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  Alabama woman who joined Islamic State sues to return to US   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 22:52:48 -0500

Alabama woman who joined Islamic State sues to return to USWASHINGTON (AP) — The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria filed suit against the Trump administration Thursday in an effort to allow her return to the United States.



  In U.S., pope's summit on sex abuse seen as too little, too late   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 18:24:03 -0500

In U.S., pope's summit on sex abuse seen as too little, too lateIn the study of his home outside Washington, victims’ advocate Tom Doyle searched a shelf packed with books to find the thick report that led him to stop practicing as a priest and devote himself to helping those who had been sexually abused by clergymen. The 1985 report was one of the first exposes in a sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has called senior bishops to meet for four days starting on Thursday to discuss how to tackle the worsening crisis.



  MAGA hat student sues Washington Post for $250m over coverage of confrontation with Native American man   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 04:19:00 -0500

MAGA hat student sues Washington Post for $250m over coverage of confrontation with Native American manA student involved in a viral confrontation with a Native American man is suing the Washington Post for $250m (£191m) over its coverage of the incident. The defamation lawsuit, filed by Covington Catholic High School pupil Nick Sandmann, claims the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” him due to its “biased agenda” against Donald Trump. The 16-year-old was wearing one of the president’s signature Make America Great Again hats when he attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington in January along with classmates from his Kentucky school.



  Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock Market   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 06:30:43 -0500

Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock MarketSenators Chuck Schumer of New York and Bernie Sanders of Vermont want to penalize “self-indulgent” corporations that buy back their own stock. In a recent article in the New York Times, they argued that when companies repurchase shares, not only do the vast majority of Americans not benefit, but income inequality is exacerbated since only wealthy shareholders and corporate management profit.Despite decades of extraordinary success that the United States has enjoyed and that we enjoy today, Schumer and Sanders believe that something sinister is taking place in the corporate world. They call buybacks a form of “corporate self-indulgence.” Why? Because> corporate boardrooms have become obsessed with maximizing only shareholder earnings to the detriment of workers and the long-term strength of their companies. . . . Companies, rather than investing in ways to make their businesses more resilient or their workers more productive, have been dedicating ever larger shares of their profits to dividends and corporate repurchases.Now even some Republicans are getting on board. Florida senator Marco Rubio has suggested changes in the tax law to discourage buybacks because he says they “inflate” the prices of stock “at the expense of future productivity & job creation.”These senators don’t seem to fully understand that the purpose of a business is to allocate resources in a way that maximizes per share results over the long run. To think that this can be achieved at the expense of workers, at the expense of investing in research, at the expense of developing new and better products, at the expense of investing in equipment to both lower the cost and increase the quality of production, etc. is sophomoric. This underscores their lack of knowledge about investing and financial markets.Companies have several options with regard to the use of excess cash. They can (1) retain the funds in the company, (2) invest in the capital needed to grow the company, (3) make acquisitions, (4) pay out the excess cash in the form of dividends, or (5) repurchase shares from existing shareholders.These senators see little value in share buybacks, but they should listen to Warren Buffett, who is unequivocally a long-term investor. His financial success is a result of making exceptional long-term investments in resilient companies. Unlike Schumer and Sanders, Buffett is an enthusiastic proponent of utilizing excess cash to repurchase shares when conditions are favorable (or opportune).Here is what he said in his 1984 annual report: “The companies in which we have our largest investments are all engaged in significant share repurchases at the times when a wide discrepancy exists between price and value.” He has made this point repeatedly throughout the years. These companies repurchase shares and continue to grow, continue to invest in research, in capital that will improve the quality and lower the cost of products. He has even bought back $1 billion of shares of his own company, Berkshire Hathaway, not because he is “self-indulgent” but because he thinks the firm is undervalued.Schumer and Sanders—and in some cases they are joined by Rubio—provide two main reasons we are in a stock buyback “crisis”:> First, stock buybacks don’t benefit the vast majority of Americans.> > Second, when corporations direct resources to buy back shares on this scale, they restrain their capacity to reinvest profits more meaningfully in the company in terms of R&D, equipment, higher wages, paid medical leave, retirement benefits and worker retraining.The first point is utter nonsense. More than 100 million average Americans own stock. Americans invest in mutual funds and index funds and buy and sell stock every day. Tens of millions more have 401K plans, and most union pension funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks.The second point is equally absurd. A corporate board of directors is elected by shareholders, the owners of the company. When a board makes the decision to repurchase shares, it is a sign of confidence in the firm’s long-term profitability. It raises share values, which obviously benefits shareholders and puts firms in better financial shape — which also benefits the employees. Essentially, Schumer and Sanders believe, and Rubio seems to believe, that they have the right to tell the owners of a corporation the best way to allocate their profits.Studies show that firms that buy back their own shares have strong long-term growth.Consider Apple. It has become the most valuable company in the world. This exceptional success was achieved because of the enormous investments they made to develop revolutionary products. Companies cannot develop revolutionary products by underpaying talented workers or without investing billions of dollars in research, factories, and equipment. Not incidentally, Apple has repurchased billions of dollars of its own stock.The hyper-competitiveness and efficiency of U.S. companies is a major reason that unemployment is at a near 50-year low. Today, no company can survive if its workers are treated poorly. Walmart, which Schumer and Sanders attacked in their article, and many other companies recently raised their wage rates substantially, starting with entry-level positions.What is most disturbing about Schumer and Sanders’s proposal is their hubris in believing that they know how every company should handle its excess cash better than the CEOs, the boards of directors, and shareholders do. That is a rather all-encompassing statement. One would be hard-pressed to find a more vivid example of what Friedrich Hayek called “the fatal conceit,” the distorted notion that one knows more than is knowable. Would Buffett invest in a company if Schumer and Sanders were in charge of allocating its resources?We doubt it. Who in their right mind would?If approved, what Schumer and Sanders propose would not only hurt U.S. companies. It would harm the entire U.S. economy and financial system. It would raise the cost of capital for companies. What they advocate would tell domestic and foreign investors that our government is interfering with how companies allocate their resources.What is the difference between going after a large company with lots of shareholders and a small company with one owner? How long before Senators Schumer and Sanders tell the tire-shop owner that he has not paid his employees enough and that therefore he has withdrawn too much of the profit as an owner distribution?Every shareholder and business owner in America should rise up in loud protest against what these senators are proposing.Thomas A. Smith is the president of the Smith Foundation and ran a successful investment company for 40 years. Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks.



  Pakistani-held Kashmir on alert as tensions with India rise   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:15:31 -0500

Pakistani-held Kashmir on alert as tensions with India riseBunkers are being rebuilt and a blackout has been ordered, but schools and bazaars remained open Thursday in Chakothi, a border village in Pakistani-held Kashmir, after a deadly attack sent tensions with neighbouring India soaring. Residents were worried but life was going on in the village of some 3,000 inhabitants just three kilometres (two miles) from the "Line of Control", the de facto border which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have been fighting for seven decades over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, now one of the most militarised zones in the world.



  With Top Investor in Jail, Putin Hits at Business Climate   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:21:10 -0500

With Top Investor in Jail, Putin Hits at Business Climate(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said honest business people shouldn’t have to live under “constant fear of criminal prosecution,” days after the arrest of one of the country’s top foreign investors.



  Johnson & Johnson stock price falls after federal subpoena on alleged asbestos in baby powder   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 16:08:19 -0500

Johnson & Johnson stock price falls after federal subpoena on alleged asbestos in baby powderThe Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigate the alleged asbestos contamination of Johnson & Johnson's baby powder.



  Meet the 'New' F-21 Fighter: An F-16 On Steroids (With F-22 and F-35 DNA)?   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:00:00 -0500

Meet the 'New' F-21 Fighter: An F-16 On Steroids (With F-22 and F-35 DNA)?Is this the fighter India needs?



  The Latest: Lawyer says woman who joined IS a US citizen   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 00:45:04 -0500

The Latest: Lawyer says woman who joined IS a US citizenWASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Alabama woman who left home to join the Islamic State group in Syria and now wants to return to the U.S. with her child (all times local):



  Pope Francis presents action plan for tackling clerical sex abuse but victims dismiss it as inadequate   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 12:35:26 -0500

Pope Francis presents action plan for tackling clerical sex abuse but victims dismiss it as inadequatePope Francis put forward a 21-point plan for combating the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests on Thursday, but the proposals were dismissed by victims as wholly inadequate and a recycling of procedures that already exist. The list of “reflection points” was put forward by the Pope on the first day of a summit that was convened in response to sex abuse scandals that have undermined faith in the Catholic Church around the world. "The holy people of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken," the Pope said as the conference, the first of its kind, got underway at the Vatican. "Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.” The nearly 200 bishops, cardinals and heads of religious orders attending the conference were addressed by victims of predatory priests, with one telling them bluntly: “You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed into murderers of the soul. What a terrible contradiction.” Another victim, warning that clerical sex abuse in Asia is a “time bomb” waiting to explode, said: “I have been sexually molested for a long time, over 100 times, and this has created trauma and flashbacks.” Pope Francis arrives for the opening of the summit on protecting children and minors from predatory priests    Credit: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP The testimonies of victims from around the world were described as “searing, brutal and honest” by Hans Zollner, a German priest who is one of the conference organisers. The 21 points drawn up by the Pope are intended as a road map for the bishops and cardinals as they consider how to stamp out the scourge of priests raping and molesting children. Many have already been enacted in countries like Britain, the US, Canada and Australia, but are often not observed in other countries, particularly in the developing world. The first point called for the drawing up of “a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.” Sex abuse survivor Peter Isley, from the pressure group Ending Clergy Abuse  Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP But campaigners said such guidelines were already established within the Church. “A handbook like this was drawn up in Canada back in 1992,” said Bernadette Howell, an abuse victim originally from Ireland but now living in Canada. “So after 25 years, this is not new. These seem to be platitudes.” The proposals recommend that once an abuse case is reported, civil authorities must be notified, and call for “specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops.” Peter Isely, the head of survivors’ group Ending Clergy Abuse, said: “It’s too vague. What counts would be zero tolerance, written into Church law. “On Monday morning, will it be clear to every priest, bishop and cardinal that if you’ve been determined to have assaulted a child, you will be removed from ministry? That’s all that counts and that needs to be crystal clear,” said Mr Isely, from Milwaukee, who wasabused by a priest when he was a boy. There is no guarantee that the guidelines put forward by the pontiff will be adopted by the bishops, who represent dioceses on five continents. “The 21 points given to us by the Holy Father are very important and they are a road map for discussion,” said Charles Scicluna, a Maltese archbishop who spent a decade as the Vatican’s chief sex abuse prosecutor. “They have to be taken seriously and we are going to discuss them but there won’t be an answer to all of them in three days.” Archbishop Scicluna said ahead of the summit that reforms would necessitate the “tweaking” of canon law. The idea that Church regulations only need some fine-tuning angered critics. Survivors of clerical sex abuse, including Briton Peter Saunders, outside Castel Sant' Angelo near the Vatican  Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP "Canon law has to be changed: not tweaked, not modified, but fundamentally changed, so that it stops prioritising the priesthood... over the lives of children,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of Bishop Accountability, an organisation that documents cases of sexual abuse by clergy. Faith in the Catholic Church has been shattered by scandals in many countries, from Ireland to Australia. In a particular low point for the Church, a grand jury in Pennsylvania reported last year that 300 priests in the state had sexually abused about 1,000 minors over a period of 70 years. The report was the most comprehensive investigation into clerical abuse in US history and accused bishops of protecting priests, sending them to “treatment centres” and then reassigning them to different parishes.



  Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomats   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 07:35:37 -0500

Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomatsThe 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.



  Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kids   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:18:33 -0500

Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kidsCanada 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.



  What do Millennials think about Bernie Sanders and the direction of the Democratic Party?   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 17:11:09 -0500

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.



  Every Photo From Our EV Battle Between the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV and 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:30:00 -0500

Every Photo From Our EV Battle Between the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV and 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric



  House Democrats to File Resolution on Trump's Border Emergency   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 21:02:47 -0500

House Democrats to File Resolution on Trump's Border EmergencyRepresentative Joaquin Castro of Texas outlined plans to introduce the measure in an email circulated to colleagues that was obtained Wednesday by Bloomberg News. The resolution has 92 co-sponsors in the Democratic-controlled House. The resolution is likely to pass the House and may get enough Republican support to pass the GOP-led Senate.



  Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere may soar to levels not seen in 56 million years   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:17:17 -0500

Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere may soar to levels not seen in 56 million yearsEmissions of carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming – could soar to levels not seen in 56 million years, scientists warned.



  You're Dead: The F-35 Is Crushing Enemy Fighter Jets in Air War Simulations   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 02:48:00 -0500

You're Dead: The F-35 Is Crushing Enemy Fighter Jets in Air War Simulations“The F-35 ‘redefines’ how you go to war with a platform."



  Indict the ‘ISIS Bride’   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 10:23:37 -0500

Indict the ‘ISIS Bride’I  had a column in the New York Post yesterday morning about the so-called “ISIS bride,” Hoda Muthana, who is detained in a Syrian refugee camp and now pleading to come back home to her family in Alabama. I argued that, despite the fact that she has treasonously waged war against our country, she had a right to be readmitted if she tried to enter because she was -- according to the facts available at the time -- a natural-born American citizen.Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Muthana will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. because she is not an American citizen: While born in America, she was the daughter of a diplomat and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. As the secretary put it in his statement, “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”This conclusion is disputed by Muthana’s family and allies, and they may have a case. I would strongly urge the Justice Department to file an indictment against Muthana for treason, material support to terrorism, and any other readily provable offenses. She is less likely to press the issues of citizenship and right to enter if she understands that she faces prosecution and, very likely, lengthy imprisonment if she succeeds in coming here.But it’s worth taking a closer look at the citizenship question itself. To my mind, the concept of citizenship implies not just the benefits of being a full-fledged member of the body politic, but also a duty of fealty to the nation. In a rational world, then, a citizen who made war against the United States would be stripped of citizenship.Alas, that is not the law. As I related in the Post column, Supreme Court precedent holds that natural-born citizens may not have their citizenship revoked without their consent. (This is in contrast to naturalized citizens, who may have their citizenship revoked if they join a subversive organization within five years of being naturalized, but this is not relevant to Muthana’s case.)Reports indicate that Muthana, the daughter of Yemeni immigrants, was born in New Jersey in 1994. For the most part, she appears to have grown up in Alabama, attending high school and starting college there. As we’ve noted here at NR when the issue is debated from time to time, the prevailing interpretation of the 14th Amendment generally provides for birthright citizenship: If you were born here, you are a citizen, regardless of whether your parents were citizens -- even regardless of whether your parents were legally in the United States. But there is an exception, and the State Department is seizing on it here.According to the New York Times, government officials contend that Muthana’s father was not merely a Yemeni immigrant but a diplomat of that country. Children born of diplomats are deemed to be citizens of the diplomat’s sovereign. Apparently, Muthana’s camp concedes that Muthana père was a Yemeni diplomat, but contends that she was born 30 days after Yemen discharged him from his diplomat position. We are not told what his immigration status supposedly was at that point, or if he had a legal status. But Muthana would no doubt argue that even if she was an illegal alien, she’d be as entitled to birthright citizenship as any other child of an illegal alien born in the U.S.Pompeo emphasized that Muthana does not have a valid U.S. passport or a visa to travel to the U.S. That is true, but probably irrelevant. Passports and visas are just forms of travel authorization. They have no bearing on whether an American citizen may be denied entry into her own country. If an American citizen presents herself at a port of entry, the government has no authority to bar the citizen from entering (although the citizen may, of course, be detained while the authorities make certain that she is who she claims to be; and she may be prosecuted for violating travel regulations).The Times further reports that Pompeo is taking a hard-nosed position here because President Trump has directed him “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country” -- as the president put it on Twitter. It is entirely appropriate for the official constitutionally responsible for protecting the nation from foreign threats to direct his subordinates to take all legal steps to prevent a terrorist enemy combatant from entering the country. But, to reiterate, if Muthana is an American citizen, she has the right to enter the U.S. if she presents herself at a port of entry; she may not be barred just because the president wants her turned away.Again: If the president and the secretary do not want Muthana to try to come back to the United States, the best strategy is to have the Justice Department indict her on serious felony charges. She may seek another alternative if she knows the risk of coming back here is decades of imprisonment. Of course, Muthana may decide to come anyway. After all, (a) she might see life in an American prison as better than her other alternatives, and (b) if she is an American citizen, there is a good argument that her young son is a citizen, too -- he’d have a more promising chance of survival and a decent life here than in Syria (or wherever else in that godforsaken region they could end up).In any event, the State Department has made its decision. Now it is up to Muthana’s supporters to establish her citizenship if they can, and for the Trump administration to indict her if it chooses.



  Charity says 24 Polish bishops covered up sex abuses of minors   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 12:00:00 -0500

Charity says 24 Polish bishops covered up sex abuses of minorsA Polish charity helping victims of child abuse committed by Catholic priests accused 24 bishops on Thursday of concealing perpetrators of sexual molestation of minors. The "Have No Fear" charity made the allegation in a report released as Pope Francis convened Catholic leaders from around the world to address scandals over child sexual abuse by priests that have ravaged the Church's credibility over the last three decades. The report, which has been delivered to the pope, named Polish bishops whom it said had "concealed clerical crimes and moved pedophilic priests from one parish to another".



  Law center: Hate groups in US at highest level in 2 decades   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 15:13:35 -0500

Law center: Hate groups in US at highest level in 2 decadesThe U.S. had more hate groups last year than at any point in at least the past two decades, according to an organization that tracks white supremacists and other far-right extremists.



  Working While Receiving Social Security Disability   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:35:44 -0500

Working While Receiving Social Security DisabilityTo become eligible for Social Security disability benefits, you must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. "It is possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits and still work in a limited capacity," says Nick Ortiz, a board-certified Social Security disability attorney and owner of Ortiz Law Firm in Pensacola, Florida. Read on for a look at what's involved with Social Security disability benefits, as well as the rules related to working while receiving benefits.



  Google moves to fix YouTube glitch exploited for child porn   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:22:28 -0500

Google moves to fix YouTube glitch exploited for child pornGoogle-owned YouTube said Thursday it was taking action to close a loophole that enabled users to share comments and links on child pornography over the video-sharing service. The response came after a YouTube creator this week revealed what he called a "wormhole" that allowed comments and connections on child porn alongside innocuous videos. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," a spokesman said in an email to AFP.



  Barack Obama Manages to Work in a Michelle Obama Compliment in a Discussion About 'Being a Man'   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 11:47:20 -0500

Barack Obama Manages to Work in a Michelle Obama Compliment in a Discussion About 'Being a Man'He also introduced NBA star Steph Curry as "Ayesha's husband"



  France Says Internet Platforms Could Be Fined for Racist Content   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 05:11:55 -0500

France Says Internet Platforms Could Be Fined for Racist ContentPresident Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday night told the annual meeting of France’s largest Jewish organization that a law could be presented in May in response to a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents. “There will be an obligation for results: if the content is not taken down then there will be a fine, and a large fine,” Mahjoubi said on France Info radio.



  Who is Jeffrey Rosen? Three things to know about President Trump's deputy attorney general pick   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:03:41 -0500

Who is Jeffrey Rosen? Three things to know about President Trump's deputy attorney general pickWhile he has worked for a previous administration and in private practice, Rosen does not have any experience at DOJ or as a prosecutor.



  Sarah Isgur Flores: Former Trump aide hired as CNN political editor despite having no journalism experience   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 05:29:33 -0500

Sarah Isgur Flores: Former Trump aide hired as CNN political editor despite having no journalism experienceCNN has appointed a former Trump administration official with no journalism experience as a political editor, provoking consternation among the broadcaster’s staff and Democrat politicians. Sarah Isgur Flores, who served as chief spokeswoman and senior adviser for the US Department of Justice under attorney general Jeff Sessions, is to join the network to coordinate coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Ms Isgur Flores has previously been communications director for Republican National Committee and worked on the campaign teams of former presidential hopefuls Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.



  Former secretary of education weighs in on the Covington Catholic student’s lawsuit against the Washington Post   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 11:13:14 -0500

Former secretary of education weighs in on the Covington Catholic student’s lawsuit against the Washington PostDr. Bill Bennett says we live in a time where you can so quickly destroy someone with a falsehood.



  As Maduro holds on, Venezuela opposition eyes negotiated transition   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 07:06:32 -0500

As Maduro holds on, Venezuela opposition eyes negotiated transitionLast month, Venezuelan opposition leader and Congress chief Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro's reelection in May 2018 illegitimate. In an effort to secure the backing of Venezuela's military, Guaido proposed an amnesty for officers who turn on Maduro's government. Amid fears the changes have stalled, opposition leaders have begun to talk in the past week about bringing ruling Socialist Party stalwarts into a potential transition government.



  The Latest: Snow forces closure of Vegas to Phoenix route   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:05:45 -0500

The Latest: Snow forces closure of Vegas to Phoenix routeLAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on rare snowfall in the Las Vegas area (all times local):



  20 Affordable Indoor Planters We Love   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 17:03:00 -0500

20 Affordable Indoor Planters We Love



  The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide in unprecedented sex abuse summit   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 09:03:49 -0500

The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide in unprecedented sex abuse summitPope Francis' summit on clergy sexual abuse, which opens Thursday at the Vatican, draws church leaders from around the world.



  Designer Karl Lagerfeld to be cremated without ceremony   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 09:05:01 -0500

Designer Karl Lagerfeld to be cremated without ceremonyKarl Lagerfeld will be cremated without ceremony and his ashes are likely to be scattered with those of his mother and lover, his label said Wednesday. "His wishes will be respected," a spokeswoman for his Karl Lagerfeld brand told AFP a day after the legendary designer died at the age of 85. Lagerfeld had previously said that his ashes would be mixed with those of his longtime lover, the French dandy Jacques de Bascher, who died of AIDS in 1989.



  Obama joined by Curry to tell minority boys 'you matter'   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:21:46 -0500

Obama joined by Curry to tell minority boys 'you matter'OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place.



  Trump apparently not familiar with his administration's push for global decriminalization of homosexuality   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 17:54:15 -0500

Trump apparently not familiar with his administration's push for global decriminalization of homosexualityThe president expresses confusion when asked about one of his administration's own policies.



  Shamima Begum: What could happen to the Isil bride?   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:29:41 -0500

Shamima Begum: What could happen to the Isil bride?The Home Office has stripped jihadi bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, but the ongoing saga of what will happen next to her and her days-old son remains up in the air.  International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Begum held dual citizenship through her Bangladeshi parents. On Wednesday morning, Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said his client does not have dual nationality, but the Home Office told The Telegraph laws in Bangladesh means the teenager automatically retains dual citizenship until she is 21.  Her family say they will consider "all legal avenues to challenge this decision", and Begum herself said that she may think about trying to travel with her terrorist husband to his home country of Holland to claim citizenship there.  The case has prompted fresh discussions over how Britain manages those returning or attempting to come back from Syria, once gripped by the tyranny of Islamic State (Isil). Begum was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK in February 2015. She married an Isil fighter and on Sunday have birth to her third child at a refugee camp in northeastern Syria. Her first two children died. Begum's family has pleaded for the 19-year-old to be shown mercy and to be allowed to return to east London. But what options do authorities have in such instances? Remain in Syria If Begum is not repatriated, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could hand her over to neighbouring Iraqi forces, Middle East Correspondent Josie Ensor explains. The Telegraph is aware of at least three cases, including European citizens, where male Isil suspects have been transferred from Syria to Iraq to face trial. This would be a controversial option as Baghdad has the option to impose the death penalty, which the UK opposes. Foreign detainees are currently being held by the SDF in an area of Kurdish self-rule in northeastern Syria. The SDF has said that they do not have the money or resources to hold them forever. Islamic State losing its grip on Syria They have warned that if Turkey invades, which it has threatened, it could see the prisoners being set free in the chaos. The Syrian Kurds are also in talks with the Syrian government about ceding some of their territory, which could see some foreign prisoners being handed over to the regime. A third option - Mustafa Bali, the SDF spokesman, has called for an international court to be set up in Syria. This would see them tried by international judges in Syria but return home to serve their sentence. However, sources at the UN say it would be difficult if not impossible to set up such a court in Kurdish-held territory without the authority of the Syrian government. Bangladesh dual citizenship The Telegraph understands that the Home Office made the decision to revoke Begum's British citizenship based on Bangladeshi law.  There, until the age of 21, it is understood the Isil bride automatically retains dual nationality due to the fact her parents are both from the country.  At the age of 21, a child born to Bangladeshi parents has the right to waive their right to dual nationality, but not before. The complication lies in how she gets to Bangladesh - where it is understood her father is currently living - and how she proves that she is Shamima Begum.  The teenager has never visited the country and does not have a Bangladeshi passport. Her old British passport is invalid due to her citizenship being revoked and she has previously said she used her sister's passport to travel to Syria back in 2015.  One possible option for her would be to travel to Turkey via the notoriously penetrable border with Syria and present herself to the Bangladeshi embassy.  But officials in Dhaka may well appeal the Home Office's decision to make Begum their responsibility, insisting that she has never even been to the country.  Attempt to gain Dutch citizenship Begum married Isil fighter Yago Riedjik in Syria having travelled to the Middle East from Bethnal Green in east London in 2015. His whereabouts are still unknown, but when asked what she might do next, the Isil bride told ITV News: "Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland. "Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison." This would need a number of elements to align for it to even be a possibility.  First, Holland would have to accept to take Riedjik back, having left the country to become a terrorist in the Middle East.  Yago Reidjik The country doesn't offer to help its citizens in Syria who are willing to return, and if they report to an embassy, they would be transported to Holland, arrested and prosecuted.  A foreigh fighter with dual nationalities deemed a threat to national security - like Britain - can have their Dutch citizenship and passport revoked.  If that happens, Begum would have to follow him. But her British passport is - as it stands - invalid. And she previously said she had travelled to Syria on her sister's passport, which has since been taken from her.  Dutch legislation dictates that a spouse or partner wishing to live in Holland would need a residence permit, and in order to be eligible for a permit - they must have a valid passport or other travel documents.  Somehow, if she manages to make the 2,000-mile journey from Syria to Holland, the Dutch authorities would have to accept that she and Riedjik are married.  The pair were wed within the confines of Islamic State a matter of weeks after she arrived. It is highly unlikely there is paperwork to prove they are legally married, and even if there is, the Dutch authorities would have to accept it as binding.  Home Office decision is rescinded  As the Home Office's letter states, Shamima Begum and her family have the right to appeal the decision.  Her lawyer Tasnima Akunjee's rhetoric all along suggests he will help his client fight any move to strip her of her British citizenship.  The letter to the Begum family Credit: ITV News If judges side with Begum, deciding Sajid Javid had no right to revoke her British citizenship because it renders her stateless - the Government would be back to square one.  The appeal might not necessarily need to happen. If, as Begum's lawyer suggests, the Isil bride is currently stateless - the Home Office would be forced to reverse it stance.  In that scenario, all these options are once again back on the table.  Sent to Guantánamo Bay As revealed by Ben Riley-Smith, Robert Mendick and Laura Fitzpatrick on The Telegraph's front page on Friday, the United States is planning to send British Isil fighters to Guantánamo Bay amid frustration at the UK's failure to take responsibility for its homegrown terrorists. Senior US officials believe Guantánamo can house more than 50 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters, including the two surviving British members of the so-called "Beatles" terrorist cell that executed Western hostages. It has emerged that the vast majority of Islamist fighters returning to the UK from Syria have been placed on "secretive" government rehabilitation schemes rather than prosecuted. Despite British concern, Guantánamo Bay is being readied in the run-up to Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria as soon as April. There is acute frustration within the Trump administration over how Britain and other western European countries are refusing to take back their foreign fighters for prosecution in their own courts. Returning jihadis: What other countries do Arrest and prosecution Home Secretary Sajid Javid previously said those who make it back "should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted". But authorities have faced difficulties obtaining evidence to prove someone committed crimes in Syria.  Most recently, The Isil Beatles have caused the Government enormous problems. Two of the four suspected terrorists' fate has been left in limbo as the UK and the US play tug-of-war with where they will end up in court.  The Home Office previously blocked their return, and they could end up in an American federal court facing the death penalty after the CPS said there was "insufficient evidence" for them to be tried in the UK.    uk drops opposing of death pen Figures disclosed in the Commons last year suggested that only around one in 10 returnees has been prosecuted over "direct action" in Syria, although ministers say a significant proportion of those who have come back were assessed as no longer being of national security concern. New legislation which passed last week made it an offence to enter or remain in overseas terror hotspots, officially termed "designated areas". Managed return to UK Powers known as temporary exclusion orders (TEOs) were introduced in 2015. They can last for up to two years and can be imposed on those suspected of involvement in terrorism abroad, making it unlawful for them to return to the UK without engaging with authorities. The powers were unused in 2016, while nine TEOs were issued in 2017. Isil schoolgirls' journey into Syria TPIMs Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) allow the Home Secretary to impose a range of disruptive measures on individuals who are suspected of posing a threat to security but who cannot be prosecuted, or, in the case of foreign nationals, deported. Restrictions can include relocation to another part of the country, electronic monitoring and limits on the use of phones and computers. As of the end of August, six TPIMs were in force. Deradicalisation back in Britain Returnees could be referred to the Government's £40 million a year Prevent programme, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism. There were 7,318 individuals referred to Prevent in 2017/18. The schoolgirl who turned to Isil In most cases, referrals are found to require no further action or passed to other services, but when authorities conclude there is a danger the person could be drawn into terrorism, they can be supported through a voluntary scheme known as Channel. Prevent is backed by ministers and police, but has been described as "toxic" by critics, and the Government announced earlier this year that it would be independently reviewed.



  Southwest Air Drops on $60 Million Hit From U.S. Shutdown   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 17:04:34 -0500

Southwest Air Drops on $60 Million Hit From U.S. ShutdownThe political stalemate that ended last month will reduce first-quarter revenue by $60 million as the aftereffects lingered on, Southwest said in a regulatory filing Wednesday. “With more of first quarter under our belt now, and a higher percentage of March bookings in place, we feel like we are at the point where we can reasonably quantify the total impact from the shutdown,” Southwest said by email.



  Days before summit, Trump raises prospect of easing North Korea sanctions   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 15:18:29 -0500

Days before summit, Trump raises prospect of easing North Korea sanctionsSpeaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump also said he expects to meet with Kim again after their Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital. Trump said he did not think North Korea was reluctant to denuclearize, in spite of a lack of concrete progress since he and Kim met for a first summit in Singapore in June.



  Neptune's smallest moon may have been created by comets   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 00:28:20 -0500

Neptune's smallest moon may have been created by cometsWe're all made of star stuff, but some things in the universe are created by comets. Neptune's recently discovered and smallest moon, Hippocamp, has been confirmed and observed in detail by the Hubble Space Telescope according to new research published in Nature on Wednesday. SEE ALSO: Neptune looks extremely sharp and very blue in these latest images Named Hippocamp for the half-horse, half-fish creature from Greek mythology — all of Neptune's moons are named for Greek and Roman mythological figures — it's the smallest of the planet's seven inner moons, with a diameter of approximately 20-21 miles (34 kilometres).  How have we never met Hippocamp before? The planet's other six small inner moons were picked up in a 1989 fly-by from the Voyager 2 spacecraft, but Hippocamp was missed.  Between 2004 and 2009, the Hubble picked up a "white dot" from 150 images, and in 2013, Mark Showalter of California's SETI Institute officially discovered the moon by analyzing the photographs and plotting its circular orbit.  Hippocamp was officially confirmed in the study published Wednesday by Showalter alongside Imke de Pater from the University of California, Berkeley, Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center, and R. S. French of SETI. While there are three Hubble programmes dedicated to studying Neptune's rings, arcs and small inner moons, the study's authors had to develop their own specialised image processing techniques to focus on the inner satellites, including Hippocamp, because of their speedy orbits.  With these new techniques, the team were able to confirm not only that Neptune officially has 14 moons, but how the smallest was likely formed. Part of another moon? Hippocamp sits in orbit near Proteus, the largest and outermost of Neptune's moons. In fact, the study's authors suggest Hippocamp could be derived from Proteus, as an ancient fragment of it.  "The first thing we realized was that you wouldn't expect to find such a tiny moon right next to Neptune's biggest inner moon," study author Showalter said on NASA's blog.  "In the distant past, given the slow migration outward of the larger moon, Proteus was once where Hippocamp is now." This diagram shows the orbits of several moons located close to the planet Neptune. Image: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI) The inner moons are thought to be younger than Neptune, having formed after the capture (a successful pull into orbit) of Neptune's largest moon, Triton.  But according to the study, each inner moon has likely been fragmented by comet impacts, including Proteus, which sports the enormous Pharos crater thought to be unusually large in relation to the size of the moon, and possibly created by a comet. "Based on estimates of comet populations, we know that other moons in the outer solar system have been hit by comets, smashed apart, and re-accreted multiple times," said Lissauer.  "This pair of satellites provides a dramatic illustration that moons are sometimes broken apart by comets." It's this type of comet impact that the authors hypothesise could have released debris from the moon, which then settled into orbit and gradually accreted (formed) into Hippocamp. According to NASA, astronomers refer to it as "the moon that shouldn't be there." A pretty violent way to be born, but there it is. WATCH: Elon Musk says Mars round trip could cost only $100,000 one day



  Amazon lessons for voters, taxpayers, New York and the 237 other places that bid for HQ2   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:37:59 -0500

Amazon lessons for voters, taxpayers, New York and the 237 other places that bid for HQ2Did Amazon stop needing New York, or did New York drive it away? As cities across America compete for jobs, the messy breakup is a cautionary tale.



  United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hub   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:39:45 -0500

United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hubUnited Airlines will add three new domestic routes at its Denver hub, all of which will go head-to-head against budget rival Frontier Airlines.



  Putin threatens to target West with new missiles   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 11:38:19 -0500

Putin threatens to target West with new missilesRussian President Vladimir Putin threatened to deploy new missiles against Western capitals as he delivered a state of the nation address Wednesday aimed at boosting falling approval ratings. The longtime Russian leader warned Washington against deploying any new missiles in Europe following the collapse of a key Cold War-era treaty, saying Moscow would consider it a "serious threat". "I'm saying this clearly and openly, Russia will be forced to deploy weapons that can be used... against the decision-making centres that are behind the missile systems which threaten us," Putin said.



  Driver hurt by air bag shrapnel as investigation drags on   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 15:23:07 -0500

Driver hurt by air bag shrapnel as investigation drags onDETROIT (AP) — Nearly four years ago, the U.S. government's highway safety agency began investigating air bag inflators made by ARC Automotive of Tennessee when two people were hit by flying shrapnel after crashes.



  Funeral held for youngest victim of factory shooting   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 22:00:34 -0500

Funeral held for youngest victim of factory shootingSHERIDAN, Ill. (AP) — A small funeral home was packed with hundreds of mourners for a 21-year-old college student who was killed on the first day of his internship when a worker opened fire inside an Illinois manufacturing facility.



  SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset Forfeiture   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 13:11:14 -0500

SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset ForfeitureThe Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that state and local governments are not exempt from the Constitutional prohibition against imposing “excessive fines” on citizens, significantly constraining the ability of law enforcement to seize the property of criminal suspects.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for eight of the nine justices, argued that state and local governments unconstrained by the Eighth Amendment's excessive-fines clause are likely to abuse their power.“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”The case in question concerned Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $42,000 Land Rover seized after pleading guilty to selling less than $1,000 of heroin. Tyson's property was seized via civil asset forfeiture, which allows the authorities to confiscate property they suspect was used in criminal activity before a suspect is found guilty or even charged with a crime.A trial court subsequently rejected the civil-forfeiture suit brought by the state, holding that the fine should be considered excessive because the vehicle was purchased for more than four times the maximum penalty of $10,000 that Timbs could be subjected to for selling heroin under state law.The Indiana Supreme Court then reversed that decision on the grounds that the excessive-fines clause of the Constitution applied only to the federal government in a ruling that was vacated by the High Court on Wednesday.Civil-liberties advocates celebrated the ruling as a reversal of a trend in which state and local governments increasingly rely on asset forfeiture to fund their operations.“Increasingly, our justice system has come to rely on fines, fees, and forfeitures to fund law-enforcement agencies rather than having to answer to elected officials for their budgets,” Scott Bullock, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said in a Wednesday statement. “This is not just an ominous trend; it is a dangerous one. We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court established that the U.S. Constitution secures meaningful protections for private property and limits the government’s ability to turn law enforcement into revenue generators.”



  View the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4 in Photos   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:30:00 -0500

View the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4 in Photos



  Kelsey Berreth beaten to death with baseball bat, according to court testimony   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 05:58:34 -0500

Kelsey Berreth beaten to death with baseball bat, according to court testimonyA man beat his fianceé to death with a baseball bat, convinced a woman he was having an affair with to clean up the bloody crime scene and then burned the victim's remains while she watched, investigators said Tuesday.



  Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen gets 2-month delay to report to prison   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 13:25:02 -0500

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen gets 2-month delay to report to prisonMichael Cohen will now report to federal prison on May 6 after a judge granted him a two-month delay to allow him to recover from a surgical procedure.



  How to Determine Whether a Warehouse Club Membership is Worth It   Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:20:41 -0500

How to Determine Whether a Warehouse Club Membership is Worth ItWarehouse clubs such as Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club are marketed to consumers as great places to find bargains on all kinds of goods, particularly items sold in bulk. Many discount grocers offer comparable prices on the goods you can find at a warehouse club. For most customers, there are three major areas that will provide enough savings throughout the year to pay for a warehouse club membership.



  Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms linger   Thu, 21 Feb 2019 21:07:20 -0500

Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms lingerThe 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.