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Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squadUkraine's security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday. The issue of how to deal with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is prominent ahead of the vote, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko casting himself as the commander-in-chief Ukraine needs to defend the country.

4/17/2019 5:20:00 AM

Farrakhan Defends Omar’s 9/11 Remarks, Appealing to Conspiracy TheoriesNation of Islam founder and notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan defended Representative Ilhan Omar's glib description of the September 11 attacks Monday by dismissing the attacks as nothing more than a false-flag operation designed to draw the U.S. into Middle Eastern conflicts.In a video posted to YouTube last year and tweeted out Monday by the Nation of Islam account, Farrakhan accuses the Bush administration of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks in order “to get the country into war at the expense of young patriotic men and women.”“3,133 Scientists Back Ilhan Omar on 9/11 Deep skepticism exists about the gov’t version of 9/11. Many experts—architects & engineers—say the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed in a controlled demolition. Listen to @LouisFarrakhan  ~~~~ IStandWithIlhan,” reads the tweet, which includes a link to the video.The tweet expresses Farrakhan's support for Omar, who has received an onslaught of criticism from Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits for using the phrase “some people did something” to describe the World Trade Center attacks, which killed more than 3,000 Americans.Farrakhan has previously blamed a cabal of highly placed Jewish government officials for helping to execute the attacks.“There were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks,” he said in 2015.Omar referred to the attack as “something” during a speech before the the Council on American-Islamic Relations last week, in which she also falsely claimed that the group was founded to fight the anti-Muslim discrimination that followed the 9/11 attacks. The organization, which has ties to the Hamas terror, was actually founded in 1994.The backlash against Omar escalated after the New York Post printed her words on the front cover along with an image of the twin towers at the moment of impact. President Trump then joined fray, tweeting out a video montage of the attacks accompanied by Omar's words.In a video that surfaced last week, Omar can be seen dismissing the threat posed by al-Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups as a laughing matter and mocking Americans who display discomfort when discussing the groups, who she implies are no different than the American or British governments.> A recently discovered video shows @IlhanMN mocking Americans for their anxiety about al-Qaeda, equating US armed forces to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.> > -- The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) April 11, 2019Omar, who has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks on numerous occasions since taking office, continued to enjoy the support of fellow freshman representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both of whom have accused her critics of using the 9/11 attacks to further a racist narrative about her.

4/16/2019 10:11:19 AM

German far right tries to link Notre-Dame fire to anti-Christian 'attacks'A leader of Germany's far-right AfD party on Tuesday tried to link the devastating fire at Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral to rising "intolerance" against Christians in Europe, although French investigators believe the inferno was an accident. In a tweet, Alice Weidel, the parliamentary group leader of the Alternative for Germany, the country's largest opposition party, implied a connection between Monday's blaze and previous anti-Christian "attacks" in France. February: 47 attacks in France," Weidel wrote.

4/16/2019 7:10:05 AM

2020 Toyota Highlander PreviewnullAll-New 2020 Toyota Highlander Is Sleek and Efficient Toyota took the wraps off its all-new, fourth-generation Highlander SUV, right before its public reveal at the New York International Auto S...

4/16/2019 10:01:01 PM

1 dog killed, another injured in snake attack at Laurel Canyon dog parkRattlesnake season is just beginning and dog owners in Laurel Canyon are already on the lookout after two dogs suffered snake bites, one of which was deadly.

4/17/2019 7:19:19 PM

The Latest: FBI says armed woman 'infatuated' with ColumbineLITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on lockdowns at Columbine High School and other Denver-area schools (all times local):

4/16/2019 10:38:54 PM

Instagram accounts of Iran Guards commanders blockedThe Instagram accounts of several Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders have been blocked, the Tabnak news website reported Tuesday, with the photo-sharing website saying it was complying with US sanctions. The United States announced on April 8 that it has placed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic republic, on their list of "foreign terrorist organisations". Tabnak, a site close to Iranian conservatives, said Instagram blocked the accounts of Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Major General Mohammad Bagheri and Major General Ghassem Soleimani.

4/16/2019 6:29:52 PM

Bernie Sanders among top one per cent of US earners, newly released tax returns showBernie Sanders and his wife made more than $1 million in both 2016 and 2017, newly released tax returns have revealed, shining a light on the wealth of the Left-wing presidential hopeful.  Mr Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist who sits as an independent in the US Senate, enjoyed the surge of income in part thanks to books he has written about politics.  The 77-year-old released 10 years of tax returns on Monday, following similar moves by rivals who are also seeking the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination. The revelation is politically challenging for Mr Sanders given he has railed against the “millionaires and billionaires” and their influence over the political system.  Mr Sanders said in a statement: “These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate. I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity.” The 2018 tax return, the most recent released, showed Mr Sanders and his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders receiving an income of $561,293.  That puts the Sanders in the top 1 per cent of US earners, according to the Economic Policy Institute, which said families receiving more than around $422,000 a year were in that bracket.  About $393,000 of the Sanders’s 2018 earnings came from book income. The pair reported giving $19,000 to charity – though other charitable gifts may have gone undeclared. The pair paid an effective tax rate of 26 per cent in 2018, according to the Sanders campaign.  Mr Sanders said in his statement: "I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country. "I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people.” Bernie Sanders ran Hillary Clinton close in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race, but ultimately fell short Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder Mr Sanders, a Vermont senator, sprung to worldwide prominence when he ran a closer than expected race against Hillary Clinton for the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nomination.  He ended up losing to Mrs Clinton but his unashamed left-wing policy pitch inspired scores of young Americans and drew comparisons to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader.  Shortly after the 2016 election, Mr Sanders’ book Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In was published. It was eventually translated into five languages.  A young-adult book called Bernie Sanders' Guide to Political Revolution was published the following year and another, titled Where We Go From Here, came out last year. Given Mr Sanders’ left-wing policy program – free government-funded healthcare for all, a $15 minimum wage, no tuition fees – he has been challenged to square his new-found wealth with his political stance.  “I wrote a best-selling book,” Mr Sanders said in an interview with The New York Times last week. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.” During a town hall debate run by Fox News on Monday, Mr Sanders acknowledged he had increased his income by publishing a book and declined to apologise.  “I guess the president watches your network a little bit, right?" Mr Sanders said to the moderators. "Hey, President Trump. My wife and I just released 10 years. Please do the same." Mr Sanders had held up publishing his full tax returns during his 2016 bid for the White House, releasing just his 2014 return.  Leading rivals for the 2020 nomination have released years of tax returns. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator, has released 10 years’ worth and Kamala Harris, the California senator, has released 15 years of returns.  Mr Trump is yet to release any of his tax returns, despite promising to do so during the 2016 presidential campaign once an audit was complete.  Committees in the House of Representatives which are controlled by the Democrats are attempting to force their release with subpoenas. The White House is fighting the move.

4/16/2019 12:53:23 PM

UPDATE 1-Qualcomm gains $30 bln in market value after Apple settlementQualcomm Inc added $30 billion to its market value after it resolved a legal battle with Apple Inc, a move that secures its leadership in 5G phone chips and could pave the way for a similar settlement with China's Huawei Technologies. The deal with Apple, coming at the cusp of the rollout of high-speed 5G network, could help Qualcomm return to the preeminent position it held in the early 2010s when it dominated the transition to 4G mobile networks and expanded revenues dramatically. Qualcomm's fortunes are also looking up since Intel Corp , which had been Apple's sole iPhone chip supplier for the past year, decided to exit the modem chip business following Qualcomm's settlement with Apple.

4/17/2019 9:50:06 AM

Ocasio-Cortez backs boycott of New York Post over cover attacking Ilhan OmarThe freshman Democrat voices her support for a boycott of one of her hometown newspapers.

4/16/2019 3:48:42 PM

Notre Dame fire: New Jersey students among last to see cathedral before massive blazeSeveral New Jersey high school students, in Paris as part of a French group trip, were visited the historic cathedral minutes before the blaze.

4/16/2019 4:04:55 AM

Porsche Collection Destroyed in ExplosionA large explosion rocked Durham, North Carolina on 10 April 2019, something that sadly claimed the life of one individual and injured 15. The building itself also contained one of America’s largest Porsche collections according to the Charlotte Observer. The rather unassuming red brick building didn’t boast about the treasures within, but video from the Charlotte Observer revealed a huge hole in the roof and the charred remains of what appears to be a 550 Spyder amongst other less identifiable wreckage.

4/17/2019 6:56:27 AM

Pete Buttigieg’s Abortion Extremism Hurts His Religious AppealWith every passing day, it seems we see yet another piece about South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg’s progressive Christianity. His faith is going to shake the race. He’s going to challenge the GOP monopoly on “God talk.” Here, for example, is the opening paragraph of an NBC News analysis posted yesterday afternoon:> Religious conservatives who have long been a reliable voting bloc for Republicans are grappling with a new challenge in Pete Buttigieg: how to respond to a Democratic presidential candidate who is leaning into the discussion about faith and its role in political life.I’ll agree that there are religious conservatives who are “grappling” with a challenge from Buttigieg, but that challenge is theological and cultural, not political. Buttigieg’s religious arguments have triggered important online debates about the differences between mainline and Evangelical Christianity, about when religious teachings should influence public policy, and about how to interpret the history of the gay-marriage debate.But religious conservatives are not grappling with the key political question — whether any meaningful number of Evangelicals or conservative Catholics would cross the aisle to cast a ballot for Mayor Pete. The reason is simple. Buttigieg is a pro-choice extremist, and no pro-choice extremist will ever meaningfully compete for the conservative Christian vote.In fact, in at least one key way, Buttigieg’s record on abortion is even worse than that of his Democratic peers. He is of course in lockstep agreement with them on support for late-term abortion, and he made that clear last month on Morning Joe:> .@PeteButtigieg explains his support for late-term abortion bills in New York and Virginia: > > ”When we’re talking about some of those situations covered by that law … the involvement of a male government official like me is not helpful.”> > -- Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) March 31, 2019But he’s done what many of them have not — he’s actually blocked a crisis-pregnancy center from opening at its chosen location. He not only supports abortion rights, he’s taken action against law-abiding Americans who merely wanted to make the case for life.Last April, Buttigieg vetoed a rezoning plan that would have permitted a crisis-pregnancy center to open next door to a proposed abortion clinic. In his statement justifying the veto, Buttigieg said, “I don’t think it would be responsible to situate two groups, literally right next to each other, in a neighborhood, that have diametrically opposed views on the most divisive social issue of our time.”And so, given the conflict, he chose to privilege the abortion clinic’s location over the pregnancy center. Thankfully, the center found a new location across the street from the proposed clinic — a location that didn’t require a rezoning vote. But that does not excuse or justify Buttigieg’s veto. He favored abortion rights over pro-life speech, and he likely violated the Constitution in doing so.While Buttigieg, to his credit, did not demonize his opponents in the South Bend dispute ( “Many people that I respect and admire and appreciate have very passionate and very opposite views on what is the right thing to do,” he said of the dispute), actions speak louder than words. And this action echoes a dangerous Democratic trend in pro-choice governance: the attack against pro-life pregnancy clinics.Across the United States, progressive legislatures have passed laws aimed at crisis-pregnancy centers, including a California law the Supreme Court struck down just last summer. Buttigieg hasn’t gone as far as California, which actually required pro-life pregnancy centers to promote state-funded free and low-cost abortions. But he had an opportunity to fully respect the constitutional rights of his pro-life opponents, and he chose not to do so.Many young Evangelicals, including young Evangelical activists, are divided over matters such as same-sex marriage. Some believe Obergefell v. Hodges was wrongly decided, others support legal recognition of same-sex marriage so long as the state doesn’t interfere with the church’s ability to define marriage according to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith. Others support same-sex marriage constitutionally and theologically.These same young Christians are often appalled that their older brothers and sisters in the faith have so easily overlooked Donald Trump’s multitude of sins. But they will not support politicians who support legal protections for late-term abortions. They won’t. The will not support politicians who don’t go beyond “respecting” pro-life Americans to also protecting their rights to free speech with the same vigor that they protect the First Amendment rights of pro-choice Americans.In the summer of 2016, I had hours of conversations with anguished Evangelical activists. They did not like Donald Trump. They could not believe the hypocrisy of some pastors defending a man whom they’d condemn if he had a “D” by his name. But they also could not believe that the Democrats wouldn’t compromise at all on abortion, not even in the third trimester. More than one person told me of this issue, “If only they’d moderate a little, I’d consider crossing the aisle. But they won’t, so I can’t.”Those words will still be true in 2020, and while Buttigieg’s lack of overt hostility to pro-life citizens is welcome — and conversations about America’s competing Christian world views are interesting — he has zero appeal to religious conservatives so long as he holds to the Democratic party line on the right of a woman to hire a doctor to kill a viable, living unborn baby. There is nothing to “grapple” with. There is no “challenge.” There are lines that Christian conservatives must not — and will not — cross.

4/16/2019 12:53:22 PM

Ola Bini: Wikileaks collaborator and Assange ally accused of plotting to blackmail Ecuador president faces 'threats in jail', parents sayThe parents of a Swedish programmer who was an early ally of Julian Assange and Wikileaks and who has now been accused of trying to blackmail Ecuador’s president, is facing threats in jail, his parents have claimed.Ola Bini, 36, was arrested last Thursday in Ecuador, hours after Mr Assange was detained by police in London who entered the Ecuadorian embassy. Mr Assange was charged with skipping bail by a London judge, while the US charged him with conspiring with whistleblower Chelsea Manning to hack a US computer. Defenders of Mr Assange say the US is trying to punish the Wikileaks founder for exposing embarrassing and damaging information about Washington’s actions, including the behaviour of its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.Prosecutors in Ecuador, have said they intend to charge Mr Bini, a longtime Wikileaks defender, with seeking to blackmail Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno, who turned against Mr Assange and invited the British authorities to enter the embassy last week and arrest him.On Tuesday, Mr Bini’s parents, Dag Gustafsson and Gorel Bini, professed their son’s innocence and said they would remain in Ecuador until he was released. “We want to say that Ola is not feeling safe, because of some threats inside,” Mr Gustafsson told reporters.His wife added: “Right now, he’s ok. But he’s worried.”Last week, Ecuador’s interior minister Maria Paula Romo, told local media the Swedish coder, who has long worked with social justice groups, had been arrested for “investigative purposes”.“For several years now, one of the key members of this WikiLeaks organisation and a person close to Mr Julian Assange has lived in Ecuador, and we have sufficient evidence that he has been collaborating with the destabilisation attempts against the government,” she said.According to the Associated Press, she added: “It’s up to the justice system to determine if he committed a crime. But we can’t allow Ecuador to become a centre for piracy and spying. That period in our history is over.”Ms Romo said Bini had travelled at least 12 times to meet with Assange at the London embassy. She said he was also in Venezuela earlier this year at around the same time as a close aide to Mr Moreno’s former mentor turned arch enemy, Rafael Correa. Mr Correa, a former president who frequently criticised the US, had initially offered asylum to Mr Assange.

4/16/2019 1:19:00 PM