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23/05/2019

Wildfires sweep across Israel as heatwave grips region

Israeli police have ordered the evacuation of several communities in southern and central Israel as wildfires rage amid a major heatwave. Firefighters battled brushfires Thursday along the Gaza boundary, as well as near the country's main international airport and outside Jerusalem. A major Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway was also closed to traffic because of the fire. Israel and the region are gripped by a major heatwave, with temperatures around the country reaching 100 F (38 C) and higher. It wasn't immediately clear whether the fires near the boundary with Gaza were caused by incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave. Gaza...


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12/09/2019

Florida businessman faces sentencing in $1B Medicare fraud

A Florida health care executive is facing sentencing following his conviction on 20 criminal charges in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme. A Miami federal judge Thursday is set to sentence 50-year-old Philip Esformes in one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison term, while Esformes' lawyers as asking for a lenient sentence. The wealthy Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida that jurors found used kickbacks and bribes to gain business. A former Ivy League basketball coach testified Esformes...
12/09/2019

Australia presses Iran to release 3 citizens from prison

Australia's foreign minister says her government is pressing Iran to free three Australian citizens from a Tehran prison and she does not believe their arrests are related to Iran's current conflicts with the West. Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the Senate on Thursday that she has raised the arrests of two British-Australian women and an Australian man "many times" with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. Analysts and family members of dual nationals detained in Iran long have said hard-liners in the Islamic Republic's security agencies use the prisoners as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West. Payne says she...
12/09/2019

Early NTSB report expected in fatal California boat fire

Additional safety recommendations issued in the aftermath of a fatal boat fire off the Southern California coast that killed 34 people include limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords, the Coast Guard said. The recommendations come as investigators delving into the cause of the Sept. 2 fire and try to recover the Conception amid an ongoing criminal probe conducted by the FBI, Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. Divers on Wednesday recovered the remains of the last victim — one of dozens who died of smoke inhalation...

12/09/2019

In small Alaska city, Native women say police ignored rapes

There's not much that scares Susie. As an Alaska Native woman, she thrives amid sub-zero winters in her village near the Arctic Circle, and camps with her family each summer at the Bering Sea, catching, drying and smoking salmon to put away for winter. But Susie is afraid to return to Nome. The man who raped her, she says, is still there. "Just scares me, and I'm scared to see him, and thinking what he might do," she says. "But I'm not scared in the village, or any other villages, because I know he won't come. "But Nome is like...
12/09/2019

Indonesians bury former president Habibie at state funeral

Former Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who allowed democratic reforms and an independence referendum for East Timor following the ouster of the dictator Suharto, has been buried at a state funeral. Thousands of mourners lined the streets to watch a motorcade carry his body to Jakarta's Kalibata heroes' cemetery on Thursday. President Joko Widodo led the ceremony with full military honors as foreign leaders offered condolences. Indonesia's third president, Habibie died Wednesday at Jakarta's army hospital, where he had treated for heart problems since Sept. 1. He was 83. Habibie was tapped to lead Indonesia by Suharto as the military...
12/09/2019

In strong rebuke, UN slams Israeli leader's annexation vow

A spokesman for the United Nations' Secretary-General says the Israeli leader's vow to annex the Jordan Valley would be a "serious violation of international law." The particularly strong rebuke from the world body follows a chorus of criticism against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his promise to annex the area if he wins re-election next week. In a statement, spokesman Stephane Dujarric also said the pledge would be "devastating" to the potential for peace with the Palestinians. The U.N. statement comes after Saudi Arabia, a regional power that has grown closer to Israel in recent years, condemned the move....