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Democrats object to Trump infrastructure plan's direction (Associated Press) Democrats say they worry that Trump's plan will focus on trying to entice more private investment in transportation projects and reduce regulations that require environmental reviews and community consultation on projects rather than providing more government money to repair, replace and expand the nation's transportation network.
Hillary Clinton Explains Why She Really Lost to Trump (NBC News) Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Nicholas Kristoff of The New York Times while attending Tina Brown's eighth annual Women in the World Summit in New York City. While saying "There were things I could have done better," she said foyur primary causes of her loss were out of her control:
Twitter sues US over anti-Trump account (BBC News) Twitter is suing the US government after it demanded it reveal the identity of an anti-Trump account. The @ALT_USCIS profile was an anonymous profile account criticising President Trump’s immigration policy. The account claimed it was being run by federal employees at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Twitter has requested a court block the Trump administration’s request, calling it a matter of free speech.
Scotland could leave the UK, and join Canada instead, says author (BBC News) As Scotland pushes for a second referendum on independence, one man is asking the previously unthinkable - if you're going quit the UK, why not join Canada? Canadian writer Ken McGoogan says the unorthodox alliance makes sense. McGoogan first laid out his proposal in an opinion piece published in Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail, where he argued that advancements in telecommunication technology and transatlantic travel have rendered pesky things like geographical boundaries "irrelevant". Besides, he points out, Scotland is closer to Newfoundland than Hawaii is to California.
Britain's trade with Europe further illustrates that Britain has never been a trading nation, an illusion as following map shows the state of the European Union's single market in terms of trade imbalances between member states that Britain is the sucker in the room, being conned to the tune of Euro 200billion that goes towards employing a net several millions of German, Italian and Eastern European workers. So the only additional thing to note to that which I have written before is that Italy also hugely benefits at Britain's expense.
Syria war: US launches missile strikes in response to chemical 'attack' (BBC News) The US has carried out a missile attack against an air base in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town. The Pentagon said at 04:40 Syrian time (01:40 GMT), 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. In a televised address, President Donald Trump said the base was where Tuesday's attack was launched from. He called on "all civilised nations" to help end the conflict in Syria. Dozens of civilians, including many children, died in the suspected nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province. See more below.
In a vote, 183 Republicans voted against bombing the country. Only 12 Republicans, including then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), voted with the president to launch a strike. Ultimately, Congress did not approve the strike, with 243 Congressional members voting against it.
Syria 'chemical attack': What can forensics tell us? (BBC News) The recent incident involving chemical weapons in Syria demands an investigation. But from a technical perspective, what kind of forensic information can be gleaned from an incident like this? Finding evidence that connects the chemicals to the weapon system and the victims is critical to establishing a narrative that explains what happened in Idlib province. Chemical warfare forensics is heavily affected by the persistency or lack thereof of the chemicals involved.
The nerve agents all degrade in the environment, both by evaporation and by contact with moisture or other chemicals.
Sarin evaporates quite quickly, usually faster than water.
Tabun, an older nerve agent, and Soman, a somewhat more expensive nerve agent, both evaporate slower than Sarin.
VX is highly persistent, and evaporates extremely slowly.
Finally, much can be learned from the fragments and residue of the weapon system itself, whether it be a rocket, shell, or improvised barrel bomb.
The size, shape, and method of dissemination (for example, explosive bursting) can give clues to how the incident happened.
Air-dropped bombs, for example, narrow the suspects to those with aircraft.
What Could Stop Trump From Launching a War in Syria? (The Atlantic) See also next article. It took less than a week for the Trump administration to completely reverse its policy on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On Friday, the White House said that Assad’s continued leadership of the war-torn country was “political reality." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people." UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said U.S. policy is “no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out."
That was then. Suddenly, after a chemical-weapons attack earlier this week, the U.S hasn’t just done a 180-degree rhetorical turn; it’s now talking about military options to remove Assad. On Thursday, Tillerson said “steps are underway" to remove him from power. CNN’s Dana Bash reported that President Trump has told members of Congress he’s considering military options. Reuters also reported Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis “are in detailed discussions on military options to respond to a poison gas attack in Syria that killed scores of civilians," with Mattis headed to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the weekend.
The U.S. Is Already Fighting in Syria (The Atlantic) The U.S. has targeted ISIS and other terrorist groups, not the Assad regime - though that might change soon. Last month, 400 Marines and Army Rangers arrived in Syria, joining the approximately 500 U.S. military personnel already in the country. These troops are officially not in front line roles. Separately, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the U.S. Army’s deputy chief of staff, told the Fayetteville Observer the United States was planning to send more than 2,500 paratroopers to Kuwait, where they will “be postured there to do all things Mosul, Raqqa, [and] all in between." Mosul has been the ISIS center in Iraq, Raqqa their capital in Syria.
Trump: Why I Launched a Missile Strike on Syria (NBC News) Trump spoke to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago club shortly after the U.S. missile strike just days after a chemical weapons attack attributed to Syrian leader Bashar al Assad killed dozens of innocent civilians:
"Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.
"We asked for God's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who passed. And we hope as long as America stands for justice and peace and harmony will in the end prevail.
"Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror."
The US warned the Russians ahead of Syria missile strikes: Official (CNBC) A U.S. official said the Russians had been warned before the U.S. launched at least 59 tomahawk missiles aimed at Syria, NBC News reported. NBC is working to confirm that account. The strikes, which hit an airfield near Homs, struck aircraft and infrastructure including the runway, NBC reported. There is no word on casualties yet, but no people were targeted, the official told NBC. No Russian assets were targeted, according to the report.
The Latest: Tillerson says Russia has 'failed' in Syria (Associated Press) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has "failed" in its responsibility to deliver on a 2013 commitment to secure Syria's chemical weapons. Tillerson briefed reporters shortly after the U.S. launched cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a gruesome chemical weapons attack. The secretary says Russia has either been complicit or "simply incompetent" in failing to deliver on its end of the agreement. The agreement was struck after a 2013 chemical weapons attack. President Barack Obama threatened air strikes at the time, but ultimately pulled back on military action.
Live: Putin says US airstrikes on Syria violate international law (Putin) The Kremlin has said the Syrian army doesn't have any chemical weapons. It npw says the strikes deal a significant blow to Russian-U.S. relations and will be a setback to creating an anti -terror coalition. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov:
"President Putin regards the US attacks on Syria as an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that."
Trump welcomes 'friend' China's Xi for talks (BBC News) US President Donald Trump has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Florida resort for their first summit. Mr Trump said the two men had "developed a friendship" as they sat for dinner at his Mar-a-Lago retreat. The American leader is expected to press his counterpart for action on North Korea, and Mr Xi to seek assurances on Taiwan. Mr Trump has said the summit "will be a very difficult one". Last year he accused China of "raping the US". The president said Thursday evening:
"We've had a long discussion already and so far I have gotten nothing!"
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