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|House Democrats ponder expanding impeachment probe after Sondland 'game changer' testimony
Gordon Sondland’s explosive testimony Wednesday that “everyone was in the loop” on President Trump’s efforts to secure an investigation of a political rival prompted rank-and-file Democrats to discuss whether it was time to expand their probe.
POSTED NOVEMBER 20, 2019 8:54 PM
|Gay Saudi journalists detained in Australia after asylum bid
Two gay Saudi journalists who sought asylum in Australia after being threatened at home over their relationship have been held for weeks at an immigration detention centre, their lawyer said Wednesday. The couple arrived in Australia in mid-October on tourist visas but was singled out by airport customs officials -- then taken into detention -- when they admitted plans to seek asylum, lawyer Alison Battisson told AFP. "Australia being very well known for being... a safe place for LGBTI people, they were incredibly surprised and distressed," she said.
POSTED NOVEMBER 20, 2019 2:47 AM
|Seller of bullets to Las Vegas gunman pleads guilty to ammo licensing offense
Douglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest early last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 10:33 PM
|In rare move, N. Carolina county removes Confederate statue
A North Carolina county removed a Confederate statue from a historic courthouse early Wednesday, joining the handful of places around the state where such monuments have come down in recent years despite a law protecting them. Preparations began Tuesday night to carefully dismantle the statue of a soldier outside the historic Chatham County courthouse, where it had stood since 1907, and continued for hours overnight, said county spokeswoman Kara Lusk Dudley. The removal comes months after Winston-Salem officials removed a Confederate statue from land there that had passed into private hands.
POSTED NOVEMBER 20, 2019 7:01 AM
|Chinese bishop 'on the run' after refusing to join state-sanctioned church
A Catholic bishop in China is believed to be on the run from state security after refusing to bring his church under a government-sanctioned religious association. Guo Xijin, 61, has fled the custody of state agents and has gone into hiding, reported Catholic Asia News, a website, and cannot be immediately reached for comment. Mr Guo is part of a group of bishops that many religious and human rights experts feared would be persecuted after the Vatican inked a deal with Beijing last year on the ordaining bishops. China has long insisted that it approve appointments, clashing with absolute papal authority to pick bishops. The agreement broke that standoff, and could help pave the way for formal diplomatic ties, but also stoked worries that the Chinese state would have too much power to regulate religion. Since Communism took hold in China, there have been in practice two Catholic churches - one sanctioned by the government, and an underground one loyal to the Vatican, and it remains unclear what would happen to bishops who refused to fall in line with the government. China’s officially atheist Communist Party – has engaged in a widespread crackdown on religion in the last few years. Authorities have banned Arab-style onion domes on mosques and other buildings – even if merely decorative. The UN estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in chilling “re-education” camps, where former detainees have told The Telegraph they were subject to physical torture, psychological intimidation and political indoctrination. The government has shut down churches not sanctioned by the Party, detaining priests and members of various congregations. And houses of worship, including Buddhist temples, are now mandated to have pictures of Xi Jinping, the leader of the Party. Chinese authorities claim that people have freedom of religion – provided that they worship in state-sanctioned temples, churches, and mosques. The government has said that all religious believers must “be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people,” making it explicit that they must also “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 6:52 AM
|Ukraine Pol: I Was Joking When I Asked Vindman To Be Our Defense Minister
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/GettyDuring impeachment hearings on Tuesday morning, the lead Republican counsel pressed Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman on an offer he’d received to take the position of defense minister in Kiev. The line of questioning seemed designed to raise doubts about Vindman’s allegiance to the U.S. right as he was testifying about his concerns over President Donald Trump’s efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on his domestic political rivals. But a former top national security official in Ukraine told The Daily Beast that he was “joking” when he offered Vindman the post and never actually had the authority to make such an offer.Oleksander Danylyuk, the former Chairman of the National Security and Defence Council in Ukraine, said he only remembers speaking with Vindman once about the defense minister position. He said it he and Vindman had engaged in a light-hearted conversation about how the two used to live close to one another in the former Soviet Union. It was then that Danylyuk jokingly told Vindman that he should take the defense minister job in Ukraine. “We both smiled and laughed,” Danylyuk said. “It was clearly a joke.” Danylyuk said he wouldn’t have been able to seriously offer Vindman the position without direct sign off from President Volodymyr Zelensky. MSNBC Host: GOP Hinting at Vindman Dual Loyalty ‘Perhaps Inspired’ by Fox NewsRepublican House investigators consistently questioned Vindman during his public hearing about his interactions with Danylyuk, including whether the former Ukrainian national security official offered him the job of defense minister. “Ukraine's a country that's experienced a war with Russia,” said GOP counsel Steve Castor. “Certainly, their Minister of Defense is a pretty key position. For the Ukrainians—President Zelensky, Mr. Danylyuk—to bestow that honor on you, at least asking you, that was a big honor, correct?”Vindman said that Danylyuk had suggested he take the job three times but that he “immediately dismissed” the offers and reported the encounters to his superiors at the National Security Council. Vindman also noted that Danylyuk might have been joking when they spoke about the position.Danylyuk left his post in Ukraine in September. But during his time in the Zelensky administration he worked closely with U.S. officials, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton, on U.S.-Ukraine relations. Danylyuk was present for a July 10 meeting at the White House with Bolton, Vindman and other White House and State Department officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordan Sondland. He also met with Vice President Pence in Warsaw in August and pushed for the U.S. to quickly release U.S. military aid to the country.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 1:25 PM
|10 Things We Want to Leave Behind in the 2010s
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 11:40 AM
|Russia's TU-22M3 Backfire Bomber Has A New Supersonic Missile (And The Navy Is Worried)
A formidable strike capability.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 6:30 PM
|Special envoy Kurt Volker says 'most people' didn't see the distinction between Burisma and investigating former Vice President Biden
Special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker said during questioning that "others didn't see the distinction" between Burisma and investigating former Vice President Biden.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 5:04 PM
|Ocasio-Cortez: Trump was 'clearly engaged in extortion and bribery'
Ocasio-Cortez discussed the issue with Yahoo News on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as the third day of public hearings was being conducted in the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 1:26 PM