Heads bowed to the ground, suspected IS members surrender

OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — Suspected Islamic State group members, including foreign fighters, sat in a long line in a field of bright yellow flowers, exhausted and hunched over as they were questioned and searched Thursday by U.S.-led coalition members and Kurdish fighters. They were the latest group to surrender from the besieged final pocket of Syrian territory held by the militant group….

Democrats including Ocasio-Cortez condemn US strategy on Venezuela

Sixteen Democratic lawmakers, among them rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on Thursday sent a joint letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizing what they described as “counterproductive” US strategy on crisis-hit Venezuela. “We write to express our deep concern regarding the Trump Administration’s handling of relations with Venezuela, particularly its suggestions of military intervention, imposition of broad unilateral sanctions, and recent recognition of an opposition leader as interim president,” the legislators wrote….

Huawei fights back against U.S. blackout with Texas lawsuit

HONG KONG/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies sued the U.S. government on Thursday, saying a law limiting its American business was unconstitutional, ratcheting up its fight back against a government bent on closing it out of global markets. Huawei said it had filed a complaint in a federal court in Texas challenging Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump in August, which bars federal agencies and their contractors from procuring its equipment and services. The lawsuit marks the latest confrontation between China and the United States, which spent…

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli fire during renewed clashes along the Gaza border, the enclave’s health ministry said Thursday, with Israeli aircraft striking Hamas positions in response to the violence. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Saif al-Deen Abu Zeid, 15, died “due to wounds sustained east of Gaza (City)” on Wednesday night. The teenager was shot during clashes along the border, Qudra told AFP….

Debate over anti-Semitism charges exposes divide in Democratic Party

Some Democrats, including several U.S. senators who are seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, warned that party leaders were playing into Republicans’ hands and had stymied legitimate debate over U.S.-Israel policy. The House, which is controlled by Democrats, voted 407-23 on Thursday to approve a broad resolution condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and other forms of bigotry. The vote came less than a week after Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress, made statements at a Washington event that were denounced by some as anti-Semitic….

Trump's Venezuela envoy vows sanctions on banks backing Maduro

“There will be more sanctions on financial institutions that are carrying out the orders of the Maduro regime,” the envoy, Elliott Abrams, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing. The United States and more than 50 other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as oil-rich Venezuela’s interim president and increased pressure on Maduro, a socialist, to step down. Washington this week revoked the visas of senior Venezuelan officials and said on Wednesday it had identified efforts by Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money….

French cardinal convicted of covering up sex abuse allegations

A high-ranking French Catholic cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, was convicted on Thursday of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse in his diocese and said he would submit his resignation to Pope Francis. Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon and the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the child sex abuse scandal inside the French Catholic Church, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence. The court in Lyon ruled that between July 2014 and June 2015 Barbarin covered up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by a priest who is due to go on trial…

Mexico's 'hearts and minds' battle to loosen organized crime's grip

The central town of Santa Rosa de Lima, a few miles east of Salamanca, home to one of the nation’s main oil refineries, is close to a center of the nation’s auto industry. It is also a microcosm of the lawlessness permeating swathes of Mexico where cartels have for years replaced the state as benefactors, providing jobs and handouts in return for residents’ loyalty. Lopez Obrador said he was winning the battle for hearts and minds against a gang of fuel thieves in Santa Rosa….

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams 'bogus ethics complaints' over political donations

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has rebuked a complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission by a conservative group claiming her 2018 election campaign was in violation of campaign finance laws. The freshman Democrat responded on Thursday night to the complaint filed this week by the National Legal and Policy Centre in a tweet. Ms Ocasio-Cortez posted a link to an NBC News fact-check, which directly refuted the notion her campaign had violated any laws….

Sherrod Brown surprises Democrats by announcing he will not run for president

Brown, 66, plans to remain in US Senate but says he will ‘keep calling out Donald Trump and his phony populism’ * Paul Manafort sentencing – follow it liveBrown’s appeal among working-class voters should position him to play an influential role in the election. Photograph: John Locher/APSenator Sherrod Brown, one of the Democratic party’s progressive stalwarts, has announced he will not run for president in 2020.Brown, a three-term senator from the swing state of Ohio, said he would continue the fight to make his “dignity of work” platform a centerpiece of the Democratic agenda, but that his party would be best…

House Adopts Anti-Hate Measure in Bid to Calm Omar Controversy

The resolution, adopted 407-23, denounces white supremacists and discrimination against Jews, Muslims and other groups as “hateful expressions of intolerance” contrary to American values. The wording was broadened after some Democrats opposed an earlier version to more narrowly condemn anti-Semitism. Neither version mentioned Omar by name….

Group: Iraq is torturing children to coerce confessions

BEIRUT (AP) — Iraq and the Kurdish regional government have charged hundreds of children with terrorism for alleged affiliation with the Islamic State group, often using torture to coerce confessions, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday….

House Republican lays into Democrats' corruption probe of Trump

The House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, Doug Collins, said the panel’s investigation into obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power under Trump surpasses the scope of legitimate legislative inquiry and violates the U.S. Constitution. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler launched the investigation on Monday by sending document requests to 81 government agencies, business entities and individuals associated with Trump, including his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. “Your requests are part of a concerted effort to target and punish associates of the president,” Collins wrote to Nadler in a March 7 letter released by the Republican’s office….