In May, Pompeo and Lavrov met in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, when the top U.S. diplomat also held talks with President Vladimir Putin. While Pompeo called those talks “very productive,” relations between the countries remain at the lowest point since the Cold War. Trump called again for closer ties with Russia while at a NATO summit in London last week, highlighting the possibility of reaching a deal to extend the New Start nuclear-arms-control agreement, which expires in 2021.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a novel case by Arizona seeking to recover billions of dollars that the state has said that members of the Sackler family - owners of Purdue Pharma LP - funneled out of the OxyContin maker before the company filed for bankruptcy in September. The justices declined to take the rare step of allowing Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to pursue a case directly with the Supreme Court on the role the drugmaker played in the U.S. opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans annually in recent years. The lawsuit accused eight Sackler family members of funneling $4 billion out of Purdue from 2008 to 2016 despite being aware that the company faced massive potential liabilities over its marketing of opioid medications.
With speeches and salutes, veterans and officials on Saturday commemorated the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, which brought a previously reluctant United States into World War II. A ceremony in Hawaii honoring survivors was attended by US Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Washington's ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. It was held within sight of the sunken USS Arizona, which was bombed in the opening moments of the attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans.
More than a century ago, waves of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Poland and Quebec settled in Chicopee and other western Massachusetts mill towns, helping build churches, rectories and schools to accommodate their faith. Today the priests leading those churches are under siege due to stresses, challenges and sex abuse scandals complicating their lives and those of their fellow priests across the United States. The Rev. Mark Stelzer is among those trying to persevere.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said his son Hunter will not be engaged in any foreign business if the former vice president is elected in 2020. Hunter Biden raised eyebrows when it came to light that he held a lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was fighting corruption in Ukraine as vice president. The set-up prompted Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens while temporarily withholding U.S. military aid, an alleged quid pro quo that became the basis for the impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Russian diesel subs chased a British nuclear sub off the Syrian coast, according to British media. The incident reportedly involved one or two Russian Kilo-class diesel-powered submarines, which have been dubbed the "Black Hole" by Western navies because they are remarkably quiet. "Two Russian frigates and an anti-submarine aircraft are also thought to have been searching for the British boat as it maneuvered to put its Tomahawk cruise missiles within range of Syrian military targets," according to The Times of London."The Astute-class submarine is believed to have spent several days trying to evade detection in a tense and dangerous contest." The British sub did not fire its Tomahawks during last week's strike by American, British and French forces against Syrian chemical weapons sites, leading to speculation that the British boat was driven off by the Russian subs.
Turkey has deported to France the “Islamic State matchmaker” who lured a British teen bride to Syria as part of a drive to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Tooba Gondal, 25, is among 11 French nationals that Turkey repatriated early on Monday, according to France's Centre for Analysis of Terrorism, CAT, citing official sources. A French judicial source confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France.
The handgun used by a Saudi aviation trainee to kill three people and wound eight others at Naval Air Station Pensacola was purchased lawfully in Florida, according to the FBI. At a Sunday news conference, Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office, identified the weapon used in the attack as a 9mm Glock 45 pistol and said the shooter "did purchase it legally and lawfully" through a process that was open to "not just him, but any foreign national." Also, Rojas confirmed the gunman purchased the firearm in Florida, but declined to give specific details about when and where.
People close to both President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido plotted to push both men aside and end the nation's crisis with the rule of a temporary junta, the newspaper reported without citing where it got the information. Guaido, the National Assembly president, has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S., as Venezuela's leader. The key figure appears to be Humberto Calderon Berti, then the designated ambassador to Colombia who Guaido dismissed last month.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a free speech challenge brought by a trade group against a regulation issued by the California city of Berkeley that requires cell phone retailers to tell customers of certain radiation risks. The justices left in place a July 2019 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that refused to block the 2015 regulation that industry group CTIA appealed. CTIA said the regulation violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech rights, because the government, without the necessary justification that supports other types of regulations, is forcing retailers to spread a message they disagree with.
Ted Cruz was laughed at by a TV crew during a live interview after he endorsed Donald Trump's baseless conspiracy theory about Ukraine. The Texas senator, who challenged Mr Trump to be the Republican nominee in 2016, was mocked for saying he believed there was “considerable evidence” that Ukraine meddled in the most recent presidential election. The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in the 2016 election and senior officials have said it is a “fictional narrative” to suggest Ukraine was involved.
An Ohio legislator who said he had “no knowledge” of a rightwing Christian bill mill called Project Blitz is, in fact, the co-chair of the state branch of an organization behind the campaign. The Ohio state representative Timothy Ginter sponsored a bill called the Student Religious Liberties Act. The Guardian revealed the bill was nearly identical to one promoted by Project Blitz, a state legislative project guided by three Christian right organizations, including the Congressional Prayer Caucus (CPC), WallBuilders and the ProFamily Legislators Conference.
Following reports that Amazon plans to open a new office in New York City, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the Trump administration "should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families."
A Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot enabled crashed into a parked police car on Saturday. The police car was stationary behind a disabled vehicle, with flashers on and road flares behind it. No one was injured in the crash, but it's the latest such example of Tesla cars with Autopilot crashing into things; one such crash in 2018 resulted in the driver's death.
Designed to minimize civilian casualties, the ninja missile is a specially modified Hellfire—without a warhead. The Hellfire missiles weigh in the 100 to 110 pound range, including a 20-pound warhead and are guided through a millimeter wave radar seeker, or by laser. Years after their development, Hellfire missiles have become the armament of choice in the war on terror, and are often used on Reaper and Predator drones in strikes against militants in crowded, urban environments.
Around 2,000 US Army soldiers have been banned from one of the main streets in the Italian city of Vicenza after a brawl between soldiers and locals. The temporary ban, which affects members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in the city, involves the quaint via Contra' Pescherie Vecchie, where two young Vicenza men say they were surrounded and beaten by several soldiers after a verbal exchange just outside a popular watering hole for off duty combat paratroopers. City authorities are studying CCTV images to identify the culprits of the latest violent episode, which prompted Mayor Francesco Rucco to request special restrictive measures from the base commander.
The family of a Michigan man who died of a drug overdose at a state prison has filed a lawsuit alleging his death was connected to a drug smuggling ring in the prison. Seth Zakora, 21, died from a drug overdose Jan. 22, 2017, in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. Another inmate had asked corrections officers to check on Zakora the night before his death because there appeared to be something wrong with him, according to the lawsuit.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's opponents within the ruling party are plotting to oust him over reforms that they say are failing to benefit the poor, the Citizen reported, citing people it didn't identify. A campaign being led by African National Congress Secretary-General Ace Magashule aims to discredit him over economic policies that his opponents argue are supplanting the party's pro-poor stance, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said. The anti-Ramaphosa faction wants Deputy President David Mabuza to become president, deputized by either Magashule or Water Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the newspaper said.
For decades, criminals in Saudi Arabia were lined up after Friday prayers at a central Riyadh plaza and beheaded by sword in a gruesome public spectacle overseen by the religious police. Such jarring contrasts are accompanying the rapid social changes under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, like lifting bans on women driving, gender mixing and public entertainment. Many Saudis embrace the new openness, but even supporters worry it might be coming too quickly and risks provoking a conservative backlash.
President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises." Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.
Pete Buttigieg implied that he would take money off billionaires and closed-door fundraisers during a terse exchange with a student activist, amid growing criticism of the Democratic candidate's fundraising strategy. The 2020 presidential candidate has come under scrutiny for his decision to take money from wealthy donors after a number of Democrats have pledged to take “big money” out of politics. Greg Chung, a student activist from Iowa, challenged Mr Buttigieg about his fundraising at a campaign event over the weekend.
The latest tempest: With Sen. Kamala Harris of California out of the race, the Democratic National Committee's Dec. 19 presidential debate might include only white candidates! Fact is, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro came close to qualifying and remain active candidates. Let's be clear: Harris wasn't booted off the debate stage in some hostile act of racial discrimination, or because of a flaw in the DNC's system.
In 2017, Finland became the first European country to test a government-backed unconditional basic income, which gave people a regular stipend with no strings attached. Two years after Finland launched a basic-income trial in which nearly 2,000 unemployed residents were given a regular monthly stipend, many of the recipients remained jobless. The people reported that they were happier and healthier overall than other unemployed residents, but the experiment was widely declared a failure.
The winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years. An early wave of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there's a chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.