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Venezuela shuts border with Caribbean islands ahead of aid efforts Sources: Machado, Padres reach $300M deal

Venezuela shuts border with Caribbean islands ahead of aid effortsMaduro has rejected offers of foreign aid, denying there are widespread shortages and insisting that the country's economic problems are the result of sanctions by Washington. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by dozens countries as the legitimate head of state, has said that food and medicine provided in part by the United States will enter Venezuela by land and sea on Saturday. The closure blocks movement of boats and aircraft between the western Venezuelan coastal state of Falcon and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, said Vice Admiral Vladimir Quintero, who heads a military unit in Falcon.


Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star who had a .297 batting average with 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and a career-high .905 OPS last season, has reached a deal with the Padres, sources told ESPN.
Man punches and throws hot coffee on Sikh 7-Eleven clerk because he 'hates Muslims' Brown, Rooney meet, agree 'time to move on'

Man punches and throws hot coffee on Sikh 7-Eleven clerk because he 'hates Muslims'A man has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly attacking a Sikh employee of a California 7-Eleven convenience store. The man can allegedly be seen on surveillance footage punching the employee, and throwing coffee on him after he attempted to leave without paying for coffee. The man, identified by police as John Crain, was arrested by the Marysville Police Department.


Embattled receiver Antonio Brown tweeted he had a "great meeting" with Steelers president Art Rooney II on Tuesday, but that both sides "agreed that it is time to move on."
Jihadi bride Shamima Begum gives birth and says 'people should have sympathy for me' UNC-Duke tickets approaching Super Bowl prices

Jihadi bride Shamima Begum gives birth and says 'people should have sympathy for me'The British schoolgirl who ran away to join Isil has appealed for public sympathy following the birth of her son, as a row intensifies over whether she should be allowed to return to the UK. Shamima Begum, 19, went to Syria in 2015 and was discovered there in a refugee camp last week, heavily pregnant and insisting she wanted to go home. The birth of her child over the weekend prompted calls for the baby to be subject to care proceedings should Begum be able to return from Syria, as it emerged that the Family Division of the High Court had presided over cases involving at least 150 children deemed at risk of radicalisation in the last five years. In an interview with Sky News recorded at the Kurdish-controlled camp to which she fled from the last pocket of Isil-controlled territory, Begum said there was “no evidence” she had done anything wrong and she could not see “any reason” why her child should be taken from her when she had simply been living as a housewife. Speaking just hours after giving birth, her baby at her side, she said she had no regrets about fleeing the family home in Bethnal Green, east London, to support Isil, claiming the experience had made her “stronger, tougher”. Shamima Begum's Dutch-born husband Yago Riedjik She said she could see a future for herself and her son, whom she has named Jarah after one of the two children she lost to malnutrition and disease in the last three months, “if the UK are willing to take me back and help me start a new life again and try and move on from everything that’s happened in the last four years”. She added: “I wouldn’t have found someone like my husband [Yago Riedijk, 26, a Muslim convert from the Netherlands] in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there.” Her other children, Jarah and Surayah, a daughter, died aged 18 months and nine months. Asked how she felt about the debate over whether she should be allowed to return home, Begum said: “I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through. “I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left, I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they let me come back.  “I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible.” In the interview, Begum apologised for the first time to her family for running away, and said that though she knew it was “like a big slap in the face” for her to ask after she had previously rejected their calls for her to return, “I really need their help”. Isil bride Shamima Begum | Read more Tim Loughton, deputy chairman of the home affairs select committee, said he thought it “extraordinary” that Begum was asking to come back while showing “not a scintilla of regret”. The Conservative MP added: “My own feeling is in line with most others, that she has made her bed and should lie in it. But the law must prevail and we are probably going to have to let her back. “However, I think her child should be subjected to care proceedings due to the threat of radicalisation.” He said a forthcoming report by the Henry Jackson Society disclosed that the Family Division of the High Court had presided over cases involving at least 150 children deemed at risk of radicalisation in the last five years. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, said last week that he would “not hesitate” to prevent the return of anyone who supported terrorist organisations abroad. He reiterated his stance in a Sunday newspaper article, expressing compassion for any child born or brought into a conflict zone, but stating that the safety and security of children living in this country had to be the priority. Isil schoolgirls' journey into Syria Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary and former Attorney General, said Britain was “obliged” to take back British citizens.  However, he added: “That doesn’t mean that we can’t put in place the necessary security measures to monitor their activities. It doesn’t mean either that we can’t seek to hold them to account for their behaviour thus far.”  He said the nationality of Begum’s baby was a “difficult question”, but the pair’s health was the most pressing matter. “In the end she will have to answer for her actions,” he added. “So I think it is right that if she’s able to come back to the UK that she does so on the understanding that we can hold her to account for her behaviour thus far.” Begum said she was attracted to Isil by videos that she had seen online, which she said showed “how they’ll take care of you”. She said she knew that the group carried out beheadings, but that she “was OK with it at first. I started becoming religious just before I left and from what I heard Islamically that is all allowed”. “At first it was nice,” she said of life in the so-called Islamic State. “It was how they showed it in the videos, you know, you come, make a family together, but then things got harder.  “We had to keep moving and moving and moving. The situation got fraught.” Begum acknowledged that it would be “really hard” to be rehabilitated after everything she had been through.   “I’m still in that mentality of planes over my head, emergency backpacks, starving... it would be a big shock to go back to the UK and start again,” she said. Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Javid said that decisions about what to do with potential returnees had to be made on a case-by-case basis, based on the “facts of each case, the law and the threat to national security”. He added: “I think about the children that could in future get caught up in dangerous groups if we don’t take a firm stance against those who support them… And that means sending a message to those who have backed terrorism: there will be consequences.” His comments were described as “sick” by Begum’s lawyer on Sunday. Tasnime Akunje told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “We are talking about a newborn baby who poses no risk or threat to anybody, [who is] not even cognitive, and yet he’s speaking about a child who’s a British citizen in terms of a security threat.” Mr Akunje suggested that the birth of Begum’s child increased pressure on the British authorities to allow her to return home. He also revealed that Begum’s family has struggled to make direct contact with her and is now considering the possibility of getting out to Syria themselves. Her family has indicated that if she is jailed for supporting a terrorist group, they want to step in and raise her son themselves. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.


The cheapest ticket to Wednesday's UNC-Duke game is approaching Super Bowl prices, thanks to Zion Williamson. If you're interested in squeezing into Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch the legendary rivalry, it'll cost you at least $2,500.
Jussie Smollett attack: Brothers claim 'Empire' actor staged attack after threatening letter, source says Canes' owner invests $250 million, will chair AAF

Jussie Smollett attack: Brothers claim 'Empire' actor staged attack after threatening letter, source saysTwo brothers told police Smollett staged an attack on himself because he was upset a threatening letter he received a week prior did not get enough attention, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.


Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has invested $250 million in the upstart Alliance of American Football and will become the new chairman of the venture.
McCabe and 60 Minutes Avoid Discussing Why Russia Factored in Comey’s Firing Adesanya-Gastelum for interim title at UFC 236

McCabe and 60 Minutes Avoid Discussing Why Russia Factored in Comey’s FiringAndrew McCabe is a good witness and he made a favorable impression, at least on me, in his 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley. Pelley and his editors did a great job highlighting McCabe’s down-to-earth likability. Unlike Jim Comey, a career prosecutor and corporate lawyer before he became FBI director, former deputy director McCabe is a career agent; his relation of events smacks of the Bureau’s “just the facts, ma’am” ethos. And McCabe’s account of Trump telling him to ask his wife what it was like to be a “loser” (after she lost a Virginia state senate race) is devastating, precisely because it sounds just like something Trump would say.That aside, there are problems with McCabe’s story.First, Pelley failed to ask him the screamingly obvious questions: What about Russia did Trump want included in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo supporting Comey’s dismissal? McCabe obliquely said Trump wanted Rosenstein “to put Russia in” the memo about Comey (I’m quoting from memory). But Pelley never asked what in particular about Russia Trump wanted included. What about Russia was Trump referring to when he spoke — in conversations with NBC News and Russian diplomats — of Russia’s part in Comey’s firing? Pelley highlighted the word “Russia,” but he sidestepped what Trump was concerned about regarding Russia.The viewer was thus left to conclude, from McCabe’s other comments, that Trump must have fired the FBI director because he was fearful of the Bureau’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the election; because he was concerned that the FBI would find that Russia intended to benefit Trump and would therefore deduce that Trump was complicit.But that is misleading. We know that what Trump wanted made public was something very specific about Russia, namely, that Comey repeatedly told the president he was not a suspect in the Russia investigation. Trump was frustrated — over time, ballistic — over the fact that Comey was privately telling him that he was not under investigation, yet making statements that would lead the public to believe Trump was suspected of conspiring in Russia’s hacking operations. Trump wanted Comey to state publicly that he was not a suspect; Comey’s refusal to do so made no sense to the president, especially after Comey gratuitously implied, in his stunning March 2017 House testimony, that Trump was a suspect.Pelley never asked McCabe about this. It might have been interesting. McCabe’s statements in the interview support the theory I have long posited here: Trump was always the main subject in the investigation. The real reason Comey did not want to repeat publicly the assurances he made to Trump privately is that these assurances were misleading. The FBI strung Trump along, telling him he was not a suspect while structuring the investigation in accordance with the reality that Trump was the main subject. This is why, as Comey conceded in Senate testimony, a member of his advisory team was very uncomfortable with the director’s decision to assure Trump he was not a suspect. (See the last section of my column, here.) Just because the president’s name was not put on the file, just because he was not named as the intended target of a surveillance warrant, did not mean that they were not investigating him. They were hoping to surveil him incidentally, and they were trying to make a case on him. I believe that a big part of the reason Comey did not inform the congressional Gang of Eight about the investigation (even though such sensitive matters are what the Gang of Eight is for) is that he would not have been able to explain the contradiction of claiming both that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for complicity with Russia to help Trump win and that Trump himself was not a suspect.Obviously, what Trump wanted Rosenstein to put in his memo was not just anything about Russia but specifically that Comey had said Trump was not a suspect. We know that because Trump put on Rosenstein’s memo a cover letter pointing out that Comey had told him three times that he was not a suspect.When Trump spoke to NBC, he explicitly said he was not shutting the Russia investigation down; he simply did not trust Comey to do it right. Trump even acknowledged that the effect of firing Comey might be to “expand” and “lengthen” the investigation but that this was worth it because he lacked confidence in Comey. One can disagree with Trump’s assessment of Comey’s capabilities. (I know from experience that Comey is highly capable.) But Trump is president, he gets to make that judgment, and making it does not mean he is obstructing an investigation, especially when he took no steps to limit it. (McCabe’s suggestion that the Russia investigation might have disappeared if he didn’t open an investigation of Trump after Comey’s firing is absurd.)While Trump’s abomination of Comey in remarks to the Russian diplomats was disgraceful, his statement that removing Comey relieved pressure on him owing to Russia did not mean Comey’s removal ended the Russia investigation. Again, he never took any step to close or even restrict the investigation; in his mind, the pressure was off him because he was finally able to inform the American people that their president was not suspected of a traitorous conspiracy with the Kremlin — information he was livid at Comey for withholding.The second big problem with McCabe’s story involves his stated fear that Trump could be interfering in the FBI’s probe of Russia’s interference in the election. This brings us to my oft-rehearsed focus on salient differences between counterintelligence and criminal investigations.Let’s put aside that Trump has never lifted a finger to prevent the FBI and other intelligence agencies from examining Russia’s meddling in the campaign. It is illogical to speak of a president obstructing a counterintelligence investigation. Unlike criminal investigations, which are designed to uphold the rule of law through court prosecution, counterintelligence investigations are done strictly for the president’s benefit. They gather intelligence in order to help the president carry out his mission to protect the nation against foreign threats. In our constitutional system, that mission is assigned to the president, not to the FBI — notwithstanding McCabe’s apparent belief to the contrary. If the president suddenly decided that quite enough investigation had been done to determine the nature and extent of Russia’s election interference, and that he wanted those intelligence resources to be targeted at other threats, that would be his call to make.You could argue that it was a foolish call, even a reckless one. I thought it was reckless for President Obama to ignore intelligence that Iran was the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism so that he could cut a naïve nuclear deal with Tehran; but that was his call to make — the American people having elected him to be responsible for our security against foreign threats.Significantly, it would be different if McCabe had said that the FBI had a factual basis in evidence to believe that Trump was complicit in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin. In that situation, if Trump tried to restrict or shut down the probe, he would be obstructing a criminal investigation into his own suspected crimes. But McCabe does not make that claim. He concedes, instead, that FBI agents were conducting a counterintelligence investigation in which they suspected that Russia favored Trump in the election but did not claim to have evidence that Trump was complicit in any violations of criminal law.As to Trump, then, the FBI was not conducting a criminal investigation that the firing of Comey could conceivably have obstructed. The Bureau was conducting a counterintelligence investigation, which is done in support of the president’s constitutional duties. It is up to the president, not the FBI, to determine what the president’s intelligence needs are. (By McCabe’s lights, a mid-level FBI supervisor can shut down a counterintelligence investigation conducted for the purpose of informing the president, but the president himself may not interfere in any way.)In any event, the president merely removed the FBI director, which he did not need any reason to do; which he is empowered to do at will, even for dumb reasons. Trump did not order the Russia investigation closed or restricted. And to the extent he said the Russia investigation played a role in Comey’s firing, he was clearly referring to Comey’s refusal to state publicly what he was assuring the president privately — that the president was not a suspect.


Israel Adesanya will face Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 for the interim middleweight title while champion Robert Whittaker continues to recover from emergency surgery earlier this month.


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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.

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.

In a Five to Four Decision, Voting Just Got Harder

In a five to four decision along party lines, the Supreme Court ruled on the controversial Shelby County v. Holder case. The ruling, believed by many sets the nation back decades in Civil Rights, while others see it as the fault of Congress dropping the ball on updating the act when it should have years ago.

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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