U.S. and World Headlines
US Moves To Shield Saudi Crown Prince In Journalist Killing
The Biden administration declared Thursday that Saudi Arabia's crown prince should be considered immune from a lawsuit over his role in the killing of a U.S.-based journalist, a turnaround from Joe Biden's passionate campaign trail denunciations of Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal slaying.
The administration said the senior position of the crown prince, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and recently named prime minister as well, should shield him against a suit brought by the fiancée of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and by the rights group Khashoggi founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now.
The request is non-binding and a judge will ultimately decide whether to grant immunity. But it is bound to anger human rights activists and many U.S. lawmakers, coming as Saudi Arabia has stepped up imprisonment and other retaliation against peaceful critics at home and abroad and has cut oil production, a move seen as undercutting efforts by the U.S. and its allies to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine.Read More
Trump Vs. DeSantis: How The Two GOP Heavyweights Match Up
Two years out from the next presidential election, the leading contenders on the Republican side are already clear.
At this early stage, it’s a two-horse race between former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump launched his 2024 campaign at Mar-A-Lago on Tuesday. He is aiming to avenge his 2020 defeat and become the first president since Grover Cleveland to serve non-consecutive terms.
DeSantis won a resounding victory in his re-election battle on Election Day, crushing his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by about 20 points. The result sent a powerful signal about his likely electability in 2024.
There is one obvious difference between the two. DeSantis has not yet said he will seek the presidency.
If he does, he would plainly be Trump’s most serious rival.
How do Trump and DeSantis match up in key areas?Read More
Traces Of Explosives Found At Nord Stream Pipelines, Confirming 'Gross Sabotage,' Sweden Says
Investigators found traces of explosives at the site of the damaged Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic sea, confirming that the pipelines had been subject to “gross sabotage,” the Swedish Security Service said Friday.
In a statement, Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said that investigators had seized a number of “foreign objects” at the site of the pipeline, which showed traces of explosive residue after analysis.
The statement did not expand on how the explosives might have got there and said an investigation was ongoing.
In September, European officials were quick to blame Russia for the sabotage, who they accused of starting an energy war with Europe to damage international support for Ukraine.Read More
Nancy Pelosi Stands Down As Leader Of US House Democrats
Nancy Pelosi, who has led Democrats in the US House of Representatives for almost two decades, has announced she is standing down from the role.
The 82-year-old is the most powerful Democrat in Congress and the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.
She will continue to represent her California district in the lower chamber of Congress.
It comes as Republicans are projected to take back control of the House following the midterm elections.
Republican Kevin McCarthy has won the party's nomination to be speaker in the new Congress and is likely to succeed Mrs Pelosi.
"I never would have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House speaker," Mrs Pelosi said in a statement in the chamber on Thursday.
"I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus," she said.
Mrs Pelosi will serve as speaker until January when a new Congress takes over, and will remain in the seat she first took up in 1987 until January 2025.Read More
Inside Twitter As ‘Mass Exodus’ Of Staffers Throws Platform’s Future Into Uncertainty
Death is in the air on Twitter.
On the platform Thursday evening, where #RIPTwitter was the top trend worldwide, users wrote what they feared might be their last posts, offering apprehensive goodbyes and listing the other (more stable) social media platforms where they can still be found.
They were reacting to the dire news emanating from inside Twitter. Scores of remaining employees at the social media company on Thursday appeared to reject owner Elon Musk’s ultimatum to work “extremely hardcore,” throwing the communications platform into utter disarray and raising serious questions about how much longer it will survive.
Inside the company’s Slack, a mass resignation effectively occurred after Musk’s 5pm deadline for employees to arrive at a decision passed. Hundreds of staffers appear to have called it quits, accepting Musk’s offer to exit in exchange for three months of severance.Read More
UW Health Warns Of Dangerous Respiratory Illness In Wisconsin, Cautions Hunters Heading Outside
UW Health is warning that as hunters head out to the woods this weekend, there’s a serious respiratory illness they should be careful of.
According to UW Health, blastomycosis is a dangerous respiratory virus that can develop when a person breathes in toxic airborne spores, called Blastomyces dermatitidis. The toxic fungus is especially prevalent in northern counties of Wisconsin.
The fungus has been detected in the Great Lakes states and the Mississippi and Ohio River valley areas and can infect both humans and animals, including dogs.
UW Health Kids pediatric infectious disease physician Dr. Bruce Klein said Wisconsin sees some of the highest rates of the virus in the U.S.
“Wisconsin sees among the highest rates of blastomycosis in the United States,” Dr. Klein said. “The fungus grows in damp acidic soils, particularly along river and stream banks, among leaves, pine needles and decaying wood.”Read More
Record $52M Going To Public School Libraries Next Year
Wisconsin's school libraries will receive a record $52 million next year from funding source first created 174 years ago.
When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the framers of the state Constitution established what is now known as the Common School Fund and required proceeds to be distributed to public schools. The first investments in the fund came from sales of lands granted to the state by the federal government. Since then, the fund has distributed nearly $160 million to public schools.
On Thursday, outgoing Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski announced the largest annual distribution from the fund on record, with $52 million heading to school libraries next year.
"This is nearly a 30 percent increase from last year's distribution," Godlewski said. "And it's important to note that these monies are often the sole source of funding for public school libraries and our media centers, helping to buy books and technology."Read More
Waukesha Parade Judge Jennifer Dorow Mulls Wisconsin Supreme Court Run
Wisconsin Judge Jennifer Dorow drew fan mail and gifts from people who admired her handling of the often disruptive actions of a man on trial for killing six people by driving through a Christmas parade.
Now she’s the popular choice of some Republicans to run next year in hopes of sealing a conservative majority on a Wisconsin Supreme Court that has delivered critical victories for the GOP over the past decade. Liberals are prioritizing the race as a way to flip control of the court heading into the 2024 presidential election.
There are already two liberal candidates and a conservative former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice running. A Feb. 21 primary will narrow the field to two finalists for the April 4 election.Read More
Gang Member Sentenced To 20 Years’ Imprisonment For Sex Trafficking
Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on November 17, 2022, Jovante L. Champion (age: 31) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after being convicted at trial of four felony crimes: sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; interstate transportation for prostitution; sex trafficking of a child and by force, fraud, or coercion; and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The evidence at trial proved that Champion was a member of a Milwaukee gang known as “Everything Business,” an offshoot of a violent Chicago-based street gang known as the Black P. Stone Nation. Champion used his position within the gang and false promises of love and financial security to recruit two victims, one when she was 20, and the other after she had just turned 16. Thereafter, Champion used physical force, complex layers of coercion, his possession of a firearm, and the backing of his gang to sell his victims for commercial sex in Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Numerous exhibits introduced at trial included Champion’s own words detailing his trafficking crimes. These exhibits included, among other things, text messages and Facebook posts and messages.
At sentencing, United States District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller emphasized the enduring impact of the trauma Champion’s victims experienced, both at the time of the trafficking in 2019, as well as when the victims re-lived those events during trial. Judge Stadtmueller described sex trafficking as a “horrible, pernicious activit[y],” often committed against the most vulnerable in our community, particularly minors. He also commended the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the local agencies in Wisconsin and Texas, that worked collaboratively to hold Champion accountable.Read More
Packers Shut Out In 4th Quarter, Fall To Titans 27-17 On TNF
Ryan Tannehill threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns to outduel Aaron Rodgers as the Tennessee Titans beat the Green Bay Packers 27-17 on Thursday night.
Tannehill looked much sharper in his second game back after missing two games with an injured right ankle. He went 22 of 27 and had one interception as the Titans (7-3) won for the seventh time in eight games.
The Titans improved to 10-2 when playing on short rest under coach Mike Vrabel. Green Bay (4-7) has lost six of seven.
Rodgers went 24 of 39 for 227 yards with two touchdown passes to rookie Christian Watson, a 14-yarder to close the first quarter and an 8-yarder in the third quarter. That followed Watson’s three-touchdown performance in a 31-28 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Watson became the first Packers rookie since Max McGee in 1954 to have multiple touchdown catches in consecutive games.
The Packers limited Tennessee’s Derrick Henry to 87 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries — a 3.1-yard average — but the Titans still posted season highs in points and yards (408) by throwing the ball better than usual.Read More