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Updated: 3 hours 47 min ago

US Army preparing biggest European deployment in years

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:52

The US Army is planning its biggest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years, with 20,000 troops slated to take part in a massive force projection exercise at a time of increasingly adversarial relations with Russia. General Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US ground forces in Europe, said 20,000 US-based troops will deploy next year to Europe where they will join some 9,000 other US soldiers already stationed there. Some 37,000 troops will then take part in exercises across 10 European countries from May to June, he told reporters at the Pentagon.

Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure'

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:25

Ed Smart told Gayle King he wanted to speak out publicly because he wanted to reach out to other gay men "who are struggling in the same spot."

Twin girls, 4, free themselves from car crash that killed their father in 'heroic' act

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:14

The twins unbuckled their booster seats, extricated themselves from the wreckage and climbed 200 feet up an embankment back to the main road.

Saudi Arabia Tightens Purse Strings But Aramco Cash Beckons

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:13

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will earmark less money for subsidies, social benefits and the military, embarking on three years of spending cuts as the government looks to private businesses to pull a greater load in channeling investment.A fiscal program unveiled on Monday marks a shift away from stimulus that helped power non-oil economic growth this year to the fastest since 2015. With output curbs negotiated by OPEC still a drag on the world’s biggest crude exporter, Saudi Arabia is expecting its sixth consecutive deficit to widen next year.Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview that Saudi Arabia would tap both the international and local bond markets in 2020 to help finance a budget shortfall that is expected to reach 6.4% of gross domestic product from 4.7% this year.“We have seen the effort of enabling the private sector to do some of the projects that we would have otherwise done which yielded a reduction of about 50 billion Saudi riyals from our expenditure envelope this year. That is going to continue next year,” Jadaan said.How Aramco’s record initial public offering will affect the biggest Arab economy in 2020 remains among the biggest questions hanging over its annual budget. The windfall of almost $26 billion could be used to soften the blow of spending cuts, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying in 2017 that at least half of the cash will be deployed at home by the Public Investment Fund.Jadaan said the PIF, which has its own board, was likely to allocate “a lot” of the Aramco proceeds to local investments, with the government projecting economic growth will accelerate to 2.3% next year from near zero despite the stimulus cut and an expected decline in oil revenues.The budget is based on an average Brent crude oil price of $65 per barrel in 2020, close to current levels, according to Bloomberg Economics.Read: The $26 Billion Question and What Else to Expect in Saudi BudgetFollowing are other highlights in the budget announcement:RevenueNext year’s revenue is expected at 833 billion riyals versus 917 billion riyals in 2019Oil revenue is seen at 513 billion riyals in 2020 compared with 602 billion this yearNon-oil revenue is expected to rise to 320 billion riyals next year versus an estimated 315 billion riyals in 2019SpendingSpending is expected to fall from about 1.05 trillion riyals this year to 1.02 trillion riyals in 2020, then to 955 billion riyals by 2022.Capital spending next year will rise slightly to 173 billion riyals, while the wage bill will stay unchanged at 504 billion riyals. Military spending is set to drop to 182 billion riyals in 2020 from 198 billion riyals this yearEconomic GrowthGDP is expected to grow 2.3% in the coming year, after being revised down to 0.4% this yearPrivate sector non-oil GDP grew 2.9% in the first half of 2019, while oil GDP shrank 1% in the period(Updates with finance minister’s comments in interview, details)\--With assistance from Reema Alothman, Sarah Algethami, Nour Al Ali and Lin Noueihed.To contact the reporters on this story: Abeer Abu Omar in Dubai at;Vivian Nereim in Riyadh at vnereim@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Walmart apologizes for selling a Christmas sweater that showed Santa at a table with lines of white powder and the words 'let it snow'

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:47

Walmart Canada also pulled a sweater showing Santa, naked from the waist, by a fireplace with the words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire."

Inspector General Finds FBI Probe into Trump Campaign Was Justified, But Not Perfect

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:42

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the FBI had adequate cause to open its probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russia

‘Fox & Friends’ Host Presses Kellyanne Conway: Is Rudy Giuliani Working for Trump or Himself?

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:29

Kellyanne Conway spent nearly 10 minutes ranting and raving Monday morning on Fox & Friends, receiving mostly agreeable nods and words of encouragement from the three hosts. When the White House counselor called out Democrats for preparing their impeachment strategy over the weekend, Steve Doocy replied, “Well, they were rehearsing because it’s a TV show and ultimately what they want to do is impeach the president.” “They want to impeach from day one,” Ainsley Earhardt said later. “And they say ‘collusion,’ ‘racism,’ now they’re saying this phone call with the Ukrainian president.” Conway couldn’t help but thank her for “making my point.” Kellyanne Conway Thinks Justin Trudeau Is Just ‘Jealous’ of TrumpThe only question that could be even be considered tough came near the end of the segment when Brian Kilmeade asked her, “Is Rudy Giuliani representing the president in the Ukraine? And is the president going to use that material to bolster his case? Or is he acting on his own?” Kilmeade pointed out that even conservative Congressman Matt Gaetz called the president’s personal lawyer’s trip this past week to Ukraine “weird.” President Donald Trump later indicated that Giuliani would be reporting his findings to Congress, adding, “I hear he found plenty.” “Well, Rudy is one of the president’s personal attorneys,” Conway answered. “And I think that was particularly true during the Mueller investigation, since that was an executive branch, Department of Justice investigation.” After giving Giuliani credit for “getting the upper hand” on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, she admitted, “I don’t know what Rudy’s doing in Ukraine, I know what I read, but I also know that I have no idea what he’s going to produce. So that’s a hypothetical I cannot address at this moment.” In other words, Conway would not confirm that Giuliani is in Ukraine on behalf of the president, but suggested that if he “produces” information that could help Trump then maybe he was after all. As Doocy tried to move her onto the next topic, Conway added, “If he’s rooting out corruption, great, because this was always about corruption.” There were no follow-up questions. Stephen Colbert Busts Rudy Giuliani’s Big Ukraine AdmissionRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:51

Turkey has deported to France the “Islamic State matchmaker” who lured a British teen bride to Syria as part of a drive to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Tooba Gondal, 25, is among 11 French nationals that Turkey repatriated early on Monday, according to France's Centre for Analysis of Terrorism, CAT, citing official sources. A French judicial source confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France. Two of the women returned were already targeted by arrest warrants and will soon face a judge, while the other two were sought by police and have been placed in custody, the French source said.  The children have been taken into care. Ms Gondal, from Walthamstow, east London, has been "detained for questioning" and faces terror charges, said CAT. She will then likely be detained while awaiting trial. She was born in France but moved to UK capital as a child and had British residency. A source close to the family told The Telegraph they were upset by the UK's decision to refuse her return. "Her kids most certainly will go into foster care away from her and any of her family in Britain,” said the source. Tooba Gondal, known as the 'Islamic State matchmaker' pictured before leaving for Syria in 2015 Ms Gondal has been accused of acting as an online recruiter and “matchmaker” for the terrorist group by luring women to Syria to marry Isil fighters. Among them was reportedly Bethnal Green schoolgirl Shamima Begum. She used social media to post images of herself wearing a burqa and holding an assault rifle. In October, Ms Gondal told the Telegraph how she managed to escape from Ain Issa camp with her two infant children, along with hundreds of other foreign suspected Isil women in a mass prison break after Turkey launched its offensive. She expressed a desire to be sent to the UK or Turkey. “I want to go home, see my family,” the former Goldsmiths, University of London, student said via WhatsApp messages. “But if I am not able, I want to seek refuge in Turkey." Married and widowed three times while living in Isil’s “caliphate”, she was banned from re-entering the UK last November by a Home Office exclusion order, but her three-year-old son is entitled to citizenship because of his British father. However, her 18-month-old daughter's late father was Russian. Last month, Turkey stepped up the return of suspected foreign Isil members - either held in Turkish prisons or in Syria - back to their countries of origin, saying Turkey was "not a hotel" for foreign fighters. The Turkish interior ministry on Monday confirmed it had sent 11 French relatives of suspected "terrorist fighters" back home. According to CAT, one of the deported women was Amandine Le Coz, who had been married to a Moroccan militant killed in Syria. She joined Isil with her husband in 2014. The French foreign ministry and interior ministry declined to comment. The mother-of-two, seen here with a Kalashnikov, was denied return to the United Kingdom with her children Credit: Telegraph Turkey stepped up its deportation of foreign fighters after criticism from Western countries, in particular, France, over its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria. The move has created a conundrum for European governments over how to manage the return of radicalised militants, some of them battle-hardened. Britain, which has taken one of the strongest stances against the return of its nationals, has deprived many of them of their citizenship. Under a 2014 accord between France and Turkey, Paris agreed to take back jihadists trying to return home from Syria via Turkey and incarcerate them at home. Some 300 French nationals have been thus returned in the past five years. However, France is keen on foreign suspects being sent for trial near to their place of arrest - notably Iraq, where several of its nationals have recently been handed death sentences. America last month clashed with Europe over the issue, with Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, insisting they needed to “hold them to account”. "Coalition members must take back the thousands of foreign terrorist fighters in custody and impose accountability for the atrocities they have perpetrated," he said in a meeting of the international coalition against Isil in Washington DC. Ankara says it has around 1,200 foreign Isil members in custody. There are understood to be around 10 British men, 20 women and 30 children, currently detained in Kurdish-run camps and prisons around north-east Syria.

A truckload giant just filed for bankruptcy, and it leaves nearly 3,000 truck drivers jobless

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:35

Celadon declared bankruptcy on Dec. 9, and that collapse is worrying truck drivers that they may be stranded.

People Have Taken Notice of Lawyer Steve Castor’s Grocery Bag at the Impeachment Hearing

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:30

The Republican lawyer made a very practical choice of briefcase.

Court to hear resentencing bid in Arizona death penalty case

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:29

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal Wednesday by an Arizona death row inmate who is seeking a new sentencing trial, arguing the horrific physical abuse that he suffered as a child wasn’t fully considered when he was first sentenced. The appeal of James Erin McKinney could affect as many as 15 of Arizona's 104 death row inmates. Attorneys say the Arizona courts used an unconstitutional test in examining the mitigating factors considered during the sentencing trials of the inmates.

Man wearing reindeer slippers tips woman out of wheelchair on train as he tries to steal it

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:12

A man has been arrested after a would-be thief tipped a woman out of her wheelchair on a train and attempted to steal it.CCTV footage of the incident shows a man dressed in a red jacket and reindeer slippers, who lept out of his seat and grabbed the handles of the wheelchair as the train approached a station.

Milo, the cat who went missing at Dulles airport in October, is reunited with owner

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:09

"Guess who’s home for the holidays!" wrote Molly McFadden, who has been reunited with Milo the cat, who went missing at Dulles Airport in October.

NASA says core stage of next Moon rocket now ready

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:05

NASA has completed the giant rocket that will take US astronauts back to the Moon, the space agency's head announced Monday, pledging the mission would take place in 2024 despite being beset by delays. The Space Launch System (SLS) is the tallest rocket ever built at a towering 212 feet (65 meters), the equivalent of a 20-story building. It is also the most powerful, designed to reach a record-breaking speed of Mach 23 before separating from its upper stage, the Orion crew capsule.

Serial rapist given 33 life sentences after UK rampage while wrongly free

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:59

A convicted burglar who assaulted and raped women and children during a two-week rampage across Britain while wrongly free from jail was given 33 life sentences on Monday, with the judge saying he would never cease to be a danger to society. Joseph McCann, 34, was convicted of 37 offences relating to 11 victims aged between 11 and 71, committed in April and May this year. Sentencing him at London's Old Bailey Court, judge Andrew Edis said he was "a coward, a violent bully and a paedophile".

U.S. Supreme Court rejects inmate's bid for sex reassignment surgery

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:56

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by a convicted murderer who filed a civil rights lawsuit because Texas prison officials denied her request to be considered for gender reassignment surgery. The justices let stand a lower court's decision to reject the claim by inmate Vanessa Lynn Gibson that denying the surgery request violated the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Gibson, 41, who is transgender and also goes by the name Scott in court papers, was assigned male at birth and has lived as a female since age 15.

Kosovo files IS terror charges against man, wife and mother

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:39

Kosovo prosecutors filed terrorism charges Monday against three ethnic Albanians who returned to the small European country in May after allegedly joining the Islamic State group in Syria. Prosecutors said the three are a man, his wife and his mother.

Saudi who killed 3 sailors was infuriated by ‘Pornstache’ nickname

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:24

The Saudi air force trainee who killed three sailors at a U.S. Navy base last week reportedly made an official complaint about being called “Pornstache” by one of his instructors.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona opioid case against Purdue, Sackler family

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 09:54

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a novel case by Arizona seeking to recover billions of dollars that the state has said that members of the Sackler family - owners of Purdue Pharma LP - funneled out of the OxyContin maker before the company filed for bankruptcy in September. The justices declined to take the rare step of allowing Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to pursue a case directly with the Supreme Court on the role the drugmaker played in the U.S. opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans annually in recent years. The lawsuit accused eight Sackler family members of funneling $4 billion out of Purdue from 2008 to 2016 despite being aware that the company faced massive potential liabilities over its marketing of opioid medications.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Berkeley cell phone law

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 09:46

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a free speech challenge brought by a trade group against a regulation issued by the California city of Berkeley that requires cell phone retailers to tell customers of certain radiation risks. The justices left in place a July 2019 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that refused to block the 2015 regulation that industry group CTIA appealed. CTIA said the regulation violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech rights, because the government, without the necessary justification that supports other types of regulations, is forcing retailers to spread a message they disagree with.