Syria: Turkey war planes launch strikes on Afrin

Image copyright AFP Image caption Turkish war planes hit Kurdish positions on the Syrian side of the border on Saturday Turkish war planes have launched air strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, in a move likely to cause tensions with the US. Turkey is seeking to oust Kurdish fighters from Afrin, held by them since 2012. Some of these forces helped the US to fight the Islamic State group. There are also reports of pro-Turkish Syrian rebels advancing on the city. Turkey says it is launching a full military operation against these Kurds – which it considers a terrorist
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The Pentagon says China and Russia are bigger problems for U.S. than terrorists. American voters may not agree.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks about the National Defense Review on Jan. 19 in Washington. China’s expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russia are among the U.S. military’s top national security priorities, the Pentagon said Friday. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press) A newly released Pentagon strategy document proposes a new vision of America’s national security priorities — one in which competition with China and Russia is more important to the United States than the fight against international terrorism. After almost two decades of a “war on terror” that came at huge expense but often had few tangible benefits, such a strategy would mark a noteworthy
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Conservatives criticize pope’s impromptu airborne wedding

Conservatives criticize pope’s impromptu airborne wedding  Crux: Covering all things Catholic Pope Francis in Peru Urges Society to Combat ‘Scourge’ of Corruption  U.S. News & World Report Pope offers stirring defense of indigenous peoples  Santa Fe New Mexican Gold is ‘false god’ fueling ‘slavery,’ pope says. Much of the metal ends up in Miami  Miami Herald The pope asks for forgiveness on sex abuse. But he refuses to act.  Washington Post Full coverage Source link
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Senate Democrats Kill Bill to Keep Government Open Past Midnight

The House-passed bill would fund government operations through Feb. 16, and extend funding by six years for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, a provision intended to secure Democratic votes. But Democrats were seeking concessions on other priorities, such as protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation, increasing domestic spending, securing disaster aid for Puerto Rico and bolstering the government’s response to the opioid epidemic. Graphic These Factions in Congress, Split Over ‘Dreamers,’ Could Lead to Government Shutdown A deal to avoid closing the federal government hinges on Senate Democrats, and some Republicans, who want to include protections for young undocumented
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Facebook punts identification of trustworthy news to users

Facebook is scrambling, once again, to address the trustworthiness of news shared on its platform. A week after announcing that news will be deprioritized from users’ news feeds, with the platform’s algorithm preferring posts from friends and family members over brands and publishers, the social media site says that where news appears, items from “trusted sources” will be given preference over other content. What defines a “trusted source,” however, will be left to its users. In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said: “We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not
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Government shutdown looms as Schumer reports progress but no deal with Trump

The House on Jan. 18 passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government running but Senate Democrats say they have enough votes to defeat the measure. (Bastien Inzaurralde,Jordan Frasier/The Washington Post) With hours left before a possible shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he and President Trump made “some progress” in a private meeting about keeping the government open but did not strike a final deal. “We have a good number of disagreements,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol upon returning from the White House. “Discussions will continue.” The meeting had set off alarms among congressional
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Baltimore police leader fired after record year in homicides

Following a record year in homicides, Baltimore’s mayor fired the city’s police commissioner, saying a change in leadership was needed to reduce crime more quickly. Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, a 30-year veteran of the force, will take Commissioner Kevin Davis’ place immediately, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Friday. “My decision is because I’m inpatient,” Pugh said at a news conference. “My decision is based on the fact that we need to get these numbers down. … I’m looking for new and creative, innovative ways to change what we’re seeing here every day.” Violent crime rates in Baltimore have been notoriously high
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

Telling your boss you’re pregnant can be harrowing experience at the best of times. Imagine if you have more than 4 million bosses. That’s what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did on Friday by announcing she and her partner Clarke Gayford were expecting their first child. She will take six weeks maternity leave — far less than the 22 weeks of paid parental leave that New Zealanders are entitled to. Gayford will be a stay-at-home dad when she returns to the business of running the Pacific island nation. Only a few elected leaders have been pregnant while in office.
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Pope Accuses Sex Abuse Victims in Chile of Slandering Bishop

Father Karadima was convicted by the Vatican in 2011 of abusing teenage boys beginning in the 1980s, and he was ordered to lead a “life of prayer and penitence.” That year, a judge found the allegations “truthful and reliable” but dismissed a criminal case because the statute of limitations had expired. Bishop Barros, a former military chaplain, was part of Father Karadima’s inner circle and, according to one of the victims, witnessed the priest’s advances on him. “As if I could have taken a selfie or picture while Karadima abused me or others and Juan Barros stood there watching it
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