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  • Taking Hard Line, Greece Turns Back Migrants by Abandoning Them at Sea news

    RHODES, Greece -- The Greek government has secretly expelled more than 1,000 refugees from Europe's borders in recent months, sailing many of them to the edge of Greek territorial waters and then abandoning them in inflatable and sometimes overburdened life rafts.Since March, at least 1,072 asylum-seekers have been dropped at sea by Greek officials in at least 31 separate expulsions, according to an analysis of evidence by The New York Times from three independent watchdogs, two academic researchers and the Turkish coast guard. The Times interviewed survivors from five of those episodes and reviewed photographic or video evidence from all 31."It was very inhumane," said Najma al-Khatib, a 50-year-old Syrian teacher, who says masked Greek officials took her and 22 others, including two babies, under cover of darkness from a detention center on the island of Rhodes on July 26 and abandoned them in a rudderless, motorless life raft before they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard."I left Syria for fear of bombing -- but when this happened, I wished I'd died under a bomb," she told The Times.Illegal under international law, the expulsions are the most direct and sustained attempt by a European country to block maritime migration using its own forces since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, when Greece was the main thoroughfare for migrants and refugees seeking to enter Europe.The Greek government denied any illegality."Greek authorities do not engage in clandestine activities," said a government spokesman, Stelios Petsas. "Greece has a proven track record when it comes to observing international law, conventions and protocols. This includes the treatment of refugees and migrants."Since 2015, European countries like Greece and Italy have mainly relied on proxies, like the Turkish and Libyan governments, to head off maritime migration. What is different now is that the Greek government is increasingly taking matters into its own hands, watchdog groups and researchers say.​For example, migrants have been forced onto sometimes leaky life rafts and left to drift at the border between Turkish and Greek waters, while others have been left to drift in their own boats after Greek officials disabled their engines."These pushbacks are totally illegal in all their aspects, in international law and in European law," said professor François Crepeau, an expert on international law and a former United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants."It is a human rights and humanitarian disaster," Crepeau added.Greeks were once far more understanding of the plight of migrants. But many have grown frustrated and hostile after a half-decade in which other European countries offered Greece only modest assistance as tens of thousands of asylum-seekers languished in squalid camps on overburdened Greek islands.Since the election last year of a new conservative government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece has taken a far harder line against the migrants -- often refugees from the war in Syria -- who push off Turkish shores for Europe.The harsher approach comes as tensions have mounted with Turkey, itself burdened with 3.6 million refugees from the Syrian war, far more than any other nation.Greece believes that Turkey has tried to weaponize the migrants to increase pressure on Europe for aid and assistance in the Syrian War. But it has also added pressure on Greece at a time when the two nations and others spar over contested gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.For several days in late February and early March, Turkish authorities openly bused thousands of migrants to the Greek land border in a bid to set off a confrontation, leading to the shooting of at least one Syrian refugee and the immediate extrajudicial expulsions of hundreds of migrants who made it to Greek territory.For years, Greek officials have been accused of intercepting and expelling migrants, on a sporadic and infrequent basis, usually before the migrants manage to land their boats on Greek soil.But experts say Greece's behavior during the pandemic has been far more systematic and coordinated. Hundreds of migrants have been denied the right to seek asylum even after they have landed on Greek soil, and they have been forbidden to appeal their expulsion through the legal system."They've seized the moment," Crepeau said of the Greeks. "The coronavirus has provided a window of opportunity to close national borders to whoever they've wanted."Emboldened by the lack of sustained criticism from the European Union, where the migration issue has roiled politics, Greece has hardened its approach in the eastern Mediterranean in recent months.Migrants landing on the Greek islands from Turkey have frequently been forced onto sometimes leaky, inflatable life rafts, dropped at the boundary between Turkish and Greek waters, and left to drift until being spotted and rescued by the Turkish coast guard."This practice is totally unprecedented in Greece," said Niamh Keady-Tabbal, a doctoral researcher at the Irish Center for Human Rights, and one of the first to document the phenomenon."Greek authorities are now weaponizing rescue equipment to illegally expel asylum-seekers in a new, violent and highly visible pattern of pushbacks spanning several Aegean Islands," Keady-Tabbal said.Al-Khatib, who recounted her ordeal for The Times, said she entered Turkey last November with her two sons, 14 and 12, fleeing the advance of the Syrian army. Her husband, who had entered several weeks earlier, soon died of cancer, al-Khatib said.With few prospects in Turkey, the family tried to reach Greece by boat three times this summer, failing once in May because their smuggler did not show up, and a second time in June after being intercepted in Greek waters and towed back to the Turkish sea border, she said.On their third attempt, on July 23 at around 7 a.m., they landed on the Greek island of Rhodes, al-Khatib said, an account corroborated by four other passengers interviewed by The Times. They were detained by Greek police officers and taken to a small makeshift detention facility after handing over their identification documents.Using footage filmed at this site by two passengers, a Times reporter was able to identify the facility's location beside the island's main ferry port and visit the camp.A coast guard officer and an official at the island's mayoralty both said the site falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Police, an arm of the Hellenic coast guard.A Palestinian refugee, living in a disused slaughterhouse beside the camp, confirmed that al-Khatib had been there, recounting how he had spoken to her through the camp's fence and bought her tablets to treat her hypertension, which Greek officials had refused to supply her.On the evening of July 26, al-Khatib and the other detainees said that police officers had loaded them onto a bus, telling them they were being taken to a camp on another island, and then to Athens.Instead, masked Greek officials transferred them to two vessels that ferried them out to sea before dropping them on rafts at the Turkish maritime border, she and other survivors said.Amid choppy waves, the group, which included two babies, was forced to drain the raft using their hands as water slopped over the side, they said.The group was rescued at 4:30 a.m. by the Turkish coast guard, according to a report by the coast guard that included a photograph of al-Khatib as she left the life raft.Al-Khatib tried to reach Greece for a fourth time, on Aug. 6, but said her boat was stopped off the island of Lesbos by Greek officials, who removed its fuel and towed it back to Turkish waters.Some groups of migrants have been transferred to the life rafts even before landing on Greek soil.On May 13, Amjad Naim, a 24-year-old Palestinian law student, was among a group of 30 migrants intercepted by Greek officials as they approached the shores of Samos, a Greek island close to Turkey.The migrants were quickly transferred to two small life rafts that began to deflate under the weight of so many people, Naim said. Transferred to two other rafts, they were then towed back toward Turkey.Videos captured by Naim on his phone show the two rafts being tugged across the sea by a large white vessel. Footage subsequently published by the Turkish coast guard shows the same two rafts being rescued by Turkish officials later in the day.Migrants have also been left to drift in the boats they arrived on, after Greek officials disabled their engines, survivors and researchers say. And on at least two occasions, migrants have been abandoned on Ciplak, an uninhabited island within Turkish waters, instead of being placed on life rafts."Eventually the Turkish coast guard came to fetch us," said one Palestinian survivor who was among a group abandoned on Ciplak in early July, and who sent videos of their time on the island. A report from the Turkish coast guard corroborated his account.In parallel, several rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have documented how Greek authorities have rounded up migrants living legally in Greece and secretly expelled them without legal recourse across the Evros River, which divides mainland Greece from Turkey.Feras Fattouh, a 30-year-old Syrian X-ray technician, said he was arrested by Greek police on July 24 in Igoumenitsa, a port in western Greece. Fattouh had been living legally in Greece since November 2019 with his wife and son, and showed The Times documents to prove it.But after being detained by the police in Igoumenitsa, Fattouh said, he was robbed and driven about 400 miles east to the Turkish border, before being secretly put on a dinghy with 18 others and sent across the river to Turkey. His wife and son remain in Greece."Syrians are suffering in Turkey," Fattouh said. "We're suffering in Greece. Where are we supposed to go?"Ylva Johansson, who oversees migration policy at the European Commission, the civil service for the European Union, said she was concerned by the accusations but had no power to investigate them."We cannot protect our European border by violating European values and by breaching people's rights," Johansson said in an email. "Border control can and must go hand in hand with respect for fundamental rights."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:14:59 -0400
  • Indian, Nepalese prime ministers talk amid border dispute

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:47:12 -0400
  • 10 things you need to know today: August 15, 2020

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:18:00 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council Rejects U.S. Bid To Extend Iran Arms Embargo news

    The United Nations Security Council has rejected a U.S. bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran. The embargo prohibits Iran from buying and selling conventional weapons. On Friday, only the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the proposed resolution, which recommended extending the ban until the "council decides otherwise."

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:14:00 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council Rejects Iran Arms Embargo Extension news

    The United Nations Security Council has rejected a U.S. bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran. The embargo prohibits Iran from buying and selling conventional weapons. On Friday, only the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the proposed resolution, which recommended extending the ban until the "council decides otherwise."

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:14:00 -0400
  • Former Illinois Gov. James Thompson, 'Big Jim,' dies at 84 news

    Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, known as “Big Jim” during a long career that eventually made him the state's longest-serving chief executive, has died. Thompson died shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, his wife, Jayne, told the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. The Tribune, citing a police report, reported Thompson had been recovering there for several weeks after suffering heart problems.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:45:39 -0400
  • Delaware thrust into unlikely starring role in 2020 campaign news

    Biden announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate this past week in Wilmington and they made their public debut at the suburban high school where Biden votes. The campaign then operated for three days from the opulent Hotel DuPont downtown, where Biden had announced his first run for Senate, for the 1972 race.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:44:34 -0400
  • Protests in Belarus focus on spot where demonstrator died news

    Thousands of demonstrators in Belarus gathered Saturday at the spot in the capital where a protester died in clashes with police, calling for authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to resign after 26 years in power. It was the seventh consecutive day of large protests against the results of the Aug. 9 presidential election in which election officials say Lukashenko won a sixth term in office. Despite harsh police action against the protesters, including the detention of some 7,000 people, the demonstrations have swelled into the largest and most sustained protest wave since Lukashenko took power in 1994.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:31:07 -0400
  • How a BBC show helped shape Africa news

    The BBC Focus on Africa programme has played a dramatic role in covering the continent over the last 60 years.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:22:41 -0400
  • North Korea's leader is tapping his own private food reserve to feed the country, and it could be a worrying sign news

    "It reflects the perfect storm of economic stresses that North Korea is suffering right now," a former CIA branch chief in Korea told Insider.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:00:00 -0400
  • Partner of dead Belarus protester believes police shot him news

    The partner of a man who died in the protests engulfing Belarus says she does not believe the official account that Alexander Taraikovsky was killed when an explosive device that he intended to throw at police blew up in his hand. Elena German told The Associated Press on Saturday that she is sure her 34-year-old partner was shot by police. German spoke a few hours before Taraikovsky's funeral and burial, an event that could reinforce the anger of demonstrators who have protested what they consider a sham presidential election and the violent police crackdown on opposition.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 07:32:46 -0400
  • Iran cries victory after US bid to extend arms embargo flops at UN news

    Iran on Saturday hailed a UN Security Council vote rejecting a US bid to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic republic, saying its foe has "never been so isolated".

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 07:12:38 -0400
  • FBI team arrives this weekend to take part in Beirut probe news

    A team of FBI investigators is due to arrive in Lebanon this weekend to take part in the probe of Beirut’s massive explosion, a senior U.S official said on Saturday after visiting the location of the blast. The cause of the fire that ignited nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port remains unclear. French investigators are also taking part in the Lebanese-led probe.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 06:58:24 -0400
  • Iran says U.S. humilated by rejection of bid to extend arms embargo on Tehran

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 06:31:14 -0400
  • Lukashenko appeals to Putin for help, warning protests are not only a threat to Belarus news

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday he needed to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning street protests rocking the country were not just a threat to Belarus. Mass unrest has followed Mr Lukashenko's re-election victory last Sunday, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets accusing him of rigging the vote. "The aggression against Belarus is developing," he said in a meeting with government officials. "There is a need to contact Putin so that I can talk to him now, because it is not a threat to just Belarus anymore," he continued, according to state news agency Belta. "Defending Belarus today is no less than defending our entire space, the union state, and an example to others ... Those who roam the streets, most of them do not understand this." The state news agency later said he had discussed the protests with Mr Putin in a phone call, but gave few details. "The presidents discussed the situation that is unfolding inside and around Belarus," Belta reported, citing Mr Lukashenko's press service. Earlier, the leaders of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania called for "free and fair" elections in Belarus, which Mr Lukashenko -- known as "Europe's last dictator" -- has ruled for 26 years. Moscow has yet to officially respond to Mr Lukashenko’s appeals. Russian government observers earlier described the presidential election as free and fair, though the Kremlin has remained tight-lipped throughout the crisis on whether it would be willing to prop up the Belarusian regime. Margarita Simonyan, the head of Kremlin-controlled news channel RT, suggested on Friday it was time to send in “the little green men”, a reference to the Russian soldiers without insignia who appeared in Crimea in 2014. But Russian public polling shows there is little support for closer integration with Belarus, and analysts say direct intervention would be unlikely to boost Vladimir Putin’s standing in the same way as the annexation of Crimea. Russian state news channels are leading on the rallies, reporting that the demonstrations are peaceful and showing images of protesters handing flowers to riot police. The coverage is in sharp contrast with the Ukraine crisis, in which Kremlin-controlled media presented pro-democracy demonstrators as fascist thugs. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was praying for a resolution of the situation in Belarus, his press service said.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 05:43:02 -0400
  • Pompeo inks deal for US troop move from Germany to Poland news

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sealed a defense cooperation deal Saturday with Polish officials that will pave the way to redeploy American troops from Germany to Poland. Pompeo, in Warsaw at the end of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, signed the deal with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak that sets out the legal framework for the additional troops. “This is going to be an extended guarantee: a guarantee that in case of a threat our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm,” Poland's President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 05:25:06 -0400
  • Iran threatens 'dangerous future' for UAE after Israel deal news

    Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed Saturday there would be dangerous consequences for the United Arab Emirates after it announced a historic deal with Israel to open up diplomatic relations. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to establish normalized relations with Israel, Iran's regional archenemy.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 04:20:09 -0400
  • Freed from Belarus jails, protesters recount beatings news

    They emerged dazed, shaken and in tears from the detention center in Minsk, to be met by waiting relatives. Authorities in Belarus have freed at least 2,000 of about 7,000 people who had been pulled off the streets by riot police in the days following a disputed election that kept the country's iron-fisted leader, President Alexander Lukashenko, in power. As they reunited with loved ones early Friday, they told of being struck repeatedly with truncheons, being threatened with gang rape and held amid harsh conditions and overcrowded cells.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 03:14:38 -0400
  • Coronavirus: South Africa crime rate plummets during lockdown news

    A top minister hails a "crime holiday" as figures show offences fell by 40% between April and June.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 03:07:58 -0400
  • The Ultimate Recovery: Cycles of pain anchor Biden's moment news

    “I’m Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for United States Senate,” he announces, shaking the hand of a grinning beautician. The pitch, captured in an October 1972 broadcast by WPVI in Philadelphia, is one Biden has made repeatedly since, winning seven terms in the Senate and two as vice president. On this, his third attempt, the White House is within Biden's reach at what in some ways seems an improbable moment.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 00:06:56 -0400
  • Japan marks 75th anniversary of war end with no Abe apology news

    Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Naruhito pledged to reflect on the war's events and expressed hope that the tragedy would never be repeated. There was no word of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave thanks for the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but had nothing to say about the suffering of Japan’s neighbors.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 23:53:23 -0400
  • 75 years later, can Asia shake off shackles of the past? news

    Northeast Asia doesn’t so much repeat history as drag it along like an anchor. The bombs stopped falling 75 years ago, but it is entirely possible — crucial even, some argue — to view the region’s world-beating economies, its massive cultural and political reach and its bitter trade, territory and history disputes through a single prism: World War II and Japan’s aggression in the Pacific. Japan in 2020 is unrecognizable to the fascist military machine that once rolled across Asia.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:32:03 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case news

    Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States which alleges that she misled the bank HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran. Meng's lawyers submitted testimony from expert witnesses including John Bellinger, a former White House lawyer, as well as a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd presentation outlining its relationship with businesses operating in Iran, to back Huawei's argument that the United States left out key facts about communication with HSBC about Huawei's operations in Iran when requesting Meng's extradition from Canada.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:51:40 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:39:13 -0400
  • Teen leading in Kansas race admits blackmail, revenge porn

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:43:42 -0400
  • US sees embarrassing UN defeat over Iran arms embargo proposal news

    Just one country joins US in vote, highlighting Washington’s isolation as it seeks more drastic action against IranThe US has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations as its proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran won support from only the Dominican Republic at the security council vote.The US resolution was never likely to be passed in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition. It was proposed as a ploy by the Trump administration to open the way to more drastic action against Iran.But the scale of the defeat on Friday underlined US isolation on the world stage ahead of a major diplomatic confrontation that threatens to consume the security council and further sap its authority.The US stripped anti-Iran rhetoric from earlier drafts of the resolution in the hope of recruiting more supporters, but its insistence that an extension to the UN embargo would be indefinite made that impossible. Estonia and Tunisia withstood eleventh-hour US pressure to support the revised draft, a measure of diminished American clout at the UN. Russia and China voted against the resolution, the US and the Dominican Republic voted in favour, and all the other council members abstained.In his response to the vote, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, lashed out at other member states.“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement issued even before the result of the vote had been declared.US officials have said that following the defeat of the arms embargo resolution, they would embark within days on a legally controversial tactic in an effort to restore UN sanctions lifted when Iran signed a nuclear deal with major powers in 2015.The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has a mechanism that allows any of the parties to the agreement to “snap back” UN sanctions on Iran.Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018 but US diplomats and lawyers will argue it is still technically a party to the agreement and therefore empowered to snap back sanctions. Most of the rest of the world, including some of Washington’s closest allies, disagrees, but the Trump administration has so far shown itself ready to proceed virtually alone.“The US goal this week has pretty obviously been to table a resolution that will fail, so they’ve got an excuse for going to snapback next week,” Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group. “It’s just a little bit embarrassing that it has failed so badly.”The US special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, announced his resignation days before the arms embargo resolution at the UN.If the US proceeds with its snapback plan, it could lead to a situation in which there is no agreement on the status of UN arms sanctions, with the US declaring they are in effect and most other countries insisting there are not.“Frankly, we’re soon going to be entering what you could call ‘security council in Wonderland’, by which the US will claim that the snapback train is rolling and others refuse to accept that,” Gowan said. “There will be lots of procedural fights in the council. But basically there will be two realities.”The UK could find itself trapped between those two realities, forced to choose between them. London so far has stuck closely to an agreed European line with France and Germany.“It appears the UK has chosen to put its security relationship with Paris and Berlin ahead of its desire for a Brexit trade deal with the US,” Gowan said.Vladimir Putin has suggested a videoconference summit on Iran, and the Élysée Palace in Paris signaled that Emmanuel Macron was open to the suggestion. Donald Trump said he had heard about the proposal but had not been told the details. Trump and Macron spoke by phone on Friday but the White House account of the call did not mention the proposed summit.Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment Institute for Peace, said that the US focus was not on building coalitions on the issue but on provoking a diplomatic confrontation at the UN to please Trump’s core supporters.She said the ultimate US aim was also to try to provoke Iran into a reaction, possibly leaving the JCPOA itself, or even expel international nuclear inspectors.“It is a scorched-earth approach, destroying the JCPOA in order to make it difficult for a Biden administration, and for the Iranians, to return to it,” DiMaggio said. “They’re not concerned with keeping a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. They really want to kill this deal.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:21:20 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Clowns suffer, adapt in Peru due to the pandemic news

    Circuses in Peru are built around clowns, providing work for more than 500 of the characters. The coronavirus has kept millions of Peruvians locked down at home, dealing a hard blow to the hundred or so small circuses in the country. In an empty lot in Lima, Santos Chiroque keeps the yellow tent, logs and ropes that he used until March to set up the circus that fed him and his family.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:06:30 -0400
  • Georgia park with Confederate sculpture shuts gates to rally news

    Suburban Atlanta's Stone Mountain Park, home of a giant sculpture of Confederate leaders, says it will close its gates Saturday in the face of a planned right-wing rally. Pro-Confederate, white supremacist and other right-wing groups had planned their event in response to a march by the Black militia group on July 4. Last year, the park also closed down rather than allow a rally organized by white supremacists to go forward.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:01:56 -0400
  • EXPLAINER-What is the U.S. threat to trigger 'snapback' of U.N. sanctions on Iran?

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:36:34 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council rejects U.S. bid to extend Iran arms embargo -Pompeo

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:01:38 -0400
  • Israel hits Gaza militant sites after incendiary balloons

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:35:36 -0400
  • UN launches $565 million appeal for Beirut victims news

    The United Nations launched a $565 million appeal Friday to help Lebanese people affected by the explosion at Beirut’s port with immediate humanitarian assistance and initial recovery efforts. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the money wll enable the U.N.'s humanitarian partners “to help people in need by targeting food security, health, shelter and protection, as well as water and sanitation hygiene support.” U.N. humanitarian officials said some of the $300 million pledged at a donor conference Sunday co-chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations may be committed to the $565 million appeal, but the amount won’t be known for some time because the pledges include a mixture of humanitarian and reconstruction activities.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:19:50 -0400
  • US allows killing sea lions eating at-risk Northwest salmon news

    U.S. authorities on Friday gave wildlife managers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho permission to start killing hundreds of sea lions in the Columbia River basin in hopes of helping struggling salmon and steelhead trout. “These are places where the fish are really vulnerable,” said Shaun Clements, senior policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The new permit allows the states and several Native American tribes to kill 540 California sea lions and 176 Steller sea lions over the next five years along a 180-mile (290-kilometer) stretch of the Columbia, from Portland to the McNary Dam upriver, as well as in several tributaries.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:05:16 -0400
  • UN launches $565 mn appeal for blast-hit Lebanon news

    The United Nations launched an appeal Friday to raise $565 million to help Lebanon recover from this month's devastating port blast that killed 171 people.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:38:48 -0400
  • Census Bureau adds emails, phone calls to door-knocking news

    If you haven't filled out the 2020 census form yet, you may be getting an email, call or questionnaire in the mail asking you to answer the questions. The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday it was sending out emails to homes in neighborhoods where the response rate was less than 50%. The Census Bureau said it expects to send out 20 million emails, a first for a decennial census, as the agency enters the homestretch of the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:26:48 -0400
  • US confirms seizure of Iranian fuel on Venezuela-bound ships news

    The US Justice Department on Friday confirmed it had seized the fuel cargo aboard four tankers sent by Iran to crisis-wracked Venezuela, tying the shipments to Tehran's Revolutionary Guards and stepping up the pressure on its foe.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:06:00 -0400
  • Trump dodges question on QAnon conspiracy theory news

    President Donald Trump on Friday twice ignored a question about whether he supports QAnon, a convoluted, right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory. A reporter asked the president about the theory at a White House briefing Friday after Trump tweeted his congratulations to a QAnon-supporting candidate. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won her House primary runoff in Georgia this week, has called the theory “something worth listening to and paying attention to" and called its source, known as Q, a “patriot.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:00:21 -0400
  • Study hints, can't prove, survivor plasma fights COVID-19 news

    Mayo Clinic researchers reported a strong hint that blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors helps other patients recover, but it’s not proof and some experts worry if, amid clamor for the treatment, they'll ever get a clear answer. More than 64,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. There were fewer deaths among people given plasma within three days of diagnosis, and also among those given plasma containing the highest levels of virus-fighting antibodies, Joyner and colleagues reported.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:38:09 -0400
  • UN soundly defeats US demand to extend arms embargo on Iran news

    The U.N. Security Council on Friday resoundingly defeated a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, with the Trump administration getting support from only the Dominican Republic but vowing further action to prevent Tehran's sale and export of conventional weapons. Russia and China strongly opposed the resolution, but didn’t need to use their vetoes.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:30:50 -0400
  • At Sturgis, Trump supporters look to turn bikers into voters news

    It's a Friday night at a crowded biker bar in South Dakota when Chris Cox, founder of Bikers for Trump, takes the stage. While many have come to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for some combination of riding and partying, Cox's focus is on something else: voting. As the Trump campaign struggles to gain momentum less than 90 days from the election, Bikers for Trump has taken advantage of recent motorcycle rallies to make direct appeals to register to vote.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:30:36 -0400
  • Brussels expects next round of Brexit negotiations to be like 'shadowboxing before the real engagement begins' news

    European Union sources expect next week’s Brexit talks to be a round of “shadow boxing”, after the UK and Brussels made concessions in the previous set of negotiations. About 50 British officials are expected to travel to Belgium on Tuesday, despite the country being put on the UK’s coronavirus red list. “Both sides have moved closer together but we see this round as laying the foundations for future breakthroughs,” an EU source close to the negotiations said. “Imagine two fencers sizing each other out or two fighters shadow-boxing before the real engagement begins.” The negotiations come after a break following five solid weeks of intensified negotiations, which finally brought concessions from both sides. The UK signalled that it would accept the future relationship being governed by a single treaty. Previously it had insisted on a suite of separate agreements covering issues such as the trade deal and fishing rights. Brussels, in return, finally accepted the British red line that the European Court of Justice could have no role in future UK-EU relations. After both sides made significant concessions, hopes were raised that next week’s round could bring further breakthroughs. On Thursday, David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator said the British assessment was that a deal could be done in September. The same day, Ireland's Taoiseach Micheál Martin said a “landing zone” for an eventual trade deal had emerged.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:16:06 -0400
  • Cleric extradited from Jamaica to NYC on terrorism charges

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:15:35 -0400
  • 9th Circuit ends California ban on high-capacity magazines news

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution's protection of the right to bear firearms. “Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the panel’s majority. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said it is reviewing the decision and he "remains committed to using every tool possible to defend California’s gun safety laws and keep our communities safe.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 13:21:26 -0400
  • The UAE-Israel deal is Trump's first real foreign policy success, experts say news

    A shared interest in countering Iran has fueled an alignment between Israel and the Gulf Arab states, a convergence that seemed impossible not long ago.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 13:02:00 -0400
  • Nigerian police rescue Kano man locked up in his parents' garage news

    The emaciated aged 30 had been left for at least three years without proper care, police say.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:52:41 -0400
  • Pompeo urges unity on Iran ahead of UN arms embargo vote news

    The secretary of state said it was “nuts” to allow Iran to buy and sell weapons at will.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:22:46 -0400
  • U.S. confiscates Iranian gas heading for Venezuela in ‘largest-ever’ seizure of fuel shipments from Iran: officials news

    The United States has confiscated the cargo of four tankers that were carrying Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela, essentially disrupting a multi-million deal in the largest-ever seizure of gas shipments from Iran, U.S. officials said Friday. The sale of more than 1 million barrels of petroleum was arranged by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of U.S.-imposed sanctions on the two countries, the Justice Department said in a news release. A U.S. district court judge in Washington, D.C., authorized the seizure after the federal government filed a complaint last month seeking to forfeit the cargo as it traveled toward Venezuela, authorities said.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:11:29 -0400
  • Liberty University and Falwell: A bond that's hard to break news

    Jerry Falwell Jr. has been toppled, at least temporarily, from the presidency of evangelical Liberty University, but whether he will break permanently with the Christian institution that is synonymous with his family name is another matter. Falwell apologized after posting a vacation photo that showed him with his pants unzipped and his arm high around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant. Critics of Falwell’s leadership say Liberty needs a new direction, but many who know the school well have a hard time envisioning its governing board saying goodbye to the heir who played a major role in transforming it into a conservative Christian mainstay.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:08:58 -0400
  • Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in Trump-Russia probe review news

    A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the probe of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, his lawyer said Friday. Kevin Clinesmith is accused of altering a government email about a former Trump campaign adviser who was a target of secret FBI surveillance, according to documents filed in Washington's federal court.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:41:44 -0400
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