Tag: Tammy Bruce

News and Headlines. 1/07/2020

Firefighters manage a controlled burn to help contain a larger fire near Falls Creek, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Iran mocks up a video of US President being assassinated by Iranian terrorist who glances at a photo of Qassem Soleimani before opening fire

The images, released by Iranian news agency Fars, manipulate real-life footage of Trump being ushered off-stage during a Nevada rally on November 5, amid fears an audience member had a gun
The images, released by Iranian news agency Fars, manipulate real-life footage of Trump being ushered off-stage during a Nevada rally on November 5, amid fears an audience member had a gun

A disturbing video shows an Iranian actor posing as a gunman and aiming at US President Donald Trump in a mocked-up assassination attempt.

The video emerged as Tehran vows bloody revenge for the killing of top commander Qasem Soleimani on Friday.

The images, released by Iranian news agency Fars, manipulate real-life footage of Trump being ushered off-stage during a Nevada rally on November 5, amid fears an audience member had a gun.

The fake assassination video shows the gunman firing shots at Trump, who is then hastily removed from the podium.

CNN settles lawsuit with Covington Catholic high school student

The amount of the settlement remains unknown, but a CNN spokesperson confirmed the suit’s resolution to the Washington Examiner.

The suit, which was filed last March, addressed four television broadcasts and nine articles specifically, alleging that they contain statements toward or about Sandmann that are defamatory.

It sought $75 million for harm to Sandmann’s reputation and $200 million in punitive damages.

Graphic video released by Las Vegas police shows 93-year-old opening fire at apartment complex office

Robert Thomas, 93, is now facing multiple charges following the shooting last Thursday.
Robert Thomas, 93, is now facing multiple charges following the shooting last Thursday. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

Robert Thomas, who lives at the Vista Del Valle residences near the Las Vegas strip, is now facing numerous charges, including attempted murder with a deadly weapon, stemming from the incident that unfolded there last Thursday.

Thomas was “upset at the management because of water damage and flooding within his apartment” and fired off three shots inside the complex’s leasing office, two of which struck a victim, according to Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman.

The surveillance footage shows Thomas talking with a man before reaching into his coat pocket and pulling out a Glock .9mm handgun, police said.

Planned Parenthood reports record-high abortions, taxpayer funding amid battles with Republicans

Released on Monday, the annual report shows the group received $617 million in taxpayer funds for the fiscal year ending in June.

That number represented roughly 37 percent of its overall funding and about a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

The administration’s so-called “gag rule” received praise from pro-life figures who have been fighting for years to separate government funding from the nation’s largest abortion provider.

But groups like Live Action, which have urged Congress to remove its appropriations for Planned Parenthood, were disappointed by Monday’s figures.

“This abortion machine, which is responsible for the taking of more than 345,000 preborn lives this year – a number consistently on the rise – should be defunded immediately and shut down,” said Alison Centofante, Director of External Affairs for Live Action.

Florida woman is arrested for throwing a bucket of human feces in her landlord’s face

Police bodycam footage, recorded in response to the incident, shows Mercader (pictured) was also left covered in human waste following her encounter with the landlord.
Police bodycam footage, recorded in response to the incident, shows Mercader (pictured) was also left covered in human waste following her encounter with the landlord.

According to a police report, Mercader’s female landlord, 65, reportedly arrived at the property in the early evening to check on broken items inside the residence.

The landlord repeatedly knocked on the front door of the trailer, but received no reply, so made her way inside the trailer where she was ‘met with a full bucket of human feces being thrown into her face’.

Police arrived at the residence to find the landlord ‘completely covered in feces that was dripping wet’.

Meanwhile, police bodycam footage, recorded in response to the incident, shows that Mercader was also left covered in human waste following her encounter with the landlord.

Uber reveals plans for flying taxi to bypass road traffic congestion

The concept between Uber and Hyundai was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The concept between Uber and Hyundai was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Photograph: David McNew/AFP/Getty

Uber has unveiled plans for a flying taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The ride-sharing company on Tuesday showed off a full-size mock-up of the electric plane concept vehicle created with South Korean carmaker Hyundai, as it seeks to fly above traffic rather than add to it.

Uber wants to offer aerial ridesharing, allowing a pilot and three passengers to take city trips of up to 60 miles at a speed of up to 180mph.

Resembling a winged helicopter and featuring four propellers, Uber and Hyundai joined forces to design a personal air vehicle, or PAV, which can take off and land vertically.

Uber hopes to operate commercial air ride-sharing services by 2023.

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The US company has already teamed up with aircraft manufacturers including Bell Helicopter and Embraer to develop its own aircraft, and launched a different prototype aircraft at CES in 2019.

The Illinois Comptroller Will Cease Collecting Red Light Camera Fines Amid Corruption Scandal

(Kawee Wateesatogkij/Dreamstime.com)

In 2017, ABC7 and the Chicago Sun-Times discovered that most of the drivers cited for running the light were actually making right turns, some even doing so after making a complete stop.

In 2019, ABC 7 also found that the Chicago intersections that racked up the most fines had shorter timed lights, giving drivers less time to pass through legally.

The investigation identified one intersection where the green and yellow lights were only up for a combined 20 seconds.

“As a matter of public policy, this system is clearly broken. I am exercising the moral authority to prevent state resources being used to assist a shady process that victimizes taxpayers,” Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza announced in a press release.

The final straw, the press release indicated, was a federal investigation into red light contractor SafeSpeed.

SPACEX Launch: Starlink Mission

SpaceX is targeting Monday, January 6 at 9:19 p.m. EST, or 2:19 UTC on January 7, for its third launch of Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

A backup launch opportunity is available on Tuesday, January 7 at 8:57 p.m. EST, or 1:57 UTC on January 8.

Falcon 9’s first stage supported a Starlink mission in May 2019, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018.

Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Approximately 45 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX’s fairing recovery vessel, “Ms. Tree,” will attempt to recover a payload fairing half.

Hairstylist named Kevin Bacon killed, eaten by Grindr date from hell: cops

 Mark LatunskiShiawassee County Sheriff's Office
Mark LatunskiShiawassee County Sheriff’s Office

Bacon, a 25-year-old hairstylist, met up with suspected killer Mark Latunski on Christmas Eve after they spoke on the app, according to Michigan Live.

Inside the house, police found Bacon’s body hanging from the rafters with rope tied around his ankles, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Latunski told cops he killed Bacon by stabbing him in the back and slitting his throat, according to the report.

He also told cops he cut off Bacon’s testicles and ate them during the murder, WILX reported.

Kentucky family court judge, accused of threesome in courthouse, other ethical violations, suspended: officials

Judge Dawn Gentry, of the Kenton County Family Court, faces nine misconduct-related charges stemming from an anonymous complaint in November.
Judge Dawn Gentry, of the Kenton County Family Court, faces nine misconduct-related charges stemming from an anonymous complaint in November. (Facebook)

Some of the allegations leveled against Gentry included having sexual relationships with multiple employees while in the office and other inappropriate workplace behavior.

“While serving as Family Court Judge for Kenton County—in particular, since being elected to that position in November 2018—you have engaged in a pattern of conduct that constitutes misconduct in office and violates the Code of Judicial Conduct,” the commission first said in a statement in November.

One of the lewder charges leveled against the judge included the “inappropriate hiring” of Stephen Penrose, a man she was said to have been engaged in a sexual relationship with.

Man accused of killing fiancée days after proposing on New Year’s Eve

Moments before midnight on New Year’s Eve, Kendrick Akins, 39, proposed to Dominic Jefferson, his girlfriend of three months and a mother of three children.

Jefferson’s mother, Tina Hunter, watched as the proposal was streamed live on Facebook.

“I thought she had finally found the man of her dreams,” she said. “It turned out it wasn’t the man of her dreams. It was the nightmare of her life.”

Wisconsin boy dies while on Make-A-Wish trip to Mall of America

11-year-old Mikey Choroszy, who lost his battle with brain cancer Jan. 1 while on a Make-A-Wish trip in Minnesota.
11-year-old Mikey Choroszy, who lost his battle with brain cancer Jan. 1 while on a Make-A-Wish trip in Minnesota.

The sixth grader and his family spent New Year’s Eve at Mall of America checking out the numerous shops, the Lego Store and the ferris wheel, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

His brother reportedly drove through a snowstorm in South Dakota to be with him.

During a meal at Perkins restaurant that evening, however, Mikey became unresponsive. His family rushed him to a Minneapolis hospital where he later died.

“The biggest thing was watching him die, that was the worst,” mother Tammy Wildish told WTMJ. “Going from walking to not walking at all to the point where we had to pick him up and move him.”

Unique sex-abuse suit filed against Boy Scouts in US capital

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A potentially ground-breaking lawsuit is being filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., against the Boy Scouts of America.

It seeks to establish Washington as a venue for men across the U.S. to sue the Scouts for allegedly failing to protect them from long-ago sexual abuse by scout leaders.

The eight plaintiffs live in states where statute of limitations laws would prevent them from suing the BSA based on claims of long-ago abuse.

U.S. companies brought back more than $1 trillion since 2017 tax reform

President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump.Steve Helber / AP

According to the third quarter account deficit report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), repatriation numbers topped $1.1 billion during the July-to-September period to $124.1 billion.

Investment banks and think tanks have estimated that U.S. corporations held $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion in offshore cash at the time the law was enacted, Bloomberg News reports.

Before the TCJA, the corporate tax was 35 percent. Companies were incentivized to keep profits overseas to avoid the tax.

The new law established a one-time 15.5 percent tax rate on corporate cash and 8 percent on corporate non-cash or illiquid assets.

Fifteen years ago, in 2005, the account deficit peaked to 6.3 percent, roughly triple what it is today.

Rasmussen Poll: 5-in-8 Swing Voters Want to End Chain Migration to U.S.

CNN

Across racial lines, the majority of white Americans, black Americans, and Hispanics said they oppose chain migration.

Specifically, more than 6-in-10 white voters, 53 percent of black Americans, and nearly 6-in-10 Hispanic voters said they do not support allowing newly naturalized citizens to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S.

Though all 2020 Democrat candidates running for president have vowed to keep chain migration — calling President Trump’s proposal to end the practice “racist” — the Rasmussen poll finds that likely Democrat voters are evenly split on the issue, with about 46 percent opposing and 46 percent supporting chain migration.

About 7-in-10 of all legal immigrants to the U.S. arrive as chain migrants, with every two new immigrants bringing on average seven foreign relatives with them.

Only one in 15 legal immigrants admitted to the U.S. come to the country based on skills and employment purposes.

Politics:

Klobuchar knocks Biden over Iraq War vote

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota speaks with members of the College Convention, in Manchester, NH on Jan. 7, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota speaks with members of the College Convention, in Manchester, NH on Jan. 7, 2020.

Asked about Wednesday’s upcoming briefing, when the administration is expected to provide members of Congress with evidence justifying the drone strike in Iraq that took out Soleimani, Klobuchar — without prompting — brought up her opposition to the Iraq War.

“I think too many times people can come to quick conclusions until you see that evidence.

Certainly I was against the Iraq War, and actually it was a major issue in my campaign the first time I ran for the Senate because the congressman on the other side of me — he supported it. I think some people weren’t looking at evidence. I think it’s important to look at evidence,” she said.

While not mentioning Biden by name, it appeared Klobuchar was targeting the former vice president.

‘Throttling up’: Trump campaign buys $10M Super Bowl ad

Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg also announced he will purchase a $10 million spot ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

The game will be played the Sunday before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and represents an opportunity for candidates to make their pitch before a nationwide audience.

The Super Bowl was watched by more than 90 million people in 2019.

Trump’s team announced that the spots will run early in the game when viewership is expected to be at its highest.

The Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection team reported raising $436 million in figures released last week.

Treason? Ilhan Omar Gives Iran Military Advice, Suggests It Could Target Trump Hotels

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Omar’s warning that Trump’s “business interests should not be driving military decisions” makes no sense, because clearly the fact that Trump owns hotels that Iran could target didn’t stop him from going after Qasem Soleimani.

But as far as Omar and her ideological allies are concerned, it doesn’t matter how much they have to twist their logic into pretzels to get Trump, as long as they make the president look bad.

That imperative has now driven Omar even to give a military suggestion to a hostile foreign power.

The mullahs and their henchmen haven’t said anything about targeting Trump hotels, so here is a United States congresswoman to give them a marvelous new idea about how they could murder Americans and others, and further menace the United States.

Justice Department reverses itself on Michael Flynn, asking for up to six months in prison

The Justice Department asked a federal judge to sentence Michael Flynn to up to six months in prison on Tuesday in a reversal of its previous request that the former national security adviser get no time.

The DOJ said Flynn no longer deserved any credit for providing substantial assistance in its investigations or for accepting responsibility for his false statements to the FBI about discussions he had with Russia’s ambassador and his work for Turkey.

Prosecutors also said Flynn’s behavior since his sentencing hearing in 2018, which was delayed until later this month, led prosecutors to believe “through representations by the defendant’s counsel, that the defendant has retreated from his acceptance of responsibility in this case regarding his lies to the FBI.”

Prosecutors pressed the judge to ask Flynn “whether he maintains those apparent statements of innocence or whether he disavows them and fully accepts responsibility for his criminal conduct.”

‘We Have the Votes’: McConnell Announces Impeachment Trial Rules Without Deal With Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that “we have the votes” to pass an ongoing resolution to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without requiring witness testimony.

“We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution essentially just saying [something] very similar to the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial which sets up as you may recall what could best be described maybe as a Phase One,” McConnell said, The Hill reported.

This first resolution on rules echoes the resolution passed at the start of the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.

AOC and Omar Tweets slamming Trump over Iran expose an illiteracy on foreign policy • Varney & Co.

Commentary/Opinion: Independent Women’s Voice President Tammy Bruce joins Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network to react to recent Tweets from Reps. AOC and Omar slamming the president over Iran threats.

American Dystopia: San Francisco in decline

Commentary/Opinion: ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ takes a close look at what the country’s leadership class has done to one of America’s greatest cities: San Francisco.

House Intel Republicans investigating inspector general handling of whistleblower complaint

Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., first told investigative reporter Sara Carter earlier this week that the panel has an “active investigation” into Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

A source familiar with the committee’s investigation on Tuesday went into further detail, telling Fox News that Republicans are looking at the ICIG’s handling of the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry into President Trump; the veracity of his testimony about the whistleblower complaint; and the explanations he offered for changes made to the ICIG’s guidance on accepting second-hand information.

Republicans for weeks have complained that the whistleblower made contact with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s, D-Calif., staff in advance — though Schiff has downplayed the nature of that contact.

Key Republican senators are sticking with McConnell on an impeachment trial plan — for now

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to journalists while walking to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2019.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to journalists while walking to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2019.
The Washington Post via Getty Image

Republican senators that Democrats hoped would join them in their push to include witness testimony in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial have signaled they have no plans to defect from their party on the issue.

Romney is one who seemed a candidate for such a defection, as were Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME).

Collins and Murkowski made it clear Monday they support McConnell’s vision for how to proceed with the trial: that it mirror the trial of President Bill Clinton.

“The Senate has a unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions such as witnesses — in the middle of the trial,” McConnell said Monday.

“That was good enough for President Clinton, so it ought to be good enough for President Trump.”

Chelsea Clinton Rakes In $9 Million From Corporate Boards

Given the column today on Hunter Biden, another story stood out in the morning the mix.

Barron’s is reporting that Chelsea Clinton raked in $9 million in compensation since 2011 from various corporations by serving on corporate boards.

While Chelsea Clinton has not had the record of personal wreckage of Hunter Biden, one could legitimately ask why corporations like IAC/InterActiveCorp (with brands like Tinder, Angie’s List, and Home Adviser) are so eager to have her on the board other than her connection to her still powerful parents.

Clinton was widely panned for her stint at NBC news as a “special correspondent,” a position that journalists derided as a special deal by NBC for her parents.

Another congressional retirement announced; 2,455 major party candidates have filed for 2020 races

In this July 17, 2018, file photo, House Veterans Affairs Chair Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., speaks during a subcommittee hearing about the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act on Capitol Hill in Washington. Roe on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 announced that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress.
In this July 17, 2018, file photo, House Veterans Affairs Chair Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., speaks during a subcommittee hearing about the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act on Capitol Hill in Washington. Roe on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 announced that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress. Jacquelyn Martin /AP

To date, four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 35 representatives (26 Republicans and nine Democrats) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress – 37 Republicans and 18 Democrats – did not seek re-election.

As of Jan. 6, 2,455 major party candidates have filed to run for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.

So far, 327 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, 279 – 147 Democrats and 132 Republicans – are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

Fitton: Judicial Watch Finds 2.5 Million ‘Extra’ Registrants on Voting Rolls – Warns 5 States to Clean Up or Face Federal Lawsuit

AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth

We have sent notice-of-violation letters to 19 large counties in five states that we intend to sue unless they take steps to comply with the law and remove ineligible voter registrations within 90 days.

Section 8 of the act requires jurisdictions to take reasonable efforts to remove ineligible registrations from their rolls.

Despite our successful litigation to bring counties and states into compliance with the NVRA, voter registration lists across the country remain significantly out of date.

According to our analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this year, 378 counties nationwide have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote, i.e., counties where registration rates exceed 100%.

World News:

British military on standby to deploy to Gulf ‘within 48 hours

Britain currently has 400 troops in Iraq, a number that could rise if tensions escalate further over the Iran crisis.
Britain currently has 400 troops in Iraq, a number that could rise if tensions escalate further over the Iran crisis. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

British warships, helicopters and several hundred military personnel have been put on standby of 48 hours or less for deployment in or near Iraq, to respond if there is a further military escalation of the Iran crisis.

The backup forces – including a handful of twin-engine Chinook helicopters – could be used to evacuate British troops if the security situation in Iraq dramatically worsens in the aftermath of the US assassination of Gen Qassem Suleimani.

But the disclosure of the numbers involved is also designed to put Tehran on notice, with the additional details emerging shortly after Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, told MPs that the UK would respond if Britons were killed by Iran or any of its proxies.

Iraq’s outgoing prime minister says US troops must leave to avoid crisis

In a photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, center, heads a cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office, in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday. Abdul-Mahdi called for American troops to leave the country amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
In a photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, center, heads a cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office, in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday. Abdul-Mahdi called for American troops to leave the country amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
(Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office, via AP)

“We have no exit but this, otherwise we are speeding toward confrontation,” said Abdul-Mahdi said in a prerecorded televised speech following a weekly cabinet meeting.

On Sunday, Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution to expel U.S. forces from the country. The resolution comes nearly five years after the government requested U.S. troops be deployed to Iraq after the Islamic State overtook vast swaths of the country.

The terror group has since been defeated, Abdul-Mahdi said, adding the mission has now evolved into a U.S.-Iran proxy war.

“Iraq did its part to fight in the war, and I see that any harm to Iraq will be harmful to all regional states and the whole world,” the prime minister said.

Mexico reports over 61,000 people missing, discovery of 873 burial pits amid raging drug war

Citizens have participated in demonstrations to demand justice for those missing. (REUTERS/Henry Romero)

Karla Quintana, head of the National Registry of Missing or Missing Persons (RNPED), revised the number of missing to 61,637 people, a figure far surpassing a previous estimate of 40,000 from June.

While the statistics date back as far as the 1960s, more than 97.4 percent of the total have disappeared since 2006, when the country first waged its drug war against the cartels.

Women represent 25.7 percent of the missing, Quintana said.

The revised numbers come as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has faced criticism for his policy of using “hugs, not bullets” when fighting drug cartels amid a skyrocketing murder rate during his first year in office.

In November, new figures from Mexico’s Secretary General of National Public Safety showed that the country’s homicide was on pace to reach its highest overall annual total since the government started tracking in 1997.

The data showed that there had been 29,414 homicides in 2019 — that’s nearly 100 people killed each day.

Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which is mobilizing U.S. resources in response to Australia’s requests for international firefighting aid, said a new batch of 20 veteran firefighters based in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles departed on Monday for the region.

Federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management already have provided a few dozen people, most of them with experience managing fires, a forest service spokesperson said Saturday.

The Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service said that over 100 fire personnel from the U.S. have been working with counterparts in Australia as they struggle to combat the devasting blazes.

Iran threatens U.S. with war amid escalating tensions – TV7 Israel News 07.01.20

Today’s top stories 07 01.20;
1) Following the American targeted assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani; President Donald Trump emphasized that under his leadership U.S. policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American or Washington’s allies.

2) Amid heightened regional tensions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares that Israel stands completely alongside the United States in its “just struggle for security, peace and self-defense.”

3) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed this morning that Iranian retaliation against the United States will be performed “in a place and at a time when it will hurt most.”

Germany, UK, others begin moving troops out of Baghdad, Iraq amid tensions following death of Soleimani

The decisions follow a call from Iraqi lawmakers to expel foreign troops from the country and a pause in the U.S.-led coalition’s training of Iraqi forces.

Meanwhile, there are over 100,000 Iranian-backed militia fighters in Iraq. Their leaders have called for “revenge” for Soleimani’s death.

The U.S., however, has asserted that Soleimani was plotting to kill American diplomats and soldiers in significant numbers.

The 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq were sent there more than four years ago to aid in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

President Trump on Sunday threatened to slap Iraq with heavy sanctions if U.S. troops were ousted from their posts.

Putin visits Assad in Syria amid heightened tensions between US and key Syrian ally Iran

Vladimir Putin visited the headquarters of Russian forces in Syria on Tuesday as he listened to military briefings alongside the country's ruler, Bashar al-Assad
Vladimir Putin visited the headquarters of Russian forces in Syria on Tuesday as he listened to military briefings alongside the country’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian president landed on a plane in the capital Damascus before being driven to the headquarters of Kremlin forces in the country.

While there, he sat and listened to military briefings alongside Assad before praising efforts to ‘restore Syrian statehood and territorial integrity’.

Putin’s visit, his first since 2017, comes amid fears of a war between the US and Iran – a key ally of both Russia and Syria – over the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike last week.

Puerto Rico hit by 6.4-magnitude earthquake

 Tuesday's earthquake was the strongest to hit the island this week.
Tuesday’s earthquake was the strongest to hit the island this week. REUTERS

This most recent quake, which began early on Tuesday morning, was the strongest in a series of quakes that have damaged Puerto Rico this week.

Authorities say the island’s power plants suffered some damage and power was shut off as a protective measure.

Strong shaking was reported, causing damage to buildings and homes.

A 73-year-old man in the southern city of Ponce was the only confirmed death.

Mayor Mayita Melendez said the man died when a wall fell on him in his home, Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia reported.

Australian officials charged nearly 200 with fire offenses as deadly wildfires rage

Firefighters manage a controlled burn to help contain a larger fire near Falls Creek, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.
Firefighters manage a controlled burn to help contain a larger fire near Falls Creek, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season.

So far, the blazes have killed 25 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area twice the size of the state of Maryland.

In the New South Wales state, 130 fires were still burning on Tuesday, around 50 of which were uncontrolled.

Other states in Australia have also reported arrests in the past months for fire-related offenses.

In Queensland, where the fires were the worst in November, 101 people have been arrested for setting blazes in the bush, including 32 adults and 69 juveniles, according to data reviewed by The Australian.

Commentary/Opinion:

Reporter Reacts To Ricky Gervais Trolling Hollywood

Language Warning.
Daily Caller’s entertainment chief David Hookstead caught Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globes monologue live, but the speech was so great he had to re-watch it another time.

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