SRINAGAR, India — Police have arrested at least 200 activists seeking the end of Indian rule in disputed Kashmir, escalating fears among already wary residents that a sweeping crackdown could touch off renewed anti-India protests and clashes.
The crackdown comes amid high tension between India and Pakistan following a suicide car bombing of a paramilitary convoy that killed 40 Indian soldiers on Feb. 14.
Police said Saturday that they went to neighbourhoods overnight and rounded up the leaders and activists of mainly Jama’at-e-Islami, a political-religious group that espouses the right to self-determination for Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both wholly.
Police gave no reason for the arrests.
The Associated Press
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R. Kelly arrested, charged in Chicago with sexual abuse
CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves, was charged Friday with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.
In a brief appearance before reporters, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. She did not comment on the charges or take questions.
Kelly was driven to a Chicago police station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows around 8:15 p.m. Friday. He did not respond to questions from gathered reporters as he walked inside the building.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a short time later that Kelly was under arrest. He was expected to be held overnight before an appearance Saturday in bond court.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told reporters following the singer’s arrest that one of the charges he faces appears to be tied to a decade-old child pornography case.
Trump vows veto as Democrats try to block emergency order
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the House have teed up a vote next week to block President Donald Trump from using a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, accelerating a showdown in Congress that could divide Republicans and lead to Trump’s first veto.
The Democrats introduced a resolution Friday to block Trump’s declaration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would vote on the measure Tuesday. It is sure to pass, and the GOP-run Senate may adopt it as well. Trump quickly promised a veto.
“Will I veto it? 100 per cent,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Any Trump veto would likely be sustained, but the upcoming battle will test Republican support for the president’s move, which even some of his allies view as a stretch — and a slap at lawmakers’ control over the power of the federal purse.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said she’d honour her oath of office and uphold the Constitution, adding, “I wish he would have the same dedication to that oath of office himself.” Speaking to reporters in Laredo, Texas, she said, “This is a path I would not recommend he go down. I don’t expect him to sign it, but I do expect us to send it” to him.
Patriots owner Kraft denies charges of soliciting prostitute
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-centre massage parlour in Florida, police said Friday.
The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.
Kraft was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the misdemeanour charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.
Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.
Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. “We are as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said.
Mueller sentencing memo in Manafort case not yet public
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was not publicly available late Friday, suggesting the document may still be under seal.
Mueller’s team was to have weighed in by the end of the day on Manafort’s punishment in one of his two criminal cases. But the memo was not publicly filed by midnight Friday, an indication that the document includes sensitive information and that prosecutors are seeking a judge’s approval to redact, or black out, that material.
The sentencing recommendation comes as the 69-year-old Manafort, who led Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for several critical months, is already facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison in a separate case. It could also shed more light on how Manafort fits into Mueller’s larger Russian investigation, which is nearing an end.
In recent weeks, court papers have revealed that Manafort shared polling data related to the Trump campaign with an associate the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence. A Mueller prosecutor also said earlier this month that an August 2016 meeting between Manafort and the associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, goes to the “heart” of the Russia probe. The meeting involved a discussion of a Ukrainian peace plan, but prosecutors haven’t said exactly what has captured their attention and whether it factors into the Kremlin’s attempts to help Trump in the 2016 election.
Like other Americans close to the president charged in the Mueller probe, Manafort hasn’t been accused of involvement in Russian election interference. His criminal case in Washington stems from illegal lobbying he carried out on behalf of Ukrainian interests. As part of a plea deal in the case, Manafort admitted to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Trump picks ambassador to Canada for UN post
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has selected Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump said in a pair of tweets that Craft “has done an outstanding job representing our Nation” and he has “no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level.”
Two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters had told The Associated Press that Trump had been advised that Craft’s confirmation would be the smoothest of the three candidates he had been considering to fill the job last held by Nikki Haley.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had backed Craft for the post, and she also has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, the people said. Trump’s first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew over the weekend.
McConnell praised Craft as “an exceptional choice for this critical post.” He added, “She has a long record of service to her state and the nation and I’m confident she will continue to serve with distinction as America’s voice to the world at the United Nations.”
Trump sets up abortion obstacles, barring clinic referrals
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday set up new obstacles for women seeking abortions, barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals. The new policy is certain to be challenged in court.
The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same locations as abortion providers, and require stricter financial separation.
Clinic staff would still be permitted to discuss abortion with clients, along with other options. However, that would no longer be required.
The move is the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to remake government policy on reproductive health. The American Medical Association warned it could have an impact far beyond abortion, potentially affecting access to health care services now provided to low-income women by the clinics, including birth control, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. By law, the family planning program does not pay for abortions.
“This is the wrong prescription and threatens to compound a health equity deficit in this nation,” AMA president Barbara L. McAneny said in a statement. “Women should have access to these medical services regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, or whether they have health insurance.”
Aid showdown: Venezuela opposition prepares to deliver goods
CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — Venezuelans frustrated over their nation’s crippling food and medical shortages are expected to join opposition leaders Saturday in a potentially risky push to deliver international aid that Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept into the country.
The opposition is calling on masses of Venezuelans to help trucks carrying the nearly 200 metric tons of humanitarian assistance delivered largely by the United States over the last two weeks across several border bridges in Colombia.
Once the trucks reach the border they’ll face a crucial test: Whether the military standing guard on the other side will let them through.
“We think it’s going to enter,” opposition leader David Smolansky said in the lead up to the push. “There will be so many people gathered at the border and in different cities around the country that it will be impossible to stop it.”
The critical moment for both Venezuela’s government and opposition comes exactly one month after 35-year-old lawmaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president under the constitution before thousands of cheering supporters. While he has earned popular backing and is being recognized by over 50 nations, he has not sealed the support of the military, whose loyalty is considered crucial to unseat Maduro.
California parents of 13 plead guilty to torture, abuse
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California couple pleaded guilty Friday to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point they stopped growing.
David and Louise Turpin will spend at least 25 years in prison after entering the pleas in Riverside County Superior Court to 14 counts that included cruelty toward all but their toddler daughter, and imprisoning the children in a house that appeared neatly kept outside, but festered with filth and reeked of human waste.
The couple was arrested in January 2018 after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the home and called 911 in the city of Perris, about 60 miles (96 kilometres) southeast of Los Angeles.
The children, ages 2 to 29 at the time, were severely underweight and hadn’t bathed for months. They described being beaten, starved and put in cages.
Louise Turpin’s face turned red and she began crying and dabbed her eyes with a tissue during the hearing while her husband appeared stoic.
Ground-breaking electric Chevrolet Volt runs out of juice
DETROIT (AP) — As their company was swirling around the financial drain in the early 2000s, General Motors executives came up with an idea to counter its gas-guzzling image and point the way to transportation of the future: an electric car with a gas-engine backup that could travel anywhere.
At Detroit’s auto show in 2007, they unveiled the Chevrolet Volt concept car, not knowing yet whether they had the technology to pull off a major breakthrough in battery-powered vehicles.
It took nearly four more years, but the first Volt — a longer-range version of a plug-in hybrid — rolled off the assembly line late in 2010. GM had hopes that customers would be ready for a car that could go 38 miles on electricity before a small internal combustion generator kicked in.
They weren’t. On Tuesday, the last Volt was built with little ceremony at a Detroit factory that’s now slated to close. Sales averaged less than 20,000 per year, not enough to sustain the costly undertaking.
The Volt wasn’t the first electric car, but it was the first to conquer anxiety over range at a reasonable cost. GM’s limited-range EV1 came out in the 1990s, and Tesla put out its 200-plus-mile Roadster in 2008 for more than $100,000.
Smile: Some airliners have cameras on seat-back screens
Now there is one more place where cameras could start watching you — from 30,000 feet.
Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on planes used by other carriers.
American and Singapore both said Friday that they have never activated the cameras and have no plans to use them.
However, companies that make the entertainment systems are installing cameras to offer future options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.
A passenger on a Singapore flight posted a photo of the seat-back display last week, and the tweet was shared several hundred times and drew media notice. Buzzfeed first reported that the cameras are also on some American planes.
The Associated Press
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CHICAGO — R&B star R. Kelly was taken into custody after arriving Friday night at a Chicago police precinct, hours after authorities announced multiple charges of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.
The 52-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was driven to the station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows.
The vehicle pulled up outside the precinct about 8:15 p.m. and a security detail for Kelly kept reporters and cameramen at arms’ length as he exited the side door.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a short time later that was under arrest.
Kelly did not respond to questions from reporters as he walked inside the building. He was expected to be held overnight before an appearance Saturday in bond court.
Cook County State’s Attorney’s Kim Foxx announced 10 counts Friday against the Grammy winner. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.
Kelly has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves.
The singer, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.
“He is extraordinarily disappointed and depressed. He is shell-shocked by this,” Greenberg told The Associated Press.
Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.
At a news conference in Chicago, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.
During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.
Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”
The new charges marked “a watershed moment,” he said, adding that he believes more than 10 other people associated with Kelly should be charged as “enablers” for helping with the assaults, transporting minors and covering up evidence.
The video surfaced during a 10-month investigation by Avenatti’s office. He told the AP that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.
The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that arose from a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.
Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are co-operating this time and willing to testify.
Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state’s attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offence under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence.
Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute.
Greenberg said he offered to sit down with prosecutors before charges were filed to discuss why the allegations were “baseless.” But they refused, he said.
“Unfortunately, they have succumbed to the court of public opinion, who’ve convicted him,” he said.
Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”
#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.
As recently as Thursday, two women held a news conference in New York to describe how Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage. They said Kelly had sex with one of the teens when she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.
Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington were joined by lawyer Gloria Allred when they told their story publicly for the first time.
In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18.
The singer and songwriter, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. He has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.
Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.”
Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album.
Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.
Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.
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DENVER — Colorado police plan to search a landfill for the remains of a woman whose fiance is charged with murdering the mother of his 1-year-old child.
The search of the landfill in Fountain is scheduled to begin Tuesday. The Woodland Park Police cautioned in a written statement that it could take weeks or even months to complete their search for Kelsey Berreth’s remains and other evidence.
It was not clear on Friday what led police to search the site, which is about 40 miles from Berreth’s home.
The 29-year-old flight instructor was last seen on Nov. 22 near her home in a mountain town near Colorado Springs, south of Denver. The search for Berreth did not begin until Dec. 2, when her mother reported her missing.
Berreth’s fiance, Patrick Frazee, was charged with murder and solicitation to commit murder more than a month later. Frazee, 32, has not entered a plea.
Dramatic court testimony during a Tuesday hearing revealed that Frazee’s girlfriend told police he repeatedly asked her to kill Berreth. Investigators told a judge that Kenney told police Frazee admitted beating Berreth to death with a baseball bat.
The woman, Krystal Lee Kenney, is co-operating with prosecutors as part of a plea agreement. She is also required to testify against Frazee.
The 32-year-old former nurse from Idaho has pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, admitting she moved Berreth’s cellphone.
Kenney told police that Frazee demanded she come to Colorado and clean up blood spattered on the floor, walls and furniture of Berreth’s home.
Kenney said she then watched as Frazee burned Berreth’s body on his property, according to testimony. She told police that Frazee planned to throw the remains in a dump or a river.
Prosecutors’ evidence also includes cellphone tower data, suggesting Berreth’s phone was always in the possession of either Frazee or Kenney after Nov. 22, the date Frazee told police he last saw her.
Prosecutors have not discussed any theories on why Frazee would kill Berreth. Her parents argue in a wrongful death lawsuit that they believe Frazee wanted full custody of the couple’s 1-year-old daughter. The child has remained with them temporarily while the criminal case proceeds.
Kathleen Foody, The Associated Press
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GREENBELT, Md. — A Coast Guard officer suspected of drawing up a hit list of top Democrats and network TV journalists spent hours on his work computer researching the words and deeds of infamous bombers and mass shooters while also stockpiling weapons, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was ordered held without bail on drug and gun charges while prosecutors gather evidence to support more serious charges involving what they portrayed as a domestic terror plot by a man who espoused white-supremacist views.
Hasson, a former Marine who worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency, was arrested last week. Investigators gave no immediate details on how or when he came to their attention.
Federal agents found 15 guns, including several rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside his basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In court papers this week, federal prosecutors said he compiled what appeared to be a computer-spreadsheet hit list that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.
In arguing against bail Thursday, federal prosecutor Jennifer Sykes said Hasson would log onto his government computer during work and spend hours searching for information on such people as the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech gunman and anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph.
Sykes said the charges so far are just the “tip of the iceberg” and called Hasson a “domestic terrorist” who appeared to be planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.
Public defender Julie Stelzig accused prosecutors of making inflammatory accusations against her client without providing the evidence to back them up. “It is not a crime to think negative thoughts about people,” she said.
She also questioned whether the government is trying to make an example out of Hasson, given criticism that authorities have overlooked domestic terrorists.
“Perhaps now they can say, ‘Look, we’re not targeting only Muslims,”‘ she said.
Stelzig said Hasson doesn’t have a criminal record and has served 28 years in the Coast Guard. She described him as a “committed public servant” and a loving husband and father.
Hasson spent about $14,000 on weapons, survival gear and other equipment, Sykes said. However, Hasson’s public defender argued that the number of firearms found in Hasson’s apartment is “modest, at best” for many gun collectors in other parts of the country.
“There is nothing I’m seeing in here that would show he was stockpiling weapons,” Stelzig said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day agreed to keep Hasson behind bars but said he is willing to revisit his decision in 14 days if prosecutors haven’t brought more serious charges by then.
Hasson was previously an aircraft mechanic in the Marines, serving from 1988 to 1994.
Court papers detail a 2017 draft email in which he wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”
Also, Hasson sent himself a draft letter in 2017 that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and “identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for ‘focused violence’ in order to establish a white homeland,” prosecutors said.
Stelzig identified that neo-Nazi leader as white separatist Harold Covington. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Covington died last July.
Last February, Hasson searched the internet for the “most liberal senators” and also asked, “Do senators have ss (Secret Service) protection” and “Are supreme court justices protected,” according to the court filing.
Bob Davis, who rents a house from Hasson in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina, and met him a few times, said he was “absolutely shocked” by the allegations.
“He was a very stern military guy. That’s how I saw him. I truly nothing but respected him. There are people in life who are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter,” Davis said, meaning Hasson worked hard and didn’t slack off. “He portrayed in a very professional manner. He was honourable. … He was a good man.”
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