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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Women in Ireland and on social media are showing their underwear as a sign of protest over the acquittal in a rape case where the defense used the victim’s underwear as evidence of consent.

On Nov. 6, a 27-year-old man who was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl was acquitted after his defense attorney showed the girl’s underwear as evidence, prompting hundreds of Irish women to take to the streets in protest over what they say is victim blaming.

During the trial in Cork, Ireland, defense attorney Elizabeth O’Connell presented jurors with a lacy thong worn by the girl on the night of the alleged incident, according to The Irish Examiner. O’Connell asked jurors, “Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?”

She added, “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

In Cork, women marched to the courthouse and placed their underwear at the steps of the building “to show that we are not tolerating it anymore, that we won’t be silenced, not anymore,” Fiona Ryan, a spokesperson for Rosa, a socialist feminist and pro-choice activist group, told ABC News.

In an act of solidarity, women took to Twitter and social media and posted photos of their underwear using the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.

“Women internationally are stepping forward to demand real change and we are not willing to wait any longer,” Ryan said.

The acquittal also raised concerns over how rape cases are handled, Mary Crilly, director at the Sexual Violence Center Cork, told ABC News.

“There are no guidelines as to what can or cannot be brought in,” Crilly said.

“It’s outrageous that somebody can rape somebody else and then the victim gets blamed,” Crilly added.

Crilly said sexual assault victims may be afraid to report crimes in the future.

“They think, ‘what’s the point in coming forward?’ and I think that’s a real shame because the only way to get these perpetrators is to get them to court,” Crilly said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has sanctioned 17 Saudi officials for their alleged involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the first economic penalties from the U.S. over the brutal murder that has spawned a diplomatic crisis.

The 17 individuals, the U.S said, are the 15-man hit squad that traveled to Turkey to carry out the operation, the Saudi consul general in Istanbul, Turkey, where the killing took place, and a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It's the same list of people that the Saudis themselves have blamed and arrested for the killing, which the Saudi government at first denied, then called an accident, before labeling it a rogue operation. The 17 were also among the 21 Saudi officials that the U.S. already revoked or banned U.S. visas for.

The Saudis have maintained that it was this small group of officials who are solely responsible for Khashoggi's murder, admitting Thursday that the killers drugged and killed the writer and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inside the consulate, before dismembering his body and handing it over for disposal by an unidentified local collaborator. The body still has not been found.

The Saudi prosecutor said Thursday all 21 of them are in custody, and 11 of them had been indicted, with the prosecutor requesting the death penalty for five of the 11.

With the sanctions, the U.S. freezes all assets for the men and blocks any U.S. persons from doing business with them. While that's unlikely to make much of a difference with the group all imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, the sanctions do send a message that the U.S. takes the issue seriously.

That group includes the deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, who has been blamed by the Saudis for authorizing the operation. The Saudi prosecutor's spokesman and deputy attorney-general Sheikh Shalan al-Shalan said Thursday one unnamed individual was responsible, but did not name Asiri. Still, it's clear the Saudis are working to separate the Crown Prince, the strong-willed young leader who is the real power behind his father King Salman's throne, and instead blame a smaller chain of command.

The central question now is whether the U.S. will be willing to go along with that or whether they will directly implicate the crown prince. Republican and Democratic members of Congress have said there are signs he gave the command, but so far the administration has refused to go that far.

"The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi's fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Thursday that his agency "will continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi."

But National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that recordings of the killings do not implicate Prince Mohammed, sometimes known by his initials MBS. "I have not listened to the tape myself, but in the assessment of those who have listened to it, it does not, in any way, link the crown prince to the killing," Bolton said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said much the same Thursday, telling reporters during a press conference, "Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince has nothing to do with this issue."

Mnuchin added a rare rebuke from the Trump administration for the Saudis' human rights record in his statement, too: "The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists."

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Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- Saudi Arabia will seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom’s attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, announced.

Ten other people remain in custody but have not yet been charged, he said.

The suspects had allegedly set in motion plans for Khashoggi's murder on Sept. 29, three days before he was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, al-Mojeb said during a televised press conference in Riyadh. Khashoggi was a high-profile critic of Saudi policy and especially of the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi had an appointment at the consulate on Oct. 2 to apply for paperwork that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

There was a struggle, during which Khashoggi was killed by lethal injection, the attorney general said, and his body was later cut up and taken out of the building.

The journalist’s remains were then taken by someone outside the consulate grounds, the attorney general said. The outside collaborator and the location of Khashoggi’s body remain unknown, al-Mojeb added.

The highest-level official accused of being behind the killing is Saudi former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, a close advisor to bin Salman, according to al-Mojeb. Al-Assiri was fired for ordering Khashoggi’s forced return to the kingdom, the attorney general said.

The prosecutor said 21 people are now in custody, of which 11 had been indicted and referred to trial.

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TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Theresa May's tenure as British Prime Minister was hanging by a thread Thursday morning following the resignation of her Brexit secretary and other ministers in her Cabinet.

There is division in her government on the terms of the U.K.'s draft agreement with the European Union on the terms of Brexit, agreed to in Brussels on Tuesday and discussed among British government ministers in a marathon Cabinet session on Wednesday.

May delivered a statement to the House of Commons Thursday morning that argued her deal with the EU was the only option that delivered the key priorities demanded by voters in the divisive 2016 referendum.

Before her address to Parliament, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned in protest over the document, saying he could not in good conscience support the terms.

Raab is one of a group of Brexit-supporting ministers who campaigned for the U.K. to leave the EU in 2016.

The sticking point is the issue of the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Irish Republic in the European Union.

Both sides of the Irish border want a resolution that avoids having physical checks on goods and travel on either side. To avoid the need for checks, May has agreed that the U.K. will remain aligned with the E.U. via a customs arrangement that contains a mechanism for an extension should the U.K. and the EU fail to agree on a permanent solution before negotiating time runs out.

Raab argued that this extension, described in the paper as an "insurance policy," holds the U.K. hostage to the terms because the EU would have a veto on the extension.

In his resignation letter he said, "No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without democratic control over the laws to be applied."

However, May told the Commons shortly after his resignation that the EU "would not negotiate any future partnership without" the insurance policy.

Among other Cabinet ministers to resign is Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, who told May the agreement does not "honor the result of the referendum, indeed it does not meet the tests you set from the outset of your premiership."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted to block the passage of a bill that would have ended U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The setback for critics of the coalition in the U.S. comes after the United Kingdom announced progress this week on the diplomatic front as the United Nations special envoy pushes to get the warring parties to the negotiating table by the end of the month in Sweden.

The conflict pits the Yemeni government, powered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, against rebels known as the Houthis, that are aligned with Iran. The conflict stretches nearly four years, killing at least 16,200 civilians, and bringing 14 million people to the brink of famine.

The U.S. has provided military support for the Saudis and Emiratis since the Obama administration, but last Friday, the Saudis announced that the U.S. will no longer provide midair refueling for their aircraft -- a victory for critics of the coalition, which has been accused of war crimes for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

But the Pentagon said it provides refueling for only 20 percent of coalition warplanes, and the U.S. continues to provide other support, such as intelligence, reconnaissance and arms sales.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans have been calling on all of that to end. But on Wednesday, House Republicans voted to strip a bill that would end that support of "privilege status" so that it would not come up for a vote. With just days left in session this year, this essentially means the bill dies for now -- but its Democratic author, Rep. Ro Khanna of California, vowed to bring it back up for a vote when Democrats control the House starting in January.

Despite the defeat on Capitol Hill, the U.S. is still urging peace talks to move ahead and supporting U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, and this week, there were some important breakthroughs.

The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE and announced Tuesday that the coalition would allow for a group of Houthi fighters to be medically evacuated to neighboring Oman. While a seemingly small step, previous hurdles became an issue in the last round of U.N. talks in September, with the Houthis refusing to show in part out of protest for that.

The U.K. said Tuesday that "serious consideration" was being given by both sides to "a set of political ideas and confidence-building measures that would allow for the start of political talks in Sweden by the end of November" -- a goal that remains in sight, diplomats tell ABC News -- but it's unclear what those may include.

The U.S. has called on the Houthis to stop missile attacks into Saudi and Emirati territory and for the coalition to then halt bombing of civilian-held areas.

While that hasn't happened yet -- and fighting had actually escalated around the key port Hodeida last week -- sources tell ABC News that progress is being made.

A Western diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, said that's in part because the Emiratis are beginning to signal that they want out of the conflict. Their withdrawal could put the Saudis in a more difficult spot on their own, pushing them to peace talks, too.

The Trump administration continues to focus on Iran's role in the conflict, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly pointing to it as the greatest threat and source of instability. But the Western diplomat added that Iran is not as entrenched in Yemen as it is elsewhere, like Syria or Lebanon, creating an opening for the international community, not a challenge.

"You can draw the Houthis in if you give them a stake in the political settlement and throw a lot of rials at them," the diplomat said, referencing the Iranian currency.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After more than a century on American soil, Defense Secretary James Mattis officially returned the "Bells of Balangiga" to the Philippines on Wednesday.

The three church bells were taken by the U.S. military from the town of Balangiga in the eastern Philippines during the Philippine-American War. Dozens of U.S. soldiers were massacred in the town on Sept. 28, 1901. At the time, it was considered the Army's worst defeat since the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

The decision to return the bells -- which have been a source of contention in U.S.-Filipino relations -- was first announced by the U.S. Embassy in Manila last August.

"We return these bells with consideration of our present, but also with the utmost respect for our past, one of shared sacrifice as co-equal brothers in arms," Mattis said Wednesday during the ceremony at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where two of the three bells are located. The third bell, housed at a U.S. Army museum in South Korea, will also be repatriated.

The Defense secretary paid homage to the Filipino soldiers who fought alongside Americans in World War II and the Korean War and recognized the nation's current stand against the fight against ISIS.

"In this world that is awash in change, ladies and gentleman, we recognize the 117 years of enduring friendship between our people and comradeship in some of the toughest fighting in our nations’ history," Mattis said.

"To those who fear we lose something by returning the bells, please hear me when I say this: bells mark time, but courage is timeless," he added. "It does not fade in history’s dimly lit corridors."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A team of astrophysicists believe they have discovered a huge, icy, dimly-lit "super-Earth" -- 3.2 times the size of our planet -- and it's just six light-years away, according to a new report published this week in the journal Nature.

Barnard's Star is a so-called red dwarf star, one of the nearest stars to our solar system's sun.

“After a very careful analysis, we are 99% confident that the planet is there,” team leader Ignasi Ribas of Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Sciences, CSIC in Spain, said in a statement. “However, we’ll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet.”

The super-Earth, which orbits Barnard's Star in about 233 days, is inhospitable to humans.

“This freezing, shadowy world could have a temperature of 170 [degrees Celsius], making it inhospitable for life as we know it,” read the statement.

Previous efforts to identify a a planet orbiting Barnard's Star have been unsuccessful, but this time around, astrophysicists combined measurements from a number of highly precise instruments mounted on telescopes all over the world, according to a statement from the European Southern Observatory, whose High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph was a key player in the pursuit of the presumed super-Earth.

A spectrograph is an instrument that separates light by its wavelengths and records the data.

“HARPS played a vital part in this project," Guillem Anglada Escudé of Queen Mary University of London, and the co-lead scientist on the team, said in the statement. "We combined archival data from other teams with new, overlapping, measurements of Barnard’s star from different facilities. The combination of instruments was key to allowing us to cross-check our result.”

A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. So any visible light from the super-Earth is light that is 6 years old.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Police pumped the brakes on four people who tried to cross an iconic bridge in Russia dressed as a cardboard bus.

Video shared widely on Russian social media Tuesday showed the "bus" -- with four pairs of legs sticking out of the bottom -- making its way through busy traffic on the Golden Bridge in Vladivostok.

The Golden Bridge, also known as the Zolotoy Bridge, was constructed for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012. A cable-stayed bridge, it spans the Golden Horn bay that opens onto the Sea of Japan.

In 2015, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that the bridge should stay closed to pedestrians, based on the view that the walkways along it are too narrow to be safe. Since then, the issue has been a touchy subject with locals, who have maintained walking it is the shortest way into the city center.

The four men captured on video appeared to try to get around the pedestrian ban by dressing up as a bus.

In the video, a security guard is seen pulling the "bus" over and then forcing it to turn around.

A woman who filmed the incident from her car can be heard expressing surprise and delight when she sees the "bus," and then saying authorities ought to leave it alone.

"God, don't touch them!" she says on the video. "Why are they driving them away? It's beautiful. It's art. Why doesn't he understand that?"

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In some of the strongest language the U.S. has used with Myanmar's top civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Vice President Mike Pence urged her to free two Reuters journalists detained by the government and hold accountable those responsible for the slaughter and expulsion of Rohingya minorities from the country into neighboring Bangladesh.

It was the highest level meeting between the U.S. and Myanmar under the Trump administration, and Pence's blunt message comes as Myanmar and Bangladesh are set to begin repatriating Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar despite warnings from the United Nations and humanitarian groups that they will return to persecution, oppression, and possibly violence.

More than 723,000 Rohingya have fled state-sponsored violence against their communities since August 2017. That campaign targeted the Muslim-majority ethnic group in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, as well as other ethnic minorities in the area, and killed thousands. The U.N. has said it should be investigated as a genocide, but the U.S. has stopped short of that and called it ethnic cleansing.

"The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse," Pence told Suu Kyi on the sidelines of ASEAN, a major regional summit, in Singapore. He added that he was anxious to hear about progress in resolving the crisis and holding people accountable.

While the U.S. has also warned that "conditions in Burma," another name for Myanmar, "are not yet conducive for returns," Pence did not vocalize that concern on Wednesday. He said instead, "We are anxious to hear about the progress in making it possible for the Rohingya to voluntarily come home."

But those repatriations are not "voluntary, safe, and dignified," according to the State Department, U.N., and aid groups.

Last week, 42 humanitarian and civil society organizations that work in Myanmar and Bangladesh said Rohingya refugees in camps in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, "are terrified about what will happen to them if they are returned to Myanmar now and distressed by the lack of information they have received."

While many Rohingya want to return home, they said, they fear doing so without protections like citizenship and those responsible for the slaughter being held accountable.

After the meeting, senior U.S. administration officials said Pence and Suu Kyi had discussed the importance of having Rohingya return home, but only on a voluntary basis, with safety and dignity, according to the Associated Press.

Suu Kyi is the head of Myanmar's civilian government and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who suffered for years as a democratic activist and political prisoner under house arrest when Myanmar was ruled by a military junta. She and her party came to power in 2012 as part of a power-sharing government with the military, but her defense of Myanmar's campaign against the Rohingya has tarnished her name on the world stage, with Amnesty International rescinding its highest honor given to her in 2009 on Monday.

As she has, she again defended Myanmar in the face of Pence's stern words: "We understand our country better than any other country does. I'm sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your own country better than anybody else."

"We are in a better position to explain to you what is happening, how we see things panning out," she added.

Pence also urged her to pardon two Reuters reporters who have been detained by Myanmar since they helped to uncover a mass grave.

"I look forward to speaking with you about the premium that we place on a free and independent press," added Pence.

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iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Wednesday morning began quietly, but by the evening Israel had a new defense minister: Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is already Israel's prime minister, foreign minister and communications chief. He grabbed yet another title after former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest over Netanyahu’s policies, including his decision to accept a ceasefire after intense clashes between Israel and Hamas as well as other Palestinian militants.

This latest round of violence, the most intense since the 2014 war, began Sunday night after a botched Israeli intelligence gathering operation left seven Palestinian militants and one Israeli commando dead.

On Monday, hundreds of rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza, and Israeli airstrikes flattened buildings throughout Gaza. Seven more Palestinian militants were killed in Gaza, one Palestinian was killed in Ashkelon and dozens were injured on both sides of the border.

Netanyahu was forced to defend his decision to accept the ceasefire hours after Israeli residents from the town of Sderot protested, demanding harsher action against Hamas.

"I hear the voices of the residents of the south," Netanyahu said, speaking Wednesday at a memorial service for the nation’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. "Believe me, they are precious to me, their words penetrate my heart."

"In normal times, a leader must be attentive to the hearts of the people, and our people are wise. But in times of crisis, when making critical decisions in the field of security, the public cannot always be a partner in the crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy," he said. "Our enemies have pleaded for a ceasefire, and they know very well why," Netanyahu added, using the world “ceasefire” for the first time since Sunday.

After a marathon seven-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Israeli government officials didn’t use the word, saying instead there would be calm unless action “was required.” But hours later, Netanyahu lost his hard right defense minister.

“I am here to announce my resignation as the Defense Minister for the State of Israel," Lieberman said at a press conference on Wednesday morning. “It’s no secret that there were differences between Netanyahu and me," he said, calling the ceasefire a "surrender to terror" and denying he ever supported it. “I could not continue in my position. I can’t look in the eyes of residents in the south and families of the kidnapped soldiers."

Lieberman added that he also disagreed with the decision by Netanyahu's government to allow Qatari cash and fuel to enter Gaza last weekend, which was used to pay civil servant salaries and provide much-needed electricity. Over the weekend, some Gaza neighborhoods enjoyed eight hours of electricity, a massive triumph for many people.

Lieberman also called for early elections. Lieberman will return to the Knesset as a member, but his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, is no longer part of Netanyahu's governing coalition, leaving the prime minister with a razor thin majority of just 61 votes.

While Netanyahu's party, Likud, said he can handle taking on the responsibilities of defense minister as well, officials from Education Minister Naftali Bennett's party, Beit Hayehudi, have told Israeli press that unless he is given the defense minister, he will pull his party out of the coalition. Without Beit Hayehudi, Netanyahu's fourth government will collapse.

So while the ceasefire holds with Gaza, Netanyahu's government may not last the night.

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Apple(MOSCOW) -- A group of people on Tuesday dragged an entire bathtub full of coins to a shopping mall in Moscow to buy an iPhone XS.

A video posted on Instagram early Wednesday showed the young men filling the bathtub before loading it into a Jeep and driving it to the Yevropeisky mall in central Moscow.

The group was able to get the tub to the Apple store after encountering security guards, according to the video that was posted by blogger Svyatoslav Kovalenko.

The tub, filled to the top with thousands of ruble coins, weighed 350 kilograms or 770 pounds, according to Kovalenko, who in his post, dubbed the tub, “The legendary bath of change.”

A public relations representative for the store posted a photograph on Facebook showing staff counting out the coins from the metal bathtub. The Apple spokeswoman, Lyudmila Semushina, wrote that it had contained 100,000 coins, enough to buy a new iPhone XS, which retails for about $1,050 in Russia.

“What is it to be #clientorientated? It’s when a customer decides to do some hype and brings in a bathtub of change to buy an iPhone and the seller calmly and patiently sits down to count out the bath,” Semushina wrote, noting it had taken two hours to finish the counting.

The local English-language daily, The Moscow Times reported that there has been a recent run of stunts by Russians buying new iPhones with colossal heaps of change.

A video posted on YouTube in September that garnered almost 2 million views showed a man buying a iPhone X using an estimated 100 kilograms or 220 pounds of coins.

In another video
posted last month, which attracted almost 4 million views, a prankster brought in a bucket apparently filled with small change to buy an iPhone XS. To the staff's relief, the bucket had a false bottom. The man ended up paying by credit card and giving away his new phone to a little girl.

The new iPhone has attracted intense demand in Russia. In September people camping out overnight to be the first to get hold of the phones. Some Russians reportedly paid thousands of dollars just to secure a place in line on the first day of sales.

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BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May said late Wednesday her cabinet has agreed to a draft withdrawal agreement about the terms of the United Kingdom'sexit from the European Union.

"The collective decision of cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration," May said after an hours-long cabinet meeting. "This is a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalize the deal in the days ahead."

The agreement over the terms laid out in a 500-page document represents a major step forward in the Brexit process. May faced an uphill struggle getting all of her cabinet ministers to support the deal before the process could progress any further.

Ministers in May’s government had been receiving briefings from her -- one by one -- at her residence at 10 Downing Street since Tuesday evening and throughout Wednesday to go over what terms are covered in the proposals.

A crunch meeting of the whole government on Wednesday afternoon was expected to be a pivotal moment in the process.

If not enough members of the cabinet had backed the agreement, May faced difficult options: going back to the European Union (EU) negotiators to try and find further concessions, facing the prospect of a challenge to her leadership from within her own ranks, or even triggering a general election.

Now that her cabinet backs the agreement, the Brexit process goes to the next stage: a vote in Parliament where all members of Parliament (MPs) will take a vote on whether they support the agreement on the terms of withdrawal.

Since Tuesday night details have leaked from European negotiators, and "Brexiteer" MPs who advocate having fewer ties with the EU after the exit have warned that they will not back May’s deal on the basis of leaks that they say indicate the deal puts the U.K. in a weaker position than the EU.

On the other hand, MPs who supported the Remain movement have also said they will not vote for the deal because, from what they have heard, the agreement does not go far enough in securing a close relationship with the EU and they believe it will harm Britain’s economy.

Many of those MPs are also pushing for a second referendum on Brexit –- a contentious idea for many parliamentarians who say that holding a second vote on the question is a subversion of democracy and will anger the British public.

May also faces a looming challenge from the opposition.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says he wants a general election.

He is expected to instruct his MPs to vote against the agreement or at least abstain, when it comes to a Parliamentary vote.

If too many Labour MPs reject the agreement, it could pave the way for a general election, and possibly the prospect of Corbyn becoming Britain’s next prime minister.

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government believes that journalist Austin Tice, missing for more than six years in Syria, is still alive, according to the Trump administration's top official for freeing hostages.

The FBI is still chasing down leads, including from his fellow journalists, but the U.S. "has every reason to believe" Tice is still alive and being held captive in Syria, said Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O'Brien in his first public remarks on the case.

Also on Tuesday, several groups announced a new effort to raise money to increase the reward for information leading to Tice's freedom.

O'Brien would not say who the U.S. believes is holding Tice, but he blamed Iran for detaining several other U.S. citizens and not being helpful with Tice's case. The Iranian regime has supported the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with troops and weapons throughout its conflict.

Tice is believed to have been kidnapped by pro-Syrian regime forces while he was covering the civil war in August 2012. Over a month after he was taken, a video was released, showing him blindfolded, removed from a car, and led by armed men up a hill, saying "Oh, Jesus."

"The Iranians are not helpful, and they're heavily involved in Syria," said O'Brien, a lawyer who served in the Marines, advised Mitt Romney and Scott Walker's presidential campaigns and now, as special envoy, leads diplomatic efforts to free Americans unjustly detained abroad and work with their families.

A State Department spokesperson later told ABC News that O'Brien "did not intend in his comments to link Iran to Tice's disappearance."

While Tice has not been heard from publicly since that 2012 video, O'Brien declined to say whether the U.S. has received any additional proof of life, instead referencing Tice's physical fitness and age. Still, the U.S. is "deeply concerned" about his well-being, O'Brien added.

While President Donald Trump has never publicly commented on Tice's case, O'Brien said the president has been briefed regularly on it and would take steps to publicize Tice's case if it helped.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been "intimately involved" in Tice's case, O'Brien said, including meeting with his parents. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has also been leading efforts, in particular working with countries at the U.N. who could help pressure the Syrian regime to assist with his case, like Russia.

"We continue to call on the Russians to exert whatever influence they can in Syria to bring Austin home," said O'Brien. "It's something the United States would be grateful for."

Because the U.S. closed its embassy in Damascus, the U.S. works through the Czech Republic "to obtain information about Austin Tice's welfare and whereabouts" within Syria, another State Department spokesperson told ABC News.

Also important to these efforts is an FBI reward of $1 million that was announced in April for information leading to Tice's safe location, recovery and return. O'Brien said it was an important tool that has helped in other American hostage cases.

Tice's father Marc and National Press Club President Andrea Edney announced a new campaign to raise up to $1 million to add to the FBI reward. Next year, restaurants in the Washington metro area are set to partner with the Free Austin Tice coalition and donate a portion of their profits on a "Night Out for Austin Tice" to the reward fund. Set for May 2, 2019, the date is the eve of World Press Freedom Day, and Edney said they hope to expand the event nationwide.

"We know Austin longs to walk free. 2,282 days," his father Marc said, referring to the number of days his son has now spent missing. "Austin urgently needs to be freed. Maybe soon."

Marc and Debra Tice, his parents, will make another trip to the Middle East this month -- at least their seventh -- as they search for a breakthrough on their son's case. And they will again apply for visas to Syria while they are in Lebanon to try get close to where their son is being held.

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SUNDAY ALAMBA/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Clarence House released two new images Tuesday to mark Prince Charles' 70th birthday on Nov. 14.

The new photographs are the first that include Prince Charles and the entire family since the christening of Prince William and Princess Kate's youngest child, Prince Louis, in July.

The images show the three men who will each be king: Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.

The informal photographs feature Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, posing with William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children -- George, 5, Charlotte, 3, and 6-month-old Louis -- as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Two new photographs of The Prince of Wales and his family have been released to celebrate HRH’s 70th birthday.

The photos were taken by Chris Jackson in the garden of Clarence House. pic.twitter.com/A2LTJDTdvE

— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) November 13, 2018

🎂 Wishing a very Happy 70th Birthday to The Prince of Wales!

Two new photographs of The Prince of Wales and his family, taken by @ChrisJack_Getty in the garden of Clarence House, have been released to celebrate HRH’s 70th birthday. Visit @ClarenceHouse for more 📷 pic.twitter.com/nQwDOPGVkx

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 13, 2018

“I was delighted to have been asked to take these portraits of the Prince of Wales surrounded by his family to celebrate the important milestone of his 70th birthday," said photographer Chris Jackson. "It was particularly special to capture such an informal and relaxed family portrait over a fun afternoon in the gardens of Clarence House.”

Earlier this week, a never-before-seen image of Louis was shared in a BBC documentary celebrating Charles' milestone birthday.

In the heartfelt moment, Prince Louis is playing with his grandfather Charles, clutching his grandfather’s hand as the Duchess of Cambridge holds the fifth in line. The photograph, taken in the back garden of Clarence House, Charles and Camilla’s official residence, captures a personal side of Charles we rarely see.

The BBC documentary gives an unprecedented look at Prince Charles ahead of his 70th birthday next week. The film, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, tracked the Prince of Wales for the last year providing an intimate look at Charles as a father and grandfather behind palace walls.

"He will get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours, you know making funny noises and laughing," Camilla says in the documentary of how Charles interacts with her grandchildren. "He reads Harry Potter and he can do all the different voices and I think children really appreciate that."

The public is also getting a glimpse of life behind palace walls through a collaboration between Clarence House and Google Arts & Culture.

The online project, which is also supported by 10 charities connected to Prince Charles, gives people the ability to virtually walk inside Clarence House and stroll the gardens of Highgrove.

The project also includes photos and videos from Charles' personal collection on his milestone birthday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- His nickname means "shorty," but the list of crimes attributed to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman -- including drug trafficking, murder and torture -- is lengthy and spelled out in a 17-count indictment that forms the backbone of a trial that started Tuesday in a Brooklyn, New York federal court with opening statements.

Guzman waved to supporters as he entered the courtroom, dressed in a suit, under extremely tight security. The drama began immediately as two jurors asked to be excused before opening statements could even begin.

The first claimed her appointment to the jury, which is being kept anonymous and under tight security, was causing her tremendous anxiety. The judge, saying he was afraid her participation would "cause a breakdown of crying" dismissed her. The other juror was also dismissed after he said he was self-employed and the lengthy trial was prohibitive for his work.

Both jurors were replaced with alternates before opening statements.

Federal prosecutor Adam Fels said the government will outline Guzman's relationship with the largest drug cartels in Colombia and a small outfit that eventually escalated to 10 to 15 planes stuffed with cocaine taking off every night.

“Guzman had his people kill his rivals just as his rivals targeted his people,” Fels said.

“Despite all the hoopla and the folklore about El Chapo, this Robin Hood mystique, he is a vicious criminal,” said James Hunt, who just retired as the special agent-in-charge of the New York Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Federal prosecutors have said they can link Guzman himself to nearly three dozen murders. The DEA believes the death count from the Sinaloa cartel he allegedly controlled is far higher.

“Him personally, yes in the dozens,” Hunt said. “His organization, in the thousands. Thousands dead. Either murdered or dying from drug overdoses.”

The government's key witness will likely be Ismael "Mayo" Zambada, who Fels claimed was co-leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, while other witnesses include law enforcement officials who were personally involved in the criminal enterprise.

Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman opened Guzman's defense with an astonishing claim, saying Zambada paid off the current and former presidents of Mexico. He claimed that Guzman became the fall guy for complicit and corrupt U.S. and Mexican officials and said the prosecutors will use “a group of witnesses who have lied every single day of their lives.”

A spokesman for the current president, Enrique Pena Nieto, called the claims “completely false and defamatory.”

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon immediately denied the defense's claims as well, saying in Spanish on Twitter, “The claims made by Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's lawyer are absolutely false and reckless. Neither he, nor the Sinaloa cartel, nor any other made payments to me.”

The defense will also bring forward DEA agents who Lichtman said will testify the Sinaloa Cartel wasn't nearly as powerful as prosecutors claim.

According to the indictment, El Chapo shipped “multi-ton quantities” of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States. Along the way he allegedly amassed a $14 billion fortune he protected “through a network of corrupt police and political contacts” and by employing “hitmen who carried out hundreds of acts of violence including murders, assaults, kidnappings, assassinations and acts of torture.”

Guzman was extradited to the Eastern District of New York almost two years ago from Mexico, where he had twice escaped from prison. The Brooklyn federal courthouse has been turned into a fortress. Jurors are being kept anonymous. Witnesses, including some of Guzman’s former henchmen, are being kept under federal protection.

After nearly two years in solitary confinement, Guzman had sought permission to embrace his wife in court. The judge denied the request citing the necessity of strict security measures.

“This is someone who is responsible for thousands of Americans being dead,” Hunt said. “Those people can never see their loved ones again never mind hug them. Don’t feel sorry for him.”

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