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    The Department of Defense is experiencing difficulties conducting its over-the-horizon capabilities in Afghanistan in the time since the U.S. military withdrew, according to the inspector general. Since withdrawing, the department’s policy has been to rely on its ability to conduct strikes from afar to conduct counterterrorism operations, without a single strike taking place since America's military finished its departure from Afghanistan. The inspector general's office released its quarterly report on Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on Tuesday, which laid out the terrorism situation in Afghanistan. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CHIEFS GIVE UPDATE ON AFGHAN TERRORIST THREAT “Without a presence on the ground, the DoD relies on aviation assets to collect intelligence, surveil terrorist targets, and carry out airstrikes on terrorist targets. The DoD therefore requires overflight agreements with another bordering nation to enter Afghan airspace,” the report read, later noting that the only neighboring country that allows the United States to use its airspace to enter Afghanistan's is Pakistan. The U.S. is “limited” in its ability to gather intelligence, the report explained, and it noted another challenge was the required flight time to...
    PRESIDENT Xi Jinping is suffering from a deadly brain aneurysm as he faces a coup over China's devastating Covid lockdowns, it is reported. The Chinese president, 68, reportedly wanted to be treated with traditional medicine rather than undergoing major surgery after he was rushed to hospital. 3Chinese President Xi Jinping is said to have suffered a deadly brain aneurysmCredit: AP 3China's President Xi Jinping (left) and China's Premier Li KeqiangCredit: AFP or licensors 3China has a zero-Covid policy, imposing harsh lockdowns across huge areas of the countryCredit: Getty According to news agency ANI, Xi suffered the "cerebral aneurysm" at the end of 2021. Rumours about the state of Xi's health have been swirling for years, with fresh speculation sparked by his unexplained absence from the Beijing Winter Olympics. In March 2019, during a visit to Italy and France, Xi was spotted with a noticeable limp and needing help while trying to sit down. And addressing the public in Shenzhen in October 2020 - at the height of the Covid pandemic - observers noted his slow speech and coughing. Read...
    (CNN)Senate Democrats are struggling to find a path forward to pass a fresh round of Covid-19 aid as they grapple with a difficult choice over whether to allow a vote on a contentious Trump-era pandemic restriction on the border that divides their party and puts vulnerable moderates in a tough spot. The issue has stalled a Covid package for over a month, a delay that has only served to highlight how congressional Democrats have yet to implement a workable plan to break the impasse and enact a key priority for the party even as the Biden administration warns the aid is desperately needed. The bill continues to dog Congress -- even though the White House insisted months ago that $22.5 billion was needed so the US can be prepared for another surge, allowing more Americans to be vaccinated, tested and treated alongside the risk of new variants. Back in March, congressional leaders on both sides cut a $16 billion deal, short of the White House's ask. But then rank-and-file House Democrats rebelled over the spending cuts Republicans wanted as a...
    Yet in the face of significant revenue decline over EV volatility, Ford's CEO Jim Farley restated his commitment to going electric in an earnings call Wednesday, though he claimed Ford would take a different approach than competitors. "I want to make this very clear: Some companies seem to be pursuing a strategy of trying to match model-wise volume with eight or nine top hats — that's not a winning plan in our view," Farley said, according to Yahoo News. The statement was an apparent dig at General Motors' EV strategy. "As we move forward, our EV designs will be progressive and they're going to be aimed at bringing new customers to Ford and Lincoln. They will not be electric versions of our existing lineup," he explained. Ford is currently aiming to sell 2 million EVs annually by 2026 and is targeting 50% EV sales by 2030, as required by an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in August 2021.Anything else?Both Ford and Rivian also blamed continued supply chain issues for their first-quarter difficulties. Rivian, in particular, appeared...
    A woman walks past huge placards bearing images of Russian President Vladimir Putin and reading "Russia does not start wars, it ends them"and "We will aim for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine" in the city center of Simferopol, Crimea, on March 4, 2022.Stringer | AFP | Getty Images Russia's military strategy in Ukraine is in the spotlight after it claimed it was going to change tack, but after multiple false flags and broken promises from Russia there are major doubts over the Kremlin's real intentions. There was surprise and suspicion in some quarters on Friday when Russia announced that the first phase of its "special military operation" (as it calls its invasion of Ukraine) was complete. It said it would now refocus on Ukraine's breakaway eastern Donbas region, where there are two pro-Russian self-proclaimed republics. "The main objectives of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished," Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate, said in a speech Friday. "The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced, which...
    It remains to be seen, however, what strength of response NATO countries, including the U.S., would offer. President Biden has thus far been tepid and diplomatic in his approach to Russia's aggression in Eastern Europe. Though it depends on who you ask. In a press conference Thursday, Biden responded to Russia's unprovoked military invasion by unleashing a slew of sanctions he said would be "devastating" — in "another month or so." The U.S. has also been supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government, as well. But when pressed by reporters Thursday on whether more could be done — such as personally sanctioning Putin and removing Russia from SWIFT, an international banking cooperative, for starters — Biden demurred. Politico reported Thursday that Putin was "playing Biden all along." Reuters, too, reported that Biden's negotiating returned zero results. Other voices, some notorious, chimed in with varying degrees of criticism. Despite the president's tough rhetoric toward the would-be tyrant in the past, during meetings this year, Biden attempted to appeal to Putin's reason, pleading with him to "return to diplomacy" for the sake of...
    Opponents of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students have extended the reach of their litigation to a Westside charter school after filing high-profile suits against the state’s two largest-school systems, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified. A lawsuit filed Jan. 18 targets New West Charter on behalf of unnamed students at the school, alleging that the school’s student vaccine mandate is unnecessary, discriminatory and in violation of California laws regarding vaccine policy. The litigation against New West was filed on behalf of Let Them Breathe, a San Diego County-based organization that also has opposed mask mandates for students. “Keeping healthy children out of the classroom is contrary to California law, is not necessary to reduce cases of COVID-19 in schools, and is not in the best interest of students, parents or schools,” according to the complaint by the group whose website describes it as “a quickly growing group of over 30K parents” who advocate for choice in education. The school administrators say that it is within their rights to implement the vaccine mandate and other coronavirus safety...
    BARINAS, Venezuela (AP) — Iglenda Monzón lost her restaurant to Venezuela’s protracted economic crisis. Her daughters then emigrated to Colombia to find work and left behind two children. She and the boys sometimes go hungry and often do not have running water, electricity or gas. Theirs is a common tale across the troubled South American country, and like millions of others desperate for a change, Monzón voted in the country’s recent regional elections. Her ballot contributed to a deeply symbolic opposition win in the heartland of the ruling socialist party. But just by casting a ballot, she stepped into the most divisive issue for parties seeking a new government — whether or not to take part in elections most see as deeply unfair. The gubernatorial victory in the northwest state of Barinas — where the late President Hugo Chávez was born and his family governed for more than two decades — has been celebrated by the opposition. Voters like Monzón who contributed to that win see ballots as a tool for the change they crave. “(Change) is by vote,...
    Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images Former New York City police commissioner and Donald Trump ally Bernard Kerik has given up a trove of documents to investigators working with the House Select Committee for January 6th. Politico reports that Kerik’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, gave up the documents containing several strategies that Trump and his associates considered using for Trump’s attempt to legally challenge his 2020 election defeat. One lengthy set of documents is called “STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PLAN – GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM.” Kerik is an ally of Rudy Giuliani’s, and the documents reportedly outlined a proposal to lean on Republican lawmakers from 6 swing states and get them to vote against certifying Trump’s loss to Joe Biden. “The document says its primary channels to disseminate messaging on these efforts included ‘presidential tweets’ as well as talk radio, conservative bloggers, social media influencers, Trump campaign volunteers and other media allies,” the report explains. It also says that members of the House Freedom Caucus — many of whom backed Trump’s attempts to overturn the election — were identified as “key team...
    Los Angeles County schools lost over 92,000 in-person school days during a period of just over one month in the fall due to quarantine rules, a CDC study found. That number, however, could have been higher if some of the schools did not implement a testing strategy for exposed students that prevented them from sending home classrooms full of students, according to the study released on Friday. Those schools implemented a Test to Stay program that allowed students who are exposed to COVID to stay in school as long as they wear a mask, undergo two COVID tests per week and quarantine while they are not in school.  They must also remain asymptomatic to return to class.  Schools that implemented the strategy, the Centers for Disease Control found, had fewer cases of transmission between students and were able to keep students in the classroom more often. Los Angeles County schools lost over 92,000 days of in-person learning due to strict quarantine rules from September 20 to October 31, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control. California Gov....
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that a total of 92,455 in-person school days in Los Angeles County were lost during a period of just over a month in the fall due to quarantine measures. In an evaluation of different coronavirus quarantine measures by the CDC released on Friday, the government agency revealed that some schools in Los Angeles County were able to avoid sending massive numbers of students home due to virus exposure by using a strategy called "Test to Stay." According to the evaluation, the "Test to Stay" strategy allows unvaccinated students who are exposed to someone infected by the coronavirus to stay in school, as long as they properly wear a mask and undergo two coronavirus tests per week. The exposed student also must remain asymptomatic. The evaluation was posted to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Dec. 17. US SCHOOLS BRING BACK REMOTE LEARNING AMID COVID-19 RISE, CHALLENGING BIDEN GOAL OF KEEPING THEM OPEN A student waits to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Los Angeles,...
    Climate campaigners are going after oil and fossil fuel companies for not being compatible with the UK’s net-zero goal. The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority adopted a new corporate strategy to achieve its goal of “maximis[ing] economic recovery,” but climate campaigners say that it will ultimately harm the UK to prioritize money over the climate. Activists also brought up the spending of tax dollars during the court hearing as activists claim that the money is often going to the fossil fuel industry. Many fossil fuel companies are foreign-owned, meaning that the money is flowing outside of the UK. The Oil and Gas Authority’sstrategy also involved requiring cutting emissions associated with production, supporting carbon capture and storage projects, and moving to advance clean hydrogen production. However, activists insist that this is still not going to do enough. They argue that the UK government should not have approved the strategy as it will not help the UK reach zero net emissions by 2050.  The case is still ongoing as activists continue to fight to halt this strategy and replace it with one...
    THE Queen has reportedly been "left in the dark" over Prince Andrew's defence strategy on his sex assault claims - despite forking out for his legal fees. It's understood the Duke of York has had "little or no discussion" with the senior royals including Prince Charles and Prince William over accusations 2Prince Andrew has always strongly denied allegations 2The Duke of York has reportedly left the Queen 'in the dark' about his plans to battle claims Sources told the Mirror Andrew has been "less than forthcoming" about how he plans to fight allegations made by Virginia Giuffre. A palace insider said: "Everyone from the very top has been left in the dark." Andrew, 61, is battling a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Epstein sex slave Virginia Roberts Giuffre which claims he sexually abused her three times in 2001 when she was 17. The royal strongly denies the offences. It comes as Andrew's hearing looms on January 4, with sources claiming he has ordered his legal team to cancel their Christmas plans so they can focus on his sexual assault case. Andrew...
    Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called it a “fact” that gas prices are “too high,” saying the public is experiencing a “short-term pinch” amid the transition to green energy. She called the administration’s efforts “a bridge to a longer-term issue.” But questions about the administration’s response to surging gas prices, including a plan to tap the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to release 50 barrels of oil , about three days worth of supply, prompted vague answers. Asked how many barrels of oil the United States consumes per day, Granholm declined to answer. “I don’t have that number in front of me,” she told reporters. “Sorry.” BIDEN FORFEITS’ ABILITY TO SCAPEGOAT POWELL’ WITH FED PICK, LIBERALS SAY “We’re not saying that we’re going to be supplying all oil for the country. We’re just kind of trying to do what we can temporarily,” Granholm said, calling it “the largest effort ever.” Gas prices have surged in the U.S. and abroad, with President Joe Biden noting in earlier remarks it has reached $7 a gallon in France and $5.50 a gallon...
    In this article WMT TGT Getty ImagesWalmart and Target put up strong third-quarter performances this week, beat Wall Street's expectations and spoke of holiday shoppers already starting to splurge on gifts and gatherings this season. Yet the investor response was swift: A brutal sell-off. Target shares were down about 5% Wednesday. Walmart closed down nearly 3% on Tuesday, after its earnings report. Shares continued to drop Wednesday, erasing all its gains year-to-date. The two sides are at odds on the retailers' strategy of absorbing some of the rising costs of shipping, labor and materials rather than passing them on to customers with higher prices. Both Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Target CEO Brian Cornell have drawn a clear line. Their strategy: Keep prices low in a bid for customer loyalty — even if it means a hit to profits. The pushback they're hearing is: Why not charge shoppers more? Americans have had a ravenous appetite for shopping. They socked away money during the pandemic and the holiday forecasts are rosy. McMillon said Walmart must uphold its reputation...
    Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush issued a statement Monday appearing to accuse Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin of taking a racist and misogynistic position. Bush published the statement after Manchin, whose opposition to the Build Back Better spending package could prevent its passage, said that he could not support legislation that contained “shell games” and “budget gimmicks” that hid its true cost and the impact it could have on the national debt. (RELATED: ‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Manchin Blasts Build Back Better Negotiating Process) “Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country,” Bush tweeted. Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country. pic.twitter.com/aG7zBuyMQy — Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) November 1, 2021 In her statement, Bush argued that the Build Back Better Act would “benefit black, brown and indigenous communities” – and then argued that “Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant.” Fire from Cori Bush on Joe Manchin: “Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country....
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, is breaking with Gov. Tom Wolf on the centerpiece of Wolf’s plan to fight climate change amid the strong and sustained pushback it has received from building trades unions that have long backed the party’s candidates for governor. Wolf — a fellow Democrat who has endorsed Shapiro, the state’s two-term attorney general — has worked for two years to finalize regulations to make Pennsylvania the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy by imposing a price on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. READ MORE: 'Stand Up And Speak Out Against Antisemitism': President Biden, Other Pa. Officials Offer Tree Of Life RemembrancesWolf has called it a “historic, proactive and progressive approach that will have significant positive environmental, public health and economic impacts.” But Shapiro, in a statement from his 2-week-old campaign, suggested that Wolf’s plan — which involves joining the multistate consortium, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI — does not satisfy criticism that it will hurt the state’s energy industry, drive up electric...
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, is breaking with Gov. Tom Wolf on the centerpiece of Wolf’s plan to fight climate change amid the strong and sustained pushback it has received from building trades unions that have long backed the party’s candidates for governor. Wolf — a fellow Democrat who has endorsed Shapiro, the state’s two-term attorney general — has worked for two years to finalize regulations to make Pennsylvania the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy by imposing a price on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. READ MORE: Attorneys 'Hit A Snag,' Jury Sent Home In John Dougherty, Councilmember Bobby Henon Bribery TrialWolf has called it a “historic, proactive and progressive approach that will have significant positive environmental, public health and economic impacts.” But Shapiro, in a statement from his 2-week-old campaign, suggested that Wolf’s plan — which involves joining the multistate consortium, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI — does not satisfy criticism that it will hurt the state’s energy industry, drive up electric prices and...
    HAPPILY, the news was good. After a night in a London hospital for what Buckingham Palace described as ‘preliminary investigations’, the Queen was allowed to recuperate at home at Windsor Castle. As is customary in royal medical bulletins, the palace statement was scant on detail, with no information at all about the nature of the complaint that necessitated her admission to the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in the first place. Officials have always sought to balance the right to privacy of the monarch on matters of her own health with the right of the public to know about the wellbeing of our 95-year-old constitutional head of state. But by claiming that the Queen was resting at Windsor – a detail instantly relayed to TV viewers, radio listeners and newspaper and news website readers – when in fact she was in hospital, suggests that the thinking of royal officials was not just muddled but dishonest. HAPPILY, the news was good. After a night in a London hospital for what Buckingham Palace described as ‘preliminary investigations’, the Queen was allowed to...
    A look at what’s happening around the majors today: ___ PITCHING IN In a postseason already marked by curious pitching strategy, Julio Urías returns to his regular role in the rotation when the Los Angeles Dodgers play Atlanta in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series. Braves manager Brian Snitker says he’ll go with a bullpen game. After losing 6-5 on Tuesday night, he said he hadn’t decided who would start. Urías led the majors with 20 wins this season while pitching 32 times, all as a starter. After starting and winning Game 2 of the NL Division Series against San Francisco, he threw four key innings of relief in the deciding Game 5 victory over the Giants. Urías then blew a late lead in relief in Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing Atlanta to eventually win. Los Angeles trails the series 2-1 going into this matchup at Dodger Stadium. The 25-year-old lefty excelled as a starter and reliever in the postseason last year, helping the Dodgers win their first World Series championship since 1988. Earlier this month, Dodgers ace...