Maaret al-Noman (Syria) (AFP) - Jihadists and allied rebels withdrew from a key area of northwestern Syria Tuesday, a war monitor said, as President Bashar al-Assad's forces pressed an offensive against the jihadist-run Idlib region. Turkey warned Damascus "not to play with fire" after the advance saw government fighters almost encircle a patch of countryside including an important Turkish monitoring post. After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition to Assad's Russia-backed government.
For years, President Trump has claimed that millions of noncitizens voted in the 2016 presidential election, unfairly skewing his vote as Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. On Monday in federal court in Sacramento, a man accused of coming to the United States from Mexico and voting illegally in elections for the past 20 years went on trial on charges of aggravated identity theft, voting by an alien and making a false statement on a passport application. Gustavo Araujo Lerma is an avowed Trump supporter, and evidence expected to be introduced in his trial includes letters of thanks from Trump, former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and current RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.
CNN pundit April Ryan's security guard has been charged with assault after he forcibly removed a local New Jersey reporter from an event at which Ryan was delivering a speech. Charlie Kravotil, editor of New Brunswick Today, claims that Ryan's bodyguard, 30-year-old Joel Morris, approached him during Ryan's speech at The Heldrich Hotel on August 3 and stole his camera after he refused to stop filming. A video of the incident shows Kravotil, who secured press credentials for the event, following Morris into the lobby of the hotel to retrieve his camera.
Florida wildlife officials say a man was attacked last month by a kinkajou, a small, raccoon-like animal native to Central and South America. Michael Litersky, 37, noticed the exotic creature outside his girlfriend's home in Lake Worth on the night before the attack and left it some watermelon, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission. When he opened the door to leave for work the next day around 5:45 a.m., the kinkajou was waiting for him.
HONG KONG/SINGAPORE, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways described a "white terror" of political denunciations, sackings and phone searches by Chinese aviation officials amid anti-government protests gripping the former British colony. Cathay, founded by an American and an Australian during British rule in 1946, was caught in the middle of the crisis 11 days ago, when China demanded it suspend staff involved in the protest movement. The firm agreed, firing two pilots, but has since been plunged into turmoil after CEO Rupert Hogg was replaced last week.
The daughter of a former Australian prime minister was drawn into the scandal surrounding the Duke of York as it was claimed that Jeffrey Epstein boasted about his friendship with the royal to his alleged victims. Katherine Keating, 37, was identified as the mystery brunette seen waving goodbye to the Duke as she left Epstein's house in New York in 2010. Meanwhile, three new alleged victims sued Epstein's estate for damages.
The Latest on the resignation of the Philadelphia Police commissioner (all times local): 6:40 p.m. A Philadelphia official says the resignation of Police Commissioner Richard Ross is related to allegations made by a corporal and a patrol officer against several department employees. Deana Gamble is a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney.
Antonio Basco's blue Ford Escape was stolen and totaled hours after he hosted a funeral for his wife, Margie Reckard, who was among 21 people were killed at an El Paso Walmart on August 3. "We donated it to him so that he could have a mode of transportation and still have a connection to his wife," Ronnie Lowenfield, who owns Casa Ford Lincoln with his brothers, told Buzzfeed News. Antonio Basco lived in his blue Ford Escape in the Walmart parking lot for nearly a week after his wife Margie Reckard was among 21 people killed in the store on August 3.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has fired all of his advisers, his office said Monday, amid a financial crisis in the occupied West Bank that has prompted deep salary cuts. Abbas's office did not provide further details on the number of advisers or the costs involved, pointing only to a brief statement issued through official Palestinian news agency WAFA. The move comes amid a spending crunch following Israel's decision in February to withhold around $10 million a month in tax transfers.
A man arrested by the FBI on suspicion of threatening to kill Hispanic people in Miami allegedly wrote that he thanked God every day that Donald Trump was president. Eric Lin, 35, made a series of threats against the Hispanic community in the Miami area before being arrested in Seattle. An FBI complaint in Miami says Lin sent Facebook messages to a Hispanic woman threatening her and her family between May and August.
On his first night back from vacation following the firestorm of controversy he set off by claiming white supremacy is a hoax, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made another cringeworthy comment when he used an African-American senator's supposed lack of blackness to make fun of how white another senator is. During Monday night's broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson welcomed on frequent guest Mark Steyn—who served as guest host while Carlson was on break—to discuss Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's public apology to tribal leaders over her Native American DNA test snafu. Like anyone who's being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes.
Forest fires in the Amazon are generating smoke that can be seen from space and may have caused a daytime blackout more than 1,700 miles away in the country's largest city. In the middle of the day on Monday, the sky above São Paulo was blanketed by smoke from the wildfires raging in the Amazon region, according to local media reports. The smoke resulting from some of these wildfires was also captured in satellite images released by NASA last week. "The smoke did not come from fires from the state of São Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been going on for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia.
Current Ford Mustang owners can get $2500 off a new 2019 Chevrolet Camaro this month, assuming they would make such a switch. The Mustang continues to lead the Camaro in total sales through June. On one side, there are those who call the Camaro's current face fugly and believe the Mustang is just a superior car.
Germany has for the first time allowed children whose parents were suspected members of Islamic State to return to Germany from northern Syria and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said it will push for more such children to come to the country. Like other western countries, Germany faces a tricky decision on how to deal with citizens who went to the Middle East to join groups like Islamic State, which was driven out of its last territorial enclave in March by U.S.-backed forces. Three of the four repatriated German children are orphans, according to German media, but no further details were available.
For those 'not turning on the oven today' moods. From Delish
After previous political rallies that ended in violence, police in Portland, Oregon, earned praise Monday from outside observers for using a natural barrier — the city's Willamette River — to keep dueling protesters apart during a weekend far-right rally and large counter-demonstration that included a subset of masked and black-clad anti-fascists. As the city returned to normal, Mayor Ted Wheeler called Saturday's dueling demonstrations a win for residents. Oregon's top federal prosecutor called the handling of the event a "definitive counterpoint" for those who on both sides who have criticized police after past protests for favoring one side or the other.
As a physician who has worked with prisoners as well as suicidal patients, I was shocked by the strange circumstances surrounding sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein's death by apparent hanging in his cell. Earlier in my career, I worked on both a psychiatric ward and a prison ward. For someone who, like Epstein, had apparently made a suicide attempt less than three weeks before, it is almost inconceivable to me that he could possibly be without diligent, frequent observation and without surveillance cameras constantly monitoring him.
Evidence is mounting that Russia may be trying to cover up a tragic nuclear accident after a mysterious blast on August 8 killed at least seven people at a Russian naval weapons site. Russia has declined to say exactly what caused the deadly blast. Western experts and intelligence officials believe the Nyonoksa explosion was caused by a failed test of the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a very dangerous doomsday weapon that NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.
Spain on Tuesday deployed a naval patrol boat to pick up migrants on a charity rescue boat that has been stranded off Italy's Lampedusa island for days after numerous people jumped overboard in a desperate bid to swim ashore. Prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio also ordered the Open Arms charity vessel preventatively seized after inspecting the Spanish boat on which migrants have spent 19 days and "given the difficult situation on board", a judicial source said. Against the backdrop of a major political crisis in Italy, Patronaggio intervened as part of his probe into alleged kidnapping and refusing to obey orders targeting far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
Jeffery Wilemon clutched his gut, throbbing in pain as he lay on his bed inside the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in April. Hours earlier, inmates had slugged the 54-year-old and declared he needed to “follow the rules” their gang had set for prison life, he later wrote in a handwritten pleading filed in Itawamba County Circuit Court. In an interview with the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, Wilemon, who was serving time for possessing a firearm as a felon and possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility, said he knew the gang was vicious, and that it controlled many aspects of prison life.
But more than anything, I've been angry because the cultural hatred that made El Paso possible, and our obsession with using Mexico and Mexicans as convenient scapegoats for our societal ills, have been specters in my life. They existed long before I was born in California to Mexican parents in 1962. As recently as a decade ago, I hoped we would move beyond our long-held hostility toward Mexico and Mexicans.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the international community on Tuesday to work out how to stop Iran from being "unshackled to create new turmoil" when a United Nations arms embargo on the country and a travel ban on the head of Iran's elite Quds Force expire in October 2020. Speaking at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Middle East peace and security challenges, Pompeo called for greater cooperation in the region to produce "fresh thinking to solve old problems," citing problems including the Libyan and Syrian conflicts and a rift between several Gulf states and Qatar. He also singled out Iran.
It was a 311 call that led New York City inspectors to a building and their disturbing, even shocking, discovery. The NYC Buildings Department says the owner of the apartment created a new floor between the fourth and fifth floors to rent out nine micro-apartments.