U.S. raises pressure on Maduro via sanctions, aid airlift

U.S. raises pressure on Maduro via sanctions, aid airliftThe U.S. Treasury said it sanctioned PDVSA chief Manuel Quevedo, three top intelligence officials and Rafael Bastardo, who U.S. officials say is the head of a national police unit responsible for dozens of extrajudicial killings carried out in nighttime raids on Maduro's behalf. Separately, the U.S. State Department said on Friday it was working with the Pentagon and U.S. aid agency to fly humanitarian assistance on Saturday to Cucuta, Colombia, on the Venezuelan border. The steps are part of a wider effort by the United States to undermine Maduro, whose 2018 election it views as illegitimate and whose government it has disavowed, and to strengthen opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido.


IS teen's wish to return stirs UK debate over jihadi brides

IS teen's wish to return stirs UK debate over jihadi bridesA pregnant London schoolgirl's wish to return home after joining the Islamic State group in Syria splintered Britain on Friday as reports emerged of more UK women fleeing the war zone. Shamima Begum's fate has prompted soul searching in Britain since she and two friends created international headlines by running away to join the terror network in 2015. Home Secretary Sajid Javid told The Times newspaper that people like Begum "were full of hate for our country".


The Latest: Smollett says no truth he played role in attack

The Latest: Smollett says no truth he played role in attackCHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the investigation of the attack on Jussie Smollett (all times local):


The 20 Most Powerful Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy in 2019

The 20 Most Powerful Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy in 2019


2020 Vision: Buckle up, America! It’s gonna be a long, crowded campaign

2020 Vision: Buckle up, America! It’s gonna be a long, crowded campaignCandidates are crowding into the race, and to judge by this week's developments, the 2020 presidential cycle will make the last one seem tranquil.


During a school lockdown, 7-year-old writes note on her arm in case she dies

During a school lockdown, 7-year-old writes note on her arm in case she diesA second-grader wrote a chilling note to her parents on her arm during school lockdown.


North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing coldThe Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. Kim, the son of the isolated North's founder Kim Il Sung and the father and predecessor of current leader Kim Jong Un, was born on February 16. According to Pyongyang's orthodoxy, he came into the world in 1942, in a snow-covered hut at a secret camp on the slopes of Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people, where his father was fighting occupying Japanese forces.


Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debris

Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debrisThe U.S. government tracks 500,000 chunks and bits of space junk as they hurtle around Earth. Some 20,000 of these objects are larger than a softball.To clean up the growing mess, scientists at the University of Surrey have previously tested a net to catch chunks of debris. Now, they've successfully tested out a harpoon.The video below, released Friday by the university's space center, shows a test of the experimental RemoveDEBRIS satellite as it unleashes a harpoon at a piece of solar panel, held out on a 1.5-meter boom.The harpoon clearly impales its target. "This is RemoveDEBRIS' most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved," Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said in a statement. Next, the RemoveDEBRIS team -- made up of a group of international collaborators -- is planning its final experiment: responsibly destroying the satellite.In March, the RemoveDEBRIS satellite will "inflate a sail that will drag the satellite into Earth's atmosphere where it will be destroyed," the university said a statement. This is how the group intends to vaporize the future dangerous debris it catches. SEE ALSO: Trump fails to block NASA's carbon sleuth from going to spaceHuman space debris hurtles around Earth faster than a speeding bullet, with debris often traveling at 17,500 mph, or faster. The threat of collisions is always present, though in some orbits the odds of an impact are significantly lower than others. The International Space Station, for instance, is in a relatively debris-free orbit, but even here there is the threat of "natural debris" -- micrometeors -- pummeling the space station.Other orbits have considerably more debris spinning around Earth. In 2009, a derelict Russian satellite slammed into a functional Iridium telecommunication satellite at 26,000 mph, resulting in an estimated 200,000 bits of debris. In 2007, the Chinese launched a missile at an old weather satellite, spraying shrapnel into Earth's orbit.This risk amplifies as more satellites are rocketed into space. SpaceX now has government-approved plans to launch thousands of its Starlink satellites into orbit -- perhaps by the mid-2020's, should they amass money for the pricey program. This would double or triple the number of satellites in orbit."It is unprecedented," said Kessler, NASA's former senior scientist for orbital debris research told Mashable. "The sheer number, that's the problem."Kessler has long warned about the potential of catastrophic chain reactions in Earth's orbit, wherein one collision creates enough weaponized debris to create a cycle of destruction. Designs to harpoon dangerous chunks of debris are just being tested in space today, but the technology could prove critical as Earth's orbit grows increasingly trafficked with large, metallic satellites.   WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


US ‘tells India it respects its right to self-defence’ after cross-border militant attack kills 44 paramilitary police

US ‘tells India it respects its right to self-defence’ after cross-border militant attack kills 44 paramilitary policeThe US has supported India’s right to “self defence” against cross-border terrorism after an attack claimed by Pakistan-based militants killed at least 44 police officers in the disputed territory of Kashmir. In comments that will please Indian hawks but also raise fears that tensions between India and Pakistan could escalate yet further, US national security advisor John Bolton reportedly told his counterpart in Delhi, that America “offered all assistance to India” to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. Mr Bolton and Ajit Doval also “resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under UN resolutions”, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.


After Auschwitz visit, Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism

After Auschwitz visit, Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like anti-SemitismAfter visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Pence said the Nazi death camp had made him more determined to confront Tehran, saying it was "breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe." Iran's ancient Jewish community has slumped to an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 from 85,000 at the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but is believed to be the biggest in the Middle East outside Israel. Pence, who said he was deeply moved by his Auschwitz visit, cited Iran's stated desire to destroy Israel as justification for singling out the country, rather than focusing on anti-Semitism across the Middle East. Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said in January Iran's strategy was to wipe "the Zionist regime" (Israel) off the political map, Iran's state TV reported.


Polestar teases next-gen electric car again ahead of Geneva launch

Polestar teases next-gen electric car again ahead of Geneva launchJust two weeks before the official online reveal on February 27, Volvo's Polestar gave us another glimpse of the Polestar 2 just a couple of weeks after the first announcement. While the latest official teaser of the Polestar 2 isn't nearly as informational as the first announcement made a few weeks ago, we have still been graced by another image of a discernible part of the exterior body: the top, left-hand side of the rear end. The white Polestar logo blends into the white body to avoid distracting onlookers from the snappy and chic design.


The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment 'important'

The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment 'important'VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the defrocking of former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick (all times local):


'He Was Just Covered in Blood': Couple Speaks Out After Helping Man Who Killed Mountain Lion

'He Was Just Covered in Blood': Couple Speaks Out After Helping Man Who Killed Mountain LionAfter a northern Colorado man killed a mountain lion following an attack, a couple helped him get to a hospital.


It Looks Like the Land Rover Discovery SVX Is Dead

It Looks Like the Land Rover Discovery SVX Is DeadThis looks like another miss from Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.


United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hub

United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hubUnited Airlines will add three new domestic routes at its Denver hub, all of which will go head-to-head against budget rival Frontier Airlines.


Email Address Given to Ocasio-Cortez Beau Sparks Heated Exchange

Email Address Given to Ocasio-Cortez Beau Sparks Heated Exchange“While you were having a nice Valentine’s Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff -- drawing a salary on the taxpayer’s dime. Nice to see her adapting to the swamp so quickly,” the conservative magazine’s Luke Thompson said on his Twitter feed. Other conservative voices piled on, with Katrina Pierson, an adviser to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, who suggested that “her jobs for everyone starts with her boyfriend.


Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in PeruPeruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday. The discovery was made on the Mata Indio dig site in the northern Lambayeque region, archaeologist Luis Chero told state news agency Andina. Archaeologists believe the tomb belonged to a noble Inca based on the presence of "spondylus," a type of sea shell always present in the graves of important figures from the Incan period, which lasted from the 12th to the 16th centuries.


India mourns dead soldiers amid calls for revenge

India mourns dead soldiers amid calls for revengeThousands of mourners across India attended funerals on Saturday for some of the 41 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir as a round-the-clock curfew remained in force in part of the restive region. The paramilitary troops were killed on Thursday as explosives packed in a van ripped through a convoy transporting 2,500 soldiers in the disputed Himalayan region, the deadliest attack in a 30-year-old armed conflict. TV stations showed coffins wrapped in Indian flags being carried by thousands of people across their hometowns, after the bodies were flown to New Delhi late Friday for a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


Netanyahu's main rival in Israeli election voices agreement with him on Iran

Netanyahu's main rival in Israeli election voices agreement with him on IranFormer general Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's strongest challenger in an election scheduled for April, voiced support on Sunday for the right-wing leader's tough policy toward Iran. "I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the fight against Iran's aggression," Gantz, a former chief of Israel's armed forces and a centrist candidate, told the Munich Security Conference. Polls predict that Netanyahu's Likud party will win the April 9 election, taking about 30 of parliament’s 120 seats - enough to form a coalition of right-wing and religious factions similar to one he now heads.


NASA mulls buying new rides to space from Russia amid program delays

NASA mulls buying new rides to space from Russia amid program delaysThe U.S. space agency has since had to rely on Russia's Roscosmos program to ferry astronauts to the orbital space station at a cost of roughly $80 million per seat, NASA has said. After 2019 there are no seats available on the spacecraft for U.S. crew, and a NASA advisory panel recommended on Friday that the U.S. space program develop a contingency plan to guarantee access to the station in case technical problems delay Boeing and SpaceX any further. A NASA spokesman on Friday characterized a solicitation request NASA filed on Wednesday as a contingency plan.


Make El Chapo pay for a border wall? Don't count on it

Make El Chapo pay for a border wall? Don't count on itNEW YORK (AP) — After El Chapo's conviction in a drug-trafficking trial that included florid testimony of jewel-encrusted guns, a fleet of cash-laden jets and a personal zoo with roaming big cats, some Americans have floated an idea they see as poetic justice: Why not take some of the Mexican drug lord's billions in ill-gotten gains and make him pay for a border wall?


This Is the Best Weekend to Buy a New Mattress

This Is the Best Weekend to Buy a New Mattress


Did This Old Russian Jet Help Inspire the F-35?

Did This Old Russian Jet Help Inspire the F-35?Or one big feature of the VTOL version?


More rain, snow expected in storm-battered California, following days of mudslides and floods

More rain, snow expected in storm-battered California, following days of mudslides and floodsCalifornians were in clean-up mode Friday as the state slowly recovers from an onslaught of rain, wind and snow, which brought widespread flooding and mudslides.


Stacey Abrams calls voter suppression 'the crisis of our day'

Stacey Abrams calls voter suppression 'the crisis of our day'Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams said Friday that “voter suppression … has to be considered the crisis of our day,” a clear rebuke to Trump's declaration of a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border.


BofA Says a ‘Real’ Trade Deal Could Vault S&P 500 to Record High

BofA Says a ‘Real’ Trade Deal Could Vault S&P 500 to Record HighThe firm’s model on corporate earnings and equity valuations suggests that the market has priced in “a partial deal,” one where only some of the issues get resolved in favor of corporate America, according to strategists led by Savita Subramanian. In a best-case scenario, the S&P 500 could climb 5 percent to 10 percent when a “real deal” is struck. Companies from 3M Co. to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. have slashed their guidance this year, citing either trade tensions or weakening demand in China.


`Going Away Party` for School Shutting Down Because of Student`s Death Causes Controversy

`Going Away Party` for School Shutting Down Because of Student`s Death Causes ControversySome parents are outraged a California school for kids with special needs is holding a "going away party" after one of its own students died after being restrained by staff.


Iran general says Pakistan backs group behind suicide bomb

Iran general says Pakistan backs group behind suicide bombIran's Revolutionary Guards accused "Pakistan's security forces" of supporting the perpetrators of a suicide bombing that killed 27 troops on Wednesday, in remarks state TV aired Saturday. "Pakistan's government, who has housed these anti-revolutionaries and threats to Islam, knows where they are and they are supported by Pakistan's security forces," said Revolutionary Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, referring to jihadist group Jaish al-Adl ("Army of Justice").


U.S. and Iceland boost trade ties, discuss Arctic security

U.S. and Iceland boost trade ties, discuss Arctic securityU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the NATO ally in the north Atlantic on Friday, also to discuss security relations and China and Russia's growing presence in the Arctic. "We have now established an economic dialogue between our two nations which I think will bear fruit quickly," Pompeo said at a press conference. With global warming melting polar ice, it may offer world powers new shipping routes - and naval interests - for trade between Asia, Europe and America’s east coast.


Dismissed employee kills five co-workers in Illinois factory shooting

Dismissed employee kills five co-workers in Illinois factory shootingA gunman opened fire at an Illinois factory just after receiving notice of termination from his job there on Friday, killing five fellow workers and wounding five policemen before he was slain by police, authorities said. The assailant, identified as Gary Martin, 45, had worked at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years before Friday's violence unfolded at the firm's sprawling facility in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said. At a late-night news conference, Ziman said it was not yet clear whether the suspect, armed with a Smith & Wesson handgun, was carrying the weapon at the time of his dismissal or whether he "went to retrieve it" before opening fire.


Washington state snow plow rage: 2 plow drivers threatened

Washington state snow plow rage: 2 plow drivers threatenedSPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Unusually heavy snow in the Spokane area has caused snow plow rage: Two plow drivers clearing streets this week were threatened by people infuriated when their driveways ended up blocked with mounds of snow.


Honda's pickup trucks recalled because they can catch fire from car wash soap

Honda's pickup trucks recalled because they can catch fire from car wash soapThe Honda pickup is subject to a new recall to fix faulty fuel pumps that can crack when exposed to acids in car-wash detergents.


Southwest declares operations 'emergency' amid labor dispute with mechanics

Southwest declares operations 'emergency' amid labor dispute with mechanicsThe airline sent a strongly worded memo to mechanics ordering all hands on deck in response to a higher than usual number of planes out of service.


Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes

Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy DisputesWhat a weasel word “collusion” is.In Washington, Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has now seen fit to pronounce that, after two years of investigation, the panel has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. Meanwhile, in a nearby courtroom, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s senior staffer, Andrew Weissmann, told a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between the then-chairman of the Trump campaign and a suspected Russian intelligence officer “goes . . . very much to the heart of what the special counsel is investigating” -- which sure sounds like Mueller’s collusion hunt is alive and well.What gives?Readers of these columns know that the “collusion” label has been a pet peeve of your humble correspondent since the media-Democratic “Putin hacked the election” narrative followed hard on the declaration of Donald Trump’s victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016.The reason for the collusion label is obvious. Those peddling the “Putin hacked the election” story have always lacked credible evidence that Trump was complicit in the Kremlin’s “cyber-espionage.” They could not show a criminal conspiracy. Connections between denizens of Trump World and Putin’s circle might be very intriguing, and perhaps even politically scandalous. But only a conspiracy -- an agreement by two or more people to commit an actual criminal offense, such as hacking -- would be a reasonable basis for prosecution or impeachment.This dearth of proof was significant. The Russians apparently started hacking operations in 2014, long before Trump entered the race. The FBI first warned the Democratic National Committee about penetration of its servers in September 2015. By the time Trump won, the Bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies had been working hard to understand the nature and extent of Kremlin-directed hacking operations for two years. The investigation was so high-level, so intense, that shortly before the election, there were confrontational conversations between CIA director John Brennan and his Russian counterpart, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, and later between President Obama and Russian president Putin.Yet, as thorough as the investigation was, no one could credibly say Trump was a participant in Russia’s malfeasance. The best Obama’s notoriously politicized CIA could say was that Trump was Putin’s intended beneficiary.Unable to establish conspiracy, Trump’s opposition settled on collusion. It is a usefully slippery word. Collusion just means concerted activity -- it can be sinister or benign. It can refer to a conspiracy or to any arrangement people have together, including those that may be sleazy but non-criminal.This commitment to ambiguity came in handy for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, and then shamefully talked Comey down for the consumption of Russian diplomats visiting the White House the next day, Rosenstein came under intense pressure. Because he had written the memorandum originally used to justify Comey’s dismissal, congressional Democrats slammed him for complicity in what they portrayed as Trump’s obstruction of the Russia probe. Rosenstein wanted to appease them by appointing the special counsel they were demanding.Special counsels, however, are not supposed to be appointed unless there is a solid basis to believe a crime has been committed. Rosenstein was lawyer enough to know that a president’s firing of an FBI director -- a firing that Rosenstein himself had argued was justified -- could not be an obstruction crime. And he knew that there was no proof that Trump had conspired in Russia’s cyberespionage. So . . . how to justify appointing a special counsel?Easy: Make it a counterintelligence probe. That way, there would be no need for a crime, since such investigations are just intelligence-gathering exercises.What’s that? You say there’s no basis in the special-counsel regulations to appoint one for counterintelligence? You say the Justice Department does not appoint prosecutors for counterintelligence investigations, which are the FBI’s bailiwick? So what? The special-counsel regulations expressly say that they create no enforceable rights enabling anyone to challenge the Justice Department’s flouting of them. Rosenstein knew he could ignore the rules and there was not a thing anyone could do about it.So instead of a prosecutor investigating a crime of conspiracy, we have a bloated staff of prosecutors gathering intelligence about “collusion”: Every contact between anyone connected to Trump and anyone connected to Russia.Some of this could be valuable information. That brings us back to that August 2016 meeting Andrew Weissman was talking about, between Trump’s campaign chairman and a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, had high-level contacts and conducted multi-million-dollar business with oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Konstantin Kilimnik, his partner in Kiev, certainly is suspected of having a “relationship with Russian intelligence,” as Weissmann obliquely put it in the court session.That “relationship,” however, goes back to the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell and the United States was quite content to do business with lots of people who had “relationships” with Russian intelligence, the Kremlin, and even the Communist party. One of Kilimnik’s first jobs when he left the Russian military was to work for the International Republican Institute -- the democracy-promoting enterprise that Senator John McCain ran for over 20 years. Kilimnik started there as a translator -- hired for the skills he’d learned at the military academy that prepared translators for service in Russian intelligence. It didn’t seem to bother anyone -- by the early 2000’s, Kilimnik was running the IRI’s Moscow office.My point is not to defend Kilimnik. Not only has Mueller already him indicted for witness-tampering conspiracy in Manafort’s case (a charge to which Manafort has pled guilty). Kilimnik also hovers as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Samuel Patten, a lobbyist friend of Manafort’s who has pled guilty in a separate Justice Department case to being an unregistered agent of Ukraine and to violating the prohibition against foreign contributions to political campaigns -- enabling Kilimnik and two Ukrainian oligarchs to donate to the Trump presidential-inaugural committee and attend the inauguration festivities.The point is that if we are going to obsess over collusion rather than the actual crime of conspiracy, then we need to evaluate the Russian contacts of Trump associates in the context of everyone who has interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century. Under administrations of both parties, Washington has maintained that post-Soviet Russia was a perfectly fine country to partner with and do business with. Did the Trump campaign hope to tap Kremlin-connected sources for campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton? That seems undeniable. But it is not a crime per se. How does it rank on the scale of unsavory political behavior? You’d have to compare it to, for example, Democratic-party entreaties to the Kremlin -- back when the Russians were our Cold War Soviet antagonist -- for help in the campaigns against Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.I did not like candidate Donald Trump’s blandishments toward the Putin regime. It was part of why Trump was closer to the bottom than the top of my preferred GOP candidates. I thought his performance as president in the meeting with Putin in Helsinki was appalling. But we are talking here about policy disputes. Trump has a right to be wrong, even seriously wrong, on a policy matter. That does not make him a Russian agent.If members of Trump’s campaign were corruptly selling accommodations (such as sanctions relief) to Russia, then by all means prosecute them to the full extent of the law. But if the campaign was exploring whether sanctions relief could be traded for Russian actions in America’s interests -- just as Obama told us sanctions relief for Iran was being bargained in exchange for what he claimed were advances of America’s interests -- that might have been wrong-headed or naïve, but it wasn’t criminal.Apparently Senator Burr thinks of “collusion” as criminal conspiracy, and he thus realizes that there was not one. Special Counsel Mueller, by contrast, has been unleashed to probe collusion not just in the form of criminal conspiracy, but in whatever form: All manner of contacts with a regime that, just the blink of an eye ago, President Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for regarding as a geopolitical foe, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Moscow build its version of Silicon Valley -- notwithstanding Defense Department and FBI worries that we were thus improving their military and cyber capabilities.What is “collusion,” then? Increasingly, it looks like the criminalization of policy disputes.


World bishops head to Vatican for sex abuse summit

World bishops head to Vatican for sex abuse summitThe heads of around 100 bishops' conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the meeting on the protection of minors, with victims' groups demanding that a concrete action plan on fighting paedophilia be drawn up. The pope, who asked the bishops to speak to victims of abuse in their respective countries before the Rome convention, has tried to dial down "inflated expectations" for a cure-all. Several victims were also invited to the Vatican.


Amazon faces backlash from New York City locals after canceling HQ2 plans

Amazon faces backlash from New York City locals after canceling HQ2 plansThe tech giant decided to pull out of the planned Long Island City site after local opposition.


Egypt says deadly extremist attack hits Sinai checkpoint

Egypt says deadly extremist attack hits Sinai checkpointCAIRO (AP) — Extremists attacked an army checkpoint in the troubled northern Sinai peninsula on Saturday at dawn, causing 15 casualties among the armed forces including at least one officer shot dead, Egypt's military spokesman said.


See the 2019 Ford Edge in Photos

See the 2019 Ford Edge in Photos


U.S. Supreme Court to decide legality of census citizenship query

U.S. Supreme Court to decide legality of census citizenship queryThe justices, in a brief order, granted the administration's request to hear its appeal of Manhattan-based U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman's Jan. 15 ruling even before a lower appeals court has considered the matter. Furman's ruling came in lawsuits brought by 18 U.S. states, 15 cities and various civil rights groups challenging the Republican administration's decision to include the question. Furman ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had concealed the true motives for his "arbitrary and capricious" decision to add the citizenship question in violation of federal law.


The Latest: Extremist attack in Nigeria kills 4 civilians

The Latest: Extremist attack in Nigeria kills 4 civiliansYOLA, Nigeria (AP) — The Latest on Nigeria's postponed presidential election (all times local):


Amazon invests in electric vehicle startup Rivian

Amazon invests in electric vehicle startup RivianElectric vehicle startup Rivian on Friday announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon, which recently pumped money into a young self-driving car technology firm. Details of Amazon's stake in US-based Rivian were not disclosed, but the company said it will remain independent. The potential Tesla rival late last year unveiled an electric pickup truck and an electric sport utility vehicle at an auto show in Los Angeles.


France plans to impose stricter regulations on social media platforms

France plans to impose stricter regulations on social media platformsFrance is to impose stricter regulation of abusive posts on social media to end “online impunity” and compel platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to take down hateful posts. The move follows a scandal over a macho “boys' club” of male media executives who trolled female colleagues online. Eight journalists and public relations executives have have resigned or been suspended this week after they admitted anonymously hounding feminists and minority colleagues online. All eight belonged to a closed Facebook group called “The League of LOL”. More than 20 others faced calls to resign after they were also accused of bullying women with pornographic memes and off-colour jokes about rape. Mounir Mahjoubi, the digital affairs minister, said the government was considering changing the legal status of social networks to make them more accountable for user-generated content.  They could be reclassified in somewhere between social media platforms and publishers, making them liable to heavier fines and tighter regulation, which is already the case in Germany. At a glance | Facebook’s moderation rules The current status of networks such as Facebook and Twitter as content-sharing platforms “significantly limits their responsibility” for online abuse and harassment, Mr Mahjoubi said. A bill which is to be presented to the French parliament by the end of June will be partly inspired by existing German legislation, said Marlène Schiappa, the minister for gender equality. The bill will also aim to speed up the identification of those who put up hateful messages, and foster more public awareness of the “duty of care” of social networks, Mr Mahjoubi said. “It’s unacceptable to have them dictating the rules all by themselves… The authors of hateful content must understand that we will find them wherever they are and we will make them stop their violence.” Britain is also planning a legal crackdown on harmful content online. Margot James, the digital minister, said last week that voluntary codes had failed and platforms should be made legally responsible for user-generated content on their sites. She was speaking after the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who killed herself after watching self-harm images and suicide posts on Instagram.


U.S. Appeal for NATO Personnel in Syria Brushed Off by Spain

U.S. Appeal for NATO Personnel in Syria Brushed Off by SpainVice President Mike Pence told reporters at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. is asking NATO members and other partners to provide "the resources and the support and the personnel" required to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State once U.S. operations conclude. "Requests between countries aren’t made in press releases or conference comments," Spain’s Josep Borrell said at a briefing in Munich on Saturday.


Shell buys German battery maker Sonnen

Shell buys German battery maker SonnenAnglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell agreed Friday to buy German rechargeable battery maker Sonnen, as the sector eyes growing demand for cleaner energy. Shell, which already invested in the German start-up in May 2018, revealed in a statement that it will buy 100 percent of Sonnen for an undisclosed amount. Sonnen, which makes lithium-ion batteries for storing wind and solar power, was founded in 2010 and has since grown rapidly to become a dominant player in Europe.


Diet drinks could increase the risk of stroke for post-menopausal women

Diet drinks could increase the risk of stroke for post-menopausal womenNew US research has found that postmenopausal women who drink more than two diet drinks each day may have a higher risk of stroke. During an evaluation three years into the study, the women were asked to report on how often they had consumed diet drinks such as low-calorie, artificially-sweetened colas, sodas and fruit drinks in the last three months. The researchers then adjusted the findings to take into account various stroke risk factors such as age, high blood pressure and smoking.


White House Press Secretary says she was interviewed by investigators working for Robert Mueller

White House Press Secretary says she was interviewed by investigators working for Robert MuellerThe White House press secretary is among a series of people linked to President Donald Trump who have been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller.


AP Interview: Karzai worries Pakistan talks risk peace pact

AP Interview: Karzai worries Pakistan talks risk peace pactKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that previously unscheduled peace talks between the Taliban and the United States in Pakistan risk engulfing the country in regional rivalries.


Eddie Lampert steps down as chairman of Sears' board

Eddie Lampert steps down as chairman of Sears' boardEddie Lampert will step down as chairman of Sears Holdings Corp's board, effective immediately, a company filing showed on Thursday.


Nigeria delays its election; candidates rush back to capital

Nigeria delays its election; candidates rush back to capitalYOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerians awakened on Saturday to find the presidential election delayed a week until Feb. 23 because of what the electoral commission called unspecified "challenges."


Gone in a New York minute: How the Amazon deal fell apart

Gone in a New York minute: How the Amazon deal fell apartNEW YORK (AP) — In early November, word began to leak that Amazon was serious about choosing New York to build a giant new campus. The city was eager to lure the company and its thousands of high-paying tech jobs, offering billions in tax incentives and lighting the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.