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The Latest Headlines From Around the World

    Militants attacked a market in Burkina Faso’s Sanmatenga province, killing at least 36 people and wounding several others, the government said Tuesday. The gunmen then burned the market, according to a government statement. The violence is the latest in a surge of attacks in the West African nation’s north that led to the displacement of more than half a million people last year. The government urged people to collaborate with defense and security forces to restore safety. President Roch Marc Kabore called for two days of national mourning beginning Wednesday for the victims of the attack. For years, Burkina Faso was spared the kind of Islamic extremism that affected neighboring Niger and Mali, where it took a 2013 French-led military intervention to dislodge jihadists from power in several major towns. Militants staged a January 2016 attack in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, that killed at least 30 people at a cafe popular with foreigners. The following year, 18 people were killed at a Turkish restaurant in the capital. Attacks intensified in 2019 across northern Burkina Faso, and jihadists have gained more ground.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed a vow to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank as the embattled leader kicked off a third election campaign in under a year Tuesday. Addressing Likud Party supporters at a campaign launch event in Jerusalem, Netanyahu promised to “impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea,' then pledged to annex all Israeli West Bank settlements “without exception.' Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories as part of a future state. Most of the international community considers Israel's West Bank settlements illegal under international law. Netanyahu had previously called for the annexation of the Jordan Valley ahead of September's repeat parliamentary elections. He and other Israeli officials contend the region is crucial to defending the country’s eastern flank. Annexation of the Jordan Valley, which makes up around a quarter of the West Bank and is the territory's agricultural heartland, would make a future Palestinian state unviable and would draw condemnation from the Palestinians and much of the international community. U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo reiterated at a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday that “all settlements are illegal under international law and remain an obstacle to peace' and warned against annexation. Among the “negative developments” undermining prospects for a two-state solution, she cited the first meeting on Jan. 5 of an Israeli ministerial committee tasked with discussing annexation plans for the Jordan Valley and Israeli authorities advancing plans on Jan. 4-5 for some 1,900 residential units in settlements in Area C — the roughly 60% of the West Bank where Israel exercises full control and where most Jewish settlements are located. “The annexation of some or all of Area C, if implemented, would deal a devastating blow to the potential of reviving negotiations, advancing regional peace, and the essence of the two-state solution,' DiCarlo warned. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told the council that “neither threats nor attempts at annexation should go unchallenged.” “The urgency of stopping Israeli annexation schemes cannot be underestimated; immediate action is needed before it is too late,' he said, stressing that the U.N. Charter's prohibition on acquiring territory by force must be upheld along with Security Council resolutions reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlements. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's office said in a statement that the calls to annex areas of the West Bank 'undermine the foundations of the peace process' and regional stability. In her 2019 annual report, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office was following Israel's proposed annexation of West Bank areas “with concern.” The U.S. has not commented on Israel's stated intentions to annex the region. Both the prime minister and his main rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, have tried to pander to hard-line nationalist voters as the election approaches. Israel faces an unprecedented third parliamentary election in under a year on March 2 after Netanyahu twice failed to form a governing coalition after April and September's votes. Earlier on Tuesday, Gantz said his party would “work toward establishing sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and we will do so based on national agreement and in coordination with the international community.” Most political analysts see the March election as a referendum on Netanyahu's ability to lead following his indictment on a series of corruption charges in November. Netanyahu, Israel's longest serving prime minister, has denied any wrongdoing. ___ Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations
  • A new Cabinet was announced in crisis-hit Lebanon late Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid mass protests against the country's ruling elite and a crippling financial crisis, but demonstrations and violence continued. Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old former professor at the American University of Beirut, announced a Cabinet of 20 members — mostly specialists supported by the Shiite group Hezbollah and allied political parties. The new government, which comes three months after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, was rejected by protesters who have been calling for sweeping reforms and a government made up of independent technocrats that can deal with the country's economic and financial crisis, the worst since the 1975-90 civil war. Even before the Cabinet was announced, thousands of people poured into the streets, closing major roads in the capital of Beirut and other parts of the country in protest. The protesters complained that political groups still were involved in the naming of the new ministers, even if they are specialists and academics. Later, a group of protesters near Parliament threw stones, firecrackers and sticks at security forces, who responded with tear gas and pepper spray. “We want a government of experts ... who are they kidding?' said one protester, Fadi Zakour. “We have been protesting for 90 days and we are not happy to close roads,” he added. Diab saluted the protesters in the street and vowed to “work to fulfill your demands.” In a speech addressing the country following the government announcement, he added that his Cabinet is the first government in the history of Lebanon to be made up entirely of technocrats and insisted the 20 ministers are specialists who have no political loyalties and are not partisan. He appealed to citizens to help the government implement a “rescue program” and said this Cabinet has the “capability and qualifications, will and commitment” to carry it through. 'It’s time to get to work,” Diab said. For three months, the leaderless protests have been calling for a government made up of specialists that can work on dealing with the economic crisis. The protests have recently turned violent, with around 500 people injured in confrontations between protesters and security forces over the weekend. Although the government announced Tuesday is technically made up of specialists, the ministers were named by political parties in a process involving horse trading and bickering with little regard for the demands of protesters for a transparent process and independent candidates. Still, among the ministers named were accomplished academics and six women, including the minister of defense and deputy prime minister. The number is a record for Lebanon, with women now holding more than quarter of the Cabinet posts, including those of defense, justice, labor, youth and sports and the displaced. “The independence of justice will be among our top priorities and I will put all my efforts to move in this direction,” Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm told local LBC TV. Analysts said the new government, being politically aligned with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, would likely have difficulty drumming up international and regional support needed to avoid economic collapse. “The Cabinet includes a fair number of capable technocrats, but it does not have any political independence to speak of,” wrote Paul Salem, president of the Middle East Institute. “This government is likely to be short lived, to preside over a steep decline in the economy, a dangerous swerve in the state's security relationships, and growing social and political unrest in the country,” he predicted. The heads of the main ministries include career diplomat Naseef Hitti for the Foreign Ministry. Economist Ghazi Wazni was named finance minister and former army Gen. Mohammed Fahmi was named minister of the interior. Zeina Akar was named minister of defense and deputy prime minister. Lebanon has been without a government since Hariri resigned Oct. 29, two weeks into the unprecedented nationwide protest movement. Diab dismissed accusations that his was a government made up of one political camp consisting of Hezbollah and its allies, insisting it was the government of all of Lebanon. He also said it was natural to consult with political parties on the names of ministers, because in the end they are the ones that will decide the vote of confidence in Parliament needed for the Cabinet. Diab said his first visit as prime minister will be to the Arab region, particularly to the Gulf Arab countries — a nod to Saudi Arabia, which was the main backer of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Backing from oil-rich Gulf countries is badly needed in Lebanon that has one of the highest debt ratios in the world. He said the government would get to work immediately and hold its first meeting Wednesday. Panic and anger have gripped the public as the Lebanese pound, pegged to the dollar for more than two decades, plummeted in value. It fell more than 60% in recent weeks on the black market. The economy has seen no growth and flows of foreign currency dried up in the already heavily indebted country that relies on imports for most basic goods. Shortly before the Cabinet was announced Tuesday night, the Syndicate of Money Changers in Lebanon issued a statement saying it had agreed to set the exchange rate at a maximum of 2,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, after it reached 2,500 pounds to the dollar last week. The official price still stands at 1,507 to the dollar.
  • A Honduran mother and her two children who had been hospitalized have been deported to Guatemala under a Trump administration policy of sending some people seeking asylum in the U.S. to third countries, advocates for the mother said Tuesday. Lawyers had asked a federal judge last week to stop the U.S. government from deporting the family. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez did not rule on their request prior to Tuesday, the day the government had said it intended to remove the mother and her two children, ages 1 and 6, under a plan to send families to different countries so they can seek asylum elsewhere. The 1-year-old was diagnosed with the flu, while the 6-year-old had diarrhea and a fever, according to Dr. Amy Cohen, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group Every Last One. Cohen says the children fell sick while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection Custody after the family crossed the border without authorization in December. Both children were hospitalized over the weekend. In a court filing, government lawyers said the infant was being monitored to ensure she could be deported. Cohen said Tuesday that the children were released from the hospital Monday and a nurse had certified they could travel. According to Cohen, the family was flown to Guatemala and is now staying at a shelter in Guatemala City. They will have to request asylum in Guatemala or leave the country immediately. “The cruelty was beyond the pale — not only in the removal itself but also in the details of the treatment of this mother and her small children,' she said. CBP did not respond to several requests for comment on the case. President Donald Trump's administration reached a deal last year with Guatemala to take in asylum-seekers from Honduras and El Salvador. It has since said it will send Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala as well. The U.S. has also announced similar agreements with Honduras and El Salvador. The Trump administration says the deals, known as asylum cooperative agreements, allow migrants from Central America to “seek protection within the region,' even though thousands of people flee El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras annually due to endemic poverty, crime, and political or religious persecution. The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups have sued to try to prevent the agreements from being enforced. As of last week, at least 115 people originally from Honduras and El Salvador had been sent by the U.S. to Guatemala. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the 1-year-old child was diagnosed with the flu, not the 6-year-old. ___ Associated Press journalist Sonia Perez D. in Guatemala City contributed to this report.
  • Portuguese bank EuroBic said it will stop doing business with companies and people linked to its main shareholder Isabel dos Santos after an investigation accused the billionaire daughter of Angola’s former ruler of murky dealings. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this week accused Dos Santos, who is reputed to be Africa's richest woman, of using “unscrupulous deals” to build her fortune, estimated at $2 billion. She has denied any wrongdoing. The allegations were based on more than 715,000 confidential financial and business records provided by the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa, an advocacy group based in Paris, as well as hundreds of interviews. The cache of documents is known as Luanda Leaks, named for Angola's capital, Luanda. Dos Santos owns a 42.5% share of EuroBic, based in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, and is believed to have used it to move funds internationally. The bank has assets of around 7.8 billion euros ($8.6 billion). EuroBic's board said in a statement late Monday it is cutting ties with Dos Santos' companies and people close to her and is undertaking an immediate audit. It said the moves are due to “the public perception that this bank might not be complying with the rules because Isabel dos Santos is one of its principal shareholders.” Portugal’s central bank said it wants to review EuroBic’s financial operations, including its procedures to prevent money-laundering. The Bank of Portugal said it had been closely monitoring EuroBic's operations in recent years. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel's father, ruled oil- and diamond-rich Angola for 38 years until 2017. Human rights groups have long accused the former president of stealing vast amounts of state money during his rule. Before stepping down, he appointed his daughter head of the state oil company, Sonangol. Last December, a Luanda court froze Isabel dos Santos' major assets, which include banks and a telecom company. The government says it is trying to recover $1.1 billion it says the country is owed by Dos Santos, her husband and a close associate of the couple. Angola's minister for economic coordination, Manuel Jose Nunes Junior, said in a speech at Chatham House in London on Tuesday that his country is trying to crack down on corruption. “After a six-month grace period, when assets taken illegally from (Angola) could have been brought back without any penalties, the state is now (taking) all judicial, legal and diplomatic and other measures available to ensure the repatriation of those resources and ensure the recovery of assets to national soil,” he said. Dos Santos says the legal action against her is a “witch hunt” launched by officials who replaced her father. ___ Associated Press journalist Andrew Drake contributed to this report from London.
  • A retired Minnesota carpenter whom The Associated Press exposed as a former commander of a Nazi-led unit accused of war atrocities has died. Michael Karkoc, whose family maintained that he was never a Nazi or committed any war crimes, lived quietly in Minneapolis for decades until AP's review of U.S. and Ukrainian records in 2013 uncovered his past and prompted investigations in Germany and Poland. Karkoc died Dec. 14, according to cemetery and public records. He was 100. His son, Andriy Karkoc, hung up on an AP reporter without confirming his father's death. Officials at the Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel, which was listed on one website as having handled the funeral arrangements, declined to comment. But records at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis show he was quietly buried there Dec. 19, next to his wife, Nadia Karkoc, who died in 2018. And Minnesota Department of Health records show that a Michael Karkoc with the correct birthday died Dec. 14. The family and funeral home did not publish a public obituary. Karkoc's involvement in the war surfaced when a retiree who researched Nazi war crimes approached the AP after coming across Karkoc’s name. The AP investigation relied upon a broad range of interviews and documents, including Nazi military payroll information and company rosters, U.S. Army intelligence files, Ukrainian intelligence findings and Karkoc's self-published memoir. The records established that Karkoc was a commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which attacked a Polish village where dozens of women and children were killed in 1944, then lied to American authorities to get into the U.S. after World War II. His family denied he was ever at the scene of the attack, though a second AP report uncovered testimony from a former soldier in Karkoc’s unit who said Karkoc ordered his men to attack the village, Chlaniow, in retaliation for the slaying of an SS major. Andriy Karkoc has said his father was never a Nazi and denied he was involved in any war crimes. He has also questioned the validity of AP’s sources and accused the AP of “defamatory and slanderous” allegations. The AP stories prompted Germany and Poland to investigate. German prosecutors announced in July 2015 that they had shelved their case because the then-96-year-old Karkoc wasn’t fit for trial. But Polish prosecutors announced in March 2017 that they would seek his arrest and extradition, saying his age was no obstacle in seeking to bring him to justice. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was in no doubt that Karkoc should have been extradited and he called it unfortunate that Poland and the U.S. didn't move more aggressively to do so. “They seem to have handled this case with a lack of urgency,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview from Israel. “This is a typical case of a person who joined forces with Nazi Germany and was involved in crimes against innocent civilians, and he didn't deserve the privilege of living in a great democracy like the United States,” he said. A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman declined to comment on Karkoc's case, referring a reporter to the Polish government. An investigative file from the Ukrainian intelligence agency's archive revealed testimony from Pvt. Ivan Sharko, a Ukrainian soldier under Karkoc's command. Sharko testified in 1968 that the initial order to attack Chlaniow was given by another officer, but that Karkoc — who fought under the nom de guerre “Wolf” — told his unit to attack the village. 'The commander of our company, Wolf, also gave the command to cordon off the village and check all the houses, and to find and punish the partisans,” Sharko told authorities in Ukraine in 1967 and 1968, for an investigation they were conducting against the Self Defense Legion. Sharko, who died in the 1980s, also said the legionaries surrounded homes, set them on fire and shot anyone found inside homes or in the streets, according to the Russian-language investigative file. “How many people were killed in all, I don't know. I personally saw three corpses of peaceful inhabitants who had been killed,” Sharko was quoted as saying. Stephen Paskey, who led Nazi investigations for nine years as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations, said Sharko’s testimony is highly credible. He noted that Sharko didn’t appear to be in custody or under investigation when questioned, and many of his statements were confirmed by historical documents. Thomas Will, the deputy head of Germany’s special prosecutors' office that investigates Nazi crimes, concluded in 2013 that there was sufficient evidence that Karkoc was present. In 2017, Polish prosecutor Robert Janicki of the National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, said years of investigation confirmed '100%' that he was a commander of the unit. Karkoc, an ethnic Ukrainian, was born in the city of Lutsk in 1919, according to details he provided to American officials. At the time, the area was being fought over by Ukraine, Poland and others; it ended up part of Poland until World War II. Several wartime Nazi documents note the same birth date, but say he was born in Horodok, a town in the same region. Karkoc didn’t tell U.S. authorities about his military service when he entered the country in 1949. But in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc said he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943, in collaboration with the Nazis' feared SS intelligence agency, to fight on the side of Germany. He also wrote that he served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war. The memoir is available at the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library, and the AP located it online in an electronic Ukrainian library. Karkoc became a U.S. citizen in 1959. He lived for decades in a heavily Eastern European neighborhood of Minneapolis and was a longtime member of the St. Michael's and St. George's Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He worked as a carpenter, and was a member and a secretary in the local branch of the fraternal Ukrainian National Association. Antin Semeniuk, a friend of Karkoc in Minneapolis, said after the AP’s initial report that Karkoc told him he hadn't been a Nazi. Rather, Semeniuk said, Karkoc described himself as a Ukrainian patriot who wanted his country to be democratic and free of Nazi and Communist rule. ___ Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Doug Glass in Minneapolis contributed to this story. Herschaft reported from New York.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin formed his new Cabinet Tuesday, replacing many of its members but keeping his foreign, defense and finance ministers in place. The Cabinet shake-up comes as Putin has launched a sweeping constitutional reform that is widely seen as an attempt to secure his grip on power well after his current term ends in 2024. Immediately after announcing the proposed changes last week, Putin fired Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who had the job for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him. On Tuesday, Putin issued a decree outlining the structure of the new Cabinet and named its members. He appointed his economic adviser Andrei Belousov as first deputy prime minister and named eight deputy prime ministers, including some new names, such as Dmitry Chernyshenko who was the head of the organizing committee for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov have retained their jobs. Siluanov, however, was stripped of his additional role of first deputy prime minister, which he had in the old Cabinet. Other leading figures in the previous Cabinet, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, also stayed. Medvedev's longtime associate, Alexander Konovalov, lost the job of justice minister, and Konstantin Chuikchenko, who was chief of staff in the old Cabinet, was moved to succeed him. Others who lost their jobs include Economics Minister Maxim Oreshkin, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. Kolobkov was replaced with Oleg Matytsin, who served as president of the International University Sports Federation, a body which often works closely with Olympic sports bodies. His connections could be important as Russia appeals against a ban on its name and flag at events like the Olympics over doping-related issues. Along with the Cabinet members, Putin also dismissed Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and replaced him with Igor Krasnov. Putin met with members of the new Cabinet on Tuesday, hailing it as “well-balanced.' “The most important tasks are to increase the well-being of our people and to strengthen our state and its global standing,” he said. Putin, 67, has been in power for more than 20 years, longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. Under the current constitution, Putin must step down as president when his current term ends in 2024, and the set of constitutional changes he proposed last week are widely seen as part of his efforts to continue calling the shots. Putin's proposes that parliament will have a broader say over Cabinet appointments, but maintain and even strengthen the powers of the presidency. Putin also suggested that the constitution must specify the authority of the State Council, an advisory body that consists of regional governors and top federal officials. The Kremlin's constitutional bill submitted to parliament empowers the council to “determine the main directions of home and foreign policy,” its specific authority yet to be spelled out in a separate law. It remains unclear what position Putin may take to continue calling the shots, but observers say that the proposed changes could allow him to stay in charge by shifting into the position of the State Council's head. The lower house quickly scheduled the first of three required readings of the constitutional bill for Thursday. Putin said that the constitutional changes need to be approved by the entire nation, but it wasn't immediately clear how such a vote would be organized. Russia's leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, and other Kremlin foes have denounced Putin's move as an attempt to secure his rule for life, but the proposals didn't immediately trigger any major protest. The public response was muted by the vagueness of Putin's constitutional changes, and the dismissal of the unpopular Medvedev also helped divert attention from the suggested amendments. ___ James Ellingworth in Dusseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance must beef up its military training operation in Iraq to ensure that its members are not drawn back into combat there against Islamic State extremists. Stoltenberg has held talks in recent days with senior Iraqi and officials and King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan amid cautious optimism that NATO might be permitted to resume its training activities in Iraq in the near future. “We need to go heavy in and train. Build everything from the ministry of defense, institutions, command and control, to train forces. NATO can do that. We already do it, but we can scale up,” Stoltenberg told members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. NATO agreed in 2018 to launch a training mission in Iraq involving around 500 troops with the aim of building up the country’s armed forces so they could better combat extremist groups like IS But the operation was put on hold after a U.S. missile strike at Baghdad airport killed Iran’s top general earlier this month and the Iraqi government demanded that foreign troops leave its territory. As tensions mounted, U.S. President Donald Trump insisted that NATO should do more in the region. However, there is little appetite among European allies and Canada to deploy troops, even though the United States is by far the biggest and most influential of the 29 NATO member countries. While acknowledging that he opposed the Iraq war as a Norwegian lawmaker in 2003, Stoltenberg said Tuesday he thought “the West left a bit too early” and that IS took advantage of the security vacuum by seizing vast swathes of territory in northern Iraq and Syria. “I strongly believe that if we don’t act now we may be forced back in combat,” he told the parliamentarians. “We must prevent that from happening again, and therefore we need to build some local (security) capacity so they prevent ISIS (Islamic State militants) from coming back.” “If we don’t do that we will have a big problem, for certain, and then we may end up 2-3 years down the road back in a big combat operation,” Stoltenberg said.
  • Britain’s Parliament has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to rethink part of his key Brexit bill and restore a promise to reunite child refugees with family members in the U.K. Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, voted 300-220 on Tuesday to ensure that post-Brexit Britain continues letting unaccompanied migrant children elsewhere in Europe join relatives living in the U.K. The promise was made in 2018 by former Prime Minister Theresa May but it was removed from the Brexit legislation after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a big parliamentary majority in an election last month. Alf Dubs, a Labour Party member of the Lords who came from Nazi-occupied Europe to Britain as a child refugee, said the government was sending a “very negative” signal. He implored it not to use migrant children as 'bargaining chips' in the negotiations on future relations between the European Union and the U.K. “If the government wants to disprove the accusation that it is mean and nasty, then surely the thing to do is to accept the amendment,” Dubs said. The prime minister's office said the government would not accept any changes the House of Lords makes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets out the terms of Britain’s departure from the 28-nation bloc at the end of the month. The government says it intends to continue resettling child migrants in Britain after the country leaves the EU but argues that the issue does not belong in the withdrawal bill. The legislation must be passed by both houses of Parliament before Jan. 31 if the U.K. is to leave the EU on schedule. The vote was one of several defeats for the government over the bill in the House of Lords. The chamber's members, known as peers, voted Monday for amendments to bolster the rights of EU citizens in Britain and to protect the powers of U.K. courts. They also voted Tuesday to stress the need for approval from the governments of Scotland and Wales for any legal changes affecting those regions. The defeats in the Lords — where the Conservatives don't have a majority — won’t stop the bill becoming law because the House of Commons has already approved the legislation, and the elected lower chamber can overturn decisions by the non-elected Lords. But it means the bill must return to the Commons later this week rather than automatically becoming law once it's passed by the Lords. The EU parliament also must approve the Brexit divorce deal with Britain before Jan. 31. A vote by the European Parliament is expected next week. The U.K. voted narrowly to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, but after years of negotiations lawmakers repeatedly defeated attempts by both Johnson and predecessor May to secure backing for their Brexit plans. That changed when Johnson’s Conservatives won the Dec. 12 election, giving the government the ability to override the objections of opposition parties. Despite Johnson’s repeated promise to “get Brexit done” on Jan. 31, the departure will only kick off the first stage of the country's EU exit. Britain and the EU must then head into negotiations on future ties, racing to strike the terms of their new relationship in trade, security and a host of other areas by the end of 2020. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Belarus started importing oil from Norway on Tuesday after Russia, its main oil provider, suspended supplies earlier this month amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries. Belarusian state-run oil company Belneftekhim said its subsidiary bought 80,000 tones of crude oil from Norway, which is expected to be delivered to the country's refineries via rail in the next few days. Importing oil from alternative sources is more expensive for Belarus than cheap Russian supplies. But Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sees it as an important message for the Kremlin, Valery Karbalevich, a political analyst from the Minsk-based Strategia think tank, told The Associated Press. “Lukashenko is sending a clear signal to the Kremlin that he is ready to tighten his belt, but isn't ready to become a Russian governor,” Karbalevich said. Russia stopped supplying oil to its post-Soviet neighbor after Dec. 31. The two nations had failed to renegotiate an agreed oil price for this year during drawn-out negotiations on deepening the integration of their economies. The Russian suspension did not affect oil crossing Belarus to Europe or the supply of natural gas but had consequences for Belarus, which relies on Russia for more than 80% of its overall energy needs. Russia resumed limited supplies to Belarus on Jan. 4, but Lukashenko vowed to look for alternative oil suppliers. On Tuesday, Lukashenko acknowledged “currently there is no alternative for all oil supplies from Russia.” He said Belarus needs to diversify and should work to import no more than 40% of the oil it needs from Russia. “Another 30% we should import from the Baltics, and the remaining 30% through Ukraine,' Lukasheko said at a government meeting. The Kremlin has recently increased the pressure on Belarus, raising energy prices and cutting subsidies. It argues that Belarus should accept greater economic integration if it wants to continue receiving energy resources at Russia's domestic prices. Russian President Vladimir Putin held two rounds of talks with Lukachenko in December but they failed to agree on the closer ties and oil and gas prices. Putin said Russia was not ready to “subsidize” energy supplies without more economic integration with Belarus. Lukashenko insisted he would not sign off on the integration until the issues with oil and gas supplies were resolved. The talks prompted fears in Belarus that the Kremlin is plotting to form a single state with Belarus to keep Putin in power well past the end of his term in 2024. Lukashenko has repeatedly rejected the idea, saying that Belarus would never become part of Russia. ___ Associated Press writer Daria Litvinova contributed from Moscow.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A lot of listeners to News 96.5 WDBO have been calling the newsroom and using the open mic feature in our app to ask about smoke all over Orange and southern Seminole County on Tuesday afternoon. According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, there’s a 1400 acre prescribed burn happening within the Lake Apopka North Shore, west of Lake Level Canal road.   “The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems,” SJRWMD said. Orange County Fire and Rescue tweeted there are also two burns on the east side of Orange County at 528 and 520, as well as 528 and Dallas. (App users tap here to see tweet) Our meteorologist George Waldenberger says the winds today are driving the smoke over Orlando. (App users tap here to see tweet) Waldenberger later tweeted an aerial view of the smoke: (Tweet)
  • Lucky's Market will close all but ONE of its stores in Florida. It was confirmed by the Sun Sentinel Tuesday morning.  All five stores in Central Florida will close including the Colonial Landing shop that opened 8 months ago.  The only location to survive will be the store in Melbourne.  After an unfavorable portfolio review last year, Kroger pulled out its investment.  Lucky’s hasn’t made a public statement yet but the closures would effect 2,500 employees.
  • A California mother of two died during childbirth last week while acting as a surrogate for another family, according to multiple reports. Community members came together to support the family of Michelle Reaves after she died Thursday, according to KGTV and a GoFundMe campaign set up to support Reaves’ family. Jamie Herwehe, a close family friend of Reaves', launched the GoFundMe campaign last week, with donations slated to go toward covering funeral costs and supporting Reaves’ husband and children, CNN reported. “For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michelle, she will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote on the campaign page. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.” Herwehe said Reaves was acting for the second time as a surrogate for a family when 'one complication led to the next.' She died during childbirth, but Herwehe said the baby she was carrying survived. 'I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,' Herwehe wrote. 'No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.' Reaves was survived by her husband and their children, Gage and Monroe, Herwehe said.
  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.

Washington Insider

  • Facing opposition from within Republican ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an amended rules proposal on Tuesday to govern the start of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, most significantly giving more time for House prosecutors and the President's lawyers to make their opening arguments. The changes came after a lunch meeting of GOP Senators, where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and others expressed reservations about the idea of forcing each side to cram 24 hours of opening arguments into just two days. 'She and others raised concerns about the 24 hrs of opening statements in 2 days,' a spokeswoman for Collins told reporters. Along with that change, McConnell backed off a provision which would not allow evidence from the House impeachment investigation to be put in the record without a vote of the Senate. The changes were made as House prosecutors and the President's legal team made their first extended statements of the Trump impeachment trial. 'Why should this trial be any different than any other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn't,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he made the case that the Senate rules would not pass muster in a regular courtroom. 'This idea that we should ignore what has taken place over the last three years is outrageous,' said Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, who joined White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in arguing against the impeachment charges. 'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,' Cipollone said, in one of the first direct jabs of the impeachment trial. “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” Cipollone added. While there were GOP differences on the rules package offered by Republican leaders, GOP Senators stuck together on the first substantive vote of the impeachment trial, defeating an effort by Democrats to subpoena certain materials from the White House. The first vote was 53-47 to block an amendment offered by the Democratic Leader, Sen. Schumer.  It was straight along party lines. A second vote along party lines blocked a call by Democrats to subpoena documents from the State Department. Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.