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China against forcefully sending aid to Venezuela
China said Friday it was against forcefully sending "so-called humanitarian assistance" to Venezuela, warning it could spark conflict in the crisis-torn country. China has loaned billions to Venezuela and has remained committed to President Nicolas Maduro even as the country has fallen deeper into economic crisis. Foreign aid mostly from the US has piled up on Venezuela's borders as the Maduro government refuses to let it into the country.
Chicago police on Jussie Smollett arrest: Actor 'took advantage of the pain and anger of racism'
Jussie Smollett was taken into custody by police in Chicago early Thursday, three weeks after the 36-year-old “Empire” actor claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Fake news: Kim and Trump lookalikes draw crowds in Hanoi
Days before the second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, to be held in Vietnam's capital, a Kim impersonator appeared at the Metropole Hotel, a back-up location for the meeting. Howard X, an Australian, has been cashing in on his resemblance to North Korea's leader, especially his haircut. It looks awful," Howard X said, adding it takes him three hours to prepare his outfit and get into character.
Democrats Are Already Pushing Trump's New Attorney General to Release the Full Mueller Report
Lawmakers argue it's essential Congress receive this information to hold the President accountable
What do Millennials think about Bernie Sanders and the direction of the Democratic Party?
Nathan Rubin, Malia Fisher, Joseph Pinion and Allison Lee Pillinger Choi weigh in on whether or not Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has a chance to win the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms linger
The airline continues to have a higher-than-usual number of aircraft out of service due to maintenance and is dealing with snow in Las Vegas.
Is This the Next-Gen 2022 Ford Ranger Pickup? We Think So
Leaked photos out of Australia seem to show a clay styling model of the upcoming truck.
U.S. won't partner with countries that use Huawei systems: Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned that the United States would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei Technologies Co Ltd systems, citing security concerns. In an interview on Fox Business Network, Pompeo said nations in Europe and elsewhere need to understand the risks of implementing Huawei's telecommunications equipment and that when they did, they would ultimately not use the company's systems. "If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them, we won't be able to work alongside them," Pompeo said.
Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kids
Canada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
Venezuela's Maduro closes Brazil border to block aid entry
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — As a showdown looms over humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro closed off his country's border with Brazil, vowing on Thursday to block the emergency food and medicine that has rallied his opponents and which he claims is part of a U.S.-led coup plot.
Roger Stone Faces Judge After Posting Her Image With Crosshairs
On Monday, Stone, a sometime adviser to President Donald Trump who faces charges of lying to Congress and obstructing a federal investigation, posted a photo of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on his Instagram account, along with a short diatribe saying she’s the judge overseeing his “upcoming show trial.” Beside the head shot of Jackson was an image of what looked like rifle-scope crosshairs. After the post caught the attention of social media, Stone took it down and apologized to the judge, conceding it was improper. On Thursday, Stone will appear before Jackson as she weighs whether to tighten a gag order or change the terms of his bail.
Polish paedophile priests exposed in new report
A foundation supporting victims of paedophile priests in Poland on Thursday released a report documenting nearly 400 cases of sex abuse by clergymen in the staunchly Catholic country. Images broadcast on Polish television showed Pope Francis kissing the hand of Marek Lisinski, head of the "Be Not Afraid" foundation, as he handed over the report to the pontiff. The document details the cases of 85 priests convicted of paedophilia, another 88 whose alleged abuse has been exposed by the media and 95 others accused by alleged victims.
Saudi crown prince defends China's right to put Uighur Muslims in concentration camps
Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’’s crown prince, on Friday defended China’s use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing’s “right”. "China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security,” Prince Mohammed, who has been in China signing multi-million trade deals much to the annoyance of his Western allies, was quoted as saying on Chinese state television. Xi Jinping, China’s leader, told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”. China has detained an estimated one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are undergoing re-education programmes allegedly intended to combat extremism. The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in Western China and parts of Central Asia. Beijing has accused the minority in its Western Xinjiang region of supporting terrorism and implemented a surveillance regime. Uighur groups had appealed to Saudi’s powerful young prince to take up their cause, as the ultraconservative kingdom has traditionally been a defender of the rights of Muslims worldwide. But Muslim leaders have so far not broached the issue with China, which has in recent years become an important trading partner with the Middle East. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, became the first to condemn Beijing, however, describing China's treatment of its Uighur population as "a great cause of shame for humanity" last month and asking it to close the "concentration camps". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had once accused China of "genocide" but has since established closer diplomatic and economic relations with Beijing. Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, where Prince Salman has just visited, said he “did not know” much about the conditions of the Uighurs.
Trump's climate expert is wrong: The world's plants don't need more CO2
Plants on Earth have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, yet President Donald Trump's pick to lead his new climate team insists that they need more carbon dioxide to thrive.Princeton physicist and carbon dioxide-advocate William Happer has been selected to head the brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Security, reports The Washington Post. The atomic scientist -- who achieved recognition for his work on atomic collisions and telescope optics, not climate science -- maintains that the planet's atmosphere needs significantly more CO2, the potent greenhouse gas that U.S. government scientists -- and a bevy of independent scientists -- have repeatedly underscored is stoking accelerating climate change.Because plants use carbon dioxide to live, Happer has said "more CO2 is actually a benefit to the Earth," asserted that Earth is experiencing a "CO2 famine," and concluded that "If plants could vote, they would vote for coal."Earth and plant scientists, however, find Happer's insistence that the plant kingdom would benefit from increased carbon dioxide wrong-headed and lacking evidence, at best. For reference, Earth's CO2 concentrations have skyrocketed in the last century, and are now at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years -- though other measurements show CO2 levels are higher than they've been in 15 million years. "The idea that increased CO2 is universally beneficial [to plants] is very misguided," Jill Anderson, an evolutionary ecologist specializing in plant populations at the University of Georgia, said in an interview. > Animation showing the evolution of global mean temperature vs. carbon dioxide concentration since 1850, now updated to include 2018. > > Though 2018 is a bit cooler than recent years, it still is one of the warmest years ever and lies close to the trend line of GlobalWarming. pic.twitter.com/eK7zvUqWyT> > -- Robert Rohde (@RARohde) February 10, 2019"It's a silly argument," added Britton Stephens, a senior scientist in the Earth Observing Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in an interview. Both independent academic institutions and government agencies around disparate parts of the globe have concluded more carbon dioxide will "bring many negative impacts" to plant environments, Stephens emphasized. "If someone is going to claim it's good, it's incumbent upon them to show evidence."Reached by email, Happer said he would like to chat about the benefits of carbon dioxide in the future, but such requests must now be sent through (and vetted) by the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC responded by saying that "At the moment, a discussion on this topic is not possible."If someone, like Happer, were to ignore uncomfortable realities like drought-ravaged crops, some of the deadliest wildfires on record, and the evaporating Colorado River, they could argue that some plants -- but not all plants -- could see growth benefits from amassing carbon dioxide concentrations. SEE ALSO: The Green New Deal: Historians weigh in on the immense scale required to pull it off"If we were to hold other environmental factors completely constant, some plants would do well, some plants would do worse, and some would outcompete other plants," said Anderson. But this is a reality that doesn't exist. "We know that CO2 isn't increasing in isolation," said Anderson. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. Both wild plants and crops are experiencing increased flooding, heat waves, and pestilence."CO2 does "fertilize" plants and by itself causes plants to grow faster, but unchecked CO2 release into the atmosphere will lead to reduced yields and the consequences could be catastrophic," Thomas Sharkey, a plant biochemist at Michigan State University, said over email. > Baseball spring training starts this week. > > Predicting today whether CO2 in 2100 will be ~1000 ppm, or only half that, is like guessing who will play in the World Series in October. > > Nonetheless, the consequences of our CO2 emissions over the next few decades are profound. pic.twitter.com/pUf5VVlBAk> > -- Kris Karnauskas (@OceansClimateCU) February 19, 2019Sharkey noted that pollen production -- which is necessary for making seeds -- is sensitive to even small increases in the average temperature. "The negatives far outweigh the positives," added Stephens. As might be evident to anyone alive on the planet, plants flourish today and have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, so Happer's suggestion that the planet's vegetation is in need of more carbon dioxide is bizarre. "Obviously plants were doing just fine historically," said Anderson. "There's no indication plants are increasing their performance and doing better now than historically."A NASA graph showing skyrocketing CO2 levels.Image: nasaA recent NASA study found that Earth's overall greening over the last two decades -- which is to say the increase in area covered by green leaves -- is largely due to major tree planting programs and agricultural expansion in China and India. And some new regions of the planet are greening as the planet warms, like vast swaths of the northern tundra. But globally, the jury's still out on whether increased carbon dioxide is having a measurable influence on plant growth. "This is not a huge signal that everyone can see," said Stephens. There are extremely conspicuous climate signals, however, that everyone can see. One of the most widely-predicted consequences of a warming climate, stoked by historically-high carbon dioxide emissions, is increased fire weather. The California town of Paradise fell victim to profoundly dried-out vegetation and hot temperatures this past November. The forests had been turned to tinder, waiting to burn.Is more CO2 really good for plants?"Tell that to the trees in Paradise, California," said Stephens. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
Bobby Berk to Launch Collection for A.R.T. Furniture at High Point
The collaboration marks the first time A.R.T. is working with an outside designer
'It was genuinely heartfelt': Tucker Carlson curses at guest during tax discussion
Fox News host Tucker Carlson used a portion of his show on Wednesday to address a now-viral video showing him cursing at a guest.
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Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomats
The backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit. "We are also looking at updating the declaration on future EU-UK ties after Brexit to give more prominence to the 'alternative arrangements' sought by Britain," said one EU diplomat who deals with Brexit. "But May won't get any firm wording before Feb. 28." A second diplomat, briefed on the May-Juncker talks on Wednesday evening, confirmed the EU would only signal this was the direction of travel before the British prime minister faces another round of Brexit votes in the UK parliament.
Relatives of US oil industry ‘hostages’ in Venezuela make emotional appeal for their release
The six men – five US citizens and one permanent resident, and all employees of Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) – were detained in November 2017 after being called to Caracas from Houston for a meeting. President Nicolas Maduro went on television to denounce them as “traitors”, saying: “They’re properly behind bars, and they should go to the worst prison in Venezuela.” Asdrubal Chavez, a cousin of the late president, was appointed company’s new president. For 16 months, the relatives of the Venezuelan Americans, who have become known as the Citgo 6, were advised to remain silent.
Manafort Faces March 8 Sentencing for Virginia Fraud Convictions
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III set the date on Thursday, giving Manafort until March 1 to reply to Mueller’s recommendation that he serve between 19.6 and 24.4 years in prison. Manafort, 69, was convicted by jurors last August of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to file a foreign bank account report. Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, also faces a March 13 sentencing in federal court in Washington.