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Signs of life at 'no-man's land' around Philippine volcano

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 02:48

A desolate landscape of ash dunes and bare trees left by the eruption of the Philippines' Taal volcano lay in contrast with a few signs of life at ground zero of the disaster on Tuesday. The island site was buried by massive deposits of ash when Taal erupted last week and remains under a mandatory evacuation order due to a feared bigger blast. Authorities have said any outward signs of an imminent eruption have been weak over the past several days.


The Navy Has a Plan to Stop Ship-Killer Missiles

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 02:28

The threat keeps building from nations like Russia, China, Iran and many others.


Experts: Iran Could Be a Nuclear Armed State in Just 1 Year

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 01:00

365 days until a crisis?


Photos of starving lions in Sudan spark campaign to save them

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 22:35

One of the five lions at Khartoum's Al-Qureshi Park is believed to have died.


Attorney: Due to a conflict of interest, William Barr must recuse himself from Lev Parnas' criminal case

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 22:35

An attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday, requesting the he recuse himself from Parnas' criminal case.Parnas was arrested last October and charged with campaign finance violations. In the letter, which was also filed in New York federal court, attorney Joseph Bondy said Barr has a conflict of interest and asked that a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department handle Parnas' case. "Federal ethics guidelines bar federal employees from participating in matters in which their impartiality could be questioned, including matters in which they were personally involved or about which they have personal knowledge," Bondy wrote.Bondy cited several reasons why Barr should recuse himself, noting that the reconstructed transcript released by the White House of President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump telling Zelensky that Barr could help him facilitate an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. Last week, Parnas told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that Barr knew about efforts in the Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden, saying, "Attorney General Barr was basically on the team." Read Bondy's letter here.More stories from theweek.com Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake says it 'pains' him to see Republicans maintain Trump 'did no wrong' The Saudi crown prince reportedly personally hacked Jeff Bezos' phone. He may have done the same thing to Jared Kushner. The real problem with McConnell's impeachment rules


McConnell releases impeachment trial rules, sparking new outcry from Democrats

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 19:40

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the rules for a Senate impeachment trial on Monday evening.


New poll on the eve of Trump's impeachment trial finds that 51% of Americans think he should be removed from office

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 19:18

A slim majority of Americans say the Senate should convict Trump in his impeachment trial, according to CNN's new poll.


UK to introduce tougher jail terms for convicted terrorists after London Bridge attack

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 19:12

Britain will introduce tougher jail sentences for convicted terrorists and will end early release as part of a series of measures to strengthen its response to terrorism, the government said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to make changes after an attack near London Bridge in November in which Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist who had been released early from prison, killed two people. Khan had been sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison in 2012 with a requirement that the parole board assess his danger to the public before release.


Mothers who occupied vacant Oakland house will be allowed to buy it

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 19:07

Intervention of California governor helps Moms 4 Housing group score victory in fight against state’s homeless crisisThe homeless mothers who took over a vacant house in Oakland, California and occupied it for almost two months will be allowed to purchase the property – a major victory in a movement working to keep such homes out of the possession of speculators.The group Moms 4 Housing entered the house on Magnolia Street on 18 November with the intent to stay. The house had sat vacant for more than two years before it was purchased in July at a foreclosure auction for $501,078 by Wedgewood Properties, a real estate investment company with a history of buying up foreclosed-upon houses cheaply, evicting the tenants, renovating the homes and then putting them back on the market at much higher prices.Housing advocates say companies such as Wedgewood fueled the housing crisis that now grips the state, which needs anywhere between 1.8m and 3.5m new housing units by 2025. More than 15,500 units remain vacant in Oakland alone, according to the latest US census bureau data, while 4,071 people are homeless. House-flipping has led to rapid gentrification, which then in turn led to the widespread displacement of black residents.In Oakland, 78% of the homeless population reported that their last place of residence before becoming homeless was within county limits. Seventy percent were black.Moms 4 Housing chose the Magnolia Street house in part to try to force Wedgewood to negotiate the sale of the home back to the community.“This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” Dominique Walker, one of the mothers who lived in the house with her two children, said in a statement, on the day that America marked Martin Luther King Day. “Today we honor Dr King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from banks and corporations.”With the housing and homelessness crisis worsening each day, the mothers received widespread support for their cause, from local lawmakers to California governor Gavin Newsom, who praised the activists.Moms 4 Housing had brought the issue to court, but a judge ruled in favor of Wedgewood. Sheriff deputies arrived in the early hours of 15 January to evict them, arresting two of the mothers and two of their supporters.Wedgewood has maintained that the mothers had committed a criminal act in breaking into the house, and the house legally belonged to the company.“Wedgewood has always been and continues to be open to thoughtful and purposeful discussions,” spokesman Sam Singer said in a statement.“After regaining possession of Magnolia Street, we engaged in discussions with governor Gavin Newsom, mayor Libby Schaaf and councilman Larry Reid. These led to progress that everyone should agree is a step in the right direction in helping to address Oakland’s homelessness and housing crisis.”


Sweden Readies for Diplomatic Crisis With China Over Free Press

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 18:00

(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s government has demanded a meeting with the ambassador from China after he lambasted Swedish media.Ambassador Gui Congyou caused a diplomatic furore over the weekend after giving an interview to Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT, in which he said that some local media representatives “have a habit of criticizing, accusing and smearing China.” He then went on to compare the relationship between Swedish media and China to one in which “a 48kg weight boxer keeps challenging an 86kg weight boxer to a fight.”Three parties in Sweden’s parliament have now called for Gui Congyou to be thrown out of the Nordic country, adding to tensions ahead of a meeting scheduled to take place with the ambassador at the foreign ministry in Stockholm on Tuesday.Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, has already ruled out the option of expelling Gui Congyou. But she also made clear Sweden won’t accept veiled threats from China. Relations between the two countries have soured recently over jailed Chinese-born Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who was honored last year by the Swedish chapter of PEN International with its annual Tucholsky Award.Gui Minhai, who has written several books that are critical of China’s leadership, has been detained since late 2015 by Chinese authorities, who accuse him of crimes including “operating an illegal business.” Gui Congyou says Minhai is a “lie-fabricator” who “committed serious offenses in both China and Sweden.” He also said Swedish media “is full of lies” about the case and that the Tucholsky Award, which was handed out by Sweden’s minister of culture, would result in Chinese “countermeasures.”The spat comes amid a more assertive diplomatic stance from China, which dominates global export markets and is one of Sweden’s most important trade partners. In neighboring Norway, the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 to Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo led to a deep-freeze of diplomatic relations that lasted more than half a decade and hurt trade. In 2018, Sweden exported goods and services to China worth 67 billion kronor ($7 billion), making it the Nordic country’s eighth-largest export market.Gui Congyou, who was appointed ambassador to Sweden in 2017, has repeatedly angered lawmakers in the country with his remarks over the years. Commenting on Swedish media’s coverage of Gui Minhai, Gui Congyou in December cited a Chinese proverb: “We treat our friends with fine wine, but we have shotguns for our enemies.”The ambassador’s latest remarks prompted the nationalist Sweden Democrats as well as the Christian Democrats and the Left Party to demand that he be thrown out.To contact the reporter on this story: Niclas Rolander in Stockholm at nrolander@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Hanfi Brögger at tbrogger@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Panama begins exhumation of victims from 1989 US invasion

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 17:53

Forensic workers took preliminary steps Monday for digging up the remains of some victims of the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, an effort that has lifted the hopes of Panamanians who had relatives die or disappear and have lived with unanswered questions about their fate for 30 years. Authorities gave the approval for exhumation of the 19 bodies buried in a Panama City cemetery after a truth commission set up three years ago documented about 20 disappearances from the U.S. military action to topple strongman Manuel Noriega. Prosecutor Maribel Caballero told reporters the remains will be compared to a database of DNA from relatives in 14 cases.


Migrants tear-gassed as they try to storm into Mexico

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 17:21

Hundreds of Central Americans from a new migrant caravan tried to storm into Mexico Monday by fording the river that divides the country from Guatemala, but National Guardsmen fired tear gas trying to force them back.


AOC Compares Baltimore Riots to Peaceful Richmond Gun-Rights Demonstration

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 17:03

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Monday contrasted the annual gun rights rally in Richmond, Va. with the riots after the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray and protests following the killing of Eric Garner by New York police."When we go out and march for the dignity…of the lives of people like Freddie Gray and Eric Garner, the whole place is surrounded by police in riot gear without a gun in sight [among protesters]," Ocasio-Cortez said at a Monday event. "And here are all of these people [in Richmond], flying Confederate flags with semiautomatic weapons, and there are almost no police officers at that protest."Following the death of Freddie Gray in the back of a police van in Baltimore in 2015, the city saw riots so extensive that Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, while national-guard units deployed to quell the violence. While the officers who arrested Gray were initially charged with murder, all charges were eventually dropped by the prosecution.During the Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Va. officers arrested one person for covering her face in public, which is banned under Virginia law. The individual was later released, and the rally continued without violence.On Thursday the New York Times reported that three suspected white nationalists had been arrested, with investigators alleging the three would try to ignite violence at the rally. Governor Ralph Northam, who has voiced support for more restrictive gun laws, declared a state of emergency in response to the threat.


Justice Dept. memos back defiance of impeachment subpoenas

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 16:55

The White House on Monday released Justice Department legal opinions meant to bolster its case for defying subpoenas from Congress in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. One opinion, dated Sunday, says Trump administration officials were free to disregard subpoenas sent last fall before the House of Representatives had formally authorized an impeachment inquiry.


Climate crisis could justify asylum claims: UN committee

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:20

Governments that send refugees back to countries severely affected by climate change could be in breach of their human rights obligations, a UN committee said on Monday. The independent experts on the Human Rights Committee issued a non-binding but closely watched ruling in a case brought by Ioane Teitiota from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Several Pacific island nations including Kiribati are seen as among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change as they are just a few metres above sea level.


White House to Block Possible Testimony from Lev Parnas: Report

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:13

The White House will block any attempt to summon Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.Parnas, who was involved in Giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, made explosive claims regarding President Trump's involvement in Ukraine during a series of interviews released on Wednesday."President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President."Parnas accused Attorney General William Barr of being aware of Giuliani's and Trump's actions but Barr denied that he had any knowledge of such dealings.In testimony during House impeachment hearings, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch alleged Parnas and associate Igor Fruman, along with Giuliani, were working to oust her in order to advance Parnas's and Fruman's business interests. The two are also thought to have worked with former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko to obtain information on the Bidens.The Ukrainian businessman was indicted in October on campaign-finance charges, and is accused of disguising donations to Republican candidates to advance his personal interests and those of other Ukrainian politicians.President Trump's impeachment defense team, which includes heavyweight attorney Alan Dershowitz and former Clinton impeachment manager Ken Starr, announced on Monday it will call on the Senate to "swiftly reject" the articles of impeachment."The Senate should speedily reject these articles of impeachment and acquit the President," reads a trial brief released by the team. "All that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong."Democrats allege President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.


Deadly NJ police chases kill innocent victims, catch few crooks

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:11

Many police pursuits across the nation end tragically and disproportionately affect black people. Chases often start with a traffic violation.


After Jeffrey Epstein suicide, Bureau of Prisons tells guards: Stop surfing the web and watch inmates

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 13:37

Two corrections officers face criminal charges for claiming they checked on Jeffrey Epstein and other inmates. Feds say they slept and browsed online.


'I stayed alive to tell': Auschwitz's dwindling survivors recount the horror

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 13:27

(SOUNDBITE) (English) VERA KRIEGEL GROSSMAN, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU SURVIVOR, SAYING:

"The hate of the past is forever spreading, like wildfire in the field. No lesson has been learned and hate is on its stampede."

Tattooed on her arm, Vera Kriegel Grossman still has the number to show for it.

She's one of a dwindling number of people who survived the Nazi concentration camp at Aushwitz.

Aged six, Vera and her twin sister were subjected to the pseudo-medical experiments of doctor Josef Mengele.

His terrifying and grotesque practices, earning him the name "Angel of Death".

(SOUNDBITE) (English) VERA KRIEGEL GROSSMAN, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU SURVIVOR, SAYING:

"I won against all odds. I am here. Look at me. I am here".

We filmed her as she told her stories to a group of guides from a Holocaust memorial museum.

Stories of how she was kept naked in a cage, given painful injections into her spine, and stories of how she was beaten if she cried as she saw other children suffer and die.

Many did.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust - six million Jews who never lived to provide first-hand testimony to the atrocities of the Nazis.

Ninety-five-year-old Avraham Harshalom is another of the lucky few who did survive.

And as the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation approaches, he's keen that stories like his aren't forgotten.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AVRAHAM HARSHALOM, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU SURVIVOR, SAYING:

"In the first, let's say, 20 years after the war, all Holocaust survivors and especially prisoners of Auschwitz were not talking at all, you know. We were not talking because people didn't believe us that what we are telling is true and second, they start to ask questions: 'Listen, if everything (was) so bad, how you survived?' And the story of surviving is really a very complicated story which every one of us has his own story how he survived."

On his arm, a scar where his prisoner number was tattooed before he had it removed.

He now keeps it in a frame on a shelf in his living room.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AVRAHAM HARSHALOM, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU SURVIVOR, SAYING:

"My number, everyone was asking what is it, they didn't know what it is, you know, a man with a number. And then I decided by the first possibility to take out the number."


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