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Convoy plucks women, children from last IS holdout in SyriaHundreds of people including women and children were trucked out of the Islamic State group's last Syria redoubt Wednesday, bringing US-backed forces closer to retaking the last sliver of the "caliphate". The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said however it was just a first wave of evacuations, and that a large number of civilians and IS fighters still remained inside. The implosion of the jihadists' proto-state, which once spanned swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, has left Western nations grappling with how to handle citizens who left to join IS.


2/20/2019 2:35:31 PM

'Empire' actor charged with making false police reportCHICAGO (AP) — "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday with making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.


2/20/2019 8:38:53 PM

Trump's former lawyer Cohen gets two-month delay to report to prisonU.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will now report to federal prison on May 6 after a judge granted him a two-month delay to allow him to recover from a surgical procedure, according to a court filing on Wednesday. Cohen's lawyers asked for a 60-day extension in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley to allow Cohen to undergo "intensive post-surgical physical therapy" and to prepare for testimony before three congressional committees. "Mr. Cohen underwent serious shoulder surgery and this extra time allows Mr. Cohen to continue his physical therapy," Cohen's legal team said in an emailed statement.


2/20/2019 12:42:18 PM

Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms lingerThe airline continues to have a higher-than-usual number of aircraft out of service due to maintenance and is dealing with snow in Las Vegas.


2/21/2019 8:07:20 PM

Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kidsCanada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.


2/21/2019 12:18:33 PM

Britain, EU closer to possible agreement on Brexit: EU diplomatsThe backstop is an insurance policy designed to avoid border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland after Brexit. "We are also looking at updating the declaration on future EU-UK ties after Brexit to give more prominence to the 'alternative arrangements' sought by Britain," said one EU diplomat who deals with Brexit. "But May won't get any firm wording before Feb. 28." A second diplomat, briefed on the May-Juncker talks on Wednesday evening, confirmed the EU would only signal this was the direction of travel before the British prime minister faces another round of Brexit votes in the UK parliament.


2/21/2019 6:35:37 AM

Saudi Crown Prince Set to Arrive in China as Asian Tour Rolls OnThe visit will include a meeting with President Xi Jinping and a high-level joint dialogue aimed at boosting relations after the nations agreed to promote a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016. China overtook the U.S. as the kingdom’s biggest trading partner in 2013. The world’s most populous nation accounted for about 15 percent of all Saudi imports and exports last year compared with 8 percent a decade earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


2/20/2019 6:52:10 PM

Working While Receiving Social Security DisabilityTo become eligible for Social Security disability benefits, you must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. "It is possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits and still work in a limited capacity," says Nick Ortiz, a board-certified Social Security disability attorney and owner of Ortiz Law Firm in Pensacola, Florida. Read on for a look at what's involved with Social Security disability benefits, as well as the rules related to working while receiving benefits.


2/20/2019 9:35:44 AM

Funeral held for youngest victim of factory shootingSHERIDAN, Ill. (AP) — A small funeral home was packed with hundreds of mourners for a 21-year-old college student who was killed on the first day of his internship when a worker opened fire inside an Illinois manufacturing facility.


2/20/2019 9:00:34 PM

Shamima Begum: What could happen to the Isil bride?The Home Office has stripped jihadi bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, but the ongoing saga of what will happen next to her and her days-old son remains up in the air.  International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Begum held dual citizenship through her Bangladeshi parents. On Wednesday morning, Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said his client does not have dual nationality, but the Home Office told The Telegraph laws in Bangladesh means the teenager automatically retains dual citizenship until she is 21.  Her family say they will consider "all legal avenues to challenge this decision", and Begum herself said that she may think about trying to travel with her terrorist husband to his home country of Holland to claim citizenship there.  The case has prompted fresh discussions over how Britain manages those returning or attempting to come back from Syria, once gripped by the tyranny of Islamic State (Isil). Begum was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK in February 2015. She married an Isil fighter and on Sunday have birth to her third child at a refugee camp in northeastern Syria. Her first two children died. Begum's family has pleaded for the 19-year-old to be shown mercy and to be allowed to return to east London. But what options do authorities have in such instances? Remain in Syria If Begum is not repatriated, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could hand her over to neighbouring Iraqi forces, Middle East Correspondent Josie Ensor explains. The Telegraph is aware of at least three cases, including European citizens, where male Isil suspects have been transferred from Syria to Iraq to face trial. This would be a controversial option as Baghdad has the option to impose the death penalty, which the UK opposes. Foreign detainees are currently being held by the SDF in an area of Kurdish self-rule in northeastern Syria. The SDF has said that they do not have the money or resources to hold them forever. Islamic State losing its grip on Syria They have warned that if Turkey invades, which it has threatened, it could see the prisoners being set free in the chaos. The Syrian Kurds are also in talks with the Syrian government about ceding some of their territory, which could see some foreign prisoners being handed over to the regime. A third option - Mustafa Bali, the SDF spokesman, has called for an international court to be set up in Syria. This would see them tried by international judges in Syria but return home to serve their sentence. However, sources at the UN say it would be difficult if not impossible to set up such a court in Kurdish-held territory without the authority of the Syrian government. Bangladesh dual citizenship The Telegraph understands that the Home Office made the decision to revoke Begum's British citizenship based on Bangladeshi law.  There, until the age of 21, it is understood the Isil bride automatically retains dual nationality due to the fact her parents are both from the country.  At the age of 21, a child born to Bangladeshi parents has the right to waive their right to dual nationality, but not before. The complication lies in how she gets to Bangladesh - where it is understood her father is currently living - and how she proves that she is Shamima Begum.  The teenager has never visited the country and does not have a Bangladeshi passport. Her old British passport is invalid due to her citizenship being revoked and she has previously said she used her sister's passport to travel to Syria back in 2015.  One possible option for her would be to travel to Turkey via the notoriously penetrable border with Syria and present herself to the Bangladeshi embassy.  But officials in Dhaka may well appeal the Home Office's decision to make Begum their responsibility, insisting that she has never even been to the country.  Attempt to gain Dutch citizenship Begum married Isil fighter Yago Riedjik in Syria having travelled to the Middle East from Bethnal Green in east London in 2015. His whereabouts are still unknown, but when asked what she might do next, the Isil bride told ITV News: "Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland. "Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison." This would need a number of elements to align for it to even be a possibility.  First, Holland would have to accept to take Riedjik back, having left the country to become a terrorist in the Middle East.  Yago Reidjik The country doesn't offer to help its citizens in Syria who are willing to return, and if they report to an embassy, they would be transported to Holland, arrested and prosecuted.  A foreigh fighter with dual nationalities deemed a threat to national security - like Britain - can have their Dutch citizenship and passport revoked.  If that happens, Begum would have to follow him. But her British passport is - as it stands - invalid. And she previously said she had travelled to Syria on her sister's passport, which has since been taken from her.  Dutch legislation dictates that a spouse or partner wishing to live in Holland would need a residence permit, and in order to be eligible for a permit - they must have a valid passport or other travel documents.  Somehow, if she manages to make the 2,000-mile journey from Syria to Holland, the Dutch authorities would have to accept that she and Riedjik are married.  The pair were wed within the confines of Islamic State a matter of weeks after she arrived. It is highly unlikely there is paperwork to prove they are legally married, and even if there is, the Dutch authorities would have to accept it as binding.  Home Office decision is rescinded  As the Home Office's letter states, Shamima Begum and her family have the right to appeal the decision.  Her lawyer Tasnima Akunjee's rhetoric all along suggests he will help his client fight any move to strip her of her British citizenship.  The letter to the Begum family Credit: ITV News If judges side with Begum, deciding Sajid Javid had no right to revoke her British citizenship because it renders her stateless - the Government would be back to square one.  The appeal might not necessarily need to happen. If, as Begum's lawyer suggests, the Isil bride is currently stateless - the Home Office would be forced to reverse it stance.  In that scenario, all these options are once again back on the table.  Sent to Guantánamo Bay As revealed by Ben Riley-Smith, Robert Mendick and Laura Fitzpatrick on The Telegraph's front page on Friday, the United States is planning to send British Isil fighters to Guantánamo Bay amid frustration at the UK's failure to take responsibility for its homegrown terrorists. Senior US officials believe Guantánamo can house more than 50 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters, including the two surviving British members of the so-called "Beatles" terrorist cell that executed Western hostages. It has emerged that the vast majority of Islamist fighters returning to the UK from Syria have been placed on "secretive" government rehabilitation schemes rather than prosecuted. Despite British concern, Guantánamo Bay is being readied in the run-up to Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria as soon as April. There is acute frustration within the Trump administration over how Britain and other western European countries are refusing to take back their foreign fighters for prosecution in their own courts. Returning jihadis: What other countries do Arrest and prosecution Home Secretary Sajid Javid previously said those who make it back "should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted". But authorities have faced difficulties obtaining evidence to prove someone committed crimes in Syria.  Most recently, The Isil Beatles have caused the Government enormous problems. Two of the four suspected terrorists' fate has been left in limbo as the UK and the US play tug-of-war with where they will end up in court.  The Home Office previously blocked their return, and they could end up in an American federal court facing the death penalty after the CPS said there was "insufficient evidence" for them to be tried in the UK.    uk drops opposing of death pen Figures disclosed in the Commons last year suggested that only around one in 10 returnees has been prosecuted over "direct action" in Syria, although ministers say a significant proportion of those who have come back were assessed as no longer being of national security concern. New legislation which passed last week made it an offence to enter or remain in overseas terror hotspots, officially termed "designated areas". Managed return to UK Powers known as temporary exclusion orders (TEOs) were introduced in 2015. They can last for up to two years and can be imposed on those suspected of involvement in terrorism abroad, making it unlawful for them to return to the UK without engaging with authorities. The powers were unused in 2016, while nine TEOs were issued in 2017. Isil schoolgirls' journey into Syria TPIMs Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) allow the Home Secretary to impose a range of disruptive measures on individuals who are suspected of posing a threat to security but who cannot be prosecuted, or, in the case of foreign nationals, deported. Restrictions can include relocation to another part of the country, electronic monitoring and limits on the use of phones and computers. As of the end of August, six TPIMs were in force. Deradicalisation back in Britain Returnees could be referred to the Government's £40 million a year Prevent programme, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism. There were 7,318 individuals referred to Prevent in 2017/18. The schoolgirl who turned to Isil In most cases, referrals are found to require no further action or passed to other services, but when authorities conclude there is a danger the person could be drawn into terrorism, they can be supported through a voluntary scheme known as Channel. Prevent is backed by ministers and police, but has been described as "toxic" by critics, and the Government announced earlier this year that it would be independently reviewed.


2/20/2019 9:29:41 AM