BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ukraine will sign an agreement on closer political cooperation with the European Union on Friday, leaving the signature of a more far-reaching trade accord for later, the EU said on Monday. EU foreign ministers said in a statement after meeting in Brussels that they looked forward to the signing of the political provisions of the so-called association agreement that Ukraine had negotiated with the 28-nation EU, on March 21. The agreement is expected to be signed on the sidelines of an EU summit being held in Brussels that day. An EU official said it was not yet known if Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, or another Ukrainian official would sign. Pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich turned his back on signing the association agreement in favor of closer ties with Moscow last November, prompting months of street protests that eventually led to his fleeing the country. Russian forces occupied Ukraine's Crimea region soon after Yanukovich was forced from power. The EU has decided to split the signature of the association agreement into two parts, moving quickly to sign political chapters on political cooperation and dialogue. The economic and trade aspects with potential to reinvigorate Ukraine's economy, will wait until after presidential elections have been held on May 25 and a new, permanent government installed in Kiev. The ministers said they remained committed to signing the trade agreement with Ukraine. "These steps will confirm Ukraine's free and sovereign decision to pursue Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the European Union," their statement said. Pre-empting the trade agreement, the European Commission has agreed to extend nearly 500 million euros worth of trade benefits to Ukraine, removing duties on a wide range of agricultural goods, textiles and other imports in an effort to support the Ukrainian economy. (Reporting by Adrian Croft, Justyna Pawlak; editing by Ralph Boulton)
- Associated Press
Israeli artillery pounded northern Gaza early Friday in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels inside the territory, the military said, bringing the front lines closer to dense civilian areas and paving the way for a potential ground invasion. Israel has massed troops along the border and called up 9,000 reservists following days of fighting with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Palestinians militants have fired some 1,800 rockets and the military has launched more than 600 airstrikes, toppling at least three apartment blocks.
A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore set to open on May 26 has a "high chance" of being postponed, a Hong Kong official said on Friday, which would be the second time the plan to allow visits between the cities has been called off. The bubble between two of Asia's main financial hubs, which have both imposed strict border controls for the past year to keep out the coronavirus, had been slated to begin in November but was suspended after a spike in cases in Hong Kong. This time it is Singapore that is seeing an increase in cases.
A botched-up plan for procuring jabs has dried up stocks and sent prices soaring on the private market.
11 of the most expensive and exclusive golf clubs on the planet - including the one where Bill Gates is hiding during his divorce
The top golf courses in the world are secretive about what it costs to become a member. If you have to ask, you'll never know.
- Associated Press
The Biden administration vowed Thursday to stand by Australia in its worsening trade and other disputes with China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Australian counterpart that the U.S. “will not leave Australia alone on the field — or maybe I should say ‘alone on the pitch’ — in the face of economic coercion by China.” Like the United States and China, Australia and China are in the midst of several major disputes as Beijing seeks to apply pressure over commerce and influence.
In an interview on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast, Prince Harry revealed how he and neighbor Orlando Bloom help each other avoid paparazzi.
- The Week
According to people who bet on royal baby names, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's soon-to-be-born daughter might be a "Philippa." The U.K. gambling site Ladbrokes "slashed the betting odds on the name to 3/1" following the death of Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip, last month, People reports, noting that the younger generation of the royal family has a recent history of honoring the patriarch (Princess Eugenie and Zara Tindall, Harry's cousins, gave their newborn sons the middle name Philip). Diana (after Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana) and Elizabeth (after Harry's grandmother, the Queen) are also still going strong, at 5/1 and 10/1 respectively. Celebitchy further casts doubt on Philippa, noting that the baby would be "Pippa for short" and "the Middletons would be so mad." Celebitchy predicts, rather, that "it will be something unexpected. Archie Harrison was unexpected. It won't be 'Elizabeth Philippa Diana.'" More stories from theweek.comThe Republican theory of unemployment is classic MarxA short history of White House catsThe problem with Ohio's $1 million vaccine lottery
Buckingham Palace asked a Trump supporter to remove a doctored image of Queen Elizabeth from his campaign bus, a report says
An unofficial campaign bus known as the "Trump Train" displays a doctored image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a MAGA hat.
- Business Insider
AOC calls Marjorie Taylor Greene a 'belligerent person that's not in control of themselves' after the GOP lawmaker chased her down a hallway in the Capitol
"I used to work as a bartender. These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters.
- The Daily Beast
FBIAn active-duty Marine Corps Major, who allegedly pushed a cop during the Capitol riot so thousands of fellow insurrections could enter the building, was among a fresh crop of alleged rioters to be hit with federal charges Thursday.Christopher Warnagiris, a 40-year-old who has been stationed at the Marine Corps base in Quantico since last summer, has been hit with a slew of charges, including assaulting officers and obstruction of justice. He was arrested on Thursday in Virginia and is set to make a court appearance in the afternoon. He is one of dozens of current and former law enforcement officials charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot. Videos and photos showed Warnagiris—wearing a dark jacket with green zippers, a military green backpack, and gloves—trying to enter the Capitol through the East Rotunda doors with a slew of others. While Capitol Police officers attempted to hold the large crowd at bay, they eventually lost ground and a group of rioters managed to push the doors open, according to a criminal complaint. Warnagiris seemed to “use his body to keep the door partially open” to help others inside.“As the struggle continued, several USCP officers repositioned themselves from the outside of the doorway to the inside and continued to try to stop the stream of individuals from entering the building,” the complaint states.Former Navy SEAL Admits He Marched on Capitol on Jan. 6Warnagiris got into a struggle with one officer positioned between him and the growing crowd inside, even after the officer ordered “him to get out of the doorway.” When Warnagiris didn’t comply, the officer said Warnagiris tried to push him out of the way—and Warnagiris pushed back “in an effort to maintain his position in the open door.”Federal authorities said they were first tipped off to Warnagiris’ identity on March 16, when a member of the public recognized him in a batch of photos the FBI released asking for help. The witness told authorities that Warnagiris “was an active duty Marine officer” and said they had worked with him for about six months in 2019.The next day, after confirming Warnagiris was an active service member, FBI agents went to his military command and interviewed a co-worker. That person said they had worked with Warnagiris for about nine months.According to a 2018 article on the Marines website, Warnagiris was an operations officer for the U.S. landing force command element LHD Tonnere, a French Navy amphibious assault ship, as it began a two-month deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.Charges against three other alleged insurrectionists were also made public Thursday. Brittiany Angelina Dillon, who was arrested in D.C. on May 11; Hunter Palm, who was arrested in Denver, Colorado on May 12; and Michael Gareth Adams, who was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia on Apr. 22. In January, a relative of Palm’s wrote a letter to the FBI identifying him as one of the rioters, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Matthew J. Hamel. The filing says Palm called the unnamed family member on Jan. 6 and said he had gotten inside the Capitol building, where he “eventually entered a conference room with a long table and several chairs where he sat to rest.” Hunter Palm. FBI In a follow-up interview with FBI agents, Palm admitted to being on the premises during the siege, the affidavit states. He handed over a flash drive with video from the day, which Palm confessed to having deleted from his cell phone, as well as the clothes he wore to the Capitol: a gray hoodie, jeans, an American flag hat, and a flag emblazoned with the words “TRUMP” and “Keep America Great.”The evidence Palm turned over doesn’t help his case. A criminal complaint states that, in one video, he can be seen approaching the Capitol building and shouting, “Stop the Steal!” In another, he walks inside and says, “We’re in the Capitol building.” Palm told agents that he was “pushed” inside. However, the affidavit says he can be seen walking freely into the Capitol, chanting, “Whose house? Our house!” He makes his way into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s conference room, as off-camera voices call out for her execution.“You guys want a tour?” Palm asks the others, then sidles up to a laptop and says, “Who’s good at hacking? Who’s good at hacking?” After Palm sits down at the head of the conference room table, he puts his feet up and states, “I think I like my new dining room. I pay for it.”Michael Gareth Adams—who brought his longboard to the riot and is the second skateboarder to face charges related to the events of Jan. 6—was also done in by footage of him breaching the Capitol. Members of the public provided “several” videos to investigators showing Adams entering restricted areas that day, an affidavit says. Michael Adams. FBI After two associates of Adams’ said they couldn’t be sure it was him in the videos, Adams was ultimately identified by someone who said they were “100 percent sure” it was. If there was still any doubt, the FBI says it reviewed cell phone location data that placed Adams at the scene. He was released on bail following his arrest; the judge ordered him to stay away from D.C. except to meet with his lawyers or to attend court appearances.Investigators homed in on Brittiany Angelina Dillon after searching another alleged rioter’s cell phone—and saw text messages between her and Bryan Betancur, who was arrested for storming the Capitol after a GPS ankle monitor he was wearing for a burglary conviction showed he was there.“The DC Police have reached a new low...they shot someone near me. Please come home intact,” Dillon wrote to Betancur in one text, according to a criminal complaint. Brittiany Angelina Dillon. FBI In another message, Dillon wrote, “I was there. I got pepper sprayed at the door of the capital and tear gassed 3 times making my way up to it.” A third text Dillon sent reportedly stated, “I fought hard...I fell in the door and they tried to beat me with batons so I backed off and they pepper sprayed my eyes.”Not only was Dillon seen on video recorded inside the Capitol that day, and placed at the scene by her cell phone and Gmail account, automatic license plate readers clocked her traveling from Maryland to D.C. and back again on the day of the riots.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Goldie Hawn says she was 'very depressed' and 'couldn't even go outside in public' when she first became famous in her 20s
"I didn't want to be a big deal. I wanted to go home. I wanted to marry a dentist," the Oscar winner told "Good Morning Britain."
- Business Insider
In Pfizer's case, the shot also seems to yield fewer instances of side effects like headache, fatigue, and muscle pain than it did in clinical trials.
- Associated Press
The man in the WhatsApp video says he has seen it work himself: A few drops of lemon juice in the nose will cure COVID-19. “If you practice what I am about to say with faith, you will be free of corona in five seconds,” says the man, dressed in traditional religious clothing. Baseless claims that Muslims spread the virus.
- The Independent
Trump lashes out as more than 150 senior Republicans threaten to form new party if GOP doesn’t disown him
Move came after Liz Cheney lost House leadership role for criticising ex-president’s election lies
- Associated Press
Former Trump attorney and self-proclaimed “Kraken releaser” Sidney Powell has told prospective donors that her group, Defending the Republic, is a legal defense fund to protect the integrity of U.S. elections. Dominion Voting Systems claims Powell has raided Defending the Republic's coffers to pay for personal legal expenses, citing her own remarks from a radio interview. The Denver-based voting technology vendor sued Powell and others who spread false claims that the company helped steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -The long-awaited "Friends" cast reunion will be broadcast on May 27 and will feature a slew of celebrity guests including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and K-Pop band BTS, streaming service HB0 Max said on Thursday. "Friends: The Reunion," featuring all six of the original cast, was originally supposed to have been filmed more than a year ago but was repeatedly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The unscripted, one-off special was filmed earlier this year on the same sound stage in Los Angeles as the original comedy about six young 20-somethings, played by Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry, living in New York.
- Associated Press
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday welcomed the removal of Xiaomi Corp. from a U.S. government blacklist, a day after the U.S. reversed a ban on U.S. investments in the smartphone maker that was imposed under former President Donald Trump. “China has always believed that removing sanctions and restrictions and stopping suppression of Chinese companies will benefit China, the United States, and the world,” Gao Feng, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said at a news briefing Thursday.
LONDON (Reuters) -The origin of the novel coronavirus is still unclear and the theory that it was caused by a laboratory leak needs to be taken seriously until there is a rigorous data-led investigation that proves it wrong, a group of leading scientists said. "More investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic," said the 18 scientists, including Ravindra Gupta, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, and Jesse Bloom, who studies the evolution of viruses at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable," the scientists including David Relman, professor of microbiology at Stanford, said in a letter to the journal Science.
- Business Insider
Before his divorce announcement, Bill Gates told golf buddies that he and his wife, Melinda French Gates, "were living separate lives."
BEIJING (Reuters) -Coercive policies in China's far western region of Xinjiang have led to a sharp decline in birth rates for Uyghurs and other minorities, which could add to evidence of genocide, an Australian think tank said in a report released on Wednesday. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report, citing official Chinese data, said that there has been an "unprecedented and precipitous drop in official birth-rates in Xinjiang since 2017," when China began a campaign to control birth rates in the region. Xinjiang's birth rate dropped by nearly half from 2017 to 2019, and counties where the population was predominately Uyghur or another minority group saw much sharper declines than other counties, the government-funded institute said in the report.