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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has “categorically” denied soliciting sex at a spa in Florida after police said he was filmed doing so twice. Mr Kraft, 77, faces two counts of soliciting sex from a prostitute. The billionaire is one of two dozen men who were arrested for allegedly paying $59 (£45) for a half-hour and $79 (£60) for an hour of sex at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
Three of the world’s biggest airlines have admitted some of their planes have cameras installed on the backs of passenger seats. American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have new seat-back entertainment systems that include cameras. Companies that make the entertainment systems are fitting them with cameras to offer passengers options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.
The reports of Kim's departure from North Korea came after Vietnam announced that Kim would make an official visit in "coming days", as the Southeast Asian country prepares to host the summit with Trump on Wednesday and Thursday. Trump and Kim will meet in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, eight months after their historic summit in Singapore in June - the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader - at which they pledged to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Trump administration has pressed North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, which threatens the United States, before it can expect any concessions.
Ureña (Venezuela) (AFP) - Venezuelan forces on Saturday fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up a crowd demanding to cross a closed border bridge to Colombia, AFP journalists reported. "We want to work!" they chanted while facing the Venezuelan National Guard riot police who were blocking the crossing in Urena, a town in Tachira state. Late on Friday, President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of all four bridges linking Tachira to Colombia.
A California high school student who was banned from wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on campus is challenging her school district for impinging on her First Amendment rights. Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, is a member of Valley Patriots. The conservative activist group asked its affiliates to wear the well-known hat bearing Donald Trump's campaign motto on Wednesday.
Vietnamese authorities are preparing for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to arrive by train next week ahead of his summit with US president Donald Trump, several sources told AFP Friday. The leaders are slated to meet in Hanoi on February 27-28 to follow up on their first meeting last June in Singapore that ended with vaguely worded commitments on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme. In the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, which borders on North Korea, there were signs that Kim's train could be crossing over into China imminently en route to Vietnam.
The six men – five US citizens and one permanent resident, and all employees of Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) – were detained in November 2017 after being called to Caracas from Houston for a meeting. President Nicolas Maduro went on television to denounce them as “traitors”, saying: “They’re properly behind bars, and they should go to the worst prison in Venezuela.” Asdrubal Chavez, a cousin of the late president, was appointed company’s new president. For 16 months, the relatives of the Venezuelan Americans, who have become known as the Citgo 6, were advised to remain silent.
Under a regulation issued on Friday, no health-care provider that offers abortion services will be eligible for the federal Title X program, which last year offered $286.5 million in grants that funded family-planning services. The rule “prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning,” according to a fact sheet published by the Department of Health and Human Services. Planned Parenthood has long been a target for anti-abortion lawmakers and politicians.
‘I think it’s possible” that President Donald Trump is a Russian asset, disgraced former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. McCabe also said to The Atlantic that FBI brass felt “concern about the president and whether or not he posed a national-security threat that we should be investigating.”On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly in Moscow. “Let me be loud and clear,” he told lawmakers near the Kremlin. “If the U.S. really is going to deploy missiles on the European continent, it will exacerbate the international situation and create a genuine danger for Russia, as there will be missiles with a 10–12-minute flight time to Moscow.” Putin lamented America’s February 1 withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty and added: “We are ready for disarmament talks, but we are no longer going to knock on a closed door.”McCabe’s bizarre comments perfectly echo the Trump-hating Left’s exhausted yet unsinkable theory that the president of the United States secretly works for Russia, Russia, Russia, and that he and Putin somehow swiped the White House from Hillary Clinton, who had waited her turn patiently to become America’s commander-in-chief.But only a thoroughly rotten Russian asset would create genuine danger for the Kremlin and close doors to Moscow. Indeed, President Trump routinely gives Putin ulcers.A Russian asset worth his borscht would work quietly to erode America’s military. Instead, Pentagon spending has soared from Obama’s final $521 billion allocation to Trump’s $634 billion in outlays for 2017 (up 21.7 percent) and another $716 billion last August (up 12.9 percent).Not satisfied simply to bolster the U.S. armed forces, Trump has pressured America’s NATO allies to do the same. Some criticize Trump for supposedly abusing our European partners. Actually, he has lavished them with tough love.“By the end of next year, NATO allies will add $100 billion extra toward defense,” NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said January 27 on Fox News Sunday. “So we see some real money and some real results. And we see that the clear message from President Donald Trump is having an impact.” Stoltenberg added: “NATO is united because we are able to adapt to deliver. North America and Europe are doing more together now than before.”None of this makes Vladimir Putin smile.Putin must have groaned last October when President Trump persuaded German chancellor Angela Merkel to spend $576 million on a terminal to receive U.S. liquefied natural gas. The Wall Street Journal called this “a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia’s grip on Europe’s largest energy market.” This promises less revenue and leverage for Moscow and more profits and employment for American gas exporters.Adjacent to Russia, Trump restored Poland’s purchase of U.S. Patriot air-defense missiles (which Obama canceled to appease Moscow). Trump also shipped Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.Last June, and in January 2017, Trump imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian companies and oligarchs. This was payback for Moscow’s invasions of Ukraine and Crimea and its interference in U.S. political campaigns. As Trump said: “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”If anyone behaved like a Russian asset, it was Obama. Trump’s predecessor launched the soft-on-Moscow “Russian Reset.” He was caught on a hot mic in March 2012 whispering to Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev: “This is my last election,” Obama said at a conference in Seoul. “After my election I have more flexibility,” especially on matters like anti-ballistic missiles in Europe, on which Russia frowned. “I understand,” Medvedev replied. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”As The Weekly Standard recalled, “the Obama administration removed a group of missile launchers from near the Russian border with Poland after Moscow objected to their placement.” Obama refused to arm Ukraine’s anti-Putin fighters. Obama’s first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said in March 2010: “Our goal is to help strengthen Russia.” This apparently included encouraging Cisco Systems, Google, and Intel to open shop at Skolkovo, a sort of Russian Silicon Valley. The Pentagon and FBI eventually learned that the entire project was a giant technology-theft scam.Strengthening Russia also involved greenlighting Moscow’s purchase of Uranium One Inc. and its 20 percent share of U.S. uranium reserves. This company’s top investors donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. What a coincidence.Alas, fact-o-phobic Trump haters like Andrew McCabe consider him a pro-Moscow mole even as they wink at Obama’s and Hillary’s Russophilia.Michael Malarkey furnished research for this opinion piece.
If you're a fan of hating on the New England Patriots, you're probably enjoying a bit of schadenfreude right about now.New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with "two misdemeanor counts of soliciting a prostitute" on Friday, part of a widespread Florida investigation into prostitution and potential sex trafficking. The announcement came just a day after Deadspin noted some peculiar NFL-related questions at a press conference about arrest warrants being issued.SEE ALSO: Speaking out against human trafficking -- and learning along the wayAs of early Friday afternoon, Kraft had yet to be arrested on the charges. The incidents allegedly happened at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida and authorities say they have video evidence supporting their case against Kraft.An attorney for Kraft denied the allegations.> Statement from a spokesperson for Robert Kraft: > > "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."> > -- Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) February 22, 2019In all, 10 such spas were shut down across a part of Florida that also included Orland and Palm Beach County, according to CBS Miami. > An "active arrest warrant" has been issued for Kraft, according to Jupiter PD. > Typically, a charge of soliciting results in a pre-trial diversion program where the defendant attends a class on the hazards of prostitution. After which the charge is usually dropped. @CBSMiami> > -- Jim DeFede (@DeFede) February 22, 2019SEE ALSO: 7 sexual health issues facing teen girls globally -- and how you can helpThe first arrests were made on Tuesday and have continued, two of which came from the spa that Kraft is alleged to have visited. On Thursday, Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey expressed hope the arrests from the investigation would "put a heck of a dent in human trafficking and sex trade" in the area, according to Treasure Coast News.He continued:Over 50 arrests have reportedly been made and nearly 200 warrants have been issued so far in relation to the widespread investigation. Kraft is the highest profile person to have been named in the sweep so far. WATCH: This 10-year-old won a science fair by 'proving' Tom Brady is a cheater
Vietnam has been preparing for Kim to arrive by train for the Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi, two sources with direct knowledge of security and logistics planning told Reuters on Wednesday. Kim's train will stop at the border station of Dong Dang where he will disembark and proceed 170 km (105 miles) to Hanoi by car, the sources said. Traffic on that route will be partially banned from 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 and fully banned from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 26, the ruling Communist Party's Nhan Dan paper reported, citing the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two U.S. cardinals attending the Vatican's sex abuse prevention summit said Friday that the downfall of their former colleague, Theodore McCarrick, was sad for the Catholic church but they hoped a new spirit of accountability would prevent future cover-ups of bishop misconduct.
Willemstad, Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles) (AFP) - A sleepy island best known for beaches and a blue liquor named after it has become the focus of a tense bid to bring aid by sea to Venezuela, in the face of warnings that the country's military will block it. A plane carrying private donations of food and medical aid from Venezuelans in Florida landed on Curacao -- population 150,000 -- which lies 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Venezuela's coast. Venezuelans on the island were preparing Friday to transfer the goods to the nearby seaport where they said a ship was ready to take it to Venezuela.
Ford has launched an investigation into the actual emissions of its vehicles after employees reported errors in data given to authorities, the automaker said. "In September, a handful of employees raised a concern... regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our US fuel economy and emissions compliance process," Kim Pittel, an executive responsible for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in a statement released late Thursday. "We have hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation" into specifications used in testing and "applications to certify emissions and fuel economy," Pittel said.
When you get home from a long day, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour bent over a hot stove making dinner. Yeah you can pop something in a slow cooker before you leave for your day, but that takes advanced planning and sometimes you just don't have the time or energy for that. With a pressure cooker, you can just toss ingredients in like a slow cooker, but the food cooks in a fraction of the time. You've probably heard the craze about Instant Pots, but those can run a bit pricey. The Insignia 8-Quart Multi-Function Pressure Cooker does virtually the same thing as an Instant Pot at a lower price point. Right now you can snag the Insignia pressure cooker for $39.99 at Best Buy, a savings of $80.The multi-function cooker has 12 one-touch preset programs for easy operation. Some of these options include keep warm, slow cook, steak/meat, rice/risotto, cake, and more. You can cook almost anything in a multi-function cooker. If you're skeptical about jumping full throttle into the multi-cooker world, the Insignia is a good starter option because it has the same sort of functionality as the name-brand pricier models. You'll get similar features as the Instant Pot DUO Plus which will cost you $139.95 at Amazon. That's $100 more than you'll drop on the Insignia. Best Buy reviewer Websaver writes:Get the Insignia 8-Quart Multi-Function Pressure Cooker for $39.99 at Best Buy. Image: insignia Save $80 on the Insignia 8-Quart Multi-Function Pressure Cooker at Best Buy See Details
Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor was speaking a week after a Pakistani-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary policemen in the Himalayan region disputed between India and Pakistan. Pakistan late on Friday announced a takeover of Jaish's headquarters in a southern Punjab province district bordering India. Jaish, an Islamist jihadi group that fights for the independence of the disputed Kashmir region from India, has offices and infrastructure in Pakistan where its chief Maulana Masood Azhar is based.
On Friday, Pakistan’s army spokesman said that the country did not want a war with India but warned that Islamabad would retaliate and “dominate the escalation ladder” if New Delhi authorized any military strikes. “Pakistan’s armed forces shall never be surprised by you, but let me assure you we shall surprise you,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said at a press conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Friday.
On Thursday Google announced that it is making it easier to locate drug disposal locations year-round with enhanced opioid-related query results. Since 2017, the opioid crisis has been officially a public health emergency with Google queries for "medication disposal near me" reaching an all-time high on the platform just last month. In response, the company has improved Maps and Search results of queries like "drug drop off near me" or "medication disposal near me" to display permanent disposal locations, typically pharmacies (like Walgreens or CVS Health), hospitals, or government buildings, where you can discard unused and unneeded medications.
Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of an Islamist militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday. The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir. The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
China said Friday it was against forcefully sending "so-called humanitarian assistance" to Venezuela, warning it could spark conflict in the crisis-torn country. China has loaned billions to Venezuela and has remained committed to President Nicolas Maduro even as the country has fallen deeper into economic crisis. Foreign aid mostly from the US has piled up on Venezuela's borders as the Maduro government refuses to let it into the country.
For eight days in 1999 the world watched in horror as hijackers diverted an Indian Airlines flight to Afghanistan and held the passengers hostage, the drama ending only when Delhi agreed to release three Kashmiri militants. Nearly 20 years later, India is still paying the price for that decision. One of the militants freed was Masood Azhar, who later went on to found Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the militant group which claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in three decades in Indian-held Kashmir.
After her abrupt transformation into a fiery supporter of Islamic State extremists, she is under the scanner of the top levels of the US government. The 24-year-old, who has since been married to three different jihadist men and has a toddler son, says she regrets her turn to radicalism and wants to return home -- but President Donald Trump has personally intervened to block her. Growing up in Hoover, Alabama, a prosperous suburb of Birmingham with a sizable Muslim community, Muthana was raised by strict Yemeni immigrant parents who forbade her from owning a smartphone -- ubiquitous among US teenagers -- until she finished high school.
A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 170 million miles from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system landed successfully on Friday. Data from the probe, Hayabusa2, showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had touched down on the asteroid and was blasting back to its orbiting position, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A live webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA staff members nervously monitoring data ahead of the touchdown before exploding into applause after receiving a signal from the probe that it had landed. "We confirmed the touchdown," JAXA spokeswoman Chisato Ikuta told AFP. Ms Ikuta said the control centre had "received data that shows that the probe is working normally and is healthy." Scientists were continuing to gather and analyse data from the probe, she said. The probe was due to fire a bullet at the Ryugu asteroid, to stir up surface matter, which the probe will then collect for analysis back on Earth. This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 approaching on the asteroid Ryugu Credit: AP The asteroid, named after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 3,000 feet in diameter. It is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born. Hayabusa2 will eventually fire an "impactor" to blast out material from underneath Ryugu’s surface, allowing the collection of "fresh" materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation. Scientists hope those samples may provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth. After the landing, the probe was to return to its orbit above Ryugu, with further touchdowns planned for later in the year. Communication with Hayabusa2 is cut off at times because its antennas are not always pointed towards Earth and it could take several more days to confirm the bullet was actually fired to allow the collection of samples. This image taken at an altitude of about 64 metres by Hayabusa2 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the surface of asteroid Ryugu Credit: AP The mission has not been completely plain sailing and the probe’s landing was originally scheduled for last year. But it was pushed back after surveys found the asteroid’s surface was more rugged than initially thought, forcing JAXA to take more time to find a suitable landing site. The Hayabusa2 mission, with a price tag of around 30 billion yen (£208 million), was launched in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020. Photos of Ryugu – which means "Dragon Palace" in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale – show an asteroid shaped a bit like a spinning top with a rough surface. Staff of the Hayabusa2 Project watch monitors for a safety check at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo Credit: AP Hayabusa2 observes the surface of the asteroid with its camera and sensing equipment but has also dispatched two tiny MINERVA-II rover robots as well as the French-German robot MASCOT to help surface observation. Scientists are already receiving data from these probes deployed on the surface of the asteroid. The 22-pound observation robot MASCOT is loaded with sensors, and can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields. At about the size of a large fridge, Hayabusa2 is equipped with solar panels and is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa – Japanese for falcon. That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year Odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.
CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers who told police that Jussie Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage an attack on himself were linked to the actor through the "Empire" television series, and court documents filed Thursday allege one of the men provided Smollett with designer drugs.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — U.S. prosecutors have charged an IRS employee with leaking banking records of President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen that flagged suspicious activity, the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco said Thursday.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's elections board Thursday ordered a new election in the nation's last undecided congressional race after the Republican candidate conceded his lead was tainted by evidence of ballot-tampering by political operatives working for him.
Guaido, who is recognized by dozens of countries as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, was poised for a showdown with Maduro's government on Saturday, when the opposition will attempt to bring in food and medicine being stockpiled in neighboring countries. Maduro denies there is a humanitarian crisis and said on Thursday he was considering closing Venezuela's key border with Colombia and would close the country's other main border with Brazil, effectively shutting off any legal land access. The government has said soldiers will be stationed at official crossing points to repel any "territorial violations", although the opposition could attempt to cross anywhere along Venezuela's porous borders.
The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a U.S. missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. More than five decades on, tensions are rising again over Russian fears that the United States might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, as a landmark Cold War-era arms-control treaty unravels. Putin's comments, made to Russian media late on Wednesday, follow his warning that Moscow will match any U.S. move to deploy new missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has steadily driven the jihadists down the Euphrates, has surrounded them at Baghouz near the Iraqi border, but does not want to mount a final attack until all civilians are out. Iraqi sources said the SDF handed over more then 150 Iraqi and other foreign jihadists to Iraq on Thursday, under a deal involving a total of 502. The SDF had expected to pull the last civilians from Baghouz on Thursday, but trucks it sent in left empty.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Thursday followed fellow Democratic presidential contender Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) in calling for the government to pay reparations to African Americans to atone for slavery and subsequent discrimination.Warren's campaign told the New York Times that she does support some form of government reparations for the descendants of slaves, but did not specify what policy she we would pursue if elected in 2020.Warren's support for reparations came after Harris came out in support of the idea during a radio interview last week.“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” she said. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”Since angering much of the progressive-activist community last year by publicizing the results of her DNA test to substantiate her claim of Native American ancestry, Warren has prioritized racial equity in laying out her 2020 presidential platform. She has called for a special home-buying-assistance program that would help alleviate the effects of racial red-lining, a phenomenon in which African Americans are prevented from buying homes in certain neighborhoods. She has also presented a universal-child-care proposal that would create a network of government-backed child-care centers available to families making under 200 percent of the federal poverty level.Other prominent Democratic presidential contenders, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, have not yet come out in support of reparations. Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) dismissed the idea of paying reparations to the descendants of slaves as impractical during his 2016 presidential run but has not weighed in on the issue since.
Google-owned YouTube said Thursday it was taking action to close a loophole that enabled users to share comments and links on child pornography over the video-sharing service. The response came after a YouTube creator this week revealed what he called a "wormhole" that allowed comments and connections on child porn alongside innocuous videos. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," a spokesman said in an email to AFP.