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Dutch prosecutors charge 4 in shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine
Jetlinerimages/iStock (NEW YORK) -- Dutch prosecutors said they are charging four pro-Russian separatist commanders for their role in the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, pledging that the trial would begin in March 2020.Three of the men charged were Russian citizens, and Dutch police said they believed one of the commanders may have been an active member of Russia's military intelligence service at the time of the shooting down in July 2014.A Dutch-led international investigation has been examining who was responsible for the disaster, which killed all 298 passengers, and on Wednesday at a...
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Confidence in vaccines low in some major European countries amid global measles outbreaks
Hailshadow/iStock (NEW YORK) -- The U.S. is just one country where measles outbreaks are a health concern, and a new report published Wednesday evaluates vaccine confidence around the world.It found that vaccine confidence is particularly low in some countries experiencing ongoing measles outbreaks, as a lack of confidence in vaccines could lead to lower vaccination rates and therefore, an easier spread of the disease.In France, when asked how much they trust that vaccines are safe, 47 percent of respondents said that "yes" they trust vaccines or have "some" belief that they are safe, while 33 percent said that they have...
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Saudi leadership responsible for Khashoggi murder, says UN report
MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images (BEIRUT) -- The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a crime perpetrated at the highest levels of the Saudi Arabian power structure and requires further investigation of ranking Saudi officials, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a new report published by a special U.N. investigator.Khashoggi, 59, was a Washington Post columnist and a Saudi Arabian citizen who had legal residency in the United States.Human rights legal advocate and United Nations special investigator Agnes Callamard published her conclusions Wednesday following a months-long examination into the details of Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on...
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Ex-Trump adviser gives $188M to Oxford University for new AI center
georgeclerk/iStock (LONDON) -- The world-renowned University of Oxford has received the single biggest philanthropic donation in its history from a former adviser to President Donald Trump. Stephen Schwarzman donated 150 million pounds (more than $188 million) to Oxford to fund a revamped humanities hub and an institute that will focus on research into ethics and artificial intelligence. Schwarzman, a private equity billionaire and chief executive of the firm Blackstone, told the BBC he was donating such a substantial amount of money because AI was "the issue of our age." He previously made a donation of $350 million to the Schwarzman...
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Namibia to auction off elephants, giraffes in response to crippling drought
Eivaisla/iStock (PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Drought-stricken Namibia will auction off at least 1,000 animals from its national parks -- including elephants and giraffes -- to mitigate the lack of grazing land as the country faces its deadliest drought in years. The auction is being advertised in local newspapers and the intended buyers are game farmers who have the facilities to maintain the animals which include 600 disease-free buffaloes, 150 Springbok, 65 oryx, 60 giraffes, 35 Eland, 28 elephants 20 Impala and 16 kudus -- all from national parks.The Namibian government declared a national disaster last month, while the country’s meteorological...
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US likely to impose more tariffs on China if new trade deal isn't reached
ANNECORDON/iStock (WASHINGTON) -- U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the U.S. is ready to place more tariffs on China if it can't agree to a new trade deal.“The economic trade relationship with China has been unbalanced and grossly unfair to American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses for decades,” Lighthizer told the committee. “We put tariffs on certain Chinese products, and are preparing to do more if certain issues cannot be resolved satisfactorily.”It’s the first time Lighthizer — the chief U.S. negotiator on China — spoke with lawmakers after trade talks between the...
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Former Egyptian President Morsi given secretive burial as UN calls for investigation
Sean Gallup/Getty Images (CAIRO) -- Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was laid to rest in a low-key burial in the early hours of Tuesday, as questions were being raised about his apparently sudden death after suffering a heart attack in a courtroom.The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the causes of Morsi's Monday death, according to a statement from spokesman Rupert Colville."Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi's detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family, during his nearly six years...
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Road signs warning of hedgehogs coming to the UK
Courtesy of Britain's Department of Transport (LONDON) -- New signs are coming to protect drivers, hedgehogs and other small animals in the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport announced Monday, as hedgehog populations in rural areas have halved since 2000."The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured," Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement, "as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish."In 2017, four people were killed and more than 600 were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road, excluding horses, according to the...
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Conservationists: 'Catastrophic' elephant poaching at Niassa Reserve in Africa reduced to zero
WCS Mozambique (LONDON) -- One of Africa's largest protected wilderness areas has marked an entire year without finding a single elephant killed by poachers. The last time an elephant was recorded killed by a poacher in Mozambique's Niassa Reserve was May 17, 2018, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, a New York-based nonprofit that helps the Mozambican government manage the national reserve. “The success in Niassa shows that given the political will and proper funding, we can stop the poaching of elephants," James Bampton, the Wildlife Conservation Society's country director in Mozambique, told ABC News in a statement Tuesday.The Niassa...
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US Navy hospital ship begins deployment to help Venezuela refugees
U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released (MIAMI) -- The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is beginning a five-month humanitarian mission to the Caribbean, Central and South America to support medical systems, strained in part, by an increase in Venezuela refugees. It's the ship's second deployment of this kind in the last year. Vice President Mike Pence will send off the ship from Port Miami in Florida on Tuesday, alongside Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, and Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command.The Comfort left its home port of Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia...
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Iranians navigate turbulent currency market, uncertain future
omersukrugoksu/iStock (NEW YORK) -- Standing in the line at a currency exchange shop on a warm afternoon near Ferdowsi Square in Tehran, Nafas Anvari, 26, waited for her turn to change all her savings into U.S. dollars before the value of the Iranian rial dropped even more. “It was the first thing I knew I had to do this morning, because every single day my money loses value,” Anvari, an English teacher, told ABC News. Ms. Anvari was in a hurry to change her money because she plans to leave the country and pursue a Master’s degree in Florence, Italy....
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Pentagon releases new photos as proof Iran was behind tanker attacks
Department of Defense (WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon has released new color photos as proof that Iran was behind last week's attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.The release is part of an ongoing effort by the Trump administration to declassify U.S. intelligence gathered on Thursday when two tankers suffered damage by what the U.S. has said were magnetic mines placed on the side of the Kokuka Courageous.Last Friday, U.S. Central Command released a grainy video that showed, what it claimed, was a crew aboard an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat removing an unexploded mine that was left...
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