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The Latest Headlines From Around the World

    Pope Francis is looking to leave the sex abuse scandal buffeting his papacy behind as he heads to Central America amid a standoff over President Donald Trump's promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a new caravan of migrants heading north. History's first Latin American pope, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, has made the plight of migrants and refugees a cornerstone of his papacy. He is also expected to offer words of encouragement to young people gathered in Panama for World Youth Day, the church's once-every-three-year pep rally that aims to invigorate the next generation of Catholics in their faith. Panama Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa said Francis' message is likely to resonate with young Central Americans who see their only future free of violence and poverty in migrating to the U.S. — 'young people who often fall into the hands of drug traffickers and so many other realities that our young people face.' The pope is expected to urge young people to create their own opportunities, while calling on governments do their share as well. The visit is taking place as the U.S. government remains partly shut down in a standoff between the Trump administration and Democrats over funding for Trump's promised border wall. Francis famously has called for 'bridges, not walls.' After celebrating Mass in 2016 on the Mexican side of the U.S. border, he denounced anyone who wants to build a wall to keep out migrants as 'not Christian.' Crowds are expected to be smaller than usual for this World Youth Day — only about 150,000 people had registered as of last week — but thousands more will certainly throng Francis' main events, which include a vigil and a final Mass on Sunday. The Vatican conceded that the January date doesn't suit school vacations in Europe or North America, both of which typically send huge numbers of pilgrims to World Youth Day gatherings. Francis' trip, the first in a year packed with foreign travel, comes at a critical moment in the papacy as the Catholic hierarchy globally is facing a crisis in credibility for covering up decades of cases of priests molesting young people. The pope is expected to soon rule on the fate of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the high-powered U.S. archbishop accused of molesting minors and adults. And he is hosting church leaders at the Vatican next month on trying to chart a way forward for the global church. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said there were no plans for Francis to meet with abuse survivors in Panama. Central America hasn't yet seen the explosion of sex abuse cases that have shattered trust in the Catholic hierarchy in Chile, the U.S. and other parts of the world. This is the first papal visit to Panama since St. John Paul II was there during a 1983 regional tour that famously included an unscheduled stop at the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador. Romero had been gunned down by right-wing death squads three years earlier, at the start of El Salvador's civil war, for having spoken out on behalf of the poor. Salvadoran bishops had hoped Francis would follow suit and make a stop in El Salvador this time to pay his respects at Romero's tomb since Francis canonized him in October. But the Vatican said a Salvador leg was never really in the cards. Nevertheless, Gisotti said Romero would likely loom large at the Panama gathering, given he is such a point of reference for young Central American Catholics who grew up learning about his defense of the poor. The Panama visit is also the first by a pope since the Vatican embassy played a crucial role during the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, when dictator Manuel Noriega took refuge there and requested asylum on Christmas Eve after four days on the run trying to escape U.S. troops. Noriega eventually surrendered, bringing to an end one of the more unusual U.S. military operations: It involved U.S. troops blasting heavy metal and rock music — including Van Halen's 'Panama' — at the embassy to try to force Noriega out. Noriega, a onetime U.S. ally, eventually served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States. He died in 2017 after his final years were spent in a Panamanian prison for the murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.
  • Venezuela's re-invigorated opposition faces a crucial test Wednesday as it seeks to fill streets nationwide with protesters in an appeal to the military and the poor to shift loyalties that until recently looked solidly behind President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government. The protests have been called to coincide with a historic date for Venezuelans — the anniversary of the 1958 coup that overthrew military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez. Government supporters are also expected to march in downtown Caracas in a rival show of strength. The competing demonstrations will come after a whirlwind week that saw an uprising by a tiny military unit, fires set during protests in poor neighborhoods and the brief detention by security forces of the newly installed head of the opposition-controlled congress. For much of the past two years, following a deadly crackdown on protests in 2017 and the failure of negotiations ahead of last May's boycotted presidential election, the coalition of opposition parties has been badly divided by strategy and ego battles as millions of desperate Venezuelans fled the country's hyperinflation and widespread food shortages. But buoyed by unprecedented international criticism of Maduro, anti-government forces have put aside their differences and are projecting a united front. Their leader this time, taking the reins from a long list of better-known predecessors who have been exiled, outlawed or jailed, is Juan Guaido, the new president of the National Assembly who was dragged from an SUV just over a week ago by intelligence agents but quickly released amid an international outcry. In the run-up to Wednesday's actions, the defiant 35-year-old lawmaker has crisscrossed Caracas attending outdoor assemblies known as 'Open Cabildos' — for the revolutionary citizen councils held against Spanish colonial rule — pumping up crowds by arguing that Maduro must go for democracy to be restored. Speaking on Monday from the roof of a college building, Guaido proclaimed with fist raised: 'We are tired of this disaster. We know this isn't a fight of a single day but one that requires lots of resistance.' An enthusiastic crowd of students answered with shouts of 'Freedom!' and 'Get out, Maduro!' Driving the crisis has been Maduro's decision to plow ahead in the face of international condemnation and take the presidential oath Jan. 10 for a second term widely considered illegitimate after his main opponents were banned from running against him. Guaido has been targeting his message to Venezuela's military, the traditional arbiter of political disputes. Maduro, who lacks the military pedigree of his mentor and predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, has sought to shore up support from the armed forces by doling out key posts to top generals, including heading the PDVSA oil monopoly that is the source of virtually all of Venezuela's export earnings. He has also been playing commander in chief, appearing last week at a military command meeting wearing camouflage fatigues and receiving the blessing of the defense minister, Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez. But beyond the public displays of loyalty from the top brass, a number of cracks have started to appear. On Monday, Venezuelans awoke to news that a few dozen national guardsmen had taken captive a loyalist officer and seized a stockpile of assault rifles in a pre-dawn raid. The government quickly quelled the uprising, but residents in a nearby slum took to the streets to show their support for the mutineers by burning cars and throwing stones at security forces, who fired back with tear gas. Distubrances continued into Tuesday, with small pockets of unrest in a few working-class neighborhoods where the government has traditionally enjoyed strong support. More violence was reported Tuesday night. 'People are tired of so much misery,' said Carmen Marcano, holding up her shirt to show seven buckshot wounds suffered during the clashes in the Cotiza slum next to where the rebellious guardsmen were captured. Retired Maj. Gen. Cliver Alcala, a one-time aide to Chavez and now in exile, said the opposition's newfound momentum has reverberated with the military's lower ranks, many of whom are suffering the same hardships as regular Venezuelan families. 'I am absolutely certain that right now, especially younger troops are asking themselves whether Maduro is their commander in chief or a usurper,' Alcala said. 'As we say in the barracks, hunger is the only thing that can devour fear of the government.' The government has accused the opposition of inciting violence with the aim of provoking a bloodbath. Top socialist leaders have threatened to unleash on demonstrators menacing motorcycle gangs of pro-government die-hards known as 'colectivos.' 'I demand the full rigor of the law against the fascists,' Maduro said Tuesday night while blaming 'terrorists' allegedly linked to Guaido's Popular Will party for a fire at a cultural center named for a pro-government lawmaker murdered in 2014. He also accused U.S. Vice President Mike Pence of trying to foment unrest after Pence released a video pledging support, in Spanish, for the planned demonstrations. Though intimidation has worked for the government in the past, it may not this time, said Dimitris Pantoulas, a Caracas-based political analyst. Discontent now appears to be more widespread and the ranks of security forces and government-allied groups have been thinned by the mass exodus of mostly young Venezuelans, he said. 'The government is resorting to its old tricks, but the people no longer believe them,' Pantoulas said. ___ Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez contributed to this report. ___ Joshua Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman
  • South Korea's human rights commission plans to interview possibly thousands of adult and child athletes about a culture of abuse in sports after a wave of female athletes came forward to say they had been raped or assaulted by their coaches. The yearlong investigation will cover 50 sports and include children competing for elementary, middle and high schools, Park Hong-geun, an official from the National Human Rights Commission, said Wednesday. He said the commission aims to interview all minor and adult athletes competing for scholastic and corporate league teams in speedskating and judo, which have been marred with sexual abuse allegations. The investigation, pushed by dozens of government officials and civilian experts, could start as early as next week and could extend beyond a year if needed. It will be the commission's largest-ever inquiry into sports. 'Education processes will be a key part of the investigation because there are situations where athletes find it hard to disclose what they have been through or even recognize they had been abused or sexually harassed,' Park said. 'We will have to discuss with the schools and teams to figure out how to proceed with the investigation in each sport, but we plan to build it mostly around face-to-face interviews.' South Korean competitive sports in recent weeks have been hit by a growing #MeToo movement, which highlights deep-rooted problems over a brutal training culture and highly hierarchical relationships between coaches and athletes. It began with two-time Olympic short-track speedskating champion Shim Suk-hee accusing her former coach of repeatedly raping her since she was 17. The coach, Cho Jae-beom, was the national team coach shortly before the Pyeongchang Olympics last year and is now serving a 10-month prison term for physically assaulting athletes, including Shim. Cho's lawyers said he denies sexually assaulting Shim. A group representing speed skating athletes said Monday there were at least five more female skaters saying they were sexually abused by their male coaches, but did not reveal their names because of privacy concerns. Encouraged by Shim, female athletes in judo, taekwondo, soccer and wrestling have also accused their male coaches of sexual harassment or assault since. Experts say abusive treatment of female athletes has long been a problem in South Korea's elite sports, which are predominantly run by men. Athletes often skip school to compete in athletic events and must live in dormitories, giving coaches often-overbearing control and leaving athletes undereducated and more vulnerable. South Korea has long associated national pride with achievement in the Olympics and other international sporting events, leaving problems overlooked as long as the athletes succeed. After a previous inquiry into school sports, the human rights commission in 2010 recommended safeguards to the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, including instructions and proposals for preventing abuse and providing better education. Choi Young-ae, the commission's chairwoman, criticized the KOC for ignoring the guideline for years, which she said worsened the abuse facing athletes today. 'Physical and sexual violence in (South Korean) sports does not happen incidentally, but is generated consistently under a structure,' she said in a news conference on Wednesday. 'A culture that puts medals and other awards over everything else has been exonerating violent behaviors and such violence has been closely associated with the sexual violence that occurs.
  • The Australian government said on Wednesday it is seeking information about a Chinese-Australian writer who has been reported missing in China. Novelist and influential online commentator Yang Hengjun was a Chinese diplomat before he became an Australian citizen. Friends say he been living in the United States with his wife and her child and had returned to China late last week. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement it was 'seeking information about an Australian citizen who has been reported missing in China. Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment.' Australian consular assistance can include liaising with local authorities, including local police where an Australian has been reported missing. Yang's friend, University of Technology Sydney academic Feng Chongyi, said he believed Yang was being detained in Beijing by the Ministry of State Security. 'My judgment is based on my information that Yang Jun has been abducted by the personnel of the state security, the ministry of state security and is currently detained in Beijing with his wife,' Feng told The Australian newspaper. Feng was detained in China in 2017 and questioned by security services before he was allowed to return to Australia. Feng had been wrapping up a three-week trip researching human rights lawyers in China when he was detained for several days. He said on his return to Sydney that he was unable to discuss the details of his experience. Yang's disappearance comes ahead of Defense Minister Christopher Pyne's visit to China. Pyne left Australia on Tuesday for a weeklong visit to Japan, then China and Singapore. Pyne said the Australia-China defense relationship was a key component of the broader bilateral relationship. 'The government is committed to maintaining a long-term constructive relationship with China, founded on shared interests and mutual respect — China and Australia's success will go hand-in-hand,' Pyne said in a statement on Tuesday. Yang's disappearance also comes a month after China's detention of two Canadians, entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, which were seen as retaliation for Canada's arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. Yang, his wife and a child flew from New York on Jan. 18 and arrived in Guangzhou on Jan. 19, Feng said. The wife and child took their next flight Shanghai without him, Feng said. Feng said he believed Yang and his wife were now both in Beijing, having delivered the child to family and friends in Shanghai. Former Australian journalist and China analyst John Garnaut said his friend Yang was 'not only brilliant but extraordinarily popular among the Chinese-speaking world and a courageous and committed democrat.' 'This will reverberate globally if authorities do not quickly find an off-ramp,' Garnaut tweeted on Wednesday. Similar concerns were raised for Yang's safety in 2011 when he disappeared after calling a friend from a Chinese airport claiming he was being followed by three men. He later explained the matter had been a 'misunderstanding.
  • After stripping Malaysia's royal families of some of their powers during his 22-year stint as prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad almost didn't make it to the premiership a second time. Though largely a ceremonial post, Malaysia's monarch still signs off on most laws and appointments, including the prime minister, and hours after Mahathir and his alliance's stunning general election victory last May, King Sultan Muhammad V offered the job to someone else. The offer was rejected and Mahathir heaped pressure on the king by holding a series of news conferences. The king subsequently signed off on Mahathir, but the hours of uncertainty put the spotlight on Malaysia's monarchy at a time when some of the royals are seeking to reassert their influence in politics. Though Malaysia has only had a constitutional monarch since 1957, several of Malaysia's nine royal families trace their roots to centuries-old Malay kingdoms that were independent states until they were brought together by the British. Sultan Muhammad V became the nation's first king to give up his post when he abruptly abdicated on Jan. 6 without explanation. Now the nation waits for Thursday's meeting of the royal families in which they will choose a replacement. Here's a closer look at Malaysia's monarchy: ROYAL DYNASTIES Traditional ethnic Malay rulers — mostly known as the sultan — constitutionally head nine of Malaysia's 13 states, forming one of the world's largest monarchy systems. Seven of the royal families are hereditary monarchies, with the northern Kedah sultanate one of the oldest unbroken dynasties in the world, dating back to the 12th century. In Perak state, the second oldest ruling house in Malaysia, three royal families take turns to ascend the throne based on seniority. The ruler in Negeri Sembilan state, where the royal lineage is linked to the Minangkabaus from west Sumatra in Indonesia, is elected by a council of four territory chiefs. All the families are headed by ethnic Malay Muslims males, as required. Some of the royal families, especially those in the wealthy states of Selangor and Johor, have built-up large business interests. The most prominent is billionaire Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor, who owns a fleet of jets and loves Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Johor sultan is also the most powerful, having his own army — a condition agreed upon for the state to join modern-day Malaysia. His army's role is largely ceremonial today. ___ PICKING A KING Malaysia's constitutional monarchy was put in place after the country's independence from Britain in 1957. The nine heads of the royal families take part in what is known as the Conference of Rulers and every five years elect one among themselves to be Malaysia's king through a secret ballot. The throne was initially rotated based on seniority, but there is now an established rotation order from one state to the next, making the vote more of a formality. Royals, however, can choose to divert due to health or other issues. ___ NEXT IN LINE The ruler of central Pahang state is next in line to be king. Sultan Abdullah Azlan Shah succeeded his ailing 88-year-old father on Jan. 15, in a move seen as paving the way for him to become the next king. Sultan Abdullah, who was state regent for the past two years due to his father's ill health, is active in the sports. He is president of the Asian Hockey Federation and a council member of world football governing body FIFA. Sultan Abdullah, 59, must be supported by at least five of the state rulers. Next in order after Pahang, is Johor state. ___ HISTORIC ABDICATION King Sultan Muhammad V shocked the nation by announcing his abdication this month, days after returning from two months of medical leave. The 49-year-old sultan from eastern Kelantan state only reigned for two years as Malaysia's 15th king and didn't give any reason for quitting. During his leave, it was reported that the king married a 25-year-old former Russian beauty queen. Photos of the two at a wedding reportedly held in Moscow were circulated in the British and Russian press and on social media. Neither the king, the palace nor the government has confirmed the wedding. It marked the first abdication in the nation's history. The reigns of three other kings were shortened by their deaths. ___ THE SULTAN'S ROLE The state rulers are highly respected among Malay Muslims, who account for two-thirds of Malaysia's 32 million people, and are seen as guardians of Islam and Malay traditions. In addition to ceremonial duties, they can withhold consent for the dissolution of their state's assembly and the appointments of their state's chief minister. During his first stint as prime minister, Mahathir pushed through constitutional amendments that stripped the sultans of their power to veto state and federal legislation. The amendments also removed their legal immunity following a series of scandals involving the Johor royal family. A special court has been set up to prosecute royals, but cases are rare. ___ HE WHO IS MADE LORD Known as the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, or He Who is Made Lord, Malaysia's king resides in a 650- million-ringgit ($158-million) palace in Kuala Lumpur. The king's duties, similar to those of the British monarch, are largely ceremonial since administrative power is vested in the prime minister and parliament. He is the nominal head of the government and armed forces. All laws, cabinet appointments and dissolution of parliament for general elections require his assent. The king also issues pardons for criminals. Public criticism of the king and state sultans is generally illegal. Under Malaysian sedition laws, people who incite 'hatred or contempt' toward the monarchy can be imprisoned for three years. Malaysia's constitution allocates some 5 million ringgit ($1.21 million) a year for the expenses of the king and his household, including palace maintenance, although the sum can be increased with cabinet approval. ___ POLITICAL STATEMENTS The king and some state rulers have been vocal in politics in recent years. In 2015, the nine rulers issued a rare joint statement calling for a swift investigation into a massive corruption scandal at the 1MDB state investment fund. The scandal promoted public anger that eventually led to a historic change of government in last May's polls. Last year, the Selangor state sultan also appointed a new chief minister who had not been formally proposed by the government. King Sultan Muhammad V also sought to block the appointment of a non-Muslim attorney-general last year but gave in after Mahathir's government refused to budge on its candidate.
  • The Paris prosecutor’s office said that singer Chris Brown has been released from custody over rape allegations against him. Authorities in Paris had detained Brown on Monday following a rape allegation, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  The singer-songwriter was taken into custody after a 24-year-old woman claimed she was assaulted by Brown in a hotel room last week, according to BBC News.  He remained in custody Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated rape and drug infractions,  according to The Associated Press. Investigators have another two days to decide whether to let him go or file preliminary charges. Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015, but has continued to have run-ins with police. An unidentified official told the AP that the woman who filed a rape complaint against Brown in Paris said she met the singer and his friends at a nightclub overnight on Jan. 15-16 and that they all went to a hotel in central Paris afterward. According to BBC News, two other men, including Brown’s bodyguard, were also detained after the alleged incident. Brown has not commented on the report. In France, aggravated rape is a crime that carries a punishment of 20 years imprisonment upon conviction, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Romania's president said on Tuesday that a government decree that could invalidate hundreds of corruption cases involving senior officials is 'crassly unconstitutional,' a development that also prompted concern from the European Union. President Klaus Iohannis blasted the measure put forward this week by the justice minister, saying the ruling Social Democrats 'don't care about Romania; they care about their own politicians with legal problems.' Premier Viorica Dancila is considering the measure, which could lead to the suspension of trials and verdicts and lead to resentencing in the cases of some convictions. In televised comments late Tuesday, Dancila said she supported the measure, insisting it wouldn't impede the anti-corruption fight. But critics say it would be a setback for democracy and weaken efforts to fight high-level graft. The development came after the Constitutional Court ruled in November that one of five judges on the High Court for Cassation, the nation's highest appeals court, wasn't appointed properly in 2014, opening the way for it to review verdicts issued since 2014. 'All these people who have suffered deserve a fair trial,' Dancila said. 'It's sad that people went to prison. Their families and health were destroyed.' Iohannis said 'laws can't work retroactively' in a country where there is rule of law. An EU official said Brussels was watching the development closely. 'It is essential for Romania to get back on track in the fight against corruption to ensure an independent judiciary and to avoid any further steps back,' Margaritis Schinas, EU Commission spokesman said Tuesday.
  • It's snowing in Paris, but not at Chanel, which showcased 18th-century-inspired couture that frothed inside a sunlit Italian villa. For once, Karl Lagerfeld didn't take his usual bow — the house said because the octogenarian designer was fatigued. Some highlights of the spring-summer 2019 couture collections on Tuesday, including how Clare Waight Keller proved she's a rare creative force with a sublime display at Givenchy: GIVENCHY IS SUBLIME Could it be the best couture show of the season so far? British designer Waight Keller, who had until 2017 never touched couture, produced a jaw-dropping collection on Tuesday evening in the Palais de Tokyo that demonstrated a surprising mastery. To moving operatic arias by Maria Callas, diverse designs dipped into fresh creative explorations — all from the base-note of black. Black latex leggings shimmered like an oil-slick to begin the collection and introduce a textural contrast against an elderberry-colored architectural bar jacket with one single white lapel. It looked like a bolt of lightning. If a bolt of lightning was meant as a visual metaphor for the 42-piece collection, it was fitting. Waight Keller's couture danced from the delicate white feathers on a pearly strong-shouldered bustier to the humor of a black couture rucksack with batwing ruffles. The artistry of a multicolor-fringe clown-like creation with a Maleficent ruff led on to the imagination of a black embellished 'jelly fish' dress with cinched waist and pink tulle skirt that spilled ribbons like tentacles. Some editors have pointed out that the woman who worked for Chloe from 2011-2017 to make salable but ultimately forgettable designs seems to be a completely different person to the one we see today at Givenchy. It's the beginning of something special in Paris fashion. KARL LAGERFELD ABSENT Chanel's designer Lagerfeld, who has looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, did not come out to take a bow at the house's couture collections in Paris because he was 'tired.' In his place, his longtime studio director Virginie Viard appeared through a door in the lavish Italian villa decor that had been painstakingly created by the house. It immediately prompted surprise and visible sadness from many fashion editors attending the show at the Grand Palais. At the end of the first show at 10 a.m., an announcement explained the designer would appear for the noon presentation. But come noon, the German-born couturier was absent again. It's the first time in recent memory that Lagerfeld, who has designed for the Parisian stalwart since 1983 and was a contemporary of the late Yves Saint Laurent, has not been physically present to receive applause at the end of a show. In a statement, Chanel said 'for the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr. Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired' asked Viard 'to represent him' — without providing any further details. VILLA CHANEL'S COUTURE A gentle geometry defined Chanel's summer silhouette on Tuesday — one that riffed on the decor's impressive architecture. The set this season featured a shimmering Italian Chanel villa center-stage, with steps that led the gaze down to myriad real palm trees, grass and a rectangular pool. Shivering and dripping guests were momentarily transported away from Paris' subzero temperatures and snow to enjoy a moment of summer bliss, and the clothes' pastel hues glistened in floodlights evoking warm sunshine. Slits in the skirt and long vertical lines in the center of the body were a central theme in this season's feminine 62-look collection. A silvery skirt-suit, a house signature, opened the show with a slit running down the leg to the season's new shoe: a backless pointed heel with a full-fronted panel. Regal full-skirts that caught director Sofia Coppola's eye fared less well as the display progressed, with the weight of the tiered silk fabric making the designs look somewhat limp. The slit also morphed into an exploration of unfurling styles in some jackets that seemed to open up like the scented flowers in the villa's verdant gardens. But there a pernicious feeling that this show lacked some artistic direction. SOFIA COPPOLA 'Marie Antoinette' director Coppola was among VIP guests invited to admire Villa Chanel's 18th-century full skirted designs. 'I did think of Marie Antoinette when I saw the pink dresses at the end. They were beautiful,' she told AP. '(It evoked) a bygone era to see the dresses with the feathers up close,' she added. Coppola, who won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, has come a long way since she first forged ties with the Parisian house as a nervous teenage intern. Bond girl Carole Bouquet had helped the young Coppola find the stint. 'I was really intimidated ... It was thrilling to be 15 in Paris in the '80s at Chanel,' she said. 'It was during the couture, so it was incredible seeing it being made.' ARMANI PRIVE IS ETERNAL There is something timeless about Giorgio Armani's couture. The timelessness is not just apparent in the eternal elegance of his styles, which on Tuesday showed off the fashion icon's famed cutting skills through tailored jackets. (Armani cut his teeth in menswear tailoring). But it's also apparent in the way the couturier evokes an imagined reality. The Armani Prive collections thus throw to the wind any real interest in evoking a spring-summer season, for instance, or a trend or any up-to-the-minute fad. At the second of Tuesday's double-shows, alongside Chanel, Armani Prive showcased a series of archetypically couture looks in the exclusive Hotel d'Evreux in the Place Vendome that made statements of their own with shimmer and bold color. Billowing silken Asian-style pants shimmered below tops that contrasted in their color or texture — in checks, sequins or paillettes. The designs could have featured in any of the designers shows of the last few years without looking out of place. But as Yves Saint Laurent once said, 'fashions come and go, style is eternal.' ALEXIS MABILLE'S VERSATILE BOW French designer Alexis Mabille's signature bow made a recurrent appearance in varying sizes, styles and colors at his demure couture display Tuesday. It began as a front detail on a truncated, shoulder-less little black dress. Then, the mischievous item cropped up as a cinched belt on a coral red gown or a long pink satin one with divergent stripes. Going retro, the bow was conjured up as a '70s jabot collar on a Farrah Fawcett-like blue silk column dress. But the piece de resistance was the detail's cameo as an oversized bust detailing, giving the feeling that the model in a red tulle gown could be unwrapped. Other great ideas in the 45-piece display included a look that used swathes of bright yellow ruffled silk to cocoon its wearer. It was, however, the versatile bow that stole the show. ___ Thomas Adamson can be followed at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K
  • The Latest on rape allegations against U.S. singer Chris Brown (all times local): 10:30 p.m. The Paris prosecutor's office says that U.S. singer Chris Brown has been released from custody over rape allegations against him. Brown and two other people were released on Tuesday evening in Paris after a woman filed a rape complaint.  The Grammy-winning singer was detained Monday on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions. The Paris prosecutor's office said the investigation is ongoing. A post late Tuesday on Brown's Instagram page strongly denied the accusations. 'I WANNA MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR...... THIS IS FALSE,' the post said. 'FOR MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY THIS IS SO DISPRESPECTFUL AND IS AGAINST MY CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!!' ___ 12 p.m. Two police officials say U.S. singer Chris Brown and two other people are in custody in Paris after a woman filed a rape complaint. One police official said the complaint was filed with police in the 17th arrondissement of northwest Paris. The official said one of the others detained is Brown's bodyguard. Both officials said Brown was detained Monday and is still in custody Tuesday while police study the complaint. Neither is authorized to be publicly named discussing the investigation. Brown's publicists at Sony Music would not immediately comment. Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015.
  • The Vatican is insisting that there were no accusations of sexual abuse against an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis when he resigned suddenly in 2017 and was promoted to a job at the Vatican. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti repeated Tuesday that the Vatican only received the first accusations of alleged sexual abuse by Archbishop Gustavo Zanchetta a few months ago. Zanchetta's former deputy, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano, told The Associated Press last week that he had sent the Vatican information in 2015 and 2017 of alleged inappropriate sexual behavior by Zanchetta that included taking naked selfies and reports that he engaged in harassment and misconduct with adult seminarians. Manzano told the AP those reports didn't constitute formal canonical accusations of sexual abuse, but were merely reports of behavior that he, another former vicar general and the rector of the seminary in Oran, northern Argentina, considered important to bring to the Vatican's attention. He said he didn't believe there had been any cover-up and that he considered Francis a victim of Zanchetta's 'manipulation.' Gisotti didn't directly address or dispute Manzano's reports in his statement Tuesday. 'In reference to the articles published recently by several news sources, as well as to some misleading reconstructions, I resolutely repeat what was stated this past 4 January. In addition, I emphasize that the case is being studied and when this process is over, information will be forthcoming regarding the results,' the statement said. In his Jan. 4 statement, Gisotti confirmed that Zanchetta was under preliminary investigation for alleged sexual abuse, but said that the accusations were first made in the autumn of 2018. He said the reasons for Zanchetta's resignation were due to his difficult, tense relations with the Oran clergy and inability to govern them. He said the current bishop of Oran was gathering testimony that hadn't yet arrived at the Vatican's bishops' office, and that Zanchetta would refrain from working during the preliminary investigation. Manzano's comments to the AP, in an on-camera interview and a subsequent email, undermined the Vatican's assertion that Zanchetta had only faced accusations of authoritarianism and difficulty governing his clergy at the time of his July 2017 resignation, since Manzano said the reports concerned allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and alleged misconduct with seminarians. After accepting Zanchetta's resignation Aug. 1, 2017, Francis in December that year named him to a newly created position of 'assessor' in the Vatican's office of financial management, APSA.

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  • Nine people were hurt, two critically, in a military vehicle crash in New Mexico, authorities said Tuesday night. According to KDBC and KFOX, the wreck, which involved two Stryker vehicles, occurred about 7:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 54 in Otero County.  >> Read more trending news  The nine victims, all military personnel, were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Read more here or here.
  • A New York man was arrested Friday in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a well-known and beloved gas station manager who investigators said was trying to stop him from leaving without paying for $22 worth of gas.   Joshua E. Roston, 33, of Baldwin, was arrested in Philadelphia on a vehicular homicide warrant out of Nassau County, according to Nassau County police officials. Though he was in the process of being extradited, he remained in the Philadelphia Jail Tuesday morning.  Roston is accused of running over Cemal “John” Dagdeviren, 59, of Levittown, the morning of Jan. 14 after Dagdeviren, who managed the Pit Stop Repair Shop in Baldwin, confronted him over payment for gas that had been pumped into the 1999 GMC Suburban Roston was driving. The slaying of the Turkish immigrant, who moved his family to the United States 25 years ago, has made international news.  The entire incident was recorded by surveillance cameras at the Pit Stop, which is a combination gas station and repair shop. Dagdeviren was also a mechanic there.  Police officials said the incident began shortly before 7:30 a.m. that morning, when the driver of the Suburban asked that an attendant fill up his SUV’s gas tank at the full-service island. According to NBC News, Nassau County Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick told reporters at a news conference that the attendant became suspicious because the truck had no license plates and the driver was acting oddly.  “They stopped at $22 and asked him to pay at that time,” Fitzpatrick told reporters, according to the news network. “The attendant said to pull over to the side.” The driver, who was dressed in an orange knit hat and gray sweatshirt, went inside the store to pay, but gave the clerk a fake credit card that was declined, Fitzpatrick said. He then went back into the parking lot, where Dagdeviren stepped in and confronted him. The surveillance video, a portion of which was released by police officials, shows Dagdeviren talking with the driver as he goes back to the SUV and climbs inside. Dagdeviren appears to realize the man plans to drive off without paying and goes to the driver’s side door and knocks on the window.  See raw footage of the final moments of Cemal Dagdeviren’s life below, courtesy of Fox News.  When the man doesn’t roll the window down, Dagdeviren tries to open the door, but it appears to be locked. He hurries behind the vehicle and stands behind it as the driver begins to back up. The SUV bumps into his body.  Dagdeviren returns to the front of the vehicle after standing behind it does not stop the driver and, as the driver begins to inch forward across the parking lot, he stands directly in front of the SUV.  Dagdeviren is standing in front of the vehicle with his hands on the hood when the vehicle appears to accelerate into him. The video released by police officials ends at that point, but investigators said Dagdeviren was run over, suffering a severe head injury.  The driver then fled the scene, investigators said, leaving Dagdeviren lying mortally wounded in the roadway. Dagdeviren was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police officials said.  Parminder Singh, who works at a neighboring gas station, told CBS New York that he saw Dagdeviren lying on the ground and went to see what had happened.  “Does anybody’s life cost $22?” Singh said. “No. It’s really bad. People don’t think before they commit something.” Dagdeviren’s son, Ali Dagdeviren, called his father’s killer a monster. “If you do that to anybody for $22, you can do anything,” Ali Dagdeviren, 35, told the news station.  Cemal Dagdeviren came to the United States nearly 25 years ago to provide a better future for his family, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help the Dagdeviren family lay the patriarch to rest. He and his wife have two grown sons, Ali Dagdeviren, who was recently married, and Ceyhun “Jay” Dagdeviren, who is in the academy to become a New York City firefighter. Jay Dagdeviren, 25, also volunteers as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Bethpage Fire Department.  “Cemal was a hardworking and kind man who will be dearly missed by his friends and family,” reads the fundraising page, which exceeded its $20,000 goal by $4,000 in just seven days.  “My father worked hard for his family and never got into trouble, never even got a parking ticket,” Ali Dagdeviren told Newsday. “We are in a lot of pain. This is really hard for us.” Cemal Dagdeviren’s customers paid their respects in a steady stream the day after his death. They also held a candlelight vigil in his honor that night at the station, which was closed for business.  According to Newsday, crime scene tape surrounded the station and blood stained the street where Dagdeviren died. Flowers and candles fashioned a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk, built by distraught patrons who described Dagdeviren as a good, trustworthy mechanic with a quick smile and a tendency to wave off payment for minor repairs he’d made for his customers.  “It is very sad,” Yvonne Holloway said. “He was a very hardworking man and one of the nicest people you could ever meet.” “He would say, ‘Have a good day,’ and he meant it,” longtime customer Liz Boylan told Newsday as she dropped off flowers. “I am upset because he was just so sweet.” A funeral was held Wednesday for Dagdeviren in the U.S., Newsday reported. Turkish news media reported a second service was held in Istanbul, where the family returned his body for burial.  Homicide detectives announced Thursday that they had tracked down the Suburban and identified Roston as the man in the orange ski hat. The SUV was impounded as evidence.  Detectives began a manhunt for Roston, who they suspected had fled the New York area. A $10,000 reward was offered for his capture, the details of which were not immediately available Tuesday.  “He knew what he was doing when he stepped on the gas and crushed that man’s life and his family’s life,” a police official told NBC New York.  Roston has a criminal history that includes stealing gas, shoplifting and stripping vehicles for parts, the news station reported. 
  • After just over two years in office, President Donald Trump’s White House has clearly decided that the televised White House briefing – a regular staple since Bill Clinton came into office – is no longer needed, as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has not formally taken questions from reporters at the podium in the Brady Briefing Room in over a month. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway!” President Trump tweeted on Tuesday. Before the briefings became a daily televised event in the Clinton Administration, White House briefings were mainly what’s known as ‘pen and pad’ gatherings – that is, no television, no radio recording, a throwback to the days when newspaper and magazine reporters dominated those covering the White House. The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the “podium” much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019 The number of briefings dwindled throughout 2018 – for example, Sanders held only three in July, only once in both November and December. The last formal briefing was on December 18. Critics of the briefings say it’s become a place for reporters to grandstand – the President in his tweet today said reporters acted ‘rudely’ – but it’s also been an important venue over the years for a President, in order to get out the message of that administration. Before the Clinton White House – with Communications Director George Stephanopoulos and Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers – made the briefing into a daily televised event which kept the focus on the White House, standard procedure allowed for only a few minutes of televised proceedings at the start of a briefing. After about five minutes, the TV lights would be turned off, the microphone would go silent, and the briefing would continue to be on the record, but not for broadcast. The White House Correspondents Association on Tuesday urged the President to reconsider. Statement on White House news briefings from WHCA President Olivier Knox. pic.twitter.com/jhQjVrz1bC — WHCA (@whca) January 22, 2019 While Sanders has not been on television much in recent months, the President has made himself available repeatedly, often entertaining questions as he departs the White House, or in photo opportunities with reporters. Mr. Trump has held only two formal, solo news conferences; the last one – the day after the November elections – included a verbal showdown with CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
  • Officials in Kentucky said a Catholic school at the center of a controversial encounter among white teenagers, Native American protesters and others was closed Tuesday after officials learned of a planned protest at the school. >> Read more trending news In a statement, officials with the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School said police warned them of the planned protest in the days after video surfaced online that appeared to show teenagers from the school surrounding a Native American man outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. “Due to threats of violence and the possibility of large crowds the Diocese was advised to close Covington Catholic High School, the Diocesan Curia and neighboring Covington Latin School,” officials said in the statement. >> Teen wearing MAGA hat in protest video speaks out A video surfaced online last week of a student, who identified himself in a statement as Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann, smirking as a Native American elder beat a ceremonial drum near his face. The video sparked outrage nationwide, though longer videos from wider perspectives later revealed that the drummer -- Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips -- had intervened between the boys and members of a black religious sect, according to The Associated Press. Phillips appeared to intervene at a time when the teens seemed to be getting rowdier and the black street preacher who had been shouting racist statements against both groups was escalating his rhetoric, the AP reported. >> Trump says Catholic students ‘treated unfairly’ after encounter at National Mall The incident drew the attention of President Donald Trump, who said Monday on Twitter that Sandmann and his classmates “were treated unfairly with early judgement s proving out to be false – smeared by media.” Officials with the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School said a third-party investigation of the incident at the Lincoln Memorial will be launched this week. “This is a very serious matter that has already permanently altered the lives of many people,” officials said. “It is important for us to gather the facts that will allow us to determine what corrective actions, if any, are appropriate. We pray that we may come to the truth and that this unfortunate situation may be resolved peacefully and amicably and ask others to join us in this prayer.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Atlanta police are investigating a sexual assault at Opera nightclub after video of the incident was posted on Facebook.  >> Read more trending news Officer Jarius Daugherty said the Atlanta Police Department began receiving calls from people who had seen the assault on a Facebook Live video early Sunday morning. The police department has opened an investigation into the incident at the club on Crescent Avenue in Midtown. The video “appears to show a woman being sexually assaulted in a local nightclub,” Daugherty told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Police have not released details on the alleged assault, but the woman filed a police report on the crime. It is the policy of the AJC to not name victims of sexual crimes. According to WSB-TV, the victim was celebrating her birthday Saturday at the popular Midtown nightclub when she was sexually assaulted. The woman told police someone put drugs in her drink and then sexually assaulted her on the dance floor, WSB-TV reported. The victim, who was already streaming her celebration on Facebook Live, captured the attack as it happened and continued to stream the video. According to media reports, the woman is heard in the video screaming for help. Video of the sexual assault has since been removed from Facebook. The woman later posted a video saying she is OK, WSB-TV reported.  In a statement posted to Facebook and Twitter, Opera nightclub managers said they are cooperating with the investigation.  “At this time we have met with the Atlanta Police Department and have provided them with everything they have requested,” read the statement posted Sunday. “We will continue to aid and support their investigation in any way we can.”