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|President Trump abruptly yanks sanctions on North Korea because he 'likes' dictator Kim Jong Un
President Donald Trump overruled his own Treasury Department and withdrew new sanctions aimed at North Korea because he "likes" dictator Kim Jong Un.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 8:46 PM
|UN chief visits mosque, stresses sanctity of religious sites
NEW YORK (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres went to the first mosque built in New York City on Friday to show solidarity with the Muslim community, urging people everywhere "to reaffirm the sanctity of all places of worship and the safety of all worshippers."
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 7:07 PM
|Isil 'totally eliminated' in Syria: Caliphate destroyed in final stronghold
The last pocket of Islamic State territory has fallen, Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday, marking the end of the group's "caliphate" four-and-a-half years after it was declared. "Total elimination of (the) so-called caliphate", Mustafa Bali, the SDF spokesman, wrote on Twitter. "The military victory against Daesh has been accomplished." The SDF had Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) cornered in a patch of land smaller than one-mile-square in the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz, before finally dealing them defeat. A small number of Isil fighters, most of them foreign, refused to surrender and fought to the last. Fighters of the SDF dance as they celebrate near the Omar oil field in the eastern Syrian Deir Ezzor province after announcing the total elimination of Isil Credit: AFP An unfathomable number of people - mostly women and children related to Isil members - have streamed out of Baghuz in the past weeks. The Kurdish-led SDF said its fighters were surprised by the amount of civilians - which in the end totalled more than 60,000 and forced them to slow their advance. For the last week, the SDF and US-led coalition has been pummeling the Baghuz pocket in the hope of bringing the battle to an end. Syrians on social media criticised the coalition for its heavy use of air strikes, after graphic photographs emerged purporting to show the charred bodies of women and children, as well as piles of corpses littering Baghuz. Isil had been given several chances by the SDF to evacuate out of safe passages. Those left at the end had rejected the offers and had effectively been using their families as human shields. There is no accurate estimate of how many were killed in the final stand. The end of Isil | Read more The battle took 1,737 days - four times longer than the liberation of western Europe from the Nazis. It took 100,000 bombs, two national armies, a band of militias, the might of the US, British and French air forces and a coalition of nearly 70 countries to defeat the jihadists. During their height they controlled territory spanning two countries that was roughly the size of Britain, imposing a radical and unforgiving interpretation of Islam over nearly 10 million people. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared an end to modern countries and called on supporters to join their jihadist utopia. Tens of thousands from all over the world came to live in the self-declared caliphate - the first in modern times. Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gesture the "V" for victory sign as they come back from the frontline in the Islamic State group's last remaining position in the village of Baghuz Credit: AFP Isil used their base in Syria and Iraq as launchpad for attacks around the globe, including the Paris attacks in 2015 which killed more than 130 people. At the same time, they began terrorising those they ruled over, carrying out large-scale massacres and public executions. While the battle may be over, questions still remain; such as the whereabouts of Baghdadi and the fate of a number of high-profile hostages including captured British journalist John Cantlie. There are rumours Baghdadi could be hiding out in the Anbar desert in western Iraq. While Isil has now lost all the urban territory they once held, it continues to have a presence in the desert of both Syria and Iraq. Photo Dispatch: The final days of the Isil caliphate Isil declared in an audio message from its spokesman this week that the group would not be weakened by any defeat in Baghuz and urged its followers across Syria to attack the SDF elsewhere in the country. "Avenge the blood of your brothers and sisters.. set up the )explosive) devices and deploy the snipers," said Abu Hassan al-Muhajir. The SDF too has warned the end of the physical caliphate did not mark the end of Isil. Isil sleeper cells have stepped up attacks on SDF forces in recent weeks, attacking areas where once they controlled. Local Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces fear a return of Isil once the US withdraws most of its 2,000 forces in April. US intelligence agencies have warned that the jihadists would likely resurge in Syria within six to 12 months and regain limited territory if sustained pressure is not maintained. Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees US military operations in the Middle East as commander of Central Command, told Congress earlier this month that extremism in Iraq and Syria is a "generational problem." Iraqi Special Forces soldiers surveyed the aftermath of an Isil suicide car bomb that managed to reach their lines in the Andalus neighbourhood, one of the last areas to be liberated in east Mosul Credit: Ivor Prickett/The New York Times Indeed it is not one that will likely be solved quickly. Tens of thousands of Isil suspects and their families are in prisons and camps in Iraq and Syria. Many have not been formally accused, others have been deemed guilty by association. It was in overcrowded camps like these that Baghdadi and a cadre of like-minded extremists formed a group that would later morph into Isil. The last to leave the final holdout expressed few regrets about how their jihadist project turned out, many continuing to pledge allegiance to a ruined caliphate they had already reconciled to losing. "Don't think we are surrendering," one woman leaving Baghuz told the Telegraph, "we are saving ourselves to rise again."
POSTED MARCH 23, 2019 6:06 AM
|JetBlue pilots who drugged and raped flight attendants continued working for airline without repercussion, lawsuit says
Three female flight attendants claim they were drugged and two of them raped by two JetBlue pilots during a layover in Puerto Rico, a new lawsuit filed this week in New York federal court has claimed. At least one of the female flight attendants said she was forced to work with one of the accused pilots after the alleged rape. After making their way to a beach in Puerto Rico near the hotel they were staying during their layover in May of last year, the women were offered sips from one of the flight attendant’s alcoholic beverages.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 1:20 PM
|School shooting survivor stricken by 'survivor's guilt' takes own life
A teenager who survived the Parkland school shooting in Florida has killed herself while struggling with survivors' guilt, local media reported Friday. Sydney Aiello, 19, was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas last February 14 when a former student opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, killing 14 students and three staff members. Among the dead were two of Aiello's best friends, Meadow Pollack and Joaquin Oliver.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 7:05 PM
|Missouri River flooding forces evacuation of 7,500 from waterfront city
Record floodwaters that submerged vast stretches of Nebraska and Iowa farmland along America's longest river reached a new crest on Friday at the waterfront city of St. Joseph, Missouri, forcing chaotic evacuations of thousands from low-lying areas. With emergency sirens blaring as the Missouri River rose to the top of the three-story-high levee wall in St. Joseph, about 55 miles (88 km) north of Kansas City, Missouri, sheriff's deputies rushed door-to-door urging residents to flee to higher ground.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 7:18 PM
|IRS Loosens Tax Penalty for Millions
The IRS said today that because of changes and confusion caused by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it will penalize fewer taxpayers who didn't withhold enough federal taxes in 2018. Before the rul...
POSTED MARCH 23, 2019 11:22 AM
|`I am Not a Monster`: Indiana Teacher Accused of Injuring Student Defends Herself
A teacher at Tindley Summit Academy says she spent days in jail despite the fact that she`s innocent, and now prosecutors are declining to press charges.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 1:27 PM
|It’s not too late to get Anker’s hottest true wireless earbuds at the lowest price of 2019
If you want cord-free Bluetooth earbuds that offer great sound and battery life from a company you know only releases high-quality products, there's a deal on Amazon that you're definitely going to want to check out. The Soundcore Liberty Neo Truly-Wireless Earbuds by Anker offer fantastic sound quality and great battery life, so they're a bargain at $65. That's less than half of what Apple charges for AirPods! But if you pick up a pair right now before Amazon's sale ends, you'll only pay $49.99.Here are the bullet points from the product page: * 【Breathtaking Sound】Exceptional clarity delivered via Graphene drivers with deep, resonant bass. * 【Smaller & Lighter】Incredible comfort and seamless sound that sits effortlessly in your ears. * 【12-Hour Playtime】Get 3.5 hours' playtime from a single charge and 9 extra hours in the compact charging case. * 【Ultra-Fast Pairing】PUSH AND GO Technology simplifies the setup process so the last-paired device automatically connects on startup. * 【IPX5 Protection】Resists liquids for workouts in the sun or songs in the rain.
POSTED MARCH 22, 2019 12:17 PM
|What does the Mueller report mean for Trump? The key questions answered
The special counsel has filed his report on the Trump-Russia investigation. Here’s what we know so far * Support the Guardian’s independent journalism and make a contributionRobert Mueller, 74, was in private practice, after having served for 12 years as director of the FBI, as a US attorney, and as a marine. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP What does Mueller’s report say?We don’t know yet. We know that Mueller has filed his report to William Barr, the attorney general, and that Barr has informed Congress that he received it.Mueller was only required, under the regulations on special counsels, to explain to Barr whom he decided to prosecute, whom he declined to prosecute, and why. But it is possible that he added more detail on what he found out. A justice department official said on Friday the report was “comprehensive”.Barr did disclose on Friday that there were no actions proposed by Mueller that Barr overruled. This means that Mueller apparently made it to the end of his investigation free from interference from Trump’s administration. What does it mean for Donald Trump?The report is likely to reveal whether or not Mueller discovered any coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives who interfered in the 2016 election.Trump has repeatedly denied that there was any such coordination, and no Americans have yet been charged for it. But Mueller has accused Trump’s former campaign chairman of sharing polling data with an alleged Russian intelligence asset.The report may also say whether or not Mueller’s team concluded that Trump obstructed justice – or attempted to – by firing James Comey, the former FBI director, or taking other actions. What happens with the report now?It is not clear how much of the report will be given to Congress and the public.Barr said in his letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Friday that he was reviewing the report and “may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend”.Barr said he would separately be discussing with Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, what other information could be revealed to Congress and the public.The attorney general told Congress that he was “committed to as much transparency as possible” but said he would also be guided by the justice department’s “long-standing practices and policies”. Typically the department does not make public derogatory information about people who are not being charged.In any case Democrats, who control the House, have vowed to obtain the full report and make it public. If Barr resists this, a legal dispute may follow. What were Mueller’s findings before this report?Mueller documented, in lengthy and detailed indictments, a long-term and multi-level effort by Russia to tamper in US elections and sow discord online. Mueller’s documentation of the Russian espionage and sabotage efforts contrasted with Trump’s equivocation on whether Russia had engaged in such activity.Mueller also uncovered and documented ties and contacts, before and after the 2016 election, between Russians and key former Trump aides including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Michael Cohen. All have pleaded guilty to criminal conduct or been convicted by a jury.Mueller had also referred investigations to outside prosecutors’ offices in New York and Virginia, which have resulted in convictions against or guilty pleas from Manafort, Cohen and Gates, and which have led to ongoing investigations of alleged criminal conduct inside the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, Trump’s inaugural committee and the presidential transition team.In all, Mueller had previously indicted or secured guilty pleas from 34 individuals (including 26 Russians and six former Trump aides) and three Russian corporations. With near unanimity, former prosecutors and legal analysts have judged Mueller’s work to have been completed with speed and precision. What was Mueller’s brief?Mueller was appointed on 17 May 2017, to serve as special counsel for the Department of Justice. The appointment was prompted by the firing of the FBI director, James Comey, eight days earlier; the recusal of the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from matters pertaining to the Russia investigation; and a perceived need to protect and advance open investigations into Russian election tampering and the Trump campaign.An official letter of authorization signed by the acting attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, authorized Mueller to investigate (quoting from the document):> (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and> > (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and> > (iii) any other matters within the scope of [the statute prescribing the special counsel’s jurisdiction]. How long did it take? How much did it cost?Mueller turned in his report 674 days after his appointment. By the end of last December, the investigation had cost about $27m, Politifact estimated – a fraction of the cost of special prosecutor investigations in decades past. Accounting for the estimated $48m that Mueller’s team has clawed back from tax cheats, the net cost of the Mueller investigation could be negative. Are any other Trump-related investigations still ongoing?Yes, lots. While the special counsel’s office has concluded its work, investigations taken up by federal prosecutors in the southern and eastern districts of New York continue, and prosecutors have also been active in the eastern district of Virginia and the District of Columbia. Unlike Mueller, those prosecutors are not bound by narrow authorizations dictating what activity they can investigate, and there is no pressure to hasten the investigations.Congress is conducting separate investigations of Trump’s campaign and other matters. Evidence gathered by Mueller could feed those investigations. What’s next for Mueller?Mueller’s duties connected with his appointment as special counsel are now complete, and he is not expected to take on a further public role. Before agreeing to the special counsel appointment, Mueller, 74, was in private practice, after having served for 12 years as director of the FBI, as a US attorney, and as a marine. He has not announced future plans.
POSTED MARCH 23, 2019 10:33 AM