Sources: Rutgers finalizing deal with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called President Donald Trump a "clown" as he defended Iran's military after it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, in a relatively rare public address that came as he led Friday prayers in Tehran. The last time Khamenei delivered a sermon to a crowd during Friday prayers was in 2012, on the 33rd anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. The supreme leader called for "national unity" and described Iran's accidental downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flights 752 as a "bitter" tragedy, but one that should not overshadow the "sacrifice" of one of its top commanders, killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq days earlier.
Guatemalan police accompanied by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept up the majority of a group of some 300 migrants Thursday, loaded them on buses and took them back to the Honduran border, effectively dashing their plans to travel together in a “caravan” with hopes of reaching the United States. Praying and singing songs, the group of 300 migrants — adults, teens and young children — had set out from a shelter in Entre Rios under rainy skies before dawn and walked about six hours before stopping in the town of Morales to eat and rest. There they were challenged by police who asked for their entry documents, and nearly all had crossed into Guatemala irregularly and didn't have such documentation.
Key point: China's downsizing of its carrier ambitions may leave it with more time to evaluate just what the carriers of the future will really look-like—and whether they're worth the cost. China's People's Liberation Army Navy takes many of its cues from the U.S. Navy as it develops its carrier aviation branch. It is seeking similar flat-deck carriers to its U.S. counterpart, and has developed airborne early warning planes and electronic attack jets comparable to American E-2D Hawkeyes and EA-18 Growlers.
The violent protests and political upheaval that marked 2019 and challenged governments from Hong Kong to Chile is set to stay and is now the “new normal,” according to a global risk firm. Verisk Maplecroft, which advises corporate clients on political risk around the world, said in a new report released Thursday that it predicts “continued turmoil in 2020” as administrations around the world continue to be surprised by demonstrators and ill-prepared to address the underlying social grievances that spur them. We all need to buckle up for 2020,” said Miha Hribernik, the Singapore-based head of Asia risk insight for Verisk Maplecroft.
The FBI arrested three members of a neo-Nazi group called “The Base” on Thursday morning, days ahead of a pro-gun rally in Richmond that is attracting fringe figures and has already prompted a state of emergency declaration. The three suspects—Brian Mark Lemley, William Garfield Bilbrough, and Canadian fugitive Patrik Mathews—face a variety of gun charges. Lemley and Bilbrough are also accused of illegally harboring Mathews, a former Canadian military reservist who fled his home country after being accused of being a recruiter for The Base.
Texas on Wednesday carried out the first execution of the year in the United States, putting to death by lethal injection a man convicted of killing his wife 15 years ago because she wanted a divorce. John Gardner, 64, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after multiple incidents of physical violence and filed for divorce.
A Republican lawmaker is facing calls for a sexual harassment investigation after he told a young female reporter that a group of high school boys “could have a lot of fun” with her. Peter Lucido, a Michigan state senator, has been accused of making inappropriate comments to local reporter Allison Donahue during a tour of the state Capitol. Ms Donahue said the senator told her he would speak with her after addressing a group of about 30 boys who were visiting from De La Salle Collegiate, a nearby all-boys Catholic school.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said "you have not seen anything yet" before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change. "So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne. Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.
Reuters/Kevin Lamarque The Trump administration threatened three European governments with 25% auto tariffs if they didn't play ball with Iran and call out its government for violating the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a report from the Washington Post. Officials in Britain, France, and Germany received the threat, and they were stunned at what one European official characterized to the Post as "extortion." Trump previously used the threat of tariffs on European cars to extract additional investment into the US from its automakers.
The Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center said Thursday that the evidence — documents produced by IS itself — could help identify individuals responsible for atrocities during the militants' four-year reign of terror and lead to criminal prosecutions. The 24-page report, called “Judge, Jury and Executioner,” is based on dozens of documents obtained by SJAC from inside Syria and collected by a local activist from abandoned IS offices in Raqqa province, where the militants also had their self-declared capital in a city that carries the same name.
Newly revealed surveillance video circulating on social media appears to show two missiles slamming into a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed, killing all 176 people aboard minutes after takeoff from Tehran a week ago. Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, told USA TODAY it's possible the plane would have survived the first hit. "It's conceivable that if they hadn't fired the second shot, the outcome might have been different," Goelz said.
Key point: America should be worried. A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.
This is not because they are personally loyal to the president; several GOP senators have previously acknowledged that he is unfit for office. The fear is genuine: Much like Trump himself, many Republicans have a distorted view of reality. If you're wondering who the minority is that thinks it's a good idea for a reckless and unstable commander in chief with vacancies in many crucial national-security posts to attack a Muslim nation with a population of more than 80 million and dangerous proxy forces throughout the region, the answer is … Republicans.
House Oversight Committee Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows issued nine demands to FISA Court presiding judge James Boasberg in a Thursday letter in response to the appointment of Obama Department of Justice lawyer David Kris to help oversee the FBI's reform of FISA applications. The letter, obtained by National Review, asked Boasberg to identify who else besides Kris was considered, whether Kris's past defense of the FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page was taken into account, and whether “the FISC bears any responsibility for the illegal surveillance of Carter Page,” among other concerns.
Molly Riley/Reuters Native American woman Tara Houska says a TSA agent grabbed her braids, whipped them like reins and said "giddyup" while she was going through security at the Minneapolis airport on Monday. A TSA official apologized to Houska for the incident, and released a statement saying "improper behavior is taken seriously" by the agency. The Transportation Security Administration was forced to issue an apology on Tuesday after a Native American woman described on Twitter a humiliating experience going through security at the Minneapolis-St.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife shared the clip of an eight-point buck shedding its antlers in the middle of the night, captured by a resident of Northfield, Vermont. The wildlife agency posted the footage on Facebook, calling it “spectacular and unique.” It's been viewed more than 277,000 times and shared by over 3,000 users. The animal is called an eight-point buck for its eight antlers, according to the Noble Research Institute, an agriculture research organization.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet senior conservative lawmakers on Thursday to resolve a dispute in her own party over whether to bar China's Huawei [HWT.UL] from the country's 5G network rollout, party sources said. Merkel's conservatives are divided on whether to support a proposal by their Social Democrat junior coalition partners that, if approved, would effectively shut out the Chinese technology giant from the network. Handelsblatt business daily was first to report on Wednesday the planned meeting between Merkel and senior conservative lawmakers.
The Philippines said Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state. Duterte's government briefly banned Filipinos deploying for work in Kuwait two years ago amid a diplomatic row that began with the discovery of the remains of a murdered Filipina maid in her employers' freezer.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office charged Fredrick Hampton, 50, on Thursday with abuse of Paighton Houston's corpse. Hampton hasn't been charged with involvement in the 29-year-old's death, news outlets reported. Hampton was initially held in the Birmingham City Jail beginning Dec. 28 on suspicion of kidnapping, but he was released two days later after investigators failed to gather enough evidence to charge him with a crime, news outlets reported.
An actress who had a role in "Marriage Story" and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room on the Emerald Princess ship was infested with bedbugs and left them with bites all over their bodies. Connie and Alvin Flores allege in a lawsuit, filed in November 2019, that their stateroom aboard the cruise they took a year earlier was "infested with hundreds of bedbugs." The pair cruised from Nov. 28, 2018, through Dec. 4, 2018, out of Los Angeles. Connie Flores played an "arguing woman" in "Marriage Story," and is now speaking publicly about the suit.
For all the righteous uproar it produced and the consequences still unfolding, in a way the killing of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani this month was business as usual. A longtime foe of America, Suleimani was killed by a Hellfire missile from a Reaper drone, like countless Al Qaeda terrorists, Taliban leaders, and other militants. Traveling to Iraq from Syria, Suleimani probably didn't even require the full exertions of America's vast intelligence and special operations manhunting machine.
Donald Trump's impeachment moves to the GOP-controlled Senate where the president and Democrats will battle over a small group of Republicans whose votes will determine the course of a trial on whether he should be removed from office. The Senate proceedings will begin formally on Thursday with a show of pageantry that includes the reading of two impeachment articles and U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in 100 senators as jurors. Yet one of the most pressing and contentious issues -- whether to meet Democratic demands for witnesses -- will remain unresolved for more than a week.
Hyde for Congress FBI agents were seen visiting both the home and business addresses of Robert Hyde, an associate of Rudy Giuliani now central to the impeachment of President Donald Trump. NBC News and CNN both report that the FBI visited Hyde's home in Weatogue, Connecticut and the location in Avon, CT where he runs both his landscaping business and congressional campaign. In a trove of WhatsApp messages between Hyde and Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Hyde told Parnas that he was closely surveilling former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.