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Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pullout
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:39:13 -0400

Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pulloutSyria's Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey's invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos. The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.


HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 06:53:29 -0400

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.


Merkel Says Germany and France Should Deepen Relationship
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 05:36:13 -0400

Merkel Says Germany and France Should Deepen Relationship(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.Germany and France should deepen their relationship and coordinate policies more intensively, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly podcast, ahead of a Franco-German ministerial meeting Wednesday.Merkel and several German ministers will travel to Toulouse next week to meet French counterparts and discuss how to intensify political coordination. For example, both governments should agree on common positions before each European Council meeting, she said.Germany and France are the motors of European security and defense policy, Merkel said. Wednesday’s talks will also deal with defense issues such as the next steps in developing European tanks and an airplane, according to the chancellor.Before the talks, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse. The company is the “probably most important project of Franco-German collaboration of the past decades,” Merkel said.Germany and France also plan to foster contacts between citizens of both countries in areas near their border. She said other plans include the foundation of cultural institutes and a fund to facilitate such projects.To contact the reporter on this story: David Verbeek in Frankfurt at dverbeek1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Schaefer at dschaefer36@bloomberg.net, Thomas MulierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens charged
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:46:28 -0400

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens chargedOhio investigators say the six-foot log was pushed or thrown off the cliff in the Hocking Hills State Park. Two teens have been charged.


Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is found
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:13:57 -0400

Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is foundThe family of a missing Utah tech executive has called off a search for her after police reported that a body was found inside a parked car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Police in San Jose said the body was discovered Saturday in an area where Erin Valenti's family had been searching. "While we were praying for a different outcome, we are so appreciative for the help and support you have given," according to a Facebook post by the group Help Find Erin Valenti.


Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wall
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:35:24 -0400

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wallAn 18-foot replica of President Trump’s border wall has been climbed in a matter of seconds by an 8-year-old girl and a man who returned for another attempt while juggling with one hand.


BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:00:00 -0400

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?Will Beijing's strategy work?


Nancy Pelosi doesn't have to hold House impeachment inquiry vote. But the speaker should.
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 20:49:25 -0400

Nancy Pelosi doesn't have to hold House impeachment inquiry vote. But the speaker should.Donald Trump is wrong on what the Constitution needs on impeachment inquiry. But a full House vote would give investigators a stronger hand: Our view


Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:54:00 -0400

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign OfficeThe US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.


U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into Region
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:18:59 -0400

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into RegionKhalil Ashawi/ReutersAmid a Turkish assault, the Kurds, or Syrian Democratic Forces, have struck a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that will bring forces loyal to Assad back into areas that have been under Kurdish control for years.“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government—whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty—for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression [by Turkey],” the Kurds said in a statement.Once the agreement was made Sunday night, Syrian Assad troops began moving into towns near the border with Turkey where Turkish forces have been encroaching since President Trump announced that he was withdrawing American forces from the region earlier this week.The agreement appears to undermine any expectation that United States might continue to assist the Kurds—Washington’s allies against ISIS—as they are attacked by Turkey. In the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, with a Turkish invasion carried out just days later, American forces were unable to carry out a move of about 60 “high value” ISIS detainees out of wartime prisons run by the Kurds, The New York Times reports. The chaos also made way for hundreds of ISIS prisoners on Sunday to escape from a low-security detention camp in the area.In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday that the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat farther away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces had been trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody, and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back from—not completely out of—northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path—passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that such a possibility did not concern him. “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN, which reported that at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders on the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When moderator Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside U.S. troops. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks, and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ISIS could see a revival in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the terror group in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Blizzard Entertainment cuts punishment for HK gamer in protests row
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:41:05 -0400

Blizzard Entertainment cuts punishment for HK gamer in protests rowBlizzard Entertainment has reduced the punishment that it dealt out to a Hong Kong-based Hearthstone esports player for his public support of pro-democracy protests in the city, after its decision sparked controversy among players and the public. The U.S. games publisher, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, said last week that it would suspend the player Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai from competition for a year and strip him of prize money after he called for the liberation of Hong Kong in a post-game interview. The decision made the company the latest corporate name to get caught up in tensions relating to the Hong Kong protests, garnering it support in China but also drawing criticism from fans, players and commentators in the West, some of whom said that they would stop working with Blizzard as a result of its decision.


Ecuador’s Scorned Indigenous Rise Up as Moreno’s Biggest Threat
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -0400

Ecuador’s Scorned Indigenous Rise Up as Moreno’s Biggest Threat(Bloomberg) -- Freddy Heredia this week downed his tools, left his wife and his bean and squash fields in Ecuador’s mountains behind and joined tens of thousands of his fellow indigenous farmers for the biggest anti-government protests in a generation.The fuel price increases imposed last week as part of an International Monetary Fund-backed austerity drive will make his precarious existence even tougher, he said Friday. So Heredia and a group of neighbors packed into the bed of a rented pickup. They jounced over potholed roads to Quito, the capital, where for a week demonstrators and police have clashed in the streets.Indigenous Ecuadorians represent about 7% of the population, and historically have been impoverished and dispossessed. But over the past week they have led the opposition to President Lenin Moreno, bringing large swathes of the nation to a standstill with strategically placed road blocks. Moreno’s move to end fuel subsidies was welcomed by the IMF, since they cost the government $1.4 billion per year, but Heredia said the move will bring misery to him and his neighbors.“To others, these reforms might look like progress, but for us it means underdevelopment and higher living costs,” Heredia said in an interview Friday in a house in Quito used by indigenous groups as a refuge, supply center and aid station.Just before Heredia spoke, there were shouts of “Injured! Injured!”, and the first of the day’s wounded were brought in for treatment. One man had swollen eye and another a leg splinted with wood from a broken chair. Both said they’d been hit by tear gas canisters in a confrontation with the police near the nation’s congress building.The public ombudsman’s office puts the death toll associated with the protests at five, with the number of arrests estimated at roughly 1,000.Costs DoubledMost indigenous Ecuadorians work in the rural economy, which has run on subsidized fuel since the 1970s, and Moreno’s decision to end it overnight threw it into crisis. The government eliminated subsidies on gasoline and diesel Oct. 2, which caused a 30% rise in low-octane gasoline prices while diesel prices more than doubled.“Our comrades have told us that the cost of tilling per hectare has already doubled,” said Freddy Maila, 35, whose family works a property in San Miguel de Collacoto in the Chillos Valley east of Quito.Heredia, 33, and his wife work on an eight-hectare (20-acre) plot in the arid Guayllabamba Valley north of Quito that they share 130 people. They till the land by hand. Much of the cultivation is done by women, while the men go into the city to look for work in trades such as construction and gardening.Heredia and his wife consume much of the food they produce. Beyond that, they spend about $100 per month on food for themselves, such as chicken from a neighbor or canned tuna, and about $40 per month on utilities in their shack.Among Ecuador’s PoorestTo take his produce to the local market by pickup, Heredia needs to spend about $120 a month, a price he fears will soar with the end of the subsidies. Some debt-laden farmers say they face ruin unless the policy is reversed. Initial opposition to the fuel price rises was led by transport organizations and trade unions, but indigenous groups took over leadership when they arrived in cities en masse.Ecuador’s indigenous people are the descendants of groups who have lived in the nation’s Andes mountains and Amazonian rain forest from time immemorial, who were reduced to serfdom by Spanish colonialists. They face various degrees of discrimination at the hands of the nation’s white and mestizo population, and tend to be among the nation’s poorest inhabitants.They’ve been gaining political strength since the the 1980s, as they became more organized, and indigenous organizations played major roles in popular unrest during the 1990s and early this century that unseated three presidents. Now, they’re Moreno’s most forbidding obstacle.Their strong presence in Andean rural communities has made it easy for then to virtually shut down large areas of Ecuador by blocking roads through the mountains.In Quito, farmers arrived dressed in ponchos that vary in color and style depending on their region, and some have traditional spears. Many young men mask their faces, and wear hard hats and carry makeshift shields for street fighting. They go to demonstrations armed with clubs, rocks and Molotov cocktails.Protesters have clashed daily with the police, and have continually upped their demands. Leaders initially called for a restoration of canceled fuel subsidies, then that Moreno leave office and, on Thursday, their umbrella group issued a statement saying the protests won’t stop until the IMF leaves Ecuador.‘’It’s imperative to stop the violence,” Moreno said in a brief televised message Friday. “I call on the leaders to have direct dialogue with me,” even to discuss his decree ending the subsidies.But Heredia said he and his comrades would remain determined, steeled to opposition by a life that has him budgeting his pennies for canned tuna and a once-a-month splurge on beef he shares with his wife in a home that measures just 3-by-7 meters.“They say whoever has a lot of kids has no television but we have neither,” he said. “How could I have kids when the economy is in this state?To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Bristow in Bogota at mbristow5@bloomberg.net;Stephan Kueffner in Quito at skueffner1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Stephen Merelman, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Caravan of 2,000 migrants detained in southern Mexico
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:49:08 -0400

Caravan of 2,000 migrants detained in southern MexicoMexican officials broke up a caravan of around 2,000 migrants that had set out from southern Mexico Saturday in the hopes of reaching the United States, amid increasing difficulty obtaining permission to pass through Mexico. Many of the migrants who departed from Tapachula, Chiapas early in the morning had been held up in this city just north of Guatemala for weeks or months, awaiting residency or transit papers from Mexican authorities. "I want to pass through Mexico, I don't want to live here," said Amado Ramirez, a migrant from Honduras who said he had been living on the streets of Tapachula with his young children and wife, hoping for a transit visa from Mexican officials.


Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stops
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:31:10 -0400

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stopsNorwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.


Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:40:37 -0400

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police sayCity’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.


Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster Bomb
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400

Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster BombHuge and very powerful.


Hong Kong police make arrests as small flashmob protests erupt
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:21:04 -0400

Hong Kong police make arrests as small flashmob protests eruptHong Kong riot police spent much of Sunday afternoon skirmishing with small groups of masked pro-democracy protesters who held flashmob gatherings in multiple locations -- although crowds were smaller and less violent than recent weekends. In the district of Mongkok, riot police burst from an unmarked van that had screeched up to a blockade made of bamboo scaffolding poles and quickly chased down multiple protesters who were pinned to the ground and detained. In Tai Po district, officers charged into a mall where protesters had tagged a number of businesses with slogans with at least two arrests made.


Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social services
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:28:57 -0400

Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social servicesA mother who says her two children were wrongfully taken into care shortly after their ninth birthday by Dutch social services intends to launch legal action against the authorities who handled the case. On March 23, 2012, Nikolai and Anastasia Antonova were removed from their mother’s care. Among the reasons cited for their removal was that the children spoke their mother Jelena’s native language Russian at home, not Dutch. Social workers also claimed their mother might flee with them to Latvia to escape the children’s estranged father. The children had “severely conflicting loyalties” to their parents, social workers who were working closely with their father said. The children had previously said they were frightened of their father and did not want to see him again. The original care order was instituted for a year but was subsequently extended on several occasions. Ms Antonova alleges that the children were held without the right legal permission. The Dutch Court of Appeal made repeated rulings that the children should be reunited with their mother but these were overturned when the child protection board, part of the justice ministry, sought the extension of the care order in a lower family court. The family’s case was first highlighted by the late Christopher Booker in a series of columns for The Sunday Telegraph. The case was also raised in the European parliament in March 2014. MEPs were shown a video of the children being taken away from their home, captured by their brother Ilja Antonovs.   The children were eventually permanently reunited with their mother in November 2014 after two years and eight months when a judge ruled that they should never have been removed from their mother’s care. The order followed a report from a family psychologist Dr De Jong who concluded that Ms Antonova was not guilty of neglect. Jelena Antonova was subsequently granted permission to question, under oath, social workers who handled the case and officials from two different authorities connected to the children’s care. On June 18 and September 2 Ms Antonova questioned social workers and is now preparing to sue three parties linked to the ordeal; Salvation Army Youth Protection, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the youth protection service of Gelderland province. During the questioning, a number of flaws in the conduct of youth care emerged, the family claims.  They are now suing the three parties for the “unlawful and careless removal of the children”, claiming they are liable “for the damage suffered and to be suffered” by the family. Youth Protection said it is prohibited from commenting on individual cases. The Netherlands Salvation Army said it does not respond to individual cases but pointed out that Salvation Army Youth Protection always acts under the instruction of the Dutch legal authorities. The Ministry of Justice and Security and Gelderland youth protection did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week.


Kurds strike deal with Syrian government amid Turkish onslaught
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:17:31 -0400

Kurds strike deal with Syrian government amid Turkish onslaughtPresident Trump's decision to move U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey to launch an assault against the Kurds, prompted the Kurds on Sunday to reach a protection deal with the Syrian government.Under this agreement, Syrian government troops will be able to enter Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria for the first time in years, The New York Times reports. The United States and the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia, spent the last several years as allies, fighting against the Islamic State.There are still ISIS sleeper cells in Syria, and many fear that the Turkish invasion could lead to the terror group's resurgence. Thousands of suspected ISIS supporters are being held in prisons guarded by Kurds, and hundreds escaped during fighting on Saturday and Sunday. Two U.S. officials told the Times the military recently tried to transfer five dozen "high value" ISIS detainees, but feeling betrayed, the Kurds said no.The Syrian government, which counts Iran and Russia as its allies, said on Sunday it will fight the "Turkish aggression," while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his troops have control over about 70 square miles of territory in northern Syria. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday morning announced all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria, in order to stay out of the crossfire.


UPDATE 1-Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:53:22 -0400

UPDATE 1-Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate actionIn a joint declaration, climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and others from at least 20 countries broke with the caution traditionally associated with academia to side with peaceful protesters courting arrest from Amsterdam to Melbourne. Wearing white laboratory coats to symbolise their research credentials, a group of about 20 of the signatories gathered on Saturday to read out the text outside London's century-old Science Museum in the city's upmarket Kensington district. "We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law," said Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology.



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