since he rose to power at the turn of the millennium, one that's gained urgency with each new crisis with the West.
The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns the company's baby powder may have contained asbestos. The agencies subpoenaed the health care product maker in the wake of several jury awards to plaintiffs who claimed the company's talc products were tainted with asbestos and caused their cancers. The agencies seek documents about those matters and other suits Johnson & Johnson faces filed by shareholders and pension holders over the situation.
Google-owned YouTube said Thursday it was taking action to close a loophole that enabled users to share comments and links on child pornography over the video-sharing service. The response came after a YouTube creator this week revealed what he called a "wormhole" that allowed comments and connections on child porn alongside innocuous videos. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," a spokesman said in an email to AFP.
Venezuelan officials said Tuesday that the country is banning air and sea trips to and from three Dutch Caribbean islands — a region that has been linked to efforts to undermine President Nicolas Maduro by sending emergency aid to the South American nation. The indefinite shutdown of the "maritime border" applies to commercial and fishing boats between Venezuela and the islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire, said Falcon state's civil protection director, Gregorio Jose Montano. Airspace in the border region was also indefinitely closed to private and commercial flights, said Gen. Miguel Morales Miranda, assistant commander of the Comprehensive Defense Operations Zone.
In a wide-ranging interview about what it means to be a man, Barack Obama said that you don't need women "twerking around you" if you are "very confident about your sexuality". During a town hall in Oakland, California as part of the former president's My Brother's Keeper programme, Mr Obama engaged in a candid conversation with Golden State Warriors basketball star Steph Curry. The two touched on a range of topics including the importance of male role models, music, and how police and minority communities interact.
A suspect has been arrested for the murder of an 11-year-old girl who was abducted and left inside of a ditch 45 years ago.
The European Union and Britain are moving towards a separate legal statement in which the bloc would again stress the temporary nature of the so-called Brexit backstop for the Irish border, diplomats in Brussels said. They spoke of a "parallel declaration" or "interpretative instrument" on the backstop, a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May and the head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, met in Brussels to seek a way out of the Brexit deadlock. The backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit.
New York Times publisher Arthur “A.G.” Sulzberger responded to what he called “President Trump's continued attacks on a free press” Wednesday, hours after Trump lashed out at the paper as a “true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. Sulzberger wrote that Trump's “demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle. The latest standoff between the Times and the White House followed the paper's Tuesday publication of an in-depth examination of Trump's efforts to discredit and derail multiple investigations into his presidential campaign and action...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 27, Netanyahu's office said on Thursday, with the focus likely to be on Middle East issues led by Syria. The two leaders had been scheduled to meet this week, but that was postponed, with no reason give. At the time, the Kremlin said Netanyahu and Putin were to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including Syria.