Heavy snowfall blanketed the colossal sandstone spires of China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park on January 24, creating a dramatic wintry scene for visitors.Video published by the Zhangjiajie Tourism Weibo account shows the gorgeous scene as seen from the park’s gondola.A week of snowy weather was expected to affect Hunan province, peaking with blizzard conditions on the weekend, a local weather bureau said.The park inspired scenes in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, according to USA Today. Credit: Zhangjiajie Tourism via Storyful
Washington's so-called "rendition program," under which suspected Islamist militants from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were spirited to jails outside U.S. jurisdiction, remains shrouded in secrecy.But the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed the 10-room building, in a pine forest of the village of Antaviliai outside Vilnius, was used by the CIA to hold terrorist suspects from 2005-2006.The Lithuanian government's real estate fund, which handles assets no longer needed by the state, is preparing to offer the barn to the market at a yet-to-be-decided price.The fund took over the site from Lithuania's intelligence service which used it as a training facility from 2007-2018.Lithuania's defence minister Arvydas Anusauskas, who led a Lithuanian parliamentary investigation into the site in 2010, said it was somewhere "you could do whatever you wanted".A local resident who gave his name as Alfredas said, "I am a construction worker. They dug so much ground. So they must have three or four floors under the ground. The whole field was covered in earth. So, what was going on there? And they say that nothing happened."
A mother and her kids sat in their car and watched a bobcat chasing a rabbit across snow in Calgary, Canada.“Run, bunny, run,” Katie Melnyk yells in a video of the event which she filmed on January 13. At the end of this video, the rabbit successfully escapes from the bobcat’s hunt.Melnyk told Storyful that she and her kids watched the bobcat for about 20 minutes. “My kids and I were so entertained, then horrified, then entertained again!” she wrote in a comment of a Facebook post that featured her video. Credit: Katie Melnyk via Storyful
Several U.S. states sued Google on Monday over what they call deceptive practices in location-tracking.Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia all accuse the tech giant of invading users' privacy.The bipartisan suit accuses Google of falsely leading customers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow them to protect their privacy.But instead, the suit alleges, Google continues to systematically surveil its customers and profits from their data.Google has been quick to respond.Spokesperson Jose Castaneda said the case was based on "inaccurate claims and outdated assertions".He added "we have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight."A similar case was filed against Google by the state of Arizona in 2020.It alleged the U.S. firm used “deceptive” and “unfair” practices to obtain the location data of users.That lawsuit is pending.
COVID-19 infections nationally are down by 12% in the last seven days compared with the prior seven, the analysis found.Cases have decreased in states such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, plus Washington, D.C.Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University, said she expects the drop in cases to go from east to west across the US."I think we're beginning to see already peaking in the United States overall. But does that make that mean that we've peaked everywhere? The answer is no. That will be on a rolling basis across the country," she said.The Reuters tally shows that nationally hospitalizations are now under 147,000, compared with a peak of 152,746 on January 20. But in many parts of the US infections continue to increase.
At least six people were reported killed following a stampede at an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) game between Cameroon and Comoros in Yaounde, Cameroon, on the evening of January 24, according to local authorities.Health officials said that at least 40 people were injured and being treated at local medical facilities. Following the game, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie tweeted that he was visiting patients at hospitals who suffered injuries in the stampede.In a statement, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said it was investigating the incident, which took place at Olembe Stadium in Cameroon’s capital.This footage, recorded by journalist Esther Ayimbo Kouo, shows people climbing over fencing in an elevated area outside the stadium, as well as gating that’s been knocked down, and also captures an ambulance driving by. Other video that circulated on Monday saw fans forcing their way through narrow openings in gates outside the stadium.Despite the tragedy outside, the game within the arena went ahead. Cameroon emerged victorious, 2-1, after Comoros were reduced to ten men by a red card in the 7th minute. The AFCON host nation will play Gambia in the quarterfinals on January 29. Credit: Esther Ayimbo Kouo via Storyful
The Crystal Symphony cruise ship abruptly ended its return journey to Miami on January 23 following the decision by a US court to grant an order for the ship to be seized over millions of dollars in unpaid fuel fees.The Crystal Symphony left Miami on January 8 for a two-week cruise. On January 19, Crystal Cruises announced that it was suspending operations after its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, filed for bankruptcy.On January 21, Peninsula Petroleum Far East had an arrest warrant approved by a Florida judge, alleging a total $4.6 million in missed fuel payments, with $1.2 million accrued by the Crystal Symphony.These videos show the cruise ship in Bimini as passengers are taken back to Florida on a different boat. Voices can be heard cheering as the ship blasts its horn. Credit: Matt Werner via Storyful
Heavy snowfall intensified across areas of Greece, including the capital city of Athens, on Monday, January 24, blanketing streets and buildings.The Hellenic National Meteorological Service reported the heavy snowfall would continue through Tuesday, easing up in the northern region of the country.Video taken by photojournalist Giannis Boziaris shows snow falling near Athen’s Hellenic Parliament. Credit: Giannis Boziaris via Storyful
A 14-year-old Afghan Scottish schoolboy from Glasgow has recited a Scots prayer for Burns Night to help raise funds for the ongoing food crisis in Afghanistan. Arya Bostani, whose father Abdul came to Scotland from Afghanistan 20 years ago, has recorded a version of “The Selkirk Grace”. The Scots-language prayer is traditionally delivered at a Burns supper and has been attributed to the esteemed Scottish poet Robert Burns after he is said to have recited it at a dinner held by the Earl of Selkirk in 1794.
Firefighters cleaning up the remains of a blaze narrowly avoided being struck by an exploding pressure cooker in Tucson, Arizona.Video shared by the Tucson Fire Department shows the near-miss.“After a mobile home fire last week, crews were performing mop up when an empty pressure cooker in a cabinet exploded, projecting debris all over the fire scene,” the fire department wrote on Facebook. “Just another reason why our firefighters wear protective gear at all times on the fireground.” Credit: Tucson Fire Department via Storyful
PENTAGON SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY: "It's very clear that the Russians have no intention right now of de-escalating." The Pentagon announced on Monday that it was putting 8,500 troops on heightened alert to be ready for possible deployment to Europe, in the latest effort to reassure nervous NATO allies, as Russia masses troops on the border with Ukraine. KIRBY: "There's been no mission assigned right now. This is about getting troops ready." Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stressed that no decision had been made yet on whether to deploy the troops, and that they would fill in the ranks of a NATO rapid response force, should Russia invade Ukraine.So far, NATO has about 4,000 troops in multinational battalions in eastern Europe. NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JENS STOLTENBERG: "We are considering to further enhance our presence in the eastern part of the alliance." In a tweet, NATO's Secretary-General said "any further aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have severe costs," which he posted after an online meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain and the European Union. Russia has called the moves Western "hysteria" and denies planning an invasion. But having surrounded Ukraine with an estimated 100,000 troops from the north, east and south, Moscow is now citing the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression. Meanwhile, Britain said it was withdrawing some staff and dependents from its embassy in Ukraine, a day after the U.S. said it was ordering diplomats' family members to leave the country.
Lemurs enjoyed a frozen enrichment activity at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, in January, investigating miniature snowmen with treats inside.“More snow calls for more snow enrichment!” the center wrote on Twitter. “While the lemurs seem to be pretty neutral about this weird cold stuff, they were huge fans of the fruit faces created by their caretakers.” Credit: Duke Lemur Center via Storyful
Members of Arizona Humane Society (AHS) came to the rescue after a two-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix named Buddy was found with his head stuck through a hole in a cinder block wall in Phoenix in mid-January.Two AHS emergency staff, Gracie Watts and Rob Grabowski, responded after a good Samaritan reported finding Buddy at a new complex off 39th Avenue and Wier Avenue, AHS wrote in a press release.Watts and Grabowski “immediately got to work to slowly chisel at the wall around Buddy’s head to create a hole large enough to free him,” the press release said.After being freed, Buddy had a bit of swelling and was treated at AHS’ trauma hospital for a “few minor wounds on his head and neck,” according to AHS.Buddy was initially thought to be a stray, but AHS tracked down his owner in Glendale, about 10 miles north of where he was found. After a few days in their care, Buddy was reunited with his family and had been returned to “his loving home,” AHS wrote. Credit: Arizona Humane Society via Storyful
The Pentagon is putting about 8,500 US-based troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Europe to reassure allies amid rising fears of a possible Russian military move on Ukraine.
Staff at the Australian Reptile Park on January 25 celebrated the first birthday of Poppy, a wombat found in September after her mother was struck and killed by a vehicle, and praised her resilience after a “rough start to life.”In a press release, Australian Reptile Park called Poppy “one of the world’s cutest animals” and, noting that her birthday fell one day before Australia Day, said it “was the perfect timing to celebrate this iconic Aussie.”For her birthday, the zoo said Poppy had been “given lots of snuggles and kisses” as well as a platter of snacks that included “corn, sweet potato, carrot, and the freshest grass available.”Poppy was still in her late mother’s pouch when she was found by a passer-by in September, the Australian Reptile Park said. Videos released by the zoo in November and December showed Poppy bonding with her carers.Since then, Poppy had been “cared for 24/7” and was growing “happy and healthy,” the zoo said.According to the zoo’s press release, Head Keeper of Mammals Hewin Hochkins said Poppy arrived at the zoo “right when we all needed a little bit of hope during our park closure.” Hochkins also said Poppy was among the “most well behaved and wonderful wombats” she had ever worked with.“We love having the opportunity to throw a birthday party for our animals, I think they know we’re celebrating them! Poppy was eagerly seeking out snuggles from all the keepers and visitors and loved all her special treats we gave her!” said Hochkins. Credit: Australian Reptile Park via Storyful
A roller coaster ride on Wall Street. Stocks rebounded sharply late in the session Monday from a steep sell-off that at one point saw the Nasdaq down nearly 5% and the S&P falling into correction territory. Sparking that earlier drop before bargain hunters piled in: mounting geopolitical tension as NATO prepares for a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine and concerns over an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve ahead of their policymakers meeting this week. Kramer Capital Research Chief Investment Officer Hilary Kramer says the worst isn’t over just yet: “We hit the tipping point in terms of the market because the Feds policies cannot sustain. You can't have zero percent fed funds rate and expect that the market can keep going up. It creates inflation. We are an inflationary period and the Fed must start raising rates to bring back and hold back those reins, and until they do, this market is gonna keep going down or we're gonna see inflation keep rising.” The Dow ended up nearly 100 points. It and the S&P gained more than a quarter percent. The Nasdaq bounced back the most, rising six-tenth percent. One standout stock even through the sell-off: Kohl’s. Shares shot up by over a third after Reuters reported that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is readying a bid for the department store chain. This comes just days after activist investment firm Starboard Value proposed a buyout.
The major U.S. stock indexes pared their losses in mid-afternoon trading with the S&P 500 hovering around a 10% drop from its record closing high on Jan 3, a move that would confirm the index is in correction.Vespula Capital CEO Jeff Tomasulo said Monday a rebound is not guaranteed. "One of my biggest fears, I think, going forward is that people are so have this expectation because they've seen this over the last five or six years is that the market always rebounds and rebounds fast. Well, the question is what happens if the rebound is not there or it's just a small rebound?"
The report on which the Prime Minister’s future may depend is expected to be delivered later this week. Here is a look at what the inquiry is all about.
"We already showed the potential of this team during last winter, we are confident we can win the 15 medals," Ralph Stockli told a virtual news conference.Stockli was speaking from Beijing and was presenting the 168 Swiss athletes selected for the competition.
"The Fed must start raising rates to bring back and hold back those reins, and until they do, this market is gonna keep going down or we're gonna see inflation keep rising," said Kramer.
An MP's claim that she was sacked as a minister because of her Muslim faith is "disturbing", the former co-chair of the Conservative Party has said.
Need a ride to Al-Aqsa mosque?Location: JerusalemNafeesa Khweis is known for offering fellow worshippers liftsin her golf buggy which she bought herselfwhen it got too difficult to walk there(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SELF-STYLED SENTRY OF AL AQSA MOSQUE, NAFEESA KHWEIS, SAYING:"I have had this cart for two years now. I used to get tired going back and forth to al-Aqsa mosque. God gifted it to me, and this cart gives me a lot of comfort when I go to and from al-Aqsa for the five prayers. It was also beneficial for others. It was beneficial for the people who wanted to go to al-Aqsa. More people wanted to go to there because I would go and pick them up and take them to al-Aqsa and take them back home. Thank God, people who didn’t used to go started going because I could take them there.’’Khweis has frequented Al-Aqsa mosque for more than 50 yearsand has become an iconic figure in the areaShe is widely known in Jerusalem’s old city as 'Hajjeh Nafeesa'(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SELF-STYLED SENTRY OF AL-AQSA MOSQUE, NAFEESA KHWEIS, SAYING:"When it comes to al-Aqsa, it is my soul, my spirit, it is my life, al-Aqsa is the blood in my veins. I cannot stay away from al-Aqsa for one day…”