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TOKYO (AP) — Thirteen Japanese cult members may be sent to the gallows any day now for a deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system and other crimes. But when is uncertain. Such is the secrecy that surrounds Japan's death penalty system.
The death row inmate, Russell Bucklew, 49, was convicted of killing his former girlfriend's new boyfriend and raping the ex-girlfriend more than two decades ago. Bucklew suffers from a congenital ailment known as cavernous hemangioma, a malformation of blood vessels that could burst from the stress of lethal injection, leading to undue agony in violation of the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
President Xi Jinping delivered a blistering nationalist speech Tuesday, warning against any attempts to split China and touting the country's readiness to fight "the bloody battle" to regain its rightful place in the world. Mr Xi, who is set to rule China for life having scrapped presidential term limits, lauded his vision of the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. He sent strong warnings to Taiwan and Hong Kong, self-governed regions that the Communist Party of China (CPC) seeks to unify politically with the mainland, saying that any efforts made towards their independence would be “doomed”. In front of around 3,000 CPC delegates in the Great Hall next to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Mr Xi declared: "The Chinese people have been indomitable and persistent, we have the spirit of fighting the bloody battle against our enemies to the bitter end.” He said that China, which has been building military facilities in disputed territory in the South China Sea and has established military bases on recognised foreign soil since Mr Xi came to power in 2012, would not seek expansion. "Only those who are accustomed to threatening others will see everyone as a threat," he said. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People on March 20 Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images As state media TV cameras honed in on delegates from Taiwan the President added: “All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history.” Achieving “total unity”, he said, was the “collective hope of all Chinese people.” The US does not recognise Taiwan as a separate country, in line with Beijing’s wishes. However, last week US President Donald Trump riled the Chinese government by signing an agreement with Taiwan allowing US ships to move into Taiwanese waters. China is overseeing a massive global trade infrastructure initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road, drawing interest from nations participating in the investment but also criticism from others fearing that it mainly serves Beijing's interests. China propaganda puff The Chinese leader's plan to build a "world-class" military by mid-century has also raised concerns about how it plans to use its increasingly modern forces amid regional frictions over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. The highly-choreographed NPC, which takes place annually, saw the rubber stamping of Mr Xi’s second presidential term as well as the abolition of his two-term limit. Many Chinese online commentators suggested that by pushing through the latter motion he was turning himself into an emperor-like figure, while others compared him to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Critical comments were, however, largely deleted by the government’s army of censors. A major restructuring of the Chinese government was also announced during the NPC, which began on March 5. The move will see banking and insurance bodies merged and the formation of new ministries, such as those for immigration and the environment. High-ranking government personnel changes were confirmed too. Wang Qishan, formerly in charge of the government’s corruption investigations department, was elevated to the position of Mr Xi’s vice president. Yi Gang was named governor of China’s central bank: a promotion from his position of vice governor.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The hunt for the serial bomber who has been leaving deadly explosives in packages on Austin doorsteps took a new, more sinister turn Monday when investigators said the fourth and latest blast was triggered along a street by a nearly invisible tripwire.
Democratic leaders have backed away from their demands that young illegal immigrants be protected from deportation as the deadline approaches to fund the federal government. Top Democrats had tied their support for previous budget bills to their receiving of commitments from Republicans to consider legislation that would salvage the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme. Instead, they want negotiators in both parties to drop all contentious provisions unrelated to the budget to make it easier to pass the spending bill and keep the government open.
By Alex Fraser and Peter Nicholls SALISBURY, England (Reuters) - Inspectors from the world's chemical weapons watchdog on Monday began examining the poison used to strike down a former Russian double agent in England, in an attack that London blames on Moscow. Britain says Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who are critically ill in hospital, were targeted with the Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent Novichok. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who easily won another six-year term on Sunday, said the claims were nonsense and that Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapons.
Former Chief of Staff under President Clinton Mack McLarty and editor-at-large for the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol react to a Washington Post report that President Trump had White House employees sign non-disclosure agreements.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday named hundreds of mines, Chinese businesses and individuals who had illegally transferred foreign currency abroad during Robert Mugabe's rule and warned they would be prosecuted. The announcement came after the expiry of a three month amnesty for the return of funds including export proceeds, payments for phantom imports and "funds transferred to foreign banks in cash or under spurious circumstances". Authorities say Zimbabwe lost at least $1.4 billion (1.1 billion euros) in revenue as a result.
A collector has hit the jackpot after being told that an old photograph he picked up on eBay for just £7 was a genuine portrait of infamous Wild West outlaw Jesse James, worth up to £2 million. Justin Whiting, 45, bought the photograph in July 2017 and immediately tracked down Will Dunniway, a 19th century photography expert from California. He was astonished when forensic experts confirmed his picture of infamous Wild West outlaw Jesse James was genuine and could sell for six figures. Single Justin, from Spalding, Lincs., said: "Anything is possible on eBay so I kept buying the odd photograph for a few quid, like other people would buy a lottery ticket. "I noticed the picture for sale - it was ten dollars. It was a bit blurry on the site but when I got it, it was a lot clearer. "I thought to myself: 'Gee wizz, this could be a real photo!' I've been obsessed with American outlaws for years and read lots of books and study their faces. Justin Whiting's photo of Jesse James (right) and an existing picture of the outlaw at a similar age Credit: Justin Whiting / SWNS.com "The picture was identical to the one in my book, except it was full length. All my friends said it was the same but I knew I needed to contact experts. "I didn't dare to believe they would say it was genuine and worth at least two million." Expert Mr Dunniway confirmed the photograph was a genuine portrait of bank robber Jesse taken when the babyfaced outlaw was just 14. His report said: "The age of this image was about 1861-2 and is correct in every way to this period. "When it is compared to the much used comparison image I believe it was taken on the same day by the same photographer. "It is very evident by the face, hair cut, jacket, shirt and tie that this is the same image of Jesse James at 14 years old. One of the originals." The eBay listing from which Justin Whiting picked up an old photo Credit: Justin Whiting / SWNS.com Justin then sent the 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches Victorian tintype photograph to Los Angeles forensic expert Kent Gibson who has verified evidence for the FBI. Mr Gibson confirmed the image was authentic and said: "All power to Justin. An authentic photograph of outlaw Billy the Kid sold for $5million in 2015 so the sky's the limit. "Jesse James is a very famous outlaw so this is obviously a valuable image." Justin, who has been out of work since 2003 due to back problems, has already been in touch with posh London auction house Christie's and is looking forward to spending his windfall. He said: "I'm definitely selling it. I'll be able to buy my own house and my own car. I can't wait. Good things do happen sometimes." Jesse may have robbed a few banks in his time, but Justin isn't taking any chances with his haul. He said: "I'm being super careful. That photograph is the most valuable thing I've ever had in my possession. It's staying in my friend's safe for now."
President Bashar al-Assad flaunted government advances in Syria's seven-year war by filming himself driving to meet frontline soldiers near Damascus, making a video of the journey from the city center into areas recently recaptured. "The road is open... everything is running now in the city and in Syria," he said in the video, describing a road that had previously been cut by sniper fire and saying it was now easier to travel around the country. The video, released overnight after a trip on Sunday, showed Assad in sunglasses at the wheel of his Honda car, speaking about the government's increasing strength as peaceful scenery behind him gave way to battle-scarred concrete.
A former politburo member went on trial in Vietnam Monday in his second corruption case this year, as the communist state continues its public crackdown on powerful figures in politics and business accused of graft. Dinh La Thang, who was also the former head of state-run oil giant PetroVietnam (PVN), is already serving a 13-year jail term for a previous conviction for corruption. The new trial sees him accused of approving a $35 million investment of state funds in Ocean Bank in 2008 without the authorisation of PVN's board or the Prime Minister.
Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Brad Parsquale were involved in hiring the British-based political data firm, which improperly accessed personal data from Facebook users. NBC’s Anna Schecter reports.
An explosion in Austin on Sunday wounded two men, thought to be in their 20s, authorities said, as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents rushed to the scene in the Texas capital, where earlier this month three parcel bombs killed two people. Police told a press conference that the wounded men were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not life threatening. The scene after another bomb exploded earlier this month Credit: Reuters "We have a scene where it is obvious an explosion has taken place," said Brian Manley, Austin police chief. "We just simply do not know a lot at this point." He also told people to stay in their homes and avoid touching any suspicious packages, but did not say whether there was any link between the latest blast and the earlier parcel bombs. The FBI said on Twitter that its agents were at the scene of Sunday's explosion in a residential neighbourhood on the west side of the city, several miles from where the east side neighborhoods where the earlier blasts occurred. Initial Statement from Chief Manley regarding explosion https://t.co/CCydXhmQ8e— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 19, 2018 Agents from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also attending the scene, the FBI said. "Residents in immediate area ... wait in your homes and follow instructions of officers," Austin police said on their Twitter feed. Investigators are still looking for the culprits behind the three parcel bombs that exploded in three separate east side neighbourhoods of the city, killing two African-American males and leaving a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life. More than 500 federal agents have joined Austin police in the murder investigation. APD responding to Bomb Hotshot call in the 4800 block of Dawn Song Dr. Two male patients transported with unknown injuries. Please avoid the area. Media staging area is 4635 SW Pkwy, corner of SW Pkwy and Boston Ln. APD PIO— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 19, 2018 Earlier on Sunday, Austin police said whoever was responsible for the bombs was trying to send a message and should contact authorities to explain any motive. "We are not going to understand that (message) until the suspect or suspects reach out to us to talk to us about what that message was," Mr Manley said. He added that police were also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes. The first bombing on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man. It ripped a hole in a home entrance wall and damaged the front door. A bomb last Monday morning killed Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African American teenager and promising musician. It also injured his mother. A few hours later, a third bombing injured the 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been named. Police have received more than 735 calls about suspicious packages since the three parcel bomb attacks, but authorities had not found any that posed a security risk, Mr Manley said. A reward of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.
A massive volcanic eruption helped convert Iceland's Vikings to Christianity more than a thousand years ago, according to new research. Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in a medieval poem, were used to drive the island's conversion to Christianity, suggests the study. A team of scientists and historians, led by Cambridge University researchers, has used information contained within ice cores and tree rings to accurately date the massive eruption, which took place soon after the island was first settled. Having dated the eruption, the researchers found that Iceland's most celebrated medieval poem, which describes the end of the pagan gods and the coming of a new, singular god, describes the eruption and uses memories of it to stimulate the Christianisation of Iceland. The eruption of the Eldgjá in the 10th Century is known as a lava flood: a rare type of prolonged volcanic eruption in which huge flows of lava engulf the landscape, accompanied by a haze of sulphurous gases. Iceland specialises in this type of eruption - the last example occurred in 2015, and it affected air quality hundreds of miles away in Ireland. An Icelandic lava flow Credit: Telegraph The Eldgjá lava flood affected southern Iceland within a century of the island's settlement by Vikings and Celts around 874. But until now the date of the eruption has been uncertain, hindering investigation of its likely impacts. Scientists say it was a "colossal" event with around 20 cubic kilometres of lava erupted - enough to cover all of England up to the ankles. The Cambridge-led team pinpointed the date of the eruption using ice core records from Greenland that preserve the volcanic fallout from Eldgjá. Using the clues contained within the ice cores, they found that the eruption began around the spring of 939 and continued at least through the autumn of 940. At a glance | Deadliest volcanic eruptions Study first author Dr Clive Oppenheimer, of Cambridge's Department of Geography, said: "This places the eruption squarely within the experience of the first two or three generations of Iceland's settlers. "Some of the first wave of migrants to Iceland, brought over as children, may well have witnessed the eruption." Once they had a date for the eruption, the team then investigated its consequences. First, a haze of sulphurous dust spread across Europe, recorded as sightings of an exceptionally blood-red and weakened Sun in Irish, German and Italian chronicles from the same period.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday it was nonsense to think that Moscow would have poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who are critically ill in a British hospital. Britain has said that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by the Soviet-era 'Novichok' nerve agent, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Russia has been stockpiling it and investigating how such weapons could be used in assassinations.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday paid a first visit in years to battered East Ghouta to congratulate his troops for a gruelling assault to oust rebels from near Damascus. Syrian state television broadcast photos of the president dressed in a shirt and jacket surrounded by soldiers, some perched on a tank behind him, in an unspecified part of Eastern Ghouta. Rebels have held out in Eastern Ghouta since 2012, but a regime assault in the last month has retaken more than 80 percent of the former opposition bastion.
There's nothing more heartbreaking than a missing pet—but there's also nothing more heartwarming than a reunion. Get the tissues ready, this one is a doozy. Twitter user @ngvhi hopped online to share the most beautiful story about how she was reunited, five years later, with her sweet cat and first pet. Meet Panther. SEE ALSO: We're calling 'fake news' on the report that 'Black Panther' caused a surge in black cat adoptions hi I can’t believe this is real because I am still in shock but my first pet ever my cat panther just came home today after going missing FIVE YEARS AGO. FIVE. YEARS. AGO. — nguhi (@ngvhi) March 16, 2018 "Sometime after Panther went missing he apparently turned up in a shelter in the next city 15 mi away," she wrote. "Days before he was going to be euthanized he was adopted! And lived with a women [sic] for a little while in yet another city." Apparently the woman who adapted Panther kept him until she couldn't any longer, and ultimately gave him to her parents—who just so happened to be @ngvhi's neighbor. So, for over a year, Panther (whose name changed to Charlie) was literally living his best indoor cat life right next door. "These happen to be the neighbors that bought a Siberian husky that quickly turned out to be too much to handle. I started taking care of him until they asked if I wanted to fully adopt him," she continued. Yep that's right, this story also involves a doggo. The neighbors took in her cat, unknowingly, and she ended up with their dog. of course I said yes which is why last year I adopted my beautiful baby boy trotsky. ALL WHILE UNBEKNOWNST TO ME MY LONG LOST CAT PANTHER WAS LIVING INDOORS. I took their dog and they took my cat. pic.twitter.com/LkkAYKb5Hi — nguhi (@ngvhi) March 17, 2018 One day, her neighbors called to ask if they had seen a missing Charlie—aka Panther. When Charlie/Panther did turn up, Trotsky the husky (which, side note, is a perfect name) didn't freak out. "HE ALREADY KNEW HIM. THEY’D LIVED TOGETHER BEFORE," @ngvhi wrote. "Our neighbors were as flabbergasted as us and insisted we keep him because he really was ours. we (I was overruled) decided to give him back since he was comfortable there and we already have a dog and cat," she tweeted. "It was heartbreaking but I can’t even be sad bc today was truly surreal. They’ve given me permission to visit my beautiful boy whenever I’d like. How is it possible that they gave me this dog I adore and have fostered my first best friend." you know how you lose a person or pet and you wish you had one more day with them just to let them know how much you love them and how much they mean to you? I just had that day with Panther. I never would have guessed that 5 years later I’d get to kiss his little head again ❤️ pic.twitter.com/KQyEQ67QFy — nguhi (@ngvhi) March 17, 2018 "You know how you lose a person or pet and you wish you had one more day with them just to let them know how much you love them and how much they mean to you?," she wrote. "I just had that day with Panther. I never would have guessed that 5 years later I'd get to kiss his little head again." this is surreal I’d just accepted he’d died and he’s sitting next to me purring like it’s nothing ??????❤️ my heart is so full!! pic.twitter.com/bnYxRwpKRp — nguhi (@ngvhi) March 17, 2018 Mashable has reached out to @ngvhi for more information but until then, cue all of the tears and all of the feelings. ?????? WATCH: We're calling 'fake news' on the report that 'Black Panther' caused a surge in black cat adoptions
This is one of the biggest pots in the multi-state U.S. lottery's history, after 19 straight drawings failed to produce a grand prize winner. The winning numbers were 22, 57, 59, 60, 66 and Powerball 7. The grand prize winner has the choice of taking the $455 million jackpot doled out over 29 years, or taking a one-time, lump-sum payment of $269.4 million.