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Afghanistan rebukes Pakistan ambassador in ripple effect from Kashmir attackAfghanistan's Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Wednesday over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence after last week's attack on Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. In a statement issued after the meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the Foreign Ministry said it deemed his comments to be "in contradiction with Pakistan's commitments with regards to realizing peace in Afghanistan". Tensions between India and Pakistan have risen sharply since the suicide bomb attack in the disputed Kashmir region, which the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group claimed responsibility for.


2/20/2019 9:05:41 AM

Girl's death haunted police until arrest made 45 years laterSANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Investigators searched for decades for the killer of an 11-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from summer school in a case that gripped a California seaside community.


2/20/2019 7:39:49 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

IRS employee charged in leak of Trump attorney recordsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — U.S. prosecutors have charged an IRS employee with leaking banking records of President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen that flagged suspicious activity, the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco said Thursday.


2/21/2019 6:47:36 PM

Trump's climate expert is wrong: The world's plants don't need more CO2Plants on Earth have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, yet President Donald Trump's pick to lead his new climate team insists that they need more carbon dioxide to thrive. Princeton physicist and carbon dioxide-advocate William Happer has been selected to head the brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Security, reports The Washington Post. The atomic scientist — who achieved recognition for his work on atomic collisions and telescope optics, not climate science — maintains that the planet's atmosphere needs significantly more CO2, the potent greenhouse gas that U.S. government scientists — and a bevy of independent scientists — have repeatedly underscored is stoking accelerating climate change. Because plants use carbon dioxide to live, Happer has said "more CO2 is actually a benefit to the Earth," asserted that Earth is experiencing a "CO2 famine," and concluded that "If plants could vote, they would vote for coal." Earth and plant scientists, however, find Happer's insistence that the plant kingdom would benefit from increased carbon dioxide wrong-headed and lacking evidence, at best. For reference, Earth's CO2 concentrations have skyrocketed in the last century, and are now at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years — though other measurements show CO2 levels are higher than they've been in 15 million years.  "The idea that increased CO2 is universally beneficial [to plants] is very misguided," Jill Anderson, an evolutionary ecologist specializing in plant populations at the University of Georgia, said in an interview.  Animation showing the evolution of global mean temperature vs. carbon dioxide concentration since 1850, now updated to include 2018.Though 2018 is a bit cooler than recent years, it still is one of the warmest years ever and lies close to the trend line of #GlobalWarming. pic.twitter.com/eK7zvUqWyT — Robert Rohde (@RARohde) February 10, 2019 "It's a silly argument," added Britton Stephens, a senior scientist in the Earth Observing Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in an interview.  Both independent academic institutions and government agencies around disparate parts of the globe have concluded more carbon dioxide will "bring many negative impacts" to plant environments, Stephens emphasized. "If someone is going to claim it's good, it's incumbent upon them to show evidence." Reached by email, Happer said he would like to chat about the benefits of carbon dioxide in the future, but such requests must now be sent through (and vetted) by the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC responded by saying that "At the moment, a discussion on this topic is not possible. If someone, like Happer, were to ignore uncomfortable realities like drought-ravaged crops, some of the deadliest wildfires on record, and the evaporating Colorado River, they could argue that some plants — but not all plants — could see growth benefits from amassing carbon dioxide concentrations.   SEE ALSO: The Green New Deal: Historians weigh in on the immense scale required to pull it off "If we were to hold other environmental factors completely constant, some plants would do well, some plants would do worse, and some would outcompete other plants," said Anderson.  But this is a reality that doesn't exist.  "We know that CO2 isn’t increasing in isolation," said Anderson. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. Both wild plants and crops are experiencing increased flooding, heat waves, and pestilence. "CO2 does “fertilize” plants and by itself causes plants to grow faster, but unchecked CO2 release into the atmosphere will lead to reduced yields and the consequences could be catastrophic," Thomas Sharkey, a plant biochemist at Michigan State University, said over email.  Baseball spring training starts this week.Predicting today whether CO2 in 2100 will be ~1000 ppm, or only half that, is like guessing who will play in the World Series in October.Nonetheless, the consequences of our CO2 emissions over the next few decades are profound. pic.twitter.com/pUf5VVlBAk — Kris Karnauskas (@OceansClimateCU) February 19, 2019 Sharkey noted that pollen production — which is necessary for making seeds — is sensitive to even small increases in the average temperature.   "The negatives far outweigh the positives," added Stephens.  As might be evident to anyone alive on the planet, plants flourish today and have flourished for hundreds of millions of years, so Happer's suggestion that the planet's vegetation is in need of more carbon dioxide is bizarre.  "Obviously plants were doing just fine historically," said Anderson. "There’s no indication plants are increasing their performance and doing better now than historically." A NASA graph showing skyrocketing CO2 levels. Image: nasa A recent NASA study found that Earth's overall greening over the last two decades — which is to say the increase in area covered by green leaves — is largely due to major tree planting programs and agricultural expansion in China and India. And some new regions of the planet are greening as the planet warms, like vast swaths of the northern tundra. But globally, the jury's still out on whether increased carbon dioxide is having a measurable influence on plant growth.  "This is not a huge signal that everyone can see," said Stephens.  There are extremely conspicuous climate signals, however, that everyone can see. One of the most widely-predicted consequences of a warming climate, stoked by historically-high carbon dioxide emissions, is increased fire weather. The California town of Paradise fell victim to profoundly dried-out vegetation and hot temperatures this past November. The forests had been turned to tinder, waiting to burn. Is more CO2 really good for plants? "Tell that to the trees in Paradise, California," said Stephens.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?  


2/21/2019 6:26:28 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

With Top Investor in Jail, Putin Hits at Business Climate(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said honest business people shouldn’t have to live under “constant fear of criminal prosecution,” days after the arrest of one of the country’s top foreign investors.


2/20/2019 7:21:10 AM

Meet the 'New' F-21 Fighter: An F-16 On Steroids (With F-22 and F-35 DNA)?Is this the fighter India needs?


2/20/2019 7:00:00 PM

U.N. permits North Koreans to travel to Vietnam for Trump summitThe 15-member Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products. Under the sanctions, 12 North Koreans are subject to a global travel ban and asset freeze. While it was not known if any of them will travel to Vietnam, the council's North Korea sanctions committee approved Vietnam's request for a blanket exemption, according to an internal document dated Tuesday seen by Reuters.


2/20/2019 12:58:34 PM

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