The senator from Utah becomes the first Republican lawmaker to criticize the president in the wake of the release of the report.
The suicide bomber waited patiently in a queue for the Easter Sunday breakfast buffet at Sri Lanka's Cinnamon Grand hotel before setting off explosives strapped to his back. Carrying a plate, the man, who had registered at the hotel the night before as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed, was just about to be served when he set off his devastating strike in the packed restaurant, a manager at the Sri Lankan hotel said. Other hotel officials told how the bomber, a Sri Lankan, checked in giving an address that turned out to be false, saying he was in the city for business.
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo authorities announced Saturday they have brought back from Syria 110 Kosovar citizens, mostly women and children, with the assistance of the United States.
Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Photos from GettyWhen the most famous Gothic cathedral in the world burned this week—smoke and flames billowing out from the spire—I took to Twitter to join the chorus of voices who expressed their heartfelt loss. As a historian, I am all too aware of how vulnerable the remains of the Middle Ages are, and a seemingly eternal building such as Notre Dame is no exception.Once the fire was under control, and eventually extinguished, the extent of the damage became clear. The outer roof was destroyed, and the spire had collapsed, crushing the inner medieval mason vault as it fell. But apart from where the spire came crashing through, the medieval structures seem to have held, as have the cathedral’s rose windows.The challenge that now lies ahead is restoring what was lost, and the debate about how this should be done has already started. Should the spire be reconstructed? What materials should be used? Should it look like something from the Middle Ages, or not?If you ask me, in honor of Notre Dame’s history, the new roof needs to be a brand new design, representative of today and not of the past. Why? Well, the restoration and preservation of historical buildings is based on an idea that there is an original state of things that can be reached if later additions and influences are done away with.The idea of there being an ‘original state of things’ is also what dominates the worldview of the far right, who use their interpretation of the Middle Ages as a template for how they believe society should be.While Notre Dame was burning, conspiracy theories began to surface, and declarations were made of the fire portending the end of Western civilization and its Judeo-Christian values. Instead, what was happening was the destruction of a medieval past that has, in all honesty, never existed.Western civilization is a term that grew out of the creation of history as a topic of study at the universities in England, Germany, and France in the 19th century. In her book History. Why It Matters, historian Lynn Hunt states that “history grew as an academic discipline in tandem with nationalism and a growing conviction of European superiority over the rest of the world.” This conviction led to the West “being portrayed as the source of technical innovation and cultural advancement,” also known as “modernity.”The origins of “modernity” were found in a distorted interpretation of the Middle Ages, which medievalist Dorothy Kim traces to the German Völkisch movement, also in the 19th century. According to Kim, this movement “rewrote history, drawing from folklore such as that of Brothers Grimm, medieval epics and a dedication to racial white supremacy.”From these two developments, the term “Western civilization” emerged in the 1890s, but it didn’t come into everyday use until the 20th century was well underway. According to philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, the term “West” is used in contrast to something else. During the age of Imperialism it was used in contrast to Asia; during the Cold War in contrast to Communist Europe and the Soviet Union; and today to Latin America, Africa, and Asia (also known as “the Global South”), and the Muslim world. Looking at the world from this point of view, “West” and “Western civilization” come to mean the United States, Europe, and Christianity.This brings us to the notion of Judeo-Christian values, where once again the Middle Ages are used to make an argument that actually misrepresents the time period. In the eyes of those who promote the ideas of Western civilization and so-called Judeo-Christian values, the Middle Ages stand out as the ideal time period when Europe was a white society united in a homogenous Christian culture led by one single Christian institution.Such a view of the Middle Ages is inaccurate. In fact, what is considered to be European culture, in the past and today, is an amalgamation of impulses from all over the world. During the Middle Ages, Europe communicated closely with Africa, Asia, and the Middle East using networks that were several thousand years old. Important to keep in mind is that at this point in time, Europe was located at the periphery of the world economic system, whose center lay in the civilizations surrounding the Indian Ocean.Even though the Catholic Church was the dominating religious institution in the Middle Ages, it did not have monopoly on religion. Medieval Europe was the home of Orthodox Christians, Jews, pagans, and Muslims. The idea of a shared Judeo-Christian medieval origin is immediately contradicted by what we know of the church’s persecution of the Jews living in medieval Europe, perhaps best illustrated by the two sculptures known as Ecclesia and Sinagoga, visible on the façade of Notre Dame itself. These two sculptures represent Christianity’s triumph over Judaism and were a common sight during the 12th and 13th centuries.History is an ongoing process of human activity. Notre Dame is an example of history being a living, breathing thing. History is not static, and neither is Notre Dame. Or as medievalist Lisa Fagin Davis puts it, “Nothing makes it from the Middle Ages to the 21st century without being transformed along the way.”Within Notre Dame, we find the accumulation of nine centuries of history. The art, the relics, and the religious objects, whose fate concerned so many while the fire was raging, represent every century of the cathedral’s existence. The spire that fell into a sea of flames on April 16 was a 19th-century addition by Gothic revivalist architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc after the roof had been without a spire for 50 years.As a historian who works with material culture, I am well aware of the challenges that come with working on historical buildings, especially those that have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nevertheless, Notre Dame’s new roof should be a representation of the architecture of the first decades of the 21st century, more in the spirit of the pyramid at the Louvre than the spire that no longer defines the Paris city silhouette.An acknowledgement of Notre Dame as the result of worldwide impulses across the centuries can be found in the French government’s decision to put out a global call for architects to participate in a competition to rebuild Notre Dame. In the words of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the new roof of the cathedral needs to be “adapted to the techniques and challenges of our era,” and is called for by “the evolution of heritage.”A roof of that kind would be a reflection of an event that has added a new scar to an already battle-hardened building.Read more at The Daily Beast.
Addressing hundreds of people gathered at Saturday's service in a park next to the school, Dawn Anna, mother of slain student Lauren Townsend, spoke on behalf of all the families of the victims about their sense of loss. Patrick Ireland, whose fall out of a school library window into the arms of firefighters, which became one of the iconic images of the massacre, spoke of his long physical and emotional recovery. "You're a victim only if you allow yourself to become one," Ireland said.
As the Ukrainian election heats up in April 2019, the incumbent President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko made a bold claim: Ukraine has made an indigenous cruise missile with a range of 1000 kilometers, capable of carrying a 150-kilogram warhead.The strategic implications of such a weapon might be critical for Ukrainian defense planning. But what is the missile likely based on? How could it be an effective deterrent?Using long-range conventional cruise missiles for deterrence against Russia is not without precedent. The American JASSM long-range aerial-launched cruise missiles are popular exports to countries bordering Russia, with Finland buying regular JASSMs with ranges of around 370 kilometers and Poland buying JASSM-ERs with ranges in excess of 900 kilometers.A common narrative is that these missiles would be used to strike Russian Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) weapons, allowing NATO air and sea reinforcements to operate in event of conflict. This too is applicable to Ukraine.However, a more crucial aspect may be delaying Russian reinforcements to a potential conflict. By striking infrastructure and troop concentrations, long-range cruise missiles may hinder reinforcements reaching the front line at critical points during battle.
What better way to relax and recharge than with some retail therapy?
Larry Mitchell Hopkins accused of illegal weapons possession after videos apparently showed men stopping migrants in New MexicoMen including Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots, share cigarettes while patrolling the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico last month. Photograph: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty ImagesA member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border has been arrested, officials said on Saturday.The FBI arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, for alleged unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition , days after his group posted videos that appeared to show armed men stopping migrants at the border in New Mexico, ordering them to sit on the ground and coordinating with US border patrol agents to have them taken into custody.“Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes,” the New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, said in a statement.On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an investigation into the pro-Trump, anti-immigrant men who have been patrolling the border and calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP).The ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes”, saying they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and had directly made illegal arrests and held migrants at gunpoint.Hopkins’ role in the group was unclear, and it was also not clear if he was facing any charges directly related to the videos of the men stopping migrants. The New Mexico attorney general’s office described Hopkins as a “dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families” and labeled him an “armed individual detaining migrants at the border”.An FBI statement on the arrest did not mention the militia group or the detention of migrants, but noted that Hopkins has also gone by the name Johnny Horton Jr and that he was due to appear in court on Monday.In one video posted last Monday night by Jim Benvie, a member of the armed group, it appeared the men were ordering around dozens of migrants, including many children, and telling them to sit. Benvie narrated: “There’s no border patrol here. This is us.”The men appeared to call border patrol agents, who later were seen. The ACLU, in a letter to state officials, said the group had targeted nearly 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is along the Mexico border and adjacent to El Paso, Texas.The militia members advocated for Trump’s proposed border wall on the video streams and echoed the president’s anti-migrant rhetoric, warning of an “invasion”.There have also been concerns that the men, who wear military-style clothes, could be misrepresenting themselves as border patrol agents. In another video, Benvie filmed himself stopping a group of four adults and three children and said “border patrol” as he approached, before calling for another member of his group to join him. In an apparent call to border patrol, one man said: “Hello, I’ve got seven over here.”The UCP has previously presented itself as a group of “volunteers” aiding border patrol and supporting Trump. In recent years, there have been numerous reports of an increase in paramilitary groups and xenophobic activists surveilling the border, working with US agents and targeting undocumented people.The UCP has not responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment.On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said border patrol “welcomes assistance from the community” but “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands”.The Daily Beast reported that Hopkins has a history of pushing far-right conspiracies and has a conviction for impersonating an officer and felony firearm possession. He could not be reached on Saturday and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.Stephanie Corte, an immigrant rights campaign strategist with the ACLU in New Mexico, said her group was still trying to make contact with the detained migrants and was uncertain if any had been released.“Our next focus is to try to get their story and making sure they feel safe to tell their story of being held at gunpoint,” she told the Guardian, adding that the ACLU would explore legal options.She said she hoped authorities would work to make sure this does not happen again.“We absolutely believe that this was completely unlawful,” she said. “We’re hoping those involved will be brought to justice.”
The Islamic State group Sunday claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 10 people and trapped around 2,000 for hours inside the communications ministry in the Afghan capital the previous day. Four IS jihadists detonated explosives near the ministry, then entered and "battled Afghan security forces with machine guns and hand grenades for numerous hours", the group said in a statement on its social media channels. The attack in central Kabul killed seven civilians and three members of the security forces, the interior ministry said on Sunday, in a new toll after three people died of their wounds.
The consequential decision to impeach should not be made lightly. But Mueller's damning report is an invitation that Congress shouldn't refuse.