This week in photos: Destruction continues, U.S. to leverage Russia-Ukraine bloc against China as the war wages on
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is aiming to lead the international bloc opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what it sees as a more serious, long-term threat to global order from China.
VIDEO: What could be next for Brittney Griner
Houston native and WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for nearly two months after being detained at an airport. With Griner’s May 19 court appearance looming, KPRC 2′s Owen Conflenti and Lisa Hernandez spoke with Aron Solomon, chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital, about what’s next for Griner
Photos from overseas: Russia pounds Ukraine, targeting supply of Western arms
Russian forces pounded targets across Ukraine, taking aim at supply lines for foreign weapons in the west and intensifying an offensive in the east, as the European Union moved Wednesday to further punish Moscow for the war with a proposed ban on oil imports.
These latest images illustrate the reality of the harrowing situation in Ukraine
Russia’s relentless bombardment of Ukraine has edged closer to central Kyiv. Large explosions thundered across Kyiv before dawn Tuesday as Russia’s assault on the capital appeared to become more systematic, The Associated Press reported.
This sinkhole in Mexico has swallowed a house and 2 dogs. And it’s still growing.
Back in May, a farm in Mexico started developing a sinkhole that has since caused the evacuation of a family living in a nearby house, the collapse of that same house and a rescue operation for two dogs that, like the house, were also swallowed up by the sinkhole.
2020 in headlines: All the biggest news stories of the year
(2020 Getty Images)On Jan. 9, the World Health Organization first announced news about the deadly coronavirus that had emerged in Wuhan, China. (2020 Getty Images)On March 24, it became official: The Olympics would be postponed. (2020 Getty Images)On May 4, it was reported that giant insects called “murder hornets” were spotted in the U.S., specifically, Washington state. (Getty Images)On Aug. 18, on the second night of the (virtual) 2020 Democratic National Convention, the party officially nominated Biden. (Getty Images)On Oct. 11, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in NBA Finals to win another championship.
Court orders release of man charged in Daniel Pearl killing
On Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, a provincial court in Pakistan overturned a Supreme Court Decision that Sheikh should remain in custody during an appeal of his acquittal on charges he murdered Pearl. (AP Photo/Zia Mazhar, File)KARACHI, Pakistan – A provincial court in Pakistan on Thursday ordered the release of a British-born Pakistani man charged in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, his defense lawyer said. Sheikh was acquitted of murdering Pearl earlier this year, but has been held while Pearl’s family appeals the acquittal. But in April, the Sindh High Court acquitted him and the three others, a move that stunned the U.S. government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups. The acquittal is now being appealed separately by both the government and Pearl’s family.
14 people, 1 local company connected to decade-long, $26M international fraud scheme, authorities say
HOUSTON – Authorities have named 15 people connected to a massive, decade-long fraud scheme involving tires from China, according to a release. Zheng “Miranda” Zhou, 53, of Missouri City, and Kun “Bruce” Liu, 40, of Sugar Land, were named yesterday in connection with the fraud. The legal documents said the group “conspired to avoid anti-dumping duties associated with off-the-road (OTR) and light vehicle and truck (LVT) tires from China,” according to the release. According to legal records, the documents were also used to understate the value of the tires, making the duty rate for Winland even lower. Whether direct espionage by the Chinese government or trade fraud like in this case, we will continue to investigate and prosecute every case we can.”
5 Americans, including man from Katy, among 7 killed in Egypt helicopter crash
The Multinational Force and Observers said a French peacekeeper and Czech member of the force were also killed. The MFO initially said there were eight fatalities, including six Americans, but later revised the total to seven dead, including five Americans. It did not give a precise location of the crash or say whether the helicopter fell on land or crashed into the sea. An Israeli official said the injured peacekeeper was airlifted by the peacekeeping force to the Israeli border city of Eilat. The Czech Republic’s military confirmed one of the fatalities of the Black Hawk’s crash was a Czech.
2 dead, 15 wounded in Vienna terror attack, authorities say
Police officers stay in position at stairs named 'Theodor Herzl Stiege' near a synagogue after gunshots were heard, in Vienna, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Austrian police say several people have been injured and officers are out in force following gunfire in the capital Vienna. Initial reports that a synagogue was the target of an attack couldn't immediately be confirmed. “We are victims of a despicable terror attack in the federal capital that is still ongoing,” Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said hours after the gunfire erupted. Oskar Deutsch, the head of the Jewish community in Vienna, said it was not clear whether the main synagogue had been targeted.
Quake strikes Turkish coast and Greek island, killing 19
Members of rescue services search in the debris of a collapsed building for survivors in Izmir, Turkey, early Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. A strong earthquake struck Friday in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, killing several people and injuring hundreds amid collapsed buildings and flooding. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)ISTANBUL – A strong earthquake struck Friday in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, killing at least 19 people and injuring over 700 amid collapsed buildings and flooding, officials said. At least 17 people were killed in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, including one who drowned, and 709 were injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD. Clouds of dust or smoke rose from several spots as buildings collapsed in the quake.
3 members of foreign terrorist organization arrested, charged with drug trafficking, narco-terrorism
HOUSTON – Three Colombian members of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional aka ELN) have been arrested on multiple drug-related charges after being indicted by a local grand jury. According to a news release, Yamit Picon-Rodriguez, aka Choncha, 36; Jose Gabriel Alvarez-Ortiz, aka Alex, 26, and Henry Trigos-Celon, aka Moncho Picada, 43, were arrested on charges of drug trafficking, narco-terrorism and cocaine distribution. The Houston divisions of the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation, in conjunction with the Houston Police Department and partners in Bogota, Columbia, officials said. “These enforcement actions have dealt a major blow to the ELN and are a true testament to the power of partnerships. Anyone with information is asked to contact their local FBI or call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) for the “major case contact center.”
US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores, threatens shutdowns
TikTok won't face the most drastic sanctions until after the Nov. 3 election, but WeChat users could feel the effects as early as Sunday. The order, which cited national security and data privacy concerns, follows weeks of dealmaking over the video-sharing service TikTok. Trump had said this week that he does not like the idea of ByteDance keeping majority control of TikTok. The administration, however, has provided no specific evidence that TikTok has made U.S. users’ data available to the Chinese government. Some cybersecurity experts question whether the administration's efforts are more political than rooted in legitimate concerns about Chinese threats to data security.
US charges 5 Chinese citizens in global hacking campaign
Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen listens, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 at the Justice Department in Washington. The Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacks targeting more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and abroad, including social media and video game companies as well as universities and telecommunications providers. The Justice Department did not directly link the hackers to the Chinese government. Rosen criticized the Chinese government for what he said was a failure to disrupt hacking crimes and to hold hackers accountable. There was no immediate response Wednesday to an email seeking comment from the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
LIST: These are all the air carriers that have resumed international flights out of Houston airports
HOUSTON – More than a dozen air carriers have restarted service of international flights from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, according to a release from Houston Airports. “The latest air carrier service restorations from Air France, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines on Sept. 2 mark Houston’s significant rebound in connectivity to European, Middle Eastern and Latin American destinations,” officials wrote in a press release. “Nearly two-thirds of the airlines providing international service at George Bush Intercontinental airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby airport (HOU) have now been restored following a sharp decline of air service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”The following carriers have restarted their international services to and from Houston:“We are an international city with an economy that thrives on global connectivity,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in the release. “These significant steps in restoring air service will help Houston begin to recover from the economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. I can assure you that this meaningful and significant restoration of international air-service is being matched with a strong emphasis on safety.”These are the destinations Houstonians can fly to due to the resumption of service:
Face masks required: Not in all U.S. schools, but it’s happening in Spain
MADRID – Masks will be mandatory for all students in Spain, ages 6 or older, when returning to schools in September because of increased coronavirus cases, the government announced Thursday. Previously, masks were only required for students above age 12 by some Spanish regions. Students will receive a daily body temperature check, must wash hands at least five times per day and classrooms will need frequent ventilation, the government said. That allows localized quarantines if there’s a positive test, rather than closing entire schools. Parents and teachers have expressed concern, with new waves of outbreaks since the country emerged from a strict lockdown.
Chinese diplomats return from Houston consulate shut by US
BEIJING The staff of the Chinese consulate in Houston that was ordered shut by the U.S. government has returned to China. Wearing face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, they were greeted on the tarmac by Foreign Minister Wang Yi after disembarking from a chartered Air China flight in Beijing on Monday night. In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, staff members from the Chinese Consulate in Houston, USA, arrive at an airport in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. A charter flight carrying employees of the consulate, which was ordered closed by the U.S. government in July amid escalating diplomatic tensions, arrived in Beijing on Monday night. Three days later, China ordered the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to close in retaliation.
Police in one country are using drones to enforce social distancing
Police in Singapore have taken an extraordinary step to ensure people are following social distancing rules. In a 3 1/2-month trial, police have used 22-pound pilotless drones, developed by Israel’s Airobotics, as a way to enforce social distancing and contain the spread of COVID-19, according to Reuters. Airobotics CEO Ran Krauss told Reuters the company is simply helping police maintain normal operations, specifically related to COVID-19. “The pandemic created a situation where it might be difficult for police to maintain,” Krauss said. The trial continues on in the social distancing aspect, according to Airobotics, and Krauss said the company is in talks with other cities to deploy drones.
Health officials are quitting or getting fired amid outbreak
A review by the Kaiser Health News service and The Associated Press finds at least 48 state and local health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 23 states. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was once viewed as one of the worlds top public health systems. In Oklahoma, both the state health commissioner and state epidemiologist have been replaced since the outbreak began in March. She said she knows many public health department leaders who are considering resigning or retiring because of the strain. Our elected officials in positions of power, whether presidents, governors or mayors, they arent supporting staff better or aligning messages," forcing public health officials to bear the political pressure, Brown said.
If I lose my job, its game over for us: Richmond couples struggle to find peace amidst 10-year immigration journey
When Gayatri graduated two years before Aditya, she started working first at a call center for IBM and later as SAP support at KPIT Technologies in 2008. She was very passionate about her job, Aditya said. They got married, Aditya started a new job just 10 days later and Gayatri moved across the world to be with the love of her life. For four years, Gayatri didnt have the option of working on the H-4 visa since work authorization was not available until 2015. Gayatri felt as though shed lost her identity and both Aditya and Gayatri admit it put a strain on their relationship.
These bills, lawsuit could impact the ability of 100K immigrant spouses to work in the US
The aim of the bill was to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from revoking the EAD for H-4 visa holders. Save Jobs USA claims it is comprised of American tech workers who lost their jobs and were replaced by H-1B workers. In September 2016, the U.S. District Court of District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Department of Homeland Security and the H-4 EAD rule remained unaffected. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court decision, in favor of Save Jobs USA. You can follow the progress of the Save Jobs USA vs. DHS case here.
Trump administration announces extension of border-restricted travel
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, announced the southern and northern borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed to non-essential travel until June 22. Commercial trade and travel, which is essential to the Texas economy, is again excluded from the updated order. The policy, generally referred to as Title 42 restrictions after the provision in the United States Code, was first announced in March and extended in April. The policy will be reviewed every 30 days and there is no specific end date prescribed, Redfield said. Instead, the president is hellbent on exploiting a public health crisis to achieve his long-held goal of ending asylum at the border.