The many indignities of Sean Spicer
White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned his post Friday after six months and one half day on the job, surviving almost weekly predictions of his imminent departure at the hands of one or another of the president’s aides and advisers. The final indignity appeared to be Trump’s hiring of Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director, which became public shortly before.
07/21/2017 - 04:49 PM
Eight Massive Wildfires Rage Across California
Among the fires is the most destructive wildfire in the U.S. this year, which crept within a mile of the historic tourist town of Mariposa.
07/22/2017 - 12:04 PM
Ex-CIA Director Hayden: Russia election meddling was ‘most successful covert operation in history’
Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA, called Russia’s interference in the 2016 election the “most successful covert influence operation in history.”
07/21/2017 - 05:20 PM
Human trafficking suspected as eight people found dead in lorry at Texas car park
Eight people were found dead on Sunday inside a sweltering lorry parked at a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas, and authorities said they were the victims of "ruthless" human traffickers. Another 30 people, many in critical condition and suffering from heat stoke and exhaustion, were also in the trailer, which lacked air conditioning or a water supply, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said. Temperatures outside the vehicle topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius). The truck's driver was arrested and will face charges, said Richard Durbin, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and prosecutors are working to identify others responsible. The bodies were discovered after officials were led to the trailer by a man who had approached a Walmart employee and asked for water. In addition to the dead, there were 28 injured - 20 of them severely "All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo," Durbin said. "These people were helpless in the hands of their transporters. Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus degree heat," he said. San Antonio is about 150 miles (240 km) north of the border with Mexico. Temperatures in the area held above 100 degrees Fahrenheit until 6 p.m. local time on Saturday and were expected to soar into the 100s again on Sunday, with humidity making the heat feel close to 110 degrees, forecasters said. Raids on suspected illegal immigrants have ramped up across the United States in recent months, after President Donald Trump's vow to crack down on those entering the country without authorization or overstaying their visas. In Texas alone, federal immigration agents said they arrested 123 illegal immigrants with criminal records in an eight-day operation that ended last week. The San Antonio deaths come more than a decade after what is considered the worst immigrant smuggling case in U.S. history, when 70 people were found stuffed into an 18-wheeler. Nineteen of them died in the incident in Victoria, Texas, about 100 miles southeast of San Antonio, in May 2003. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus described the latest fatalities as a "horrible tragedy" and said other suspects had fled the scene as police officers arrived. Police forensics officers work on the crime scene "Checking the video, there were a number of vehicles that came and picked up other people who were in that trailer," McManus said. Twenty people were airlifted to seven hospitals and their conditions were "critical to very critical," Hood said. Eight others are hospitalized in less serious condition, he said. At San Antonio's University Hospital, six adults were admitted early Sunday with heat-related injuries, all of them in critical condition, spokesman Donald Finley said. McManus said the people in the truck ranged from school-age juveniles to adults in their 20s and 30s. He said the Department of Homeland Security had joined the investigation, and that the origin of the truck is unclear. Experts have warned in recent months that tougher immigration policies could make it more difficult to stop human trafficking. Measures to harden international borders encourage would-be migrants to turn to smugglers and fear of deportation deters whistle-blowing, they said. The Border Patrol has regularly reported finding suspected immigrants inside trucks along the U.S. border with Mexico. Earlier this month, 72 Latin Americans were found in a trailer in Laredo, it said. In June, 44 people were found in the back of a lorry in the same Texas city, which lies directly across the Rio Grande from Mexico.
07/23/2017 - 01:19 PM
Venezuela’s symphony of protests
Musicians in Venezuela have been taking their instruments to protests this year, and a violist was killed in June. Here are some of the players in action.
07/23/2017 - 05:00 AM
Teenagers who filmed and laughed as disabled man drowned had no legal duty to save him, experts say
Teenagers who laughed while filming a disabled man as he drowned instead of rescuing him had no legal obligation to help, according to experts. Police are pursuing misdemeanour charges against the five minors, aged between 14 and 16, for failing to report the death of Jamie Dunn. As the 31-year-old drowned in a Florida pond on 9 July, the five teenagers mocked, laughed at and recorded him dying before posting the video online.
07/22/2017 - 06:25 AM
Minneapolis police chief resigns after Australian woman's shooting
(Reuters) - Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau resigned on Friday at the request of the city's mayor, who said that she had lost confidence in Harteau following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman. The death of Justine Damond, 40, from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen fired through an open window of a police patrol car, has outraged her relatives and the public in Australia. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it "shocking" and "inexplicable." Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement that she and Harteau agreed during discussions on Friday that Harteau would step aside.
07/21/2017 - 07:54 PM
Russian Spy House That Inspired 'The Americans' Will Be Put Up for Sale
A New Jersey home that has been vacant since the FBI arrested a family of undercover Russian spies living there is heading for sale
07/22/2017 - 02:07 PM
Departing White House press secretary says good riddance to press
Maybe hoping for the last word, Sean Spicer took another dig at the press in a “Hannity” appearance Friday.
07/21/2017 - 11:39 PM
Visa issues take spotlight after Burundi teens exit event
WASHINGTON (AP) — The big controversy leading up to the FIRST Global international robotics competition in Washington was whether a team of girls from Afghanistan would be able to participate, after their initial visa applications were denied.
07/21/2017 - 06:08 PM
'You would have to be a lunatic': Tourists to North Korea describe risks and rewards
James left North Korea this year with smuggled currency, stamps and a poster of “the great leader,” Kim Il Sung, that he bought on the black market. Months later, James’s fellow American, Otto Warmbier, died after suffering from a mysterious brain injury while in detention in North Korea, accused of stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. The US State Department has long recommended against travel to North Korea, but Warmbier’s death prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to authorize his department to block Americans from traveling to the country.
07/21/2017 - 09:26 PM
Afghanistan's Shiites mark anniversary of deadly attack
The site west of Kabul is the last resting place for victims of a deadly suicide bombing on July 23 last year -- the first claimed by the Islamic State group in the heart of Kabul against Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim Hazara ethnic minority. The line from Turkmenistan to Kabul, capital of energy-starved Afghanistan, bypasses the province of Bamiyan, a Hazara stronghold. For Hazara leaders the route is a further sign of discrimination against their community and their province, one of the least developed in Afghanistan.
07/23/2017 - 10:07 AM
6 of the most notable discoveries that have been revealed by melting ice
Two frozen bodies uncovered in the Swiss Alps this week are only the latest secret shrinking glaciers around the world have given up.
07/22/2017 - 07:37 AM
Russian envoy, at heart of U.S. investigations, ends tenure in Washington
Russia's ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak, a key figure in ongoing U.S. investigations into Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, ended his tenure on Saturday. The Russian embassy in Washington said on its Twitter feed that Minister-Counseler and Deputy Chief of Mission Denis V. Gonchar would serve as Charge d'Affaires until Kislyak's successor arrived. Kislyak, who held the post since 2008, is expected to be replaced by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov.
07/22/2017 - 06:07 PM
10-Year-Old Arrested For Allegedly Stealing a Car for the Fourth Time in 6 Weeks
Police said he removed his ankle monitor being caught.
07/22/2017 - 04:07 PM
Safety Tips For Watching The Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse will be visible from many parts of the United States on Aug. 21, as the moon’s shadow moves across the country from west to east. NASA offered safety tips for viewing.
07/23/2017 - 04:23 AM
Hundreds of sheep killed after bear chases them over cliff
More than 200 sheep have died after they hurtled over the edge of a cliff in the Pyrenees mountains while being chased by a bear. Their deaths have reignited the bitter debate over the presence of bears in the mountain range that straddles the French-Spanish border, where they were reintroduced 20 years ago after disappearing in the early 1990s. The sheep belonged to a farmer in the Couflens area on the French side of the border, but their bodies were found last Sunday at the foot of a cliff just over the border in Spain. The rest of the large flock was missing after dispersing over the mountains while fleeing the attack. Local authorities sent experts to examine the scene during the week and they concluded that the sheep had been running away from a bear. The sheep’s owner will be compensated for each of the 209 animals found dead, which is standard practice in such cases as part of the deal made between the government and farmers when brown bears from Slovenia were introduced in the late 1990s. Firefighters rescue Dolly the sheep from 15ft fall into rock crevice 00:47 But the deaths provoked an angry statement from the militant Confédération Paysanne (Farmers’ Federation) which demanded immediate action to stop deadly attacks by bears on livestock. “Pastoralism, which is a guarantor of biodiversity and of a living and welcoming mountain region, is not compatible with the reintroduction of large predators,” it said in a statement. “The state, which is responsible for the reintroduction of the bears, should remove the ones that are causing problems and should not reintroduce any more bears,” it said. The verbal protest was the latest battle in the long-running war between livestock farmers and animal conservationists who believe bears have their rightful pace in the mountain range. Herd of bison sees off pack of wolves in incredible footage 01:22 A similar battle is going on over the growing presence of wolves in France. On Thursday the government gave the green light for the cull of dozens of wolves in mountain areas, mostly in the southeast, where they have killed around 8,000 farm animals, mostly sheep, over the past year. The cull of up to 40 wolves by July next year represents a little over 10 percent of France's total wolf population. Wolves were eradicated in France in the 1930s but began to arrive back from Italy in the 1990s.
07/22/2017 - 12:23 PM
Donald Trump's immigration crackdown encapsulated in poignant images of father being deported
A man said goodbye to his wife and four children as he was deported from the US to Mexico after 16 years. Campaigners, lawyers and politicians arrived at Cleveland airport to denounce Jesus Lara Lopez’s removal as one of “the darkest times in our nation”. Mr Lara Lopez comforted his children, who will now grow up without a father present.
07/22/2017 - 10:27 AM
Kentucky to Pay Attorney Fees for Defiant County Clerk
A federal judge has ordered Kentucky taxpayers to pay more than $220,000 in attorneys' fees for an elected county clerk who caused a national uproar by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2016.
07/21/2017 - 05:31 PM
Minneapolis police chief resigns after shooting by officer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief after last weekend's fatal police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman who had called 911.
07/21/2017 - 11:45 PM
US warns Iran of 'new and serious consequences' if Americans not returned
"President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned," the White House said in a statement. The tough warning comes just days after Trump rowed back on a campaign promise and upheld the Iran nuclear deal, while introducing new non-nuclear related sanctions.
07/21/2017 - 05:57 PM
31-pound stray cat named Mr. Handsome is my favorite celebrity
Here's a good situation: a 31-pound stray cat who goes by "Mr. Handsome" has received so much interest at a Pittsboro, North Carolina animal shelter that his new home will be determined by a literal
raffle. Mr. Handsome, a flawless celebrity, has been winning hearts all week after being brought into the Chatham County Animal Shelter as a stray. Since then, there's been such an influx of prospective adopters to the shelter that parking and traffic have become strained. SEE ALSO: Cat that ingested antifreeze saved by the elixir of life: Vodka Now, those who'd like to adopt Mr. Handsome can fill out an application, which must be emailed to the shelter by July 26. If your name is drawn from the raffle, you'll be vetted further before the greatest cat to ever live is yours to keep. In the meantime, Mr. Handsome will be luxuriating in the ideal hotel suite — a cleared-out cabinet shelf he selected himself. WATCH: An incredible new robot inspired by vines can grow 25,000 times its original size
07/22/2017 - 02:37 PM
Six dead in worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed for years
By Luke Baker and Ori Lewis JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Six people were killed on Friday in the bloodiest spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years, prompted by new security Israeli measures at Jerusalem's holiest site. Three Israelis were stabbed to death in a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hours after three Palestinians were killed in violence prompted by Israel's installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's walled Old City. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed the metal detectors.
07/21/2017 - 05:22 PM
Mom of Teen Who Went Missing at Sea with Friend Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Other Family
She claims their negligence led to the boys' deaths in the suit.
07/23/2017 - 11:43 AM
This Is The Best Happy Hour Spot In Your State
07/22/2017 - 03:48 PM
Teacher convicted of having sex with her student suing teenage boy for defamation
A 36-year-old teacher convicted of having sex with a person under the legal age of consent in California is suing the student she slept with for defamation. Tara Stumph, who is currently serving a 180 day sentence for having sex with a 16-year-old student, says that statements made by the young man hurt her reputation and her career. Stumph was named alongside her former employer, the Lucia Mar School District, in the lawsuit brought against her by her victim’s family.
07/22/2017 - 12:47 PM
How to Peel and Devein Shrimp
This article, How to Peel and Devein Shrimp, originally appeared on Chowhound.
07/22/2017 - 11:00 AM
Apple Patches Serious Wi-Fi Exploit In iOS 10.3.3
Apple's iOS 10.3.3 update fixes a major security flaw that allowed for remote code execution to be done on iOS devices via its Wi-Fi chip.
07/21/2017 - 06:22 PM
California governor turns to housing, rail after climate win
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown's aggressive plea for lawmakers to renew California's signature climate change law proved fruitful this week, bolstering his credibility as a world leader in the fight against global warming.
07/23/2017 - 01:30 AM
Lawmakers Agree on Sweeping Russia Sanctions Package
The bill includes stiff economic penalties against Iran and North Korea
07/22/2017 - 04:01 PM
Qatar emir ready for Gulf crisis talks with conditions
Qatar's ruler said Friday that the Gulf emirate is ready for talks to resolve a diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led bloc so long as his country's sovereignty is respected. "We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems," so long as Qatar's "sovereignty is respected," Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in his first public comments since Saudi Arabia and its allies severed ties with the gas-rich emirate. "Any settlement of the crisis must be based on two principles," he said in a televised speech.
07/21/2017 - 04:45 PM
U.S. abortion support groups put on more public face
The Kentucky Health Justice Network, where she volunteers, is one of dozens of non-profit U.S. abortion funds providing money for procedures or covering travel costs to help women obtain abortions, particularly in states where Republican-backed laws have narrowed options. For years, such organizations kept a low profile to avoid being targeted by abortion opponents. The anti-abortion movement won a victory with the election of President Donald Trump, who has promised to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision protecting a woman's right to abortion.
07/22/2017 - 10:04 AM
The Latest: UN deplores Palestinians deaths in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on developments in Israel (all times local):
07/21/2017 - 06:58 PM
NASA is uploading hundreds of rare films from its archives to YouTube, and here are the best ones
We live in a world where delivering supplies to a space station orbiting our planet is handled by a tech startup, but expertise in flight hasn't always been so easy. NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center has an incredible wealth of video footage showcasing the many trials, successes, and failures of the United States' various military and scientific programs, and the group has decided to make it all available to the world via YouTube. The videos, which range in age from a few months to over fifty years, are a glorious look at the steady progress of flight engineering, and we've collected some of the best for you to enjoy.
Is that a UFO? Nope, it's a very early prototype of the wingless M2-F1.
Testing a lunar lander on Earth is tricky business, but NASA test pilots make it look easy.
Drones aren't a new concept to NASA. The agency has been flying remotely piloted aircraft for decades, like this Hyper III from 1969.
Ever wonder what kind of damage a world record-breaking flight can do to an aircraft? This X-15A-2 set a new high mark by achieving mach 6.7, and when it landed it looked like it had been through a war.
A plane that carries... planes?! That's what the Super Guppy does, and it looks very odd while doing it.
Flying saucers really do exist, as long as you count the unmanned X-45A.
The SR-71 is one of the US Air Force's most iconic aircraft of all time, and NASA borrowed a pair of them to conduct high-altitude research because of their amazing capabilities.
Still hungry for more? Head over to NASA's YouTube portal to check out the huge archive for yourself.
07/23/2017 - 09:00 AM
Nigeria's ex-oil minister battles slew of graft cases
Nigeria's former oil minister faces charges only at home but her name crops up in a growing number of international cases that lift the lid on the scale of alleged corruption in the country's oil sector. Since leaving office in 2015, Diezani Alison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds, and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States. The first female president of the global oil cartel OPEC -- who was one of Africa's most prominent politicians -- has always denied the allegations, which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state coffers.
07/22/2017 - 11:25 PM
How the Mustache on Dali's Corpse Remained Intact After 27 Years in the Grave
‘It had nothing to do with embalming.’
07/21/2017 - 06:14 PM
Ohio set to resume executions, child killer awaits appeals
Ohio is moving toward carrying out its first execution in more than three years.
07/23/2017 - 10:54 AM
Republicans close to blocking Trump from easing Russia sanctions
In a rare show of defiance, Republicans in Congress are coming close to preventing Donald Trump from being able to roll back sanctions against Russia. The White House has sought to change a bill that would toughen sanctions on Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US election. Despite telling reporters that the White House supports new sanctions on Russia, Marc Short, its legislative director, declared that the bill would set “an unusual precedent of delegating foreign policy to 535 members of Congress.
07/21/2017 - 05:17 PM
Trump blames New York Times for thwarting al-Baghdadi operation after story reported on Fox & Friends
President Donald Trump on Saturday attacked The New York Times and its "sick agenda," alleging that one of the paper's reports thwarted a US bid to take out Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "The Failing New York Times foiled US attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security," Mr Trump wrote in one of a barrage of early morning tweets. Mr Trump did not expand on his charge against The Times, or explain what revelation by the daily is supposed to have hampered Baghdadi's capture. This file image made from video posted on a militant website in 2014 purports to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Credit: AP The New York Times told the Politico news site in a statement: "We have asked the White House to clarify the tweet." US media suggested that Mr Trump may have been referring to a Fox News report about comments made by a top general at a security conference on Friday in Aspen, Colorado. At that gathering, General Tony Thomas – head of the US military's Special Operations Command – reportedly said that American forces at one point came "particularly close" to Baghdadi after a 2015 raid recovered information about Isil. Fox News reported that General Thomas said US troops had "a very good lead," on the Isil leader's whereabouts. "Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead," General Thomas reportedly said at the forum. The ruins of the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul's Old City, where Baghdadi declared the so-called caliphate Credit: REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Mr Trump posted his tweet 20 minutes after a section about the allegation aired on Fox News. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday that he believes Baghdadi is still alive, following various claims in recent months that he has been killed. "We are going after him, but we assume he is alive," the Pentagon chief said. There have been persistent rumors that Baghdadi has died in recent months. Donald Trump: 'America is coming strong!' 01:12 With a $25 million US bounty on his head, Baghdadi has kept a low profile but is rumored to move regularly throughout IS-held territory in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi - nicknamed "The Ghost" - has not been seen since making his only known public appearance as "caliph" in 2014 at the Grand Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul, which was destroyed in the battle for Iraq's second city. The New York Times is one of Mr Trump's favourite targets Credit: Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The Times has become a favorite Mr Trump target despite his penchant for reaching out to the daily, including this week, when he gave its reporters a major interview in which he criticized his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In Saturday's tweetstorm, Mr Trump railed against The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its "illegal leaks." "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions," he wrote on Twitter, adding "These illegal leaks... must stop!" He also groused about some of his favorite targets: the failure of US lawmakers to repeal "dead" Obamacare, Democratic "obstructionists" and alleged "ties to Russia" by Hillary Clinton, his defeated opponent in last year's presidential election.
07/22/2017 - 12:08 PM
Xanda, son of Cecil the Lion, killed by hunter in Zimbabwe
The son of Cecil the Lion, whose death at the hands of an American tourist in Zimbabwe caused international uproar, has also been shot dead by a hunter in Zimbabwe, scientists said. The lion, known as Xanda, was shot on July 7 just outside the boundary of Hwange National Park, close to where his father died, according to a group of researchers from Oxford University who were tracking him. As Xanda was shot outside the park, his killing was legal.
07/22/2017 - 03:39 AM
Egypt kills 30 extremists in Sinai: military
Egyptian forces have killed 30 extremists during several days of security operations in the Sinai Peninsula involving the army, air force and police, the military said Saturday. The Egyptian authorities are battling an insurgency by the Islamic State (IS) group in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of members of the security forces. The military did not specify to which group the 30 extremists belonged but described them as "extremely dangerous".
07/22/2017 - 04:18 AM
Sprint is just straight-up trolling Verizon now
In absence of actually having a good network, Sprint is relying on some top-notch PR to bother Verizon. Sprint already stole away Verizon's signature spokesperson -- Mr "Can You Hear Me Now?" -- and it's now hitting on Verizon's pricing with a savage stunt.
For one day only, Sprint has opened up a "Twice the Price" shop next to a Verizon store in Queens, NY. The concept is a store filled with regular things that are twice the price, just like Verizon's plans are twice the price of Sprint.
It's an incredibly brazen attempt to hit Verizon where it hurts most, and it is kinda funny. Verizon has arguably the best network around: it comes joint-top in most speed tests with T-Mobile, and its coverage is hands-down the best in rural areas and indoors.
But Verizon's pricing is undeniably high. Even the new Unlimited plan, which was meant to be Verizon's answer to T-Mobile One, is $80 a month for the first line.
Now, you can argue that Verizon's plans are still value for money. The Unlimited plan comes with good perks like 10GB of hotspot data, which you pay extra for on T-Mobile (or anyone else), and Verizon does get you more consistent coverage.
But for the average user, Sprint's betting that paying half the price makes up for any shortcomings in service. Sprint doesn't have the money to build out its network to compete with Verizon, so the "Twice the Price" store is going to have to do as a competitive strategy for now.
07/21/2017 - 07:12 PM
In Chicago, women worried about violence join gun club
Her hands slowed by rheumatoid arthritis, 71-year-old Marietta Crowder stands in front of her paper target, steadies her gun and pulls the trigger. Crowder is perhaps not the typical patron of a gun club. A fellow retiree, Javondlynn Dunagan, came up with the idea of gun training classes geared toward women, and for the "Ladies of Steel" gun club -- after successful training, the women gather twice a month to practice their skills.
07/22/2017 - 09:05 PM
Warren Buffet Blames ‘Stupidity’ For Not Investing In Amazon
Here's what the famed billionaire had to say about the e-commerce giant.
07/21/2017 - 06:30 PM
National Weather Service cancels its union contract
WASHINGTON (AP) — In what could be the first major labor showdown of the Trump administration, the National Weather Service announced it will cancel its contract with the union representing about 3,800 of its meteorologists and other workers.
07/21/2017 - 05:53 PM
Radio station cancels Richard Dawkins appearance over Islam tweets
A US radio station invited Richard Dawkins to speak about his latest book, and then cancelled the ticketed event over his tweets about Islam. The evolutionary biologist was due to discuss Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist at a benefit event for KPFA, a listener-funded station in Berkeley, California. Tickets were snapped up ahead of the anti-theist’s planned talk on 9 August – but KPFA cancelled the event on Thursday, claiming it had recently discovered that his comments about Islam had upset people.
07/22/2017 - 10:42 AM
Russia to blame for 'hot war' in Ukraine: U.S. special envoy
By Natalia Zinets and Matthias Williams KIEV (Reuters) - Russian aggression is to blame for violence in eastern Ukraine, where people are dying in what should be seen as a "hot war" rather than a "frozen conflict", the U.S. special envoy to the Ukraine peace talks said on a visit to Ukraine on Sunday. Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, was appointed to his current role on July 7 to help resolve the conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists, which has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014. Washington cites the conflict as a key obstacle to better relations with Russia.
07/23/2017 - 10:42 AM
Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary after objecting to new communications director
Sean Spicer, the embattled White House press secretary, has resigned – ending a tumultuous tenure attempting to defend President Donald Trump. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve @POTUS @realdonaldtrump & this amazing country,” he tweeted. “I will continue my service through August.” Mr Spicer’s decision was made following the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director. He will take over from Mike Dubke, who resigned in May. Sean Spicer: Donald Trump didn't want me to quit 00:42 Sarah Huckerbee Sanders will take over as press secretary from Mr Spicer. “This is obviously a difficult situation but I wish him well and I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” said Mr Scaramucci, holding court in the White House press room, and repeatedly professing his “love” for Mr Spicer and Mr Trump. It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS@realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) July 21, 2017 He said the president “has some of the best political instincts in the world, perhaps in history,” and described Reince Priebus, the chief of staff who reportedly opposed his appointment, as being “like a brother”. “I don’t have any friction with Sean, I don’t have any friction with Reince,” he said. Sean Spicer's press conference slip-ups 01:44 Mr Spicer had approved of Mr Dubke’s appointment. But the hiring of Wall Street trader and TV personality Mr Scaramucci, with no Republican Party credentials and no experience in handling media relations, was unacceptable. New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci arrives to speak to members of the media after Sean Spicer's resignation Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Mr Spicer was reportedly telling friends on Thursday night that if Mr Scaramucci was appointed he would resign. Yet Mr Scaramucci pushed back at accusations that he had little media experience, emphasising instead his television career and role crafting a communications strategy in his financial role. Sean Spicer is a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the Fake News Media - but his future is bright!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017 And, poised, charming and at ease, he set out on Friday to win over the press corps and promise a new era. "You’re trying to get a job done, and you’re sitting in a fishbowl," he said, when asked about the challenges of working in the White House. Anthony Scaramucci on Sean Spicer's resignation and briefings moving forward 03:04 "I think you’ll find there is a lot less palace intrigue than is reported. Because we all genuinely like each other." He vowed to "sell" the president's message more effectively. "I think the policies are fantastic. We just need to get it out there a little more aggressively. And I think we are going to do that," he said. Mr Spicer’s departure had been long predicted, yet still came as something of a shock. The 45-year-old had become perhaps the most recognisable face of Mr Trump’s administration – in part due to the savage mockery at the hands of Melissa McCarthy, who parodied him, to devastating effect, week after week on Saturday Night Live. Sean Spicer Mr Spicer, an experienced Republican operative, was communications director of the Republican National Committee from 2011 to 2017, and its chief strategist from 2015 to 2017. He was drafted into the White House largely thanks to Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, who worked closely with him at the RNC. But he got off to an inauspicious start in January when he used his first press conference to berate the press corps for their reporting on the inauguration crowd size. That diatribe memorably led to Kellyanne Conway, a White House adviser, describing Mr Spicer’s words as “alternative facts”. New White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, flanked by new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters He was fiercely criticised for appearing to downplay the role of the Holocaust when he said that “even Hitler” had not stooped to the lows of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. When James Comey was fired, Mr Spicer was caught off guard, and was described by The Washington Post as being forced to huddle with his team in the bushes to develop an on-the-fly strategy. Shortly after the article was published, The Post added a correction saying Mr Spicer was "among," not "in," the bushes. Under fire | Sean Spicer's blunders Sometimes Mr Trump seemed to enjoy the furore. “The guy gets great ratings,” said Mr Trump on April 27, when told that Mr Spicer’s press conferences were attracting more viewers than actual soap operas broadcast at the same time. But at other points he was evidently irked by his new press secretary. Mr Spicer, a lifelong Catholic, was pointedly not among those in the presidential entourage invited to meet the Pope. Sean Spicer on January 21, arguing over crowd size His press appearances were scaled back, and he was increasingly replaced by Mrs Sanders. When Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s chief strategist, was asked why Mr Spicer was appearing less frequently, Mr Bannon texted back: “Sean got fatter”. Mr Spicer, a reserve Naval officer, was known to have an impossible job, defending a mercurial president who has shown scant appreciation for facts or consistency. He was also seen as representing the “establishment wing” of the White House, along with Mr Priebus, whose position is also now seen as imperilled. Sean Spicer, far right, with Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus on January 28 “Many go on to lucrative careers in speaking and public relations,” said Dana Milbank, a political analyst. “But then, it’s hard to see whether this would work for Sean. He’s damaged goods.” Yet Mr Spicer himself remained upbeat. It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS@realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) 21 July 2017 On Friday night he will appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, along with Mr Priebus and Mr Scaramucci – an appearance intended to display a united front. He told a Washington Post reporter that he hoped he was "midway through the book" of his life, and added that the last chapter could be called "exciting times". "I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities," he said, when asked what he would do next. Profile | Sean Spicer The president wished him well, and said he was sure Mr Spicer would go on to achieve great success. "Just look at those television ratings," he joked.
07/21/2017 - 05:39 PM
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