(Staples, MN)--A snowmobile crash near Staples has left a man dead. According to the Cass Co…
The deadly 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey near the Syrian border has hit hard in areas that house millions of war-displaced Syrians. In Syria’s Idlib province, the last remaining rebel-held stronghold, many of the displaced live in dire conditions in makeshift camps, while in both government and opposition-controlled areas of northern Syria, buildings weakened by years of bombings were particularly vulnerable to this new shock. Carsten Hansen, director for the Middle East at the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement that the disaster that hit on Monday “will worsen the suffering of Syrians already struggling with a severe humanitarian crisis,”
Italian skier Federica Brignone posted the fastest time in the super-G portion of the women’s combined event on the opening day of the world championships. She led defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin by almost a second. Brignone found the fastest line on the Roc de Fer course as she built a lead of 0.71 seconds over Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. The combined event adds the results of a super-G run and one slalom run. Shiffrin posted the sixth fastest time and had 0.96 seconds to make up on Brignone in the slalom portion.
A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake has rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria. It toppled hundreds of buildings and killed more than 1,300 people. Hundreds are still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area. On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy night. Buildings were reduced to piles of pancaked floors. Major aftershocks, some nearly as strong as the first, continued. Rescue workers and residents in multiple cities searched for survivors, working through tangles of metal and concrete.
German authorities say European investigators have shut down an encrypted communication service that was used as a secure channel for organized crime particularly in the drug trade and arrested 48 people. Police said more than 70 properties were searched in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland on Friday when the arrests were made. They said Monday that those arrested were users, operators and administrators of communication service Exclu. The detentions resulted from an investigation launched in 2020. The inquiry had its roots in the shutdown the previous year of a former military bunker in western Germany that hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities.
Manchester City has been accused of numerous breaches of the Premier League's financial regulations between 2009-18. The period covers the first nine full seasons under the club’s Abu Dhabi ownership. City won the league on three occasions during that time in 2012, 2014 and 2018. The league released a long statement detailing a list of alleged breaches of regulations by City after a four-year investigation. The league says it has referred the breaches to an independent commission. City hasn’t yet commented on the allegations from the Premier League.
Israeli forces have killed five Palestinian gunmen in a raid on a West Bank refugee camp. Monday's raid, which the military said was meant to arrest suspects allegedly involved in a botched attack on Israelis, was likely to further exacerbate tensions in the region. The Hamas militant group claimed all five as members of its armed wing. The Palestinian president called the raid a crime. The violence comes during one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the first weeks of Israel’s new government, its most right-wing ever, which has promised to take a tough stance against the Palestinians.
Officials in Ukraine say Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with fighting in the eastern Donbas region. Moscow is thought to be assembling additional combat power there for an expected offensive in the coming weeks. Officials said Monday that weeks of intense fighting continued to rage around the city of Bakhmut and nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhleda. They are located in the Donetsk region which with neighboring Luhansk region makes up the Donbas region. The industrial area borders Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is hungry for some battlefield success to mark the anniversary of his invasion on Feb. 24.
The hate attacks against Vinícius Júnior continued in Spain over the weekend. The Brazil forward was again targeted by racist insults in a league match. The Spanish league says it will investigate the latest attacks after television images showed someone calling him a monkey during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Mallorca on Sunday. Vinícius was also insulted after the match when he stopped to pose for photos and sign autographs for fans. Vinícius has been subjected to insults since he came to play in Spain five years ago.
Some of Hong Kong’s best-known pro-democracy activists have gone on trial in the biggest prosecution yet under a law imposed by China’s ruling Communist Party to crush dissent. The 18 defendants face up to life in prison if convicted under the national security law critics say is eroding the autonomy promised when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. They are among 47 pro-democracy figures who were arrested under the legislation that was imposed following protests in 2019. They were charged in connection with an informal 2020 primary election. Authorities say the primary was a plot to paralyze Hong Kong’s government. Two of the 18 activists admitted the charges on Monday with the others pleading not guilty. The trial is expected to last 90 days.
Turkey’s disaster management agency has reported that a new earthquake of magnitude 7.6 occurred close to the epicenter of Monday's previous deadly quake, which also generated dozens of aftershocks. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the magnitude of the latest shock at 7.5 magnitude, with a depth of just 10 kilometers. Shallow earthquakes cause more damage. It put the temblor near the town of Ekinozu, Turkey, also close to the southeastern city of Gaziantep, which has a population of 2 million people and where the temperatures on Monday were hovering just above freezing.
China has accused the United States of indiscriminate use of force in shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, saying it seriously damaged both sides’ efforts to stabilize Sino-U.S. relations. Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng says he lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy over the use of military force on the balloon. Xie repeated China's insistence that the balloon was an unmanned Chinese civil airship that blew into U.S. airspace by mistake. He called the U.S. response an overreaction that “seriously violated the spirit of international law.” The presence of the balloon above the U.S. dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations.
A judge in Kenya has ruled that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, can be sued in the East African country. Meta tried to have the case dropped, arguing that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction over their operations, but the labor court judge dismissed that in a ruling on Monday. A former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, is suing the company claiming poor working conditions. Motaung said that while working as a moderator he was exposed to gruesome content such as rape, torture and beheadings that risked his and colleagues’ mental health. He said Meta did not offer mental health support to employees, required unreasonably long working hours, and offered minimal pay.
A confidential U.N. report into the alleged missteps by senior World Health Organization staffers in how they handled a sexual misconduct case during an Ebola outbreak in Congo found their response didn't violate the agency’s policies because of what some officials described as a “loophole.” The report was submitted to WHO last month and wasn't released publicly. It was obtained by the Associated Press. WHO hasn’t publicly described the report’s contents. The U.N. investigation comes after a 2021 review by an independent commission found three WHO managers fumbled a sexual misconduct case first reported by the AP earlier that year. The case involved a U.N. health agency doctor signing a contract to buy land for a young woman he reportedly impregnated.
Hundreds of demonstrators from India’s main opposition party have gathered in New Delhi and other cities to demand regulators investigate allegations of fraud and stock manipulation by India's second-biggest conglomerate, headed by coal mining tycoon Gautam Adani. Meanwhile, the Adani Group said its anchor investors would prepay $1.1 billion in loans backed by Adani shares. The news pushed the share price of one Adani company sharply higher. The Adani Group suffered a massive sell-off of its shares after a U.S.-based short-selling firm, Hindenburg Research, accused it of various fraudulent practices. The Adani Group has denied any wrongdoing. Adani and his companies have lost tens of billions of dollars as investors dumped shares.
The boards of Renault and Nissan have approved equalizing the stake each automaker holds in the other, bringing a better balance in the French-Japanese alliance. Under the decision announced Monday, both companies will own 15% in the other. Up to now, Renault Group of France owned 43.4% of Nissan, while Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. owned 15% of Renault. The uneven shareholdings had been viewed at times as a source of conflict. Renault Chairman Jean Dominique Senard announced the change in a news conference in London. The long speculated move was announced a week ago. The shares equivalent to a 28.4% stake will be transferred to a French trust.
A spokesperson for Pakistan’s media regulator says it has blocked Wikipedia for hurting Muslim sentiment by not removing allegedly blasphemous content. The action was taken because a 48-hour deadline given to Wikipedia was ignored and some of the blasphemous content is still available on the site. That's according to the spokesperson. She said Monday that Pakistani authorities are in talks with Wikipedia officials and the ban could be lifted if the platform completely removes anti-Islamic material. Pakistan briefly banned TikTok twice in the past, for allegedly uploading “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content.
Pope Francis has been backed by the ceremonial head of the Anglican Communion and top Presbyterian minister in calling for gays to be welcomed by their churches as he again decried laws that criminalize homosexuality as unjust. The three Christian leaders spoke on LGBTQ rights during an unprecedented joint airborne news conference Sunday while returning home from South Sudan. They took part in a three-day ecumenical pilgrimage there to try to nudge forward the young country’s peace process. They were asked about Francis’ recent comments to The Associated Press in which he declared that laws that criminalize gay people were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”
Hong Kong’s top court has ruled that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a prerequisite for transgender people to have their gender changed on their official identity cards. The decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the transgender community. Two transgender men appealed to the court last month over the government’s refusal to change the genders on their ID cards because of their decision not to have full sex reassignment surgeries. The court ruled that the government's policy was “disproportionate” in its encroachment on the rights of the two and was unconstitutional.
Turkish president raises quake death toll to 912, bringing overall death toll in Turkey, Syria to more than 1,300.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular planned pension changes start being debated at parliament, after they prompted massive strikes and street demonstrations in recent weeks. The contested bill would notably raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. A third round of protests has been called on Tuesday by eight main workers’ unions and another one is scheduled on Saturday. Macron vowed to go ahead with the changes, which he described last week as “indispensable when you compare to (other countries) in Europe.” His centrist alliance seeks to ally with right-wing Republicans, since the conservatives in recent years have pushed for raising the retirement age and appear inclined to vote in favor of the bill.
Pakistani officials say a bombing killed a soldier and wounded 11 others, mostly civilians, in southwestern Pakistan. The blast went off on Sunday near a checkpoint in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. That's according to a local police official. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by a suicide bomber. It comes a week after a blast killed 101 people at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar. The assault in Peshawar has prompted the Pakistani prime minister to organize a meeting with his allies and the opposition to discuss how to respond to the violence.
Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance staff are walking off the job in the U.K. in what unions called the biggest strike in the history of the country's public health system. Monday's walkout is the latest in a wave of strikes that has disrupted Britons’ lives for months as workers demand pay raises to keep pace with double-digit inflation. Teachers, train drivers, airport baggage handlers, border staff, driving instructors, bus drivers and postal workers also have all walked off their jobs in recent months to demand higher pay. The Conservative government argues that giving public sector staff pay big increases will drive inflation even higher. Britain’s annual inflation rate was 10.5% in December.
Global stock markets and Wall Street futures are lower after strong U.S. jobs data fanned fears of more interest rate hikes to cool inflation. London and Frankfurt opened down. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney fell. Tokyo gained. Oil prices rose. Government data showed U.S. employers hired twice as many people in January as the previous month. That was good news for workers but dampened hopes the Federal Reserve might decide no more rate increases are needed to slow economic activity. Traders worry central bankers might be willing to tip the global economy into recession to stop inflation that is near multi-decade highs.
High winds and a cold snap in Greece have halted ferry services and highway traffic and dusted the Acropolis and other ancient monuments in Athens with snowy. The inclement weather prompted authorities in greater Athens to close schools and courthouses and suspend debates in parliament on Monday. Cellphone push alerts urged the public to remain indoors.
A group of Swiss lawmakers has met with Taiwan’s president and said their government wants to deepen political relations. That adds to shows of support by foreign politicians for the self-ruled island democracy in the face of Chinese intimidation. U.S. legislators including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have irked Beijing by visiting Taiwan, which China’s ruling Communist Party claims as part of its territory. The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping has responded by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island of 22 million people and firing missiles into the sea.
Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti has called on Western powers not to pressure his tiny Balkan country into accepting a contentious association of five Serb-majority municipalities that is ramping up tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. Kurti told The Associated Press that the focus instead should be on making Serbia more democratic and getting rid of what he called Belgrade’s hegemonistic ideas. Kurti said in the interview on Sunday that the Serbian government should acknowledge the independence of all the ex-republics of former Yugoslavia in order to “face the past.” He stressed that Belgrade should lean more toward the European Union and NATO and not Russia.
An Iranian singer who faces possible prison time for his song that’s become an anthem to the ongoing protests shaking the Islamic Republic wept early after seeing he’d won a Grammy. Shervin Hajipour appeared stunned early on Monday in Iran after hearing Jill Biden, the wife of President Joe Biden, announce that he’d won the Grammy’s new song for social change special merit award for “Baraye.” An online video showed Hajipour in a darkened room, wiping tears away after the announcement. There was no immediate reaction in Iranian state media or from government officials to Hajipour’s win. The singer is among over 19,600 people arrested amid the demonstrations.
Pope Francis has made a final appeal for peace in South Sudan. He celebrated Mass before an estimated 100,000 people to close out an unusual mission by Christian religious leaders to nudge forward the country’s recovery from civil war. In his homily Sunday, Francis begged for South Sudanese people to lay down their weapons and forgive one another. His message aimed to revive hopes in the world’s youngest country, which gained independence from the majority Muslim Sudan in 2011 but has been beset by civil war and conflict. The pope has departed the country after being seen off by the president.