Feb. 14, 2020

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Thursday appointed one of Republican Senator Ted Cruz's former staffers to lead a Justice Department office at the heart of a recent whistleblower complaint over anti-human trafficking grants awarded in 2019.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday to limit President Donald Trump's ability to wage war against Iran, rebuking him weeks after a strike against an Iranian military commander and Tehran's retaliation raised fears of broader regional conflict.

The U.S. Defense Department sent Congress a request to shift nearly $4 billion from the military budget to pay for a wall on the border with Mexico, a central promise of President Donald Trump's campaign for the White House four years ago and bid this year for a second term.

U.S. prosecutors on Thursday accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran track protesters in its latest indictment against the Chinese company, escalating the U.S. battle with the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker.

The new coronavirus has infected 1,700 Chinese health workers and killed six, authorities said on Friday, as businesses struggled to balance containment measures with a return from an extended post-holiday break.

Russian law enforcement officers in Siberia detained an adherent of the Jehovah's Witnesses late one evening this week and drove him to a secluded area where they beat him violently and threatened him, his lawyer said on Friday.

U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% in January as unseasonably warm weather held down the output of utilities and Boeing Co slowed production of civilian aircraft, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

AP Top Stories

North Korean leaders have yet to report any coronavirus cases, several South Korean outlets with sources inside the country report that the virus has arrived. Experts are worried that the poor, isolated country could be devastated by the illness, now officially known as COVID-19.

A Syrian military helicopter was shot down over the last major rebel bastion in northwest Syria on Friday, killing all crew on board, state media said, in the second such incident this week.

The United States has secured a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan that it hopes will allow it to strike a deal with the Taliban, officials said Thursday.

The Virginia legislature on Tuesday approved two different bills that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses in the state.

An American woman has accused a Mexican-based church and its leaders of human trafficking, filing a U.S. lawsuit accusing La Luz del Mundo of enslaving and sexually abusing her for decades.

Roman Catholic priests, deacons and bishops across the Amazon voiced surprise, resignation and reluctant acceptance of Pope Francis' refusal to allow married men to be ordained priests, lamenting that their faithful will continue to be deprived of Mass and subject to competing evangelical churches that have made impressive inroads in the region.

An Arizona Senate hearing on an effort to enshrine an existing ban on "sanctuary cities" in the state constitution erupted in shouting as immigrant rights activists called the proposal racist and the committee chairman ordered them removed.

British PM Johnson greeted his new cabinet of senior ministers on Friday, vowing to repay the trust of voters by improving infrastructure, cutting crime and building more hospitals.

President Donald Trump recently indicated that he would push for a middle-class tax cut sometime before the elections in November. The Tax Reform Act of 2017 did lower marginal rates a bit, but it wasn't a true middle-class tax cut. Rather, it was mostly a cut for companies that brought corporate income taxes down from among the highest in the world to average levels. But it's worth asking whether the middle class really needs tax relief?

A rocket slammed into an Iraqi base where American troops are stationed in the remote province of Kirkuk, Iraq's military and a US security source told AFP on Thursday night.

A U.S. Navy warship seized weapons believed to be of Iranian "design and manufacture," including 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, the American military said on Thursday.

BBC

Antarctica has exceeded 68F for the first time, after researchers logged a temperature of 69.35F on an island off the coast of the peninsula. Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP they had "never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica". But he warned the temperature, logged on 9 February, was just one reading and not part of a long-term data set.

A plan to clear 77,000 lbs. of rubbish from Everest and five other Himalayan peaks has been slammed by some of Nepal's leading mountaineers. The government says the army will be used for the task, which will cost $7.5m.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen says it has begun judicial proceedings against military personnel suspected of violating international humanitarian law.

WND

A web voting app that already has been tested in several states can be hacked, according to a new warning from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. AP reports that the analysis focused on the Voatz app, which already has been used in pilots in Denver, Oregon, Utah and Virginia. It's been used mostly, so far, for absentee voters and overseas military personnel.

The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the nation has filed for bankruptcy protection. McClatchy Co.'s 30 newsrooms, including The Charlotte Observer and The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, will continue to operate as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11.

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