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Dying days of caliphate in Syria as IS fighters trappedJihadist fighters defending the last dreg of the Islamic State group's "caliphate" Saturday were holed up in half a square kilometre of a village in eastern Syria. President Donald Trump had announced that the fall of the IS proto-state would be declared Saturday, but a Syrian commander said his US-backed forces slowed down their advance to protect civilians. The jihadists declared a "caliphate" in large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but have since lost all but a tiny patch of territory in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.


2/16/2019 1:16:31 PM

The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment 'important'VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the defrocking of former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick (all times local):


2/16/2019 5:21:31 PM

Iran rejects anti-Semitism allegation by PenceIran on Saturday rejected accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against it by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, saying it respected Judaism but opposed Israel, which Tehran said was acting like a "killing machine against the Palestinians". Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism on Friday after visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, maintaining his harsh rhetoric just a day after attacking European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. "Iran's historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, is recorded in reliable historic documents of various nations," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.


2/16/2019 9:15:13 AM

Venezuela expels Europe lawmakers as aid showdown intensifiesVenezuela on Sunday expelled five visiting European lawmakers, an act which opposition leader Juan Guaido branded "irrational" as his showdown with President Nicolas Maduro over the arrival of international aid intensifies. The members of the European Parliament were being tossed out with no explanation, said Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who led the group. "We are being expelled from Venezuela.


2/17/2019 10:44:14 PM

U.K. Lawmakers Recommend Harsher Penalties For Tech CompaniesDamian Collins, the policy maker who spearheaded the inquiry, called for Parliament to create new laws to help a proposed regulator oversee the industry, with fines for companies to be calculated based on their revenue. “Companies like Facebook exercise massive market power which enables them to make money by bullying the smaller technology companies and developers who rely on this platform to reach their customers,” Collins said in a statement Monday.


2/17/2019 6:01:00 PM

Trump 'united the opposition and divided' GOP with emergency move: Matthew DowdThe "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the president's national emergency declaration and the 2020 election.


2/17/2019 10:42:00 AM

Illinois Gunman Had a History of Domestic Violence and Was 'Stressed' Before ShootingGary Martin was convicted of stabbing a woman in Mississippi in 1994


2/16/2019 12:40:59 PM

Merck, Pfizer drug combo extends kidney cancer survival: studyNearly 90 percent of patients who received the combination therapy were still alive after 12 months compared with about 78 percent of patients who were alive after a year when treated with the older drug Sutent, data showed. Merck on Monday released interim data from the trial, saying the combination reduced the risk of death by 47 percent compared with Sutent. The findings add to an arsenal of positive clinical data for Keytruda, which is approved to treat several types of cancer, making it by far Merck's most important growth driver.


2/16/2019 4:19:30 PM

NASA posts image of ghostly blue objects, deep in the cosmosWhen a star is born, a chaotic light show ensues.  NASA's long-lived Hubble Space Telescope captured vivid bright clumps moving through the cosmos at some 1,000 light years from Earth. The space agency called these objects clear "smoking gun" evidence of a newly formed star — as new stars blast colossal amounts of energy-rich matter into space, known as plasma.  Seen as the vivid blue, ephemeral clumps in the top center of the new image below, these are telltale signs of an energy-rich gas, or plasma, colliding with a huge collection of dust and gas in deep space. As NASA says, these blue masses are transient creations in the cosmos, as "they disappear into nothingness within a few tens of thousands of years." Bright lights inside a nebula. Image: ESA/Hubble/NASA/K. Stapelfeldt These blue clumps are traveling at 150,000 mph toward the upper left direction (from our view, anyhow). In total, there are five of these ghostly clumps, hurtling through space.  SEE ALSO: Opportunity rover's last picture is as grim as it is dark NASA doesn't identify the new star itself, called SVS 13, perhaps because it's obscured by thick clouds of cosmic matter. This collection of dust and gas is part of a distant nebula, which are often the remnants of exploded stars swirling through the infinity of space. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


2/17/2019 10:19:53 AM

Donald Trump demands Britain puts jihadists on trial as Isil makes desperate last standDonald Trump has demanded Britain and its continental neighbours repatriate their captured Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters and put them on trial - or face the terrorists being set free to "permeate Europe." In a strongly-worded message tweeted late on Saturday night, the US president warned he would have little choice but to release approximately 800 "jihadists" currently held by American-backed Kurdish forces in Syria. He said now was the time for the ant-Isil coalition partners to "step up" and take over ownership of its rogue citizens who threaten the safety of Europe. Mr Trump's remarks came as the Sunday Telegraph exclusively revealed intense concern in Washington that "time is running out" to bring the terror group’s fighters to justice as coalition forces prepare to declare victory within days. "The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial," he wrote.  The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them........— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019 "The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.." "The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so  much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!" Time is rapidly running out to establish a coherent strategy with Isil fighters now controlling a pocket of land just 700 metres square in eastern Syria. At its height, the terror group controlled an area the size of Britain.     In a final gesture of defiance, surviving Isil militants on Sunday laid down roadblocks around their final redoubt to prevent an estimated 1,000 civilians trapped with them from leaving.   Mr Trump predicted victory would come on Saturday, but commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces commanders have slowed a push on the village of Baghouz with fears that civilians were being used as human shields.    SDF fighters man a checkpoint on the road leading to Bagouz, the last village under Isil control Credit:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images Europe On Saturday, the French army revealed a senior officer was facing punishment after publicly criticising coalition tactics.  Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier said an emphasis on minimizing risk to coalition personnel resulted in unnecessary civilian deaths and destruction of infrastructure that could feed resentment leading to another insurgency in future.  At least seven British Isil members, including two alleged members of the notorious ‘Beatles’ terror cell, are believed to have been captured and held in Syria. But an unknown number of others, including Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old child bride from Bethnal Green, are living in refugee camps and may also pose a threat to the UK.  According to a statement released by Miss Begum's family on Sunday, the teenager has just given birth to a baby boy. Mr Trump's comments put pressure on the British government to rethink its reluctance to commit to taking back the individuals. The village of Bagouz, Isil's ;ast enclave, is seen from an SDF hilltop position on February 14 Credit: Getty Images Europe/Chris McGrath Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary,  insisted last week he would “not hesitate” to prevent the return of anyone who supported terrorist organisations abroad. But yesterday SUN General Lord Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, said the UK had an obligation to accept its citizens. “Usually I disagree with Donald Trump, but on this occasion I think he’s right. “If there are … a large number of foreign fighters in captivity in Syria who originate from countries like the UK, then they are our citizens and we have a responsibility to act responsibly towards them. That means they have got to come back to this country.” And Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, echoed those views. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said: "It's clear, if you are dealing with a British citizen who  wants to return to this country and they're not a dual citizen - so their only citizenship is British citizenship - then we are obliged, at some stage at least, to take them back." ENDS


2/17/2019 12:31:11 PM

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