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World News

    British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party has put forward a 'no-confidence' motion in Prime Minister Theresa May's government, triggering a vote on its future that is scheduled for Wednesday. He acted after May's plan to withdraw Britain from the European Union was overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday by lawmakers. The no-confidence measure, also known as a censure motion, will test whether a majority of lawmakers support the proposition 'that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government.' If a majority expresses no confidence in May's government, it would have 14 days to try to win back the support of a majority in Parliament to maintain power. If unable to do so, an early general election would be triggered. An election normally takes five to six weeks, and May would remain in office as a caretaker prime minister during the campaign. The no-confidence vote on May's government is completely different from the no-confidence vote she faced in December, when members of her Conservative Party challenged her role as party leader. She survived that vote unscathed. The rules governing the no confidence vote in the government were changed when the Fixed Term Parliaments Act was enacted in 2011 to make it more difficult to bring down a government.
  • Italian news agency ANSA reports that Milan's Malpensa Airport was closed temporarily after an Egyptian passenger who was not allowed into Italy jumped from a parked airplane and evaded law enforcement. ANSA said the man arrived in Milan on a direct flight from Senegal that was continuing on to Cairo. The news agency said he was refused entry to Italy because he had thrown out his documents to avoid identification. Law enforcement officers put him on a flight to Egypt Tuesday evening, but he jumped off the plane when flight personnel were removing the boarding staircase. Authorities suspended arriving and departing flights for about an hour while trying to determine if the man was on the runway. The Italian Interior Ministry vowed to locate the man and expel him immediately.
  • Ed Blanche, a longtime correspondent and Middle East editor for The Associated Press who covered transformative events from Northern Ireland to Lebanon, has died, his family said Tuesday. He was 76. Blanche died Sunday in Beirut after losing a battle with cancer, said his wife, Mona Ziade. Blanche joined the AP in London in 1967 and went on to cover various crises around the world, including the 1967 Arab-Israeli war soon after he was hired as well as the Northern Ireland conflict. He also covered countries including Angola, Indonesia, Vietnam and Iran and reported extensively from Lebanon during the country's 1975-90 civil war. Blanche moved to Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1986 where he was a Middle East editor for 10 years. 'Ed was known for his bravery and commitment to truth during the toughest times in Beirut and for reporting from Lebanon accurately and fairly,' said John Daniszewski, the AP's Vice President and Editor-at-Large for Standards. 'He was a strong defender of AP's values, and a mentor to a generation of younger journalists who passed through the AP bureau or who worked at Beirut's Daily Star newspaper.' Blanche left the AP in 1996 because he wanted to resettle with his family back in Beirut, which he always considered to be his second home, Ziade said. The couple helped relaunch Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper, which had ceased to publish in the mid '80s at the height of the country's civil war. Blanche was initially foreign editor, then editor of the paper. He left the Daily Star in 2003 to pursue a career of freelance journalism, specializing in military and strategic affairs. Julie Flint, longtime journalist and friend, said he had for years been working on a book on the history of warfare. She described him as a 'consummate agency journalist.' Vietnam War correspondent and military writer Joe Galloway said he remembers first meeting Blanche in Jakarta in 1968 where Blanche was posted as foreign correspondent. 'He was a great friend and a great competitor and I miss him being in this world,' he said. Born on May 16, 1942 in Newark, England, Blanche was described by colleagues as an energetic journalist who loved to share his knowledge and mentor younger colleagues. 'Ed was an 'old school' wire service journalist, always willing to volunteer for challenging assignments, energetic and hard-working in the field,' said Robert H. Reid, AP's former Middle East regional editor, now senior managing editor of Stars and Stripes. 'Over his years of reporting, Ed had built up an impressive knowledge of the Middle East with all its political and social complexities and was always willing to share his insights with colleagues who were new to the region.' He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Tamara, and two children, Jay and Lee, from a previous marriage.
  • A Saudi teen whose flight from her allegedly abusive family captured global attention said Tuesday she wants to work in support of freedom for women around the world for years to come. Rahaf Mohammed also has quickly embraced life in Canada, saying that when she learned she would be granted asylum, 'the stress that I felt over the last week melted away.' The 18-year-old also quickly shed a part of her Saudi past, dropping use of the name of the Alqunun family that disowned her. In a public appearance organized by the U.N. refugee agency and an immigrant-aid group, she said through an interpreter that first priority is to learn English. The young woman arrived in Canada over the weekend after a harrowing flight from her homeland. She fled her family while visiting Kuwait and flew to Bangkok. Once there, she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation, gaining international sympathy and prompting the U.N. refugee agency to seek a home for her. 'Today and for years to come, I will work in support of freedom for women around the world,' she said. 'The same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada.' Her situation has highlighted the issue of women's rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women fleeing abuse by their families have been denied asylum abroad and returned home in recent years. 'I am one of the lucky ones,' she said. 'I know that there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality.' She said she wants to be independent, travel and make her own decisions on education, on a career and who she will marry. 'I had no say in any of this. Today I can proudly say that I am capable of making all those decisions,' she said. She said that women in Saudi Arabia 'can't be independent and they need the approval of their male guardian for everything. Any woman who thinks of escaping, or escapes, will be at risk of persecution.' She also said she is declining any more media interviews and declined to take questions. 'I would like to start living a normal private life, just like any other young woman living in Canada,' she said. Mario Calla, executive director of COSTI Immigrant Services, a government-funded organization that is helping her settle in temporary housing and apply for a health card, said a security guard has been hired because of threats against her on social media. 'We make sure she is never alone,' he said. He said she has felt unsafe at times. 'She sees these threats,' he said. 'She has left Islam and she basically has broken away from her family, and that scares her. Her emotions go back and forth.' Calla said the group would eventually like to place her with a family so she's not living alone. He called her a strong-willed individual, noting that's how she got here. His organization gets about two urgent refugee protection cases a year. 'What's new about this is the role of social media that it played in getting the attention she received,' he said. In her first weekend in Canada the young woman immediately got winter clothes and phone service. Calla said she has completed high school and had expressed interest in taking civil engineering in university. 'But maybe there's a future in politics for her,' Calla said. 'She certainly has been handling all this pressure very well.
  • Move over, Batman. Swim to the other side of Atlantis, Aquaman.  There’s a new action figure in D.C.: Robert Mueller. >> Read more trending news  The special counsel, who is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, now has his own 6-inch action figure, The Hill reported. A company named FCTRY is producing the $20 mini figure of Mueller, and pre-orders began Tuesday. On its website, the Brooklyn-based company proclaims that Mueller “is our only hope,” adding that “without being melodramatic,” the special counsel seems to be the last figure “standing between us and chaos.” FCTRY notes that the Mueller figure is the “perfect foil” to President Donald Trump. “He’s the Batman to Trump’s Joker. The Ness to Trump’s Capone. The Bond to, well, every Bond Villain,” the company wrote on its website. FCTRY has also created action figures of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (called “Notorious RBG”), former President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, The Hill reported. The company also produced a figure of Trump in 2017. The Mueller action figure will ship this spring, The Hill reported.
  • Much of the stated opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the European Union centered on the 'backstop.' The provision was designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU. After Brexit, the border will be the U.K.'s only land frontier with the EU. A look at the issue: WHAT'S WRONG WITH A BORDER? During the decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as 'the Troubles,' a border with roadblocks and checkpoints teemed with soldiers and paramilitaries. About 3,700 people were killed in a conflict between Irish nationalists and U.K. unionists from 1968 to 1998, when the Good Friday accord led to a power-sharing arrangement that quelled much of the bloodshed and made the border all but disappear. Since both Britain and Ireland are currently part of the European Union with its single market, people and goods flow freely between Ireland and Northern Ireland., with no need for customs checks. Brexit could disrupt that easy movement, upending lives and businesses, and undercutting a fragile peace process. ___ WHAT WAS MAY'S PROPOSAL? The proposed withdrawal agreement included a 'backstop' provision to keep a hard border from returning by keeping the U.K. in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The agreement gave Britain and the EU until 2022 to reach a new permanent trade deal and stated the 'backstop' would come into effect only if they failed to do so. ___ WHY DID CRITICS OPPOSE IT? Politicians favoring Brexit complained that Britain wouldn't be able to get out of the backstop unilaterally; the deal required the mutual agreement of both sides. That meant it could remain in place indefinitely and keep the U.K. bound to EU customs regulations. Critics argued such a scenario would derail Britain's efforts to strike other international trade deals. Lawmakers who want to remain close to the EU disliked it, too, because Britain would be subject to customs and trade rules over which it had no say. May's political allies from Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party, also objected because the backstop treated Northern Ireland differently from other parts of the U.K. The party said that frayed the bond between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country.
  • World Economic Forum executives say Germany's Angela Merkel, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Shinzo Abe of Japan will be among dozens of heads of state and government attending its annual Davos event. Forum executives offered a preview Tuesday of the Jan. 22-26 gathering of political, business, cultural, academic and other elites, with founder Klaus Schwab saying a 're-moralization' of globalization is needed. He said globalization produced many 'winners' over the last generation or so. 'But now we have to look after the losers, after those who have been left behind.' The forum says 65 heads of state and government — including Jair Bolsonaro, who is expected as part of his debut overseas trip as Brazilian president — and about 40 heads of international organizations like U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be on hand. WEF president Borge Brende said 37 heads of state or government will be from Europe and Eurasia alone. Overall, more than 3,000 people are expected. President Donald Trump had planned to attend but withdrew amid the U.S. government shutdown. Other top U.S. officials are expected including heads of the Commerce, State and Treasury departments.
  • Talks have made no progress in resolving the United States' intention to withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty, U.S. and Russian diplomats said Tuesday. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met in Geneva with U.S. Undersecretary of State Andrea Thompson about the dispute over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The 1987 treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,400 miles). President Donald Trump in October said the U.S. would abandon the treaty because of alleged Russian violations. Moscow claims the U.S. is violating the treaty. 'On the whole, we are forced to state that there is no progress. The US position is frozen in its uncompromising and peremptory demands,' Ryabkov said, state news agency Tass reported. Thompson said in a statement that 'the meeting was disappointing as it is clear Russia continues to be in material breach of the treaty and did not come prepared to explain how it plans to return to full and verifiable compliance.' The United States says it will exit the treaty in early February if Russia does not end its violations.
  • On the one-year anniversary of the death of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, the surviving members of the band announced their final album, Rolling Stone reported. >> Read more trending news  “In the End” is the band’s eighth album and is a collection of songs O’Riordan worked on before her death in a London hotel room on Jan. 15, 2018. She was 46. O’Riordan died by drowning due to alcohol intoxication, according to an inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court, the Limerick Leader reported. >> Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan dead at 46 The group shared the new album’s first single, “All Over Now.” In a Facebook post, band members Mike Hogan, Noel Hogan and Fergal Lawler said the album was being released “in honor of our dear friend and bandmate, Dolores.” “I can’t think of a more fitting way to commemorate the first anniversary of Dolores’ passing and to celebrate her life than to announce to the world the release of her final album with the band,” said O’Riordan’s mother, Eileen O’Riordan, in a statement to Rolling Stone. O’Riordan and the Cranberries rose to fame with their 1993 album, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” which sold more than 40 million records.  Riordan and band mate Noel Hogan began working on the songs that would ultimately appear on band’s final album while touring in May 2017, the magazine reported. “In the End” can be preordered and will be released April 26 via BMG, according to Rolling Stone.
  • Here is a look at large-scale extremist attacks in Kenya over the years: ___ WESTGATE MALL, SEPT. 2013 Al-Shabab fighters burst into a luxury shopping mall in Nairobi, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead. The assault on a sunny weekend afternoon horrified the world and exposed weaknesses in Kenya's security forces after it took them hours to respond. ___ GARISSA UNIVERSITY, APRIL 2015 The al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack on Garissa University that killed 147 people, mostly students. The attack occurred in a sprawling region near the Somalia border that had seen multiple assaults on buses and schools in which the extremists often separated Christians from Muslims and then killed the Christians. ___ BOMBINGS OF U.S. EMBASSIES, AUGUST 1998 Al-Qaida bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, and the embassy in neighboring Tanzania, killing more than 250 people. The explosions were the first major al-Qaida attack on U.S. targets. Nearly 5,000 people were injured. ___ NORFOLK HOTEL, DEC. 1980 The hotel was bombed on New Year's Eve and local media reported that at least 15 people died. Suspicion fell on Palestinian militant groups that allegedly targeted Kenya for supporting Israel in counterterrorism missions, including a 1976 hostage rescue in neighboring Uganda. The groups denied involvement.

News

  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been twice what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • After a dramatic ending to a sentencing hearing on Monday, Channel 2 Action News has learned former Mayor Kasim Reed’s top aide, Katrina Taylor Parks, made nearly a dozen recordings related to the bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall. As a judge read the sentence against Park on Monday, she passed out and was taken out of court on a stretcher.  In August, Parks pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a city vendor in exchange for city work.  In court, prosecutors reveled parks took $15,000 in cash and gifts over an 18-month period starting in 2013 and lied to FBI about it at least twice. Why experts say those recordings were not enough to keep her out of prison, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. [READ MORE: Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history] Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday seeking aide. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. Channel 2's Tom Jones has the full interview with Pastor Bryant on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines