The Iranian nuclear nonproliferation agreement has been the top foreign policy issue throughout Washington for the past two months. Approving or disapproving the deal was the first order of business for the U.S. Congress until the very last day of congressional action under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (September 17). Hours of debate have been conducted on the floors of the House and Senate, both chambers have held roll call votes, and Senate Democrats bonded together to filibuster a motion of disapproval — a resolution that would have prevented President Obama from providing the Iranians sanctions relief. The Obama administration's main selling point for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is based on the theory that forcing Tehran to downgrade its nuclear program will make the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East — the world's most frenetic and violent region even without nuclear weapons— far less urgent. Yet we should remember that there is in fact a state in the region that already possesses nuclear weapons.
Private investigator Michael Fisten first started digging into financier Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking crimes more than a decade ago when attorney Brad Edwards hired him. After Epstein signed a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors in 2008, Edwards had sued Epstein in civil court on behalf of a number of alleged victims who had been blindsided by the plea deal (which a judge later ruled to have violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act). Fisten was tasked with finding as much incriminating information on the financier as he could.
Planes and helicopters joined nearly 2,000 firefighters in central Portugal Sunday to battle huge wildfires in a mountainous region where more than 100 people died in huge blazes in 2017. Some 1,700 firefighters and 400 vehicles were deployed in one of the biggest mobilisations ever seen in the area to fight the blazes in the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Lisbon, the rescue services said. Around 20 people have been injured in the blaze, including eight firefighters and 12 civilians, according to the interior ministry.
Universal Orlando went under lockdown Saturday night after police received a report of a gunman spotted in a parking garage. Police arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time and, along with Universal security staff, temporarily shut down both of Universal's parking garages to guests while they assessed the area. It was later deemed safe and park activity returned to normal.
A Maryland man visiting Alaska with his family was killed and one of his three children was critically injured Friday after their floatplane's takeoff was aborted. Alaska State Troopers identified the deceased man as Joseph Patenella, 57. The critically hurt child was flown to Anchorage for treatment, along with two other family members.
Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight,” Vice-President Pence told the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, standing alongside Mr Pence with Aldrin and Armstrong's son Rick, said: “Similar to the 1960s, we too have an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity. NASA is calling this the Artemis program in honour of Apollo's twin sister in Greek mythology, the goddess of the moon.
Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Trump, weighs in on tensions with Iran on 'Hannity.
Panama's maritime authority said on Saturday it had begun the process of withdrawing the registration of an oil tanker called MT Riah, which was towed to Iran after it disappeared from ship tracking maps in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Panama began the flag withdrawal process on Friday after an investigation determined the tanker had "deliberately violated international regulations" by not reporting any unusual situation, the authority said in a statement. Panama, which has the largest shipping fleet in the world, has recently withdrawn flags from dozens of vessels, some of which were operated by Iran.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo acknowledged that Mexico has achieved “significant” progress in controlling the flow of migrants to the U.S., according to a statement Sunday by Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry. The advances mean there's no need to start negotiations for a “safe third country” agreement that would require Mexico to process paperwork for asylum seekers to prevent them from applying in the U.S, Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said, according to the ministry's statement. Mexico's strategy to “guarantee organized, safe and regular flows” of migrants will continue during the next 45 days, the statement said.
Chuck Ross Politics, Problems ahead? The Democratic National Committee raised $8.5 million in June and has $9.3 million in the bank, according to campaign finance records released Friday. Both figures are far behind what the Republican National Committee said it has raised.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has used Barack Obama's beloved status among Democratic voters to insulate him from criticism from the massive field of candidates jockeying to be the next president. But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration as evidence that Biden's not up to the task of leading the next one. Barack Obama, personally, is incredibly popular among Democratic primary voters,” Karthik Ganapathy, a progressive consultant now running his own firm, told The Daily Beast.
The Vatican on Saturday opened two burial chambers discovered under a trapdoor as it attempts to get to the bottom of a riddle involving two 19th-century princesses and a teenager who went missing 36 years ago. The ossuaries were found last week under the floor of the Pontifical Teutonic College after the shock discovery earlier this month that the bones of the princesses had disappeared from tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery. The graves of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1836 and 1840, were exhumed after an anonymous tip-off that they may hold the remains of a missing Italian youngster.
Hundreds of people lined the hallways of Renown Regional Medical Center to honor the 9-year-old girl who died after being injured in a bounce house incident earlier this week. Lizzy Hammond died after a bounce house blew into power lines in South Reno near Bartley Ranch on Sunday. Two other children were also injured in the incident.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she would follow "humanitarian principles" in dealing with asylum seekers from Hong Kong, which has been roiled by pro-democracy protests. Tsai made the comments after Radio Free Asia reported that more than a dozen protesters from Hong Kong have fled to Taiwan. In response, China's foreign ministry Friday accused Taiwan of exhibiting fake benevolence.
There are plenty of conspiracy theories, recent discoveries, and just plain old misconceptions about the moon. From Popular Mechanics
Bill de Blasio blasted Beto O'Rourke on Saturday over the former Texas lawmaker's opposition to “Medicare for All,” accusing his fellow Democratic presidential candidate of engaging in "lazy fear mongering tactics" as the health care policy debate ratchets up. Let's leave the lazy fear mongering tactics to Trump," the mayor of New York tweeted after O'Rourke said getting rid of private health care would force a majority of Americans off their existing insurance. O'Rourke opposes the single-payer health care plan — which would eliminate private insurance — and instead advocates for a plan that preserves employment-based insurance while giving individuals the option to switch to a new Medicare-based program.
Panama's maritime authority said on Saturday it had begun the process of withdrawing the registration of an oil tanker called MT Riah, which was towed to Iran after it disappeared from ship tracking maps in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Panama began the flag withdrawal process on Friday after an investigation determined the tanker had "deliberately violated international regulations" by not reporting any unusual situation, the authority said in a statement. Iran has said it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call.
President Donald Trump pledged to re-establish U.S. dominance in space, a day after he welcomed the surviving Apollo 11 astronauts to the White House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Sustained exploration that extends from our Earth to the Moon and on to the Martian surface will usher in a new era of American ingenuity,” Trump said in a message on Saturday, which he declared Space Exploration Day. Trump on Friday invited retired astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and the family of Neil Armstrong -- the first man to walk on the moon -- to the White House to mark the space milestone.
An American citizen who allegedly served as a sniper for ISIS and became a leader for the terrorist group is expected to appear in federal court on Friday after being returned to the United States by the Defense Department, officials said. Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, who was born in Kazakhstan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, is charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department announced on Friday. A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Defense Department had transported Asainov from Syria to the United States.
The U.S. military on Sunday accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft of "aggressively" shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II plane over international airspace, a fresh sign of growing hostility between the two countries. The encounter between the two planes occurred on Friday, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was imposing sanctions on four top officials in Venezuela's military counterintelligence agency. In a statement issued Sunday, the U.S. military said that it had determined the "Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 ...
Iraqi Kurdish authorities announced Saturday they had arrested two suspects involved in the murder of three people, including a Turkish diplomat, in the regional capital Arbil this week. The autonomous region's security council first said its counterterrorism unit had arrested "the main perpetrator" Mazloum Dag, a 27-year-old from Turkey's Diyarbakir region. The council had put out a wanted notice for Dag a day earlier in connection to Wednesday's killing of Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals.
WASHINGTON – A U.S. lawmaker described 'unacceptable' border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen who was in Customs and Border Patrol custody for hours on Friday. Rep. Nannette Barragán, D-Calif. had been on a congressional tour of facilities on the southern U.S. border when the delegation stopped at the Ursula Detention Center, a Border Patrol processing and detention center near McAllen, Texas.
PRIJEDOR, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Several thousand people attended a funeral service in Bosnia on Saturday for 86 Muslims who were slain by Serbs in one of the worst atrocities of the country's 1992-95 war. Relatives of the victims, religious leaders and others gathered at a soccer stadium near the eastern town of Prijedor, standing solemnly behind lines of coffins draped with green cloths. The Serbs later threw bombs onto the bodies, which made identifying the victims difficult.
Central command for the joint operation sent officers to the Dominican Republic and redoubled their surveillance in New York and Sicily, launching the investigation dubbed “New Connection” that netted 19 men in raids of both crime syndicates this week in Palermo, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. Among those arrested in Italy was Thomas Gambino who happened to be back in Sicily for a “family vacation. The police used WhatsApp, the encrypted international messaging service, to launch the raids.
Germany's new defence minister has picked an early fight inside the country's troubled coalition, pledging to beef up military spending against the will of junior partners the Social Democrats. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will make it a priority to allocate a budget equivalent to 2 percent of the German economy to the Bundeswehr, the 56-year-old told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper in an interview published on Sunday. The woman known as “mini-Merkel” due to her loyalty to the Chancellor, took over as leader of the Christian Democrats from Angela Merkel at the end of 2018 and is set to take a run at the Chancellery in 2021 at the latest.