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Israel's air defences intercepted four rockets fired from neighbouring Syria on Tuesday, the army said, prompting reported retaliatory missile strikes against the source of the fire. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rockets were fired from positions around the capital held by groups loyal to the Damascus government. It did not elaborate on which group had launched the rockets or whether there had been any casualties in the retaliatory strikes.
In her first public appearance since being deported by U.S. authorities who had jailed her for being a Russian agent, Maria Butina was on Monday offered a job by Moscow to defend Russians imprisoned abroad. During an event for the media, Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, offered Butina, 31, a job working for her commission. Butina, who flew back to Russia on Oct. 26 after being deported, did not say whether she would accept the offer made at what she called her first public appearance since she was mobbed by wellwishers in front of the media at the airport on her arrival home.
Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death. The wealthy financier died at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.
(Bloomberg) -- A family trust that lent money to an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani is trying to recover more than $500,000 from the defendant and a political action committee tied to President Donald Trump to which he contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars.Lev Parnas, who is accused of using donations to push for Marie Yovanovitch to be recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, owes the Pues Family Trust $510,000, court records show.The trust filed a claim against Parnas in 2011 for $350,000 after he failed to repay a loan. In 2016, a judge in New York granted it the larger award, which reflects interest. The trust registered the judgment in a Florida court this year to pursue the matter where Parnas lives.A filing on Monday in which the trust also names the political action committee, America First, as a source of funds for repayment is separate from the criminal charges against Parnas. But it comes as House Democrats enter their second week of public impeachment hearings, in which the sudden recall of Yovanovitch plays a central role.Parnas and a co-defendant, Lev Fruman, have been indicted in New York on allegations that they hid the source of campaign donations, including $325,000 given in 2018 to America First, which campaigns for causes advocated by Trump. Parnas is accused of using donations to lobby a congressman at the time, Pete Sessions of Texas, for the ouster of Yovanovitch. Trump recalled her in May.Parnas’s lawyer Edward MacMahon and a spokeswoman for America First didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the trust’s civil filing. Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case.Read More: Giuliani Ukraine Allies Arrested With One-Way Flight TicketsThe filing begins to explain a question that has hovered over the case since Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month as they sought to leave the U.S. with one-way plane tickets: where they got the money they used for donations that opened the door to the president’s inner circle.The money “should have been used to satisfy the judgment, but was used for improper purposes,” the filing said. “The money apparently was used to curry favor with the country’s political elite in the GOP, a purely personal goal.”The documents filed in Florida allege that the money for the contribution came from a shell company called Aaron Investments that Parnas used to hide assets and avoid creditors. Lawyers for the trust asked a judge to enter a judgment against America First, Parnas and the shell companies.Read More: Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on Campaign Finance, Lobbying BreachesAaron Investments received the money from a private lending transaction, according to prosecutors. The money Parnas borrowed from the trust isn’t alleged to be the money used to make the donation, but the trust argues that the $325,000 America First received should be among the funds made available to satisfy the $510,000 judgment.When Parnas and Fruman were charged last month, America First said it had placed the money in a segregated account and left it untouched after questions were raised about it in a Federal Election Commission complaint and related litigation last year.In the criminal case, Parnas and Fruman have been allowed to remain free on bail under house arrest pending trial.The civil case is Pues Family Trust vs. Parnas Holdings Inc., 19-mc-80024, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach).(Updates with context on Yovanovitch and requests for comment in first six paragraphs)\--With assistance from Andrew Harris.To contact the reporter on this story: Christian Berthelsen in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Peter JeffreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Great Firewall may have been breached.Beijing doubled down Monday after The New York Times published a report on over 400 leaked documents that provided a look into China's mass detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang region, though the government didn't dispute the authenticity of the documents."It is precisely because of a series of preventative counterterrorism and de-extremism measures taken in a timely manner that Xinjiang, which had been deeply plagued by terrorism, has not had a violent terrorist incident for three years," said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Geng added that the Times took things out of context in an attempt to "smear and discredit China's antiterrorism and de-extremism capabilities."But aside from Geng's comments, the Times reports that Chinese state media said little else about the issue, which is not surprising given the sensitive nature of the issue. But there were signs that at least some aspects of the leak snuck past Beijing's internet firewall, which blocks access to the Times. One user on Chinese social media platform Weibo reportedly posted about Wang Yongzhi, an official cited in the report who initially helped implement China's harsh measure, but eventually ordered the release of more than 7,000 detention camp inmates before he was arrested. "History will not forget this person and this page of paper," the Weibo user wrote, indicating that the documents might have made their way through. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com The potential lie that could actually destroy Trump The coming death of just about every rock legend Everyone will eventually turn on Trump. Even Steve Doocy.
The Trump administration is set to harden the rules this week on those allowed to seek asylum in the United States, as it attempts to stem a wave of migration on its southern border with Mexico.
A Buttigieg campaign spokesman apologized for the use of the photo "and for the confusion it created," adding that the use of stock photos is "standard practice."
France lamented on Tuesday a U.S. decision to end a sanctions waiver related to Iran's Fordow nuclear facility, but also said it feared Tehran's latest violations of a 2015 deal could lead to serious nuclear proliferation. "We regret the decision of the United States, following Iran's resumption of enrichment on the Fordow site, to terminate an exemption that would facilitate the conduct of civilian projects on this site," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in an online briefing. The Trump administration, which last year pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, had until Monday let the work go forward at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant by issuing waivers to sanctions that bar non-U.S. firms from dealing with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
A powerful deterrent.
Some families of the 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a truck in Britain last month will take on steep loans from the government to repatriate their relatives' remains, they told AFP Tuesday. Vietnam's foreign ministry said they would help to bring either the ashes or the bodies of the victims back -- but that families would have to cover the cost of repatriation. Families in central Vietnam, where many of the 39 victims come from, said they were desperate to bring their loved ones back nearly four weeks after the tragedy, despite the debt they will have to take on.
Senior Islamic State members with access to “huge” amounts of money are in Turkey and plotting a comeback, an Iraqi spy chief has warned. Lieutenant General Saad al-Allaq, head of Iraq’s Military Intelligence, claimed in an interview with CNN that Iraq has given Ankara dossiers on nine alleged leaders of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), including top financiers for the terror group. The general said senior Isil figures known as "emirs" have access to vast reserves of cash and were forming new cells in Turkey. He claimed many of them had managed to escape from Isil’s final patch of territory in Baghouz, eastern Syria, after bribing Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to reach Idlib in the north-west. From there, he said, they crossed the border to Gaziantep in southern Turkey. "Some of its important leadership fled north, I mean in the direction of neighbouring countries and into border areas like Gazientep," Lt. Gen. Allaq said. US Special Forces, figures at lower right, moving toward compound of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Credit: Department of Defense "They have secretly crossed into these areas from the Syrian-Turkish border - top leaders who have money. They crossed with the help of smugglers by paying large amount of money and have secretly entered Turkish territory." He added: "Those elements who are right now in Turkey play a key role in the recruitment of fighters and terrorists." CNN was shown Iraq’s arrest warrants for the nine men, who are described as bomb makers. Lt. Gen. Allaq said the men were "among the best bomb makers that Isis ever had." Lt. Gen. Allaq, who rarely gives interviews, said Iraq had intelligence that Isil leaders were planning jailbreaks of its supporters held in prisons and camps across Syria and Iraq. Isil members are led away to be questioned by coalition forces after surrendering, near Baghuz, eastern Syria Credit: Sam Tarling Turkey told the US network they were looking into the allegations. He said a new Isil mission code-named "Break Down the Fences" intended to storm jails where their followers were being held and try to replenish its manpower. Several high-profile Isil figures and their family members have been discovered in recent weeks in or near Turkey. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, was found hiding three miles from the border of Turkey in the Syria village of Barisha in Idlib, where he was killed in a US raid on October 26. Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, Isil’s spokesman, was killed the following day several miles away near the town of Jarablus, which is under Turkish administration. Turkey then announced arrests it had made of Baghdadi’s relatives, who had apparently been hiding in the country.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom cracked down on oil producers Tuesday, halting approval of hundreds of fracking permits until independent scientists can review them and temporarily banning new wells using another drilling method that regulators believe is linked to one of the largest spills in state history. The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources announced it will not approve new wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground. It’s the type of process Chevron uses at an oil field in the Central Valley that leaked more than 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million liters) of oil and water this summer.
"Dad, I'm sitting here today ... is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union," Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said.
(Bloomberg) -- Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn defied his negative ratings to draw level with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a crucial television debate ahead of the U.K.’s general election.The opposition leader, who’s been lagging behind Johnson in personal approval scores, effectively tied with the premier in a snap poll on which candidate won the clash Tuesday night. The pound remained lower after the survey.The YouGov/Sky News poll of 1,600 people gave Johnson a narrow victory, with 51% saying he won the ITV debate, against 49% saying Corbyn performed best.That was a significant turnaround for Corbyn, 70, who has struggled to persuade the public that he is prime minister material.He went into the election campaign with a net satisfaction rating of minus 60. That was by far the lowest such score since IpsosMORI started tracking the ratings in 1979. Johnson’s score stood at plus 2 when the figures were compiled at the end of October.While Corbyn fared better than expected this time, his party remains stuck behind the Conservatives in the polls. It was only one debate, and more are planned, including another head-to-head between the two leaders on Dec. 6.The YouGov verdict followed an hour of clashes between the two men vying to lead the U.K. in what is one of the highest stakes elections in recent British history.When voters cast their ballots on Dec. 12, they will face a choice between Johnson’s promise to deliver a speedy Brexit and Corbyn’s pledge to call another referendum on European Union membership that could ultimately allow the divorce to be canceled.Corbyn received applause and landed verbal punches on Johnson, 55, who struggled to win over an audience that laughed and groaned as he tried to steer the topic back to Brexit.In his most successful moments, Corbyn said he would give the prime minister a festive present of Charles Dickens’s classic short story, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ so he could learn how “nasty” the miserly Scrooge was. Corbyn also attacked the royal family over its handling of Prince Andrew’s friendship with the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, saying the monarchy needed “improvement.”Corbyn struggled to shake off allegations that antisemitism is rife inside the Labour Party, and was mocked by some audience members for claiming his policy on Brexit was clear, when he could not say whether he would vote to remain or leave the bloc in a referendum he’s promising to hold. But he won a cheer for promising to end the privatization of the National Health Service.Johnson had one big message: That he could get Brexit done – and quickly. It served him well in the opening 20 minutes, but then his repeated attempts to make it all about Brexit began to look forced. For example, when trying to think of a Christmas gift for Corbyn, he said he’d send him a copy of “my brilliant Brexit deal.”There were other awkward moments for the Tory leader. Some audience members laughed when Johnson said he believed trust was important in politics.The theme of trustworthiness also featured in the spin battle between the rival parties afterward. Tory Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appeared among reporters backstage in Salford, northwestern England, to say “there is a real issue of trust” with Corbyn’s Brexit stance. Labour’s trade spokesman accused Johnson of telling “lie after lie after lie.” YouGov’s pollsters found Corbyn beat Johnson 45% to 40% on trustworthiness.“The choice is very simple: we can get Brexit done or we can spend another year with another referendum,” Johnson said in his closing remarks. “If we have a working majority Conservative government, I pledge we will have a Parliament that works for you, that focuses on the NHS and the cost of living, because when we get Brexit done by Jan. 31 we will go forward.”Corbyn used his final message of the night to promise to protect the NHS and invest in “good jobs” across the country. “Vote for hope and vote for Labour on the 12th of December,” he said.According to the YouGove poll, Corbyn beat Johnson 59% to 25% on being in touch with ordinary people. But Johnson beat Corbyn 54% to 29% on appearing prime ministerial and 54% to 37% on being likeable.Although the headline result was a draw, 67% of respondents thought Corbyn performed well, against 59% for Johnson. That suggested the Labour leader had done better than people thought he would.(Adds pound, quotes, context.)\--With assistance from Greg Ritchie.To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in Salford, England at firstname.lastname@example.org;Tim Ross in London at email@example.com;Robert Hutton in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Hong Kong students shot arrows at police firing tear gas as escalating violence paralyzed the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's educational system.
An obsessive compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia's recent devastating bushfires. Bear, a Cattle Dog cross-breed, is trained to find both koalas and and quolls, another small Australian marsupial, in the wild. "This is the first year that we have been involved in the fires," Romane Cristescu, his minder and ecologist at The University of the Sunshine Coast, told Reuters.
The student newspaper reported that a black female student was called the N-word while walking on campus Saturday night.
A Norwegian man freed by Moscow from an espionage jail term as part of a spy swap between Lithuania and Russia said on Tuesday he felt "deceived" by his country's intelligence service. Frode Berg, 64, a retired Norwegian border guard, was detained in Moscow in 2017 following a sting operation by Russia's FSB security service and freed on Friday as part of an exchange reminiscent of the Cold War.
The defense ministers of South Korea and China have agreed to develop their security ties to ensure stability in northeast Asia, the latest indication that Washington’s longstanding alliances in the region are fraying.
The group was gathered to watch a football game
Before she was fired, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was advised by the US State Department to issue a public statement of loyalty to President Donald Trump, possibly on camera, the impeachment inquiry has heard.Giving evidence to the Intelligence Committee in Washington DC on Monday, the under secretary of state for political affairs, David Hale, described how in March 2019, Ms Yovanovitch came under fire during a “smear campaign” allegedly led by Mr Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani – who apparently wanted her removed from office.
With less than half a month left of the Atlantic hurricane season, an area of disturbed weather over the central Atlantic has become Tropical Storm Sebastien on Tuesday.Satellite images show a fairly well-defined area of clouds over the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean. This image, taken early Tuesday morning, Nov. 19, 2019, shows an area of disturbed weather to the northeast of the Leeward Islands. Puerto Rico can be seen to the left-center of the image. (NOAA/GOES-East) "Sebastien will be fighting wind shear this week, but there is a short window where some strengthening can take place early on," Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather's top hurricane expert, said."The window for strengthening is likely to close as a cold front approaches from the west, overtakes Sebastien and causes it to weaken during the middle to latter part of this week," Kottlowski added.The system is not expected to be a direct threat to the Lesser Antilles, but breezy conditions and locally rough surf can affect the north- and east-facing shoreline of the Leeward Islands for a time into Wednesday."Sebastien is moving around the western part of a large area of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean," Kottlowski said.The high pressure area will allow Sebastien to take a curved path to the northwest, north and then the northeast this week as it interacts with the cold front. This track should take the system out over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.This development has squeaked out ahead of the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially comes to a close on Nov. 30.There are a couple of other weak disturbances over the tropical Atlantic, but neither of these show much sign of development in the short term.Including Sebastien, there have been 20 depressions, 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.AccuWeather predicted 12-14 tropical storms, five to seven hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes back in early April.AccuWeather meteorologists cautioned back in the spring that a weakening El Niño could contribute to slightly higher numbers of tropical storms than originally forecast and a somewhat end-loaded season over the Atlantic.The Atlantic has spawned one tropical depression, four tropical storms and one hurricane since the middle of October. Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
A scary scenario.
Protesters in Hong Kong staged a daring breakout from a university besieged by police last night as parents pleaded with authorities to spare the young activists, some of them high-school students, who remain inside. The escape came as police said Hong Kong's Polytechnic University had turned into a "powder keg" and student leaders accused authorities of creating a "humanitarian crisis" inside the campus. Earlier on Monday the besieged protesters, who are running low on supplies and fear the consequences of an all-out police assault, mounted an attempt to break out in force, but were beaten back by tear gas. Thousands of protesters streamed towards the campus in an attempt to break the siege from the outside, and clashes broke out with police in nearby Kowloon. In the evening, several dozen black-clad protesters used a rope to slither down several metres on to a motorway below where they were picked up by waiting motorcyclists. It was unclear how many remained inside. This was probably the most surreal thing I have ever witnessed in the Hong Kong protests. Protesters just attempted a daring escape through a bridge at Polytechnic University. Volunteers on motorbikes came in drives to drive them out asap. Police fired teargas. HongKongProtestspic.twitter.com/huhSo3Mxo9— Michael Zhang 張雨軒 (@YuxuanMichael) November 18, 2019 Meanwhile, a group of parents unfurled a banner near the police cordon outside the campus saying "Save Our Kids." Hundreds of protesters including high school students have been trapped inside Polytechnic University since activists seized and fortified it late last week, saying it was their last refuge from police brutality against the pro-democracy activist movement. The campus became a battlefield over the weekend when protesters used petrol bombs, bricks and arrows to repel police armored cars and water cannon trying to enter the campus. Student leaders now say they are suffering from siege conditions and fear for their safety. Hong Kong campus siege “Hong Kong police are creating a humanitarian crisis inside PolyU,” Ken Woo Kwok-wang, acting president of the student union, told a Hong Kong newspaper. “We are trapped. There is insufficient food and the number of injured is on the rise, and the hygiene situation is getting worse." Police have described the campus as a “weapons factory,” saying they had received a report that several toxic and dangerous chemicals, including highly volatile explosives, had been stolen from a laboratory. “We must warn that the university campus has become a powder keg where danger is far beyond what we can estimate,” said Kwok Ka-chuen, a police chief superintendent. A protester lowers herself down a rope from the bridge to the highway Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images “Hong Kong’s rule of law has been pushed to the brink of total collapse.” Cheuk Hau-yip, the commander of Kowloon West district, where Polytechnic University is located, said the police had the resources to end the siege and said those inside would be arrested. "Other than coming out to surrender, I don't see that there's any viable option for them," he said. Authorities, meanwhile, were dealt a setback Monday when Hong Kong's high court struck down a contentious ban on wearing face masks in public imposed last month, ruling it unconstitutional. Protests have disrupted Hong Kong continuously for nearly six months. They first kicked off against a now-withdrawn extradition proposal, though sentiments have pivoted to target the police, who protesters accuse of brutality, and more broadly, China, over concerns that Communist Party rule is eroding freedoms in the former British colony. As clashes escalated significantly over the last week, forcing schools to shut, fears have grown that China may again call on military reinforcements to restore order, a move that would recall the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 when soldiers fired on peaceful student demonstrators. Speculation mounted further after Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong were spotted in the streets over the weekend cleaning up protest sites, an act authorities have said was voluntary. Police have arrested nearly 4,500 people, aged 11 to 83, since protests kicked off in early June. They have been detained for unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons, arson, and taking part in a riots – a serious charge that carries a maximum of ten years in prison. About 150 of those arrests were made over the weekend. As the university deadlock continues, former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind urged Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint. “A bloodbath on a Hong Kong campus would be devastating,” he said in a statement issued by Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based advocacy group. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam “has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a massacre.” Additional reporting by Yiyin Zhong
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