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Defense secretary says Trump has expanded withdrawal of troops from northern Syria

Defense secretary says Trump has expanded withdrawal of troops from northern SyriaTurkey has begun a military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish groups that were allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State.




POSTED OCTOBER 13, 2019 3:17 PM

The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo area

The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo areaHelicopters are plucking people from their flooded homes as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan, including Tokyo, after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall, leaving at least four dead and 17 missing. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward. Several train service in the Tokyo area resumed early morning.




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 9:26 PM

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 6:53 AM

Saudi Arabia says it was ready to help Iran vessel

Saudi Arabia says it was ready to help Iran vesselSaudi Arabia said Saturday it was ready to help the Iranian tanker that was allegedly attacked off the kingdom's coast, but the ship turned off its tracking system. The National Iranian Tanker Company, which owns the Sabiti, said its hull was hit by two separate explosions on Friday off the Saudi port of Jeddah. "An e-mail from the captain of the Iranian tanker Sabiti was received saying the front of the vessel had been broken, resulting in an oil spill," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said quoting the border guard.




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 9:07 AM

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?Will Beijing's strategy work?




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 12:00 PM

Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air show

Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air showThe remaining festivities associated with the annual air show were cancelled following the crash




POSTED OCTOBER 13, 2019 7:45 AM

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign OfficeThe US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 10:54 AM

Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social services

Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social servicesA mother who says her two children were wrongfully taken into care shortly after their ninth birthday by Dutch social services intends to launch legal action against the authorities who handled the case. On March 23, 2012, Nikolai and Anastasia Antonova were removed from their mother’s care. Among the reasons cited for their removal was that the children spoke their mother Jelena’s native language Russian at home, not Dutch. Social workers also claimed their mother might flee with them to Latvia to escape the children’s estranged father. The children had “severely conflicting loyalties” to their parents, social workers who were working closely with their father said. The children had previously said they were frightened of their father and did not want to see him again. The original care order was instituted for a year but was subsequently extended on several occasions. Ms Antonova alleges that the children were held without the right legal permission. The Dutch Court of Appeal made repeated rulings that the children should be reunited with their mother but these were overturned when the child protection board, part of the justice ministry, sought the extension of the care order in a lower family court. The family’s case was first highlighted by the late Christopher Booker in a series of columns for The Sunday Telegraph. The case was also raised in the European parliament in March 2014. MEPs were shown a video of the children being taken away from their home, captured by their brother Ilja Antonovs.   The children were eventually permanently reunited with their mother in November 2014 after two years and eight months when a judge ruled that they should never have been removed from their mother’s care. The order followed a report from a family psychologist Dr De Jong who concluded that Ms Antonova was not guilty of neglect. Jelena Antonova was subsequently granted permission to question, under oath, social workers who handled the case and officials from two different authorities connected to the children’s care. On June 18 and September 2 Ms Antonova questioned social workers and is now preparing to sue three parties linked to the ordeal; Salvation Army Youth Protection, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the youth protection service of Gelderland province. During the questioning, a number of flaws in the conduct of youth care emerged, the family claims.  They are now suing the three parties for the “unlawful and careless removal of the children”, claiming they are liable “for the damage suffered and to be suffered” by the family. Youth Protection said it is prohibited from commenting on individual cases. The Netherlands Salvation Army said it does not respond to individual cases but pointed out that Salvation Army Youth Protection always acts under the instruction of the Dutch legal authorities. The Ministry of Justice and Security and Gelderland youth protection did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week.




POSTED OCTOBER 12, 2019 12:28 PM

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police sayCity’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.




POSTED OCTOBER 13, 2019 11:40 AM

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ Forces to Let Turks Advance on America's Allies

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ Forces to Let Turks Advance on America's AlliesKhalil Ashawi/ReutersIn the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria, but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat further away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said that President Donald Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces are trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back–not completely out–of northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Senator Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path–passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that it did not concern him. “Well they're going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN which said at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders regarding the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When host Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside America. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that we could see the revival of ISIS in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the Islamic State in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”We also heard from one of the Democratic presidential candidates. During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next, that is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED OCTOBER 13, 2019 11:18 AM

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