Trump levies more sanctions on Russia in spy poisoning case
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has slapped more sanctions on Russia in connection with the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, a move that a Russian lawmaker said Friday will make it less likely for normalized U.S.-Russian relations.
Trump issued an executive order late Thursday that imposes another round of sanctions against Moscow, which has denied wrongdoing in the spy case.
In March 2018, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer turned double agent for Britain, and his visiting daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a park bench in the British town of Salisbury after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. They spent weeks in critical condition but recovered.
A police officer also was sickened. A few months after the attack on the Skripals, a local man, who found a perfume bottle containing traces of the discarded nerve agent, became severely ill and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, died from the accidental exposure.
Saudi Arabia allowing women to travel without male consent
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia on Friday published new laws that loosen restrictions on women by allowing all citizens — women and men alike — to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement.
The new laws, a potential game-changer for Saudi women’s rights, are to go into effect by the end of the month.
The kingdom’s legal system has long been criticized because it treated adult women as minors, requiring they have a man’s consent to obtain a passport or travel abroad. Often a woman’s male guardian is her father or husband, and in some cases a woman’s son.
The changes were widely celebrated by Saudis on Twitter, with many posting memes showing people dashing to the airport with luggage and others hailing the 33-year-old crown prince believed to be the force behind these moves. But the changes also drew backlash from conservatives, who posted clips of senior Saudi clerics in past years arguing in favor of guardianship laws.
Other changes issued in the decrees allow women to register a marriage, divorce or a child’s birth, and obtain official family documents, which could ease hurdles women faced in obtaining a national identity card and enrolling their children in school.
Endangered list sought for rare firefly
BETHANY BEACH, Del. — Peering through the darkness under the faint light of a peach-colored moon, wildlife biologist Jason Davis spots a telltale green flash in the bushes.
Quick as a flash himself, Davis arcs a long-handled mesh net through the humid coastal air, ensnaring his tiny target.
Ignoring the mosquitoes, Davis heads to the open bed of his pickup truck, opens up a notebook-size metal testing kit and begins examining his find. Two minutes later, he makes his pronouncement.
“That is what I am calling bethaniensis,” he declares.
“Photuris bethaniensis,” aka the Bethany Beach Firefly, was first identified in the 1950s and has been found only in a sliver of southern Delaware coastland. Now environmental groups are shining a beacon on the luminescent beetle, whose unique habitat is threatened by coastal development, sea level rise, invasive plants and insecticides.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, both based in Oregon, are pushing for the federal Endangered Species list to include its first firefly.