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A high stakes bid by the Venezuelan opposition to transport aid into the country turned deadly on Friday as government forces opened fire on a group of indigenous volunteers, killing at least one woman and injuring 12. Members of the indigenous community in the southern town of Kumarakapay, bordering Brazil, on Friday night took the commander of the Venezuelan national guard prisoner in retaliation. Jose Miguel Montoya Rodriguez was being detained by members of the Pemon tribe, following the death of Zoraida Rodriguez in the clashes. The violence cast an ominous shadow over the massive aid delivery planned for Saturday, with hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies destined to be brought across the border from Brazil and Colombia. Juan Guaido, the self-declared “interim president” who has marshalled the hugely symbolic aid delivery, condemned the killing of Rodriguez, and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. On Friday night, following a fundraising concert on the border organised by Sir Richard Branson, thousands of volunteers were preparing to bring the aid into Venezuela, in spite of the threats from President Nicolas Maduro that he would not allow it to pass. Organisers of the show, held on the Tienditas bridge, worked through the night to clear the bridge ahead of the aid caravan. Mr Maduro promised a rival concert on the other side of the bridge, and was reportedly offering $7 million to artists to perform, but by Friday night there was no sign of the show and musician after musician issued statements confirming they had been approached to perform, but turned it down. A caravan of trucks fanned out across Venezuela this week, destined for the border with the intention of loading the aid for distribution at the border points. Four processions will be met on the Venezuelan side by four people appointed by Mr Guaido, whose identity he has kept secret for their own safety. Mr Guaido himself set out from Caracas on Thursday in a procession of lorries towards the border, ready to collect the aid. Gaby Arellano, a 33-year-old opposition MP leading one of the convoys of aid was on Friday defiant about the risks of violence as she prepared to cross the border from the Colombian town of Cucuta. “You know what really frightens me?” she told The Telegraph,. “The fact that my children will continue to suffer. That’s far more terrifying a thought than anything that could happen on the bridge.” Russia, which along with Cuba and China continues to provide a crutch to Mr Maduro’s teetering regime, accused the United States on Friday of using the aid deliveries as a ploy to carry out military action against Mr Maduro's government. Maria Zakharova, spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, said Mr Guaido's plans to try to bring the aid across the border are aimed at provoking clashes to provide "a convenient pretext for conducting military action". Cucuta has four bridges crossing into Venezuela, and the volunteers, told to dress in white, will set out at 9am (2pm GMT) – “not smugglers in the night,” said Jose Manuel Olivares, a 33-year-old doctor-turned-politician, who will on Saturday lead one of the columns. “We will do it by the light of day, with full transparency, because we have nothing to hide.” Freddy Superlano, a deputy for the Chavez family state of Barinas, added: “We’ve thought it all through, with the aid. It’s much more than politics. It’s the survival of the nation.” Mr Guaido insisted that the aid must be allowed to pass, and issued another plea to the soldiers to allow its safe passage. “You must decide on which side you stand, at this decisive hour,” he tweeted on Friday night. “To the soldiers, between tonight and tomorrow you must decide how you want to be remembered. We know you stand with the people. Tomorrow you must show it.”
US special representative Elliott Abrams departed the US on Friday for the Colombian city of Cucuta on a plane carrying American humanitarian aid for crisis-hit Venezuela. The US Air Force C-17 cargo plane left Homestead, south of Miami, and was to arrive in Cucuta later on Friday, a day before the deadline set by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido for the entry of humanitarian assistance that President Nicolas Maduro is seeking to prohibit.
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.
A guest who appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show said African Americans “need to move on” from slavery because it was abolished “a century-and-a-half ago”. Mark Steyn, a cultural commentator, made the comments on Thursday during a segment discussing 2020 presidential candidates who are in favour of reparations for African Americans. During his rant, Steyn said: “Slavery was abolished a century and a half ago, nobody alive today has a grandparent who was a slave, and in that sense I think you reach a point where, you know, you need to move on.
Up to a third of the $6.7bn (£5.2bn) in Pentagon funds Donald Trump has identified to spend on a US-Mexico border wall has already been spent, officials have revealed. During his emergency powers declaration last month, the US president announced he would divert billions of dollars from other Department of Defense projects towards the wall, in order to circumvent Congress. It included $3.6bn (£2.8bn) in unspent military construction money, as well as $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in counterdrug funds and $600m (£462m) from an asset forfeiture account – the latter two not dependent on the emergency delaration.
Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Mumbai spoke on the second day of a conference of some 200 senior Church officials convened by Pope Francis to confront what he has called the scourge of sexual abuse by the clergy. Various aspects of the sexual abuse crisis made 2018 the worst year for the pope since his election in 2013. Last week, Theodore McCarrick, once a powerful cardinal in the U.S. Church, was dismissed from the priesthood after the Vatican found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and adults over decades.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged in Florida after allegedly soliciting a prostitute, police say. Mr Kraft, 77, was charged by officials after an investigation in the city of Jupiter, where a sex sting operation targeted the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr confirmed the sting on Friday, and said that there is video evidence of all 100 or so men being charged.
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.
Humanitarian aid should not be forced into Venezuela, lest it cause violence, China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday, warning that Beijing opposed military intervention in the country. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro threatened to close the border with Colombia on Thursday as opposition leader Juan Guaido and some 80 lawmakers ran a gauntlet of roadblocks trying to get to the frontier to receive humanitarian aid. 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.
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.
A deadly car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group hit US-backed forces in eastern Syria on Thursday as they tried to negotiate the release of civilians trapped in the jihadists' last sliver of territory. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are working towards evacuating civilians remaining in the holdout, so they can finish off the dying IS "caliphate" either through an assault or a surrender deal. The jihadists overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but several offensives have retaken all but half a square kilometre (a fifth of a square mile) of their territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.
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.
Canada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 27, Netanyahu's office said on Thursday, with the focus likely to be on Middle East issues led by Syria. At the time, the Kremlin said Netanyahu and Putin were to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including Syria.
Pakistan on Thursday banned two groups believed to be fronts for the group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, amid heightened pressure on Islamabad to act against militants. Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were designated "proscribed organisations", the interior ministry said in a statement, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered officials to accelerate action against banned groups. JuD and FIF are considered by the UN to be fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group accused by Washington and New Delhi of carrying out the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.
France is to recognise anti-Zionism, the denial of the state of Israel, as a form of anti-Semitism in response to a surge in acts against Jews not seen “since the Second World War”. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, also promised new legislation in May to fight hate speech on the Internet, which could see platforms such as Facebook and Twitter fined for every minute they fail to take down racist or violent content. Speaking at the annual meeting of France’s largest Jewish organization, CRIF, Mr Macron said that France and other countries in Europe had recently witnessed "a resurgence of anti-Semitism that is probably unprecedented since World War II.” “We have denounced it a lot, adopted plans, passed laws sometimes. But we haven’t been able to act efficiently,” he said. While stopping short of calling for new legislation, the President said the working definition of anti-Semitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance would help guide police forces, magistrates and teachers in their daily work. That definition stipulates that anti-Semitism can take the form of "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. "Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism,” said Mr Macron. "Behind the negation of Israel's existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.” Such guidelines in no way infringed on people’s right to criticise to the Israeli government and its policies, he said. Mr Macron also said that his party would introduce a bill in parliament in May to force social media to withdraw hate speech posted online and use all available means to identify the authors "as quickly as possible.” Digital minister Mounir Mahjoubi said: “There will be an obligation for results: if the content is not taken down then there will be a fine, and a large fine,” Mr Mahjoubi told France Info radio. “Each minute that content remains online, it increases the harm to society. Twenty-four hours is far too long.” Anti-Semitic acts surged by 74 per cent last year in France, according to government figures Credit: Getty Images Europe France has been pressuring Internet companies to better regulate their content ever since a series of terror attacks starting in 2015. The recent “yellow vest” protests have largely been orchestrated online. Many postings have included links to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and anti-vaccine messages, as well as a string of conspiracy theories. Mr Macron’s speech came a day after thousands attended rallies across France to denounce a rise in anti-Semitic acts and in a week in which almost 100 gravestones spray-painted with swastikas were discovered in a Jewish village cemetery in eastern France. The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose last year by 74 per cent from 311 in 2017 to 541, the government announced last week.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned that the United States would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei Technologies Co Ltd systems, citing security concerns. In an interview on Fox Business Network, Pompeo said nations in Europe and elsewhere need to understand the risks of implementing Huawei's telecommunications equipment and that when they did, they would ultimately not use the company's systems. "If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them, we won't be able to work alongside them," Pompeo said.
A statue of a priest who was leading figure in the movement that toppled Communism in Poland was removed by protesters, who accused the Catholic Church of neglecting accusations that he sexually abused minors. The statue of Henryk Jankowski in central Gdansk - the birthplace of the Solidarity movement - was lifted from its plinth overnight by three men who then handed themselves in to police, Gdansk police spokeswoman Karina Kaminska said on Thursday.
The backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit. "We are also looking at updating the declaration on future EU-UK ties after Brexit to give more prominence to the 'alternative arrangements' sought by Britain," said one EU diplomat who deals with Brexit. "But May won't get any firm wording before Feb. 28." A second diplomat, briefed on the May-Juncker talks on Wednesday evening, confirmed the EU would only signal this was the direction of travel before the British prime minister faces another round of Brexit votes in the UK parliament.
Hot on the heels of Benetton, which opened Milan Fashion Week Tuesday, February 20, fashion houses Gucci, Alberto Zambelli, Annakiki, Alberta Ferretti and Moncler showed their fall/winter 2019-2020 collections in the Italian city. This first official day reiterated certain trends spotted in New York and London with some colorful displays, notably at Byblos and Annakiki, mixing bright shades and prints, as well as at Gucci. Like in London and New York, plays on volume and proportion -- especially with outerwear designs -- were also on the agenda in Milan, with several extravagant pieces covered with frills and furbelows.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has defended his decision to strip the jihadi bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, saying he would never leave someone "stateless". The 19-year-old from London, who fled to Syria aged 15, wanted to return to the UK with her newborn baby. But the Home Secretary revoked her British citizenship in a move only permissible under international law if it does not leave the individual stateless. The Telegraph understands Begum has inherited Bangladeshi dual nationality through her parents, but the country's minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam denied this on Wednesday, saying she was "nothing to do with Bangladesh". Asked about the situation on ITV's Peston, Mr Javid said: "I'm not aware of any Home Secretary in any party in any previous government that has taken a decision that would leave anyone stateless. "I'm not going to talk about an individual, but I can be clear on the point that I would not take a decision and I believe none of my predecessors ever have taken a decision that at the point the decision is taken would leave that individual stateless." Britons returning from Syria | The facts The Home Secretary would not be drawn to comment on Begum's case specifically, but speaking generally, he said: "Let’s say they are in the UK and they radicalise others and groom others, they carry out a terrorist attack themselves or incite others to do that. "What about the danger and the risk to the country of that? What about the impact on community cohesion if people come back to the country and use their presence here to try and racialize others? I have to weigh that up too." The exact situation surrounding Begum's citizenship remains unclear, and the waters were further muddied on Wednesday night when Mr Alam, Bangladesh's foreign minister, said: "The Government of Bangladesh is deeply concerned that she has been erroneously identified as a holder of dual citizenship shared with Bangladesh alongside her birthplace, the United Kingdom. "Bangladesh asserts that Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen. She is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh. "It may also be mentioned that she never visited Bangladesh in the past despite her parental lineage. So, there is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh." The statement added that Dhaka had only been made aware of the situation by the media, suggesting Mr Javid had not pre-warned Bangladesh of his plans. International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, but The Telegraph understands that the Home Office made the decision to revoke Begum's British citizenship based on Bangladeshi law. There, until the age of 21, it is understood the Isil bride automatically retains dual nationality due to the fact her parents are both from the country. At the age of 21, a child born to Bangladeshi parents has the right to waive their right to dual nationality, but not before. The complication lies in how she would be able to get to Bangladesh - where it is understood her father is currently living - and how she proves that she is Shamima Begum. The teenager has never visited the country and does not have a Bangladeshi passport. Her old British passport is invalid due to her citizenship being revoked and she has previously said she used her sister's passport to travel to Syria back in 2015. One possible option for her would be to travel to Turkey via the notoriously penetrable border with Syria and present herself to the Bangladeshi embassy. But officials in Dhaka may well appeal the Home Office's decision to make Begum their responsibility, insisting that she has never even been to the country. The Home Office letter Credit: ITV News Asked whether she had been left stateless by Britain, the Begum family's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said: "It's certainly something we will be adding to the mix in terms of our appeal." He has said Ms Begum was born in the UK, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen. A Home Office spokesman said Mr Javid's priority was the "safety and security" of the country. Decisions to deprive people of citizenship were "based on all available evidence and not taken lightly," the spokesman added. Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green to join the terror cult in 2015 and resurfaced heavily pregnant at a Syrian refugee camp last week. When shown a copy of the Home Office letter that announced her British citizenship would be stripped, she said it was "a bit unjust on me and my son". She went on to say she may try for citizenship in the Netherlands, where her husband is from. Mr Javid suggested the action to prevent Ms Begum returning will have no impact on her baby son's nationality. While insisting he could not discuss individual cases, he told the Commons: "Children should not suffer. "So, if a parent does lose their British citizenship, it does not affect the rights of their child." Ms Begum's situation has sparked intense debate about the UK's responsibilities to those seeking to return from Syria. The British Nationality Act 1981 provides the Home Secretary with the power to strip people of citizenship if it is "conducive to the public good". Lord Carlile, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Ms Begum could challenge the Home Secretary's decision, and described it as a "complex issue" that could take a while to resolve. Figures for 2017 show that 104 people were deprived of their British citizenship, up from 14 in the previous year.
We're all made of star stuff, but some things in the universe are created by comets.Neptune's recently discovered and smallest moon, Hippocamp, has been confirmed and observed in detail by the Hubble Space Telescope according to new research published in Nature on Wednesday.SEE ALSO: Neptune looks extremely sharp and very blue in these latest imagesNamed Hippocamp for the half-horse, half-fish creature from Greek mythology -- all of Neptune's moons are named for Greek and Roman mythological figures -- it's the smallest of the planet's seven inner moons, with a diameter of approximately 20-21 miles (34 kilometres). How have we never met Hippocamp before? The planet's other six small inner moons were picked up in a 1989 fly-by from the Voyager 2 spacecraft, but Hippocamp was missed. Between 2004 and 2009, the Hubble picked up a "white dot" from 150 images, and in 2013, Mark Showalter of California's SETI Institute officially discovered the moon by analyzing the photographs and plotting its circular orbit. Hippocamp was officially confirmed in the study published Wednesday by Showalter alongside Imke de Pater from the University of California, Berkeley, Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center, and R. S. French of SETI.While there are three Hubble programmes dedicated to studying Neptune's rings, arcs and small inner moons, the study's authors had to develop their own specialised image processing techniques to focus on the inner satellites, including Hippocamp, because of their speedy orbits. With these new techniques, the team were able to confirm not only that Neptune officially has 14 moons, but how the smallest was likely formed. Part of another moon?Hippocamp sits in orbit near Proteus, the largest and outermost of Neptune's moons. In fact, the study's authors suggest Hippocamp could be derived from Proteus, as an ancient fragment of it. "The first thing we realized was that you wouldn't expect to find such a tiny moon right next to Neptune's biggest inner moon," study author Showalter said on NASA's blog. "In the distant past, given the slow migration outward of the larger moon, Proteus was once where Hippocamp is now."This diagram shows the orbits of several moons located close to the planet Neptune.Image: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)The inner moons are thought to be younger than Neptune, having formed after the capture (a successful pull into orbit) of Neptune's largest moon, Triton. But according to the study, each inner moon has likely been fragmented by comet impacts, including Proteus, which sports the enormous Pharos crater thought to be unusually large in relation to the size of the moon, and possibly created by a comet."Based on estimates of comet populations, we know that other moons in the outer solar system have been hit by comets, smashed apart, and re-accreted multiple times," said Lissauer. "This pair of satellites provides a dramatic illustration that moons are sometimes broken apart by comets."It's this type of comet impact that the authors hypothesise could have released debris from the moon, which then settled into orbit and gradually accreted (formed) into Hippocamp. According to NASA, astronomers refer to it as "the moon that shouldn't be there."A pretty violent way to be born, but there it is. WATCH: Elon Musk says Mars round trip could cost only $100,000 one day
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will file a resolution Friday aimed at blocking the national emergency declaration that President Donald Trump has issued to help finance his wall along the Southwest border, teeing up a clash over billions of dollars, immigration policy and the Constitution's separation of powers.
The visit will include a meeting with President Xi Jinping and a high-level joint dialogue aimed at boosting relations after the nations agreed to promote a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016. China overtook the U.S. as the kingdom’s biggest trading partner in 2013. The world’s most populous nation accounted for about 15 percent of all Saudi imports and exports last year compared with 8 percent a decade earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The political stalemate that ended last month will reduce first-quarter revenue by $60 million as the aftereffects lingered on, Southwest said in a regulatory filing Wednesday. “With more of first quarter under our belt now, and a higher percentage of March bookings in place, we feel like we are at the point where we can reasonably quantify the total impact from the shutdown,” Southwest said by email.