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Iran FM says 'terrorists must be purged' from Syria's Idlib

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 19:10

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Iran's foreign minister said at the start of a visit to Damascus on Monday that "terrorists must be purged" from Syria's Idlib and the entire northwestern province returned to government control.

The New Yorker Disinvites Steve Bannon From Festival After Twitter Uproar

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 18:56

The New Yorker canceled an appearance by Steve Bannon at its October festival

Israel signals it could attack Iranian weaponry in Iraq

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 17:40

Citing Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources, Reuters reported last week that Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to Shi'ite allies in Iraq in recent months. Israel sees in Iran's regional expansion an attempt to open up new fronts against it. Israel has repeatedly launched attacks in Syria to prevent any entrenchment of Iranian forces helping Damascus in the war.

50,000 attend concert against German far-Right amid calls for surveillance of AfD

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 14:49

More than 50,000 people attended a special open-air protest concert against the far-Right yesterday (MON) in Chemnitz, the German city that has been the scene of neo-Nazi rallies in recent days. Huge crowds streamed into the small eastern city from across Germany to make a stand against the far-Right protests which saw foreigners hunted through the streets and neo-Nazis openly giving the Hitler salute last week. Several of the country’s best known rock groups  came together for a one-off concert against the extremists under the banner “We are more” — a direct reference to the far-Right chant of “We are the people.” The numbers dwarfed the 11,000 who took part in rival far-Right and far-Left protests at the weekend and brought the city to a standstill. Mobile networks collapsed under the demand and there were concerns there would not be enough trains for people to get home. Police refused permission for far-Right groups to stage rival protests on the grounds there was no space left in the city. Rallies in support of the concert also took place in Hannover and Kiel. The concert was part of an effort to encourage young Germans to stand up against far-right extremism Credit: Reuters “We are not naive. We are not under the illusion that we can just hold a concert and the world is saved,” said Felix Brummer, the lead singer of Kraftklub, one of the bands involved. “But sometimes it's important to show people they’re not alone.” Chemnitz has been gripped by days of violent protest since the death of Daniel Hillig, a local German-Cuban man, in a suspected stabbing by two migrants from Iraq and Syria just over a week ago. Local people have staged their own protests, claiming the streets are unsafe at night. But they have also accused far-Right groups of hijacking the killing for their own political ends. Hillig’s widow, Bianca, on Monday came forward to condemn the violent protests. “Daniel would never have wanted that! Never!” she told Bild newspaper. “I watched what happened in the city. It wasn’t about Daniel any more. Daniel was neither left nor right. What's going on would never have occurred to him. We only want to mourn in peace.” Several nationalist groups called for marches in the wake of the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq Credit:  Ralf Hirschberger The huge numbers attending Monday's concert come after Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, called for the country’s “silent majority” to “get up off the couch and make a stand against the far-Right”. Meanwhile German politicians are locked in debate over whether the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) should be treated as a threat to national security after it openly sided with far-Right groups protesting in the city. Prominent MPs from the centre-Left Social Democrats (SPD) have led calls for the AfD to be put under surveillance by the intelligence services after it staged a joint march with the Pegida anti-Muslim movement in Chemnitz. “The refugee question divides society, and the AfD is riding ever more radically on this wave,” Thomas Oppermann, deputy speaker of the German parliament, said. “The security services must keep a close eye on the division of labor of between the AfD and neo-Nazis.” Two of Germany’s regional state government’s on Monday announced that they were putting the party’s local youth movements under surveillance. But senior members of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) oppose calls to widen the surveillance nationally and say the place to fight the AfD is at the ballot box.  “Putting the AfD under surveillance could allow the party to play the role of martyr,” Daniel Günther, the regional prime minister of Schleswig-Holstein warned.

Roseanne Barr Says She’s Moving To Israel When ‘The Conners’ Premieres

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 14:37

Roseanne Barr isn't going to be around when "The Conners" premieres this fall.

Texas Doctor Apologizes After Saying Female Physicians 'Do Not Work As Hard'

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 13:59

After a study found women in medicine are paid a fraction of what their male counterparts earn

China raises fears of 'new colonialism' with $60 billion investment across Africa

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 13:38

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged $60 billion in financing for projects in Africa in the form of assistance, investment and loans, as China furthers efforts to link the continent's economic prospects to its own. Speaking to a gathering of African leaders in Beijing, Mr Xi said the figure includes $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, $10 billion for "development financing" and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa. In addition, he said China will encourage companies to invest at least $10 billion in Africa over the next three years. China's outreach to Africa aims to build trade, investment and political ties with a continent often seen as overlooked by the US and other Western nations. That has provided lucrative opportunities for Chinese businesses, while African nations are often happy to accept China's offers that come without demands for safeguards against corruption, waste and environmental damage. President Xi told African leaders that China's investments on the continent have "no political strings attached" Credit: AFP China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, and Mr Xi's offer of more money comes after a pledge of another $60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago. Mr Xi earlier said the money came with "no political strings attached".  No details were given on specific projects, although Mr Xi said China was planning initiatives in eight areas, including providing $147 million in emergency food aid, sending 500 agricultural experts to Africa, and providing scholarships, vocational training and trade promotion opportunities. During a speech at the summit South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday delivered a stinging rebuttal to criticism of China's development aid in Africa. Mr Ramaphosa said the meeting "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe". China's latest pledge comes on top of a 2015 promise to provide African countries with $60 billion in funding that Mr Xi said had either been delivered or arranged. Also Monday, Mr Xi promoted Beijing's initiative to build ports and other infrastructure as a tool for "common prosperity" in a world facing challenges from trade protectionism. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rejected charges of a "new colonialism" Credit: Getty Addressing businesspeople prior to the formal opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Mr Xi said the "Belt and Road" initiative will expand markets. He tried to mollify concern that Beijing wants to build strategic influence, promising Chinese investment comes with "no political strings attached." "Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Economic growth lacks robust drive," Mr Xi said in a speech. "China-Africa cooperation under the BRI is a way to common prosperity that brings benefits to both our peoples." African and other Asian leaders have welcomed "Belt and Road" but some projects have prompted complaints about debt and other problems. The initiative involves hundreds of projects, most of them built by Chinese contractors and financed by loans from Chinese state-owned banks, across an arc of 65 countries from the South Pacific through Asia to Africa and the Middle East. In a major blow to China's ambitions, Malaysia recently canceled Chinese-financed projects worth more than $20 billion, saying they were unnecessary and would create an unsustainable debt burden. Deeply indebted Pakistan is also reportedly reconsidering some projects in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that is a key link in the BRI. The Beijing forum brings together leaders from China and more than 50 African countries. Dozens of African leaders met with Mr Xi ahead of the conference. Mr Xi made no mention of the political and debt concerns that overshadow some BRI projects. But Chinese officials previously have rejected accusations that projects leave host countries too deeply indebted to Chinese lenders. "China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached," Mr Xi said. "China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa." 

San Bernardino shooting: Eight people shot at California apartment complex

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:35

Eight people have been shot in a mass shooting at an apartment complex in San Bernardino, California, police have said. Captain Richard Lawhead said multiple weapons were fired in what police believe was an exchange of gunfire. Detectives do not have a motive for the shooting.

What We Know About The Money Behind Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Fight

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:28

Before senators ask Judge Brett Kavanaugh a single question in his

Militants must be 'cleaned out' of Syria's Idlib, Iran says

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:21

(Reuters) - Iran called on Monday for militants to be "cleaned out" of Syria's Idlib province, as it prepared for talks with Syria and Russia about confronting the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian government forces are planning a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by insurgents fighting Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in the country's conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Washington views any government assault on Idlib as an escalation of Syria's war, and the State Department warned that Washington would respond to any chemical attack by Damascus.

Russian state television introduces weekly show in praise of Vladimir Putin 

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:32

A weekly show glorifying Vladimir Putin's political acumen, physical fitness and love of children has made its debut on Russian state television, raising concerns of a Stalinesque “personality cult”. The hour-long show, titled “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.,” comes after the president's popularity took a hit over an widely loathed plan to raise the pension age. Hosted by Vladimir Soloviev, a TV and radio personality who previously authored documentary films and books about Mr Putin, the first broadcast began with footage of the leader hiking on a holiday in Siberia, meeting with schoolchildren and paying respects to a well-known singer who died last week. “Putin doesn't just love children, he loves people. He's a very humane human,” the Kremlin spokesman told Mr Soloviev, echoing a famous quote calling Vladimir Lenin the “most humane human”. The programme also showed Mr Putin meeting with talented schoolchildren, but did not mention that one of them was wearing a t-shirt with the name of his main critic Credit: YouTube The show claimed that Mr Putin had travelled more than 5,000 miles across Russia for work in the past week, wondering how he “keeps up with such a marathon”. It later answered its own question with a segment on the president's five-mile hike in mountainous Siberia and details of his daily swimming and weight-lifting routines. The programme also recycled old PR stunts such as footage of him descending into a nickel mine in Norilsk in 2002. But the “main topic” of the week, it said, was a televised address in which Mr Putin softened pension reform that has sparked protests. Nearly nine in 10 Russians oppose the plan. His approval rating tumbled from 79 to 67 per cent after the planned reform was announced, and the communist party rallied some 9,000 demonstrators against the measure in Moscow this weekend. A sign with the words 'pension reform' at a protest in Moscow on Sunday Credit: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was suddenly jailed last week for previous demonstrations, has been calling for a pension protest across Russia this coming Sunday. In the address, Mr Putin said the retirement age for women would be only be raised five years to 60 rather than to 63. The age for men will still be hiked to 65, however, a year less than their average life expectancy. Russian state television features fawning coverage of the president nearly every day, and Mr Putin is well-known for shirtless photographs and macho exploits like tranquilising tigers, flying in fighter jets and scoring seven goals in a birthday hockey game. But “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.” has taken the adulation to new heights. Mr Putin is known for his macho stunts and shirtless photographs, such as this picture of him fishing in Siberia in 2017 Credit: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP An article on the independent news site Znak compared it to the Soviet propaganda that trumpeted the achievements of leaders like Mr Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. “This wasn't surprising, of course, but it should be somehow documented that in September 2018 we've returned to the personality cult,” journalist Ilya Barabanov tweeted about the show, which he described as a “stomach balloon” after the inflatable weight-loss device. Stalin's infamous personality cult was denounced by his successor Nikita Khrushchev, and later leaders have been wary of emulating it. The figure of Mr Putin was removed from a statue ensemble just before it was unveiled in the Kurgan region in May, reportedly on orders from the Kremlin. Mr Putin goes boating with defence minister Sergei Shoigu in footage shown on the new programme Credit: YouTube More laughs at the new show's expense came when it emerged that one of the kids had worn a Navalny shirt during Mr Putin's visit with talented schoolchildren, which was not reflected on television but slipped into a photograph published on the Kremlin website. Although the younger generation tends to get its news from the Internet, television remains the main source of information for a majority of the population.

Woman With Baby in Car Leads Cops on High-Speed Chase Before Crashing: Cops

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:31

Caitlyn Rodriguez, 29, allegedly fled during a traffic stop after her Mercedes SUV was pulled over by a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety on June 15.

Rudy Giuliani On White House Blocking Release Of Full Mueller Report: ‘I’m Sure We Will’

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:03

Rudy Giuliani says the White House would likely attempt to block a full public

Palestinians in Lebanon fear aid cuts will slash school access

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:57

It's back to school for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, but funding cuts to the UN agency supporting them means students may only be in class until the end of month. Palestinian flags hang from the ceiling and most of the walls are covered in doodles and Arabic graffiti: "Neymar," in tribute to the popular Brazilian footballer, "You are the darling of my heart," and "Palestine". Across the region, more than half a million Palestinian students may lose access to their education after the United States said it would stop backing the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Cory Booker is on the campaign trail, but not in the way you might think

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:34

The current midterm election cycle has been a long strange trip for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Putin, Erdogan, Rohani to hold Syria talks Friday: Kremlin

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:17

The Kremlin on Monday said the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey would on Friday hold a tripartite summit in Iran seeking an end to the Syrian conflict. In a statement confirming the date of September 7 that was reported earlier by Turkish media, the Kremlin said Putin would "make a working visit to Iran" for the talks.

Under-attack Pope calls for 'silence and prayer'

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:04

Pope Francis on Monday said "silence and prayer" were the answer to those seeking "scandal and division", amid a barrage of attacks from ultra-conservative Catholics. "With people who lack goodwill, with people who seek only scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within the family: (there is nothing but) silence. Among some ultra-conservative Catholics, the pope is regarded as a dangerous progressive who is more interested in social issues than traditional Church matters.

Pope's remedy to those seeking scandal: prayer and silence

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 09:47

Pope Francis recommended silence and prayer to counter those who 'seek scandal,' division and destruction in an indirect response to allegations that he had covered up for a U.S. cardinal embroiled in sex abuse scandals.

German court convicts migrant of murdering ex-girlfriend

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 09:05

BERLIN (AP) — A migrant was convicted Monday of murdering his 15-year-old German ex-girlfriend and sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, the German news agency dpa reported.

Fall foliage map will help you plan out your leaf-peeping weekends in the US

Top Stories - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 08:50

The kids are back in school. The other day you spotted a lone, sad leaf browning at the edges at your feet. And Starbucks has released its Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's official: leaf-peeping season is once again upon us. 


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