BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters stormed a town in Iraq's western Anbar province on Saturday, its latest conquest in the desert region where it has chalked up a string of victories, a military official and people fleeing the scene said. Islamic State seized the town of Kubaisa two days after the fall of the nearby town of Hit as the group sought to consolidate control in towns west of Anbar’s capital Ramadi. The fall of Kubaisa jeopardizes the strategic Ain al-Asad military base, which allows Iraqi forces to send troops and supplies to defend the Haditha dam further west where a small number of Sunni tribes and government forces are fending off Islamic State forces. Ain al-Asad lies beyond both Hit and Kubaisa. At least two civilians were killed and six others wounded in Kubaisa, said an official at the hospital in Hit. Since taking Hit on Thursday, Islamic State fighters have raised their flags on the municipality building and police stations, while Islamic State vehicles were patrolling the streets of the town. Islamic State took advantage of refugees fleeing Hit to enter Kubaisa, 19 km (10 miles) to the east. A man escaping Hit, named Abu Saif, described approaching the checkpoint for Kubaisa when three or four cars sped up from behind them and shot dead the soldiers guarding the city. "We thought that they were displaced families as well. They didn't look like Islamic State militants to us," Abu Saif said. The radical Sunni Muslim militants have captured swathes of western and northern Iraq, including the north's biggest city Mosul in June, as well as large areas of the east and north of neighboring Syria. In Mosul, for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, Islamic State released a video of its followers celebrating the day in Mosul, with children waving machineguns and followers holding its black flag. Elswhere, two bombs exploded just north of Baghdad in the towns of Tarmiyah and Husseiniyah, killing seven and wounding 18 others, police and medical officials said. To the northeast in Diyala province, an officer and seven soldiers were killed in two ambushes in the nearby districts of Mansuriya and Muqdadiya, according to military sources. (Reporting By Saif Sameer Hameed, editing Ned Parker and Angus MacSwan)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- Yahoo News
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday in Washington, D.C., where he called for national unity. "Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path," he said.
- Yahoo News 360
Historians will face a daunting task in trying to assess Donald Trump’s presidency. What will he be remembered for?
Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic who was jailed at the weekend, on Tuesday released a video in which he and his allies alleged that an opulent palace belonged to the Russian leader, a claim the Kremlin denied. The allegations, which first surfaced in 2010 when a businessman wrote about them to then-President Dmitry Medvedev complaining of official graft, come as Navalny's supporters urge people to join nationwide protests on Saturday. Reuters reported in 2014 that the estate in southern Russia had been partly funded by taxpayer money from a $1 billion hospital project.
- The Week
Melania Trump was reportedly "emotionally checked out" long before boarding Air Force One to leave D.C. on Wednesday, going as far as to outsource writing her "thank you" notes to the White House residence staff, The New York Times and CNN report.Traditionally, the first family of the United States will write short cards to their household staff, thanking them for taking care of them over the past four to eight years. The cards tend to be intimate and "much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become 'cherished keepsakes' for the residence staff," such as the butlers, cooks, and housekeepers, who do not tend to turn-over between administrations, CNN writes.Melania Trump, however, reportedly did not personally write the cards for the approximately 80 staff members charged with caring for her, her husband, and her teenage son, Barron, while they lived in the White House. Instead, she is said to have instructed a "lower-level East Wing staffer" to write the type-written notes "in her voice," and then signed her name."I think she was a reluctant first lady and she did it for her husband," society publicist R. Couri Hay, who knows Trump from New York, told The New York Times. He added that after she departs Washington, "I think that you will find that she will be even less visible, and less available."More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- Associated Press
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson narrowly avoided a defeat in Parliament on Tuesday after lawmakers voted against a controversial proposal seeking to bar trade deals with any country deemed by the U.K. High Court to be committing genocide. The amendment to the government’s post-Brexit trade bill was largely designed to force international action in addressing China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in the far western Xinjiang region.
- NBC News
The boy was pulled into the water Monday, while the National Weather Service warned that waves could swell to 25 feet.
Armenia has returned all Azeri prisoners who were captured during last year's conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but the process with Armenian prisoners has been held up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. The six-week conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to a halt in November by a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces were expected to exchange all captives. Armenia has said that many of its prisoners of war remain in Azerbaijan, a problem it has raised with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group.
- The Week
President Trump has spent the last few days asking his friends, aides, and associates if they would like pardons — even those who are not facing any charges, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.In one case, the official said, Trump offered a pardon to a person who declined the chance at clemency, saying they weren't in any legal trouble and hadn't committed any crimes. "Trump's response was, 'Yeah, well, but you never know. They're going to come after us all. Maybe it's not a bad idea. Just let me know,'" the official recounted.Trump has taken a great interest in pardoning people, the Post reports, even calling families to personally let them know he granted a pardon. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump was talked out of pardoning himself, family members, and controversial figures like Rudy Giuliani. An aide said there was also a brief discussion about possibly issuing pardons related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but that idea went nowhere.While Trump has held a few ceremonial events in recent weeks, journalists have been kept away from the White House, largely because the president is "just not in a place where they would go well," one official told the Post. Trump is constantly flip-flopping, another administration official said, talking about his future but uncertain of where he will be. "He goes between, 'Well, I'm going to go to Florida and play golf, and life is honestly better,' and then in the next moment, it's like, 'But don't you think there's a chance to stay?'" the official said. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
Biden honors late son Beau in emotional pre-inauguration speech: 'We should be introducing him as president'
President-elect Joe Biden delivered an emotional farewell to Delaware on Tuesday one day before his swearing-in, choking up while paying tribute to the state and to his late son, Beau Biden.Biden spoke from Delaware before departing for Washington, D.C., and he became emotional from the top of the remarks as he thanked Delawareans who have been with him "through the good times and the bad" and said it's "deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here." The president-elect went on to say he'll "always be a proud son of the state of Delaware," emotionally adding that "when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart." He concluded the speech by honoring his late son, Beau Biden, who served as attorney general for the state and died in 2015. "Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret: that he's not here," Biden said. "Because we should be introducing him as president."Biden was set to depart for Washington shortly after concluding his remarks. He'll be flying to the nation's capitol on a private aircraft, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, describing this as "yet another remarkable change in protocol." Zeleny adds, "No immediate word on why he wasn't offered -- or isn't flying -- on a U.S. government plane, which is standard for a president-elect." > A tearful Joe Biden honors his late son, Beau Biden, before heading to Washington to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.> > "I only have one regret-- that he's not here. Because we should be introducing him as president." https://t.co/5nWjuSrSuH pic.twitter.com/U2J0kXEqau> > -- ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2021More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
Facing a 50-50 partisan split in the U.S. Senate, the chamber's top Democrat and Republican discussed adopting a power-sharing deal similar to one struck two decades ago in similar circumstances, a Democratic spokesman said on Tuesday. Democrat Chuck Schumer, set to become majority leader on Wednesday thanks to incoming Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, told the chamber's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, that he favored adopting a deal along the lines of the 2001 arrangement "without extraneous changes from either side," a Schumer spokesman said.
- The Telegraph
The Trump administration has determined that China has committed "genocide and crimes against humanity" in its repression of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday, delivering an embarrassing blow to Beijing a day before US President-elect Joe Biden is to take office. US officials briefing reporters on the move said in a call that "an exhaustive documentation of (China's) own policies, practices and abuse in Xinjiang" viewed by Mr Pompeo led him to make the determination that such acts had been committed since at least March 2017. "After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang," Mr Pompeo said in a statement.
- FOX News Videos
Rep. Crenshaw: 'I'd be frustrated if I were' Trump, watching the press 'go right back to the Obama-era'
Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw argues Republicans need to unify and show voters that Democrats 'mean what they say' and 'will change your life fundamentally.'
- The Week
And he's off -- to the crooning of Frank Sinatra and the escaped laughter of CNN anchors.President Trump departed with his family from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday, four years to the day after he took his oath of office. He got out of Dodge a few hours before President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony and is headed to Florida to begin his post-White House life.As Trump's plane took off, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blared, which was certainly on the nose. The whole scene amused CNN's coverage crew, who couldn't hold back a few chuckles. It's been a long four years, after all. > Just an incredible segue. pic.twitter.com/EJgQQv3qzi> > -- Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2021More stories from theweek.com Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump left a note for Biden in the Oval Office
Malaysia on Tuesday said it would extend lockdown restrictions across most of the country as it grappled with a rise in coronavirus infections. Last week, capital Kuala Lumpur and six states went into a two-week lockdown. Security minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday said the lockdown will also be imposed on six other states from Friday for two weeks.
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- Yahoo News
CIA Director Gina Haspel is marking the end of a tenure that was often publicly quiet, but often included behind-the-scenes resistance to some of President Trump’s controversial moves.
An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week "very soon". "What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January," the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spent much of his long career casting Israel's Arab minority as a potential fifth column led by terrorist sympathizers, is now openly courting their support as he seeks reelection in the country's fourth vote in less than two years. The Joint List, an alliance of Arab parties that secured a record 15 seats in the 120-member Knesset last March, is riven by a dispute over whether it should work with Netanyahu's right-wing Likud at a time when less objectionable center-left parties are in disarray.