Scanning through leaked flight logs from Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, an unfamiliar name crops up time and again. Three hundred and fifty times between 2001 and 2006, to be precise.
Only Epstein himself, and longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, appear to have flown more often on the plane dubbed the “Lolita Express” than Sarah Kellen.
Ms Kellen, described by Epstein’s victims as Ms Maxwell’s “lieutenant”, is accused by them of procuring women and underage girls for the late financier.
Little has been heard of, or from, the 40-year-old, and three other alleged female “co-conspirators”, since they were given immunity from prosecution under a highly unusual “sweetheart deal” struck between Epstein and the US Attorney for South Florida in a 2008 criminal case.
The arrest last week of Ms Maxwell at the behest of the attorney’s office in New York, which has said it is not bound by the Florida agreement, has now raised the prospect that investigators may turn next to the quartet.
America’s return to fan-filled stadiums was the jubilant affair bull riding fans had long awaited.
Boisterous crowds cheered as each star rider leaped out of the gates atop a bucking bull for the rodeo, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the first US sport to allow fans indoors.
Amid the gleeful shrieks of the spectators, it was easy to forget the country is still in the grips of a pandemic.
South Dakota, which is hosting the three-day Professional Bull Riding (PBR) championship, hoped the event would be an important milestone in the state’s attempt to return to normality.
While most US cities still have orders banning large gatherings to halt the spread of Covid-19, the state is one of the few places where indoor sporting venues are able to operate largely unfettered.
US President Donald Trump’s planned executive order on immigration will not include amnesty for migrants who are in the United States illegally but arrived in the country as children, a White House spokesman said on Friday.
“This does not include amnesty,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement, after Mr Trump said in a television interview his planned order would include a road to citizenship for such immigrants, known as “Dreamers”.
In the interview with Spanish-language TV network Telemundo, Mr Trump said his executive order would involve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that protects hundreds of thousands of such immigrants from deportation.
“I’m going to do a big executive order. … And I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Mr Trump said. “We’re going to have a road to citizenship.”
The US Supreme Court last month dealt a major setback to Mr Trump’s hardline immigration policies, blocking his bid to end DACA, which was created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
The ruling did not prevent Mr Trump from trying again to end the program. But his administration may find it difficult to rescind it – and win any ensuing legal battle – before the Nov. 3 election in which he is seeking a second term in office.
The White House statement said Mr Trump’s executive order would establish a merit-based immigration system and reiterated that Mr Trump would work with Congress on a legislative solution that “could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms,” but no amnesty.
President Donald Trump commuted Roger Stone’s sentence on Friday, just days before his longtime friend and adviser was due to report to prison, the White House announced.
“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the White House said in a statement. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”
Mr Stone, 67, was scheduled to report by Tuesday to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, to begin serving a sentence of three years and four months for lying under oath to US lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
The veteran Republican political operative’s friendship with Mr Trump dates back decades.
In announcing its clemency decision for Mr Stone, the White House took aim at former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the prosecutors who brought the case against Mr Stone.
The White House said Mr Stone “is victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”
“There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election,” the White House said.
Asked by reporters earlier on Friday about reports he planned to pardon Mr Stone, Mr Trump said, “I’ll be looking at it. I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated, as were many people.”
A commutation does not erase a criminal conviction as a pardon does.
Late on Friday, the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia denied Mr Stone’s request for a delay in reporting to prison.
Mr Trump’s decision to commute Mr Stone’s sentence marks his most assertive intervention to protect an associate in a criminal case and the latest use of executive clemency to benefit an ally.
Congressional Democrats and other critics have accused Mr Trump of undermining the rule of law by publicly complaining about criminal cases against associates including Mr Stone, former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
A Washington jury in November 2019 convicted Mr Stone on all seven criminal counts of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness.
Mr Stone was convicted for lying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Mr Trump’s 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton that US intelligence officials have concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.
The elite Green Berets regiment has appointed a woman to join its ranks for the first time in its 68-year history.
An enlisted soldier and a member of the National Guard, the woman, who has not been named, completed her training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Women have served in special operations for some years.
However, this is the first time a female has graduated the gruelling year-long special forces qualification course.
She is the first woman to earn this distinction since the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2016.
In doing so she had to pass a 24-day screening programme, before completing an array of tasks, including marching with heavy combat gear and demonstrating her competence at land navigation.
The woman was one of around 400 soldiers to be formally enrolled in the US Army’s Special Forces at a ceremony on Thursday.
She is understood to be one of three who have been going through the course.
Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette, commander of Army Special Operations Command, who presided over the ceremony, hailed the woman’s achievement.
“From here, you will go forward and join the storied formation of the Green Berets where you will do what you are trained to do: challenge assumptions, break down barriers, smash through stereotypes, innovate, and achieve the impossible,” she said.
In all, there are more than 6,700 army Green Berets. Usually working in 12-strong teams, they are primarily used in specialised combat and counter-terrorism operations.
They are also used for training other countries’ special forces. Many have been deployed in Afghanistan working with government forces against the Taliban.
The appointment of a woman to the ranks of the Green Berets is the latest chapter in the gradual opening up of what had hitherto been male preserves in the US military.
More than 700 are now understood to be in jobs which were previously restricted.
They include a woman who joined the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in 2017.
It is estimated that more than a dozen others have completed the course at the regiment’s training school in Georgia.
Joe Biden has announced a new “Buy American” economic approach and pledged $700 billion in investment commitments as he looks to erode Donald Trump’s poll lead on handling the US economy.
The presumptive Democratic nominee for November’s presidential election chose a metal works near his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the site for a speech heavy on policy to rebuild the economy.
Mr Biden proposed $400 billion more in government purchasing of US-based goods and services and $300 billion in new research and development in US technology firms, as well as tightening rules on what products could be stamped with “made in America”.
He also repeatedly drew contrasts between his approach and that of Mr Trump, framing the US president as out of touch with middle America and too willing to help the wealthiest in the country.
“His failures come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll,” Mr Biden said of Mr Trump at one point. He added: “Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence.”
With less than four months to go until the election, the speech amounted to an attempt by Mr Biden to challenge Mr Trump on ground which has traditionally been seen as his political strength.
Actor Robert De Niro has claimed the coronavirus has decimated his finances and he “may only make” $7.5 million (£6m) this year, as he fought in court to limit his estranged wife’s expenses.
The Irishman star’s former partner, Grace Hightower, has claimed in divorce proceedings taking place in Manhattan, New York, that De Niro “unfairly” cut her monthly credit card allowance from $100,000 to $50,000.
Lawyers for De Niro, 76, say he reduced Ms Hightower’s American Express card limit because he has taken a huge financial hit as Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, two restaurant chains he has stakes in, were forced to close or partially close during the Covid-19 lockdown.
He also says he has been limited in his acting work by the virus. Caroline Krauss, his attorney, said a film project that he was scheduled to begin filming this summer in Oklahoma has been put on hold.
Ms Hightower, 64, a singer and actress, also alleged that she and their children had been banned from an upstate New York estate where De Niro is staying during the pandemic.
The coronavirus death toll in the United States is now climbing again as the recent surge in cases in the sunbelt states feeds through into fatalities.
At least 867 people died of Covid-19 on Thursday in the US and, nationally, the crucial seven-day average has begun to climb after falling steadily since mid-April when deaths first peaked at over 2,000 a day.
For several weeks President Donald Trump has been blaming the country’s surging case numbers on the availability of more tests and has suggested that test capacity should be cut to reverse the trend.
However, intensive care wards have been filling up across the sunbelt states from Florida to California and now – as predicted by experts – deaths have started to climb again.
The trend bodes ill not just for those caught up in the outbreak, the bulk of whom are from impoverished and BAME communities, but for the President himself who is hoping to be elected for a second term in November.
The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials responsible for severe human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities, the latest move in a longstanding diplomatic row with Beijing.
Restrictions include barring Chinese officials and their family members from entering the US, freezing their US-based assets, and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
Washington has blacklisted Chen Quanguo, a member of China’s powerful Politburo and Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang region, where the human rights abuses have been taking place.
Other officials targeted by the sanctions include Mr Chen’s deputy, Zhu Hailun; Wang Mingshan, the current party secretary of the public security bureau in Xinjiang, and his predecessor, Huo Liujun.
“The United States will not stand idly by as the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang,” said Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state.
The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, it’s data.
However, unlike oil, data is highly mobile – and an individual’s personal information can be stored on servers in a myriad of locations around the world.
Now Beijing has started to impose its “Great Firewall of China” on Hong Kong, concerns are mounting about the security of information held in the former British territory – particularly over pressure on technology companies to hand over information to Chinese security services.
The physical location where data is stored is about to become a major battleground as digital sovereignty becomes more important by the day. Digital sovereignty is the idea that parties must have ownership, or sovereignty, over their own digital information and refers to both individuals and countries. It’s not just worries about an assertive Beijing that are driving calls for data to be repatriated around the world – the ubiquitous power of US big technology companies is also a major cause for concern.
This week, the Australian government said it was considering new sovereignty rules for government data that would force certain data sets to be hosted in approved Australian data centres. This followed significant controversy in the country over data from its CovidSafe virus contact tracing app, which is held on Amazon’s servers. Concerns were raised that the data of ordinary Australians was not secure because of the US Cloud Act, which extended US authorities’ global reach over data stored on servers.
The US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (Cloud) Act was introduced two years ago and extends criminal warrants served on a US-based provider to all emails regardless of where in the world the servers are located. It was introduced following a legal case in which it was argued that US laws did not apply to emails stored on a server in Ireland.
Digital sovereignty is not only about increasing the security of individual and government data. China and US are the two major technology leaders and other regions – especially Europe – have been left behind in the area that is shaping the economy of tomorrow.
The European Union is in a consultation period over its own digital sovereignty rules as part of its Digital Services Act (DSA) – and there are hopes that ring-fencing data from the eurozone will allow the bloc to turbocharge its own technology companies to compete on the world stage. But some argue that the EU proposals are not really about security at all, they are aimed at giving European companies a platform to compete with the strong position of US and Chinese digital companies in EU markets.