Fidel Castro's quiet end

Fidel Castro's quiet end

Cubans are left to ponder what life will be like now that the man who ruled for more than five decades has been laid to rest.

Edward Snowden: 'I would do it again'

The former NSA contractor says he has no regrets about his role as a whistleblower, even though he's living in exile in Russia and facing sanctions.

elections

Ghana's Mahama accuses foe of undermining confidence in voting

Ghana's Mahama accuses foe of undermining confidence in voting

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg KUMASI, Ghana (Reuters) - President John Mahama accused Ghana's main opposition leader of deliberately undermining confidence in the voting process before Wednesday's election by failing to issue a clear call for peace whatever the outcome. "The opposition is creating a situation in the minds of their supporters not to accept the results of the elections (if they lose)," Mahama said in an interview late on Monday after opening an airport project in Ghana's second city Kumasi.

France's Hollande names Cazeneuve PM as Valls prepares election bid

France's Hollande names Cazeneuve PM as Valls prepares election bid

By Brian Love PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday appointed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve as prime minister until a new president is elected next May. The appointment followed the resignation of Manuel Valls, who quit to run for president after Hollande himself decided against seeking a second term. Cazeneuve will play caretaker ahead of the next year's vote, where Marine Le Pen's anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front hopes to repeat anti-establishment upsets seens earlier this year in Britain, the United States, and this week in Italy. "The world has changed drastically in a matter of months," Jean-Marie Le Guen, a minister and close ally of Valls, told RTL radio.

Obama to deliver speech defending his counterterrorism fight

Obama to deliver speech defending his counterterrorism fight

By Ayesha Rascoe WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will make the case on Tuesday that his counterterrorism policies have helped protect Americans from evolving international threats as he prepares to hand over the White House to a successor who has been critical of his approach. Obama will deliver his final major speech on national security as president at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. "This represents a more sustainable approach ... one where we had a limited number of U.S. forces on the ground," White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on a call with reporters.

Senior Socialist lawmaker named new French interior minister

PARIS (Reuters) - Senior Socialist lawmaker Bruno Le Roux will replace Bernard Cazeneuve as France's interior minister, President Francois Hollande's office said on Tuesday. Le Roux, who heads the Socialist party in the country's lower house of parliament, will be in charge of overseeing the crucial counterterrorism portfolio in a country shaken by a series of deadly Islamist militant attacks. There were no other major changes in the cabinet following Prime Minister Manuel Valls' resignation and replacement by Cazeneuve. ...

Fillon would beat Le Pen, Socialist fifth or worse: Ifop French presidential poll

Fillon would beat Le Pen, Socialist fifth or worse: Ifop French presidential poll

French conservative presidential election candidate Francois Fillon would beat far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of France's presidential election with 65 percent of the vote, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday. The Ifop-Fiducial poll for iTele, Paris Match and Sud Radio also said that no candidate from the Socialist party would do better than a fifth placed-score. The questions were asked after Socialist President Francois Hollande announced he would not be a candidate and before his Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he would seek election.

Factbox: Trump fills top jobs for his administration

(Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Monday he would name retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The following is a list of Republican Trump's selections for top jobs in his administration. All the posts but that of national security adviser require Senate confirmation: DEFENSE SECRETARY: JAMES MATTIS Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general known for his tough talk, distrust of Iran and battlefield experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ex-coup leader, DEA fugitive wins Haitian Senate seat

Ex-coup leader, DEA fugitive wins Haitian Senate seat

By Makini Brice PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A former Haitian coup leader wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for alleged cocaine trafficking and money laundering has won election to Haiti's Senate, according to preliminary results released by the electoral council. Guy Philippe defeated all other candidates in the second round of elections, held on Nov. 20, for the southwestern Grand Anse region, which is still recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew. "Victory, thank you Grand Anse," said a message posted on Philippe's Facebook page late on Sunday.

Ghana President Mahama asks for second term to consolidate gains

Ghana President Mahama asks for second term to consolidate gains

By Kwasi Kpodo ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana President John Mahama, facing a tough challenge in this week's election, said on Monday he had done his best in the past four years and deserved a second term to consolidate economic and infrastructure gains. "I humbly ask for your mandate on Wednesday ... to complete the journey which we all started together," Mahama told thousands of supporters at the end of the ruling party's campaign ahead of Wednesday's vote. Mahama is seeking a second and final four-year term in what is expected to be a close race between him and main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.

Kissinger says impressed by China's 'calm reaction' to Trump's Taiwan call

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Monday he was impressed by the Chinese leadership's calm reaction to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's call last week with the president of Taiwan. "At this moment I've been very impressed at the calm reaction of the Chinese leadership, which suggests a determination to see whether a calm dialogue can be developed," Kissinger said at an event sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Suspect in Washington pizzeria shooting wanted to save kids: police

Suspect in Washington pizzeria shooting wanted to save kids: police

A man charged with firing an assault rifle in a packed Washington pizzeria on Sunday told police he had read online that children were being held as sex slaves there and he wanted to rescue them, police said on Monday. The Comet Ping Pong restaurant for weeks had been the subject of fake news stories claiming falsely that it was the hub of a child sex ring organized by 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The stories were an example of a proliferation of fake news reports during the election year, often disseminated through websites purporting to be news outlets and quoting bogus sources.

Carson to HUD: The agency that oversees public housing, federal mortgage programs

(Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who made a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, to oversee the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Referred to as HUD, the agency had a budget of $48 billion in 2016 and is best known for the administration of public housing - historically large buildings where poor people are able to obtain low-cost homes. Large-scale public housing in the country's largest urban areas still houses millions of people.

Factbox: Contenders, picks for key jobs in Trump's administration

(Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Monday he would nominate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a presidential rival-turned-supporter to serve as Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary. Below are people mentioned as contenders for senior roles as Trump works to form his administration before taking office on Jan. 20, according to Reuters sources and media reports. See the end of list for posts already filled. ...

French PM Valls launches presidential bid, quits government

French PM Valls launches presidential bid, quits government

By Christian Hartmann EVRY, France (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared on Monday that he would seek the Socialist Party's nomination for next year's presidential election and said he was quitting the government to focus on campaigning. Although opinion polls bill Valls as the favorite for the Socialists' ticket, they also forecast that neither he nor any other left-wing candidate will win the election, rather that conservative candidate Francois Fillon will beat far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off. "We're told the left does not stand a chance, but nothing's set in stone," Valls said to applause from supporters in his fiefdom of Evry, the gritty southern suburb of Paris where he was mayor for over a decade.

Manuel Valls, a tough-talker with French presidential ambitions

By Ingrid Melander PARIS (Reuters) - When two journalists published the book 'A President Shouldn't Say That' which quotes Francois Hollande disparaging judges, insulting footballers and revealing state secrets, Prime Minister Manuel Valls could not hide his "shame" and "anger". The rare outburst by Valls against his deeply unpopular boss in October came as France's ruling Socialist Party struggled to present a united front ahead of next year's presidential election. On Monday, Valls ended weeks of speculation and declared his bid to be the Socialist candidate after Hollande backed away from seeking a second mandate.

Defying Trump, Green Party pursues recounts in three states

Defying Trump, Green Party pursues recounts in three states

By Amy Tennery NEW YORK (Reuters) - Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein pressed her case on Monday for recounts of U.S. presidential ballots in three states, and locked horns with President-elect Donald Trump over her motives. Stein sued Pennsylvania election officials in federal court, demanding a statewide recount. Michigan workers began a Stein-requested recount after a federal judge there ordered one without delay.

Trump meets former Vice President Gore in New York: Gore

Trump meets former Vice President Gore in New York: Gore

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday met with former Vice President Al Gore, an environmental activist who has devoted years to fighting climate change, Gore told reporters. "I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect," said Gore, who met earlier with Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, but said he had spent the bulk of his time with Trump.

New York asks U.S. government for $35 million in Trump security costs

New York asks U.S. government for $35 million in Trump security costs

By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City asked the U.S. government for up to $35 million to cover security costs for protecting President-elect Donald Trump in his home atop a Manhattan skyscraper, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday. Trump, a Republican, has spent most of his time since Election Day in his apartment at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, forcing police to work with the U.S. Secret Service to provide intensified security measures in one of the city's busiest neighborhoods. Trump has used the tower for years as his primary residence and the headquarters of his global business empire.

After hesitation, Carson accepts Trump's offer to head U.S. housing department

After hesitation, Carson accepts Trump's offer to head U.S. housing department

By Doina Chiacu and Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a rival-turned-supporter of Donald Trump, overcame his stated qualms about a lack of government experience on Monday to accept the president-elect's nomination to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Democrats criticized the Republican president-elect's latest pick for his incoming administration, calling Carson unqualified to take over $48-billion agency that oversees public housing. Carson, a popular writer and speaker in conservative circles, has been a close adviser to Trump since he dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary contest and he is a vice chairman of Trump's transition team.

French PM Valls announces presidential bid

French PM Valls announces presidential bid

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Monday he was a candidate for next year's presidential election and wanted to unite the Left. "Yes, I am candidate for the presidency of the Republic," Valls said in a speech to supporters in his fiefdom of Evry, south of Paris.

Factbox: Trump to meet this week with U.S. lawmakers, Exxon CEO

(Reuters) - U.S. Republican President-elect Donald Trump will hold more meetings on Monday and Tuesday as he forms his administration before taking over from Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Trump's transition team said he was scheduled to meet with the following people: MONDAY DEBRA YANG * Former U.S. attorney for California's Central District, appointed by former President George W. Bush KEVIN CRAMER * Republican U.S. representative from North Dakota, member of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce MICK MULVANEY * Republican U.S. ...

Trump advisors aim to privatize oil-rich Indian reservations

Trump advisors aim to privatize oil-rich Indian reservations

Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews. The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership - a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.

Austrians' pro-EU views scupper far-right bid for presidency

Austrians' pro-EU views scupper far-right bid for presidency

By Shadia Nasralla and Kirsti Knolle VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrians' desire to stay anchored in the European Union outweighed concerns over immigration and security and helped former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen defeat his far-right rival Norbert Hofer in Sunday's presidential election. Van der Bellen, whose win bucks a trend of populist victories across Western democracies, had put Britain's decision to leave the EU at the center of his own campaign, warning voters not to "play with this fire". "I will be a pro-European president of Austria open to the world," Van der Bellen, 72, said in his victory speech.

Factbox: What it will take for Trump to meet his immigration goals

President-elect Donald Trump has outlined a ten-point plan on his transition website for dealing with illegal immigration. BUILD A WALL ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER: Trump has the legal authorization to build fences under the "Secure Fence Act" passed in 2006, but Congress would have to approve considerably more funding to wall off the entire southern border, which spans nearly 2,000 miles. Trump previously said he would make Mexico pay for the wall, but that policy is not included on his post-election web site.

Trump has broad power to implement immigration policies: legal experts

Trump has broad power to implement immigration policies: legal experts

By Mica Rosenberg and Julia Edwards Ainsley NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump will be able to make many of his promised changes in immigration policy unilaterally by exercising the same kind of executive powers he criticized President Barack Obama for using. Shifting policy on both issues could be accomplished by putting out new enforcement directives to agents in the field from the Department of Homeland Security.

Kerry says would be valuable for Trump to seek advice before calls

Kerry says would be valuable for Trump to seek advice before calls

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday it would be valuable for President-elect Donald Trump's transition team to seek State Department recommendations before contacting foreign leaders but that it had yet to do so. "I do think there’s a value, obviously on having at least the recommendations, whether you choose to follow them or not is a different issue, but I think it’s valuable to ask people who work the desk, and have worked it for a long period of time, their input on what’s the current state, is there some particular issue at the moment," Kerry added. "I think that’s valuable, and I would certainly recommend it, but, obviously, that hasn’t happened in a few cases." Trump's call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday triggered a diplomatic protest from China and raised questions about whether the Republican president-elect might be signaling a change to U.S. policy.

Trump to meet with retired U.S. Admiral Stavridis on Thursday

Trump to meet with retired U.S. Admiral Stavridis on Thursday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump will meet on Thursday with retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO and dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a spokeswoman for Stavridis said on Sunday. "There has been no discussion of a position in the Trump administration," Stavridis' spokeswoman, Juli Hanscom said, responding to reports that Trump was interested in Stavridis, once vetted to be the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as a potential secretary of state. ...

Austrians roundly reject far right in presidential election

Austrians roundly reject far right in presidential election

By Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian voters roundly rejected on Sunday a candidate vying to become the first freely elected far-right head of state in Europe since World War Two, halting at least temporarily the wave of populism sweeping Western democracies. The runoff vote was a litmus test, since it was a re-run of a vote held in May, before Britain voted to leave the European Union and Americans elected Donald Trump as president. Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration Freedom Party lost the May election by less than a percentage point, and polls had for months shown the race too close to call.

Bowing out, Hollande leaves successor to fix French economy

Bowing out, Hollande leaves successor to fix French economy

By Leigh Thomas PARIS (Reuters) - French voters elected Francois Hollande in 2012 on promises to fix the floundering economy. The unpopular Socialist leader, who said on Thursday he would not run in next April's presidential election, can claim some success halting the economy's decline after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and improving the public finances. Once in office, Hollande hiked taxes on households by more than 50 billion euros ($53.4 billion) - 2.5 percent of GDP - inadvertently snuffing out a nascent recovery in a move most economists now consider a mistake.

Gore says U.S. climate curbs on track, hopes Trump will surprise

Gore says U.S. climate curbs on track, hopes Trump will surprise

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall irrespective of the pro-coal policies of President-elect Donald Trump, who may still surprise the world by embracing global action to limit climate change, former vice president Al Gore said. Gore, a climate activist who will lead a 24-hour televised marathon on Dec. 5-6 about global efforts to limit rising temperatures, told Reuters that companies and U.S. states would cut emissions despite Trump's doubts that warming is man-made. "Business alone, along with states, will almost guarantee that we meet the reduction targets (set by U.S. President Barack Obama) regardless of the policies the new president ends up adopting," Gore said in a phone interview.

Green Party's Stein to pursue Pennsylvania recount petition in federal court

Green Party's Stein to pursue Pennsylvania recount petition in federal court

By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Green Party candidate Jill Stein late Saturday vowed to bring her fight for a recount of votes cast in Pennsylvania in the U.S. presidential election to federal court, after a state judge ordered her campaign to post a $1 million bond. “The Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania," Jonathan Abady, lead counsel to Stein's recount efforts, said in a statement.

us

Death toll rises to 36 from California warehouse inferno

Death toll rises to 36 from California warehouse inferno

By Curtis Skinner and Peter Henderson OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - The death toll rose to 36 on Monday from a blaze that engulfed a converted warehouse during a dance party in Oakland, California, the greatest loss of life from a U.S. fire in over a decade, as searchers sifted charred ruins being treated as a crime scene. "If you have a best friend out there, please hug your best friend," Franchesca Dickerson, a 21-year old hairdresser, told a candlelight vigil, as she held a collage of images of a friend who died in the blaze. "I'd give 50,000 years to hug mine," added Dickerson, who was to have joined her childhood friend, 19-year old Michalea Gregory, at the party, but changed plans because of work.

Security raised at L.A. rail line after threat warning from foreign country

Security raised at L.A. rail line after threat warning from foreign country

Federal and Los Angeles officials said on Monday they had been alerted by authorities in another country to a "specific" threat against the city's Red Line commuter rail system, prompting them to beef up security and alert the public. "This threat is imminent, ... it is very specific," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told an evening news conference. Law enforcement officials at the news conference said the threat had been relayed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a law enforcement agency in another country, where the threat had originated.

Georgia to execute man for 1990 murder of father-in-law

Georgia to execute man for 1990 murder of father-in-law

Georgia plans to execute on Tuesday a man who shot to death his father-in-law in a 1990 murder, then handcuffed and kidnapped his estranged wife and her sister. William Sallie, 50, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. EST at the state prison in Jackson. At the time of the murder, Sallie was separated from his wife, Robin, and their two-year-old son, who were living with her parents in rural Bacon County in south Georgia.

Fire sweeps through Philadelphia building, leaves 9 injured

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Firefighters caught a baby tossed to safety from a third-floor window as an early morning fire swept through a building that housed apartments and a business in Philadelphia's Frankford section, injuring nine people.

Top UK judges grill government lawyer on Brexit plans

Top UK judges grill government lawyer on Brexit plans

LONDON (AP) — A British government lawyer said Tuesday that the Supreme Court will fall into a "serious constitutional trap" if it rules that Parliament must have a vote before ministers start the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union.

Recovery of fire victims winds down; investigation looms

Recovery of fire victims winds down; investigation looms

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Some people managed to text loved ones goodbye and "I love you" before they died in an Oakland warehouse fire that claimed three dozen lives, officials said, as heart-rending reports of victims' last moments emerged from the most lethal building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade.

Michigan starts recount; Pennsylvania awaits federal ruling

Michigan starts recount; Pennsylvania awaits federal ruling

DETROIT (AP) — The presidential recount in Michigan expands Tuesday to its largest county, which includes Detroit, and five other large counties, with the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania awaiting action in federal court.

Presidential recount in Michigan expands to Detroit area

Presidential recount in Michigan expands to Detroit area

DETROIT (AP) — The presidential recount in Michigan expands Tuesday to its largest county, which includes Detroit, and five other counties, and the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania awaits action in federal court.

EU Brexit negotiator puts time pressure on Britain

EU Brexit negotiator puts time pressure on Britain

BRUSSELS (AP) — Britain will have less than 18 months to negotiate its exit from the European Union once talks begin and won't be allowed to pick and choose what it likes, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said Tuesday as he outlined his stance for the first time.

LA authorities boost security after threatened rail attack

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The threat of a terror attack against a busy commuter rail station in the Los Angeles area has prompted authorities to increase security throughout the region and urge commuters to report any suspicious behavior they see.

Longtime Lego CEO to be replaced next year

Longtime Lego CEO to be replaced next year

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The man who for 12 years has led Lego, the Danish company famous for its popular colored toy blocks, will be replaced by the current chief operating officer, the group said Tuesday.

education

Asian countries dominate, science teaching criticised in survey

Asian countries dominate, science teaching criticised in survey

Asian countries dominated the top places in the latest PISA survey that measures skills among high school students released on Tuesday, but the report criticised the teaching of science in many countries. The survey of 72 countries and economies found that the quality of science lessons was more important than equipment or even staffing levels. Singapore came top of the table for its teaching of science, reading and mathematics.

Supply of High-School Graduates to Decline

The sharp decline in births during the Great Recession will result in a drop in the number of students graduating from U.S. high schools starting around 2024, a phenomenon likely to translate into additional pressure on U.S. colleges already struggling to fill classrooms and employers seeking university graduates. The dip follows 20 years of growth that saw the number of high-school graduates increase by 30% between 1995 and 2013, according to a report released Tuesday from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The projected decline is driven by a sharp drop in the number of white high-school students, which will be somewhat offset by the growth among Hispanics.

Artists, musicians, teachers among the young victims of Oakland warehouse fire that killed at least 36

Artists, musicians, teachers among the young victims of Oakland warehouse fire that killed at least 36

Young artists, musicians and educators were among the victims of the deadly warehouse fire that broke out in Oakland over the weekend, killing several dozen attendees of a party in an art space. According to Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Tya Modste, 36 bodies had been recovered as of Sunday from the dilapidated, two-story Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the teenage victim was Draven McGill, a junior at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and the son of a deputy for the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

Kenya promises crackdown as teachers push for ban on UK-backed private schools

By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kenya promised on Monday to crack down on schools operating illegally after teachers called for a ban on a chain of low-cost private schools backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Bridge International Academies (BIA), which is also supported by British aid money, offers cheap nursery and primary education to poor families. Uganda's high court ordered the closure of 63 BIA schools last month for operating without a license, using unregistered teachers and having poor sanitation - a ruling the company is appealing.

Science Course, Lab Options Vary in Online Bachelor's Programs

Peggy Wall, an online bachelor's student in the for-profit American Public University System, had a fetal pig delivered to her doorstep last year, along with a dead frog and a grasshopper, among other animals. While the natural sciences have been slower than many other disciplines to embrace online learning, experts say, that's starting to change at some colleges and universities, particularly for nonscience majors. Many experts suggest that premedical students avoid them, for example, because some programs won't accept them as prerequisites.

3 Tips for Teachers to Help Teens Distinguish Fact From Fiction

"I'm constantly got kids coming to me, 'Did you know?' insert whatever conspiracy theory," says Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches world history at Cedar Springs High School in Michigan. The Common Core standards focus strongly on skills that should prepare students to detect fake news -- the standards emphasize the need for students to write and read arguments using and looking for strong reasoning and evidence, says Dana Maloney, an English teacher at Tenafly High School in New Jersey. Teach teens to question the source: Two key skills for students to have are to be able to question a source and to corroborate what is being presented with other sources when vetting credibility, Stuart says.

New Mexico budget crisis rears its head in courts, colleges

New Mexico budget crisis rears its head in courts, colleges

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's grinding budget crisis is taking a toll in courtrooms where overburdened attorneys have denied legal counsel to poor defendants, at museums reeling from layoffs and admission hikes, and at state universities and colleges grappling with steep spending cuts.

Creating a college behind bars

Up a lonely road lined with signs warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers, on a hilltop surrounded by forest, the Clallam Bay Corrections Center at the northwest tip of Washington State feels like the ends of the earth. “We want to build a university in prison,” says Mr. Carter, a soft-spoken man with an earnest tone. The shortage of higher education opportunities in United States prisons has led inmates like Carter to take the initiative – seeking out textbooks, funds, instructors, and in some cases acting as teachers themselves.

What Is the Future of the Office for Civil Rights?

In the days after the presidential election, news outlets and thousands of educators reported increases in harassment, bullying, and intimidation of students based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender identity. While schools and colleges are on the frontline in confronting these incidents, one mechanism that for more than 35 years has served to curtail such actions is the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Education. The federal agency’s mission is “to ensure equal access to education,” and it’s charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination against marginalized populations—including students of color, religious and gender minorities, and students with disabilities. In recent years OCR has issued guidance to states and local school districts on their legal obligation to meet the educational needs of transgender students, students with ADHD, and youth in juvenile justice facilities; the civil-rights unit also tracks how well public schools and districts nationwide measure up on equity in learning opportunities.

Special Report: How top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies

Special Report: How top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies

By Steve Stecklow and Alexandra Harney SHANGHAI/SHELTER ISLAND, New York (Reuters) - Thomas Benson once ran a small liberal arts college in Vermont. Stephen Gessner served as president of the school board for New York’s Shelter Island. More recently, they’ve been opening doors for Chinese education companies seeking a competitive edge: getting their students direct access to admissions officers at top U.S. universities.

Chicago schools: Cuts possible due to pension aid veto

Chicago schools: Cuts possible due to pension aid veto

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Democrats failed Thursday to override the Republican governor's veto of $215 million to help the financially struggling Chicago Public Schools with pension payments as negotiations on an overdue state budget broke down again.

10 reasons why Donald Trump is actually King John from Robin Hood

10 reasons why Donald Trump is actually King John from Robin Hood

LONDON — What could Donald Trump possibly have in common with a 13th century English King from a cartoon? More than you might think. Some uncanny similarities between the President-elect and King John from the 1973 Disney classic Robin Hood were highlighted on Twitter by Tyler Huckabee  SEE ALSO: Tourists flock to see Donald Trump-like bird in a Chinese zoo Behold this glorious Twitter thread.  I have had an incredible revelation which I must share with you. Forgive the thread, but this discovery warrants it... — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 Donald Trump is literally Prince John from Disney's 1973 animated classic, Robin Hood. pic.twitter.com/Q7NSOwQvsY — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 What follows are my ten reasons for believing this to be true. — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 1. He acts like both an authoritarian bully and a petulant child. pic.twitter.com/HKwsm3UgdH — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 2. He loves gold and sees political power as a way to get more of it. pic.twitter.com/1fQTIDQty8 — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 3. He trusts fake news sources. pic.twitter.com/bSgwROBvpo — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 4. Orange. pic.twitter.com/kOvnGZIIxD — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 5. Wildly lashes out whenever he feels like he's being mocked. pic.twitter.com/RbV3ODGq6b — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 6. Surrounds himself with either spineless yes men... pic.twitter.com/hbXLmeUjQO — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 7. ...or fake friends who just want to use him for their own ends. pic.twitter.com/9fCNtazr9B — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 8. He is easily manipulated by others. pic.twitter.com/QDiTyPCK0x — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 9. He wears clothes that fit terribly. pic.twitter.com/5qSVIpgozo — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 10. And finally, he wants to punish those who speak out against him. pic.twitter.com/mYXBrUZXPl — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 As you can see, my thesis is sound. In conclusion: a pox on the phony king of England. pic.twitter.com/EfUIoRHvj7 — St. Tyler Hollyberry (@TylerHuckabee) November 29, 2016 Sir, for what it's worth, we award you with an honorary degree for your distinguished contribution to modern historical pop-culture references.   BONUS: Gigi Hadid is in trouble for her Melania Trump impersonation

U.S. to Forgive at Least $108 Billion in Student Debt in Coming Years

WASHINGTON—The federal government is on track to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in coming years, as more and more borrowers seek help in paying down their loans, leading to lower revenues for the nation’s program to finance higher education. The Government Accountability Office disclosed the sum Wednesday in a report to Congress which for the first time projected the full costs of programs that set borrowers’ monthly payments as a share of their earnings and eventually forgive portions of their debt. The GAO report also sharply criticized the government’s accounting methods for its $1.26 trillion student-loan portfolio, pointing to flaws that have led it to alter projected revenues significantly over the years.

The Federal Student Loan Program That Could Cost Taxpayers Over $100 Billion

The Federal Student Loan Program That Could Cost Taxpayers Over $100 Billion

A program designed to ease the burgeoning student debt crisis has cost the federal government tens of billions of dollars more than originally projected. The GAO found that the Department of Education’s Direct Loans in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans have cost the government at least $28 billion more in operating expenses between 2009 and 2016 than originally estimated. In the current 2017 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the program’s cost to the federal government is expected to reach $74 billion, far more than originally anticipated.

How This Millennial Paid Off $81,000 in Student Loan Debt

After earning an undergraduate degree in theater in 2006 and a master's degree in performance studies in 2011, Melanie Lockert had amassed $81,000 in student loan debt. With the recession lingering, Lockert struggled to find a full-time job in New York City, and moving to Portland, Oregon, didn't improve her job outlook either.

Programs Bolster International Exchange at Community Colleges

Students don't need to attend a four-year college to have an international education experience. The U.S. government and some community colleges are working to provide more students at two-year institutions with exposure to global cultures and ideas. One effort aims to send more community college students abroad, while another brings international students to U.S. community colleges, creating more diverse campuses.

Fire in Turkish dormitory kills 12, including 11 teenage girls: officials

Fire in Turkish dormitory kills 12, including 11 teenage girls: officials

ANKARA (Reuters) - Twelve people, including eleven teenagers, were killed when a fire swept through a girls dormitory in the southern Turkish province of Adana on Tuesday, officials said. The fire, which broke out in a dormitory housing middle and high school students, may have been caused by an electrical fault, Omer Celik, a senior government official who represents the province in parliament, told broadcaster CNN Turk. At least twenty-two other girls were injured, Celik said. Also among the dead was a woman who worked at the dormitory. ...

In survey, teachers report a postelection surge in bullying

In survey, teachers report a postelection surge in bullying

Seventh-grade boys in Colorado were heard yelling “Heil Trump!,” and at an elementary school in Michigan, some Muslim girls have stopped wearing hijabs. According to a report released by the SPLC this week, 90 percent of the educators who responded to the survey said that the election has had a negative impact on the overall mood and behavior of their students, with most also expressing concerns that the postelection fallout will continue to weigh heavily on their classrooms for the rest of the school year.

Textbooks Are the Education Ground Zero of America’s Culture Wars

Textbooks Are the Education Ground Zero of America’s Culture Wars

It was billed as a way to teach Texas high school students about Latinos’ overlooked contributions to Lone Star State history. The new Mexican American Heritage textbook, however, was so chock-full of errors, stereotypes, and racist sentiments that protesters demanded school administrators block the book from ever appearing in classrooms. Under pressure, the State Board of Education relented, unanimously voting earlier this month to shelve the book and start again from scratch.

Building Food Justice in the City of Brotherly Love

Here’s another image of Philadelphia, one less familiar than the Liberty Bell or the city’s iconic LOVE sculpture: Twenty-two percent of the city is food insecure, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap. Philadelphia also has the highest rate of deep poverty of any American city—that is, people living on half the income the federal government deems poverty level. “The situation here is pretty dire,” Kathy Fisher of the Coalition Against Hunger told The Notebook, a publication of the Philadelphia public schools.

Graduate gets her high school teachers to answer her inappropriate questions

Graduate gets her high school teachers to answer her inappropriate questions

Asking your high school teachers inappropriate personal questions is every student's dream.  High school graduate and Youtube user ElleoftheMills magically persuaded her former high school teachers to answer every question she'd wanted to ask them as their student, and they did not disappoint.  With questions like, "Do you have a priest outfit for every day of the week?" it seems like Elle was likely a super fun student to have in class. Sleepy baby won't let nap time put an end to a messy spaghetti feast Teen students design a robot that can successfully flip a water bottle Alexis Bledel surprises everyone with her favorite 'Gilmore Girls' characters Stoat has a hell of a good time on a patch of garden netting

10 Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Among the 1,255 ranked schools that submitted these data to U.S. News in an annual survey, nine reported acceptance rates of 100 percent in fall 2015. Also on the list is Cameron University in Oklahoma, which admitted 99.7 percent.

Official: 2 students, driver killed in school bus crash

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Two female high school students and the driver of their school bus were killed when the vehicle collided head-on with a truck along a busy mountain road Tuesday, a Turkish Cypriot official said.

Election throws US plans for Syrian refugees into question

Election throws US plans for Syrian refugees into question

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Arabic language classes are drawing 25 to 30 people a week in preparation for the new arrivals in town. High school students are helping collect furniture and housewares for them, and employers have inquired about giving them jobs.

Turkey reinstates over 6,000 teachers suspended after coup

Turkey reinstates over 6,000 teachers suspended after coup

Turkish authorities have reinstated over 6,000 teachers suspended after the July failed coup accused of terror links, the education ministry said on Friday. Tens of thousands of teachers were suspended or sacked over links to Kurdish militants and coup plotters since July 15 when a rogue faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power. Ankara accuses the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen and his movement -- which funds many schools across the world -- of masterminding the attempted putsch, but he strongly denies any involvement.

Women for Trump Cabinet: Haley picked for UN, DeVos for Ed

Women for Trump Cabinet: Haley picked for UN, DeVos for Ed

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Injecting the first diversity into his Cabinet-to-be, Donald Trump selected two Republican women on Wednesday who had unflattering things to say about him during the presidential campaign: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education.

Everyday household objects more qualified for public office than Trump's cabinet

Everyday household objects more qualified for public office than Trump's cabinet

As Trump slowly fills out his cabinet, Clinton supporters and #NeverTrumpers alike are silently watching as the democracy they've always loved face plants in front of their very eyes. People who've never held elected office or who were best known for their leadership in the alt-right movement now have some of the most powerful jobs in the world. For millions of Americans, the appointments are jarring, leading them to believe that anyone — anything — would be better than these people. SEE ALSO: A rat holding a bunch of keys and other predictions I have for President Trump's cabinet Below is a list of everyday household items that would be conceivably more qualified and less dangerous for Trump's America than the people he's chosen.  1. For the position of HUD secretary: this vacuum cleaner Image: nikkytok/ap images Ben Carson appears to be Trump's top pick for Security of Housing and Urban Development. Carson, who ran for president, recently admitted that "he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency." This vacuum cleaner has conceivably spent more time (picking up crumbs) in the Oval Office than Carson has, and at least it doesn't believe that pyramids were built to store grain. 2.  For Attorney General: the sock I found on my living room floor Image: Michal Ludwiczak From the outside, the sock may not look like much. But at least it didn't receive an endorsement from former KKK member David Duke and never once called the NAACP "un-American." Vote sock for Attorney General! 3. For National Security Advisor: this adorable Beanie Baby Say what you will about Beanie Babies, but at least they didn't say that "Islamism" is a "vicious cancer" in the bodies of all Muslims that "has to be excised" like retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. This bear doesn't want to have a war with Iran — it just wants to be cuddled while we're having a war with Iran. Go Beanie Baby Go! 4. For Chief White House Strategist: this roll of paper towels Image: photobalance/ap images Who do you want to direct federal policy: one of the prime leaders of the alt-right who wants to "bitch-slap the Republican Party," or these innocent rolls of paper towels, who just want to clean up your mess? 5. For Vice President: this beautiful Christmas wreath Image: wikimedia Millions of Americans would probably prefer to have this seasonal, affordable Christmas wreath for Vice President than a man who wanted to take away funding for AIDS research and supports conversion therapy for LGBTQ people. 6. For Chief of Staff: a Roomba Image: coffeekai/ap images For many, Roombas and Reince Preibus are basically the same thing: independently moving robots, except Roombas can at least play cool music sometimes.  7. For Director of the CIA: the pillow that you cry into every night Image: Africa Studio/ap images Who do you trust to hold your secrets: your soft pillow that you whisper all your secrets into, or Mike Pompeo, who appears to be super keen on reinstating waterboarding and other forms of torture? 8. For Secretary of Defense: this wooden door Image: koldunova/ap images This wooden door may be more likely to prevent terrorist attacks than a retired Marine general who once proudly exclaimed, "It's fun to shoot some people!"  9. For Secretary of Education: this lamp Image: destina/ap images Say what you will about lamps, but they shed more light into the world than Betsy DeVos, who some worry will destroy public schools.  America, you decide. BONUS: President Obama brings Medal of Freedom winners to tears

Trump picks wealthy activist for education secretary

Trump picks wealthy activist for education secretary

US President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he intends to nominate Betsy DeVos, a wealthy Republican campaigner for alternatives to public schools, as his education secretary. DeVos is the second woman Trump has tapped to fill a cabinet position. DeVos is a Republican megadonor from Michigan who has been active in promoting school choice, a movement that advocates the use of tax credits and vouchers to allow parents to opt out of the public school system.

Ancient 'thinking person' statuette unearthed in Israel

Ancient 'thinking person' statuette unearthed in Israel

A team of Israeli archaeologists and high school students have unearthed a 3,800-year-old pottery jug bearing a statuette of a person who appears deep in thought, sitting with knees bent and head rested on hand. The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Wednesday the jug, dating back to what archaeologists refer to as the Middle Bronze Age, had been found during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb. "It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," said Gilad Itach, who directed the excavation, which included teenage diggers.

In German schools, steep learning curve for refugees and teachers

In German schools, steep learning curve for refugees and teachers

For 15-year-old Mustafa, the trickiest part about learning German is knowing when to use the articles der, die or das. "And the umlaut," his classmate Majd reminds him, sending both Syrian teens groaning in mock frustration at the vowel alteration, one of the quirks of German grammar. Mustafa, Majd and their families were among the nearly 900,000 migrants who streamed into Germany last year.

New DC schools chief pledges to continue reform efforts

New DC schools chief pledges to continue reform efforts

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since Michelle Rhee was brought in to shake up public schools in the nation's capital nine years ago, an outsider will take charge of a school district that's become synonymous with hard-charging urban education reform.

religion

Ransomed: The race to free 226 Christian hostages in Syria

Ransomed: The race to free 226 Christian hostages in Syria

SAARLOUIS, Germany (AP) — Deep inside Syria, a bishop worked secretly to save the lives of 226 members of his flock from the Islamic State group — by amassing millions of dollars from his community around the world to buy their freedom.

Accused South Carolina church shooter defended by attorneys again

Accused South Carolina church shooter defended by attorneys again

Accused white supremacist Dylann Roof got his attorneys back on Monday, after changing his mind about representing himself in the first phase of his federal trial for the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church last year. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Monday granted a request that Roof had filed through a handwritten motion on Sunday. Roof's decision was "knowing, intelligent, voluntary and timely," Gergel said in a court in Charleston, South Carolina, where Roof stood before him in a gray and white prison jumpsuit.

AP PHOTOS: In Cuba, a near-religious farewell to Castro

AP PHOTOS: In Cuba, a near-religious farewell to Castro

In Havana's Plaza of the Revolution, hundreds of thousands paid tribute to images of Fidel Castro and signed oaths of loyalty to the socialist system he created. On the lonely roads of eastern Cuba, crowds waited for hours to salute the casket holding his ashes.

Saudi Arabia names new labor minister, reshuffles religious and Shura councils

Saudi Arabia names new labor minister, reshuffles religious and Shura councils

(Corrects Dec. 2 story to show Shura Council secretary-general, not head, replaced, paragraph 7) RIYADH (Reuters) - King Salman bin Abdulaziz has replaced Saudi Arabia's labor minister, state media reported on Friday, after recent statistics showed a rise in unemployment in the world's top oil exporter. In a royal decree read on state television, the king also reshuffled the country's top religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, and the Shura Council, which advises the government. State television said King Salman had appointed Ali bin Nasser al-Ghafis as labor minister to replace Mufrej al-Haqbani.

Police: Man fatally shot in church wouldn't drop crowbar

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A church break-in escalated into a deadly confrontation in a small Kentucky town Friday when the suspect refused multiple commands to drop a crowbar and advanced toward a deputy sheriff who opened fire, killing the man, police said.

Supreme Court takes Christian-affiliated hospital pension case

Supreme Court takes Christian-affiliated hospital pension case

New Jersey-based St. Peter's Healthcare System, Illinois-based Advocate Health System and California-based Dignity Health each appealed separate federal appeals courts rulings that refused to throw out the employee lawsuits. The justices agreed to hear all three cases.

200,000 Indonesian Muslims protest against Christian governor

200,000 Indonesian Muslims protest against Christian governor

More than 200,000 Indonesian Muslims prayed in unison and chanted Koranic verses Friday in the second major demonstration against Jakarta's Christian governor, as conservative groups push for his arrest for allegedly insulting Islam. People in white Islamic robes and skullcaps packed out a massive park in the capital, with over 20,000 security personnel deployed to prevent a repeat of violence that erupted at the last protest against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, is being prosecuted for blasphemy over election campaign comments he made about the Koran, which have sparked widespread anger in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Did the news media overlook the world's biggest religious gathering?

Pilgrims arrived on foot at the shrines of Imam Hussein and his half-brother Abbas on Nov 20-21, according to the Independent, crossing hundreds of miles in some cases, including territory that borders areas held by the self-proclaimed Islamic State – a Sunni group that routinely targets Shiite civilians, whom they consider heretics. Recommended: Sunni and Shiite Islam: Do you know the difference?

Chinese bishop excommunicated by Vatican takes part in ordination

(Repeat item first published Dec. 1 with no changes to text) * Excommunicated Catholic bishop took part in ordination-witness * Involvement could complicate talks on appointment of new bishops * Beijing and Vatican at odds since 1949 * Communist Party does not accept authority of pope in China * Vatican hopes deal on new bishops will prevent schism in China CHENGDU, China, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A Chinese Catholic bishop excommunicated by the Vatican took part in the ordination of a new bishop in China on Wednesday, a move that some experts said could complicate Pope Francis' drive to heal a decades-old rift with the Communist government in Beijing. The ordination of the new Chinese bishop, which was witnessed by a Reuters reporter, took place under heavy security at the cathedral in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Religious leaders urge Australia to ramp up fight against modern slavery

By Umberto Bacchi LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A group of prominent religious leaders urged Australia on Thursday to introduce laws to ensure forced labor is not used to produce goods sold in the country, saying ending slavery needed to be a national priority. In a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, 18 faith leaders said Australia should follow Britain's lead in getting companies to disclose steps they have taken to clean up their supply chains under its Modern Slavery Act, passed last year. "Every person deserves to live a life of freedom," Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier said in the letter signed by leaders of the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish faiths.

Victim advocates: Pope told of priest arrested in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Advocates for clerical sex abuse victims expressed outrage Thursday that a priest accused of sexually abusing deaf children in Italy wasn't sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis' native Argentina.

Charleston church shooting trial set to begin next week

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The long-awaited federal death penalty trial of the white man charged with the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church is scheduled to get underway next week with the final seating of a jury.

Catholic universities pledge to support undocumented students

More than 70 leaders of Roman Catholic universities pledged their support for undocumented students in a statement made public on Wednesday, vowing to assist vulnerable members of their campus communities in "confronting legal and financial uncertainty and in managing the accompanying anxieties" in the months and years to come. 

Scorsese and Pope Francis swap 'hidden Christians' stories

Scorsese and Pope Francis swap 'hidden Christians' stories

Martin Scorsese and Pope Francis swapped stories about Japan's so-called "hidden Christians" on Wednesday after a Vatican viewing of the director's epic new film on the subject. In a private audience, Scorsese presented the pontiff with two religious Christian paintings from 17th-century Japan which he says helped guide his work on "Silence". The movie, adapted from Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel of the same name, is about two Jesuit missionaries visiting Japan when Christians faced persecution and torture if their faith was discovered.

Slovakia toughens church registration rules to bar Islam

Slovakia passed legislation on Wednesday to effectively block Islam from gaining official status as a religion in the near future in the latest sign of growing anti-Muslim sentiment across the European Union. Prime Minister Robert Fico's government has said Islam has no place in Slovakia. Parliament adopted a bill sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS), junior member in Fico's coalition, that requires a religion to have at least 50,000 members, up from 20,000, to qualify for state subsidies and to run its own schools.

Early morning tornado in Alabama destroys church and day care center

A suspected tornado tore through Alabama overnight through Wednesday morning as severe storms landed in several southeastern states, destroying infrastructure and power lines. Three deaths have been confirmed so far, all in the northeastern Alabama community of Rosalie, and four children were injured in a daycare center in Ider that was razed by the tornado. Up to 20 buildings, including a Baptist church and shopping plaza, were damaged.

Pope Francis urges 'responsible behaviour' to stop AIDS spread

Pope Francis urges 'responsible behaviour' to stop AIDS spread

Pope Francis on Wednesday issued a call for "responsible behaviour" to prevent the spread of AIDS without specifying whether that included wearing condoms. The pontiff also issued a fresh call for every sufferer, no matter how poor, to have access to treatment. In a message ahead of World AIDS Day on Thursday the Argentinian pontiff said millions were living with the disease and "only half of them have access to lifesaving treatment".

Accused South Carolina church shooter, acting as own lawyer, helps pick jurors

Accused South Carolina church shooter, acting as own lawyer, helps pick jurors

The man accused of killing nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last year helped choose jurors on Tuesday for his federal death penalty trial after being allowed to serve as his own lawyer. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against 22-year-old avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof, who is charged with acts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and firearm use that resulted in death. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he was not inclined to let Roof's former lawyers email prosecutors in the case on Roof's behalf despite the prisoner not having email access.

Pope to host Scorsese as new film unveiled to priests

Pope to host Scorsese as new film unveiled to priests

Vatican City (AFP) - "Goodfellas" director Martin Scorsese is to be granted a private audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday after unveiling his latest film to an audience of 400 Jesuits, the Vatican said. "Silence", an adaptation of Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel of the same name, tells the story of two Jesuit missionaries (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who visit 17th century Japan in the footsteps of their mentor (Liam Neeson).

politics

U.S. seeks to reassure Beijing after Trump call with Taiwan leader

U.S. seeks to reassure Beijing after Trump call with Taiwan leader

By Roberta Rampton and Ben Blanchard WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday it had sought to reassure China after President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwan's leader last week, which the Obama administration warned could undermine progress in relations with Beijing. The statement from a spokesman for U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted concerns about the potential fallout from Trump's unusual call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday, which prompted a diplomatic protest from Beijing on Saturday.

Obama to deliver speech defending his counterterrorism fight

Obama to deliver speech defending his counterterrorism fight

By Ayesha Rascoe WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will make the case on Tuesday that his counterterrorism policies have helped protect Americans from evolving international threats as he prepares to hand over the White House to a successor who has been critical of his approach. Obama will deliver his final major speech on national security as president at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. "This represents a more sustainable approach ... one where we had a limited number of U.S. forces on the ground," White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on a call with reporters.

Trump, ex-Vice President Gore meet to talk climate policy

Trump, ex-Vice President Gore meet to talk climate policy

By Amy Tennery and Timothy Gardner NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice in the fight against climate change, and Donald Trump, who at one point called it a hoax, met on Monday in what Gore called a "productive" session. Gore, who lost the 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush, has been devoted for years to lowering carbon emissions blamed for climate change.

California prepares to fight Trump on immigration, other issues

California prepares to fight Trump on immigration, other issues

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Democrat-controlled California are already laying the groundwork to fight President-elect Donald Trump's conservative populist agenda. On Monday, leaders of both houses of the legislature introduced measures to protect undocumented immigrants in the state from efforts by a Trump administration to deport them once the billionaire businessman takes office Jan. 20. The bills followed closely on Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra as attorney general, a high-ranking Democrat who challenged the incoming administration to "come at us" on such issues as climate change, immigration and worker protections.

Fidel Castro’s quiet end

Fidel Castro’s quiet end

Fidel Castro is dead. Castro was believed dead in 1953, after he disappeared during his surprise attack on the Moncada Barracks during an early, failed attempt to overthrow Cuba’s government. Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, receives the box containing the ashes of Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, in Santiago de Cuba, Dec. 4, 2016.

Pat McCrory concedes North Carolina governor's race

Republican North Carolina incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory has conceded the governor’s race to Democrat and current state Attorney General Roy Cooper. The concession ends a nearly monthlong failed recount effort by McCrory’s team. Cooper had already claimed victory on election night.

White House chides Trump for Taiwan call

White House chides Trump for Taiwan call

The White House on Monday scolded Donald Trump over his controversial telephone call with Taiwan’s leader, charging that the president-elect had broken with four decades of bipartisan foreign policy consensus and angered China without reaping any benefits for the United States. “It’s unclear exactly what the strategic effort is, what the aim of the strategic effort is, and it’s unclear exactly what potential benefit could be experienced by the United States, China or Taiwan, but I’ll leave that to them to explain,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing.

Muslim MTA employee, NYPD officer targeted in alleged hate crimes

A uniformed Muslim New York City transit employee was allegedly assaulted Monday by a man who called her a “terrorist” before pushing her down a flight of stairs at a Grand Central Terminal subway station. Officials say the incident was yet another hate crime reported in the wake of a divisive presidential election. The off-duty employee, who was not identified, injured her ankle and knee in the alleged attack, which occurred at about 6:20 a.m., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Donald Trump Meets With Climate Advocate Al Gore

Donald Trump Meets With Climate Advocate Al Gore

"I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued and I’m just going to leave it at that," Gore told reporters of the meeting with the president-elect. Gore also met with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. The meetings with the two Trumps came against the backdrop of the future first daughter also recently meeting with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, an outspoken advocate on climate change issue.

'The Whole World Has Abandoned Us': Aleppo Doctors Fight for Patients' Survival

'The Whole World Has Abandoned Us': Aleppo Doctors Fight for Patients' Survival

Medical personnel inside the besieged city of Aleppo say they have come under attack as an onslaught by government forces backed by Russian air power has pushed deeper into rebel-held territory. “Yesterday, we escaped death,” a nurse working in east Aleppo told ABC News. Airstrikes continued to pound east Aleppo on Monday and intense clashes broke out in the al-Shaar neighborhood, where Syrian government troops advanced, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Gov. Pat McCrory Concedes NC Governor's Race to Democratic Challenger Roy Cooper

Gov. Pat McCrory Concedes NC Governor's Race to Democratic Challenger Roy Cooper

Weeks after Election Day and after requesting a recount, Republican incumbent Pat McCrory conceded the North Carolina gubernatorial race to his Democratic challenger, Roy Cooper. "Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper," McCrory said in a video released Monday by his office. Cooper won 49 percent of the vote, with McCrory close behind at 48.9 percent.

Michigan starts recount; Pennsylvania awaits federal ruling

Michigan starts recount; Pennsylvania awaits federal ruling

DETROIT (AP) — The presidential recount in Michigan expands Tuesday to its largest county, which includes Detroit, and five other large counties, with the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania awaiting action in federal court.

Presidential recount in Michigan expands to Detroit area

Presidential recount in Michigan expands to Detroit area

DETROIT (AP) — The presidential recount in Michigan expands Tuesday to its largest county, which includes Detroit, and five other counties, and the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania awaits action in federal court.

Obama will meet with special ops forces, talk strategy

Obama will meet with special ops forces, talk strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will use a visit with special operations forces on Tuesday to highlight gains the U.S. has made against extremist organizations such as the Islamic State group and to promote what he sees as the most sustainable approach to fighting such groups.

Cazeneuve named French PM as Valls aims for president

Cazeneuve named French PM as Valls aims for president

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was named the country's new prime minister on Tuesday after Manuel Valls resigned to seek the Socialist nomination in next year's presidential election. Cazeneuve, who has overseen the security forces' reaction to a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France over the past two years, will head the Socialist government until the election in May. The widely-respected lawyer was named to the post after President Francois Hollande accepted Valls' resignation.

Trump-linked former US official visits Taiwan

Trump-linked former US official visits Taiwan

A former senior US official with links to Donald Trump's transition team flew to Taipei Tuesday, sparking more speculation over relations with Taiwan after the president-elect's unprecedented call with the island's leader. Stephen Yates, once a deputy national security advisor to former US vice president Dick Cheney, told journalists he was making a long-planned personal trip but did not rule out meetings with senior Taiwanese officials. Tsai's call to Trump on Friday was the first between a Taiwanese leader and an incoming or serving US president since Washington switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

Syria army closes in on key Aleppo district

Syria army closes in on key Aleppo district

Syrian regime forces were on the verge Tuesday of seizing a major rebel district of Aleppo as Moscow and Washington traded barbs over stalled efforts to end fighting in the battle-worn city. After retaking control of about two-thirds of east Aleppo in recent days, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were advancing Tuesday in the large residential district of Shaar. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said if the district is retaken rebel forces will be reduced to a "war of attrition" with the army.

Angela Merkel rebuffs populist claim to German identity

Angela Merkel rebuffs populist claim to German identity

Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday attacked the rise of right-wing populists in Germany, hitting out at opponents of her liberal refugee policy staking a claim to define German national identity. Without mentioning the upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD) party by name, Merkel said Germany must remain "sceptical about easy answers".

Sanctions renewal shows US still 'enemy': Iran's Rouhani

Sanctions renewal shows US still 'enemy': Iran's Rouhani

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Congress's decision to renew US sanctions for 10 years would elicit a "harsh reaction" and proved the United States was still an enemy. The Americans want to put as much pressure on us as they can," Rouhani said in a speech to students at Tehran University. The Iran Sanctions Act passed the US Senate 99-0 last week, after easily clearing the House of Representatives in November.

South Africa GDP growth slows further to 0.2 percent

South Africa GDP growth slows further to 0.2 percent

South Africa's economic growth slowed in the third quarter to 0.2 percent, figures showed Tuesday, highlighting the risk of a damaging credit rating downgrade next year. The country was granted a reprieve in recent weeks when rating agencies did not drop it into "junk" investment category, but they warned of the impact of poor growth. "The agriculture industry posted its seventh consecutive quarter of economic decline, on the back of one of the worst droughts in recent history," Statistics South Africa said in a statement.

Gambia election recount awards Barrow slimmer win

Gambia election recount awards Barrow slimmer win

The Gambia's shock election result awarded president-elect Adama Barrow extra votes by mistake but a recount showed he still won outright, the country's electoral commission told AFP Tuesday. Alieu Momar Njie, chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, said correct counting on the spot in one region had been marred by an error when the results were tabulated centrally. All the candidates have had their final result numbers reduced, but Barrow and third party candidate Mama Kandeh were more heavily affected.

Obama targets Trump in final speech on terror fight

Obama targets Trump in final speech on terror fight

President Barack Obama delivers his final address on the fight against terrorism Tuesday, in a speech aimed at his successor who has not yet publicly outlined his own anti-terror strategy. Speaking from MacDill Air Force Base -- the Florida headquarters of the Special Forces Command and CENTCOM, command for the US military in the Middle East -- Obama will give a rundown of operations in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria during his two terms in office. Obama will touch upon his failed bid to close the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba and his continued strong opposition to the use of torture -- positions greeted with scorn by President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign.

Court backs damage claims over German nuclear exit

Court backs damage claims over German nuclear exit

A German court on Tuesday ruled that energy suppliers can claim compensation over the country's nuclear power phaseout in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, dealing a blow to one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's flagship policies. Judges did not agree with power plant operators that the shutdown ordered by lawmakers in 2011 amounted to an "expropriation" of their assets, but said the government should agree a deal to compensate the firms by June 2018. "It was permissible for lawmakers to take the accident in Fukushima as a prompt to speed up exiting nuclear energy to protect the health of people and the environment," senior judge Ferdinand Kirchhof told the court in Karlsruhe.

Chinese firm buys pub where Cameron, Xi enjoyed pint

Chinese firm buys pub where Cameron, Xi enjoyed pint

A Chinese firm has bought the British pub where last year Chinese President Xi Jinping and then prime minister David Cameron hoisted a pint over fish and chips. The Plough in Cadsden, close to the prime minister's official country residence near London, was bought by SinoFortone Investment for an undisclosed sum, Christie & Co commercial property agent said in a statement on Monday. "The pub became famous in Chinese circles following the visit of President Xi Jinping and it has become quite a tourist attraction for Chinese visitors since," said Neil Morgan, managing director of pubs and restaurants for the company.

Angela Merkel draws up battle lines ahead of 2017 election bid

Angela Merkel draws up battle lines ahead of 2017 election bid

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will outline her battle strategy Tuesday to counter a wave of populism that has consumed key allies abroad, as she launches into campaign mode for next year's elections. Merkel, who has led Germany for 11 years, last month confirmed she would run for a fourth term but acknowledged that the election would be "more difficult" than any other she has contested. Party faithful from her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) gathering for a two-day annual congress in the western city of Essen are expected to overwhelmingly re-elect Merkel as party chief, rallying behind her bid to stay in power.

Asian countries dominate, science teaching criticised in survey

Asian countries dominate, science teaching criticised in survey

Asian countries dominated the top places in the latest PISA survey that measures skills among high school students released on Tuesday, but the report criticised the teaching of science in many countries. The survey of 72 countries and economies found that the quality of science lessons was more important than equipment or even staffing levels. Singapore came top of the table for its teaching of science, reading and mathematics.

‘Trump Has Already Created Lots of Chaos’

Shortly after news broke of Donald Trump’s phone call with the head of Taiwan—the first direct communication between American and Taiwanese leaders in 37 years—one of the leading Chinese scholars of U.S.-China relations offered a stunning proposal: If the U.S. president-elect took similar actions as president, the Chinese government should suspend the world’s most important (and precarious) partnership. “I would close our embassy in Washington and withdraw our diplomats,” said Shen Dingli, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. “I would be perfectly happy to end the relationship.”

Indonesia expands protection for peatlands

Indonesia expands protection for peatlands

Indonesia has extended legal protection for its wetlands and peat bogs by expanding a ban on the conversion of these carbon-rich swamps into plantations. The move, if properly enforced, could drastically reduce Indonesia's sizeable carbon footprint and prevent a repeat of the annual forest fires that plague the region, conservationists say. A moratorium on new conversions of certain peatland areas has been in place since 2011 in Indonesia.

Eurogroup head wants 'different attitude' from UK on Brexit

Eurogroup head wants 'different attitude' from UK on Brexit

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem urged Britain on Tuesday to show a "different attitude" in talks with the EU, warning of a disorderly Brexit if London fails to change. Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of 19 eurozone finance ministers, issued the warning as his British counterpart insisted a smooth Brexit was still possible. "It can be smooth and it can be orderly, but requires a different attitude I think on the part of the British government," Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, told reporters as he arrived for talks with all 28 EU finance ministers in Brussels.

Uganda rebel Ongwen: victim turned killer

Uganda rebel Ongwen: victim turned killer

Abducted by gunmen as a 10-year-old boy on his way to school, Dominic Ongwen rose to become one of the most feared commanders in Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The former child soldier, now in his early 40s, went on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday for crimes committed in Uganda, including keeping sex slaves and recruiting child soldiers. Ongwen, known as the "White Ant", is the first leader of the brutal Ugandan rebel army led by the fugitive Joseph Kony to appear before the ICC, created to try the world's worst crimes.

British PM joins Gulf summit for post-Brexit trade talks

British PM joins Gulf summit for post-Brexit trade talks

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to join Gulf Arab leaders at a summit in Bahrain on Tuesday for talks on trade after Britain's exit from the European Union. Defence ties are also expected to loom high on the agenda as Britain builds a new naval base in Bahrain. Advocacy groups urged May to use the opportunity to raise human rights concerns too.

LeBron James steers clear of Trump hotel - report

LeBron James steers clear of Trump hotel - report

LeBron James is among a group of Cleveland Cavaliers players who have refused to stay in a hotel affiliated with President-elect Donald Trump when the NBA champions visit New York later this week, it was reported Monday. ESPN cited multiple team sources as saying that James, who endorsed Trump's rival Hillary Clinton during last month's election, would not stay with other team members at the Trump SoHo hotel in Manhattan for this week's game against the Knicks. The 46-story luxury building, which opened in 2010, is branded with Trump's name through a licensing agreement.

'Rookie' Trump must fall into line: China media

'Rookie' Trump must fall into line: China media

Donald Trump is a "diplomatic rookie" who must learn not to cross Beijing on issues like trade and Taiwan, Chinese state media said Tuesday, warning America could pay dearly for his naivety. Trump's protocol-shattering call with Taiwan's president and a subsequent Twitter tirade against Beijing's policies could risk upending the delicate balance between the world's two largest economies, major media outlets said. The nationalist Global Times newspaper's Chinese edition also ran a page-one story on Trump's "inability to keep his mouth shut", damning his "provocation and falsehoods".

crime-trials

Ex-coup leader, DEA fugitive wins Haitian Senate seat

Ex-coup leader, DEA fugitive wins Haitian Senate seat

By Makini Brice PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A former Haitian coup leader wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for alleged cocaine trafficking and money laundering has won election to Haiti's Senate, according to preliminary results released by the electoral council. Guy Philippe defeated all other candidates in the second round of elections, held on Nov. 20, for the southwestern Grand Anse region, which is still recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew. "Victory, thank you Grand Anse," said a message posted on Philippe's Facebook page late on Sunday.

Man sentenced in Capitol plot yells: 'Allah is in control!'

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge who voiced doubts about a man's remorse and commitment against jihadist violence Monday sentenced him to 30 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol, drawing an outburst in support of Allah as he was led away in shackles.

Ohio man sentenced for plotting to attack Capitol

An Ohio man was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge on Monday for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol with guns and bombs in sympathy with Islamic State militants. Christopher Cornell, 22, of Green Township, Ohio, near Cincinnati was arrested in January 2015 and accused of planning to travel to Washington to attack the U.S. Capitol during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Georgia man sentenced to life for toddler's 'hot car' murder

Georgia man sentenced to life for toddler's 'hot car' murder

A Georgia man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for intentionally leaving his toddler son to die inside a sweltering sport utility vehicle on a summer day, a judge ruled on Monday. Justin Ross Harris, 35, was found guilty last month of felony murder, as well as counts of first- and second-degree cruelty to a child in connection with the June 2014 death of the 22-month-old boy, Cooper. The former Home Depot web developer was also convicted of criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of a child because of explicit texts he sent to a teenage girl.

Jury selection begins in trial of man accused of killing ex-NFL star

Jury selection begins in trial of man accused of killing ex-NFL star

Jury selection began on Monday in the murder trial of a Louisiana man accused of fatally shooting retired NFL player Will Smith and wounding the athlete's wife following an April vehicle collision in New Orleans. Cardell Hayes, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Smith, a former defensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints and a prominent member of the team during their 2010 Super Bowl victory. Smith, who was 34 and had retired from the National Football League in 2014, was shot eight times on the night of April 9 and his body was found slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes SUV, according to police.

Man arrested in Sweden on terrorism charges following mosque arson: SVT

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism crimes following an October arson attack on a mosque in the southern Swedish town of Malmo, local media reported on Monday. The man, in his thirties who was not identified, was arrested on Saturday and is suspected of setting fire to a local mosque in Malmo on October 11, Swedish Television reported.

Former Israeli business tycoon sentenced to two years in jail

Former Israeli business tycoon sentenced to two years in jail

Nochi Dankner, once one of Israel's most powerful businessmen who lost his business empire in the global financial crisis, was sentenced on Monday to two years in jail after being found guilty in July of manipulating share prices. In February 2012, after things had turned sour for his business empire, Dankner propped up the price of shares in his conglomerate IDB to help a stock offering, a Tel Aviv district court judge found in July. At the time, IDB had a complex pyramid of control with multiple levels of holding firms and subsidiaries.

France upholds 25-year jail term for Rwanda genocide convict

France upholds 25-year jail term for Rwanda genocide convict

A French court on Saturday upheld a 25 year prison sentence handed to a former Rwandan intelligence agent jailed in France's first trial over the African country's 1994 genocide. Pascal Simbikangwa was found guilty of genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity in a landmark 2014 trial that marked a turning point in France's approach to genocide suspects living on its soil. "We were naive -- we wanted to believe that he would not be sentenced in advance," his lawyer Fabrice Epstein said as she left the court in Bobigny outside Paris.

Teenager arrested, charged in classmate's decapitation

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — A 16-year-old has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of his 16-year-old classmate whose headless body was found near the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Afghan teen arrested over German murder-rape

Afghan teen arrested over German murder-rape

A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested on suspicion of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old female student in Germany, police and prosecutors said Saturday. The 17-year-old Afghan was arrested on Friday after his DNA was found at the scene of the crime and he was identified on CCTV, authorities in the south-west German town of Freiburg told a press conference. The Afghan, who has said nothing to investigators about the alleged crimes, arrived in Germany in 2015 as an unaccompanied minor and had been living with a host family.

IS jihadist linked to French plot arrested in Morocco

IS jihadist linked to French plot arrested in Morocco

A suspected Islamic State group jihadist who delivered instructions to a cell planning to carry out an attack in France has been arrested in Morocco, authorities said Saturday. The suspect was linked with a French IS cell that had planned to attack Paris on Thursday but was broken up by French authorities in November, the Moroccan interior ministry said. The orders came from the jihadist group in territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.