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NATO, Russia to hold first talks since Skripal attack

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 12:51

NATO will on Thursday hold its first formal talks with Russia since the nerve agent attack on a former Kremlin double agent in Britain, as the alliance seeks to counter Moscow's increasing assertiveness. Tensions between the transatlantic alliance and Russia have hit post-Cold War highs in recent years over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and more recently the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury. NATO vehemently criticised Moscow over the attack in March, the first hostile use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two, and expelled seven Russian diplomats as part of a coordinated international response.


Hawaii volcanic eruptions cause more destruction

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:55

Three weeks after Kilauea first exploded, the situation appears to be getting worse with new explosions destroying more neighborhoods.


Air Baltic orders 30 Bombardier C Series jetliners

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:54

Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier announced Monday a firm order for 30 C Series jetliners from Latvian carrier Air Baltic, for US$2.9 billion. Air Baltic had been first in 2016 to buy the CS300 single-aisle, 150-seat aircraft, which were designed to compete with the workhorses of the aviation market, the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. This latest deal brings Air Baltic's total number of CS300 jetliners to 50, making it the largest European customer of the C Series, with an option to buy an additional 30.


Malaysia axes project to build high-speed rail link with Singapore

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:37

By Liz Lee and John Geddie KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia is cancelling a project to build a high-speed rail link between its capital, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore, and will talk with its southern neighbor about any compensation Malaysia has to pay, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday. Mahathir, the 92-year-old who triumphed in a general election this month, has made it a priority to cut the national debt and pledged to review big projects agreed by his predecessor that he says are expensive and have no financial benefit. "It is a final decision, but it will take time because we have an agreement with Singapore," Mahathir told a news conference referring to his scrapping of the project, valued by analysts at about $17 billion.


Republican Congressman On Retiring Early: All I Do Is Answer Questions About Trump

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:33

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) isn't running for Congress again next year because


Dog Kisses Maine Firefighter who Rescued Him From Roof

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:32

The cute moment was captured on camera.


Memorial Day: Arlington National Cemetery rapidly running out of room forcing controversial Pentagon rethink

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:20

Arlington National Cemetery, America’s most celebrated and hallowed military resting place is rapidly running out of space, forcing a controversial rethink on which veterans should be eligible to be buried there. The Virginia cemetery, founded at the time of the US Civil War, currently contains the remains of 420,000 former servicemen and women, among them assassinated US president John F Kennedy. It is also the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the focus of official remembrance events such as those of Memorial Day.


Olympian Gus Kenworthy Mourns Death Of Dog He Adopted From Meat Farm

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:08

U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy wrote a gut-wrenching goodbye Sunday to a


Israel sees an opportunity to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia in Syria

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 10:38

Israel is increasingly optimistic that it may be coming close to its longheld goal of driving a wedge between Russia and Iran in Syria, a senior Israeli official said today.  Chagai Tzuriel, director general of the Israeli intelligence ministry, said he believed Russia was growing frustrated with Iran's presence in Syria and was worried that fighting between Israel and Iran would threaten Moscow's interests.  "My assessment is that the Russians are interested in stabilising their achievements in Syria," Mr Tzuriel said. "I think they understand that if the Iranians continue on the present course this will lead to escalation and will blow their plans out of the water.” Israel’s has long said it would not allow Iran to gain a permanent military foothold in Syria. Israeli forces have carried out increasingly intense strikes against Iranian targets in Syria in recent weeks and in the process have inflicted serious damage on the Assad regime’s air defences.  Mr Tzuriel said he believed that the Israeli strikes - combined with America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and economic discontent within Iran - were fueling tensions between Iran and its Russian and Syrian allies.   “I think this is a moment pregnant with opportunity. My assessment is that the situation we’re in is an opportune moment to try to change fundamentally the strategic situation,” he said.  Israel hopes that Vladimir Putin (left) and Bashar al-Assad will lose patience with Iran  Credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images Mr Tzuriel spoke as unconfirmed reports emerged that the Syrian regime’s air force was trying to expel Iranian troops from its airbases because they were such a frequent target of Israeli attacks.  Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian opposition media outlet, said Syrian air force commanders were trying to shut Iranian troops and Hizbollah fighters out of their air bases to try to shield the sites from Israeli strikes.  Potential cracks in the Russian-Iranian relationship have become increasingly visible in recent weeks.  Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said in mid-May that all foreign forces would leave Syria once the Assad regime was fully in control of the country. The comments appeared to anger Iran. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said in response: “No one can make Iran do things; Iran has its own independent policies.” Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, also said Monday that only Syrian regime forces should be stationed on Syria’s southern border - implying that neither Iran nor Hizbollah should be allowed near the Israeli border. The comment appeared to be another small victory for Israel, which has long urged Russia in rein in Iran’s presence all across Syria but especially in the south near the Israeli border.  Syrian regime forces have captured significant territory from rebel forces in recent months Credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said Israel had been trying for a long time to warn Russia about the dangers of Iran’s presence in Syria but had only recently gained traction.    “The Israeli strategy was always to convince Russia that they had a lot to lose if they didn’t do anything about Iran. Until a few weeks ago, I would have told you they were doing that in vain and that Russia didn’t understand and didn’t care. But it’s changed because the escalatory strategy of Israeli strikes in Syria is really threatening to trigger conflict,” he said.  Mr Horowitz cautioned that the recent shift did not mean Israel would necessarily achieve its goal of forcing Iran out of Syria. “This doesn’t mean Israel has won. But it means the dynamics are changing for the first time.”  Even if Russia and the Syrian regime do believe that Iran’s presence is coming at too high a price, it is not clear how they could force Iranian troops and their Shia militias allies out of Syria.  Iran has invested heavily in propping up the Assad regime during years of fighting and is not likely to give up its presence easily. Assad’s battered forces are also still heavily dependent on Iranian-controlled militias as they try to conquer the remaining pockets of rebel-held territory in Syria.  Russia has provided the air power to help the Assad regime, while Iran has provided much of the ground forces Credit: Photo by Marina Lystseva\\TASS via Getty Images “Assad and the Russians still need the Shia militias to help them finish off what they have started Syria,” said Mr Tzuriel, the Israeli official. “That is part of the consideration and there is an issue of timing here. But that does not change my basic assessment that at the end of the day there is an opportunity now.” The US expressed alarm over the weekend that Syrian regime forces were massing for an assault on a rebel-held area in the southwest of the country, near the border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.  The area is part of a “de-escalation zone” where both Assad’s forces and rebel fighters are supposed to be observing a ceasefire. The agreement on the de-escalation zones were made last year between the US, Russia and Jordan.  Regime forces have launched attacks in de-escalation zones in other parts of Syria and met little protest from the US. But the southwestern zone is acutely sensitive because of its proximity to Jordan and Israel, both US allies.  The US warned that it would take “firm and appropriate measures” if Assad’s forces moved forward with the offensive. The Syrian regime has so far signaled it intends to move forward with the assault, despite American warnings. 


Florida Mom Missing Since Mother's Day Is Presumed Dead — and a Suspect Is Arrested in the Case

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 10:34

Florida police have arrested a woman in connection with the disappearance of a mom-of-three who didn’t pick up her children on Mother’s Day and hasn’t been seen since


Kremlin: permanent U.S. military presence in Poland would harm European security

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 10:14

The Kremlin expressed concern on Monday over media reports that Poland has requested a permanent U.S. military presence on its soil, saying NATO's expansion towards Russia's borders undermined stability in Europe. Warsaw could offer up to $2 billion in funding for such a military presence, according to a Polish Defense Ministry proposal reported by Polish media. A government source in Poland confirmed to Reuters such a proposal had been made.


Carl Bernstein Warns Of 'Authoritarianism' As Trump Repeatedly Attacks Mueller Probe

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 10:12

Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein warned President Donald Trump's attacks on


Video Shows Police Officer Punching Woman On New Jersey Beach

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 09:53

The police department of Wildwood, New Jersey, is investigating a viral video


Greece, Macedonia edge closer towards resolving name dispute

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 09:52

Greece and Macedonia have edged closer in their efforts to resolve a decades-old dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name, with their foreign ministers drafting documents which could pave the way for a settlement. Greece has long opposed Macedonia's right to call itself that, saying it amounts to a territorial claim on a northern Greek region of the same name. The dispute has blocked Macedonia's bid to join NATO and the European Union.


Woman held captive by boyfriend escapes after slipping note to veterinary staff, police say

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 09:21

Police arrested a man accused of holding his girlfriend prisoner at gunpoint after the quick-thinking woman was able to slip a message to staff at a veterinary clinic.


India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging virus

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 09:16

By Subrat Patnaik and D. Jose MUMBAI/KOCHI (Reuters) - India began a fresh round of tests to trace the origin of a rare brain-damaging virus that has killed 13 people, a health official said on Monday, as initial tests on animals suspected of carrying the Nipah virus showed no sign of the disease. All animal samples, including those from bats, cattle, goats and pigs from the southern state of Kerala, sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, were negative for Nipah, said animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas. The department was now collecting samples of fruit bats from Perambra, the suspected epicenter of the infection and nearby areas, Mohandas said.


'He has a gun:' Woman held captive by boyfriend slips note to veterinarian for help

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 09:02

Police say the woman convinced her boyfriend to take their dog to the veterinarian, where she slipped a note for help to a staff member.


EU moves to ban single-use plastics

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 08:38

The European Commission on Monday proposed banning single-use plastic products such as cotton buds and plastic straws and putting the burden of cleaning up waste on manufacturers in an effort to reduce marine litter. Under the proposal, single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives will be banned and replaced with more environmentally sustainable materials. The proposal also requires EU countries to collect 90 percent of single-use plastic drink bottles by 2025 and producers to help cover costs of waste management and clean-up.


Superdelegate issue still looms large as Democrats look to thwart Trump

Top Stories - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 08:00

Just five months before Democrats hope to send a resounding message to President Trump in midterm elections, their party is still divided on the hot-button issue of superdelegates.


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