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  • Top GOP Donor Won’t Back Candidates Unless They Support Assault Weapons Ban news

    Following Wednesday’s shooting massacre at a Florida high school, a top Republican political donor has taken a stand for gun control ― by tightening his purse strings.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 02:52:17 -0500
  • Survivors of a New Mexico School Shooting Share Parkland’s Pain news

    Survivors from a shooting at Aztec High School last December have been reaching out to those impacted by the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida to help heal together.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:51:29 -0500
  • Israeli police arrest more executives from Bezeq Telecom news

    Israeli police made arrests on Sunday that included senior executives from Bezeq, the country's largest telecom group, after the markets watchdog uncovered new information during its investigation into the company. The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) has been investigating Bezeq over possible fraud and financial reporting offences and company officials, including its former chairman, were arrested in 2017. Israeli media reported investigators were looking into allegations that Bezeq received benefits in return for enabling favourable media coverage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 04:44:28 -0500
  • Trump Joins Mar-a-Lago Disco Party After Visiting Survivors Of School Shooting news

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended a party at Mar-a-Lago on Friday just hours after visiting first responders and wounded survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that killed 17 people.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 22:44:37 -0500
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif on Israel: ‘We Will Act if Necessary’ news

    In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Iran’s foreign minister commented on its tenuous relationship with Israel as well as on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:53:09 -0500
  • 7.2 quake damages homes, but Mexico avoids major destruction news

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico escaped major destruction from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that jolted southern and central parts of the country, authorities said Saturday, though 13 people were killed in the crash of a helicopter sent to assess the damage.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 17:20:03 -0500
  • Apple 'repeatedly calls emergency services' after multiple employees injured walking into glass panes at new HQ news

    Apple’s new 175-acre headquarters, centred on a glass ring which hosts 12,000 staff, has become an architectural fascination since the first designs were unveiled seven years ago. Apple employees reportedly keep walking into the glass panels which form the walls of the spaceship-like building. The building, in Cupertino, California, is surrounded by 50ft curved glass panels - the largest in the world.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 14:33:00 -0500
  • Teachers are being priced out of high-rent cities, but a solution could be on the way news

    San Francisco loses about 500 teachers every year—about 12.5% of its entire teaching staff —due to the soaring cost of housing.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:57:29 -0500
  • Activists Launch Voter Registration Drive At 'Black Panther' Screenings news

    The Movement for Black Lives has channeled the energy and excitement surrounding the opening weekend of Marvel’s “Black Panther” into a voting registration campaign. The movement’s Electoral Justice Project is organizing the #WakandaTheVote initiative that encourages moviegoers to register to vote at “Black Panther” screenings across the country. “The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of black leaders and organizations fighting every single day for the healthy and happy lives of Black folks,” activists Jessica Byrd and Kayla Reed told Blavity in an interview.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:49:32 -0500
  • Olympic Skier Ted Ligety’s Son 'Could Give 2 S***s That Daddy Sucked At Work' news

    U.S. alpine skier Ted Ligety may have had a tough time on the slopes at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Sunday.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 06:45:41 -0500
  • Pakistan child killer handed four death sentences news

    A Pakistani court Saturday handed four death sentences to a man charged with raping and murdering a six-year-old girl, in a case that shocked the country and sparked major riots in his home district. Imran Ali, 24, was on trial for killing Zainab Fatima Ameen in the eastern city of Kasur last month. Ali was handed four separate death sentences after being convicted of the rape and murder of Zainab, as well as terrorism charges, prosecutor general of Punjab province Ihtesham Qadir said after a special anti-terrorism court passed its judgement.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 08:33:38 -0500
  • Carnival probes security personnel's response to brawl in South Pacific cruise news

    By Jonathan Barrett SYDNEY (Reuters) - Carnival Corp , the world's largest cruise operator, said on Monday it was investigating the response of its security personnel to a brawl that broke out on one of its South Pacific cruises that resulted in 23 passengers being removed. The American-British company said in a statement that it was investigating "all aspects including the security response" of the incident, which was captured on video and posted on social media. The 10-day cruise to the South Pacific returned to the Australian southern city of Melbourne on Saturday, a day after 23 people were removed in the New South Wales (NSW) town of Eden for what the company described as "disruptive and violent acts".

    Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:18:44 -0500
  • ‘One Day At A Time’s’ Justina Machado: ‘It’s a universal story about family, told through the Latino lens’ news

    Actress Justina Machado talks changing the Latino narrative, #MeToo and the evolution of the all-American family.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 01:03:53 -0500
  • Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Calls On Governor To Halt AR-15 Sales news

    In the wake of Florida’s horrific school shooting, Gwen Graham, a Democratic candidate in the state’s gubernatorial race, called on Gov. Rick Scott to immediately suspend sales and permits of AR-15s and assault-style weapons.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:16:15 -0500
  • The Latest: Slain Chicago officer remembered as 'model cop' news

    CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the funeral for a Chicago Police commander killed in the line of duty (all times local):

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:23:34 -0500
  • Thirteen killed in Mexican quake zone helicopter crash news

    Thirteen people were killed in southern Mexico when a minister's helicopter crash-landed on its way to the epicenter of a powerful earthquake that rattled the region, officials said Saturday. The 7.2 magnitude quake caused only material damage when it struck late Friday, but it triggered a tragedy in the town of Santiago Jamiltepec in Oaxaca state, where the chopper landed on its side, crushing a van. On board the UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopter were Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca state Governor Alejandro Murat, who were unharmed.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 22:21:15 -0500
  • Netanyahu brandishes remnants of Iranian drone shot down in Israel as he warns against 'dangerous Iran tiger' news

    Benjamin Netanyahu opened a war of words with the Iranian foreign minister as he used a speech to brandish a piece of Iranian drone destroyed in Israeli airspace and warn that Iran was "greatest threat to our world". Holding what appeared to be a panel of the Iranian drone shot down last week amid rising tensions between the two powers, the Israeli leader asked Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister: "Do you recognize it? You should, it’s yours. Don’t test us." Speaking at a Munich security conference on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu appeared to threaten Iran with further retaliation, adding: "We will act if necessary not just against Iran's proxies, but against Iran itself." Mr Zarif, also speaking at the conference, later dismissed Mr Netanyahu's presentation as "a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response". He accused the Israeli prime minister of attempting to revive anti-Iranian "hysteria". Sunday's gesture comes scarcely a week after military escalation in Syria raised questions about Israel’s mantle of military supremacy in the Middle East. Protesters hold up a heart-shaped sign at a demonstration during the Munich Security Conference in Munich Credit: MICHAELA REHLE/ REUTERS Last Saturday Israel claimed an Iranian drone breached its airspace. An Israeli Apache attack helicopter destroyed it, and in a retaliatory move, Israeli fighter jets were scrambled to Syria, where they attacked a series of high-value targets. It was the largest battery of Israeli strikes on Syria since 1982, during Lebanon’s civil war. It also carried a heavy price: one of the Israeli jets was hit by Syrian fire, downing the plane. The two pilots ejected over Israel and one is seriously injured. For Mr Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption charges at home and may welcome the opportunity to flex some foreign policy muscle, the Munich symposium provided an opportunity to sound the alarm on rising Iranian power and gather support to defeat it. In Syria, the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah has played a pivotal role in supporting the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, all but ensuring his victory. Profile | Benjamin Netanyahu And in both Syria and Iraq, Iranian troops and Iran-backed militias have played a critical role in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Mr Netanyahu warned that Tehran sought to exploit the gap left by Isil for its own advance. He said Iran was “trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza". "This is a very dangerous development for our region,” said Mr Netanyahu. But Iran’s leadership scoffed at his claims. Mr Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Mr Netanyahu's presentation "a cartoonish circus". Iran nuclear talks Mr Zarif denied that Tehran was seeking "hegemony" in the Middle East. He also accused Israel’s top ally the US of using the conference to "revive hysteria" against Iran. US President Donald Trump has frequently called the nuclear deal a bad one. That view is shared by Mr Netanyahu, who said the 2015 Iran nuclear deal must be scrapped or rewritten in order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities. But signatories France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China say the deal cannot be revisited and Iran is holding up its end by allowing inspections. Former US secretary of state John Kerry also weighed in, saying it was wrong to assume Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon as soon as the 15-year scope of the deal ends. "If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent it ever catching fire again?" Kerry said. In his 2012 United Nations General Assembly address, Mr Netanyahu held aloft a cartoonish drawing of a bomb to illustrate his concerns about Iran’s progress towards making a nuclear weapon.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 07:59:15 -0500
  • Trolls Are Posting Fake Stories About Being Attacked At 'Black Panther' Showings news

    Audiences for this week’s “Black Panther” premiere went all-out in celebration, and the film’s opening weekend is expected to break records at the box office.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:51:33 -0500
  • LeBron James Speaks Out on Laura Ingraham's 'Shut Up and Dribble' Comments news

    MSNBC's David Gura and panel discuss the LeBron James/Laura Ingraham feud.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 07:17:08 -0500
  • After family's murder, father wants convicted son's life spared news

    Kent Whitaker, who survived a deadly domestic attack hatched by his son, is pushing the state of Texas to grant clemency to the condemned man, although it has never spared a death row inmate solely at the formal request of the victim's family. Jillian Kitchener reports.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 13:44:11 -0500
  • Why Donald Trump Fears Women news

    Multiple allegations of domestic abuse against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter appeared to provoke President Donald Trump to fire off this tweet last weekend: Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 08:00:10 -0500
  • Hunt for gunman who 'killed girl aged 4' news

    A police manhunt is under way in the US after a gunman shot and killed a four-year-old girl in a car. The child’s grandmother and three siblings, aged 7, 6, and 3, were sitting with her in the vehicle but were not hurt. A murder warrant has been issued for the arrest of the suspect, Darnell Bitting, who police described as “armed and dangerous”.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:11:59 -0500
  • Passenger says teen driver panicked, hit the gas outside NSA news

    FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A passenger in a vehicle that was fired upon outside the National Security Agency campus says the unlicensed teen driver made a wrong turn, panicked and hit the gas.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:38:58 -0500
  • What Happened To Norma's Brain? news

    AUSTIN, Texas ― For as long as she could remember, Norma Herrera had trouble getting to sleep.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 14:31:33 -0500
  • This dog's heartwarming rescue from a New York subway tunnel will bring you happy tears news

    One lucky pup found compassiom in a most unlikely place: The New York City subway. Dakota, aka Loppy the dog, was playing with her dog walker at a park in Brooklyn on Friday when the pooch managed to escape. Frightened, the poor pup ran to a place that she knew — the Jay St. station — and ended up inside the dangerous subway tunnel. SEE ALSO: How this startup is trying to bring dog toys into the 21st century "It’s a familiar place for her, we commute together every day. She entered, ran across the platform, and at some point either fell or jumped in," Dakota's owner, Caroline Francis, posted to her Facebook.  The NYC subway runs off of an electrified third rail, so once notified, workers shut the trains down and cut power to the subway in order to save the dog.  A/C/F train riders, apologies for the delay- Dakota escaped from the dog park and- you guessed it- onto the tracks. Thank @MTA NYCT for the assist on the rescue, job well done by all, service back up & dog on the way to the vet for a minor injury- Appreciate everyone’s patience! — NYPD Transit (@NYPDTransit) February 16, 2018 After over an hour of searching, Francis says that things were looking "devastatingly bleak." She begged the MTA to let her onto the tracks to help search the miles of subway tunnels. "Then a miracle happened," Francis wrote. "An MTA officer took it upon herself to explore the tracks several stations away. And, against all odds, she found Loppy." Francis says the pup was bloodied, cold, dirty, and terrified, but miraculously OK.  "The joy I felt when the police officer showed me a photo and said 'is this her?' was all-consuming," she wrote. "Being reunited with this little creature is something more powerful than I can explain." The dog suffered some lung damage, lost a few teeth, and fractured her jaw, according to the New York Daily News. She is currently being treated at Pearl Blue hospital, but is expected to make a speedy recovery. MTA Supervisor Sanya Hill, who found the pup about a mile away from where she entered the subway, says she spotted Loppy curled up at the back of the subway platform. “I had my flashlight out and I was looking and then I saw the dog,” Hill told the News. “I didn't want her to bite me, I didn't want to scare her any more than she was. She was already shaking and already curled up all the way to the back of the platform.” Francis ended her Facebook post with a heartwarming message to all of the New Yorkers who likely complained for hours about how their commute was interrupted. "New York can feel like a cold, hard city," Francis wrote. "But this city—the NYPD and MTA in particular—rallied around me at my darkest hour. They saved my best friend. That warmth and support moves me in a way I can’t explain. To all the commuters who got stuck for 60+ minutes, know that your sacrifice saved her life—thank you. I've been so touched by all who have reached out with kind words." WATCH: Your cat can achieve ultimate chill with this portable hammock

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:39:07 -0500
  • Tillerson to N.Korea on talks: 'I'm listening' news

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview to air Sunday that he is "listening" for signs that North Korea is ready to engage in direct talks. An Olympic-driven thaw in relations between Kim Jong Un's nuclear armed North Korean regime and South Korea has raised speculation that direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang could be on the horizon after months of sharp tension and heated rhetoric.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:17:38 -0500
  • Government urges councils to waive road closure charges for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding news

    The government is urging councils to waive their charges for road closures on May 19, in the hopes of encouraging Britain to celebrate the Royal wedding with thousands of street parties. The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will fall on a Saturday, the same day as the FA Cup final, with leaders hoping the mood of celebration will buoy the public. They today launch a “handy guide” to throwing a street party, reminding keen organisers to get in touch with local councils in good time to plan road closures and insurance. Information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government States: “Many councils, from Bromley to Salford, have already announced that they are waiving charges for street party road closures, making it easier and cheaper than ever to hold celebrations. “The government is urging other councils to follow suit.” The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011 saw bank holiday street parties held throughout Britain, including on Downing Street. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Cardiff, in pictures There will be no extra day off for the marriage of Prince Harry, fifth-in-Line to the throne, and Meghan Markle, who wed at Windsor Castle on May 19 before taking a carriage ride around the town to greet those who have turned up to see them. Chris Gittins, who runs, said the celebrations will show a “fantastic part of British culture", adding: “It's a rare excuse to meet neighbours really, a traditional excuse to meet neighbours in a relaxed atmosphere.” Guy Oliver, from the Old Barn Inn in Glooston, said they would be throwing a street party to encourage people to “come together in a community”. "It'll be a few union jacks and we're going to serve food to everyone's taste,” he said. Sandra Hastings, founder of Newcastle-based charity Silverline Memories which helps those with dementia, said she is planning a “good old-fashioned party with bunting, and red white and blue balloons, and trestle tables with tonnes of homemade food". "At our charity we provide people with the opportunity to do things they wouldn't have done otherwise, and take any excuse for a knees up,” she said. Jake Berry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State said: “We’ve made it easier than ever for local residents from all backgrounds to come together to celebrate the royalwedding and we hope councils will get into the spirit by helping people wishing to organise street parties. “With the FA Cup final taking place on the same day, there's never been a better reason to hold a street party and our updated guidance makes clear the steps residents need to take to ensure an enjoyable and safe day is had by all.”

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 19:01:00 -0500
  • Sally Field Is Playing Matchmaker Between Adam Rippon And Her Son news

    Sally Field appears to be gunning for a new accolade: best supporting mom.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 13:33:18 -0500
  • Turkey denies allegation of chemical attack in Syria news

    Turkey never used chemical weapons in its operations in Syria, and takes the utmost care of civilians, its foreign minister said, after Syrian Kurdish forces and a monitoring group accused it of carrying out a gas attack in Syria's Afrin region. Turkey has never used any kind of chemical weapons," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters at the Munich Security Conference.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:00:06 -0500
  • Olympic Analyst Laments Hockey Player's 'Unfortunate' Domestic Abuse Incident news

    NHL analyst Mike Milbury referred to one hockey player’s domestic abuse conviction as an “unfortunate incident,” as he offered commentary for NBC’s coverage of the men’s match between Team USA and the Olympics Athletes from Russia on Saturday.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 11:03:45 -0500
  • Florida Shooting: Suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz was 'investigated for cutting himself' news

    The man accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school had reportedly been investigated for self-harm and saying he wanted to buy a gun. Suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz spurred investigations by law enforcement and welfare officials after cutting his arms and professing a desire to purchase firearms on social media, according to records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The FBI has acknowledged that it failed to investigate a tip last month that Mr Cruz owned guns and had the “desire to kill”, leading Florida governor Rick Scott to demand the resignation of FBI director Christopher Wray.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:12:16 -0500
  • 2 bears burned in California wildfire spotted in the wild news

    GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — Officials tracking two bears that were badly burned in the largest wildfire in California history say the animals are settling back into their home in the wild after receiving unusual treatment for their injured paws.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:19:59 -0500
  • Florida school shooting survivors demand gun control at emotional rally news

    Students and teachers who survived a mass school shooting in Florida have issued emotional and urgent calls for gun control at a rally. Seventeen students and teachers were killed when an assailant opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:23:00 -0500
  • These Are the 5 Best Glock Handguns on the Market news

    The Glock 17 handgun shook up the gun industry in a big way. Gaston Glock’s polymer pistol masterpiece, with its emphasis on ruggedness and reliability, swept the military and law-enforcement world and conquered the civilian market. Slowly, the company has introduced new handguns, all based on the original design, to compete in virtually every niche of the handgun market, from large-bore semiautomatics to discreet concealed carry.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:50:00 -0500
  • Indonesia inks $1.1 bn deal with Russia to buy 11 jets news

    Indonesia has inked a billion-dollar deal to buy 11 Sukhoi Su-35 jets from Russia, an official said Saturday. The contract, signed by both countries' representatives in Jakarta on Wednesday, is worth a total $1.14 billion, Indonesia defence ministry spokesman Totok Sugiharto said. The deal comes after Indonesia said in August that it would seek to trade palm oil, coffee and tea for Russian fighter jets, saying it wanted to capitalise on international sanctions on Moscow.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 11:14:27 -0500
  • Pope revives sexual abuse panel news

    The Vatican said Saturday it has renewed its anti-paedophile panel as Pope Francis acts to quell the global scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests. The panel had come under fire from two high-profile members, former sex abuse victims who quit at what they saw as a lack of reform and obstruction at the highest level of the Catholic Church. Victims have come forward from across the world over the past two decades accusing priests of sex crimes, unleashing one of the biggest crises faced by the Catholic Church.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 11:39:11 -0500
  • Parents Capture Last Time Young Daughter With 'Childhood Alzheimer's' Says 'I Love You' news

    They didn't know it would be the last time.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:27:52 -0500
  • Saudi Arabia welcomes push for U.N. action against Iran on missiles news

    By Andrea Shalal MUNICH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its "exports of ballistic missiles" to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and "radical and aggressive" behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 08:02:21 -0500
  • This Is Why You Don't Ask Jamie Foxx About Katie Holmes news

    Actors Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes are presumably a couple.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 07:56:10 -0500
  • Feds say woman on private jet to Philippines smuggled cash

    HONOLULU (AP) — A woman headed for the Philippines aboard a private jet leaving Honolulu lied about the amount of cash she had when inspectors found $335,000 in her carry-on bag, prosecutors said.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 22:38:41 -0500
  • Man shot in head at IHOP following argument between customers news

    Authorities say one man is in critical condition following an early morning shooting at IHOP.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:14:03 -0500
  • Florida shooting: Victim's mother invokes Donald Trump's son Barron in gun control plea news

    The grieving mother of a Florida school shooting victim has invoked Donald Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron, as she called on the President to protect American school children by introducing proper gun control laws. Lori Alhadeff’s emotionally charged outburst will add to the pressure on a President who has so far avoided all mention of gun control after 17 people died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Speaking after spending two hours arranging the funeral of her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, a tearful Ms Alhadeff looked into a CNN news camera and told Mr Trump: “President Trump, Barron goes to school.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:14:00 -0500
  • Scientists discover painting hidden behind Picasso masterpiece news

    Scientists examining a work by Pablo Picasso using x-ray technology have discovered that he painted it over a landscape painting by an unknown artist. It was painted during Picasso's Blue Period, when he mainly used monochromatic shades of blue and blue-green. The researchers' technique allowed them to study the painting in-depth in just 24 hours, and revealed the horizontal landscape created by a different Barcelona painter, whose identity remains unknown, under the visible surface of Picasso's painting.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:57:00 -0500
  • Putin’s shock troops - how Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria news

    It was one of Isil’s biggest cash cows, a strategic prize crucial to the Kremlin and Bashar Assad’s plans to re-establish his rule over Syria. But the assault on Conoco oilfield near Deir Ezzor earlier this month ended in disaster, sparking the first deadly combat between Americans and Russians since the Vietnam War and embarrassing Vladimir Putin just weeks before an election.  It also cast an unwelcome light on one of the worst kept secrets of Russia’s war in Syria - its increasing reliance on unacknowledged and illegal mercenaries. “These were shock troops, and they would take any position, fulfil any task,” said Alexander Averin, a veteran of the pro-Russian militias in east Ukraine and friend of one of the Russians who was killed. Mr Averin said Kirill Ananyev, 33, was a fellow member of the radical “national Bolshevik” political party Other Russia and had also fought in eastern Ukraine.  He said that Ananyev, whom he had known since 2001, had been working for a private military company when he was killed. He would not name the company, but other casualties have been linked to the secretive Wagner group. Kirill Ananyev, a Russian private military contractor in Syria who was killed in US airstrikes on 7 February Credit: Twitter Russian media have published the names of nine Russian fighters who were killed in the assault on February 7, and the foreign ministry finally admitted on Thursday that five Russian citizens had died.  Some media reports have put the number of Russian casualties in the hundreds, however, and relatives and a former member of parliament have called for answers.  “I want everyone to know about my husband, and not just about my husband, but about all the guys who died there so stupidly,” Yelena Matveyeva, whose husband Stanislav was killed, told the regional news site “They sent them like pigs to the slaughter!” The debacle unfolded on the evening of 7 February, when hundreds of mysterious fighters began charging toward a Syrian Democratic Forces position near the oilfield under cover of artillery, tank and rocket fire, according to the US military. In response, US special forces embedded with the mostly Kurdish SDF called in artillery fire and strikes from fighter jets and B-52 bombers that effectively destroyed the “battalion sized force” they were facing. Mr Averin told the Telegraph that 500 Russians were in Deir Ezzor at the time, and that many of them were now dead and wounded. After Stanislav Matveyev, who was believed to work for the Wagner group, was killed, his wife spoke out against the Kremlin denials of Russian casualties Credit: Twitter It is not entirely clear whether the Russian high command authorised the attack, and some believe that Wagner mercenaries were working for local pro-Assad businessman to take the lucrative site. According to a Syrian government contract seen by Fontanka and AP, a Russian company linked to the Wagner group was to receive 25 percent of profits from oil and gas fields its contractors could capture. Others have suggested the Kremlin allowed the preventable defeat, which also saw Syrian troops killed, to happen as a warning to an increasingly independent Mr Assad as well as Iran, his other major backer.  “You need to be in line with our policies in Syria or you'll get bombed,” was Moscow's message to them, said Yury Barmin of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think-tank close to the Kremlin.  A US drone destroys a pro-regime tank near Deir Ezzor days after the airstrikes that killed numerous Russians Credit: CNN Ostensibly designed to support a long-time ally and defeat the Islamic State, Mr Putin's bombing campaign in Syria was supposed to be a television war, providing footage of impressive Russian airstrikes without any body bags to ruin the mood.  To assuage fears of a repeat of the disastrous Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Mr Putin said it would be solely an air operation lasting no longer than Mr Assad's counter-offensive But Syrian forces reportedly proved ineffective even with the help of Russian advisors and special forces. Kremlin-linked contractors allowed Moscow to run a covert land operation while denying it had boots on the ground. “The big battles, the intense battles with casualties, that's all Russian mercenaries,” said Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team, a research group who track Russian military activity abroad.  A Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombs targets in the Deir Ezzor region in November Credit: TASS via Getty Images Some 3,000 Russians have fought for the Wagner group, the biggest of the private military companies, in Syria since 2015, according to documents seen by the independent news outlet Fontanka.  It said 73 of them had died before 7 February, exceeding the 46 official Russian military casualties. The US airstrikes against the Russian contractors have raised an alarming risk of direct great-power confrontation in Syria as external players vie to consolidate their interests following the defeat of Islamic State.  Within the last two weeks, al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels shot down a Russian jet, Kurdish fighters have downed a Turkish helicopter, Israel downed an Iranian drone and the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16. “Now that the fighting with ISIS is more or less over, every global player in the war is attempting to draw its own sphere of influence in Syria,” Sami Nadir, of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, told the Telegraph. “They used to fight each other through their proxies, now they’re just going head-to-head.” Benjamin Netanyahu holds up what he said was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday Credit: AFP PHOTO / MSC Munich Security Conference / LENNART PREISS America wants to limit Iran and keep the Kurds - its greatest ally against Isil - on side, while not agitating its Nato ally Turkey. Russia has been trying to keep a balance between its allies Turkey, Israel and Iran, to little avail. “The new phase in the Syrian conflict makes the anti-ISIS war look like a stroll in the park,” said Bilal Saab, an expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “This has the potential to turn into a regional war.” Yet news of the contractors' deaths has remained largely unknown in Russia under a state television blackout: The website of the main state news programme published a report, only to delete it the same day. A Syrian pro-regime fighter wounded in the 7 February battle in Deir Ezzor Credit: AFP Photo/Getty Images “It's like the story with the Pskov paratroopers who died in Ukraine,” said Lev Gudkov, head of the independent Levada survey centre. “The information was blocked for a long time, then denied, and it spread only in close-knit circles, it didn't become a fact of public opinion, and I fear it will be the same picture here.” Nonetheless, Mr Putin, whose withdrawal announcement was welcomed by most Russians, finds himself in a bind: The Syria peace talks he sponsored in Sochi last month devolved into infighting and the conflict is edging toward what Mr Nadir called a “full-blown international crisis”. “The era of cooperation is over,” he said. “It’s a Cold War scenario.” The Wagner group | Russia's secret mercenaries in Syria

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:58:37 -0500
  • Nigeria frees 475 Boko Haram suspects for lack of evidence news

    Nigeria has freed another 475 Boko Haram suspects following a series of mass trials in which most cases were dropped for lack of evidence, the justice ministry said Sunday. Over the course of the week, hundreds of suspected Boko Haram extremists have appeared before a court at the Kainji military base in central Niger state. The release order was issued on Friday, with the 475 suspects to be returned to their home states for "proper rehabilitation" before being sent back to their families, ministry spokesman Salihu Othman Isah said.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 08:34:40 -0500
  • Palmreaders? Japan team builds second skin message display news

    Palmreading could take on a whole new meaning thanks to a new invention from Japan: an ultra-thin display and monitor that can be stuck directly to the body. Takao Someya, the University of Tokyo professor who developed the device, envisions it as a boon for medical professionals with bed-ridden or far-flung patients, as well as family living far from their relatives.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 21:18:48 -0500
  • U.N. council mulls condemning Iran over Yemen's Houthis' getting missiles news

    By Michelle Nichols (Reuters) - - Britain, the United States and France want the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group and commit to take action over the sanctions violations, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Saturday. The draft text to renew U.N. sanctions on Yemen for another year would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” Britain drafted the resolution in consultation with the United States and France before giving it to the full council on Friday, diplomats said.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:51:16 -0500
  • Zimbabwe president sees deceased opposition leader's family news

    HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's president Sunday visited the home of deceased opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pay condolences to his family and to urge unity as power struggles within the opposition have heightened tensions.

    Sun, 18 Feb 2018 08:27:14 -0500
  • Family of woman killed by police may not see full $37M award news

    BALTIMORE (AP) — The family of a Maryland woman who was fatally shot by police two years ago may never receive the entire $37 million it was awarded in a lawsuit this week.

    Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:31:42 -0500
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