WORLD NEWS AS REPORTED

Senior Russian diplomat, UN under secretary general discuss disarmament issues

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 00:00
The parties also exchanged views on matters concerning arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation

Venezuela, Panama to restore ambassadors, resume airline service: Maduro

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:59
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela and Panama will restore ambassadors and allow for the resumption of airline service, turning the page on a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told reporters on Thursday.

Mattis, Israeli Counterpart Discuss Mutual Security Concerns

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:54
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met at the Pentagon with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss mutual security issues, including Iranian malign influence and destabilizing effects in the region.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis walks with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman outside a Pentagon entrance.

Europa League Semi-Finals First Leg Marseille and Atlético have advantage

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:47
Europa League Semi-Finals First Leg Marseille and Atlético have advantage Marseille beat Salzburg by a comprehensive two goals to nil in France, while Arsenal allowed Atlético to equalize in London. Arsenal 1                                           Atlético 1

Federal agency says it lost track of 1,475 migrant children

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:45
Federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children last year after a government agency placed the minors in the homes of adult sponsors in communities across the country, according to testimony before a Senate subcommittee Thursday. 2018-04-26T13:10:00-04:00 2018-04-26T17:10:07-04:00

Poland criticizes US claim that Polish law glorifies Nazism

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:45
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish officials on Thursday criticized the claim of a U.S. congressman that a new Polish law glorifies Nazi collaborators and denies the Holocaust. 2018-04-26T12:45:00-04:00 2018-04-26T16:45:05-04:00

Report: Violence in Rio rises since military intervention

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:23
Violence in Rio de Janeiro state has increased in the two months since the military was put in charge of the state’s security forces amid a spike in violent crime, Brazilian researchers said Thursday.

Kim Jong-un to meet Moon Jae-in at Korean border for summit

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:18
North Korean leader will be first to enter South Korea since the end of the Korean war in 1953.

Rights group says 63 dead, 15 missing from Nicaragua unrest

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:03
A non-governmental rights group in Nicaragua says it has confirmed that 63 people died during days of protests over social security changes that convulsed the country last week.

Spain 'wolf pack' case: Thousands protest over rape ruling

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:58
The failure of a Spanish court to convict five men of rape prompts outrage across the country.

Russia, Ukraine Top NATO Agenda 

VOICE OF EUROPE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:54
NATO foreign ministers meet Friday in Brussels, where tensions with Russia are set to top the agenda.  The summit comes weeks after Western countries accused Moscow of poisoning a former spy in Britain. Tensions were further increased following Russia ally Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack, and the retaliatory airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain. While that military action was not organized through NATO, the bloc offered its approval at the time. Friday’s summit will be the last big meeting in NATO’s old Brussels building before its international staff and 29 embassies move to a new $1.5 billion headquarters in June. The same challenges remain, however. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the primary focus would be what he called Moscow’s “dangerous behavior.” “This includes the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, the destabilization of eastern Ukraine, meddling in democratic processes, cyberattacks and disinformation,” Stoltenberg told reporters. Foreign ministers will also discuss security in the Middle East and north Africa, especially Iraq. “We are currently planning for a training mission of several hundred [people]. They will train Iraqi instructors and help build Iraqi military schools,” added Stoltenberg. New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Brussels for the NATO talks ahead of a trip to the Middle East. Pompeo, who was sworn in on Thursday, succeeds Rex Tillerson, whom President Donald Trump fired last month. Trump is expected at the leaders’ summit in July. Analysts say NATO allies will be hoping for further reassurances of U.S. commitment. Enlargement also is on the summit agenda, with Ukraine restating its ambitions to join the organization. At a Kyiv security conference last week, NATO’s deputy secretary-general, Rose Gottemoeller, offered measured encouragement to her hosts. "I think those are very important and realistic goals but I’m not going to hide from you that you have a lot of heavy lifting to do before you are ready for NATO membership. Important reforms have to be carried out. They are the reforms of defense institutions, the security institutions,” said Gottemoeller. The conflict with Russia has driven a big change in Ukrainians’ attitudes toward NATO, according to Orysia Lutsevych of Chatham House, a London-based policy institute. “If you compare the public support before the war with Russia and now, it almost doubled. So, there’s also a public support for that policy. Now again, as with many things in Ukraine, the devil is in the implementation. And if Ukraine manages to pool all the necessary human, financial resources and proper coordination, then I think it has a success story to tell to its NATO partners,” said Lutsevych. Ukraine’s admission would open up a new NATO border with Russia in a highly volatile region, and the process is expected to take years or decades. NATO’s secretary-general emphasized Thursday that dialogue with Moscow was crucial, adding that the organization was working toward a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. That forum was suspended in 2014 following Russia’s forceful annexation of Crimea.

Brazil’s indigenous protest to defend their rights, lands

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:53
As many as 2,000 of Brazil’s indigenous people marched Thursday through the capital to protest what they say is an unprecedented governmental assault on their rights and lands.

The community trying to unite rich and poor

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:49
A crime-ridden part of Toronto has been reinvented in a daring social experiment.

Mattis: U.S. would regret delegating security in Syria to a force with no American involvement

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:47
Trump’s defense secretary told lawmakers that U.S. troops are about to expand operations against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq.

Trump Trip to UK Announced

VOICE OF EUROPE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:45
A long-anticipated visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to the United Kingdom has been set for July 13. It will be a "working visit," however, and not a more formal state occasion during which the president would have met Queen Elizabeth. The announcement was made Thursday, separately by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and 10 Downing Street, the office of British Prime Minister Theresa May. "It's been a tortuous and very difficult process" to arrange a Trump trip to Britain, according to Andrew Marshall, the Atlantic Council's vice president of communications. "This visit was born under a bad sign," amid unhappiness over comments made by the president on social media, including criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. A planned visit to Britain by Trump was canceled earlier this year, during which he was to open the new U.S. embassy in London, a $1 billion cube-shaped building surrounded by sunken trenches and raised terraces that the president criticized as too expensive. U.K. conservative groups, which support Trump, previously urged the president to avoid going to London because of a risk of "major protests, crime and disorder." The organizations, in a letter, suggested instead that Trump visit his "ancestral home" of Scotland and if there were to be an official state visit, he should meet the queen at her castle in Balmoral. The president's mother was born in the Outer Hebrides archipelago on the Isle of Lewis. Trump, as a private businessman, visited Scotland frequently. No location for the visit has yet been announced and speculation is widespread that it will occur outside London, perhaps at the prime minister's country estate at Chequers, 65 kilometers from the capital. Trade will be a major topic on the working visit's agenda, with the British prime minister eager to move toward a new economic pact with the United States, one of its main trading partners. It's politically and economically important for May "in terms of what she's staked her future on, which is a good, safe and prosperous future for the U.K. outside the European Union," Marshall told VOA. The U.S.-U.K. alliance is usually among the closest between any two nations, and U.S. leaders traditionally make visits to England early in their presidencies. Officials on both sides of the Atlantic will be looking to resolidify that relationship with the Trump visit. "At the moment, the U.K. is maybe standing a little aside from that role. We've just seen President [Emmanuel] Macron of France come here and absolutely wow Washington. Many noses will be out of joint in Downing Street and elsewhere about that. There's a friendly rivalry with the French," Marshall, a former foreign editor of The Independent newspaper in London, told VOA. So far, though, with Trump and May "that chemistry is not there," according to Marshall, who contrasts the president's "forthright, direct and outspoken" personality with the prime minister — "a contained figure who looks sometimes like she's walked out of a Jane Austen novel."

UN to begin issuing food vouchers to Venezuelan migrants

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:44
The World Food Program will begin distributing vouchers to droves of hungry Venezuelan migrants arriving in neighboring Colombia as part of a program similar to that offered to refugees from war-torn nations like Syria.

Israel: 9 teenagers die in flash floods; 1 still missing

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:35
JERUSALEM (AP) — Flash floods killed nine Israeli teenagers who were hiking south of the Dead Sea on Thursday, Israel's rescue service said. 2018-04-26T10:35:00-04:00 2018-04-26T14:35:09-04:00

Peru’s ex-president and his wife to be released from prison

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:33
A high court in Peru has ruled that former President Ollanta Humala and his wife must be freed from prison while prosecutors investigate their alleged involvement in multi-million dollar kickback schemes.

Armenians rally against govt; lawmakers to vote on new PM

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:22
YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The Armenian parliament on Thursday called for an extraordinary session next week to vote on a new prime minister after the country was plunged into a political crisis with the abrupt resignation of its leader. 2018-04-26T10:35:00-04:00 2018-04-26T14:35:22-04:00

‘This thing needs to conclude’: Sessions says he understands frustrations with Mueller

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 22:18
The attorney general testified before House Appropriations subcommittee.

Russia parades Syrian 'witnesses' to disprove gas attack

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:54
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Russia ratcheted up its efforts Thursday to try to disprove that a Syrian town was hit by a poison gas attack, bringing a group of Syrians, including an 11-year-old boy, to the global chemical weapons watchdog's headquarters to denounce the reports as fake. 2018-04-26T11:43:00-04:00 2018-04-26T15:43:09-04:00

Blasts, gunfire heard in Nigerian city of Maiduguri, witnesses say

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:54
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Blasts and gunfire were heard on Thursday in Maiduguri, the city in northeastern Nigeria that has been the hardest hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, witnesses said.

Peru top court says ex-president Humala must be freed from jail

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:40
LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's top court ruled that ex-President Ollanta Humala and his wife must be freed from jail, where they have been spent the past nine months awaiting trial over money laundering allegations that they deny, the president of the court said on Thursday.

Vast survey finds far more gorillas in Africa than previously believed — and some bad news, too

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:38
Researchers found that the western lowland gorilla population is quickly declining, meaning that it's still critically endangered.

Blasts and gunfire heard in northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri: witnesses

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:32
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Blasts and gunfire were heard on Thursday in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the city worst hit by the Islamist militant Boko Haram insurgency, witnesses said.

Libyan commander Haftar back in Benghazi after medical treatment

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:30
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Veteran military commander Khalifa Haftar, the most powerful figure in eastern Libya, returned to Benghazi on Thursday after a two-week absence during which he received medical treatment in Paris.

Surgeons General Testify on Medical Readiness at Senate Hearing

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:24
The services’ surgeons general updated senators on Capitol Hill on the needs and priorities of military health programs.
Medical personnel from William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss, Texas, prepare for treatment of a simulated postpartum hemorrhage using the center’s new simulation system.

Palestinian lecturer killed in Malaysia is buried in Gaza

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:23
GAZA (Reuters) - The body of Fadi al-Batsh, a Palestinian lecturer claimed as a member by Hamas who was gunned down in Malaysia at the weekend, was repatriated to Gaza and buried on Thursday.

Libyan strongman returns to country after treatment abroad

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 21:11
Libyan strongman Gen. Khalifa Hifter has returned to the eastern city of Benghazi after medical treatment in France.

Key Libyan commander back in Benghazi after medical treatment

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:58
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Veteran military commander Khalifa Haftar, the most powerful figure in eastern Libya, returned to Benghazi on Thursday after a two-week absence for medical treatment in Paris.

Nine teenagers dead, one missing in southern Israel flash flood

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:56
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - At least nine teenage seminary students died after they were swept away by a flash flood in the Negev Desert in southern Israel on Thursday, an ambulance service said.

Cypriots link arms to protest planned Russian nuclear plant

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:53
Protesters are urging ethnically-split Cyprus’ government and breakaway Turkish Cypriot authorities to step up their protests against a nuclear power plant Russia is building on Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline.

Double amputee crawls up Colorado's 2,700-step Manitou Incline

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:51
"I just decided I was going to do it," Mandy Horvath says of her odyssey up the steep Colorado trail.

Armenia’s revolution enters new stage as Russia begins to take notice

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:47
Moscow changes its tune as street protests in Yerevan continue.

Gloria Allred on Bill Cosby: 'Finally women are believed'

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:45
Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing dozens of accusers, spoke after the comedian was found guilty.

Inter-American Court hears historic case on Mexico military abuses

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:38
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Thursday began hearing the first case of alleged state-led human rights violations in Mexico to be brought since the country militarized its battle against bloodthirsty drug cartels over a decade ago.

Some phone numbers FSB sought after April 2017 bombing not linked to Telegram — founder

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:37
FSB experts said Telegram was used in preparations for the terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg metro

Foreign Ministers Setting Stage for NATO Summit, Secretary General Says

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:31
NATO foreign ministers are dealing with issues of Russia, Afghanistan and the Middle East during their meeting in Brussels, alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
NATO Defense Secretary Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

Key Libyan commander back in Benghazi after medical treatment: statement

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:29
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Veteran military commander Khalifa Haftar, the most powerful figure in eastern Libya, returned to Benghazi on Thursday after a two-week absence for medical treatment in Paris, according to a statement posted on a social media account used by his forces.

Russia says its witnesses discredit alleged chemical attack in Syria

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:26
Russia says witnesses disprove the alleged gas attack, but the UK calls it a 'despicable stunt'.

Stolen heart of Dublin's patron saint returned intact

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:21
DUBLIN (Reuters) - The 800-year-old heart of the patron saint of Dublin was returned to the city's oldest cathedral on Thursday, six years after being stolen.

Israel flash flood: Nine teenaged hikers dead in south

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:21
Nine 18-year-olds have died and one is missing after floodwater swept them away in southern Israel.

The historic summit of the Koreas hangs on the North’s nuclear intentions

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:17
Kim Jong Un is set to cross into South Korea on Friday for nuclear and peace talks.  

Mattis Highlights Efforts to Restore Military, Fight Tomorrow’s Wars

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:57
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States has a clear way forward with the 2018 National Defense Strategy to restore the military’s competitive edge in an era of re-emerging long-term great power competition.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis testifies on the Defense Department’s posture and fiscal year 2019 budget to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Bill Cosby 'guilty' of sexual assault

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:54
US comedian Bill Cosby, 80, found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman 14 years ago

The Latest: Israel says 9 teens died in flash floods

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:51
The Latest on the deadly flash floods in Israel (all times local):

Greece releases 1st of 8 Turkish servicemen seeking asylum

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:51
Greek authorities have released from custody one of the eight Turkish servicemen who fled to the country in a military helicopter seeking asylum, just after Turkey’s failed military coup in 2016.

Russia has proof White Helmets staged their runner of chemical attack — ambassador

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:42
The Russian envoy to the OPCW said it at a news conference where eyewitnesses of the April alleged chemical attack in Douma made their first-hand evidence

10 teenagers swept away by flash flood in Israel’s desert

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:37
Nine bodies recovered; Israeli military teams still searching for one missing youth, also feared dead.

Budget Request Continues on Path to Military Recovery, Chairman Says

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:33
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the current budget situation will allow the military to restore its competitive advantage over any possible adversary right now.

Israel’s rescue service says 9 teenagers have died in flash floods while hiking south of the Dead Sea

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:31
Israel’s rescue service says 9 teenagers have died in flash floods while hiking south of the Dead Sea.

Madagascar opposition calls on president to resign in election law dispute

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:29
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's opposition called on Thursday for the president and prime minister to resign and said it would no longer negotiate in a deepening dispute over new election laws.

UK lawmakers press to stay in EU customs union after Brexit

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:22
British lawmakers are pressing the government to change course and keep the U.K. in a customs union with the European Union after Brexit.

US Senate confirms Michael Pompeo to be 70th Secretary of State

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:17
As many as fifty-two of the one hundred senators voted in favor of Michael Pompeo

U.S. says to end protected status for 9,000 Nepalese immigrants

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:16
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration said on Thursday the protected immigration status the United States granted to some 9,000 Nepalese after a 2015 earthquake would end in June 2019, making them vulnerable to deportation.

Romanian president blasts PM’s “secret” Israel trip

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:12
Romania’s president has slammed the country’s prime minister for embarking on a visit to Israel without his authorization.

Greek space agency chief resigns citing lack of transparency

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:12
Greece’s left-led government has come under opposition criticism after the head of the country’s newly-formed space agency resigned, citing a lack of transparency and political interference in his work.

UK prosecutors drop charges against 2 Canadian pilots

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:12
Prosecutors have dropped charges against two Canadian pilots accused of preparing to fly a commercial aircraft while under the influence of alcohol after their blood samples were mistakenly destroyed at a Scottish prison.

Russia parades Syrian 'witnesses' to disprove gas attack

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:09
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Russian diplomats brought alleged "witnesses" from Syria, including an 11-year-old child, to the headquarters of the global chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands to disprove allegations of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. 2018-04-26T08:58:00-04:00 2018-04-26T12:58:30-04:00

EX-CIA chief Mike Pompeo confirmed as secretary of state

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:08
The ex-CIA chief is voted in by senators after a bruising confirmation battle.

Last year's ambush in Niger due to number of problems: Mattis

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:07
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that a report into a deadly ambush in Niger last year that killed four U.S. soldiers has found that a number of issues led to the incident.

Italy's divided PD sets showdown over talks with 5-Star

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:05
ROME (Reuters) - Italy's deeply divided Democratic Party (PD) will meet on May 3 to discuss whether to hold talks with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement on potentially forming a coalition, two months after inconclusive elections.

IOC reinstates Russian Olympic chief Zhukov as chief coordinator for 2022 Winter Games

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:03
The world’s governing Olympic body yanked the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee and its President Zhukov in December, 2017 over doping scandal

Grief on display at memorial to Canada van attack victims

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 19:02
A makeshift memorial has become a gathering point for mourners grieving for people killed when a van driver plowed into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto sidewalk.

Ireland says solid progress on post-Brexit border needed by June

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:57
LEUVEN, Belgium (Reuters) - Britain and European Union negotiators must make further progress on the issue of the Irish border by June if talks are to move forward on a final withdrawal agreement, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday.

Now comes Merkel. And the hard part.

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:55
A whirlwind of French charm just failed to forge a trade armistice between the Trump administration and Europe.

Colombia's De La Calle seeks to protect peace deal if wins presidency

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:55
BOGOTA (Reuters) - After four years negotiating a peace accord that ended a five-decade conflict with Marxist FARC rebels, presidential candidate Humberto De La Calle said late on Wednesday he will ensure the Andean nation does not return to the nightmare of war if he wins office.

The Latest: Palestinian UN envoy slams Israel over Gaza

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:51
The Latest on a meeting at the U.N. Security Council on the Mideast and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):

Russia Presents Unharmed Syrians to OPCW

VOICE OF EUROPE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:48
Russia and Syria presented several unharmed people from Gouta, Syria, at the premises of the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons on Thursday to support claims that there was no chemical attack in the city earlier this month. Britain dismissed the move as a stunt, and said allied powers including France and the United States had boycotted the closed-door briefing. "The OPCW is not a theater," said Peter Wilson, Britain's envoy to the watchdog in a statement. "Russia's decision to misuse it is yet another Russian attempt to undermine the OPCW's work, and in particular the work of its Fact Finding Mission investigating chemical weapons use in Syria." Russia and Syria intend to hold a news conference near the OPCW premises in the Hague later. An invitation said the event would include "participation of witnesses from Syria who were used in staged videos of the 'chemical attack' in Douma." OPCW investigators are looking into whether chemical weapons were used in Gouta in the April 7 attack that killed dozens of people. They visited a second site in Gouta, an enclave outside of the Syrian capital, on Wednesday to take samples. The attack led to air strikes by the United States, France and Britain against sites in Syria. They accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons, possibly a nerve agent. Syria and its ally Russia have denied the accusation and said rebel forces staged the attacks. France's Ambassador to the OPCW Philippe Lalliot called the display of Syrians in The Hague "obscene." "This ... does not come as a surprise from the Syrian government, which has massacred and gassed its own people for the last 7 years," he told Reuters. He said it was more surprising coming from Russia. "One cannot but wonder if the weaker [Syria] is not taking the stronger [Russia] on a path beyond its interests, if not its values."

President Trump to make first official visit to Britain in July

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:48
The visit will be a working one, not a full state visit.

Nestlé withdraws 'degrading' wife-hunt ad campaign in Morocco

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:44
The food giant "regrets" an ad campaign in Morocco that saw women compete to win a man by cooking.

Trump lets off steam in TV interview

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:40
The US president calls into Fox News to set the record straight on a few issues and air grievances.

Armistice and axe murders: Korea's DMZ summit site full of diplomatic, military history

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:35
SEOUL (Reuters) - The "peace village" of Panmunjom, with its cluster of distinctive bright blue buildings and chequered history of defections, tension and murder, is an apt choice for the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

UN envoy urges action to prevent Gaza escalation

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:33
The U.N.’s top Mideast envoy says the Gaza Strip is “a powder keg” and declared that the world “must do everything possible to prevent another war” between Israel and the Palestinians and elsewhere in the Mideast.

Ronny Jackson's VA secretary nomination is dead, but questions about his Navy career persist

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:26
The U.S. military has a long track record of malfeasance by senior officers festering outside of public view.

Germany to review over 4,000 political asylum decisions

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:23
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will review thousands of political asylum decisions, a senior official said on Thursday, as prosecutors investigate an official suspected of approving applications by people who did not qualify.

Revenge porn hub taken down by Dutch police raid

BBC - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:19
The notorious Anon-IB site was the source of nude images of celebrities shared widely in 2014.

Kim Jong Un walks south to meet his rival: Can they deal?

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:15
GOYANG, South Korea (AP) — There will be plenty to gawk at Friday when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks south across the world's most heavily armed border and stands face-to-face with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Two men who seemed on the verge of war months ago will take a pleasant walk, plant a commemorative tree, inspect an honor guard and belly-up to a lavish banquet. 2018-04-26T04:53:00-04:00 2018-04-26T08:53:49-04:00

Mattis says Iran nuclear deal includes 'robust' verification

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:14
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday emphasized the value of certain aspects of the Iran nuclear agreement, even as President Donald Trump considering pulling out of the 2015 deal, which he has attacked repeatedly and this week called "insane." 2018-04-26T07:58:00-04:00 2018-04-26T11:58:04-04:00

Trump to visit Britain, hold talks with UK's May July 13

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:13
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will travel to Britain in July for a working visit with Prime Minister Theresa May, after months of back-and-forth over when the U.S. president would visit what traditionally has been the United States' closest ally.

Israeli police: Hikers injured, missing after flash floods

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:02
Israeli police say several young people are missing and others have been injured after a group of hikers was caught in flash floods south of the Dead Sea.

Police find 5 bodies in Mexican resort city of Cancun

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:02
Mexican prosecutors say they are investigating the identity of five men whose bodies were stuffed into a car in the resort city of Cancun.

Facing jail, staff from Turkey's Cumhuriyet newspaper vow to keep working

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:57
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The editor-in-chief of Turkey's opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper said on Thursday he was unbowed by a government crackdown and would not abandon journalism, a day after a court sentenced him and more than a dozen colleagues to prison on terrorism charges.

European Space Agency releases 1st image from Mars orbiter

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:51
The European Space Agency has released the first image taken by its Trace Gas Orbiter showing the ice-covered edge of a vast Martian crater.

Italy reports ‘positive’ talks on 5-Star-Democratic alliance

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:51
The head of Italy’s lower house of Parliament has reported a “positive outcome” in preliminary talks to form a possible governing alliance between the populist 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party.

Putin, Armenia’s acting PM stress importance of election of Armenian premier by parliament

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:49
The sides stressed "that the settlement of the crisis situation in Armenia must proceed solely within the framework of the law"

Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:49
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it took a team of young scientists seven years to develop new arms systems, which he presented to the world during the Annual Address to the Federal Assembly. At a plenary meeting of the Russian Union of Rectors, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a few details about how the new Russian weapons were created. According to Putin, Russia could develop the world's most powerful arms system in only seven years. It was young scientists who developed all the new arms, he added. "Like I said in my address to the Federal Assembly, we create second-to-none and state-of-the-art arms systems. One of those systems was created by a team of very young scientists. I asked them where they came from and how they could invent such things. They said that they united into a scientific group after graduation and developed the world's most powerful arms system in seven years," said Putin. During his address to the Federal Assembly in March 2018, Putin spoke about the development of new Russian weapons. He said that such a presentation would sober up any aggressor. Pravda.Ru

Trump to visit Britain in July: White House

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:48
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will to travel to Britain on July 13, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Thursday.

European Space Agency releases 1st image from Mars orbiter

AP - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:47
BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency has released the first image taken by its Trace Gas Orbiter showing the ice-covered edge of a vast Martian crater. 2018-04-26T07:42:00-04:00 2018-04-26T11:42:53-04:00

Lawyers for German neo-Nazi murder suspect seek conviction on lesser charges

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:45
MUNICH (Reuters) - Lawyers for a suspected member of a neo-Nazi gang on trial for involvement in the murders of 10 people more than a decade ago urged a German court on Thursday to convict her of the lesser charges of arson and robbery.

Mattis expects 're-energized' effort against Islamic State in Syria

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that he expected a "re-energized" effort against Islamic State militants in eastern Syria in the coming days.

Myanmar activists urge president to release jailed Reuters journalists

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:34
YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar civil groups signed an open letter to the country's president on Thursday, urging him to immediately release two Reuters reporters accused of possessing secret government papers and police officers involved in what it called an "obviously an unreasonable case".

Probe of Businessman Highlights Still-Powerful French Interests in Africa

VOICE OF EUROPE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:32
In Paris, authorities are probing allegations that the holding company of tycoon Vincent Bollore used favors to win lucrative port contracts in West Africa. Bollore presides over a massive media, logistics and transportation empire on the continent, even as France’s clout in Africa is waning. French investigators are probing allegations that Vincent Bollore’s holding company was given lucrative port concessions in Togo and Guinea in exchange for undercharging the current leaders of both countries for advertising work during their election campaigns. The Bollore Group has denied all wrongdoing, and said the inquiry will give 66-year-old Bollore a chance to answer what it describes as "unfounded accusations." France continues to be a major economic and political player in West Africa, especially in its former colonies. But its influence has declined in the face of more recent competitors like China and Turkey. Even so, the Bollore Group remains a formidable player. Its interests include logistical operations, railways, ports, and media interests that turn over billions of dollars a year. Interviewed on French TV, journalist Nicolas Vescovacci, who wrote a book about Bollore, describes the Bollore Group’s Africa interests as an "empire" that spans 46 countries and employs 25,000 people. Vescovacci says the businessman controls what enters into the African ports his group controls, and at least part of local economies in countries like Guinea, Togo and Ivory Coast. Bollore also has forged ties with powerful figures in both France and in Africa. He is friends with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is now being probed over alleged Libyan campaign funding for his 2007 election. Journalist Vescovacci says Bollore has a network of relationships that range from former spies and policemen to politicians — from the left, as well as from the right. Now Bollore’s relationship with two of them, Guinean President Alpha Conde and Togolese leader Faure Gnassingbe, is under scrutiny. French investigators are probing accusations Bollore’s advertising company Havas, now run by one of his sons, provided discounted services to both men during their election runs in exchange for port contracts. In France, Bollore is a controversial figure. Over the years, he has launched a number of defamation suits against media investigating his group’s various business activities.    

Lebanon vote under new rules likely to keep old guard in power

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:31
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese will have a first opportunity in nine years to vote in a general election on May 6 under new rules, expected to bring some changes to parliament but preserve a unity government combining its main political blocs.

Air Guard, Reserve Wings Conduct Firefighting Training With Forest Service

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:26
As temperatures heated up in northern California, aerial firefighters from four C-130 airlift wings operating the U.S. Forest Service‘s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System began a weeklong training exercise.
A C-130 equipped with a firefighting system.

German business estimates damage from US anti-Russian sanctions at 1.5 bln euros

TASS [Russian State News] - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:23
The Russian-German Foreign Trade Chamber conducted a survey of 154 companies

Israeli envoy says Iran has recruited 80,000 Shiite fighters in Syria

REUTERS - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:22
(Reuters) - Israel's envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday that Iran had recruited at least 80,000 Shiite fighters which it was training at a base just over five miles from Damascus.

Trump's remarks that Middle Eastern states 'wouldn't last a week' without U.S. cause anger in the region

WASHINGTON POST - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 17:21
Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the comments a “humiliation” for U.S. allies.

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