The family of a five-year-old boy who was injured last month in a bloody Texas church shooting is appealing to the public to help them bring a bit of holiday cheer to the boy this Christmas. Ryland Ward, who was shot five times in the First Baptist Church last month, is still in the hospital after the shooting. “You got so many nice people that are sending a card and a dollar to Ryland,” Sandy Ward, his grandmother, told local news.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In began his first state visit to China on Wednesday to soothe relations strained by the US deployment of an anti-missile system that has angered Beijing. Moon is also expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis during his four-day trip, which includes talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. The US military installed the powerful THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in the South earlier this year to guard against threats from the nuclear-armed North.
Ashton was nominated to his GM board seat by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits trust, which administers funds that pay for health benefits for UAW-GM retirees. The trust can nominate a replacement for Ashton, but shareholders won't vote on the trust's nominee until the company's next annual meeting in the spring, a GM spokesman said.
Scientists in Australia have mapped the genetic sequence of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, raising hopes of reviving the species, whose last survivor died in a zoo in the city of Hobart in September 1936. The landmark study of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was based on examination of DNA from a female pup that had been preserved in ethanol at a museum since 1909. Andrew Pask, a researcher from the University of Melbourne, said that establishing a blueprint of the thylacine’s entire genetic code was the first step in trying to bring back the species through cloning. “As this genome is one of the most complete for an extinct species, it is technically the first step to ‘bringing the thylacine back’,” he said. “We are still a long way off that possibility. We would need to develop a marsupial model to host the thylacine genome, like work conducted to include mammoth genes in the modern elephant.” Tasmanian tigers became extinct on the Australian mainland about 3,000 years ago but survived on the island state of Tasmania. The species was hunted by European settlers who believed the animals threatened their sheep and who were encouraged by a government bounty of £1 per carcass. Tasmanian tigers or thylacines photographed at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart in Australia's Tasmania state in 1918 Credit: AFP / TASMANIAN MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY The last known creature died in captivity in 1936, though the species was not officially declared extinct until 1982. But the genome study revealed that the sandy-coloured marsupial may have become extinct even if humans had not settled in Tasmania. The sequencing found that the thylacine had little genetic diversity, making it harder for it to survive changes in environmental conditions. "They were actually in pretty bad genetic shape and it wasn't because of their isolation on Tasmania. It was a longer-term decline in their history," Dr Pask said. “We certainly made them go extinct — there's no question about that. But we now know even if [thylacines] were still around today they'd probably be in the same genetic dire circumstances as the Tasmanian devil [a local species that is under threat]." The Tasmanian tiger has a somewhat mythical status in Australia and there is still frenzied speculation about whether it may have survived in the wild. There have been regular reported sightings, though most experts believe that the creatures that are spotted are probably feral dogs and that the thylacine is unlikely to have survived. Recent unconfirmed sightings in the state of Queensland prompted a fresh search which has so far proven fruitless. The study found that the genetic health of the thylacine became compromised about 70,000 to 120,000 years ago, an era which coincided with an ice age. The Tasmanian species became isolated when the island was cut off from the mainland due to rising seas about 14,000 years ago. On the mainland, the species became extinct due to extreme weather and drought, according to a study released earlier this year. Experts said it could take some years – and billions of dollars - to revive the species. "We still have a way to go to get the technology and to get that at a reasonable cost," Christy Hipsley, from Museums Victoria, told Channel Seven. However, Dr Pask said he believed humans have a moral obligation to try to revive the species. "I think we were responsible for hunting [the species] to extinction - in that case, we almost owe it to the species to bring it back," he said. The findings were published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
PolitiFact on Tuesday revealed its 2017 “Lie of the Year,” focusing on how President Donald Trump has regularly disputed whether Russia interfered in last year’s election and questioned the widely held conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, which he has frequently undermined and dismissed as “political hacks.”
The fundraising page for the bullied child whose tearful video about being taunted by fellow pupils went viral has been frozen after his mother was accused of racism. Keaton Jones, from Knoxville, Tennessee, garnered widespread sympathy after his mother Kimberly filmed him tearfully asking why he is the target of school bullies.
Crews battling wildfires ravaging southern California for a week have managed to slow the spread of the worst of the blazes, officials said Tuesday, as residents were taking stock of the catastrophic damage. Evacuation orders were in place for threatened areas in the Santa Barbara region about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Los Angeles. In the past day or so, the blaze figure has grown by around a thousand hectares.
Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe has left the country for medical checks in Singapore, his first foreign travel since the army forced him from office last month, a state security official said on Tuesday. The 93-year-old, who ruled the southern African nation for 37 years, resigned after the army and his ruling ZANU-PF party turned against him when it became clear that his 52-year-old wife, Grace, was being groomed as his successor. Until recently the world's oldest head of state, Mugabe had a reputation for extensive and expensive international travel, including regular medical trips to Singapore - a source of public anger among his impoverished citizens. He left Harare with Grace and aides on Monday evening, the official said. He is expected to make a stop-over in Malaysia, where his daughter, Bona, is expecting a second child. "He has gone for a routine medical trip to Singapore," said the official, who has organised Mugabe's security protection but who is not authorised to speak to the media. "He was due for a check-up but events of the last few weeks made it impossible for him to travel." The trip means Mugabe will not be in Zimbabwe when ZANU-PF endorses President Emmerson Mnangagwa as its leader and presidential candidate for next year's elections during a one-day special congress on Friday. The security official would not say how Mugabe was travelling although the privately owned NewsDay newspaper said he was on a state-owned Air Zimbabwe plane. Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured of his safety under his resignation deal, a source of frustration to many Zimbabweans who accused him of looting state coffers and destroying the economy during his time in power. Another government official told Reuters last month Mugabe had been due to travel to Singapore on Nov. 16 but was unable to leave because the military had confined him to his private home the previous day. George Charamba, a senior information ministry official, declined to comment. Under Zimbabwe's Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act, a former head of state is entitled to perks including limited foreign travel and medical insurance. "These are very standard features of a retired president," another government official said, trying to head off any controversy. "You are making a storm out of nothing."
A Muslim cleric accused of issuing a fatwa banning women from working on farms has been arrested in Bangladesh, police said Wednesday. The imam and five mosque officials face charges after their announcement prompted locals in the western town of Kumarkhali to try and prevent women from going to work in the fields. "They took the decision after prayers on Friday, banning women from going out of their homes," local police chief Abdul Khaleque told AFP.
The New York bomb suspect wrote "Trump you failed to protect your nation" on Facebook before heading to a busy transit hub to set off a pipe bomb, prosecutors said on Tuesday. Akayed Ullah, from Bangladesh, has been charged with providing material support to terrorists and using weapons of mass destruction, following the failed suicide bomb attack on Monday. The 27-year-old was arrested after setting off a pipe bomb strapped to his body at one of New York's busiest commuter hubs which left four other people injured. He later told police that he carried out the attack "for the Islamic State (Isil)," according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors. Ullah posted his message to Trump on his Facebook account on the morning of the attack. Ullah's passport was found at his home covered in handwritten notes, including one that read: "O America, die in your rage." pipe bomb suspect Akayed Ullah Credit: New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission Mr Trump has said he would end immigration provisions in response to the attack. Speaking at the White House on Tuesday the president highlighted that two recent attacks in New York involved foreign nationals living in the US on immigration programs. Ullah first arrived in the US in 2011 on a visa available to those with family connections in the country. Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant who killed eight people in an attack in November, was living in the US under a diversity lottery program which gives permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants a year. Five people were injured in the Isil-inspired attack Mr Trump said Congress "must get involved immediately" as he vowed that the two immigration programs "will be ended". It is believed Ullah became radicalised after he began watching pro-Isil material online in 2014 and carried out his attack because he was angry over US policies in the Middle East, prosecutors said. The bomb, described by authorities as a low-tech device, exploded inside an underpass leading to three train lines and the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square, the nation's busiest bus station. Police respond to a report of an explosion near Times Square on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in New York Credit: AP He has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism and making a terrorist threat, New York Police said. US prosecutors also brought federal charges including using a weapon of mass destruction, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Investigators found a nine-volt battery inside Ullah's trouser pocket, as well as fragments from a metal pipe and the remnants of what appeared to be fairy lights attached to wires. Officials said Ullah told investigators he built the bomb at his Brooklyn home a week before the attack, filling the pipe with metal screws to maximize damage. Meanwhile investigators in Bangladesh were questioning Ullah's wife - with whom he has a six-month old son - and her family, according to US officials.
The first Russian troops returned home Tuesday from their deployment in Syria, beginning a partial withdrawal from a mission widely seen as decisive in swinging the war in favour of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus. On a surprise visit to Syria on Monday, Putin ordered the start of a pullout of Russian troops, saying their task in the war-torn country had been largely completed. Russian state television showed images of servicemen back in the far corners of their country, from Dagestan in the North Caucasus to Ivanovo in Central Russia and Murmansk inside the Arctic Circle, throughout the day.
Zulifikar Haider hoped his daughter would live the American dream when she married a fellow Bangladeshi living in the United States, but that dream turned into a nightmare when the family saw pictures of her husband wounded after allegedly trying to set off a bomb in a crowded New York commuter hub. Haider's family had been worried when his son-in-law, Akayed Ullah, 27, missed a regular call to his wife on Monday. "Even in our worst nightmares, we could not have foreseen this," Haider, 62, told Reuters on Wednesday evening, following two days of questioning by Bangladesh's counterterrorism police.