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Syrian government officials say a power station close to the rebels’ last stronghold in the country’s northwest has been repaired after insurgents bombed the facility the night before, kicking it off line.

Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutly said on Thursday that al-Zara power station was back on and linked up to the national grid.

Station manager Mostafa Shantout says a drone operated by insurgents dropped a number of bombs late on Wednesday on the station, causing huge damage. He didn’t elaborate. The comments by both officials were carried by the official state news agency SANA.

Fighting has raged in the last 48 hours in northwestern Syria where insurgents launched a counteroffensive, trying to regain areas they lost to government forces in earlier this month.

Source: Fox News World

An EU high court has rejected a bid for compensation from the European Central Bank by some private owners of Greek bonds who suffered losses at the height of Greece’s debt crisis seven years ago.

Near-bankrupt in 2012, Greece executed the biggest debt restructuring ever, erasing 105 billion euros owed to private creditors who mostly consented. The same terms were imposed on the rest, some of whom launched the lawsuit.

The General Court of the European Union found that those investors suffered an infringement of their property rights, but not one that was “disproportionate and intolerable.”

It said Thursday this was in line with public interest.

The Luxembourg-based court said there wasn’t evidence the ECB, which advised Greece on the deal, committed “a sufficiently serious breach” of European Union law.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the European Parliament elections (all times local):

12 noon

French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to prove that he’s really a green-friendly guy.

His centrist movement is struggling to charm voters ahead of France’s vote Sunday in European Parliament elections. So Macron hosted a meeting Thursday of a new body called the “environmental defense council,” modeled on how he handles national security.

He said: “It’s no longer time for words … We must make decisions.” He ordered his government to assess environment-related policies are and come up with new ideas by July — providing them with green-colored folders full of guidance.

Macron has stood up to U.S. President Donald Trump on the need to fight climate change, but is under fire from activists and voters who say he isn’t actually doing enough to protect the environment. Critics dismissed Thursday’s meeting as “greenwashing,” or repackaging policies with environmentally friendly language.

Meanwhile others say Macron’s climate policies are going too far, including many protesters behind France’s yellow vest movement.

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7:30 a.m.

Dutch polls have opened in elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc that pits supporters of deeper integration against populist Euroskeptics who want more power for their national governments.

A half hour after voting started in the Netherlands, polls open across the United Kingdom, the only other country voting Thursday, and a nation still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether and the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.

The elections, which end Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU’s powers, while traditional powerhouses like France and Germany insist that unity is the best buffer against the shifting economic and security interests of an emerging new world order.

Source: Fox News World

A Florida judge took the unusual step last week of acquitting a mother who was fighting accusations that she brutally beat and hospitalized her 10-month-old daughter, according to a report that cited audio from the trial.

April Fox, 34, was charged with aggravated child abuse after her daughter wound up in the hospital in 2015 with a fractured skull and swelling in the brain, The Miami Herald reported. X-rays also indicated the child’s arms and legs had suffered fractures in the past, the report said.

A Florida judge last acquitting April Fox of child abuse charges. 

A Florida judge last acquitting April Fox of child abuse charges.  (Miami-Dade Police Department)

Florida child welfare authorities stripped Fox of parental rights. Fox’s lawyer blamed the child’s injuries on brittle bones, genetic disorders, and an accidental fall. Jurors failed to reach a verdict and declared a mistrial.

But rather than allow a second trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mark Blumstein took the rare step of acquitting Fox himself, saying: “[S]omeone beyond any human in the court will have to answer those questions.”

‘HOUSE OF HORRORS’ CHILD ABUSE CASES REVEAL HOW OFFENDERS NATIONWIDE USE HOMESCHOOLING TO HIDE THEIR CRIMES

“But in light of what I heard, and after hearing the presentation from the state, I don’t think it’s going to change with any retrial of this case,” he said.

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The Herald reported that Fox and her lawyers were visibly stunned and Fox began hyperventilating in court. Fox cannot get her children back because the State Attorney’s Office cannot appeal a judge’s acquittal, the report said.

Source: Fox News National

A Texas man accused of murdering his girlfriend, dismembering her body and dissolving it in chemicals was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Kevin Wayne Powell, of White Settlement, Texas, reportedly killed his live-in girlfriend, 28-year-old Casey Ray Nutter, in 2015. A month before Nutter went missing, she filed aggravated assault charges against Powell after he tried to strangle her with a wire, suffocate her with a plastic bag and drown her in a shower, WFAA reported. Prosecutors said he killed her in retaliation for going to authorities.

ILLINOIS MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING, DISMEMBERING 2-YEAR-OLD BOY STANDS TRIAL

One of Powell’s family members testified that the 50-year-old had confessed to Nutter’s murder and used several power saws to dismember her before dissolving her body, according to WFAA. It was the same family member who tipped off law enforcement during the investigation into her disappearance.

Kevin Wayne Powell, 50, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for dismembering his 28-year-old girlfriend who went missing in 2015. 

Kevin Wayne Powell, 50, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for dismembering his 28-year-old girlfriend who went missing in 2015.  (Tarrant County Jail )

“His abuse and her untimely death should not have been the end of her story. She deserved better, and the jury saw fit to rectify that,” prosecutor Allenna Bangs said in a statement, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Powell’s life sentence was automatic after his conviction and he is not eligible for parole. The jury took little more than an hour to reach their verdict, WFAA reported.

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Nutter’s remains have never been found.

Source: Fox News National

A 74-year-old woman was kidnapped in San Francisco street earlier this month, held captive for five hours, and raped repeatedly before being left semi-conscious on a sidewalk, police said.

Manuel Amador, 47, was arrested last Friday in connection with the May 10 attack, KTVU reported. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

A San Francisco woman was kidnapped and raped in a home near Prague and Curtis Streets near McLaren Park earlier this month, police said. 

A San Francisco woman was kidnapped and raped in a home near Prague and Curtis Streets near McLaren Park earlier this month, police said.  (Google Maps)

Authorities said the woman was walking through the Crocker-Amazon district around 8 a.m., when a man pulled her into a house. There was reportedly a pit bull inside that bit her. The man then locked the woman in a room and repeatedly raped her, authorities said.

ALASKA MAN RAPED UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN INSIDE POLICE STATION ‘OUT OF BOREDOM,’ POLICE SAY

Authorities said the man then dressed her, dragged her back out and left her barely conscious on the sidewalk, where a passerby found her. The woman was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where she remains, police said.

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Prosecutors cited by KGO said the suspect has confessed to the crime. He will be arraigned in court Thursday morning, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

A probe into Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook — which featured a racist photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in Ku Klux Klan garb — revealed that the school’s president, who donated to the Democrat’s campaign, knew about the image but decided against taking action.

The law firm investigating the origin and content of a racist photo, which appeared on Northam’s page inside the 1984 yearbook, said Wednesday that investigators were unable to determine whether the governor is one of the people seen in the photo or has any other direct connection to it.

VIRGINIA GOV. NORTHAM’S MEDICAL SCHOOL ‘UNABLE TO DETERMINE THE IDENTITY OF THE INDIVIDUALS’ IN RACIST PHOTO

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

But the EVMS investigation report disclosed that school President Richard Homan — a donor to Northam’s campaign — had learned about the racist yearbook photo from his staff, raising questions about whether politics was taken into consideration in Homan’s decision not to address the matter.

“The staff members were advising the president at the time of the photograph and asking if EVMS had an obligation to or should do something about it, such as notifying Governor Northam about it,” the report read.

“The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam’s attention to it.”

“The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam’s attention to it.”

— Investigation report

Staff members told investigators that they thought the governor would “already be aware of what was on his personal yearbook page,” while Homan insisted on moving forward rather than revisiting photos from the past.

RALPH NORTHAM YEARBOOK PHOTO BACKLASH: 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRGINIA GOVERNOR

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Homan has been supporting Northam’s political ambitions since 2013. He donated $1,000 to Northam’s campaign for lieutenant governor. He then contributed another $1,000 when Northam ran for governor and later donated $10,000 to his inaugural committee in 2017.

Working on behalf of EVMS, McGuireWoods investigators said they couldn’t “conclusively determine” the identities of either person in the 35-year-old photo – leaving all interested parties exactly where they were when the scandal first broke nearly four months ago.

The photo first gained attention after a conservative blog, Big League Politics, dug it up. The backlash was immediate against the Democratic governor, prompting him to go into damage control, offering conflicting statements within hours.

Northam initially issued two apologies within hours of the publication of the photo. He reversed course the next day and said he wasn’t convinced he was one of the men pictured. He did, however, reveal he wore blackface once, decades ago, to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

The 36-page report found no one “with first-hand knowledge of an actual mistake on any page, including any personal page, within the 1984 yearbook” and no evidence that the photo was placed in error, according to the report.

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The report also identified 10 photographs depicting individuals in blackface based on the law firm’s review of all EVMS yearbooks, according to the school.

Fox News Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Two U.S. warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait in an apparent show of support for the government of the self-ruled island, which China claims as its own.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement the ships passed through from south to north on Wednesday without incident, adding they were free to sail in the Taiwan Strait.

China, which last month complained about a French ship’s passage through the strait, said it had expressed concerns to the U.S. side.

“According to information learnt from the relevant department, China followed closely the passage of the U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait, and we are fully aware of the whole process,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a news conference.

“We urge the U.S. to … properly deal with Taiwan-related issues with caution so as to avoid further negative impacts to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Lu said.

China maintains a more ambiguous sea boundary than defined by international treaty and has asserted a claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, which is contiguous with the Taiwan Strait and where several governments have competing claims.

In a statement, spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet Joseph Keiley said the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Preble and the oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit on Tuesday-Wednesday in accordance with international law.”

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Keiley said.

Also on Wednesday, Taiwan’s navy held a major live-fire exercise off the island’s east coast in an area increasingly threatened by Chinese ships and planes.

Navy craft fired cannons and missiles and released depth charges, while fighter jets launched munitions and anti-submarine warfare aircraft released buoys.

Submarines, along with a vast array of ballistic missiles, are considered among China’s most potent weapons against Taiwan, which split from the mainland during a civil war in 1949.

China has boosted its military threat against Taiwan, with President Xi Jinping saying this year that Beijing would not rule out using force.

That comes on top of growing Chinese pressure to isolate Taiwan internationally and inflict economic pain to force independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen to agree to Beijing’s contention that Taiwan is a part of China.

Source: Fox News National

A lawyer for a Greek far-left extremist jailed for 11 murders says Greece’s supreme court has ordered lower judges to reconsider his request for a temporary leave from prison, which had earlier been rejected.

Dimitris Koufodinas is serving 11 life terms for his role as the main hit man for the November 17 group, which killed 23 people between 1975-2000.

The 61-year-old is in intensive care due to the effects of a hunger strike he launched May 2 to protest the rejection of his furlough bid — which has sparked a violent arson and vandalism campaign by far-left sympathizers.

Lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik said Thursday the supreme court agreed to have Koufodinas’ demand re-examined by a panel of judges in the central town of Volos, where Koufodinas’ prison is.

Source: Fox News World

Good morning and welcome to Fox News First. Here’s what you need to know today …

Government paralyzed: Trump calls for end to ‘phony investigations’ after Pelosi accuses him of engaging in a ‘cover-up’
The very public rift between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday illustrated of how much the Russia collusion investigation — and what Trump supporters would call Democrats’ obsession with ousting him from the Oval Office — have paralyzed the government. The meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was cut short and any plans to rebuild America’s infrastructure were put on hold after Pelosi accused of the president of engaging in a “cover-up.” Trump, in a Rose Garden statement, said that Democrats must end their “phony investigations” before he’ll negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure.

So, right now, both sides remain at a standstill. Trump and the White House insist Democrats can’t accept the findings of no collusion in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and want “do-overs” with numerous congressional investigations. Democrats show no signs of easing up on their investigations and insist Trump is obstructing justice by instructing witnesses to defy subpoenas and be uncooperative.

This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)

This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)

‘Catastrophic’ tornado damage reported in Missouri capital
Jefferson City, the capital city of Missouri, has taken a direct hit from a tornado and suffered possibly “catastrophic” damage, according to reports. According to the National Weather Service, a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph. The twister appeared to have traveled through the center part of town, the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported. “We are currently identifying the location of damages and searching for injured residents,” Lt. David Williams of the city’s police department said in a statement to the News-Tribune. “The primary need at this time is for those not affected to stay clear of the impacted areas so that Emergency personnel can assist those in need.”

‘American Taliban’ to be released from prison Thursday
John Walker Lindh, the Islamic militant who became known as the infamous “American Taliban,” is set to be released from a U.S. federal prison Thursday despite lawmakers’ concerns. Lindh, who has been behind bars in Terre Haute, Ind., is set to be discharged several years before he would complete the 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban. The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant was arrested in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan, along with a group of Taliban fighters who were captured by U.S. forces.

In a letter last week to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, lawmakers expressed concerns about the “security and safety implications” of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to “openly call for extremist violence.” They also sought details on how the agency is working to prevent prisoners such as Lindh from committing additional crimes after their release and asked which other “terrorist offenders” are next in line to be freed.

Avenatti’s legal troubles continue to mount
Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday charged embattled attorney Michael Avenatti with defrauding adult-film star Stormy Daniels, the client who propelled Avenatti into the national spotlight. Avenatti, 48, faces one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted of those charges. Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) is not named in the indictment, but a federal law enforcement official confirmed to Fox News that she is the client prosecutors claimed Avenatti defrauded.

Avenatti rocketed to fame representing Daniels when she sued to be released from a non-disclosure agreement involving an alleged tryst with President Trump in 2006. He parlayed his notoriety into numerous cable news appearances and even was floated as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.

Former staffer for Michelle Obama evades subpoena in Smollett case
Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, declined Wednesday to be served with a subpoena by a retired Illinois judge seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, according to the process server. In an email to former Illinois appellate judge Sheila O’Brien obtained by Fox News, the process server wrote that a security guard at the Chicago law firm where Tchen is a partner “called up to her and spoke with her and she said that she in [sic] never going to accept service and to not allow me up to their Law firm.” The subpoena would have required Tchen to appear at a May 31 hearing on O’Brien’s request for a special prosecutor and provide “any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning your conversations with [Cook County State’s Attorney] Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett.”

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TODAY’S MUST-READS
Ben Carson hits back at Ilhan Omar after she knocks his performance during House hearing
Trump administration fights back against lone judges nixing policies ‘with the stroke of the pen.’
John Cusack defends not standing ‘fast enough’ for Wrigley Field military salute.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Antitrust chief undecided on T-Mobile-Sprint as White House voices support and DOJ staff looks to nix merger.
Credit, debit cards found to be ‘dirtiest payment method’ versus cash, coins, study says.
Worst product failures, from Coca-Cola’s New Coke to Microsoft’s Zune.

#TheFlashback: CLICK HERE to find out what happened on “This Day in History.”

SOME PARTING WORDS

“Blexit” Movement founder Candace Owens and Dr. Cornel West debate the effect of President Trump’s economic policies on the African-American community and more on “The Ingraham Angle.”

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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Have a good day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Friday morning.

Source: Fox News National


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