Rep. Van Taylor drops Texas reelection bid and admits affair after news report : NPR


Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, is pictured throughout a Home committee listening to on Capitol Hill in September 2020. Taylor introduced Wednesday he was dropping his bid for reelection.

Caroline Brehman/AP


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Caroline Brehman/AP


Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, is pictured throughout a Home committee listening to on Capitol Hill in September 2020. Taylor introduced Wednesday he was dropping his bid for reelection.

Caroline Brehman/AP

DALLAS — U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of Texas mentioned Wednesday that he was ending his reelection marketing campaign and admitted having an affair following experiences that he had been in a relationship with the widow of an American-born recruiter for the Islamic State group.

The North Texas congressman’s announcement got here the day after former Collin County Decide Keith Self compelled Taylor right into a runoff for the Republican nomination.

A number of days earlier than Tuesday’s major election, some right-wing web sites reported on an interview with Tania Joya, who mentioned she had an affair with Taylor that lasted from October 2020 to June 2021. Joya, of the Dallas suburb of Plano, instructed The Dallas Morning Information on Monday night time that she had met the congressman by way of her work as an ex-jihadist serving to to reprogram extremists.

Taylor apologized for the affair in a press release shared with supporters Wednesday. It did not point out Joya by identify or reference her late husband, the Islamic State group recruiter.

“A couple of 12 months in the past, I made a horrible mistake that has induced deep harm and ache amongst these I like most on this world,” he wrote. “I had an affair, it was mistaken, and it was the best failure of my life.”

The Dallas Morning Information reported Wednesday that Joya contacted Suzanne Harp, one other candidate opposing Taylor within the major, hoping Harp would confront Taylor privately and persuade him to drop out and resign from Congress.

“All I needed was for Suzanne Harp to simply say, ‘Hey, I do know your little scandal with Tania Joya. Would you prefer to resign earlier than we embarrass you?’ However it did not occur like that,” Joya instructed the newspaper.

As an alternative, the newspaper reported, Harp despatched a supporter to interview the lady, then shared the interview with a pair of right-wing web sites.

In a press release, Harp mentioned the revelations have been “deeply regarding, and I am praying for all concerned.”

“Politics ought to construct up our households, our communities, and our political events. This story breaks my coronary heart, each as a spouse and as an American. Politics ought to by no means tear these sacred establishments aside,” she mentioned.

Taylor, a former Marine and Iraq warfare fight veteran, was thought-about one of many Texas delegation’s most conservative members when he was elected in 2018. However he has been sharply criticized by the occasion’s proper wing for voting to certify the 2020 election outcomes and supporting a fee to analyze the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol.

Joya’s first husband, John Georgelas, grew up in Plano, transformed to Islam and have become a high recruiter for the extremist Islamic State group. In 2013, he took her and their three youngsters to northern Syria the place, as Yahya Abu Hassan, he grew to become a very powerful American preventing for ISIS. He was killed in 2017.

Three weeks after their arrival in Syria, a pregnant Joya fled to Turkey with the kids, then to Plano to stay close to her in-laws. The couple was lined for years by tabloids in her native Britain and profiled in U.S. publications.

Towards the tip of the affair with Taylor, Joya mentioned she requested for assist to repay a bank card debt and another payments. He gave her $5,000, she mentioned.

“I wanted assist. I used to be like, simply assist me out as a result of that is the least — the very least — he might do,” she instructed the newspaper. “For him, it was like, ‘OK, on the situation you do not inform anybody.’ … I did not need to inform anyone something.”

Taylor tallied 48.7% of the vote on Tuesday, falling 823 votes in need of what he wanted to keep away from a runoff with 63,981 ballots solid. Self scored 26.5% of the vote, whereas Harp tallied 20.8%.

Self is an Military veteran and graduate of the U.S. Navy Academy. He has claimed Taylor drifted from his conservative roots within the GOP-dominant district. He was amongst those that closely criticized Taylor’s votes on the election outcome and riot investigation and Taylor’s vote to take away Accomplice statues from the Capitol.

US jobless claims fall to lowest since start of year | Unemployment News


Preliminary unemployment claims decreased by 18,000 to 215,000 within the week ended February 26, United States knowledge revealed.

By Bloomberg

Functions for U.S. state unemployment insurance coverage fell by greater than forecast to the bottom stage for the reason that begin of the yr, as Covid-19 instances decline and restrictions ease.

Preliminary unemployment claims decreased by 18,000 to 215,000 within the week ended Feb. 26, Labor Division knowledge confirmed Thursday. The median estimate known as for 225,000 functions in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest since start of year

Persevering with claims for state advantages had been little modified at 1.48 million within the week ended Feb. 19. The four-week transferring common of constant claims dropped to 1.54 million, the bottom since 1970.

The drop in claims is in keeping with a powerful labor market recovering from the omicron variant, which compelled some companies to shut. The pattern ought to proceed as loosening Covid restrictions are prone to encourage Individuals to go to work, and employers are eager on retaining staff as exercise reignites.

The information come forward of the federal government’s month-to-month employment report, which is at present forecast to point out the U.S. added 415,000 jobs in February. A separate report Wednesday confirmed that U.S. firms added a greater-than-forecast 475,000 jobs final month, in accordance with ADP Analysis Institute.

On an unadjusted foundation, claims decreased to 194,693 final week. Michigan, California and Florida had been states registering the largest decreases in unadjusted claims.

(Provides graphic.)
–With help from Jordan Yadoo.

Hungary’s Orban defends response to Ukraine war refugees | Russia-Ukraine war News


Prime minister, who has been criticised for hardline border insurance policies, says ‘migrants will probably be stopped, refugees can get all assist’.

Beregsurany, Hungary-Ukraine border – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defended his nation’s resolution to open its borders to folks fleeing struggle in Ukraine, in contrast with the response to those that have been in search of security within the European Union in recent times.

Chatting with Al Jazeera on Thursday at an support centre in Beregsurany, one of many most important crossing factors on Hungary’s 135km (84-mile) frontier with Ukraine, he stated: “We aren’t residing in a cushty West, we live within the midst of difficulties, not simply now however all through our historical past, so we’re in a position to inform the distinction between who’s a migrant and who’s a refugee.”

He added: “Migrants are stopped. Refugees can get all the assistance.”

Hours after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Orban reversed Budapest’s hardline border insurance policies that in recent times have attracted sharp criticism by rights teams and worldwide organisations.

Orban meets Ukrainian Refugees
Orban meets refugees close to the border [Amanda Coakley/Al Jazeera]

“We’re ready to maintain them [Ukrainians], and we’ll be capable to rise to the problem shortly and effectively,” he stated in a press release.

About 105,000 folks have crossed into Hungary in per week and have been met with a well-organised humanitarian mission made up of Hungarians from throughout the nation.

General, multiple million folks have fled Ukraine, together with in Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, for the reason that struggle started.

INTERACTIVE_Refugees DAY 8 - March 3 - one million
(Al Jazeera)

In 2015, Hungary had closed its border with Serbia and erected a razor fence to discourage folks fleeing battle, oppression and poverty from crossing into the EU. In July 2016, Orban’s nationalist authorities handed a regulation that legalised pushbacks – the apply of pushing asylum seekers again throughout borders with out due course of.

The European Court docket of Justice has dominated the transfer was in violation of EU regulation.

Imre Szabjan, the top of the emergency division on the Hungarian Charity Service Affiliation of the Order of Malta, informed Al Jazeera the variety of refugees is prone to enhance within the coming days. “At first the folks arriving in Hungary had somebody to satisfy them, now we’re seeing extra folks arriving with only one bag and no thought what to do subsequent. So we’re giving them meals, shelter and speaking via prospects with them. Nobody is left on their very own.”

Throughout his 20-minute go to to Beregsurany, Orban spoke to individuals who had crossed from Ukraine on Thursday morning. He additionally spoke to the military of native volunteers who’re offering a 24-hour tea and sandwich operation.

“Hungary is an efficient buddy of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian folks. In the event that they want any assist, we’re right here they usually can depend on us,” he informed journalists.

Ukrainian Refugees arriving in Hungary
About 105,000 folks have crossed into Hungary over the previous week [Amanda Coakley/Al Jazeera]

When requested for a message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Orban, who has loved an in depth relationship with Russia’s chief, was coy.

“We attempt to present all the probabilities for negotiations as a result of what’s going on now’s struggle, the struggle can solely be stopped by negotiations, and peace talks, and ceasefire – in the event that they want us to make peace Hungary is all the time obtainable,” he stated.

Hungary has supported Western sanctions in opposition to Russia however International Minister Peter Szijjarta introduced on Monday the nation wouldn’t enable deadly support to transit its borders en path to forces in Ukraine.

Czech politicians strip ex-PM Babis of immunity over EU fraud | Corruption News


The transfer comes because the billionaire, who held the highest workplace between 2017 and 2021, faces fees over EU subsidy fraud involving his farm exterior Prague.

Czech politicians have stripped former Prime Minister Andrej Babis of immunity as a parliament member because the billionaire faces fees over European Union subsidy fraud involving his farm exterior Prague.

A complete of 111 of 176 legislators current within the 200-seat decrease home voted on Thursday in favour of the transfer which was set to allow the prosecution of Babis, a populist who led the Czech authorities from 2017 to 2021.

Police suspect Babis of getting quickly transferred the Stork Nest farm close to Prague out of his sprawling Agrofert meals, chemical compounds and media holding in 2007 to make it eligible for an EU subsidy for small corporations value about two million euros ($2.2m).

The 67-year-old Babis, who’s the fifth-wealthiest Czech in response to Forbes journal, has denied any wrongdoing.

“Regardless that the costs are goal constructed, I’m not opposing the transfer with regards to information,” Babis, the chairman of the centrist ANO motion, mentioned earlier than the parliament assembly.

“I can declare with clear conscience that I’ve by no means achieved something illegal,” the meals, chemical compounds and media tycoon mentioned, calling the case “absurd”.

Police request

Final Might, prosecutors mentioned they have been considering fees towards Babis after police had urged them to indict him over the alleged EU subsidy fraud.

Police already known as for the then-prime minister to be indicted in 2019, however a prosecutor discovered the allegations to be unfounded and cleared Babis.

The nation’s prime prosecutor then discovered flaws within the determination and reopened the case regarding Babis and his aide Jana Mayerova later that yr.

Babis was faraway from authorities in a normal election final October, received by a centre-right coalition of 5 events and led by present Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

As Ukraine war rages, fear over safety of terminally ill children | Russia-Ukraine war News


Medics at a hospital in Zaporizhzhia make preparations as they brace for a Russian assault on the town in jap Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine – Two weeks in the past, Nastiya left her city of Vasylivka in jap Ukraine to carry her five-year-old son Volodymyr to a hospital within the metropolis of Zaporizhzhia, additional north.

The boy was affected by inner bleeding and was in a essential situation. He has since improved however the mom and son can not return dwelling.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to assault Ukraine by air, land and sea. Ukraine’s resistance has been fierce, repelling assaults on the capital, Kyiv, and different main cities, however battles have intensified in latest days.

Vasylivka is among the cities which can be being closely fought over by defending Ukrainian forces and advancing Russian troops. Individuals who tried to enter the city to ship help informed Al Jazeera they have been turned again by the Ukrainian military due to the Russian shelling.

“In fact I’m apprehensive, I’ve three different youngsters at dwelling,” Nastiya informed Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, standing beside Volodymyr’s hospital mattress.

“There was shelling and they’re hiding within the basement.”

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 8
(Al Jazeera)

Elsewhere contained in the hospital, new child infants in incubators line the hall. Docs have moved them right here to protect them within the case of Russian shelling.

“This space is protected against shrapnel if there’s a blast so we put the infants right here,” defined Vyacheslav Kapusta, a health care provider on the hospital. “It’s deep contained in the constructing between two partitions.”

Within the hospital’s chilly and damp basement, workers are making ready beds for a potential transport of sufferers.

“All of them have terminal illnesses,” Igor Buiny, an anaesthetist, informed Al Jazeera from contained in the intensive care unit.

“They’re incurable so we have now to depart them right here in case of an air alert as a result of they’re depending on oxygen and resuscitation tools and we can not transport all the pieces essential for them there.”

Exterior the hospital, volunteers are filling sandbags to strengthen doorways and defend the home windows if shells explode close by.

As Russian troops transfer additional into Ukraine, civilians have been organising to assist combat alongside Ukrainian troopers, the tempo extra pressing because the military stated this week Russian tank columns are lower than 40km (25 miles) away.

Armed volunteers are additionally able to be taken to positions across the metropolis, and extra women and men arrive, ready to enroll to combat.

“I don’t need my household killed. I received’t permit them to march on our land. They’re the occupiers and they need to be eradicated,” one man informed Al Jazeera.

Russia insists its forces are solely concentrating on army infrastructure, however stories from the bottom recommend a mounting civilian loss of life toll. The United Nations says it has confirmed the deaths of no less than 227 civilians and 525 individuals injured as of midnight on March 1, however warns the actual toll is probably going a lot increased.

Russian, Belarusian athletes banned from Paralympics over Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News


Russian and Belarusian athletes have on Thursday been banned from the Beijing Winter Paralympics over the struggle in Ukraine with organisers bowing to worldwide strain and threats of a boycott.

The Worldwide Paralympic Committee (IPC) only a day earlier mentioned athletes from the 2 nations could be allowed to compete as “neutrals” within the Video games, which begin on Friday.

It mentioned that was the “harshest punishment” the IPC might dish out beneath its guidelines.

However organisers reversed that call lower than 24 hours later, which means 83 athletes from Russia and Belarus, which hosted troops for Moscow’s assault, will now be packing their baggage and heading residence.

IPC President Andrew Parsons mentioned the physique underestimated the detrimental response to letting Russians and Belarusians compete – at the same time as impartial athletes. The Athletes Village, which Parsons hoped could be a spot of concord, he now depicted as a tinderbox.

“With a view to protect the integrity of those Video games and the protection of all members, we have now determined to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus,” the IPC mentioned in a press release.

“To the para-athletes from the impacted nations, we’re very sorry that you’re affected by the selections your governments took final week in breaching the Olympic Truce. You’re victims of your governments’ actions,” Parsons instructed reporters.

“Nobody is proud of the choice however definitely that is the most effective determination for the Paralympic Video games to go forward.”

‘Jeopardising the viability’

The IPC now joins sports activities comparable to soccer, monitor, basketball, hockey and others which have imposed blanket bans on Russians and Belarusians.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this week urged sporting federations internationally to exclude athletes from the 2 nations.

A number of Paralympics committees around the globe, groups and athletes had threatened to not compete if the Russian and Belarusian athletes have been current, which was “jeopardising the viability” of the Video games, organisers mentioned.

“Guaranteeing the protection and safety of athletes is of paramount significance to us and the state of affairs within the athlete villages is escalating and has now change into untenable,” the IPC mentioned in a press release.

Parsons mentioned he expects the 2 nations to take authorized motion towards the choice.

“I hope and pray that we will get again to a state of affairs when the discuss and focus is totally on the facility of sport to rework the lives of individuals with disabilities, and the most effective of humanity,” Parsons mentioned.

INTERACTIVE - Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Kyiv DAY 8

‘It’s a darkish day’

The earlier determination to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete had drawn a swift backlash on Wednesday.

Germany’s high Paralympic official mentioned the choice lacked braveness.

“It’s a darkish day for the Paralympic motion,” the nation’s Paralympic Committee President Friedhelm Julius Beucher mentioned.

The Russian Paralympic Committee mentioned it reserved the correct to attraction the choice on the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport, calling it “unreasonable”, in response to state media.

The IPC mentioned the measure affected 83 athletes from Russia and Belarus.

Athletes from Ukraine arrived in Beijing on Wednesday after a gruelling and logistically difficult journey from their homeland, which has confronted a full-scale invasion from Russia.

Multiple million Ukrainians have fled to neighbouring nations.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s biathlon staff members have been making ready for competitors – hitting the slopes for snowboarding and capturing coaching in Zhangjiakou.

The small Japanese European nation has punched above its weight in earlier Paralympic winter occasions, with frequent podium finishes within the biathlon and snowboarding competitions.

The delegation took residence 22 medals in 2018 – together with seven golds – gaining the sixth spot on the world tally.

For a few of the staff, the emotional rollercoaster and disrupted focus will probably be a case of deja vu.

Throughout Russia’s internet hosting of the Winter Paralympics in 2014, Ukrainian athletes needed to grapple with Moscow’s takeover of the Crimean peninsula.

The Paralympics in Beijing, which comply with the Winter Olympics, end on March 13.

Spain’s prosecutors drop all probes against ex-King Juan Carlos | News


The general public prosecutors clear the way in which for the 84-year-old to return to Spain from exile, itemizing varied causes.

The Spanish public prosecutor’s workplace has dropped all investigations into former King Juan Carlos, clearing the way in which for the 84-year-old to return to the nation from exile.

The judiciary discovered quite a few “irregularities” within the former king’s monetary conduct however didn’t deliver them to trial due to the statute of limitations, his immunity earlier than his abdication in 2014 and taxes paid in arrears, El Pais newspaper reported on Thursday.

Since 2020, the Spanish authorities have launched three investigations into the daddy of King Felipe VI.

Along with accounts in Jersey, they targeted on alleged bribes paid throughout the development of a high-speed railway line in Saudi Arabia and allegedly undeclared donations.

A Mexican businessman allegedly offered Juan Carlos with credit score playing cards that he used to purchase a leaping horse price greater than $11,000 for his granddaughter.

To keep away from legal proceedings for tax fraud, Juan Carlos paid extra than $5.5m in again taxes a few yr in the past, as his lawyer confirmed on the time.

Spain's King Juan Carlos and his son Crown Prince Felipe (R) hug each other
Spain’s King Juan Carlos and his son Crown Prince Felipe, proper, hug on the signature ceremony of the act of abdication on the Royal Palace in Madrid [File: Juan Medina/Reuters]

Juan Carlos has been dwelling in exile within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for about 18 months, removed from his 83-year-old spouse and the remainder of the household.

The person who was Spain’s head of state between 1975 and 2014 secretly left his house nation on August 3, 2020, with a view to “facilitate” Felipe’s work as accusations mounted in opposition to him, as a letter printed later put it.

Since then, Juan Carlos has hardly proven himself in public. The royal household doesn’t touch upon the previous monarch’s scenario in Abu Dhabi.

Germany charges Russian man with planned hit on Chechen dissident | Crime News


Legitimate D has allegedly accepted an order to kill a Chechen opposition member residing in exile in Germany.

A Russian man has been charged in Germany with planning the killing of a dissident from Russia’s Chechen Republic, in accordance with German prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors stated in a press release revealed on Thursday that Legitimate D, whose final title was not launched for privateness causes, was alleged in early 2000 to have accepted an order from a member of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov‘s safety equipment to kill an opposition member residing in exile in Germany.

Prosecutors stated the designated sufferer and his brother have been critics of Kadyrov and vocally converse out for an impartial Chechnya on social media.

The precise killing was to be carried out by one other man, who pretended to simply accept the hit job for concern of repression, prosecutors stated.

The suspect was alleged to have obtained a firearm, ammunition and a silencer, and travelled to Germany within the second half of 2020 to obtain and help the opposite man in getting ready the killing, in accordance with the assertion.

Legitimate D was arrested on January 1, 2021, earlier than the killing may happen. He has been imprisoned since.

Final yr, a Berlin court docket sentenced a Russian man, 56-year-old Vadim Krasikov, to life in jail for killing a Chechen man from Georgia within the German capital in 2019 on the behest of the Russian authorities.

The homicide of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old ethnic Chechen of Georgian nationality, sparked outrage in Germany and infected diplomatic tensions between Berlin and Moscow.

Tearful reunions as Western Australia ends COVID border closure | Coronavirus pandemic News


Australia’s largest state ends one of many world’s longest coronavirus-related border closures.

Australia’s largest state has reopened to completely vaccinated home and worldwide travellers, ending one of many world’s longest coronavirus border closures.

Western Australia, which covers one-third of the nation’s land space, closed its borders to most worldwide and interstate travellers in 2020 to gradual the unfold of COVID-19.

However these restrictions have been lifted on Thursday, after 697 days, changing into the final Australian state to raise border curbs.

The transfer got here greater than every week after the Australian federal authorities started granting visas to vaccinated vacationers and 4 months after Australia’s greatest metropolis, Sydney, started its staged reopening of quarantine-free journey.

The airport in Perth, Western Australia’s capital, was the scene of emotional reunions as the primary of twenty-two scheduled home flights and 5 worldwide flights started arriving on Thursday.

“We count on about 5,000 home and worldwide travellers to reach on Thursday and tens of hundreds of individuals within the coming weeks,” mentioned Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Brisbane on Australia’s east coast.

“There have been emotional scenes on the airport. We’ve seen so many individuals arrive and reunite. It’s actually the tip of a really uncommon chapter the place we had one state minimize off from the remainder of the nation for such an extended time frame.”

With a purpose to enter Western Australia, travellers will have to be absolutely vaccinated and full a journey move.

They may even should bear a speedy check inside 12 hours of arrival and report any constructive end result to authorities, although the measure might be reviewed after two weeks.

Unvaccinated returning Australians will nonetheless be required to undergo lodge quarantine.

Western Australia had efficiently stopped the native unfold of the coronavirus all through the pandemic, by contact tracing and isolating carriers, till the extremely contagious Omicron variant arrived this 12 months.

The state now stories greater than 1,000 new infections daily.

“Australia is now lastly again collectively,” Qantas Airways Chief Govt Alan Joyce mentioned. “Today has been a very long time coming.”

On Wednesday, 61 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported throughout Australia. None was reported that day in Western Australia, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory.

Photos: Shelling continues in Ukraine as Russian forces advance | Gallery News


Multiple million folks have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, within the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations says.

“In simply seven days we now have witnessed the exodus of 1 million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring nations,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted. “Until there may be a right away finish to the battle, tens of millions extra are prone to be compelled to flee Ukraine.”

Russian troops had been within the centre of the southern Ukrainian port metropolis of Kherson on Thursday after a day of conflicting claims over whether or not Moscow had captured a serious city centre for the primary time in its eight-day invasion.

The seize of Kherson, a strategic southern provincial capital the place the Dnieper River flows into the Black Sea, is the primary important metropolis to fall since Moscow launched its assault on February 24.

Ukraine’s second metropolis Kharkiv continues to come back beneath heavy Russian shelling, with police and college buildings among the many newest struck.

The Group for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says a member of its observer mission died within the shelling.

Russia denies concentrating on civilians though there have been widespread experiences of non-combatant casualties and the concentrating on of residential areas.

Russia on Wednesday reported its army casualties for the primary time for the reason that invasion started final week, saying practically 500 of its troops had been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded.