Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos listens to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., before testifying on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education, indicated that she is open to radically rethinking the federal government’s role in education on issues from sexual assault cases on college campuses to cutting federal support for the nation’s public schools in a contentious confirmation hearing Tuesday evening. Democratic senators repeatedly pressed DeVos to spell out her specific vision for the Department of Education, but the education activist and billionaire from Michigan kept mostly to generalities, outlining a broad vision of school choice in which parents could use state money to send their kids to private or charter schools.
Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright. President Obama gave a full pardon Tuesday to retired Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, who was convicted of lying to the FBI during an investigation into a leak about American efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. The pardon followed an intense lobbying campaign on behalf of Cartwright that included expressions of support, relayed by Cartwright’s lawyer, from former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, according to sources familiar with the effort.
Ricky Gray was pronounced dead at 9:42 p.m. following a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Gray showed no emotion as he was walked into the execution chamber wearing blue jeans and handcuffs. Gray was condemned to death in 2006 for the murders of 9-year-old Stella Harvey and 4-year-old sister Ruby, and sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey.
By Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - A series of strong earthquakes hit snowbound central Italy on Wednesday, a region devastated by deadly tremors last year, killing one man and forcing schools and rail links to close. Much of the area had already been abandoned after last year's earthquakes. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said soldiers would help rescue teams get to the affected villages.
As real estate billionaire Donald Trump prepares to take the highest office in the U.S., another former corporate executive-turned-politician will be missing his inauguration ceremony Friday, and, unlike a growing list of Congress members, he won’t be protesting the president-elect. Former President George H. W. Bush, the second wealthiest living president—and soon to be the third-wealthiest—was hospitalized, along with his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and later admitted to an intensive care unit Wednesday, a spokesperson said. Bush, like Trump, started his career in business.
A Virginia inmate was executed on Wednesday for murdering two young sisters during a 2006 killing spree, after the Supreme Court denied a stay request where he argued the use of compounded lethal drugs violated his constitutional rights. Ricky Gray, 39, died by lethal injection at 9:42 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center, Virginia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Kinney said in an emailed statement. Gray's lawyers filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying that the three-drug combination could cause Gray unnecessary suffering and thereby violate constitutional guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment.
Startling surveillance video posted to Twitter this week shows a woman in New York being hit by a school bus, which then runs her over. The victim was crossing a Brooklyn intersection when she was struck by a yellow mini-bus. She suffered non-life-threatening
The deep-sea sonar search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may not have found the plane but will reveal more about how land beneath the Indian Ocean formed over millions of years and where oil fields could lie. National geoscience agency Geoscience Australia will soon release detailed sonar mapping of 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) of seabed that was searched for the wreckage of the Boeing 777 that vanished with 239 passengers and crew on March 8, 2014. The unique information about plate tectonics would interest geoscientists as well as oil and gas explorers, said Australian National University marine geologist Neville Exon, who has advised Geoscience Australia on the sonar data.
The Israeli army on Wednesday received new ballistic missile interceptors that significantly upgrade the Jewish state's aerial defence systems in the face of "emerging threats", the defence ministry said. The Arrow 3 interceptor, designed to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel after successful testing by Israel and the United States at the end of 2015. A defence ministry statement said Israel and the US were dedicated to the continued development and enhancement of ballistic missile defence systems as "threats continue to grow and new emerging threats surface".
The first direct freight train service from China to Britain arrived in London Wednesday, another leg in Beijing's plans for closer trade ties with Europe along a modern-day Silk Road. The 18-day trip saw dozens of containers packed mainly with clothes and household goods transported from the city of Yiwu in eastern China to a freight terminal in Barking in east London, via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and western Europe. The train entered Britain from France through the Channel Tunnel, completing a journey of some 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers).
Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow was to take power Thursday, capping weeks of tension over Yahya Jammeh's refusal to quit which has seen Senegalese and Nigerian troops massing at the border and tourists racing to leave. With Senegalese troops backed by Nigerian forces and fighter jets gathering, the country appeared on the brink of a military crisis although the army chief insisted his soldiers would not get involved in a "political dispute" nor prevent foreign forces from entering The Gambia. Despite a midnight (0000 GMT) deadline for the expiry of Jammeh's term, the situation remained calm in the city overnight, witnesses said following a last-minute mediation attempt by the Mauritanian president.
Russell Yates tells The Associated Press on Wednesday that he doesn't know what his wife told their daughters about him. Yates says he is sorry. A woman charged with abducting her two daughters from Rhode Island in 1985 has pleaded not guilty.
From billowing dresses and maternity corsets intended to conceal a woman's baby bump to the bodycon trend seen on expectant mothers today, see how pregnancy fashion has changed over the years.
More than 40 Democratic lawmakers have announced they intend to skip Donald Trump’s inauguration this week to protest the president-elect’s plans for the country. The boycotters now make up one in five of all House Democrats, and their decision to protest represents a break with tradition that they say is warranted by Trump’s agenda. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told Yahoo News she decided she couldn’t celebrate Trump’s inauguration because of his comments during the campaign about temporarily barring Muslims from entering the country and his vow to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
At least 82 of the dolphins, known as false killer whales for their resemblance to killer whales, died, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Thirteen dolphins remain unaccounted for since the initial sighting Saturday afternoon by a bystander in Hog Key, a remote island on the western side of the park, NOAA spokeswoman Blair Mase said. The dolphins were scattered along the hard-to-reach shoreline and deeply embedded in some of the mangroves, making it hard to retrieve them, said Mase, coordinator of NOAA's Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
“I love her,” 18-year-old Alexis Manigo told Inside Edition. Manigo said she had a “fantastic” and “normal” life while living with Williams, who she believed to be her mother. While she is learning about her biological family, Manigo says she will still recognize Williams as her mother.
The number of abortions performed in the United States has fallen to the lowest rate since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court legalized the practice in the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, according to a new study. The report comes from the Guttmacher Institute, which researches sexual and reproductive health-related policy. The total number of abortions performed in 2014 hovered around 926,000, showing a gradual, yet consistent, downward trend over the past two decades.
Astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 and the last man to walk on the moon, died Jan. 16, 2017. Cernan was one of 14 astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963. In May 1969, he was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 10, the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification test of the lunar lander.
Airbus Group announced today that it plans to test an autonomous airborne taxi prototype for one passenger by the end of 2017, according to a report from Reuters. Full design schematics have not been released, but it is likely that the first prototype vehicle will use four rotors, possibly looking more like Ehang's quadcopter-style drone-which is currently in flight testing-than the aircraft pictured above. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said at the DLD digital tech conference in Munich, as reported by Reuters.
Caroline Kennedy on Wednesday stepped down as US ambassador to Japan, the embassy said, ending a three-year tenure for the rookie envoy who was welcomed into the job with movie-star fanfare. The sole surviving child of assassinated US president John F. Kennedy took up the post in November 2013 as her boss, Barack Obama, focused on Asia in the face of a rising China and unpredictable North Korea. Despite being wartime enemies, the US and Japan are close allies and thousands lined the streets of Tokyo to catch a glimpse of Kennedy when she arrived to start the job.
Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, whose reign over the Philadelphia Mafia in the 1980s was one of the bloodiest in its history, has died at a federal medical center in North Carolina, a prison spokeswoman said Tuesday. Scarfo died Saturday while in custody at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, said Nancy Ayers, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman. Scarfo led the Philadelphia-southern New Jersey mob from 1981, when then-boss Philip "Chicken Man" Testa was killed by a nail-bomb outside his home, until around the time he and more than a dozen associates were convicted of racketeering charges in 1988.
A video of a massive alligator walking through a reserve near Lakeland, Florida, had people speculating earlier this week whether it was a hoax. The video, which was uploaded Sunday to Facebook by Florida resident Kim Joiner, shows the massive reptile appearing out of a nearby bush at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County and then casually walking on the reserve's Marsh Rabbit Run. Officials for the county's natural resources division said that while they appreciate the attention the nature reserve has been getting, they are also worried about the safety of visitors and wildlife.
Outgoing White House press secretary Josh Earnest tore into President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for health and human services secretary, Georgia Rep. Tom Price, amid a report that the Republican congressman bought stock in a medical company, then introduced legislation that would have directly benefited the company. “If he knew about it, it could very well be a violation of the law,” Schumer told CNN.
Police in Israel said an Arab Israeli on Wednesday rammed his car into a group of policemen in the southern Negev region, killing one before being shot dead, though a rights activist who was present disputed it was an attack. Police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot said the suspect was a local teacher who "surged towards the forces intending to kill" and that riots erupted after he was shot.
Animal rights activists Wednesday demanded the closure of an Indonesian zoo after skeletal sun bears were pictured begging for food from visitors and eating their own dung. The bears at the zoo in the city of Bandung were shown waving their arms in the air inside their enclosure -- with their ribs visible through their fur -- as people hurled food at them. Bandung zoo came under fire last year after the death of a critically endangered Sumatran elephant.