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Saudi official fires back after Iran blames attack on RiyadhISLAMABAD (AP) — A senior Saudi diplomat on Monday fired back after Iran initially blamed the kingdom for an attack last week that killed 27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.


2/18/2019 7:37:37 AM

Farrakhan Praises Omar’s Anti-Semitic Remarks: ‘Shake Up That Corrupt House’Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Sunday praised Representative Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) recent endorsement of an anti-Semitic trope and urged the freshman lawmaker not to bow to pressure from critics.“Ms. Omar from Somalia – she started talking about ‘the Benjamins' and they are trying to make her apologize. Sweetheart, don't do that. Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for,” Farrakhan said during his annual Saviour's Day address in Chicago, in comments first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.“Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so you're not lying. So if you're not lying, stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House,” he added.Farrakhan, who has long engaged in anti-Semitic conspiracy-mongering, went on to mock Omar's Democratic allies, who have defended her remarks as the result of inexperience and lack of knowledge regarding the historic plight of the Jewish people.“‘Oh she's just young. She just got here. Don't be so hard on her,’” he said, mocking Omar's defenders. “My beautiful sisters, you were sent there to shake that House up. Your people voted you in, but God is the overseer.”Omar argued in a series of tweets sent last week that the pro-Israel stance held by many of her colleagues can be attributed to the nefarious influence of jewish donors and organizations, such as the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She subsequently apologized after being publicly urged to do so by Democratic leadership.Since being elected in November, Omar has been confronted with allegations of anti-Semitism by critics who cite both her past tweets, one of which accused Israel of "hypnotizing the world," and her more-recent statements and associations with noted anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian activists.Farrakhan has managed to maintain ties with a number of prominent Democratic lawmakers and activists despite his extensive record of bigotry. Women's March co-chair Tamikah Mallory was roundly criticized for praising Farrakhan as the "GOAT” or “greatest of all time" on social media following his 2018 Saviour's Day address, during which he labeled Jews “satanic.”“I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric. I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities,” Mallory said during an appearance on ABC's The View last month when asked about the Instagram post.


2/18/2019 3:57:42 PM

Pope's credibility 'on the line' as Vatican convenes global meeting on combating child abuse by clergyVictims of clerical sex abuse have warned Pope Francis that his credibility is on the line as he confronts the biggest challenge of his papacy with a landmark conference on protecting children from rape and molestation. Nearly 200 bishops, archbishops, patriarchs and other senior Catholic figures from around the world will convene in Rome on Thursday for an unprecedented four-day conference that is supposed to tackle the scourge of child abuse by clergy. It is the biggest effort so far to address scandals that have eroded faith in the Catholic Church in the US, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere. “There’s going to be every effort to close whatever loopholes there are,” said Charles Scicluna, an archbishop from Malta who is one of the organisers of the summit. “This is a new day in terms of transparency. Bishops are going to be held accountable. My hope is that people see this as a turning point.” Members of the survivors' group Ending Clergy Abuse in front of St Peter's Square at the Vatican Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP But victims’ groups are furious that it has taken this long for the Church to organise such a high-profile meeting, pointing out that is has been 17 years since the Boston sex abuse scandal, which lifted the lid on the problem in the Church. They accuse Pope Francis of failing to clearly decree that priests, and the bishops who protect them, should be reported to the police, prosecuted and sent to jail if found guilty of abuse. They say the Vatican has had years to set out clear guidelines to every diocese in the world, instructing them to hand over to the civil authorities any priest accused of abusing children. It has not done so. “Pope Francis has been talking about zero tolerance ever since he was elected. It’s time to deliver on that promise,” said Peter Isely, from Ending Clergy Abuse, a victims’ support group. “There needs to be a universal law for the Church around the world – if you are a priest who rapes or sexually assaults a child, then you are going to be removed from the priesthood. And you are going to be turned over to the authorities and prosecuted and imprisoned.” Peter Isely, founding member of Ending Clergy Abuse, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP Survivors of sex abuse are tired of the years of empty rhetoric and lack of action coming from the Vatican. “We’ve been waiting a long time. We’ve waited too long. This is a historic moment. This has never happened before in the history of the Catholic Church. The Pope has acknowledged that this is a global problem in the Church and that’s important. He now has to deliver,” said Mr Isely, speaking in front of St Peter’s Basilica. “They can do something in the next few days that could save a child somewhere in the world from undergoing what we went through as children – these horrible, horrific, terrible crimes.” Peter Saunders, a British victim of sex abuse by priests, said: “This pope is the best public relations pope of our lifetime. He is very media savvy. But his credibility on this issue has been blown away.” The Vatican made Mr Saunders a member of a special commission for the protection of children, but he resigned in protest at how little progress the body made, saying it was “starved of funding”. Around a dozen survivors have been invited to meet the Pope during the conference.  “What we need is action. We need to have a real conversation about this - why is there not zero tolerance for priests who have assaulted children? What’s the hold-up? What’s the problem?” said Mr Isely. The Vatican insists that this time, it means business. Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, is one of the organisers of the summit Credit: AP/Gregorio Borgia “It’s going to be a rallying moment,” said Cardinal Blasé Cupich from Chicago, another organiser of the conference. “We want to make sure that bishops claim ownership of the problem.” Archbishop Scicluna vowed that the days of omerta – the code of silence which normally refers to the mafia – were over. “Whether you call it omerta or a state of denial, it’s a no-go. We need to face the facts. This is not the end game but we are going to do everything possible to make people accountable.” On Saturday, Pope Francis defrocked an American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for historical sexual abuse allegations. The 88-year-old, a former archbishop of Washington, is the most senior Catholic figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.


2/18/2019 10:58:30 AM

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Celebrated Amazon Pulling Out of New York––But the Governor Says It Cost the City 25,000 JobsThe spat between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Gov. Andrew Cuomo lays bare a growing divide over Amazon's decision to pull out of New York City.


2/17/2019 3:03:37 PM

U.S.-backed Syria force seeks help with Islamic State prisoner 'time bomb'The fate of foreign fighters who joined Islamic State, as well as of their wives and children, has become more pressing in recent days as U.S.-backed fighters plan an assault to capture the last enclave of the group's self-styled Caliphate. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday European countries must do more to take them back or "we will be forced to release them". It's not clear to me how all that can be guaranteed." Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of foreign relations in the region held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, said authorities there were holding some 800 foreign fighters.


2/18/2019 9:18:08 AM

Buckle up and hunker down: Coast-to-coast storm to bring weather misery to 200 millionA powerful storm will roar across the country over the next 2-3 days, spreading heavy snow, torrential rain, and crippling ice to more than 200 million Americans.


2/19/2019 5:26:38 AM

Huawei founder says Huawei CFO arrest was politically motivated - BBC"Firstly, I object to what the U.S. has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable," Ren told the BBC in an interview. Canada arrested Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States.


2/18/2019 9:24:02 PM

Four Indian soldiers killed in battle with Kashmir militants: policeAt least four soldiers died Monday in a fierce gunfight with rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir just four days after a suicide bomber killed 41 paramilitaries in the troubled territory, officials said. One soldier and one civilian were also critically wounded in the shootout as troops launched a search operation in Pulwama district where the suicide bomber struck on Thursday. The official said the soldiers fired warning shots and the militants fired back, unleashing the firefight in the district 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the main city of Srinagar.


2/17/2019 10:51:42 PM

Saudi Prince Starts Asia Trip Pledging $20 Billion for PakistanThe two nations signed memorandums of understanding in the energy and agriculture sectors, including one for a $10 billion oil refinery in southwestern city of Gwadar, where China has helped build a deep water port. Saudi Arabia also signed a pact to provide Pakistan with crude oil and petroleum products on delayed payments to meets its energy needs. “We are creating a great future for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,” Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, said at a reception by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday in Islamabad at the start of a two-day trip.


2/18/2019 1:45:48 AM

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