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As Betelgeuse Dims, Scientists Wonder If We're Watching a Star Die

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 13:46

The star is fading, and scientists are trying to figure out what that means.

Hanukkah candles burn in Iraqi Kurdistan

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 13:40

Al-Qosh (Irak) (AFP) - In the glow of the nine-candled menorah, with kippa skullcaps on their heads and tallit prayer shawls around their shoulders, a small association is working to revive Hanukkah in Iraq. The country has been nearly emptied of its Jewish community amid regional conflict and violence within its borders, but this year, the town of Al-Qosh hosted its first Hanukkah celebrations. Al-Qosh is a majority Christian town around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Mosul, the former self-proclaimed "capital" of the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq.

Maryland police identify pilot killed in plane crash

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 13:21

The New York pilot who died when his plane crashed into a suburban Washington, D.C., home was communicating with air traffic controllers before impact, a federal investigator said Monday. Allen's plane took off from College Park, Maryland, and was bound for White Plains, New York.

A sports reporter who died in a Louisiana plane crash tried to contact her husband before the aircraft went down. He didn't see her text.

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 13:06

A sports journalist named Carley McCord was one of five people who died in a plane crash near Louisiana's Lafayette Regional Airport on Saturday.

Juul employees vape at desks despite company threat to dock bonuses for e-cigarette use, report says

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 13:02

Juul banned vaping at its offices last year, but some employees continue to use e-cigarettes at their desks, in hallways and in meetings, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Blumenthal: Some GOP 'have very severe misgivings' about McConnell impeachment strategy

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 12:46

Richard Blumenthal stated he believes some Senate Republicans are concerned with McConnell working with the White House on Trump's impeachment trial.

Trump Boss Twists Hanukkah Attack to Push Anti-Immigrant Agenda

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:46

The Trump administration appeared on Monday to be trying to turn the latest violent anti-Semitic attack in New York into an anti-immigrant parable. Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, claimed in a morning tweet that 38-year-old Grafton Thomas, a U.S. citizen who allegedly stabbed five people at a Hanukkah party over the weekend, was the “son of an illegal alien who got amnesty under the 1986 amnesty law for illegal immigrants.” It’s not clear where Cuccinelli got that information or if it was correct.“Apparently, American values did not take hold among this entire family, at least this one violent, and apparently bigoted, son,” Cuccinelli wrote.Cuccinelli has pushed for aggressive anti-immigrant policies since his time as a state lawmaker in Virginia. For the Trump White House, he has argued against birthright U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented parents and suggested the words on the Statue of Liberty were only aimed at European immigrants.After several people called out Cuccinelli’s tweet and its apparent condemnation of a Reagan-era bipartisan immigration law, the post was either deleted or otherwise removed from his Twitter page.Further on the right, white supremacists celebrated Thomas’ race on 4chan and Telegram, where they discussed pushing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that they hoped would inspire violence against Jews by black Americans, whom they described with racist slurs.Thomas, who is black, allegedly burst into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in the New York suburb of Monsey on Saturday night around 10 p.m., as dozens of guests were celebrating Hanukkah.He allegedly stabbed and wounded five people with a machete, and he was charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. All of the victims survived, but one is said to remain in critical condition with a skull fracture.Federal prosecutors on Monday also filed federal hate crime charges against Thomas and said in court documents that he had expressed anti-Semitic sentiments in hand-written journals.The patrol officers who arrested Thomas discovered him “covered with blood,” The New York Times reported. Thomas pleaded not guilty to all charges on Sunday morning at his arraignment in Ramapo, New Jersey.Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called the attack a “blatant act of domestic terrorism that sought to inflict violence, incite hate and generate fear” and ordered the State Police hate-crimes task force to investigate.Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Caught With Bloody Machete in His CarThomas’ family told CNN he had no history of anti-Semitism, violent behavior, or prior convictions. They said he is “not a member of any hate groups” and have reportedly asked his attorney, Michael Sussman, to request a mental-health evaluation for Thomas, who has “a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations” and “was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races.”Sussman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Monday.United Methodist Church Pastor Wendy Paige said that she has known Thomas for 10 years and that he is “not a violent person.”“Grafton is not a terrorist, he is a man who has mental illness in America, and the systems that be have not served him well,” Paige told the New York Post. “I have been his pastor for a long time and I have seen him, he is not a violent person, he is a confused person.”“We apologize to the families for him,” said Paige. “We apologize because we know this was not him, this was an action out of mental illness, please understand… Please let’s work on our systems for mental illness.”After a deadly anti-Semitic shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City this month and an “alarming” surge in anti-Semitic violence in the New York area, police have said they stepped up patrols in at least three Brooklyn neighborhoods.—Staff writer Kelly Weill contributed to this report.Read 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.

Iraq militia chief warns U.S. airstrikes could bring tough response

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:42

A top Iraqi militia leader warned of a strong response against U.S. forces in Iraq following airstrikes in Iraq and Syria overnight that hit several bases of his Iranian-backed group and killed at least 25 people.

Points of Progress: Where good news happened in 2019

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:42

Our correspondents report on significant steps of progress their regions have made headed into 2020.

Giuliani reportedly defied White House policy to oust Maduro from office

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:25

Rudy Giuliani, a personal lawyer of President Trump, defied White House foreign policy to ease Venezuela's socialist President Nicolás Maduro out of office last year, the Washington Post reported.

Trump's national security adviser thinks Kim Jong Un's family name is Un

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:24

A national security adviser should probably know what to call the most notorious dictator in the world.But President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien seemed unsure of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's name in a Sunday interview with ABC News' Jon Karl. When asked about North Korea's threatened "Christmas gift" that failed to materialize, O'Brien referred to Kim as "Chairman Un," which is not how he's supposed to be acknowledged.North Korea has reportedly been ramping up missile tests in the past few weeks, and promised to deliver a "Christmas gift" to the U.S. if denuclearization talks continued to stall. Christmas passed without any sign of a missile launch or attack, and O'Brien said Sunday that Kim may have reconsidered his threat. Still, "we always monitor the situation" because "Chairman Un has said that there would be something over Christmas," O'Brien said.That's where O'Brien swapped Kim's family name for his given name — Chairman Kim would've been the right way of putting it. O'Brien may want a quick refresher on how Korean and other east Asian names work in case he ends up succeeding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who may step down to run for Senate in Kansas.More stories from Giants, Browns fire head coaches on otherwise quiet 'Black Monday' The White House always knew Trump's order to freeze Ukraine aid could blow up, New York Times details The best headlines of 2019

Why Does Russia Want the United States to Buy the F-15EX Fighter?

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 11:00

We shouldn't take Moscow's advice.

Human remains — including 2 decapitated heads — were found on a North Korean 'ghost ship' that washed ashore in Japan

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 10:57

The vessel washed ashore on the Japanese island of Sado on Friday. Officials said they found seven human remains onboard.

Police say a Florida Grubhub driver attacked 2 Burger King workers by swinging a 3-foot ashtray after being told his order wasn't ready

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 10:25

A Grubhub deliveryman was charged with assault, with police saying he attacked two employees at a Florida Burger King.

Turkey’s Erdogan Seeks One-Year Mandate to Send Troops to Libya

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 10:15

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has formally asked parliament in Ankara for a one-year mandate to send troops to Libya, where the UN-recognized government is battling forces led by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.Turkey needs to take measures “against all threats and security risks” that endanger its national interests, according to the motion, which was signed by Erdogan on Monday. The proposal leaves the decision on the “limit, extent, amount and timing” of any deployment to the president himself and adds that the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has requested Turkish support.The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop urged the assembly to hold an extraordinary meeting on Jan. 2. Both the ruling Justice & Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party support the motion. The two parties hold a combined 339 seats out of a total 589.READ: Turkish Navy to Guard Tripoli as Syrian Rebels May Join War (1)Turkey aims to send its navy to protect Tripoli, the capital and seat of the internationally-recognized government, a senior Turkish official told Bloomberg last week, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.Turkey earlier in December signed a maritime deal with oil-rich Libya that serves the energy interests of both countries and aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict.To contact the reporters on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at;Firat Kozok in Ankara at fkozok@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at, Constantine Courcoulas, Michael GunnFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Make No Mistake: China Would Destroy U.S. Cities In A Nuclear War

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 10:00

No one wins in a nuclear war.

Rudy Giuliani reportedly participated in a phone call with Nicolás Maduro. The White House was confused.

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 09:48

You've probably heard about President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani getting involved with Ukraine, but he also played a role in back-channel negotiations regarding Venezuela, The Washington Post reports. And nobody was really sure why.In September 2018, Giuliani, who isn't an official member of the Trump administration, reportedly listened in on a phone call between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) — who went on to assist Giuliani in the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — in which the sides discussed easing Maduro from power.When White House officials eventually found out about Giuliani's participation in the phone call, alarms bell went off, the Post reports. They reportedly couldn't figure out why someone in a private role was getting involved in a shadow diplomatic effort, especially because Giuliani and Sessions' plan went against the White House's official sanctions-heavy stance championed by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. "We didn't know why Rudy was involved at the time," a former senior administration official said.Giuliani reportedly met with Bolton around the time of the phone call to discuss the softer proposal, and sources told the Post it didn't go well. Washington went on to stick with the tougher line.It's not exactly clear why Giuliani was involved in the discussions or how large his role was, but even if it was just the one phone call, the White House still found it a head-scratcher. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from Giants, Browns fire head coaches on otherwise quiet 'Black Monday' The White House always knew Trump's order to freeze Ukraine aid could blow up, New York Times details The best headlines of 2019

Homeowners in North Carolina called 911 to report an intruder. It turned out to be a rogue Roomba

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 09:44

A man and his wife in North Carolina called 911 after hearing noises coming from downstairs. It wasn't an intruder.

Iraq Resumes Oil Output at Field Halted by Protesters

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 09:18

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq resumed pumping at the Nasiriya oil field a day after protesters forced it to halt operations, the government said, as widespread unrest starts to take a toll on the country’s most important industry.Employees returned to work at the field in southern Iraq after authorities cleared away protesters who had cut roads to the area, Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said Monday in a statement. OPEC’s second-biggest producer maintained its overall output level during the halt by pumping more oil at its Basra fields to offset the loss of about 80,000 to 85,000 barrels a day from Nasiriya, Jihad said earlier.Nasiriya’s oil refinery, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the field, also restarted after shutting down on Sunday when about 700 protesters blocked worker access to the plant, according to a person familiar with the operations. The refinery in the southern province of Thiqar processes crude into gasoline, fuel oil and kerosene sold mostly in the province. All three of its units are back on line, the person said, asking not to be identified due to the matter’s sensitivity.Protesters -- most of them unemployed and some of them recent graduates -- have rallied repeatedly over the past two months near southern oil fields and refineries, though Nasiriya was the first field to be closed due to the disturbances. Iraq is the largest producer, after Saudi Arabia, in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It pumps most its oil at deposits in the south, exporting cargoes by sea through the Persian Gulf.Iraq’s oil production is in line with limits set by OPEC and the group’s global allies, Jihad said. The so-called OPEC+ coalition has decided to reduce its collective output until the end of March in an effort to balance the market and prop up crude prices.Around 500 people have died and more than 22,000 others have been wounded in clashes between security forces and protesters since Oct. 1. Iraqis, mostly from the Shiite majority population, are protesting against government corruption, poor services, and wide-ranging Iranian political influence, calling for an overhaul of the ruling class.(Updates with refinery restarting in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Salma El Wardany.To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Al-Ansary in Baghdad at kalansary@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at, James HerronFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Indonesia protests to China over border intrusion near South China Sea

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 09:08

Indonesia said on Monday it had protested to Beijing over the presence of a Chinese coastguard vessel in its territorial waters near the disputed South China Sea, saying it marked a "violation of sovereignty".