Noting diplomatic progress between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian officials decided to halt the country's "anti-terrorist operation" for the Easter holiday.
Pro-Russian militants are occupying various government buildings in eastern Ukraine. They remained behind their barricades, firm on their pledge not to concede unless Ukraine's "illegal" government steps down.
While the United States, Russia, the European Union, and Ukraine brokered an agreement on Thursday meant to de-escalate the conflict, pro-Russia activists in Ukraine said because they were not included in the talks at Geneva, they were under no obligation to suspend their activities.
"Why would we leave? Who told us to leave?" a man who gave his name as Alexander told The Washington Post. "Nobody in Geneva who signed this agreement gives a damn about us. They're interested in gas deals, in coal, in drilling. They don't care about us."
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's assurances that he will go along with the deal, Washington was already skeptical as to whether Moscow would honor the agreement. The worries are in large part based on comments Putin made at a Russian press conference, where he described eastern Ukraine as "new Russia," and said he is prepared to use force — which the Russian Duma has authorized — if necessary in Ukraine.
Mounting tensions aside, some militants took advantage of the hiatus to go about traditional Easter weekend activities, such as receiving blessings from religious leaders who visited the barricaded areas. Hopefully those blessings come with a promise of peace. --Sarah Eberspacher
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was caught on a hot mic Saturday commenting that the Republican Party is "toast" if it becomes the party of President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom are subject to multiple serious allegations of sexual misconduct.
Flake was speaking to an Arizona ally, Mesa Mayor John Giles, after a town hall meeting with constituents. "If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast," Flake can be heard saying.
"And I am not throwing smoke at you, but you're the guy that could, just for fun — think about how much fun it would be — just to be the foil, you know, and to point out what an idiot this guy is," Giles replied. The mayor appeared to be referring back to a town hall question he asked about Flake running for president in 2020, a reference which would make Trump, rather than Moore, the "idiot" in question. After Giles' comment, a third man made Flake aware his microphone was still on so he could turn it off.
The senator has not been shy about his opposition toward Trump. In October, he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate in a dramatic speech condemning the president on the Senate floor. Watch Flake's hot mic moment below. Bonnie Kristian
The Pentagon on Friday released data on sexual assault in the military from 2013 to 2016. Reports of sexual assault rose considerably during that time, from 3,604 cases in 2012 to 6,172 in 2016.
However, increased reports does not always mean increased incidents of sexual assault, as the Department of Defense estimates one-half to two-thirds of sexual assaults in the military go unreported. The DoD report argues the total number of sexual assaults actually declined from 2014 to 2016 — from about 20,300 to about 14,900 — even as reports multiplied.
This is not the first time similar data has been collected and published, but it is the first time it has been broken down by base, showing where each assault was reported. Among the bases with higher assault report counts were Norfolk, Virginia, with 270 reports in fiscal year 2016, 211 reports at a collection of bases in South Korea, and 199 at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Argentine navy has been unable to make contact with one of its submarines, a diesel-powered craft carrying 44 crewmembers, since Wednesday, Argentine officials confirmed Saturday. Naval authorities have ordered "all terrestrial communication stations along the Argentine coast to carry out a preliminary and extended search of communications," and the U.S. military is assisting the search with aerial surveillance.
The ARA San Juan has been in service since 1983 and has operated without incident throughout most of that time. It was on a routine trip up the eastern coast of South America to its home port of Mar del Plata when communications capabilities apparently failed without warning. The submarine crew did not send an SOS signal before going silent, and the ship was last seen near the San Jorge Gulf, about halfway through its journey from the southern tip of the continent. Naval policy dictates the sub should surface after spending this much time incommunicado.
The ARA San Juan is due to arrive in Mar del Plata on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian
AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died Saturday, three years after he was diagnosed with dementia and retired from the band. He was 64. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," said a statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page. "He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed."
RIP Malcolm Young
He was the founding member of AC/DC & the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.
He wrote Back In Black, Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, so many songs...
Travel safely to the stars, Malcolm.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 18, 2017
Born in Scotland and raised in Australia, Young co-founded AC/DC in 1973 with his brother Angus Young as lead guitarist. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special," Angus wrote in the Facebook post. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever." Their brother George, who also worked in the music industry, died last month at 70. Bonnie Kristian
The Navy on Friday confirmed responsibility for an obscene sky drawing made by a practicing aircrew over the town of Okanogan, Washington, northeast of Seattle.
— Alexander Tin (@alexandertinman) November 17, 2017
The crew of an EA-18G Growler attack jet flew the plane in a pattern that "left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground," a Navy representative said. "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value," officials added, "and we are holding the crew accountable" for the phallic drawing.
Beijing said in state media reports Saturday that "the traditional friendly relations between China and North Korea was founded and cultivated by both countries' former old leaders, and is valuable wealth for the two peoples." The comments come after meetings in Pyongyang between representatives of both governments Friday.
The timing of the talks so soon after President Trump's conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping during Trump's tour of Asia has led to speculation that Beijing may have conveyed a message from Washington. Pyongyang said Friday that nuclear diplomacy will not proceed unless the U.S. and South Korea stop conducting joint military exercises. Bonnie Kristian
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday drew a contrast between Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is "accepting responsibility, apologizing" for sexual misconduct allegations made against him, and President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, "who have done neither."
Her remarks came a day after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while allowing that the political climate surrounding sexual misconduct was different in the 1990s. "Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances, there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand said. "And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him."
Gillibrand is historically a Clinton ally, and her comments are the latest development in the Democratic Party's renewed debate and division over sexual harassment and assault accusations against Bill Clinton. Clinton defenders argue it is disingenuous to suggest the former president escaped consequences for his behavior by putting him in the same category as Trump and Moore. Bonnie Kristian