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|Full coverage: Trump impeachment hearings — Day 7
The Intelligence Committee formally presented its findings to the Judiciary Committee on Monday, bringing the House one step closer to a formal vote to impeach President Trump.
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2019 8:16 AM
|Boston's trauma to be dissected as marathon bomber appeals death sentence
This city's deepest wound - the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured hundreds more - will be re-examined Thursday when lawyers for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seek to have his death sentence lifted because the jury pool was too traumatized to render a fair verdict. The then-19-year old Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan sparked five days of panic in Boston that began April 15, 2013, when they detonated a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs at the race's packed finish line. The pair eluded capture for days, punctuated by a gunbattle with police in Watertown that killed Tamerlan and led to a daylong lockdown of Boston and most of its suburbs while heavily armed officers and troops conducted a house-to-house search for Dzhokhar.
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2019 6:21 AM
|‘Bomb cyclone’ triggers 75ft wave off California coast
A 75ft wave was recorded off the Californian coast after a ‘bomb cyclone’ pounded the West Coast during Thanksgiving week.Scientists from the University of California said it was the tallest wave they had documented in the last 15 years.
POSTED DECEMBER 08, 2019 5:15 PM
|Remember When Russian Diesel Submarines Chased Down A British Nuclear Sub?
Depends if it actually happened.
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2019 7:05 AM
|The 25 Best Tower Defense Games
POSTED DECEMBER 08, 2019 9:00 AM
|‘No More Survivors Expected’ Among Dozens of Tourists Caught in New Zealand Volcano
At least five people have died and more than 20 are still unaccounted for after the White Island/Whakaari volcano off the coast of New Zealand erupted without warning Monday as tourists hiked around the rim and walked inside the crater. Authorities say an estimated 30 to 38 of those on the island when the volcano erupted were on an adventure excursion from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was docked on North Island about 30 miles away. In a statement just after midnight local time, police officials said they feared the worst for those still on the island.“The Police Eagle helicopter, rescue helicopter, and NZDF aircraft have undertaken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption,” according to a statement at 12:12 a.m.“No signs of life have been seen at any point. Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation,” it reads.“Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.”Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, confirmed that tourists from the Ovation of the Seas ship were involved. He said the names and nationalities of those who were on the volcano for the cruise line’s “epic adventure excursion” have been handed to New Zealand police. Authorities said they believe it may be some time before the toxic ash is cool enough to set foot on the volcano for what is likely to be a recovery mission.About 10 minutes before the volcano erupted at 2:11 p.m. local time, a crater-rim webcam owned by the New Zealand Geological Hazards Agency GeoNet captured an image of a group of tourists approaching the crater. The next image shows only crumpled hardware after the camera was damaged in the blast.John Tims, New Zealand National Operation Commander, told a news conference Monday that toxic gases, burning ash, and lava have made conditions unsafe for rescue crews to search for survivors on the island. The dead were among 23 people immediately evacuated after the eruption. All those rescued had burn injuries. Officials said the five who died were among those evacuated.Officials in Canberra told the Agence-France Press news agency they believed a “considerable number” of those involved in the disaster are Australian.Authorities say around 50 people were on the tiny 1.2 mile-square-mile island at the time it erupted without warning. Several tourists posted photos of the eruption on social media as they watched in horror as the volcano erupted, sending a plume of hot ash some two miles into the sky. Michael Schade, an engineering manager from San Francisco, posted footage of the eruption from an excursion vessel he and several others were on as it sped away. “This is so hard to believe,” Schade wrote. “Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before.” The active volcano encompasses all of the tiny privately owned island about 30 miles from New Zealand’s North Island. It has been in a constant state of volcanic activity for more than 150,000 years. The last major eruption was in 2001, though the volcano has spewed spouts of dangerous steam from its vents in recent years. Despite the dangerous volcanic state, more than 10,000 adventure tourists visit the island each year, paying landing license to the island’s owners. The island also hosts a mobile research station but no residential accommodation, and tourists are warned of the potential for eruption and made to sign waivers regarding the potential danger they face on the live volcano, according to several websites offering volcano tours. “White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years,” Professor Emeritus Ray Cas, from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in Melbourne, Australia, told The Wall Street Journal. “Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter.”New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was heading to Whakatāne in the Bay of Plenty, which is the closest safe area to the disaster zone. She told reporters the situation was still “significant and evolving.” “We know that there were a number of tourists on or around the island at the time, both New Zealanders and visitors from overseas,” she said. “I know there will be a huge amount of concern and anxiety for those who had loved ones on or around the island at the time. I can assure them that police are doing everything they can.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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 DECEMBER 09, 2019 6:01 AM
|Katie Hill: It's Not Over After All
I OVERCAME THE DESPERATION I FELT AFTER STEPPING DOWN FROM CONGRESS, AND I'M STILL IN THE FIGHT.On Nov. 6, 2018, I was elected to Congress; at 31, I was one of the youngest women ever elected to the House of Representatives. One year later, I was sitting on a train to New York to meet with my lawyers about suing The Daily Mail for cyber exploitation -- and I was no longer a member of Congress.A few days earlier, on Oct. 31, 2019, I stepped up to the microphone to deliver my final speech on the house floor. It was the first time I had spoken publicly since my relationship with a campaign staffer was exposed, since naked photos of me -- taken without my knowledge and distributed without my consent -- had been posted online, since wild accusations from my estranged husband about a supposed affair with a congressional staffer (which I have repeatedly denied), since I had resigned my hard-fought seat in Congress. I had barely gotten used to giving such speeches. Over the past year I had awkwardly learned, with many fumbles, how to perform the ritual that so many had done before me: formally ask the speaker of the House for recognition, walk to the lectern and smoothly position it to the correct height, adjust the microphone so it isn't blocking your face and look at the clock so the C-Span cameras can see you. Talk slowly and fluidly. Breathe; the pauses you take feel much longer than they are.That day, oddly, I didn't get nervous the way I normally did. I got every part of the routine right. I felt calm and strong as I began to speak, because I had to be. I needed to say something to the countless people who had put their faith in me. I needed to say something to the girls and young women who looked up to me, and also to those who didn't even know my name. I needed to make sure that my horrific experience did not frighten and discourage other women who will dare to take risks, dare to step into this light, dare to be powerful.Many people have nightmares in which they're naked in public, trapped and trying to escape. In the days leading up to my resignation, my life was just like everyone's worst nightmare. Millions of people had seen pictures of me naked. Hundreds of journalists, commentators, politicians and public figures had written or spoken about my "downfall," the "choices" I made, the lessons young people should take from what happened to me, the impact it would have on politics moving forward, the responsibility I bore for all of it.I read those articles with the acute sense that writers and readers alike must think I am already dead. I'm not, though sometimes I've wished to be. More than half of the victims of cyber exploitation (also known as revenge porn) contemplate suicide in the aftermath. Many have attempted, and some tragically have succeeded.After the images came out, as I lay curled up in my bed with my mind in the darkest places it's ever been, countless texts and voice mails came from donors, friends, volunteers and voters sending love. But they couldn't drown out the horrible messages and calls from people who found my phone number on the internet.Though staff members at my (now former) offices got tremendous support, they were also inundated with lewd and threatening messages. When a letter filled with suspicious powder arrived at one of my offices, staffers had to be evacuated. My hometown was filled with people who were worried about me, cared about me and wanted to see me, and yet my mom was followed by people in dark trucks with cameras, my sister's business was trolled and my dad drove around our hometown pulling down huge posters of his baby girl in a Nazi uniform with the text "WifenSwappenSS."Sitting on that train to New York a few days after my resignation had taken effect, reflecting on what my life had become, I realized that it was almost one year to the minute from when I received a voice mail from my predecessor, Steve Knight, to concede -- when I found out I was going to be a congresswoman.I was in the campaign headquarters the morning he called. The team had been working around the clock for months or longer -- some people had been with the campaign for over a year -- as we clawed our way to victory in a race that no one thought we could win. When I announced my candidacy, I was 29 years old, working at a homeless services nonprofit organization and had been driven to run for office because of the results of the 2016 presidential election. I was a complete unknown, a young bisexual woman with no political background or experience, no wealth, no Ivy League degree, trying to flip a district that had been held by Republicans for over two decades.When I finished listening to the voice mail from my opponent, I turned around and told my team. Countless people across the country have witnessed that moment -- Vice captured it as part of a documentary series called "She's Running." Most people on my team cried, but I didn't. I couldn't really tell you how I felt then. Shock isn't quite right -- I had felt like we'd win for a long time -- though it certainly felt surreal.I was aware that my life was about to change substantially, but it had already changed so much that I felt like I was just shifting gears. I was excited. I felt ready for it. I knew I was a leader, that I represented my community, that I reflected the change that the country wanted and needed. I knew that I could be a voice for young people and women and people who had been left out for far too long. That I had to be.Once I got to Washington, I was one of two people elected to represent the freshman class at the leadership table, and once I started sitting in meetings multiple times each week with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other most powerful Democrats in the House, I knew I belonged there, too. I didn't feel awkward or unsure. I was completely confident. I felt like my district loved me (and the polling showed it) and I knew I was making a difference to so many people even just by showing them they could have a voice at the highest levels of power.The job was hard -- I made some missteps, there were plenty of things I could have done better, and I had so much to learn. But I was figuring it out fast. I was good at this. My future in Congress was limitless, and that mattered not only to me but to the people who believed in me.My home life was another story. That day on the train to New York was also five months to the day from when I moved out of my house and told my husband, who I had been with since I was 16 years old, that I wanted a divorce. It wasn't the first time I had tried to leave; the last time was less than a month before the election, and when I tried, he made it clear to me that if I left, he would ruin me. I knew he could, so I went back to him and finished the campaign. But, after five months on the job and with the toxicity of our relationship growing worse, I knew I had to finally leave once and for all.In June, my dad came with me to my house. I got my things, moved in with my mom, and didn't look back. The fear that my husband would ruin me hung over me every day. I knew the risk when I left, but I thought I didn't have a choice, and despite the threat, I felt better than I had in years.The day that my communications director ran into my office and showed me the nudes and private text messages that had been published on a right-wing website called Red State, everything came crashing down. I believe my husband is the source of the images. (He has reportedly denied this; his father said in an interview that his son believed he had been hacked. My husband and his lawyer did not respond to requests from the Times for comment.) At first, I was in denial. I couldn't accept that the future I had imagined as a leader in Congress -- the job I loved and knew I was making a difference by being in -- was over.I was thinking about all of this as I went to see my lawyers. Suddenly, the train stopped. We sat there for a long time, wondering what had happened. Then someone announced that a person had jumped in front of the train, and died. My thoughts shifted to the person on the tracks while we waited for the police to investigate and for the coroner to arrive. I knew the despair that can lead someone to that place all too well. I had been there just a week before.People have speculated that Speaker Pelosi or the party leadership asked me to resign because of the photos and the allegations about me. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, one of the most difficult moments during my resignation process was my phone call to the Speaker, a woman I admire more than anyone and who I had come to love. She told me I didn't have to do this, that the country needed me and that she wished I hadn't made this decision, but she respected me and what I felt I needed to do. I told her what I told everyone else when I announced my resignation: that it was the right thing to do.I knew it was the best decision for me, my family, my staff, my colleagues, my community. But that didn't make it any easier, and in the days that followed, I was overwhelmed by everything -- by how many people had seen my naked body, by the comments, the articles, the millions of opinions, the texts, the calls. I would start shaking, crying, throwing up. It was hard to talk to my family because I knew they were going through so much, too. I didn't want to talk to my friends because I was humiliated and didn't want to hear more pity and didn't know what to say. Many of my staff members had been with me for years, and we were, for better or worse, very close; now I feared that they all hated me.I didn't leave my apartment. I felt so alone and didn't know what to do.It was two days after I announced my resignation. I don't even know how I spent the day. I was probably reading articles about myself that I shouldn't have been reading, ignoring more text messages and calls, falling in and out of restless sleep. But when it got dark I drew a bath, lit candles and brought over a bottle of wine.I laid there and thought about what I'd lost. The people on my team and in my life who had been hurt and had done nothing wrong. Everyone I'd let down, everyone who worked for me, who campaigned for me, who believed in me. The future I thought was in store for me that was instantly and irrevocably gone. My own mistakes had led me there, but there were other things at play. And those pictures -- no one should have ever seen them.How could I ever face anyone again knowing what they'd seen? Knowing what they knew?The bath water had gone cold. The wine bottle was empty. Suddenly and with total clarity, I just wanted it all to be over. I got up and looked for the box cutter. I couldn't find it. A part of my brain was saying: "Stop it, this is stupid. You're not going to do it. Go drain the bathtub and get yourself together." But I felt like I was out of my body, like it was moving without me, and I got the paring knife and got back into the cold bath.I stared at the veins in my wrists. They were so thin. They were green in the candlelight. I started tracing them with the edge of the knife, lightly at first, then pushing harder and harder. The knife was duller than I thought. It surprised me how hard I had to push simply to scratch the surface. Fine red lines started to appear, and I knew that if I pushed just a tiny bit harder I would start to bleed. I thought about the people I had already let down so much. What would this do to my parents? To my brother and sister?And then I thought about my supporters. I thought about the high school students who had told me how I inspired them. I thought about the Girl Scouts whose troops I'd visited who told me they wanted to grow up to be like me, and how their parents would explain this to them, and what it would do to them. And I realized I couldn't do it. I ran the campaign knowing it was bigger than me and what I wanted, and it still is. I don't get to quit. I have to keep going forward, and be part of the fight to create the change that those young girls are counting on.The next day, I wrote my final speech. My roommate, Lauren Underwood, the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress and my best friend in Washington, gave me a goodbye party with my freshman colleagues. I spent the evening with history-makers, change-makers, majority-makers, role models and heroes to millions. Some great men, but mostly women. Women who will be remembered forever. But that night, they were just my friends.At the end of the evening, I sat uncomfortably on a bar stool and cried as my friends went around the room and said the nicest things -- things I needed to hear. Each and every one of them told me that I wasn't done. Alex -- "A.O.C.," as people like to call her -- said I was a warrior and always would be.So the next day I put on my battle uniform: a red dress suit that my mom had bought me. I put on my war paint: bright red lipstick. I stepped up to that lectern and told the world that although my time in Congress was over, I wasn't done -- I was just moving to another battlefield. I closed my speech, saying: "We will not stand down. We will not be broken. We will not be silenced. We will rise, and we will make tomorrow better than today. … I yield the balance of my time for now, but not forever." I meant that not just for myself, but for all of us.I don't know exactly what's ahead for me, and I know there's a lot more pain ahead. But I'm in the fight, and I'm glad it's not all over after all.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
POSTED DECEMBER 08, 2019 11:55 AM
|Hong Kong Police Defuse Homemade Bombs at Catholic School
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police defused two homemade bombs at a local Catholic school, in a reminder of the potential for escalation in the restive financial center after a lull in protest violence.Police dismantled two improvised explosive devices Monday evening at Wah Yan College in Wan Chai, Bomb Disposal Officer Alick McWhirter told a news briefing Monday. The radio-controlled bombs were complete, fully functional and ready to be activated by mobile phone, McWhirter said, adding that the bombs appeared intended “to kill and to maim people.”“Given the quantities of the explosive and the fragmentation, had these devices been placed and had they functioned, they would have killed and injured large numbers of people,” McWhirter said. The two devices contained a total of about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of high explosives, fragmentation material and shrapnel.On Tuesday, Police said they so far had no suspects and no further updates. The bombs were discovered on a portion of Wah Yan property that was outside the gates and accessible to the public, the school said in a statement. The bomb scare comes after pro-democracy demonstrators held their largest march in months Sunday, which, although largely peaceful, signaled that Hong Kong’s unrest would likely continue into the new year. The former British colony has been gripped by more than six months of protests that have often featured pitched battles between riot cops and demonstrators hurling bricks and petrol bombs.Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, mentioned the “highly destructive” explosive devices in a regular briefing Tuesday. She said it was “worrying” that 40% of the roughly 6,000 people arrested during the political turmoil have been students, and that teachers have been among them.“When violent acts enter schools, it will undermine the safety of all students and their parents,” Lam said.“I have asked all school principals to seriously follow up with all the teachers who have been arrested,” she added, noting that schools should “ensure all students stop participating in any unlawful activities and stay away from violence.”Lam said she would head to Beijing on Saturday for annual meetings to update Chinese officials about the situation in Hong Kong. She sidestepped a question about an Apple Daily report that Chinese officials were considering replacing some of the less popular officials in her cabinet, telling reporters that reshuffling officials wasn’t her “immediate task.”“My first priority now is really to restore law and order in Hong Kong, and to ensure Hong Kong could continue to move ahead,” Lam said, adding that “rumors and speculation” weren’t helpful. While Lam has withdrawn extradition legislation that sparked the historically large protests in June, she reiterated her opposition Tuesday to meeting other protester demands, including restarting stalled electoral reforms. The movement has shown surprising endurance, with the opposition dealing the establishment one of its most decisive defeats in local council elections last month.A poll released Tuesday showed that share of people expressing confidence in Lam’s leadership had slipped one percentage point from mid-November to a new low of 10%. The percentage of people expressing no confidence in Lam remained at 82%, according to the survey by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Program survey. The discovery of the bombs comes just days after Hong Kong police held a media event highlighting the risk of homemade explosives, including TATP, which has been used in militant attacks around the world. In October, police said a radio-controlled improvised explosive device was detonated near a police car, the first time one had been used during months of unrest. No injuries resulted from that incident.Li Kwai-wah, senior superintendent for the Hong Kong police’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said the latest explosive devices were found Monday by a cleaner who called the police. Investigators were looking into whether the bombs had any connection to a handgun found earlier, Li said.Wah Yan College thanked police in its statement and urged them to “find out the truth” regarding the explosives. McWhirter, the bomb disposal officers, said the devices included a primary high explosive designed as a detonator and booster, with a secondary high explosive based around ammonium nitrate.“As far as we’re aware from our initial investigation, the explosives that were in the bombs were homemade,” he said. “You wouldn’t purchase these or be able to purchase these, you have to make the explosives.”(Updates with school statement in fourth paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the location of the school.)\--With assistance from Foster Wong, Jacob Gu and Stephen Tan.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
POSTED DECEMBER 10, 2019 4:38 AM
|Cherry blossoms prompt full-blown scandal for Japan's PM
It might be the most Japanese of political scandals: a furore over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's guest list at a party to mark the annual cherry blossom season. As scandals go, it has plenty of juicy elements -- alleged mafia guests, disappearing evidence, even gaffes by Abe, who appeared to lay blame for shredded documents on a disabled worker. It's the latest headache for Japan's longest-serving premier, who has already weathered two cronyism scandals in recent years and has faced an almost daily drubbing by opposition lawmakers since the scandal emerged in early November.
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2019 2:57 PM
|U.S. military to shift focus to competing with China and Russia: Esper
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday he still plans to shift the military’s focus to competing with China and Russia, even as security threats pile up in the Middle East.
Esper outlined his strategic goals and priorities in a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum, an annual gathering of government, defense industry and military officials.
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2019 9:37 AM