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US sanctions Venezuela officials close to 'former President' Maduro Curry brothers place wager on 3-point contest

US sanctions Venezuela officials close to 'former President' MaduroThe US Treasury announced Friday it was imposing sanctions on five intelligence and security officials close to crisis-hit Venezuela's "former" President Nicolas Maduro. Among the five men is Manuel Quevedo, described by the Treasury as the "illegitimate" president of Venezuela's state-owned oil firm, PDVSA.


The Curry brothers have levied a wager for their head-to-head competition in Saturday night's NBA 3-point contest: Whoever loses must buy tickets for the entire Curry family anytime they play against each other for the remainder of their NBA careers.
Cardinal expects 'significant progress' at sex abuse summit Kuzma wins Rising Stars MVP, credits bonus

Cardinal expects 'significant progress' at sex abuse summitDETROIT (AP) — The U.S. archbishop helping to organize next week's summit of the world's bishops at the Vatican on sexual abuse by clergy said Thursday he expects to make "significant progress" in responding to the scandal that's riven the church, and that lay Catholics will help to hold the hierarchy accountable.


Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma took home the Rising Stars MVP on Friday. Kuzma's 35 points in Team USA's 161-144 victory broke Kobe Bryant's record for the most points ever by a Lakers player in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Iran rejects anti-Semitism allegation by Pence Tiger in position to make cut at Genesis Open

Iran rejects anti-Semitism allegation by PenceIran on Saturday rejected accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against it by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, saying it respected Judaism but opposed Israel, which Tehran said was acting like a "killing machine against the Palestinians". Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism on Friday after visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, maintaining his harsh rhetoric just a day after attacking European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. "Iran's historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, is recorded in reliable historic documents of various nations," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.


Tiger Woods rolled in a 24-foot birdie putt on his final hole Saturday morning to turn a certain missed cut at the Genesis Open into what appears to be two more rounds at Riviera Country Club.
IS teen's wish to return stirs UK debate over jihadi brides Sick Shiffrin wins 4th straight slalom at worlds

IS teen's wish to return stirs UK debate over jihadi bridesA pregnant London schoolgirl's wish to return home after joining the Islamic State group in Syria splintered Britain on Friday as reports emerged of more UK women fleeing the war zone. Shamima Begum's fate has prompted soul searching in Britain since she and two friends created international headlines by running away to join the terror network in 2015. Home Secretary Sajid Javid told The Times newspaper that people like Begum "were full of hate for our country".


Mikaela Shiffrin fought through sickness to win an unprecedented fourth straight slalom title at the world championships after one of the most resilient performances of her career.
How Shamima Begum and two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green became jihadi brides living under a deadly regime Kuchar apologizes to caddie, pays him full $50K

How Shamima Begum and two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green became jihadi brides living under a deadly regimeAccording to her older sister Sahima, Shamima Begum was like any other 15-year-old girl, with the same hobbies, the same worries and infatuations which preoccupy the minds of most British teens. “She was into normal teenage things,” Sahima said. “She used to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” At 15, Shamima’s young mind was filled with much more than the affairs of the most famous family in Hollywood. Four months before she was due to sit her GCSEs, Shamima — the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, by all accounts a “sensible girl” and a “talented and dynamic” student at the high-flying Bethnal Green Academy — was secretly planning to leave her family and the only home she had ever known in London’s East End, and travel to Syria to become a jihadi bride. Two of her school friends, Kadiza Sultana, then 16, and Amira Abase, 15, planned to accompany her, with the girls aiming to join another friend, Sharmeena Begum (no relation of Shamima), who had successfully travelled to Syria the year before. In an embarrassment for Scotland Yard, police had pulled a fifth girl from the group off the same flight Sharmeena was on without spotting the other girl. Two months later, it was the turn of the remaining three to make their escape. When CCTV footage emerged of three girls wearing hooded winter coats and thick-rimmed glasses, strolling through Gatwick Airport with smiles on their faces, they appeared so calm and casual they looked as if they might be going on a school trip, not about to board a one-way flight to the most dangerous corner of the world. Their secret plan to leave Britain had been formulated and executed with meticulous precision. The girls stole jewellery from family members which they sold to cobble together the money for flights (it’s thought they spent upwards of £1,000 on their one-way tickets — an amount their families said at the time they could have never afforded alone). They bought their tickets from a local travel agent, making sure there was some money left over. They had to make sure there was something left to pay the men who would smuggle them over the border into the Syrian war zone where Isil was carving out its caliphate. The Spring half term began and on the morning of February 17 2015, Shamima, Kadiza and Amira told their families they were going out for the day. One had a wedding, another said she was popping into school to do some work. Instead, they packed a small bag of hand luggage each, and headed to Gatwick, where they would board Turkish Airlines flight TK1966 at 12:40pm to Istanbul. A shopping list found in one of the girls’ bedrooms featured a reminder to pack underwear and a mobile phone. British teenagers Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum in Raqqa Under the noses of the counterterrorism police who had spoken to them two months earlier after their friend Sharmeena fled to Syria, the girls began their journey. Four years later, one of them, Kadiza, is now known to have been killed in a Russian airstrike. Shamima, now 19, is alive and preparing to give birth to her third child (her first two died in infancy) in a refugee camp in northern Syria, having escaped Isil’s last remaining stronghold. Amira and Sharmeena were last seen alive in June in the remaining pocket of Isil-held territory. Shamima has lost two babies, her fighter husband is in captivity, and though she says she doesn’t regret coming to Syria, she has abandoned Isil at the 11th hour in an attempt to protect herself and her unborn child. For four years she has lived the life of a jihadi bride, witnessing the casual brutality of the regime on a daily basis and somehow escaping death herself. Now, she wants the ordeal to be over. She wants to come back home to Britain. Four years ago, almost to the day, the girls arrived in Istanbul and took a bus to the southern town of Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border. CCTV footage taken from a bus station showed them waiting with their bags. Another video, filmed by a smuggler called Mohammed Rashid (an Isil double agent who reportedly passed intelligence to the British and Canadian governments and was subsequently arrested by Turkish authorities), showed the girls clad in long black tunics trudging through a snowy landscape and clambering into a car. Renu, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, 15, holds her sister's photo  Credit: PA Calling one of the girls “Sis”, Rashid gave them Syrian passports and tested codenames they had apparently been given. “Who is Um Ahmed?” he asked, before telling them to “hurry” and assuring them they would be in Syria in “one hour”. They were taken to an illegal crossing point known as Abu Zella, north of Tal Abyad, where they were handed to a Saudi jihadist known as Abu Mohareb al-Jazrawi. He was part of an Isil cell charged with helping transport would-be foreign jihadists into Raqqa. He took the girls to a safe house which was used for new volunteers who had yet to be vetted. There, they checked the girls’ papers and confiscated their passports and identity cards. They stayed in the house for a day or two before another Isil smuggler, calling himself Abu Fahad, transferred them to Raqqa. The girls spent their first days in Isil’s caliphate under lock and key in an apartment in what was then the jihadists’ stronghold city. They were put in the care of a woman handler known as Um Laith — “Mother of the Lion” — tasked with “purifying their Western minds” by instilling the practices of Isil’s hardline vision of sharia law. Kadiza Sultana 16, Amira Abase 15 and Shamima Begum 15 Credit: Metropolitan Police  In their first weeks in the city the girls were not trusted by Raqqa’s Isil rulers, and were forbidden to leave their apartment without their chaperone. An Isil leader confirmed to the Telegraph at the time that they were being kept together and watched. “Until now we don’t trust them,” he said. Speaking to The Times from the refugee camp where she is now awaiting the birth of her baby, Shamima recalled asking to be taken to the maqar – the female-only communal lodging for unmarried or widowed women where they believed their old school friend was living. “We kept asking his wife ‘why are we here?’ We want to go to the house of women, we want to see our friend. She didn’t say anything to us and then afterwards we found out it was because they suspected we were spies.” All three girls were quickly married off. Kadiza is said to have wed a western Isil fighter of Somali heritage, but after he was killed in battle decided to try to return to the UK. Shortly after, however, in May 2016, she was reported killed in a Russian airstrike, aged 17. Amira married an 18-year-old Australian jihadist, Abdullah Elmir, in July 2016. Elmir, who was described in Australian media as the “Ginger Jihadi”, was later reported by intelligence agencies to have been killed in coalition airstrikes. Shamima, meanwhile, married a Dutchman who had converted to Islam. For a while, she says, life was “normal”. “Like the life that they show in the propaganda videos. It’s a normal life but every now and then there are bombs and stuff.” She didn’t witness any executions, but she did see “a beheaded head in the bin”, she told a journalist calmly from the refugee camp on Wednesday. “Yeah, it didn’t phase me at all.” The young woman who can be heard talking on the interview recording is composed and unemotional. She is asked if it was hard to lose two children. “It came as a shock,” she replies, calmly. “It just came out of nowhere, it was so hard.” It’s why she is “really overprotective of this baby”, she says. “I’m scared that this baby is going to get sick in this camp, that’s why I really want to get back to Britain because I know it will be taken care of, like healthwise at least.” She talks about her school friend Kadiza, who is now known to have died in a Russian airstrike. “Her house was bombed because underground there was some secret stuff going on and a spy had… they figured out that something was going on so her house got bombed. And other people got killed as well.” Kadiza’s elder sister, Fahmida Khanam refused to discuss her suspected death in an air raid, or the fate of her surviving companions. Abase Hussen, father of Amira, who was last seen in June, said he hoped his daughter was still alive. “She could always make us laugh,” he said. “That’s how I want to think of her, not what happened after. I hope she is still alive, but I don’t really know whether she is.” Islamic State losing its grip on Syria Mr Hussen has said before that he cannot understand his daughter’s descent into radicalisation, telling MPs in 2015 that he could think of “nothing” to explain the change in her. After she travelled to Syria, video emerged of Mr Hussen beside a burning US flag at the front of a rally organised by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary. In June 2015, Amira spoke to an undercover reporter from a Sunday newspaper after 30 Britons were shot dead by an Isil jihadist in Tunisia, mocking the victims. She appeared to be grooming the reporter, giving tips on how to reach Syria and what to bring. Last summer her mother, Fetia Hussen, said she had lost contact with her and feared she had died, but Shamima has confirmed to The Times that she was seen alive last June, along with Sharmeena Begum. On Wednesday night, Shamima’s sister Renu — who in 2015 said her sister was “young” and “vulnerable”, and she hoped she had gone to Syria to bring back Sharmeena, not to join Isil herself — pleaded with the government to allow her to come home. “She's pregnant and vulnerable, and it’s important we get her out of al-Hawl camp and home as soon as possible," she said. "We hope the British Government will help us bring her home to us where she belongs. "I’m so relieved that my sister has been found, safe and sound. We are aware that she has been trying to get out. We lost contact with her for the longest of time. We are happy to know that she is okay.” The father of Sharmeena Begum told the Telegraph yesterday [THURS] that his family had been left distraught by her decision to travel to join Isil. Mohammad Nizam Uddin said he had been unable to reconcile himself to her disappearance from home. Speaking from his flat on the top floor of a tower block overlooking London’s East End, the 42-year-old told The Telegraph: “We have heard nothing from her since she left. We do not know where she is. “As a father I urge the British Government to let these girls back into the country. Please let them come back. I want to see my daughter again. It is terrible she is not here, it is terrible for us.” Mr Uddin added: “I think they should be allowed to come home. When they went to Syria they were not mature and they had been radicalised.” They travelled out to Syria together, but as Isil loses its remaining grip on the region, just one of the girls from Bethnal Green is living in relative safety. Taken on a coach filled with fleeing Isil families to the camp in al-Hawl, Shamima is now waiting to deliver her third baby, and to learn of her fate, desperate to return to Britain. “The caliphate is over,” she says. “There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they deserved victory.” Her friends would be “ashamed” of her if they are alive and have learnt that she has fled. “They made their choice as single women. For their husbands were already dead. It was their own choice as women to stay.” Now, she says, her priority is her baby. “I know what everyone at home thinks of me as I have read all that was written about me online. But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.”


Matt Kuchar planned to call caddie David Giral Ortiz later Friday to apologize. He also has paid Ortiz the $50,000 he requested and pledged a donation to the Mayakoba Classic charities.


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Norfolk Views and Opinions
 
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy

Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to “criticize the government and other organizations.” So why would that be relevant in a democracy?

Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?

After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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