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Updated: 3 hours 51 min ago

'Absolutely Grisly.' A Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Own Dogs

7 hours 52 min ago

She was out walking her pit bulls


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Are the U.S. Marines Dying?

18 hours 55 min ago

The U.S. Marine Corps is arguably the best amphibious-warfare force in the world. The issue is that relentless overseas commitments have strained marine resources so badly that it can’t conduct the other training that it needs to maintain its combat edge. A review of readiness data from 2014 to 2016 revealed that “Marine Corps units were unable to fully accomplish training for other amphibious operations priorities,” according to the GAO report.


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Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos Share Adorable 'Kid Approved' Holiday Family Photo

19 hours 6 min ago

Happy holidays from the Consuelos clan!


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Lawsuit: 2 immigrant teens in US custody can't get abortions

19 hours 47 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's administration is blocking two pregnant teens in the country illegally and being held in federal custody from obtaining abortions, the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday, a repeat of the situation that led to a high-profile court fight earlier this year.


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Islamic State: What happened to all the foreign fighters?

19 hours 57 min ago

An estimated 40,000 people traveled from around the world to take up arms for the Islamic State group as it occupied territory in Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate in 2014. How many have gone elsewhere to fight?" said Seth Jones, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation. International counterterror groups are putting huge efforts into answering those questions, working hard to name, count and track IS foreign fighters.


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Matt Lauer's First Accuser Lives 'In Constant Fear' Of Being Identified

December 15, 2017 - 5:01pm

Matt Lauer’s original accuser is “terrified” that her identity will become public.


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Most Of The California Wildfires Are Under Control, But The Thomas Fire Is Still Raging

December 15, 2017 - 5:00pm

More than 10 days after the Thomas Fire sparked in Ventura County, the blaze grew to some 252,200 acres on Friday as more than 8,300 firefighters worked night and day to contain it.


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H-1B visa spouse changes: Trump administration may scrap Obama-era rule allowing spouses of legal immigrants to work

December 15, 2017 - 4:34pm

The Trump administration is considering rolling back a rule that allows thousands of legal immigrants to work in the US along with their spouses. The Department of Homeland Security has announced it is reviewing the Obama-era rule, which allowed spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to work in the US. H1-B visas are granted to foreign workers with a graduate-level education or above, who come to the US to work in speciality occupations like finance or engineering.


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2 Key Republican Holdouts Are Now Backing The Tax Bill

December 15, 2017 - 4:14pm

endorsed his party’s tax bill on Friday after Republican leaders changed part of the legislation to meet some of Rubio’s demands, his office said.


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4 Palestinians killed in latest Jerusalem fallout clashes

December 15, 2017 - 2:49pm

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and dozens more wounded along with an Israeli officer in clashes across the West Bank and near Gaza's border on Friday as the fallout continued over President Donald Trump's announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.


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6.5 magnitude quake strikes Indonesia's Java island

December 15, 2017 - 2:44pm

A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's main island of Java late Friday, leaving at least one person dead and rattling nerves in the capital Jakarta. There was no immediate indication of a tsunami, but authorities said they had issued a warning following the tremor, which struck a coastal region some 300 kilometres (190 miles) from the capital. National disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said a 62-year-old had died in the Ciamis region in West Java after becoming trapped in a collapsed house.


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What School Safety Looks Like 5 Years After Sandy Hook

December 15, 2017 - 2:43pm

On the morning of Nov. 14, staff members at Rancho Tehama Elementary School in Corning, California, heard the sound of a single gunshot in the vicinity of the campus.


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Grand Jury Slams Penn State for 'Rampant and Pervasive' Fraternity Hazing After Tim Piazza's Death

December 15, 2017 - 2:32pm

"No fraternity’s existence is worth more than the life of Tim Piazza"


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Battle lines drawn for South Africa's ANC on eve of leadership vote

December 15, 2017 - 1:58pm

By Alexander Winning and Mfuneko Toyana JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa's ruler since the end of apartheid, faces perhaps the most pivotal few days in its recent history when it meets over the weekend to choose a successor to Jacob Zuma as party leader. The ANC's electoral dominance means whoever wins the job is likely to become South Africa's next president. Economic growth in Africa's traditional powerhouse has been lethargic over the last six years and the jobless rate stands near record levels.


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Oklahoma man sentenced to death for beheading his co-worker

December 15, 2017 - 1:12pm

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge on Friday sentenced a man to death for beheading a co-worker in 2014 at a food processing plant.


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Barack Obama Dressed Up As Too-Cool-For-School Santa For His Latest Appearance

December 15, 2017 - 12:56pm

The former president dropped by a Boys & Girls Club branch in D.C. in a statement outfit — with a festive touch.


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2-Year-Old Steals Baby Jesus From Manger During Nativity Pageant

December 15, 2017 - 12:50pm

One eager Tennessee 2-year-old took matters into her own hands during her church’s recent Nativity pageant


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Man charged in shooting of cops saved by bulletproof vests

December 15, 2017 - 12:43pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 37-year-old man was charged Friday in the shooting of two suburban St. Louis police officers who were saved by their bulletproof vests.


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EU gives itself June deadline for deal on refugees

December 15, 2017 - 12:13pm

By Gabriela Baczynska and Robert Muller BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders appealed for unity in a last-ditch effort to break their deadlock on sharing out refugees by June, telling reluctant eastern states they could otherwise be outvoted on a dispute that has shaken the bloc's foundations. Coming out from a fraught discussion among 28 EU leaders that went into the small hours on Friday morning in Brussels, rivals in the two-year-old dispute all stuck to their guns, hemmed in by expectations they have raised with their own voters. The Mediterranean frontline states Italy and Greece, and the rich destination countries including Germany, Sweden, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are demanding that all countries host some refugees as a way to demonstrate solidarity.


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14 years after he went missing in Africa, I think my brother is still alive

December 15, 2017 - 12:06pm

Christmas Charity Appeal banner 2017 It was when the letters stopped arriving that Christian Velten’s family knew something had gone terribly wrong.  Armed with a video camera, the 27-year-old had embarked on a six-month expedition through West Africa, along the banks of the River Niger, retracing the steps of his hero, the 18th century Scottish explorer Mungo Park. He made his way alone on foot, by donkey, or in a canoe from Gambia, through Senegal, and Mali, stopping along the way to stay with villagers. Each time he moved on, Christian would give the children his address back in England, telling them to write. “Cards kept coming to the house from kids he’d met,” says his sister Hannah, who has spent the past 14 years tirelessly searching for her brother. “At some point the letters stopped.” Even though he was travelling through remote African countryside, Christian had still managed to keep in contact with his family. “When he phoned Mum and Dad for the last time, it was just before their birthdays,” Hannah tells me, as we talk in the living room of the East Sussex home she shares with her husband Grant and children Freya, 6, and Cameron, 9. “When he didn’t get on his plane home, we realised pretty quickly something had gone wrong.” Christian's sister Hannah believes he is alive and is waiting for him to come forward Credit: Christopher Pledger  That final phone call came on March 23, 2003 and Christian has been missing ever since. In that time, the search to find him has taken innumerable twists and turns. The early years were fraught with fear and frustration, as Hannah’s parents, Pauline and Tim, frantically led the charge to find their son. Confronted with Foreign Office red tape, they took matters into their own hands, putting out appeals in the African and British press and sending a team, led by one of his friends, to search for Christian on the ground. At one point, they even enlisted the help of a Malian village chieftain.  “Everything went against us,” says Hannah, cradling a mug of tea, as she takes me through the events which have shaped her adult life. “Nothing you try works and fear kicks in.”  For years, the race to trace Christian led them to dead ends, each more painful than the last. It always went the same way: a renewed appeal would spark a sighting - a lone white male seen walking near the river, or a bedraggled figure who rode the bus every day. Moments of hope, cruelly shattered when the trail went quiet. Telegraph Christmas Appeal 2017 | What are the charities? “That desperate feeling is exhausting,” adds Hannah. “I realise, now I’m a mum myself, just how awful that first search was for my parents.” In 2015, on Christian’s 40th birthday, the family decided to throw a party. It was a way to celebrate the man who had been absent from their lives for more than a decade. “The thing is, you don’t have a funeral,” says Hannah. “You go through a grief process, but you’re in limbo.”  As the years and milestones passed, the hope of finding him seemed more and more remote. Yet, on Boxing Day in 2015, as she trudged around the fields near her parents’ Sussex home, trying to walk off the sadness of another Christmas without her brother, Hannah suddenly felt strangely upbeat about finding him. Her dad was less so. “He told me: ‘I think if Christian isn’t found by next New Year then I’m going to give up hope. It’s just too painful.’” Then, three months later, there was a fresh sighting. One so clear that it would set into motion a new search, culminating in the realistion that Christian is almost certainly alive.  Sightings of Chris have come in waves over the years, and Hannah has learnt how to work out when someone isn't being truthful Credit: Christopher Pledger  In early 2016, Hannah had set up ‘Searching for Chris’ pages on social media, renewing interest in their story. A friend got in touch to say that a contact in Kenya had recognised Christian’s picture on Facebook. Raabia Hawa, a prominent conservationist, told how two years before, a man with that very same profile picture had sent her a friend request on Facebook, from a now defunct account.  Hannah realised that the picture (an old one from her website), could have been downloaded by Christian, who may have found it when looking himself up online. Before he went missing, Christian had been a keen conservationist. Was it possible he had reached out to Raabia to ask for advice? With renewed energy, Hannah wrote about the connection on Facebook and sightings came in thick and fast from Nairobi. People had seen Christian as a homeless man in the city’s slums, as a white preacher on a bus, in a hotel.  It would have been easy to take them as nothing more than fantasies or false hope from strangers. But instead, Hannah chose to treat each one as a possible lead, and a new picture began to form.  “Your intuition kicks in. It was like I was an arrow locked on a target,” she says. The last sighting of Christian was in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015 Credit: Hannah Velten One woman said she had seen Christian begging in Accra, Ghana, in 2005, telling Hannah: “He spoke with a British accent. He said he was begging to raise money for a ticket back home. What makes me 80 per cent sure it’s your brother was what he said as he appealed for money: ‘Are you a Christian, missy? Can you help me please? My name is Christian.’” Hannah now believes that, while travelling, Christian was attacked - but that someone found and looked after him. Somehow, after all these years, she thinks, he has ended up in Kenya. “For some time, he may not have known who he was. He must have been ill for many years. But I think he is now aware that we are looking for him. “It wouldn’t have been his choice to go missing,” she adds. “Something terrible happened.” It raises the hardest question of all: is it possible that Christian doesn’t want to be found? It is a prospect Hannah has been forced to grapple with, and she has come to terms with the idea that her brother may have chosen not to get in touch. After all, she explains, 14 years is a long time - especially when you have been alone and confused. It is possible that the thought of simply walking back into his old life feels too overwhelming.  “But I have faith that he will [be found]. That’s the bit that drives you insane, the idea that he could just ring any second now. He could turn up on the doorstep.” Read more | Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal As well as being a devoted sister, Hannah, 42, runs a publishing company with her husband. Through it all, she has kept the surname Velten, to make it easier for Christian to trace her. It is clear that this latest push to find her brother has been a terrible strain. “It’s almost the worst thing that you could think of in terms of a family,” she tells me, stroking the labrador curled beside her on the sofa, as she fights back tears. “It is a nightmare. If you just think how you feel when you lose your child in the supermarket, that sheer panic - we have felt that for nearly 15 years. “All that time, we thought he was dead…” she trails off, trying to compose herself. “You’d toast him at Christmas, we always talked about him, but the hope was flickering.” She desperately wants Christian to meet her children, who have heard so much about their uncle. “It’s my biggest sadness now, what my kids are missing, because he would be a fabulous uncle. I’m sad for mum and dad and I’m sad for Christian and the life he would have had.” For now, all she can do is wait.  “When the phone rings now, I don’t expect it to be him. So when he does call, it will be out of the blue.” Is she fearful of all the complications that his sudden appearance could bring with it?  “After 14 years he is going to have changed so much. But he’s my brother, I love him. It’s what I want.” If you would like to know more about Christian's story, or if you think you can help in any way, please visit the 'Searching for Chris Velten' Facebook page.  Missing People is a beneficiary of this year’s Telegraph’s Christmas Charity Appeal. To make a donation to this or one of the other charities supported in our appeal, please call 0151 284 1927 or visit telegraph.co.uk/charity  


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