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Mueller probe outgrows its ‘witch hunt’ phase

Top Stories - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 05:00

Trump has returned to one phrase — "witch hunt" — time and again — and repackaged with typical Trumpian hyperbole. “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Trump tweeted last May after ex-FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as Justice Department special counsel to oversee the probe.


British woman jailed in Egypt is 'on the verge of a breakdown', family says

Top Stories - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 03:52

A British woman jailed for three years in Egypt for smuggling drugs is on the verge of a breakdown after being sent to a prison "full of jihadi terrorists", her family has said.   Shop worker Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was arrested in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after she was found to be carrying 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase, a painkiller which is legal in the UK but which is banned in Egypt. Ms Plummer's family said she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner, who suffers from severe back pain and had no idea what she was doing was wrong. Her sister, Jayne Synclair, said she feared she would not survive three years in prison. "Laura isn't the strongest of people, she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown, covered in scabs. "She's been bitten from head to foot in mosquito bites and she's like a ghost. "Her skin is translucent and the muscles in her legs don't work - they're like jelly." Shop worker Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was arrested in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after she was found to be carrying 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase Mrs Synclair, 40, said Ms Plummer had unexpectedly been sent to the infamous Qena prison north of Luxor. It houses some of the most dangerous inmates in the country, including Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Muslim Brotherhood members. "They have slyly taken her to where the British Foreign Office told us she would never be placed - but the Egyptian authorities have already moved her there," she said.  "Our biggest fear with this scenario has been confirmed - she will be sharing a tiny cell with jihadi terrorists and rapists. "'I honestly dread to think. Laura won't survive a day in there - let alone three years. She won't even make it through that - I can't believe they've even still sent her there." According to the family, Ms Plummer was also fined £4,500. They said her father had already paid out £25,000 to defend his daughter. The Plummer family has previously said Ms Plummer had no idea that what she doing was illegal and was just "daft". They said she did not try to hide the medicine, which she had been given by a friend, and she thought it was a joke when she was pulled over by officials after arriving for a holiday with her partner. Omar Abdel Azim, Ms Plummer's partner Mohammed Othman, Ms Plummer's lawyer, said he was optimistic she would not serve the full sentence. "The sentence is lenient considering Laura is on trial for smuggling and trading drugs, for which the sentence can be the death penalty or life, in jail," he told the Telegraph. Mr Othman said that he still needs to see the reasoning of the verdict but he anticipated that the judge would acquit if their appeal application was accepted. The family said they were planning an immediate appeal after Ms Plummer mistakenly pleaded guilty at a hearing on Christmas Day, due to a translation error. She fell to the floor and sobbed upon hearing the decision on Tuesday. "We're just hoping. Even half of that would be better. Anything less than three years," Mrs Synclair said. "She doesn't deserve that."


Inspector Gen.: DOJ has ‘systemic’ issues addressing harassment

Top Stories - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 02:50

According to a report by the Inspector General, top Justice Department officials were among those mishandling sexual harassment complaints. NBC’s Julia Ainsley reports.


The year in late night: Laughs, tears and politics in 2017

Top Stories - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 00:04

From Jimmy Kimmel's heartfelt plea for health care reform to Melissa McCarthy's memorable Sean Spicer impression, watch 2017's best moments in late night.


Deputy recalls breaking through frozen pond to pull out boy

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 21:20

NEW HARMONY, Utah (AP) — A Utah sheriff's deputy said Tuesday he was desperate and numb from the cold as he punched and stomped his way into a frozen pond on Christmas Day to pull out an 8-year-old boy who had fallen through the ice while chasing his dog.


Ben Affleck Spends Christmas with Ex Jennifer Garner and Kids as He Continues Treatment

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 21:00

Ben Affleck, ex Jennifer Garner and their three children celebrated Christmas as a family


Merry Christmas from Mar-a-Lago: Tiffany and Ivanka Trump Mocked for Bikini-Clad Video

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 20:17

In a new Twitter video, first daughters Tiffany and Ivanka Trump blew kisses to followers — but received mostly criticism in return


US forces kill 13 Shabaab militants in air strike

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 19:43

The United States carried out an air strike on Christmas Eve against the Shabaab Islamist group that left 13 dead, according to a statement released Wednesday. "In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants on the morning of Dec. 24, 2017, in southern Somalia, killing 13 terrorists," read the statement from the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). The United States has stepped up its operations in Somalia in recent weeks, with frequent strikes against Shabaab and a separate self-proclaimed branch of the Islamic State in the Horn of Africa nation.


The Latest: Halt to church construction 'only viable option'

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 19:14

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the halted construction at a church that was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 (all times local):


4 Found Dead In Basement Apartment In Upstate New York

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 18:58

A property manager found four bodies in a basement apartment in upstate New York on Tuesday.


These Two Best Friends Just Learned They're Actually Brothers After 60 Years

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 18:31

One never knew his father, and the other was adopted. Separately, they sought answers about their ancestry


Argentina judge says death of prosecutor Nisman was murder

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 17:44

Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who was found dead days after accusing former President Cristina Fernandez of covering up Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, was murdered, a federal judge said on Tuesday. In a 656-page ruling, judge Julian Ercolini said there was sufficient proof to conclude that the shot to the head that killed Nisman in January 2015 was not self-inflicted. Fernandez and others had suggested the death was a suicide, but a prosecutor investigating the case last year recommended it be pursued as a murder probe.


A U.K. Woman Tried to Bring Painkillers Into Egypt. She Was Sentenced to 3 Years

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:43

A woman from the United Kingdom was sentenced to three years in jail for bringing potent painkillers into Egypt.


New York City on track to end year with sharp drop in murder rate

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:40

The city recorded 278 homicides up to mid-December, compared with 325 last year, and police say there were the lowest number of index crimes since the 50s NYPD police stand guard inside the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in the city after it reopened following an explosion on December 11, 2017 Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images


Man who killed mom, self wasn't allowed to have firearms

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:38

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A man who killed his mother and then fired more than 100 rounds at police as her body lay in a yard during an eight-hour standoff before killing himself wasn't permitted to have firearms and likely obtained them from his father, who killed himself days after the rampage, authorities said.


These Cities Are Suing The Pentagon Over 'Deadly Gaps' In America's Gun-Check System

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:37

The cities of New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco are suing the U.S. Department of Defense over its legal failure to report service member crimes to the FBI and national gun background check database, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.


Democrat In Tied Virginia Race Tries To Stop Winner From Being Picked Out Of A Bowl

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:35

Democrat Shelly Simonds launched a last-minute effort Tuesday to prevent the race for a crucial seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates from being settled by luck.


U.S. appeals court rejects challenge to Trump voter fraud panel

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 15:36

A U.S. appeals court in Washington on Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision to allow President Donald Trump's commission investigating voter fraud to request data on voter rolls from U.S. states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) watchdog group, which filed the lawsuit, did not have legal standing to seek to force the presidential commission to review privacy concerns before collecting individuals' voter data.


Orrin Hatch grateful for 'honor' from Utah newspaper criticizing him

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 14:25

Orrin Hatch’s tweet did not include a link to the editorial. The longest serving Republican senator, Orrin Hatch, tweeted on Christmas day that he was grateful after his local paper hailed him on its front page as the “Utahn of the year”, but he made no mention of a stinging accompanying editorial. Many were left asking if Hatch was being sarcastic or had tweeted before reading the Salt Lake Tribune’s full reasoning for the award, for the most impactful person in the state, which hit out at his part in slashing the size of Utah’s national monuments.


Orrin Hatch Trolls Utah Newspaper That Wants Him To Retire

Top Stories - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 14:19

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Monday tweeted out an editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune naming him “Utahn of the Year,” declaring that he was “grateful for this Christmas honor.”


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