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Merkel optimistic at start of government talks with Social Democrats

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 04:12

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she was "optimistic" going into exploratory talks with the Social Democrats (SPD), whose leader Martin Schulz said his party would not draw any red lines at the start of discussions. Merkel's conservative bloc and the SPD have scheduled five days of talks to see if they can find enough common ground to form a re-run of the 'grand coalition' that has governed Germany for the last four years. Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) - the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) - said he was going into the talks in "high spirits" and said the parties needed to come to an agreement.

Nigeria starts large scale evacuation of its citizens from Libya

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 03:27

By Hani Amara TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Nigeria is starting flights to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Libya which will continue until all those wanting to return home have done so, its foreign minister said on Saturday. Nigerians have recently been the largest national group among African migrants travelling to Libya and trying to cross from there to Italy by sea. Since local armed factions and Libya's coastguard began blocking more migrants from leaving in July last year, large numbers have been trapped in Libya, where they often face dire conditions and abuse, including forced labour.

32 Missing As Tanker Collides With Cargo Ship In Fireball Off China

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 03:26

Search and rescue workers were plying the waters off the east coast of China Saturday in a desperate hunt for 32 missing sailors after an oil tanker collided with a cargo ship.

Turkey to reopen iconic 'Iron Church' after revamp

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 02:45

The leaders of Turkey and Bulgaria are Sunday due to reopen the Bulgarian St Stephen's Church in Istanbul after seven years of restoration, in a gesture of harmony in an often turbulent relationship between the two neighbours. The Bulgarian Orthodox church in Balat, a historic Istanbul neighbourhood on the shores of the Golden Horn traditionally home to Christians and Jews, was built in 1898 after its original wooden structure was destroyed in a fire. For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who hosts Bulgaria's conservative Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, the ceremony will be a riposte to charges that Turkey's Islamic-rooted government does not do enough to protect the rights of Christian minorities and their heritage.

Report: SEC Probing Kushner Company Role In Visas-For-Money Program

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 02:43

As Donald Trump battles to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out of the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission is probing the real estate company owned by the family of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and its link to a lucrative federal visa program, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Iraq returning displaced civilians from camps to unsafe areas

Top Stories - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 02:43

By Ahmed Aboulenein AMRIYAT AL-FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces are forcibly returning civilians from refugee camps to unsafe areas in the predominantly Sunni Anbar province, exposing them to death from booby-traps or acts of vigilantism, refugees and aid workers say. Managing more than two million Iraqis displaced by the war against Islamic State is one of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's most daunting tasks. Authorities are sending back people against their will, refugees and aid workers say, to ensure that the election takes place on time.

Thousands march in Honduras to protest president's reelection

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 22:52

Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday against the reelection of US-backed President Juan Orlando Hernandez, demanding that his rival be recognized as the real winner of the November presidential race. Supporters of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship rallied and marched in the streets of San Pedro Sula, the country's second-largest city, calling for Salvador Nasralla, 64, to be named the winner and sworn in this month.

US company resumes search for missing flight MH370

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 21:29

Malaysia's government said Saturday that it had approved a new attempt by a private company to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, nearly four years after its disappearance sparked one of aviation's biggest mysteries.  The Texas-based company Ocean Infinity dispatched a search vessel this past week to look in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the plane, which disappeared March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members.  The governments of Malaysia, China and Australia called off the nearly three-year official search last January. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the Boeing 777's disappearance, or its exact location.  "The basis of the offer from Ocean Infinity is based on 'no cure, no fee,"' said Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysian Transport Minister, on Saturday, meaning that payment will be made only if the company finds the wreckage.  "That means they are willing to search the area of 25,000 square kilometers (9,653 square miles) pointed out by the expert group near the Australian waters," he said.  Investigators recovered debris from a Boeing 777 wing on Reunion Island Credit: AP However, he said, "I don't want to give too much hope ... to the (next of kin)." He said his government was committed to continuing with the search.  He did not offer other details.  Ocean Infinity said in a statement that the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban on Tuesday, was taking advantage of favourable weather to move toward "the vicinity of the possible search zone". MH370 | The theories In the initial search for the plane, a 52-day surface search covered an area of several million square miles in the Indian Ocean west of Australia, before an underwater search mapped 274,000 square miles of seabed at depths of up to 20,000 feet. They were the largest aviation searches of their kind in history, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).  Despite other methods such as studying satellite imagery and investigating ocean drifts after debris from the plane washed ashore on islands in the eastern Indian Ocean and the east coast of Africa, the 1,046-day search was called off on January 17, 2017.  However, the ATSB's report said the understanding of where the plane may be is "better now than it has ever been," partly as a result of studying debris that washed ashore in 2015 and 2016 that showed the plane was "not configured for a ditching at the end-of-flight", meaning it had run out of fuel.  All you need to know | MH370 The search team also looked back at satellite imagery that showed objects in the ocean that may have been MH370 debris. The report said this analysis complemented work detailed in a 2016 review and identified an area of less than 10,000 square miles — roughly the size of the US state of Vermont — that "has the highest likelihood of containing MH370". The search was extremely difficult because no transmissions were received from the aircraft after its first 38 minutes of flight. Systems designed to automatically transmit the flight's position failed to work after this point, the report said. 

The Winners and Losers of Trump's Tax Act

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 21:19

There is simply no escaping the wrath of Donald Trump's tax plan—if you are a member of the upper-middle class. On the corporate side, it will be a boon to U.S. businesses. Referred to as the SALT deduction, it allows people who pay taxes locally to write them off against their federal-tax obligation.

GOP Blasts Michael Wolff's Shocking Trump Book With Attack Ad

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 21:16

The Republican National Committee has started a war against the author of the wild tell-all book about President Donald Trump and his administration.

South Korea Has Its Own Massive Artillery That NATO Loves (and North Korea Hates)

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 21:04

In December 2017, Norway announced it would purchase twenty-four K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers from South Korean firm Hanhwa for $215 million, with an option for up to twenty-four more in the future. The K9 edged out an upgraded M109 howitzer offered by the Swiss firm RUAG and the German Panzerhaubitze 2000, which has a similar main gun and performance profile, but a slightly faster rapid-fire rate compared to the K9. This marks just the latest success of the South Korean howitzer system, which is already serving with Turkey and will soon enter service with three other NATO countries, as well as India and Finland.

Ex-Sheriff David Clarke Faces Trial Over Facebook Taunts Against Plane Passenger

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 21:00

Staunch Donald Trump ally and former Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke faces trial this month for Facebook taunts against a plane passenger who Clarke thought disrespected him.

Just off Israeli highway, 500,000-year-old site found

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 19:23

Israeli archaeologists announced Sunday they have uncovered a rare site dating back some half a million years -- just next to a modern highway and only several metres underground. Archaeologists envision the site at Jaljulia, northeast of Tel Aviv, as a sort of "paradise" for prehistoric hunter-gatherers, with a stream, vegetation and an abundance of animals. "It's hard to believe that between Jaljulia and highway 6, five metres below the surface, an ancient landscape some half of a million years old has been so amazingly preserved," Ran Barkai, head of Tel Aviv University's archaeology department, which participated in the dig, said in a statement.

People rally in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 18:35

Hundreds of Iranians held rallies on Saturday in support of the anti-government protests in Iran, in cities including Washington, D.C., Stockholm, London, Paris and Berlin.

Egypt's Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas amid tight security

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 17:28

The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, led midnight mass in the cathedral of Egypt's new administrative capital on Saturday, a service attended by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. The mass, on the eve of Coptic Christmas which is celebrated on Jan. 7, was the first to be held in the newly-built cathedral and took place amid tight security. Sisi was cheered by worshippers as he entered the building.

A U.S. Mountain Was Just The Second-Coldest Place On Earth

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 16:17

The temperature atop New Hampshire’s Mount Washington plummeted early Saturday to an astonishing minus 36 degrees Fahrenheit, making it one of the coldest places on the planet.

High tech, low tech: Big U.S. cities embrace twin approach to crime

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 16:03

Gun violence in major U.S. cities fell in 2017 as police used the latest crime-fighting software combined with a revival of old-fashioned community policing to build trust with a skeptical public. Law enforcement officials and criminologists credit that dual approach with helping extend the decades-long reduction in crime in New York City and reducing gun violence in Chicago by 20 percent in 2017. Chicago became a symbol of U.S. gun violence after homicides soared nearly 60 percent in 2016, drawing frequent criticism from Donald Trump during his campaign for the presidency and after he was elected.

Man Allegedly Calls Police to Report Himself Drunk Driving

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 15:41

Thankfully no one was harmed.

Pope on Epiphany: Don't make money, career your whole life

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 15:30

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday advised against making the pursuit of money, a career or success the basis for one's whole life, urging in his Epiphany remarks to also resist "inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power and for riches."

Trump Says U.S. 'Not Going To Look Foolish As Long As I'm Here'

Top Stories - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 15:12

President Donald Trump took a break from a Camp David strategy session with top Republicans on Saturday to make some unscheduled comments to reporters.


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