1st funeral Pakistani exchange student remembered as ‘precious gift’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 

1st funeral of Santa Fe High School shooting: Pakistani exchange student remembered as ‘precious gift’

Family and friends on Sunday remembered 17-year-old Sabika Sheikh as a hard-working and accomplished Pakistani exchange student, during the first of many planned funerals for victims of the Texas high school shooting massacre.

Sheikh, who had been attending classes at Santa Fe High School since last August, said getting accepted into a U.S. program to study was the best thing that ever happened to her in her life. She was scheduled to go home to Pakistan in three weeks, by Eid al-Fitr, a three-day holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The shooting at the high school southeast of Houston killed 10 people and wounded at least 13 others. A 17-year-old student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held on murder charges.

Family and friends share memories of their loved ones killed in Texas school shooting.

Sabika’s funeral took place Sunday afternoon at a mosque in suburban Houston to overflowing crowds. Her immediate family could not be there with her; relatives are in Pakistan, and the Pakistani Consulate has organized to have her remains returned to her family.

Sabika was an honor student.

At the services, she was remembered as a young woman who wanted to be a businesswoman or a diplomat in the Consulate General’s Office.

Her host mother from the Cochran family said Sabika wanted Americans to know Pakistan better.

The host family said their time with her was “such a precious gift,” as Sabika and their kids were united in love.

The family even started fasting with her for Ramadan.

Former NYS Homeland Security head Michael Balboni on steps to take now.

“When I first started school, I didn’t know anyone. And I met Sabika, and she didn’t know anyone either. And we both became very close,” Jalyn Cochran, who previously had been homeschooled, said. “The other night we were in the car and I was crying because I didn’t want her to go back to Pakistan. And she said, I love you and I miss you. She was so loyal to her faith and her country. And she loved everybody. She was the most amazing person I’d ever met, and I will always miss her.”

Houston, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner, has one of largest exchange students programs in the world. “This is one of those moments that we say drive people’s souls. The death of Sabika and nine others are impacting people all over the world,” he said, adding that schools ought to be made as safe as airports and government buildings.

Her body is to be returned to her family in Karachi, Pakistan.

Surrounded by mourning friends and family at his home in Karachi on Saturday, her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, fought back tears as he relived his frantic efforts to check whether his daughter was safe half a world away. She wasn’t returning his calls and neither were her friends. He eventually learned from the exchange program that she was among the dead.

“We are still in a state of denial. We can’t believe it. It’s like a nightmare,” Sheikh told The Associated Press.

“One should not lose his heart by such kind of incidents,” he added. “One should not stop going for education to the U.S. or U.K., or China, or anywhere. One must go for education undeterred. But controlling such incidents is the responsibility of the respective governments.”

Medical staff at HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Division-affiliated Clear Lake Regional Medical Center reported Sunday that one child remained in serious condition with multiple gunshot wounds, while another was in good condition after being shot. A Santa Fe High School student who had been treated and released Friday was readmitted to the hospital Saturday for further observation, and then later released Saturday evening.

Governor Greg Abbott also issued a statewide call for Texans to take part in a moment of silence at 10:00 a.m. local time Monday to honor the memory of the victims of the shooting. “The act of evil that occurred in Santa Fe has deeply touched the core of who we are as Texans,” said Abbott. “In the midst of such tragedy, we pray for the victims and those mourning in Santa Fe, while we work to ensure swift and meaningful action to protect our students in schools across our state. I ask all Texans to join in holding a moment of silence tomorrow morning to remember the victims, their families, and first responders of the attack that took place at Santa Fe High School.”

Fox News’ Ray Bogan and Emilie Ikeda in Texas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump says for first time that Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels case

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trump says for first time that Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels case

(Trump proves himself to be a liar, again, the man is habitual) 
 2:33
Missed ‘Fox & Friends’? Here’s what Trump said on Cohen, Ronny Jackson and more.

President Trump, for the first time, said that Michael Cohen represented him in efforts to silence Stormy Daniels in an interview with “Fox & Friends” April 26. 

 April 26 at 9:14 AM 
President Trump acknowledged Thursday for the first time that his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen represented him in efforts to silence Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who has alleged a sexual encounter with Trump more than a decade ago.
Trump earlier this month denied any knowledge of the $130,000 payment to Daniels that was arranged by Cohen and is subject of a federal investigation, telling reporters: “I don’t know” about the payment or where Cohen got the money. And the White House repeatedly has insisted that Daniels’ allegations that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 were false.
But in an interview with Fox News on Thursday morning, Trump appeared to reveal that he had knowledge of Cohen’s payment to Daniels.
“Michael represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” Trump said. “And from what I’ve seen, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this.”
Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, weighed in a few minutes later on MSNBC and said that Trump had made a “hugely damaging admission.”
Trump’s comments came during a wide-ranging telephone interview with the hosts of “Fox & Friends,” the pro-Trump morning show that the president regularly watches and praises.

 0:56
Trump’s lawyer is invoking the Fifth Amendment. Here’s what Trump has said about it.

President Trump has been very critical of those who plead the Fifth Amendment. His lawyer just invoked the Fifth. 

Cohen is under criminal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Earlier this month, FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office and a hotel room where he had been staying and seized records relating to numerous issues, including Cohen’s work on Trump’s behalf to negotiate the settlement with Daniels.
On Wednesday, Cohen told a federal judge that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in a lawsuit brought by Daniels. Asked on Fox for his reaction to Cohen’s plea, Trump said: “He’s a good person.”
Trump went on to attempt to distance himself from Cohen, in keeping with the president’s tendency to claim he has little to do with associates once they get into trouble. Cohen has handled Trump’s most sensitive legal and personal affairs for more than a decade, but the president told the Fox hosts that he is more of a businessman than a lawyer.
“This doesn’t have to do with me,” Trump said. “Michael is a businessman. He’s got a business. He also practices law. I would say, probably, the big thing is his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”
Trump described Cohen as one of many members of his legal network.
“I have so many attorneys you wouldn’t believe,” Trump said.
And asked how much of his legal work Cohen is responsible for, Trump said: “As a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny fraction.”

Mercedes-Benz used by Adolf Hitler to be auctioned in Arizona

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

An infamous Mercedes-Benz used by Adolf Hitler to be auctioned in Arizona

A Mercedes-Benz that was used to shuttle Adolf Hitler around Nazi Germany will be auctioned in Arizona early next year and could be worth millions, if anyone steps up to bid on it.

The 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen’s anonymous owner will offer the car to bidders at the Worldwide Auctioneers event in Scottsdale on Jan. 17, during the city’s annual classic car extravaganza.

While any Nazi symbols on the vehicle were removed long ago, the ghosts of its past remain.

(Original Caption) Storm Troopers, with arms linked, hold back the crowds, as the leader of the Reich, Adolf Hitler, returns to Berlin after the triumph of his Armies in France. He returned on July 6th, 1940, after having visited conquered Paris. The street is strewn with flowers. Hitler stands upright in his official car and returns the salutes of his greeters.

Adolf Hitler in Berlin on July 6, 1940  (Getty Images)

The imposing, four-door convertible “Super Mercedes” is one of a handful of cars used by the German High Command that have a well-documented connection to Hitler himself, including parading him through Berlin after the defeat of France in 1940 and after the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in 1941. Benito Mussolini also got a ride in it during a visit to Germany.

The partially-armored car eventually fell out of this use and turned up in France, where it was captured after the war by American forces who, no doubt unaware of its notoriety, assigned it to a military police motor pool for several months.

hitler

In 1946, the car found its way into private hands in Belgium, and three years after that, an American tobacco merchant purchased it and donated it to the Greenville, N.C., branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ironically, like many other vehicular trophies from the war, it was rolled out for patriotic parades, according to Robert Klara, author of “The Devil’s Mercedes: The Bizarre and Disturbing Adventures of Hitler’s Limousine in America,” which chronicles the controversial legacy of this car and others from the Fuehrer’s fleet.

The car later sat for years in a garage and had been nearly forgotten in 1976 when collectors Steve Munson and Joe Ogden purchased it for $50,000. When they discovered its possible ties to Hitler, they spent another $50,000 to restore it.

hitler

Munson and Ogden publicized the car and displayed it in several venues before it was sold twice more for unknown amounts. (One of the sales was rumored to be on the order of $1 million). In 1983, it found a home at the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas, an enormous car museum owned by Ralph Engelstad, a casino operator. Engelstad had a private room full of Nazi relics in which he held Hitler-themed birthday parties that got him slapped with a $1.5 million fine from Nevada gaming authorities.

After Engelstad died in 2002, the car and several other Mercedes from the collection were sold to a European collector. It was sold again in 2009 to an anonymous buyer known only to be a wealthy Russian businessman, who displayed it briefly in a Moscow car museumto celebrate the Russian-led Soviet Union’s role in defeating the Nazis.

hitler

Michael Fröhlich, the German car dealer who brokered the sale, would not confirm how much the Russian businessman paid for the car, citing confidentiality stipulations. But to the best of his knowledge, he said, it hasn’t been sold since.

Now it likely will be — and in the same city where what turned out to be a phony Hitler-linked Mercedes was sold amid protests and bomb threats for a then-record $153,000 in 1973.

Ken Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the organization isn’t so much concerned about next month’s auction itself as it is about what will happen to the car afterward.

MORE CLASSIC CAR NEWS FROM FOX NEWS AUTOS

“We understand there is a market for war memorabilia and that serious collectors are interested in items like this,” Jacobson told Fox News. “While we don’t have an issue with Nazi-era automobiles like this going up for auction, we would not want to see the vehicle winding up in the hands of someone who would use it to glorify Hitler or the deeds of the Nazis. Ideally, we would prefer to see it housed in a museum, so that it could be understood in its proper context.”

Klara agrees. He said the car is a legitimate World War II timepiece, but it’s also a “socially radioactive one that needs to be handled in a historically responsible way, because there isn’t anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on a car like this….

“The onus is on the owner to present it in a correct, culturally sensitive context. That’s the job of a museum, but a tougher task for a private collector.”

Just how much the car will sell for remains to be seen. One of America’s most prominent classic car valuation experts, who asked to remain anonymous, said a Mercedes-Benz like this is likely worth $5 million to $7 million, but this one, given its historical significance, could sell for double that.

Whatever it goes for, the auction house said the seller has promised to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to an unidentified organization dedicated to Holocaust education.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor. Follow him on Twitter @garygastelu

Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

((oped) THE IDIOT, JEFF SESSIONS SEEMS TO NOT ‘GET IT’ AT ALL. THE BIG PHARMACEUTICAL’S PUMPED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO ADDS IN STATES THAT WERE GOING TO VOTE ABOUT LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN AN EFFORT TO GET THE PEOPLE TO VOTE AGAINST LEGAL MARIJUANA. THERE IS ONE SIMPLE REASON FOR THIS, ALL STATS FROM STATES WHERE MARIJUANA IS NOW LEGAL HAVE SEEN ABOUT A 50% REDUCTION IN OPIOID DEATHS. LESS OPIOID USE/DEATHS, THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES MAKE LESS PROFITS. WAKE UP JEFF!!!) (trs)

Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that the Justice Department is examining ways to work toward a “rational” marijuana policy, though he did not provide details, including whether the DOJ will crack down on states where the drug has been legalized.

“We’re looking very hard on that right now. In fact, we had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length,” Sessions said about the department’s stance toward marijuana during an announcement on new funding and tools the agency will use to combat the opioid crisis. He did not elaborate further.

The attorney general added that he views pot as “detrimental” and noted that consumption is still a federal violation.

“I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department in any way believes that marijuana is harmless … people should avoid it,” he said.

Sessions holds the power over the federal enforcement arm of criminal laws, such as the Controlled Substances Act.

The marijuana industry currently benefits from a legal memorandum issued by the Justice Department in 2013 that essentially adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, so long as they don’t threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and supporting cartels. But a Justice Department with Sessions at the helm has the ability to rip this up and simply issue a new memo.

During the news conference, the former Alabama senator also said he felt “dubious” about a 2016 pharmaceutical lobby-pushed law that has made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Administration to take action against pharmaceutical distributors sending off large opioid shipments.

“I went along with it after the department and the DEA agreed to accept it,” Sessions said.

Earlier this fall, The Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” conducted a joint investigation into the effects of the bill. They found that the bill raised the burden of proof for the DEA, making it more difficult for the agency to stop high quantities of pain pills from entering pharmacies across the country.

“I would be supportive of new legislation,” Sessions said Wednesday, later adding, “I guess you could say in some areas it’s more difficult than it would have been had that law not passed.”

Sessions, a fervent critic of so-called “sanctuary cities,” emphasized that believes they are a safe havens for drug dealers, adding that their impact is being felt “across state lines.”

“I think sanctuary cities are a detriment to enforcing our drug laws and it just reaffirms my view that this is a very, very bad policy,” he said.

By Maegan Vazquez and Laura Jarrett, CNN

TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT 2017 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2 Americans who bared butts at Bangkok temples are arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

2 Americans who bared butts at Bangkok temples are arrested

Two American men who were reportedly honeymooning in Thailand were detained after they shared photos of their exposed butts taken at two famous Bangkok temples.

The pair, Joseph and Travis DaSilva of San Diego, both 38, were arrested at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday, just days after they uploaded photos of their bared backsides to Instagram, the Bangkok Post reported; the photos were taken at Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho temples.

“They were detained as they were about to leave Thailand,” said Col. Cherngron Rimpadee, an immigration police spokesman. The colonel said the couple were on a “watch list” after their social media posts caught authorities’ attention.

“Once they are through with the charges, the Thai immigration police will revoke their visas and push for deportation,” he said, according to the BBC. “They will also be blacklisted from coming back to Thailand.”

He added that the two men admitted to taking down their pants and posing for photos at the temples.

The DaSilvas were charged with getting naked in public and fined $150 apiece. However, some Thai officials have told the media that there could be more serious charges. Officials are now seeking court approval to prosecute them on the Computer Crime Act for uploading pornographic pictures, Col. Jarupat Thongkomol said from the police station near the temple, Agence France-Press reported. They could face jail time.

The couple were in Thailand celebrating their honeymoon one year after tying the knot, according to San Diego’s NBC 7.

San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez said the men reached out to him for assistance. “Though I am very disappointed in their actions, I am talking to U.S. government officials to see what assistance we can give them,” Murray-Ramirez told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

Wat Arun and Wat Pho, known to many travelers as the home of the golden reclining Buddha, are considered two of the holiest places in Thailand.

According to reports, this is not the first time the couple have posted images of their naked backsides online. The now-deleted Instagram account, @traveling_butts, followed their adventures across the globe with pictures of their bare bottoms at famous tourist sites around the world.

While some of the posts seemed harmless, the photos of the two men in Thailand triggered an intense backlash once they went viral, news.com.au reported.

In 2015, two American women were arrested, fined and deported for taking nude photographs inside Cambodia’s Angkor Wat complex.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com.

Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

Indian politician offers $1.5M for beheading of Bollywood star

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 

Indian politician offers $1.5M for beheading of Bollywood star over Hindu queen, Muslim ruler romance film

A member of India’s Hindu nationalist ruling party offered a $1.5 million bounty Sunday for anyone who beheads the lead actress and the director of a yet-to-be released Bollywood film that’s sparked controversy for depicting a romance between a Hindu queen and Muslim ruler.

The film “Padmavati” was set to be in theaters on Dec. 1 and has caused a firestorm over its alleged handling of the relationship.

Suraj Pal Amu, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader from the northern state of Haryana, offered the bounty against actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.The film’s producers postponed the release of the movie the same day.

Speaking at a public rally, Amu also said the film would not be allowed to be released at all, local media reported.

FILE - In this June 25, 2016 file photo, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone poses for photographers at the International Indian Film Academy Rocks Green Carpet for the 17th Edition of IIFA Weekend & Awards in Madrid, Spain. A member of India's Hindu nationalist ruling party has offered a 100 million rupee ($1.5 million) reward to anyone who beheads the lead actress Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of the yet-to-be released Bollywood film "Padmavati" over its alleged handling of the relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler. The film's producers postponed the release of the film, which was set to be in theaters Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Samuel de Roman, File)

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone poses for photographers at the International Indian Film Academy Rocks.  (AP)

The movie “Padmavati” is based on a 16th century Sufi epic poem, “Padmavat,” a fictional account of a brave and beautiful Rajput queen who chose to kill herself rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. Over the centuries, the tale has come to be seen as history, even though there is little historical evidence to support it.

Padukone plays the role in the film of Padmini, the legendary queen who committed “jauhar,” the medieval Rajput practice in which women of royal households walked into funeral fires to embrace death over the dishonor of being taken captive.

The film has been in trouble since the beginning of the year, with fringe groups in the western state of Rajasthan attacking the film’s set, threatening to burn down theaters that show it and even physically attacking Bhansali in January.

70th Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film "Nelyubov" (Loveless) in competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France. 18/05/2017. Model Deepika Padukone poses. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe - RC1F97CCB4A0

Deepika Padukone poses at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.  (Reuters)

Most of the anger at the film appears to stem from allegations that Bhansali distorted history by filming a romantic dream sequence between the film’s main protagonists. Bhansali has denied the allegations.

Earlier this month, the head of the Rajput Karni Sena in Rajasthan said Padukone should have her nose cut — a symbol of public humiliation — for being part of a film that allegedly insulted the famed queen.

On Monday, local government officials vowed to take “stringent action” against those threatening Padukone and others involved in the movie, The Indian Express reported.

India’s 1.3 billion-strong democracy is the largest in the world, but despite significant economic progress over the last few decades its politics are held hostage by a complex mix of religion and caste. Books and movies have found themselves at the receiving end of threats of violence and bans because they either offend one religious or caste group, or are deemed offensive to Indian culture in general.

Members of India's Rajput community shout slogans as they protest against the release of Bollywood film "Padmavati" in Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. The film has been in trouble since the beginning of the year, with fringe groups in the western state of Rajasthan attacking the film's set, threatening to burn down theaters that show it and even physically attacking the director in January. A member of India's Hindu nationalist ruling party has offered a 100 million rupee ($1.5 million) reward to anyone who beheads the lead actress and the director of the yet-to-be released film over its alleged handling of the relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Members of India’s Rajput community shout slogans as they protest against the release of Bollywood film “Padmavati” in Mumbai.  (AP)

In the past, India’s film censor board rejected the erotic drama “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and Hollywood movies that appear on Indian screens are routinely scrubbed of sex scenes. “The Da Vinci Code” was banned in the Indian state of Goa, which has a large Christian population, because religious groups objected.

On Monday, India’s Supreme Court refused to ban the controversial film, saying it is not inclined in the matter and the fate of the film needs to be decided by the country’s censor board, India Today reported.

In its decision, the court said: “The censor board has a role and the Supreme Court cannot assume that role. Why should the court interfere to stop the release of a movie which has not been cleared by the censor board?”

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone interacts with the media during a news conference promoting the upcoming film "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" in Mumbai, India January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade - RC1C7813B2F0

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone interacts with the media during a news conference in Mumbai.  (Reuters)

In 2014, the publishing house Penguin India pulled from shelves and destroyed all copies of American historian Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus: An Alternative History” after protests and a lawsuit from a Hindu right-wing group. The group’s main objection was that the book described Hindu mythological texts as fictional.

India-born writer Salman Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned here since 1998, since many Muslims consider it blasphemous. Rushdie was forced to cancel a 2012 appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival amid protests and threats by prominent Muslim clerics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince calls Iran’s supreme leader ‘new Hitler’ of the Middle East

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince calls Iran’s supreme leader ‘new Hitler’ of the Middle East

Amid his sweeping cultural reforms and systematic purges from the royal family, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince this week called Iran’s supreme leader the “new Hitler of the Middle East,” comments that are sure to ratchet up the conflict between the two rival Muslim powers.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the statements about Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an interview with The New York Times that was published Thursday. Salman told The Times that Iran’s efforts to expand “needed to be confronted.”

The prince, 32, who is expected to succeed his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 81, compared Iran and Saudi Arabia’s power struggle in the region to those fighting for Europe in World War II.

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” Salman told The New York Times.

RETURNING PM ATTENDS LEBANON’S MILITARY PARADE

The Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in the various wars and political battles occurring throughout the region. Saudi Arabia backs Sunni Muslims while Tehran backs Shiite Muslims.

Tensions between the two countries escalated earlier this month when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced in Saudi Arabia that he was resigning from his position. Hariri accused Iran-backed Hezbollah, a Shiite political party and terror group based in Lebanon, of holding his country hostage and plotting against him. Saudi Arabia has also accused Hezbollah of meddling on Iran’s behalf in regional affairs.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a regional banking conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Hariri told the conference that the country's stability is his primary concern. The remarks, a day after Hariri suspended his resignation, sought to assure the Hariri's government would keep up the effort to have Lebanon remain a top Mideast destination for finance. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said earlier this month he was resigning from his position.  (AP)

Hezbollah, however, accused Saudi Arabia of engineering Hariri’s resignation, calling it “an act of war,” Reuters reported.

Hariri returned to Lebanon this week and said he was putting his resignation on hold.

 

UN CHIEF NUKE INSPECTOR: IRAN COMPLYING WITH NUCLEAR DEAL

Salman also told The New York Times the war in Yemen was “going in its favor.” The war, which has raged since 2015, has pitted a Saudi-led coalition backed by the U.S. against the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen’s ousted president. The war has left over 10,000 people dead, driven 3 million from their homes and destroyed the country’s already fragile infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of sending aid to the Houthi rebels in Yemen while Tehran has denied the accusations, the BBC reported.

Iran did not immediately responded to Salman’s comments but Khamenei has previously called Saudi Arabia’s royal family, the House of Saud, an “accursed tree” and accused the kingdom of “spreading terrorism.”

A November crackdown saw the arrests of 11 members of the House of Saud on various charges related to “corruption.” In the midst of the arrests and constant countering of Iran, Saudi Arabia has also worked to institute reforms such as allowing women to drive vehicles in the Kingdom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Indiana teacher busted after being caught on camera doing drugs in classroom

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

Indiana teacher busted after being caught on camera doing drugs in classroom

An Indiana high school teacher got more than detention when she was arrested after a video posted to social media allegedly showed her doing drugs in an empty classroom.

Samantha Cox, a 24-year-old teacher at Lake Central High School in the town of St. John near the Illinois border, was arrested on Wednesday for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

The English teacher was allegedly caught doing drugs after students filmed her with a phone from outside the classroom, according to Fox 32 Chicago.

“It’s absolutely, I can’t’ really describe it. It’s just atrocious,” Kasia Firlej, a parent of a child at the school said to the local news channel.

The video, which made rounds on social media, shows a woman alleged to be Cox sitting in the corner of the classroom using narcotics. It was not immediately clear which substance she was taking.

Teacher

Cox is being held at the Lake County Jail pending charges.  (Lake County Sheriff)

Police in St. John responded to a call late Wednesday morning about the situation.

A second cellphone video shows the teacher being led out of the school wearing handcuffs.

The incident led Lake Central superintendent, Dr. Larry Verraco, to send out a recorded message on Wednesday afternoon to parents.

“Earlier today, Lake Central administration was made aware of a situation regarding a teacher at Lake Central High School,” Dr.Verraco said in the message. “Swift and forceful action was taken in conjunction with St. John and Dyer police departments. The safety of all students remains the top priority of our school staff and a full investigation is ongoing.”

Cox is being held at a local jail pending charges.

The investigation is ongoing.

Click here for more from Fox 32 Chicago

Southern Baptist Convention Offers to Cover Funeral Expenses for All 26 Church Shooting Victims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST AND FOX NEWS)

 

Southern Baptist Convention Offers to Cover Funeral Expenses for All 26 Church Shooting Victims

(PHOTOS: FAMILY PHOTOS VIA NBC NEWS)Eighteen of the 26 victims who were fatally shot by Devin Kelley at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017. They are (1st row L-R) Bryan Holcombe, Karla Holcombe, Crystal Holcombe, Brook Ward, Marc Daniel “Danny” Holcombe, Richard Rodriguez; (2nd row L-R) Annabelle Pomeroy, Greg Hill, Joann Ward, Emily Garza, Tara McNulty and Shani Corrigan; (3rd row L-R) Emily Hill, Haley Krueger, Noah Holcombe, Sara Johnson, Dennis and Megan Hill.

The North American Mission Board, the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, has offered to cover the funeral expenses for the families of the 26 people killed inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, at the hands of Devin Kelley on Sunday.

The NAMB confirmed the offer in a Baptist Press report on Monday.

SBC President Steve Gaines also confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that he, along with SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, visited with Sutherland Spring’s Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, who lost their daughter, Annabelle, in the massacre.

“Just spent a few hours with @RichardsJim@frankpagesbc with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, here in Sutherland Springs. Godly people,” Gaines said.

As the tragedy unfolded on Sunday, Gaines, who leads Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, said his congregation felt led to pray for the Sutherland Springs church and he felt a need to help in their time of grief.

“Yesterday as we prayed at Bellevue for the families of those slain and also the others who were wounded at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, I sensed the need to go there and try to minister to the pastor and his wife and their devastated congregation,” Gaines said.

(PHOTO: REUTERS/JONATHAN BACHMAN)A woman places flowers at a memorial in memory of the victims killed in the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 7, 2017.

“I discussed it with Frank Page and Jim Richards, and we all agreed to go and help any way we possibly can. Our Southern Baptist family grieves with this beloved church and the community it serves. Our prayers are ascending steadily to God’s throne of grace. May God bring healing and hope to those that are hurting,” he said.

As the small congregation worshiped at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday, Kelley, 26, began firing his Ruger AR-556 rifle inside the building shortly after the 11 a.m. service began.

Within minutes, 26 people were dead and at least 20 others were left with serious injuries The New York Times reported. At least eight members of one family including a pregnant mother were killed. Nearly half of the deceased are children.

Police say Kelley unleashed about 450 rounds of ammunition on the helpless congregation and survivors say the deranged shooter who later killed himself expressed an intention to execute the entire congregation.

Roseanne Solis, one of the survivors of the church massacre, told KSAT 12 that the congregation was singing a new song when Kelley interrupted the praise with gunfire and declared that everyone was going to die.

“I hear firecrackers popping. Ta-ta-ta,” she recalled before someone screamed at the church members to take cover.

“Everybody started screaming, yelling. Everyone got down, crawling under wherever they could hide,” Solis said. “It was so scary. He was shooting hard.”

She explained that she got shot in the left shoulder and watched as other church members started falling to the floor, bleeding and in shock.

Things got quiet briefly inside the church after the first barrage of bullets but quickly deteriorated again when Kelley told everyone they would die.

“I thought it was the police when he went inside because everyone got real quiet. Everyone was saying ‘Be quiet. It’s him. It’s him.'” Then he yelled out, ‘Everybody dies [expletive],’ and Kelley started shooting again.

David Brown, whose mother was sitting in the back pew of the church, told Fox 31, that Kelley went from pew to pew to exact his mission to kill everyone.

Solis’ husband, Joaquin Ramirez, who was also inside the church at the time of the attack, said even though the church members were urging each other to keep quiet as the gunman hunted for survivors the children couldn’t stop crying.

Kelley found them, he said, and shot them at point-blank range. About half of the 26 victims from the massacre are children.

Heroic Mother Died Shielding Own Children in Texas Church Slaughter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST AND FOX NEWS)

 

Heroic Mother Died Shielding Own Children in Texas Church Slaughter: ‘She Was Epitome of Christ’

(SCREENSHOT: FOX NEWS)Vonda Smith, a close friend of slain mother Joann Ward, speaks with Fox News on November 8, 2017.

Three of the 26 victims in Sunday’s mass church shooting in Texas were a mother and two of her young daughters, though the woman’s two other children reportedly survived only because she sacrificed her life for them, a family friend has said.

Vonda Smith, a close friend of slain mother Joann Ward, told Fox News in an interview on Wednesday that she spoke with 9-year-old Rihanna, one of Ward’s children that survived the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

“The first thing she told me was that the reason she didn’t get shot like everybody else was that her momma threw her on the ground and told her to hide,” Smith said.

“As soon as she threw her on the ground, she scooped up her other three that were sitting next to her in a pew — Ryland, who’s 5, and Brooke, who’s 5, and Emily, who’s 7 — and she immediately covered them with her body. And that’s exactly how Rihanna described it.”

While Rihanna and Ryland survived the attack, Emily and Brooke died alongside their mother.

Smith explained that her friend was strong in her relationship with Jesus, and would tell people to “live for Christ, no matter what.”

“She was dragging people to Church. She was begging her best friend, Cody, to go to Sunday school with her. That was her heart,” Smith recalled.

The family friend noted that the community is not surprised at Ward’s ultimate sacrifice for her children.

“If they needed anything, it was [at] the drop of a hat. It was about her children. And that’s Joann’s heart,” she said. “It’s the thing that you hear sometimes parents say, but you never think they’ll have to. She said, ‘I would die for my children.’ And she ended up having to do that, in the very end.”

“She loved them so. And she gave it up for them ultimately,” Smith continued. “She was the epitome of Christ.”

The tragic stories from Sunday’s shooting carried out by 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley that has shaken Christians across the country continue flowing in.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church and his wife, Sherri, were away on the day of the shooting but revealed that their 14-year-old daughter was among the victims.

Sherri Pomeroy said in a statement that the church was not composed of “members or parishioners,” but was a “very close family.”

“We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday,” the pastor’s wife said.

“As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family,” she said, referring to her daughter.

On Monday it emerged that a pregnant mother and three of her five young children, along with several other members of her extended family, were all killed in the shooting.

Crystal Holcombe was killed within minutes of the attack, alongside her children Emily, Megan and Greg, with her father-in-law, his wife, her brother-in-law and his 18-month-old daughter being among the victims as well.

Michele Hill, Holcombe’s aunt, said in a GoFundMe campaign message:

“Through all the pain we still hold on to the unshakable truth that we serve a mighty and just GOD. HE is on HIS throne and is kneeling down to hear our prayers and is collecting each and every tear we shed. We do not mourn their death because we are unsure of where they are, we mourn the loss of their presence in our lives. We have no doubt that their last breath here was their first breath in the presence of our GOD and HE welcomed them with open arms.”

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov
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