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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has wielded her power to quash a faction of Democrats rallying for President Trump’s impeachment, but frustrated members within the party say the president is one misstep away from “that dam collapsing,” according to a Sunday report.

Since reassuming leadership over the house, Pelosi has thwarted her party’s liberal wing from going forward with impeachment proceedings, encouraging them to instead focus on other issues like health care.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump's statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump’s statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power.  (AP)

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care,” Pelosi told CNN on Sunday. “It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

Some lawmakers say their deference to Pelosi is out of respect for the speaker’s political expertise, and agree that impeachment would do more harm than good.

NANCY PELOSI TOLD DEMS SHE WANTS TO SEE TRUMP ‘IN PRISON’: REPORT

“She is the single smartest strategist that we’ve ever had…People are not wanting to second guess her because she’s been right on so many fronts,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told the Washington Post.

But other Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., admit they toe the party line out of fear.

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and…what can happen if you don’t follow along,” Schrader told the paper.

Some argue that President Trump’s defiance of congressional investigators will eventually break the divide between moderate Democrats and its liberal wing.

TRUMP APPEARS TO HAVE INADVERTENTLY INFUSED DEMOCRATIC INVESTIGATIONS AFTER ABC INTERVIEW

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., described Pelosi’s hold over Democrats as “fragile” because “we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing.”

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The Democrats’ pro-impeachment camp howled this week after Trump said in an interview with ABC that he’d be willing to listen if a foreign government had dirt on an opponent. Yet despite the familiar refrain of impeachment, Pelosi didn’t budge an inch on impeachment after Trump’s comments.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

With waves of arrests, Pakistani investigators are trying to unravel trafficking networks that convince impoverished Pakistanis to marry off their daughters to Chinese men for cash, and they say evidence is growing that many of the women and girls are sold into prostitution once in China.

At least two dozen Chinese nationals and dozens of their Pakistani partners have been arrested in recent weeks in raids by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency. Pakistani government officials, however, have ordered police to remain quiet about the extent of the networks, fearing it could hurt increasingly close economic ties with Beijing, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

“We are interested only in stopping the trafficking. Make no mistake, this is trafficking,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the government order. “We think the majority are sold as prostitutes,” he said of the women married in the trafficking schemes.

The AP spoke to seven girls who had been forced to marry Chinese men, four of them still in China. Each described how their new husbands handed them over to paying clients to be raped.

“I was living in hell-like conditions, silently weeping, silently praying for help,” said 20-year-old Natasha Masih. She told of how her husband locked her in a hotel in the remote northwest Chinese city of Urumqi and forced her into prostitution. The AP does not name rape victims, but Masih agreed to her name being used and now after her escape works to help other victims speak out.

Pakistan became a focus of Chinese marriage brokers last year, and activists say that since then as many as 1,000 women and girls have been married off to Chinese men. Most of the women are from Pakistan’s small Christian community, who are among the country’s most desperately poor. Brokers offer families cash to give their daughters as brides, promising them well-off Chinese husbands who would give them a good life. The business is fueled by demand in China, where men outnumber women.

In Pakistan, some Christian pastors are paid to help brokers lure members of their flock into marriages, and the girls — married against their will — become isolated in China, vulnerable to abusive husbands, previous AP reporting found .

China’s ambassador to Pakistan, speaking on local television, denied girls are trafficked to China and sold into prostitution. Trafficking was not discussed during a visit to Pakistan this month by China’s vice president, Wang Qishan. In comments carried in the Pakistani press, Wang denied trafficking was taking place.

“China is denying it is happening, but we are showing the proof,” said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped bring girls back from China.

The two law enforcement officials said one of the trafficking networks raided by police, based in the city of Lahore, had been operating for at least a year. It was protected by corrupt policemen, and the son of a former senior police official served as the lynchpin between the Chinese and Pakistani operatives, the officials said.

One woman, Sumaira, told the AP how her brothers were paid by brokers and forced her into such a marriage in July last year. The 30-year-old said her husband took her first to a house in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, and there she was raped each night by Chinese men for a week.

Before they were to leave for China, she convinced her husband to allow her to go home to say farewell to her sisters. There, she refused to return to the husband and screamed at her brothers, “Why did you sell me? How much money did you get for me?'” she said. The brothers beat her, but she managed to escape to the home of an uncle.

Before her marriage, Sumaira had run a beauty salon in a poor, mostly Christian neighborhood of the Punjab town of Gujranwala. “I was a very different person than what you see now,” she said. “Then I had hope. I believed in my future. Now I don’t know.”

Masih told the AP she was married off in November and soon after left her home in Faisalabad, flying to China with her husband. He took her to the northwest of the country, to a small house in a forested area. Three male and two female friends of her husband shared the house.

Her husband forced her to have sex with the men. Then he took her to the Urumqi hotel, where he confined her to a room and sold her into prostitution.

“I bought you in Pakistan,” she said her husband told her. “You belong to me. You are my property.”

Natasha made furtive calls to her parents on her mobile phone, and her mother turned to her church for help. One parishioner, Farooq Masih, formed a group of men from the congregation to try to recue Natasha. One of the men had a younger brother who was a student in China, said Masih, who is not related to Natasha. The brother agreed to pose as a client and pay him to sleep with Natasha.

Instead, when the student went to the hotel in a taxi, he called Natasha and told her to slip out to meet him.

“I saw him and quickly I took my clothes and got into his taxi,” she said. “I didn’t ask his name. I didn’t ask anything, I just said, ‘Brother, thank you.'” Soon she was on a plane to Pakistan.

Farooq Masih and the men from the church have since dedicated hours to unearthing trafficking networks. They recently conducted their own sting operation in Faisalabad, orchestrating a fake marriage that led the Federal Investigation Agency to the brokers and the pastor who solemnized the unions for a fee.

“I am lucky,” Natasha said. “Many girls who were taken there by their husbands are still living a terrible life. … Now I know what is freedom and what is slavery. In China, I was treated as a slave by my husband.”

Source: Fox News World

An 8-year-old boy was attacked by a shark Sunday while swimming off a North Carolina beach, suffering a leg injury that required a trip to a nearby hospital, reports said.

DAD TALKS ABOUT SHARK ENCOUNTER: I HIT HIM WITH EVERYTHING I COULD

The boy, who was not identified, was swimming off Bald Head Island when authorities said a shark grabbed him by the leg at around 4 p.m., WECT.com reported. First responders who inspected the puncture wounds determined it was a shark. It was unclear what of what kind of shark.

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The boy is expected to make a full recovery, the report said.

According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a research organization that tracks shark bite reports worldwide, there were a total of 32 unprovoked shark attacks in the United States in 2018, making up 48 percent of the worldwide total. The number was down from 53 attacks in 2017.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report

Source: Fox News National

At first, in her desperate calls home to her mother in Pakistan, Natasha Masih couldn’t bring herself to say what they were doing to her.

All the 19-year-old would say was that her new husband — a Chinese man her family sold her off to in marriage — was torturing her. Eventually she broke down and told her mother the full story, pleading with her to bring her home. The husband had hidden her away in a hotel in a remote corner of China and for the past weeks had been forcing her to have sex with other men.

“I bought you in Pakistan,” she said her husband told her. “You belong to me. You are my property.”

Her mother turned to the only people she knew who could help, her small evangelical church in a run-down slum of the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. There, a group of parishioners began putting together an elaborate plan to rescue the girl from the hotel more than 1,100 miles away.

Natasha was one of hundreds of Pakistani girls who have been married off to Chinese men in return for cash payments to their families, most of them Christians, a community that is among the poorest of the poor in the country. The Associated Press reported previously how Christian pastors and Pakistani and Chinese brokers work together in a lucrative trade, aggressively pursuing Pakistani girls who are tricked into fraudulent marriages and find themselves trapped in China with sometimes abusive husbands.

Since then, police investigations have uncovered that many of the women are forced into prostitution in China. A picture of the extent of the trafficking networks has emerged from a series of arrests and raids in recent weeks by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, as well as testimony from victims, many of whom were previously too frightened to come forward.

The AP spoke to seven girls who had been forced into prostitution — four of them still in China.

Families are told their daughters will be wed to well-off businessmen and given good lives in China, and the marriage trade is depicted as a benefit for all sides — impoverished parents receive money, while Chinese men find brides in a country where men outnumber women. But investigators are increasingly convinced that the majority of the girls are sold into prostitution, two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigations told the AP.

“The girls who are interviewed say they were tortured” — using a euphemism for rape and forced prostitution, said one of the officials. “They are afraid for their families and for the disgust they fear they will feel. … Make no mistake, this is trafficking.”

However, even as investigators are uncovering the scope of the trade, the Pakistani government has sought to keep it quiet. Senior government officials have ordered investigators to remain silent about the trafficking because they don’t want to jeopardize Pakistan’s increasingly close economic relationship with China, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity for that reason.

Beijing is investing billions of dollars in Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, a global endeavor aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all corners of Asia. Under a $75 billion project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Beijing has promised a sprawling package of infrastructure development, from road construction and power plants to agriculture. The largest component is a 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) road linking China to Pakistan’s deep-water port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

In Pakistan, it has been billed as a massive development program that will bring new prosperity to the South Asian nation, where the average citizen lives on just $125 a month. Since 2015, thousands of Chinese have arrived in Pakistan to work on a multitude of projects.

China’s ambassador to Pakistan has gone on local television channels denying girls are trafficked to China and sold into prostitution. The issue of human trafficking was not discussed during a visit to Pakistan this month by China’s vice president, Wang Qishan, who held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan’s president. In comments carried in the Pakistani press, Wang denied trafficking was taking place — and referred to an online video that traffickers often use to lure in families, showing Pakistani brides in China dancing and happy.

“China is denying it is happening, but we are showing the proof,” said Saleem Iqbal, an activist in Pakistan’s small Christian minority who has helped bring girls back from China and collects evidence of trafficking networks that he provides to police.

The AP spoke by messaging app with Arooj, a Pakistani girl still trapped in China. She said her husband beat her and would come home drunk with friends and force her to have sex with them. Like many of the girls, she wasn’t sure where she was in China; often they are taken from Beijing on flights elsewhere in the country, then driven for hours to small towns, without being told the destination.

Ijaz Alam Augustine, the human rights and minorities minister in Pakistan’s Punjab province, estimated that more than 500 women have been trafficked to China, while Iqbal put the figure at 750 to 1,000.

In early May, Pakistani police swept through posh neighborhoods in the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore and in the national capital, Islamabad. They arrested Chinese nationals and their Pakistani partners involved in two marriage-broker networks that sought out Pakistani girls for Chinese grooms. They all now face trafficking charges.

Investigators have since made further arrests in smaller Punjab towns and in the western city of Peshawar, rolling up more networks. Overall, at least two dozen Chinese and dozens of Pakistanis have been arrested.

The two law enforcement officials said the Lahore-based network had been operating for at least a year. The network was protected by corrupt policemen, and the son of a former senior police official served as the lynchpin between the Chinese and Pakistani operatives, the officials said.

The network also benefited from lax oversight by authorities, they said. For example, at least five of the Chinese traffickers were able to enter Pakistan on business visas based on companies that didn’t exist.

The AP saw one of the charge sheets from the wave of arrests, in which eight Chinese nationals and five Pakistanis were charged with human trafficking. It also accused the traffickers of profiting on body parts stolen from girls trafficked to China, without offering evidence. Other police reports tell of a Pakistani pastor who signed dozens of empty marriage certificates, which were later filled out by traffickers once they had acquired a prospective bride.

Investigators have conducted dozens of interviews in recent weeks with trafficked girls and women, who are increasingly speaking out.

One woman, Sumaira, who was sold to a Chinese groom by her brothers, told the AP she had remained silent for months after escaping her husband, even refusing to talk to investigators. But now she is coming forward.

“If I had told everything that happened to me then, maybe I would have saved so many other Pakistani girls,” she said. “But I was too afraid, too afraid of my brothers. Now I want the people that did this to me to not do it to other girls.”

The 30-year-old Sumaira had been running a small beauty salon in a poor, mostly Christian neighborhood of the Punjab town of Gujranwala. “I was a very different person than what you see now,” she said. “Then I had hope. I believed in my future. Now I don’t know.”

Her brothers forced her to marry in July last year after being offered money by brokers. Her husband took her first to a house in Islamabad, where she said she was kept for a week, raped every night by Chinese men.

Before leaving for China, she convinced her husband to let her go home to say farewell to her sisters.

“When I got home, I yelled at my brothers, ‘Why did you sell me? How much money did you get for me?'” she said. The brothers beat her, but she managed to escape to the home of an uncle.

Natasha Masih lives in Wasirpura, a mainly Christian district of Faisalabad where many work as domestic workers. She didn’t want to marry, but “what could I do, my family is poor.” A friend of her father suggested he marry her to a Chinese man. She said her father struggled with the decision but needed the money. He had four other daughters and could no longer work after hurting his back. Natasha said refusing was never an option.

In November, her husband took her to China’s remote northwestern region. She was driven to a forested area and a small house with no kitchen or bathroom that she was told would be her home. She discovered that three male and two female friends of her husband shared the house. Soon, her husband began to force her to have sex with the men.

Soon after, her husband took her to the Yin Du luxury hotel in the nearby city of Urumqi. There, he confined her to a room and sold her into prostitution.

“Always two or three men were the same, and then he would bring other men, ordering me to have sex with them,” she said. “I was living in hell-like conditions, silently weeping, silently praying for help.” She made furtive calls to her parents on her mobile phone.

Back in Faisalabad, a member of her parent’s church, Farooq Masih, formed a group of men from the congregation to try to help. Masih, who is not related to Natasha, told the AP they struggled with how to free Natasha until one among them told of his younger brother who was a student in China. The brother agreed to contact Natasha’s husband, pose as a client and pay him to sleep with her to get access to her.

The student texted Natasha and told her he was coming to rescue her, asking for details of when her husband comes and goes from the hotel. Finally, the day came. He called her and told her to slip outside the hotel to where he was waiting in a taxi.

“I saw him and quickly I took my clothes and got into his taxi,” she said. “I didn’t ask his name. I didn’t ask anything, I just said, ‘Brother, thank you.'” Soon she was on a plane to Pakistan.

Farooq Masih and the other men from the church have since dedicated hours to unearthing trafficking networks. They recently conducted their own sting operation in Faisalabad, orchestrating a fake marriage to a prospective Chinese groom that led the Federal Investigation Agency to the Chinese and Pakistani brokers and the pastor who solemnized the unions for a fee.

Meanwhile, Natasha — who turned 20 last week — helps other young women open up about their experiences and encourages them to talk to investigators. She has heard reports that her husband was back in Pakistan looking for another girl to marry.

“I am lucky,” Natasha said. “Many girls who were taken there by their husbands are still living a terrible life. … Now I know what is freedom and what is slavery. In China, I was treated as a slave by my husband.”

Source: Fox News World

Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the 17 people killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, posted a photograph on Twitter that included his sons and daughter, Meadow, and captioned the picture: “happier times for me when I was able to smile.”

Pollack took to social media to wish his followers a Happy Father’s Day.

Pollack has said he has been focused on holding people accountable – the Broward School Board and superintendent as well as coaches at the school and the school’s resource officer who never stormed the building.

“The families, like myself, we live it every day, so February 14th doesn’t make a difference to me,” Pollack told Fox News last February.  “I wake up in the morning and my daughter’s not there and I have to feel that pain all through the day. Every day, I have to fight to get through the day.”

Source: Fox News National

Early results in Guatemala’s presidential election point to a businesswoman in the lead to oversee a nation where tens of thousands have fled poverty and gang violence this year to seek a new life in the United States.

With votes tallied from close to a third of polling centers late Sunday, former first lady Sandra Torres had captured 24% of the vote, followed by four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei with 15%. There were 19 candidates and early results were in line with expectations.

At this rate no candidate will win the more than 50% of votes needed to assume the post after a first round, with a second vote likely to take place in August. Presidents are limited to a single, four-year term.

The next president of this Central American country will be tasked starting in January with attempting to stem growing violence, poverty and outward migration. An estimated 1 percent of Guatemala’s population of some 16 million people has left the country this year.

Guatemalans are also clamoring for a crackdown on corruption: Three of the last four elected presidents have been arrested post-presidency on charges of corruption.

“There is a belief that instead of advancing in these four years of government, we’ve gone backward,” said Marco René Cuellar, 39, the first to vote at the Mixed Rural School in the municipality of Santa Catarina Pinula. “We’ve lost our way as a country, but we should not lose faith in the democratic process we have.”

Voters chose between 19 candidates, with more than 8.1 million citizens also eligible to vote for the vice president, congressional representatives and mayors.

The election marked the first time that Guatemalans could cast ballots from abroad: At least 60,000 were eligible to vote in Los Angeles, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C., all home to large numbers of Guatemalan emigres.

Businessman Roberto Arzú, diplomat Edmond Auguste Mulet Lesieur and indigenous human rights advocate Thelma Cabrera rounded out the top-five candidates for the presidency.

On Sunday, municipal officials and police stood guard as many waited in line to cast their ballot in an election dinged by threats of violence and possible fraud.

To the east of the capital, in the Zacapa department, voting stations didn’t open in the San Jorge municipality after organizers were threatened with violence. More than 7,000 people were unable to cast votes there. Voting was also called off in Esquipulas Palo Gordo, near the border with Mexico in the San Marcos department, amid accusations of vote-buying.

The attorney general’s office launched an investigation after a voter posted a video to social media showing how her ballot was allegedly already marked for Torres.

The campaign season was marked by a chaotic flurry of court rulings, shenanigans, illegal party-switching and allegations of malfeasance that torpedoed the runs of two of the three front-runners, including Chief Prosecutor Thelma Aldana.

Aldana gained international renown for leading crusading anti-corruption investigations in tandem with a U.N.-backed anti-graft commission operating in Guatemala, but was booted from the race on the grounds that she lacked a document certifying that she didn’t have any outstanding accounts from her time overseeing a public budget as prosecutor.

Outgoing President Jimmy Morales, who is barred from seeking re-election, took office in 2016 promising to root out corruption after his predecessor was brought down by a probe led by the U.N.’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG. But Morales soon became a target of CICIG himself for alleged campaign finance violations, starting a bitter dispute with the agency in which he terminated its mandate.

A recent poll from CID Gallup Latinoamerica found that nearly a third of Guatemalan adults surveyed believe the election will be plagued by fraud. Another 20 percent said the election’s legitimacy would be suspect because so many candidates were kept from running.

Unemployment, violence, corruption, rising costs of living and the shoddy state of the country’s highways are among top concerns for the country’s electorate.

But Fernando Barrillas, 44-year-old Guatemalan citizen, said surging migration was also an issue for him.

“As long as the root causes that propel migration are not addressed, which are poverty and inequality, we will continue to remain without the best men and women, young people who they are the engine of the country,” he said.

Source: Fox News World

Pakistani police say an activist known for his online criticism of the country’s military and politicians has been killed by unknown assailants in a wooded area of the capital, Islamabad.

Local police official Ayaz Khan says Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night, drawing condemnation from his friends on social media.

Police said Monday that an unknown person called the activist to come to the Karachi Company neighborhood, where he and his cousin were attacked with daggers.

The cousin was in critical condition.

In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist.

The attack took place hours after Khan bluntly criticized the newly appointed spy chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, who had previously worked as the head of internal security at Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.

Source: Fox News World

President Trump was apparently so perturbed by his chief of staff coughing during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office last week, that he asked his staffer to leave the room, according to a transcript from the station.

Trump had been asked a question about his tax returns when someone off camera – identified as Mulvaney – reportedly begins coughing.

“I hope they get it, because it’s a fantastic financial statement,” Trump said Stephanopoulos amid apparent coughing before saying: “And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.”

TRUMP SAYS HE WOULD ‘WANT TO HEAR’ DIRT ON 2020 RIVALS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, SUGGESTS HE WOULDN’T CONTACT FBI

“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump reportedly said of Mulvaney’s coughing. “If you’re going to couch, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.”

“Your chief of staff,” Stephanopoulos reportedly clarified.

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The interview, which was broadcast Sunday, proceeded with Trump saying although he wanted people to see his “phenomenal” financial statement, it’s “not up to me, it’s up to my lawyers.”

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Authorities in California on Sunday said the 10-year-old girl who was fighting for her life after an alleged drunk driver slammed into her home last week, killing her mother and two younger sisters, has died, reports said.

Felix Ferdin, 46, of Modesto, was allegedly intoxicated when he blew past a stop sign and drove through the fence and backyard of the duplex at high speeds. He then crashed his 2007 Chevrolet Equinox into the home where a mother and three young daughters were sleeping around 1:30 a.m. last Sunday, the California Highway Patrol said.

The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office on Monday identified the woman as Mari Luz Jacinto-Hernandez, 38. It has not yet released the names of the three girls killed.

Ferdin was booked into jail on three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence. He remained in custody Monday, with bail set at $100,000.

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Prison records don’t list an attorney for Ferdin. Authorities did not immediately know if he has retained one who could speak on his behalf.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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The 36-year-old Cuban mechanic’s eyes glazed over as he recalled his time at the Siglo XXI holding facility: 50 people sleeping in 3-by-4-yard (-meter) pens, feces overflowing the latrines, food and water always scarce.

Women slept in hallways or in the dining hall among rats, cockroaches and pigeon droppings, as children wailed, mothers reused diapers and guards treated everyone with contempt.

Many migrants who cross into southern Mexico end up in Siglo XXI, Spanish for “21st century,” said to be the largest immigration detention center in Latin America. Located in the city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, it’s a secretive place off-limits to public scrutiny where cellphones are confiscated and journalists aren’t allowed inside.

Source: Fox News National


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