A British mother jailed in Iran hailed the “light at the end of the tunnel” on Sunday when a fresh trial was postponed after Boris Johnson met with the country’s president. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker who is serving a five-year sentence for allegedly plotting to topple the Iranian government, said she could “see some light today” after news of the postponement reached her. She had been scheduled to face additional charges of spreading anti-government propaganda in court on Sunday. But a senior court official told Iran’s Fars news agency that no hearing would be held. “I ... declare that no court session has been held for Ms Nazanin Zaghari today,” Moussa Qazanfarabadi, the Head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court said, the agency reported. Following the news, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe released a statement of her own, saying: “The court, the imprisonment emerged all of a sudden out of the blue, so I hope it can disappear out of the blue also – if there is enough will." The mother-of-one described a feeling of cautious optimism after previous attempts to free her had failed. “This time, again it feels close, but I am not planning it, not setting a date for myself,” she added. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband said the 38-year old from Hampstead learned of the postponement only when she was not summoned into court – something he described as “the first ripple of freedom”. “She was not summoned as expected, and then she knew when she wasn’t taken into court, “ Richard Ratcliffe told The Telegraph. “She is immensely relieved this morning. Like a weight has been lifted off.” Mr Johnson left Iran on Sunday morning after what the Foreign Office called “forthright” but “worthwhile” talks with Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, over regional tensions, the Iranian nuclear deal, and bilateral issues including the fate of jailed British-Iranian dual nationals. He was expected to press for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release on humanitarian grounds. “Both spoke forthrightly about the obstacles in the relationship and agreed on the need to make progress in all areas,” said a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives for a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Iran Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi /AP The meeting with Mr Rouhani ended a two-day visit in which Mr Johnson also met Mohammad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation. He also met with Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family on Saturday evening. Mr Johnson’s visit to Tehran, only the third by a British foreign secretary since 2003, follows a small thaw in relations since sanctions against Iran were lifted following a deal to restrict the country’s nuclear programme in 2016. Iran has also expressed frustration that British banks have been reluctant to do business with Iran despite the lifting of sanctions when the nuclear agreement was signed in 2016. Many UK banks fear exposure to additional US sanctions that remain in place. The impasse left the Iranian embassy in London unable to open a bank account for some months. Other issues include repaying a 40-year old debt that Iran is seeking from the UK for an unfulfilled arms deal. The sum, around £400 million, dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the Shah of Iran paid for but never received tanks from the UK. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe timeline However, the discussions have been overshadowed by British concerns about the fate of a number of dual citizens jailed in Iran. The most high profile is Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in March 2016 as she and her then-one-year-old daughter were about to board a flight back to the UK following a family visit. In September 2016 she was sentenced to five years in Tehran’s Evin prison for allegedly plotting against the Iranian government. Her husband and her employer, the Thompson Reuters Foundation, maintain that the charges against her are baseless. Last month she was informed she could face fresh charges of spreading propaganda against the regime, which supporters said could add 16 years to her sentence. However, Mr Qazanfarabadi on Sunday denied that charges had been raised against her or that her sentence might be extended as a result.
Thousands of protestors gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, this weekend in the latest demonstrations against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
During a Sunday segment sounding the alarm about the rise of “fake news” in the mainstream media, Fox News anchor Leland Vittert twice claimed that The Washington Post had fired a reporter over a misleading tweet that sparked the ire of President Donald Trump.
Argentine parliamentarians are reportedly investigating two German firms over the replacement of batteries on the missing submarine ARA San Juan, alleging bribes were paid to secure contracts and inferior products used. The German Interior Ministry has received a request for information from the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Argentine parliament, officials confirmed to public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk (BR). “The suspicion exists that the batteries that were replaced were not, in part or at all, of the quality that they should have been. We don’t know either where they came from, whether from Germany or from another country. Because of this we want to know what technicians were there and who signed saying: good, this is repaired,” Cornelia Schmidt-Liermann, head of the Argentine parliamentary commission, said according to the network. A woman holds a placard with a message that reads in Spanish: "We are with you, brave ones of the ARA San Juan," Credit: Esteban Felix/AP She said it was believed that bribes may have been paid to secure contracts for the renovation, and that “German companies were involved”. The two firms from which the commission has requested information - Ferrostaal and EnerSys-Hawker - signed a contract for 5.1 million euros to replace 964 batteries on the German-built sub, BR reported. Ferrostaal has denied any responsibility, saying its role was only to mediate in the contract, for which it received a commission. EnerSys-Hawker has not yet responded publicly. Questions have been mounting in Argentina over the state of the batteries on the ARA San Juan, of which there is still no trace almost a month after its November 15 disappearance. The vessel had reported a fault with its batteries shortly before it lost contact and had been ordered to return to the Mar de Plata naval base. Three hours later, an “acoustic event” believed to be an underwater explosion was detected close to the sub’s last known location. Search for the missing Argentinian submarine San Juan The final communication from the ARA San Juan said an entry of seawater had caused a short-circuit in the batteries and “the beginnings of a fire”. Families of the 44 crew members and politicians have raised questions over the submarine’s mid-life renovation, which was completed in 2014. One aspect under scrutiny is the decision to replace all internal elements of the batteries but retain the old casings. The Argentine minister of defence, Oscar Aguad, last week (Tuesday) revealed "suspicions" that there had been corruption in the five-year renovation process, which took place under the previous government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. He told TV channel Todo Noticias there were a number of "anomalies" that indicated overcharging and the use of sub-standard products. Mr Aguad said a legal complaint had been filed in the past over alleged corruption in the refit, but that it was "swept under the rug" without ever being investigated.
Israel's defence minister called Sunday for an economic boycott of Arab citizens from area where unrest erupted over Donald Trump's Jerusalem declaration, saying they "don't belong" in the country. Avigdor Lieberman's comments about Arab Israelis, who account for some 17.5 percent of the country's population, drew condemnation for their harshness. "Those who demonstrate in Israel holding Hezbollah, Hamas and PLO flags are not part of the state of Israel," Lieberman said, referring to the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) — Students at Oberlin College have long enjoyed pastries, bagels and chocolates from Gibson's Bakery, a century-old, family-owned business near campus. That sweet relationship has turned bitter amid hotly disputed accusations of racism, roiling a school and town long known for their liberal politics.
HELSINKI (AP) — Three people have been arrested for allegedly throwing firebombs at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Goteborg, the second anti-Jewish attack in the Nordic nation in two days. Jewish groups condemned the attacks as "unconscionable" and demanded that authorities take action.
Mother Jones magazine and the progressive organization Americans for Tax Fairness have taken a look at the more lavish of the House and Senate measures to cut taxes for the richest people in America ― a mammoth break on estate taxes.
They say it's a family business, but traditionally women in the Italian mafia were prison messengers or bargaining chips in dynasty marriages to create alliances between clans. Now as male mob bosses languish in jail, mafiosas are increasingly stepping up to head crime families - and getting caught in the process. After seven years behind bars, one such godmother - Maria Angela Di Trapani - was freed from prison in 2015 and for the last two years has allegedly been quietly moving up through the secretive, male-dominated ranks of Sicily's Cosa Nostra. On Tuesday, the 49-year-old wife of notorious boss Salvino Madonia was among 25 people arrested in a sweeping Palermo raid, accused once again of mafia crimes, including orchestrating bold intimidation tactics to scare business owners into paying a feared mafia tax known as the pizzo. “She operates like a man,” various mob bosses were recorded saying in prison about Di Trapani - the ultimate compliment in the man-of-honour hyper macho world of Cosa Nostra, which always gave an important role to women behind the scenes, but rarely officially. Investigators say one popular cake shop in Palermo paid €5000 in extortion money. Another bar in a well-known central square named after Pope John Paul II paid €750 at Easter, and again at Christmas. A bustling pizzeria shelled out €3000. Italian anti-Mafia and counterterrorism prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho delivers his speech during a meeting in Milan, Italy Credit: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni “I'll never forget the look she gave me from her balcony when she called out to me, warning me to be careful what I said,” said one businesswoman in Di Trapani’s neighbourhood. “Her eyes were like ice.” The Resuttana clan paid visits to tyre shops, local gyms, and some shopkeepers who didn’t pay went to work the next morning to find their rolldown storefront gates superglued shut or set alight. This apparent increase in equal opportunities is a sign the mob is weakening, says John Dickie, professor of Italian Studies at University College London and author of several bestselling books about organised crime. About Italian Mafias “It is actually a symptom of crisis that we are seeing more women in Cosa Nostra,” he says. “It is an attempt to shore up the organisation in trouble, they are the avatars of the men – the wives and sisters of particularly fearsome or prestigious bosses, but they wouldn’t be doing it if loads of men weren’t in jail.” A crackdown on organised crime over the last three decades has failed to take down the mafia, but has effectively put a generation of bosses behind bars. Some of them are dying there, including two of the top Godfathers from the Corleone faction, Bernardo Provenzano, who died of cancer in 2016 while serving time in a Milan prison, and Salvatore “Toto’ Riina” who died of cancer last month while imprisoned in Parma. The day after he died, Riina’s daughter changed her Facebook profile picture to a woman with her finger to her lips and the message “shhh.” Investigators said this week that Di Trapani was involved in the reshuffling going on between clans loyal to the Corleonesi in the wake of Riina’s death. “Since many of the male bosses are in prison, the women, who know everything that is happening in the mafia families, are not only the connection between the bosses in prison and the outside world, but are increasingly filling the gaps and doing what their husbands, brothers or fathers did,” said Italian journalist and mafia expert Attilio Bolzoni on RepubblicaTV. The younger sister of the Graviano brothers, Filippo and Giuseppe, has gained influence for her capacity to quickly and effectively move large amounts of money, even though both boss brothers are in prison. Those who aren’t caught, like Italy’s most wanted fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro – often turn to the women in their families for help hiding. Messina Denaro’s sister, Patrizia, took over several roles in his absence and was among the few who knew how to find him, until she too, landed in jail, where she remains today, still silent about her brother’s whereabouts.
To date, the Army has completed more than 117,000 M4A1 upgrades on the way to the eventual transformation of more than 480,000 M4 rifles. As a result, it is entirely conceivable that the Army will explore new requirements and technologies for the M4A1 as time goes on. The service’s so-called M4 Product Improvement Program, or PIP, is a far-reaching initiative to upgrade the Army’s entire current inventory of M4 rifles into higher-tech, durable and more lethal M4A1 weapons, Army spokesman Pete Rowland, spokesman for PM Soldier Weapons, told Scout Warrior in an interview.
By David Stanway SHANGHAI (Reuters) - With its smog-prone north desperate to slash coal consumption, China is looking to deploy nuclear power to provide reliable winter heating, raising public safety concerns - though developers say the risks are minimal. State-owned China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) recently conducted a successful 168-hour trial run in Beijing for a small, dedicated "district heating reactor" (DHR) it has named the "Yanlong". With the north facing natural gas shortages as cities switch away from coal, CNNC presented the "DHR-400" as an alternative heat supplier for the region, with each 400-megawatt unit capable of warming 200,000 urban households.
Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) December 10, 2017 “Saturday Night Live’s” take on politics this week featured elf Kate McKinnon and Santa Kenan Thompson in the cold open listening to a line-up of smart kids asking about everything from opioids to Colin Kaepernick and toys — more specifically, Matt Lauer’s sex toys.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday declared victory in a three-year war by Iraqi forces to expel the Islamic State jihadist group that at its height endangered Iraq's very existence. "Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh (IS)," Abadi told a conference in Baghdad. As the authorities announced a public holiday on Sunday "to celebrate the victory", Abadi said in a speech at the defence ministry that Iraq's next battle would be to defeat the scourge of corruption.
Like the rest of China’s military revolution over the past quarter century, its small-arms revolution is a remarkable achievement. China’s People’s Liberation Army has traditionally relied on foreign and Communist bloc weapons manufactured in China under license—or not. Now, however, as the PLA undergoes an unprecedented modernization, a new generation of locally designed and manufactured light weaponry is arming China’s armed forces, from handguns to light machine guns.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador recently urged the world to sever diplomatic ties with North Korea, she was sketchy on the details: Should all embassies close? How about those providing the U.S. intelligence from the largely inscrutable country? And what of Sweden, which helps with imprisoned Americans? Nikki Haley's recent call to action underscores the challenge for the United States as it tries to advance a nonmilitary strategy for resolving the nuclear standoff with North Korea. Isolating the reclusive, totalitarian state has been a central component of the U.S. plan, even though Washington says it remains open to talks.
WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Saturday swung back at recent media reports about his costly use of government helicopters, calling them “total fabrications and a wild departure from reality.”
WASHINGTON ― At its final meeting on Friday and Saturday, the Democratic National Committee’s Unity and Reform Commission agreed to a set of dramatic revisions aimed at restoring faith in the presidential nomination process and the management of the DNC.
By Mohamed Abdellah and Nidal al-Mughrabi CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during Pence's visit to the region this month in a snub over the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Palestinian Foreign Minister said on Saturday. Violence erupted for a third day in Gaza in response to President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday, which overturned decades of U.S. policy towards the Middle East. Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinian gunmen on Saturday after militants fired rockets from the enclave into Israel on Friday, which had been declared a "day of rage" by Palestinian factions.
By Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - The author of an article that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller believes Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort ghost-wrote in violation of a gag order said on Saturday he had sought input on the op-ed before publishing to avoid errors. On Friday, Mueller unveiled evidence against Manafort to convince a judge that he wrote the article to improve his public image. Manafort is facing charges as part of an investigation into accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
California Governor Jerry Brown has told the state’s residents to get used to destructive wildfires in winter, declaring them “the new normal”. As six major fires ravage southern California, having led to the death of one person and the destruction of hundreds of homes and other buildings, Mr Brown said the state needed to face up to a new challenge. Visiting Ventura County, where the largest of the blazes – the Thomas Fire – is still growing, Mr Brown said drought and climate change mean California faces a “new reality” where lives and property are continually threatened by fire, at a cost of billions of dollars.
Honduras's leftwing opposition is demanding a presidential election held two weeks ago be voided and its results annulled, alleging it was "rigged" in favor of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The Alliance Against the Dictatorship coalition backing Hernandez's chief rival in the poll, Salvador Nasralla, lodged the demand late Friday with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Both Hernandez and Nasralla claimed victory after the November 26 election.
Southern California's Getty Center, one of the world's wealthiest art institutions, said it had survived a wildfire tearing through Los Angeles thanks to a disaster plan that has it ready for earthquakes as well. Fires that have chased almost 200,000 Californians from their homes covered the Getty's hillside location in smoke this week. Perched above the busy 405 freeway, an artery of California's traffic system, the Getty is among the most visited U.S. museums and reopened on Friday after two days closed.
Egypt's authorities on Saturday revealed artefacts and a linen-wrapped mummified body, possibly that of a top official, from two tombs that were discovered two decades ago in the Nile city of Luxor but had not been fully unexplored. The Ministry of Antiquities said the tombs, located in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank, had been noted by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in 1990s and were either unexcavated or had never been entered. Along with the mummy, archaeologists found painted wooden funeral masks and several hundred carved statues, likely dating around the end of Egypt's 17th Dynasty or the start of the 18th Dynasty, the ministry said.
Drew Anthony raised enough money in a single opera performance to pay for a year of college tuition. After hearing his story, several prestigious universities have tapped him for spots at their school.
A line of charred stables running down blackened hills have become graveyards for dozens of horses caught in the raging flames of a southern California wildfire that burned them alive. "It was hell," said a security employee at the San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, an hour north of San Diego. The employee, who asked not to be identified by name, said that 75 percent of the stables burned at the center, where some 500 elite horses were stabled and trained.
In his first televised interview since taking office, Surgeon General Jerome Adams tells NBC News Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres that he wants to get Naloxone, a medicine that reverses opioid overdoses, “in the hands of more people."
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former aide to Republican Rep. Trent Franks has told The Associated Press the congressman repeatedly pressed her to carry his child, at one point offering her $5 million to act as a surrogate mother.