Maria Butina pleaded guilty to acting as an undeclared Russian agent in the U.S. and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, advancing an inquiry into Russia’s efforts to build back-channels to politically connected Americans. The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential U.S. conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington. Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said at the hearing, reading from the government’s statement of facts.
Insurance claims from the recent devastating California wildfires that killed at least 89 people and destroyed 19,000 homes and businesses have reached at least $9 billion, the state's insurance commissioner said Wednesday. "The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. Most of the insurance payouts -- some $7 billion -- concern the Camp Fire in Northern California, which wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recent California history.
Luxury retailer appears to be first casualty as calls for a boycott spread on social media Weibo and echoed on state-run media Growing tensions between Beijing and Ottawa over the arrest of a senior Huawei executive have inflicted damage on the luxury clothing retailer Canada Goose, as Chinese consumers call for a boycott of the brand. Shares in the company have plunged nearly 20% since the arrest last week of Huawei’s chief financial officers Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. A Canadian judge granted bail to Meng on Tuesday evening.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an initiative Wednesday that would cancel the controversial education reforms of his predecessor and announced plans to vastly expand free university education. Cancellation of the reform was one of Lopez Obrador's most oft-repeated campaign promises and a gift to teachers' unions, some of which felt forced into accepting the reforms while others never dropped their vocal opposition. "Promise kept, teachers," Lopez Obrador said.
Technology researchers in China have been ordered to not travel to the US unless it is absolutely necessary, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Staff working in sensitive tech sectors were given the warning following the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada, a source told the South China Morning Post. Workers at a research agency were also told to remove any sensitive data from laptops, mobile phones and other devices if travel to the US was essential.
A federal judge in Manhattan sentenced President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in federal prison on Wednesday. Cohen previously pleaded guilty to numerous criminal charges related to lying to Congress and violating campaign finance law through paying hush money to women who allegedly had sexual affairs with Trump. Cohen, 52, faced two separate cases ― one from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and another from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office ― covering a range of criminal offenses.
Accused of sanctions busting and forced to abide by a curfew and wear an ankle bracelet as she awaits possible extradition to the United States, China's "Princess of Huawei" could be said to have fallen spectacularly from grace. Huawei's chief financial officer was arrested on December 1 on a US warrant for alleged sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran, while changing planes in Vancouver. The following morning, Meng was spotted by AFP answering the front door of her Vancouver house to three visitors bringing flowers who arrived in a sedan with diplomatic plates.
Iran welcomed on Friday initial agreements reached at talks in Sweden by the opposing sides in Yemen's war, which include the Iran-aligned Houthi group, were a step toward a final peace accord, Iranian state TV reported on Friday. The war in Yemen is seen as a proxy war between Iran and its key regional rival Saudi Arabia. U.N.-backed talks in Sweden ended on Thursday with an agreement between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to cease fighting for the Houthi-held port city of Hodeidah and withdraw their troops.
A former Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape who will serve no jail time has been banned from the University of Texas at Dallas' campus and graduation activities. Jacob Anderson, 24, accepted a deal to plead no contest to a charge of unlawful restraint earlier this week. According to an arrest warrant, Anderson led a 19-year-old woman behind a house in 2016 where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her until she blacked out.
UPDATE 12/13/18: The embattled former leader of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, still in jail in Japan over financial irregularity charges from Nissan, is retaining his status as chairman and CEO at Renault. The French automaker's board of directors met today and made that announcement, stating that it finds Ghosn's compensation reports were "in compliance with applicable law" in France. Japanese prosecutors have formally charged Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn for making "false disclosures" about his income with Nissan, the automaker said on Monday.
To hear some outgoing senators tell it, the body they are leaving no longer deserves to be called “the world’s greatest deliberative body. The United States Senate is no longer the world’s greatest deliberative body, and everybody needs to quit saying it until we recover from this period of polarization and the fear of the political consequences of tough votes,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor.
Nelson Martinez, the jailed former head of Venezuela's state-run oil giant PDVSA who was arrested last year as part of anti-corruption purge, died in state custody Wednesday, authorities said. The chief prosecutor's office said Martinez suffered from a serious and chronic illness that led to his death at a medical facility where he was undergoing treatment. The death is likely to focus attention on the conditions in which authorities are holding key opponents and former government officials.
A disgruntled employee at a Canadian Walmart decided that he wasn’t going to quit quietly. In a video posted to Facebook on Friday, a 17-year-old worker named Jackson Racicot grabbed the PA mic and told everyone in the store what he really thought about working there. Racicot then dove into individual grievances, starting with his manager who apparently had called him “a waste of time.” He goes on to say that promises had been made and not kept, and details the story of how he was given only benefits of a part-time employee even though he worked full-time.
A California lawmaker arrested on suspicion of child cruelty said Wednesday the allegation stemmed from spanking his 7-year-old daughter. Democratic Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula said he spanked his daughter Sunday night and it's a punishment tool he rarely uses, the Fresno Bee newspaper reported . "Everyone who knows us in the community and has seen us in the community knows that I'm a loving father," Arambula said while standing next to his wife, Elizabeth.
A middle school student in Delaware has been allowed to change his surname after enduring relentless bullying from his peers. Joshua Trump, who is not related to President Donald Trump, will now be known at school as Joshua Berto after dropping his mother’s surname for his father’s. The 11-year-old’s parents told ABC affiliate WPVI that the bullying of their son had been relentless and first started when Donald Trump began his presidential campaign.
The artists' first solo museum exhibition premiered during Miami Art Week.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged the United Nations to tighten restrictions on Iran's missiles, which he warned could strike US allies, but other powers called instead for dialogue. Pompeo headed to New York for a Security Council meeting on Iran, which recently confirmed a medium-range ballistic missile test, arguing it is legal and necessary for its defense. "We risk the security of our people if Iran continues stocking up on ballistic missiles," Pompeo told the Security Council.
Turkey will launch a new operation in Syria within days against a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers a terrorist group, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. "We will start an operation to free the east of the Euphrates from the separatist terrorist organisation in the next few days," Mr Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara, referring to territory held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkey says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
By one estimate, the average 401(k) owner with 100 percent invested in U.S. stocks is currently sitting on a paper loss of $8,733 since the end of September. That rough approximation takes into account the 8.2 percent drop this quarter through 11:45 a.m. Wednesday suffered by the Standard & Poor’s 500, an index of large U.S. stocks, and the record 401(k) average account balance of $106,500 at the end of the third quarter, according to Fidelity Investments’ analysis of its more than 15 million 401(k) accounts.
Chinese authorities are questioning former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who was detained days after the arrest in Canada of a Chinese businesswoman, on suspicion of engaging in activities that harmed China's national security. The state-run Beijing News said on Wednesday that Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG), had become the subject of an investigation by the Beijing State Security Bureau. He was detained after police in Canada arrested the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities, infuriating Beijing.
From the Samsung Galaxy Watch to Tag Heuer's Connected Modular 41, these smartwatches shouldn't be on your radar—they should be on your wrist
A 21-year-old man was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the beating death of a University of Southern California graduate student from China. Albert Ochoa is the fourth person convicted in the 2014 attack on 24-year-old engineering student Xinran Ji. Ochoa and three others attacked Ji while trying to rob him as he was walking home from a study group near the USC campus on June 24, 2014, prosecutors said.
Japan is planning to tighten regulation of tech giants like Google and Facebook after an expert panel called for better oversight on competition and privacy, an official said Thursday. Japan has followed in the footsteps of other countries in scrutinising the dominant role played by the world's largest information technology companies, including Big Four tech firms Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Despite bringing benefits, tech giants "tend to monopolise the market through their features such as... low costs and economies of scale," the report said.
He aims to flood the market with what the ACA outlawed — Swiss cheese-like insurance that only covers what an insurance company wants and doesn’t require affordable coverage, or any coverage, of pre-existing conditions. Not only is Trump defying what Americans say they want, he ignores significant changes in our medical needs that have occurred over the last several decades. New reality is we accumulate chronic conditions In prior generations, an illness was something simply to be survived.