Thursday, April 28, 2016

Exclusive: EU would divorce UK before any new relationship - sources Thursday April 28th, 2016 at 11:35 AM

Exclusive: EU would divorce UK before any new relationship - sources

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union would insist on completing a swift divorce with Britain before starting to forge any new relationship if UK voters decide in June to leave the 28-member bloc.
  

The Latest: Biden, Iraqi prime minister meet in Baghdad

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The Latest on Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Iraq (all times local):





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Syria Hospital Hit in Airstrike Blamed on Russia

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Dozens killed in an airstrike in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition groups say, blaming the attack on Russian warplanes.

Revered Chinese monk is mummified and covered in gold leaf

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A revered Buddhist monk in China has been mummified and covered in gold leaf, a practice reserved for holy men in some areas with strong Buddhist traditions.





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VP Biden makes surprise visit to Iraq to urge leaders to resolve crippling political crisis 

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VP Biden makes surprise visit to Iraq to urge leaders to resolve crippling political crisis.

Airstrikes on Hospital in Syria Kill 14 Patients and Staff, Says MSF 

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BEIRUT — A wave of nighttime airstrikes hit a hospital in Syria supported by Doctors Without Bordersand nearby buildings in the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo, killing at least 27
people as the U.N. envoy for Syria appealed early Thursday on the U.S. and Russia to help revive the peace talks and a cease-fire, which he said “hangs by a thread.”
Six hospital staff and three children were also among the casualties. The strikes, shortly before midnight Wednesday, hit the well-known al-Quds field hospital in the rebel-held district of Sukkari in Aleppo, according to opposition activists and rescue workers.
The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush blamed the government of President Bashar Assad for the deadly airstrikes. He told The Associated Press that the latest violence by government forces shows “the environment is not conducive to any political action.”
The Civil Defense, a volunteer first-responders agency whose members went to the scene of the attack, put the death toll at 30 and said
the dead included six hospital staff. Among those slain was one of the last pediatricians remaining in opposition-held areas of
the contested city and a dentist.
The agency, also known as the White Helmets, said the al-Quds hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes. It said there were still victims buried under the rubble and that the rescue work continued.
The
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 27 were
killed, including three children.Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym MSF,
said in a series of tweets also emailed to the AP that at least 14 patients and staff were among thosekilled, with the toll expected to rise.
“Destroyed MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo was well known locally and hit by direct airstrike on Wednesday,” it said.
A video posted online by the White Helmets showed a number of lifeless bodies, including those of children, being pulled out from a building and loaded into ambulances amid screaming and wailing. It also showed distraught rescue workers trying to keep onlookers away from the scene, apparently fearing more airstrikes.
Alloush, who was one of the leading negotiators of the opposition in the Geneva talks, described the airstrikes as one of the latest “war crimes” of Assad’s government.
“Whoever carries out these massacres needs a war tribunal and a court of justice to be tried for his crimes. He does not need a negotiating table,” Alloush told the AP in a telephone interview. “Now, the environment is not conducive for any political action.”
The February 27 cease-fire has been fraying in the past weeks as casualty figures from violence mount, particularly in Aleppo and across northern Syria. Airstrikes earlier this week also targeted a training center for the Syrian Civil Defense, leaving five of its team dead in rural Aleppo.
Since April 19, nearly 200 people have died, including at least 44 in an airstrike on a market place in rebel-held area in northern Idlib province, as well as dozens of civilians in government-held areas from rebel shelling.
The U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, briefed the U.N. Security Council via videoconference about the largely stalled indirect talks between the Western- and Saudi-backed opposition and envoys from Assad’s government, which has the backing of Moscow.
He said that after 60 days, the cessation of hostilities agreed to by both sides “hangs by a thread.”
“I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year,” de Mistura said in his council briefing obtained by The Associated Press. “Now I see parties reverting to the language of a military solution or military option. We must ensure that they do not see that as a solution or an option.”
The talks foundered last week after the main opposition group, called the High Negotiating Committee, suspended its formal participation in the indirect talks with Assad’s envoys to protest alleged government cease-fire violations, a drop in humanitarian aid deliveries and no progress in winning the release of detainees in Syria.
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Vice President Joe Biden Arrives in Baghdad to Help Solve Iraqi Political Crisis 

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(BAGHDAD)— Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on Thursday on a visit intended to help Iraqi leaders resolve a political crisis that has hindered efforts to defeat ISIS.
Biden landed at midday after an overnight flight from Washington. He was expected to meet with government officials and stress the need for unity, although the White House did not disclose his itinerary.
Protests and demands for political reforms have paralyzed an Iraqi government already struggling with a troubled economy and violent extremists. The Obama administration has stepped up the U.S. military role with more troops and equipment, but the U.S. worries that infighting in Baghdad is jeopardizing hard-fought gains with President Barack Obama set to leave office in January.
Due to concern for Biden’s security, his trip was not announced in advance. Journalists traveling with Biden had to agree to keep it secret until he arrived.
The political turmoil in Iraq grew out of weeks of rallies by followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanding an end to corruption and mismanagement. Thousands have protested just outside Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone, calling for politicians to be replaced by independent technocrats and for Iraq’s powerful Shiite militias to be brought into vital ministries.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is a Shiite whom the U.S. considers a welcome improvement over his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki. Yet al-Abadi’s failures to deliver on long-promised reforms and manage sectarian tensions have threatened his ability to lead.
Al-Abadi is caught between Iraqis who are pleading for government accountability and entrenched political groups that are reluctant to give up a patronage system that’s widely blamed for squandering Iraq’s oil fortunes.
On Tuesday, Iraq’s parliament approved half a dozen new Cabinet ministers whom al-Abadi nominated in a gesture to protesters.
Lawmakers have thrown water bottles and punched each other, with some calling for al-Abadi to resign along with the Sunni parliament speaker and Kurdish president. Last month, al-Abadi pulled troops fighting IS on the front lines to protect Baghdad amid the protests. An economic crisis spurred by collapsing oil prices has worsened the problems.
When Obama was in Saudi Arabia last week, he said al-Abadi had been a “good partner.” But Obama added that he was concerned about the prime minister’s hold on power. Obama said it was critical that Iraq’s government stabilize and unite competing factions so it can fight terrorism and revive its economy.
“They’ve got a lot on their plate,” Obama said. “Now is not the time for government gridlock or bickering.”
It was precisely because of that bickering that Obama emerged from his meeting with Gulf leaders without the promises of financial support for Iraq’s reconstruction that he had sought. Gulf countries preferred to wait and see whether Iraq could get its political act together before agreeing to help.
Aiming to build on recent progress in retaking territory from IS, the U.S. this month agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq, bringing the authorized total to just over 4,000, and to send Apache helicopters into the fight. Although the White House has ruled out a ground combat role, Obama’s decision puts American forces closer to the front lines to train and support Iraqi forces preparing to try to take back the key northern city of Mosul.
U.S. officials would not put a timeline on reclaiming Mosul but said they expect progress to slow during the summer.
For Biden and Obama, the next nine months represent their final opportunity to position Iraq for a peaceful future before their terms end. Though they came into office pledging to end the war and did so in 2011, U.S. troops returned to Iraq in 2014 amid the rise of IS. Obama now acknowledges that his goal of defeating the militants won’t be realized during his presidency.
The slow but consistent ramp-up of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, and more recently in Syria, has raised concerns about the extent of the mission, and the risks of another Mideast entanglement. On the other hand, many Obama critics deem his efforts too little, too late. Nearly all of this year’s presidential candidates are pledging a more aggressive campaign against IS.
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Putin Scolds Rocket Team Over Failed Launch

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A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites leaves a trail of smoke as it lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk

British family knocked unconscious while on holiday in Thailand – video 

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CCTV footage released by local police shows three members of a British family punched and kicked unconscious during an attack in a Thai tourist resort. The two men and a woman have now left hospital after requiring treatment after the assault by a gang in Hua Hin during celebrations for the Thai new year. Six people are said to have been arrested in the seaside resort.
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Aftermath of airstrike on Aleppo hospital – video

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Footage uploaded to social media purports to show chaos after an airstrike targeted an MSF-supported hospital in a rebel-held area of Aleppo on Wednesday. MSF said doctors and patients were killed, including the last paediatrician in the Syrian city
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Trump outlines his foreign policy views, but with little detail - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Trump outlines his foreign policy views, but with little detail
Washington Post
Donald Trump said in a foreign policy speech delivered Wednesday that “America first” would be the “major and overriding theme” of his presidential administration, and he dismissed globalism as a “false song” that has helped bring America to its knees ... 
Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises CoherenceNew York Times

Trump moves to middle in his speech on 'America First' approach to foreign policyLos Angeles Times 
Why I Hosted Trump's Foreign-Policy SpeechPolitico
CNN-Washington Times-Miami Herald-
 Wall Street Journal
 
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Politico-Salon-Newsmax-New York Times
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Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011 - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011
Washington Post
BAGHDAD — Vice President Biden arrived here Thursday at a moment of intense political turmoil for Iraq and its prime minister, who is fighting to hold onto his office amid a paralyzing political crisis, a weakened economy, and a grinding war against ...
Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISISNew York Times
Biden arrives for unannounced visit to Iraq to help shore up wobbly governmentLos Angeles Times
Biden lands in Iraq for unannounced visitCNN
NBCNews.com -Miami Herald -Politico -Huffington Post
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Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011 - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011
Washington Post
BAGHDAD — Vice President Biden arrived here Thursday at a moment of intense political turmoil for Iraq and its prime minister, who is fighting to hold onto his office amid a paralyzing political crisis, a weakened economy, and a grinding war against ...
Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISISNew York Times
Biden arrives for unannounced visit to Iraq to help shore up wobbly governmentLos Angeles Times
Biden lands in Iraq for unannounced visitCNN
NBCNews.com -Miami Herald -Politico -Huffington Post
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Deadly Airstrikes Hit Aleppo Hospital, Dozens Killed

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An airstrike in Syria has destroyed a hospital in Aleppo supported by the international charity Doctors Without Borders, killing at least 27 people. Among the dead were two doctors, including Aleppo's last pediatrician working in rebel-controlled areas. News accounts reported three children were also killed in the night-time raid overnight into Thursday.

Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISIS - New York Times

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New York Times

Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISIS
New York Times
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the White House in April. Mr. Biden last visited Iraq in November 2011, just weeks before the last American troops were scheduled to leave. Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times. BAGHDAD — In an unannounced visit ...
Biden arrives for unannounced visit to Iraq to help shore up wobbly governmentLos Angeles Times
Vice President Joe Biden Arrives in Iraq for Surprise VisitNBCNews.com
Biden makes surprise trip to BaghdadPolitico
Press of Atlantic City -Sputnik International -Salt Lake Tribune -U.S. News & World Report
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John Boehner on Ted Cruz: 'Lucifer in the Flesh' - The Atlantic

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The Atlantic

John Boehner on Ted Cruz: 'Lucifer in the Flesh'
The Atlantic
Former House Speaker John Boehner seems to be enjoying his retirement—and wouldn't you, after what he went through in Washington? One reason for his buoyant mood, besides the chance to cut grass, is the opportunity to stay far, far away from Senator ...
Former House Speaker John Boehner slams Ted CruzLos Angeles Times
Former Speaker Boehner Calls Cruz 'Lucifer in the Flesh'NBCNews.com
Boehner unleashed: Ex-speaker calls Cruz 'Lucifer,' 'miserable son of a b----'Fox News
Bloomberg -CBS News -Politico -MSNBC
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U.S. Arrest Awakens Ghosts Of Turkey's Iran-Gold Scandal

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A Turkish political scandal centered on funneling gold to sanctions-hit Iran three years ago could get a new life as U.S. authorities prosecute a key suspect.

Man jailed for failing to decrypt data

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A man is held in prison for seven months after failing to decrypt two hard drives that investigators suspect contain indecent images of children.
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Syria's Aleppo 'catastrophic' - UN

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The situation in Syria's city of Aleppo is catastrophic, the UN says, after attacks on targets including a hospital leave dozens dead.

IS at Weakest Point Since Start of Bombing Campaign, US Says

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Efforts to squeeze the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria have put the self-declared caliphate on shaky ground, leaving the terror group in perhaps its most vulnerable state since the start of the U.S.-led bombing campaign, according to U.S. officials. For months, U.S. military officials have been touting IS's territorial losses — up to 40 percent of the land it once controlled in Iraq and upward of 10 percent of the areas it held in Syria. But military and intelligence officials...

Branded a Traitor, Beaten and Raped: Stories of Female Journalists 

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Arzu Geybullayeva was a correspondent for Agos, an Armenian bilingual weekly newspaper published in Istanbul, in 2014 when she faced an ugly campaign from the Azerbaijani government to hurt her credibility with the Azerbaijani people. Authorities called her a traitor because the government was not happy with her critical reporting. "I was doing a lot of work with Armenians at the time,” she said. “I was co-directing a small not-for-profit organization that did dialogue programs...

Vietnam War Debate Continues 50 Years Later

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered an emotional keynote address at the Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. Kerry, who served in Vietnam and later protested against the war, briefly choked up as he spoke of the terrible price paid by many of those who served in the conflict, as well as the transformation in U.S.-Vietnam relations through trade ties and other areas of cooperation he said have made the two former...

Russia Launches First Rocket From New Cosmodrome

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Russia has launched the first rocket from its new cosmodrome, Vostochny, after a one-day delay for technical reasons. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to the far-east Russian location for the launch, and congratulated cosmodrome workers after the event - while also scolding them for the delay. "Despite all its failings, Russia remains the world leader in the number of space launches," he said at a televised meeting following the launch. The Soyuz rocket carried...

VOA EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: UN: Iraq Facing Volatile Humanitarian Crisis 

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Iraq is trying to cope with one of the most volatile humanitarian crises in the world as well as battling the vicious extremist Islamic State group while buckling under the low price of oil, its chief export, and growing political instability. VOA’s Sharon Behn sits down with Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator, to talk about the challenges Baghdad faces. VOA: What has been the cost of batting Islamic State extremists? Grande: The cost of the battle to degrade and defeat IS...

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$500,000 Brings US Residency - Or 'Front Row Seat' to Fraud

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Felipe Vieira moved from his home in Brazil to the tiny town of Stowe, Vermont, under a program that allows foreign investors the chance to become a permanent U.S. resident. But he says after handing over $500,000, he and others who backed a development project at a pair of ski resorts are worried their dreams will be dashed. The project, which involves a hotel and a biomedical research plant, is the subject of a federal fraud lawsuit filed earlier this month. "Everybody is scared...

Iraq Shutters Al-Jazeera Baghdad Office

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There is one less media outlet providing news coverage in Iraq after the Iraqi government shut down the office of Al-Jazeera in Baghdad. Iraq's Communications and Media Commission decided to revoke Al-Jazeera's license and close its office for one year, effective Wednesday.  Iraq cited Al-Jazeera's "continuing violations" of 2014 rules issued into regulate media coverage of "the war on terror." Iraqi authorities have long perceived Al-Jazeera's...

Sanders 'begins campaign lay-offs'

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The campaign of US Democrat Bernie Sanders starts laying off staff members, a day after a series of losses to Hillary Clinton in key states.

Nationalist surge challenges Europe

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How nationalists are reshaping Europe's politics

'Global citizenship' rising, poll says

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People are increasingly identifying themselves as global rather than national citizens, a BBC World Service poll suggests.

Torture trial in Mexico choking case

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Five Mexican security officials face torture charges after a video emerged showing them choking a woman by placing a plastic bag over her head.
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Computer viruses infect nuclear plant

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A German nuclear power plant has been found to be infected by several different computer viruses.

Angela Merkel Abruptly Fires Germany’s Spy Chief

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The dismissal of Gerhard Schindler came when his job appeared safe, despite his agency’s links to carrying out searches at the behest of the United States’ National Security Agency.

Editorial: A Promising New Path for Saudi Arabia

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Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, answered questions at a press conference on Monday.

China Approves Strict Control of Foreign NGOs

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An event by Greenpeace addressing climate change in Beijing, the capital, in 2009. The law subjects foreign groups to oversight by the police.

Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISIS 

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Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the White House in April. Mr. Biden last visited Iraq in November 2011, just weeks before the last American troops were scheduled to leave.

Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises Coherence - New York Times

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New York Times

Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises Coherence
New York Times
The Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump gave a foreign policy speech on Wednesday in Washington, shifting his focus to topics including the Islamic State, terrorism, immigration and the use of military force. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on ...
Opinion: Separate ways? Donald Trump's approach to China 'stuck in the 1990s'CNN
Trump outlines his foreign policy views, but with little detailWashington Post 
Why I Hosted Trump's Foreign-Policy SpeechPolitico

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Editorial: A Promising New Path for Saudi Arabia

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Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, answered questions at a press conference on Monday.

China Approves Strict Control of Foreign NGOs

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An event by Greenpeace addressing climate change in Beijing, the capital, in 2009. The law subjects foreign groups to oversight by the police.

Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Seeking to Bolster Fight Against ISIS 

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Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the White House in April. Mr. Biden last visited Iraq in November 2011, just weeks before the last American troops were scheduled to leave.

Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises Coherence - New York Times

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New York Times

Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises Coherence
New York Times
The Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump gave a foreign policy speech on Wednesday in Washington, shifting his focus to topics including the Islamic State, terrorism, immigration and the use of military force. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on ...
Opinion: Separate ways? Donald Trump's approach to China 'stuck in the 1990s'CNN
Trump outlines his foreign policy views, but with little detailWashington Post 
Why I Hosted Trump's Foreign-Policy SpeechPolitico

Los Angeles Times-NPR- Salon-Wall Street Journal
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Clinton is the insider who's surviving in the year of the outsider - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Clinton is the insider who's surviving in the year of the outsider
Washington Post
By Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and Paul Kane · Politics. April 27 at 7:31 PM. Follow @PhilipRucker. Follow @danbalz. Follow @pkcapitol. In an election defined by anti-establishment energy and anger, the two parties are now diverging as Republicans. 
Bernie Sanders to Cut Hundreds of Staff Members and Focus on CaliforniaNew York Times
The End Of Hillary Clinton's 2008 CampaignHuffington Post 
Sanders laying off hundreds of campaign staffersCNN

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Bernie Sanders to Cut Hundreds of Staff Members and Focus on California - New York Times

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New York Times

Bernie Sanders to Cut Hundreds of Staff Members and Focus on California
New York Times
Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Monday. He lost the Pennsylvania primary and three of four others on Tuesday. Credit Mark Makela for The New York Times. WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Battered by four defeats in ...
'If we do not win': Sanders admits things aren't adding up for his campaignWashington Post
Bernie Sanders Is Laying Off Hundreds of Campaign StaffersMother Jones
Bernie Sanders winding down campaign team after lossesWashington Times
Wall Street Journal -NBCNews.com -The Atlantic -NPR
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Bernie Sanders Is Laying Off Hundreds of Campaign Staffers - Mother Jones

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Mother Jones

Bernie Sanders Is Laying Off Hundreds of Campaign Staffers
Mother Jones
A day after losing to Hillary Clinton in four of five primaries in the Northeast, Bernie Sanders announced his campaign will soon start laying off "hundreds" of its staff members, the New York Times reports. "We have had a very large staff, which was ...
Sanders to Lay Off Staff After Tuesday Primary LossesNBCNews.com
Bernie Sanders focuses on 'strongest progressive agenda' for convention party platformCNN
After String Of Losses, Sanders Campaign To Lay Off 'Hundreds' Of StaffersNPR
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UK: Jet Incident Near Heathrow Did Not Involve Drone - ABC News

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BBC News

UK: Jet Incident Near Heathrow Did Not Involve Drone
ABC News
A British Airways jet reported to have hit an object as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport this month did not strike a drone as first thought, the British government said Thursday. The pilot of an Airbus A320 flying from Geneva reported a collision ...
Minister: Object that hit BA jet wasn't a droneUSA TODAY 
Heathrow plane strike 'not a drone incident'The Guardian
UK government: Object hit by jet near Heathrow this month was not a droneWTOP
RTE.ie
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Minister: Object that hit British Airways jet wasn't a drone - USA TODAY

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USA TODAY

Minister: Object that hit British Airways jet wasn't a drone
USA TODAY
LONDON — An object that hit a British Airways passenger plane as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport is not believed to have been a drone, Britain's transport minister said Thursday. Patrick McLoughlin made the statement in an address to lawmakers ...
UK: Jet Incident Near Heathrow Did Not Involve DroneABC News
UK government says plane collision 'was not a drone incident'The Verge
Drone unlikely to have hit BA plane near Heathrow, government saysBBC News
Mashable-The Guardian-WTOP-Daily Mail
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US Economy Grew 0.5% in First Quarter, the Slowest Pace of Growth in Two Years - New York Times

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New York Times

US Economy Grew 0.5% in First Quarter, the Slowest Pace of Growth in Two Years
New York Times
A wind farm in Colorado City, Tex. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday acknowledged crosscurrents in the economy. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images. The American economy settled into the slow lane last quarter, as consumers took their foot off the gas ...
US economy stalls in first quarter as activity weakens broadlyReuters
US First-Quarter GDP Advances at Scant 0.5% PaceWall Street Journal 

U.S. Economy Expands to 0.5% Pace, Weakest in Two YearsBloomberg 
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U.N. envoy urges Obama, Putin to save Syria ceasefire, talks

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GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations mediator called on Thursday on the leaders of the Russia Federation and the United States to salvage the "barely alive" two-month ceasefire in Syria and revitalize the damaged peace process.
  

Lebanese army kills Islamic State leader at Syrian border: security source

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese forces killed an Islamic State leader on Thursday in an army operation in the mountainous border region with Syria, Lebanon's National News Agency and a security source said.
  
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EU-Turkey deal only way to solve migration crisis: EU's Timmermans

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The agreement between the European Union and Turkey over stemming the flow of migrants across the eastern Mediterranean is the only possible solution, EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said on Thursday.
  

Obama fails to swing Britain behind EU as 'Out' takes lead: YouGov poll indicates

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LONDON (Reuters) - Opponents of Britain's European Union membership have edged into the lead over the past two weeks, according to a YouGov poll for The Times, indicating President Barack Obama may have failed to swing support behind "In" vote in a June 23 referendum.
  

Air strikes on Aleppo hospital kill 20, including children

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Air strikes overnight on the al-Quds hospital in a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Aleppo killed 20, including three children and the last pediatrician in the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
  

German foreign minister criticizes Trump's 'America first' foreign policy

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday criticized U.S. Republican front-runner Donald Trump for a speech in which he said it would be "America first" if he were elected president.
  

French lawmakers adopt non-binding proposal to lift Russia sanctions

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PARIS (Reuters) - France's lower house of parliament voted in favor of lifting European Union sanctions against Russia on Thursday, in a non-binding vote that went against the Socialist government's recommendation.
  

Philippine anti-money laundering body says remittance firm a 'cleaning house' in heist

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MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippine anti-money laundering body has lodged a complaint against owners of a remittance firm it called a "cleaning house" to hide the trail of $81 million looted from a Bangladesh bank, in one of the biggest cyber heists in history.
  
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U.S. Sending More Troops To Syria, But IS Already Preparing For The Storm 

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Despite military victories against the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq over the last 20 months, even the commanders of the U.S. coalition fighting it admit that there are new challenges ahead.

Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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The BBC reports that up to $800 million dollars of the Islamic State’s cash have been destroyed by U.S. strikes after U.S. forces stepped up their efforts to target the group’s funding. According to General Peter E. Gersten, the deputy commander of the U.S. effort against ISIS, “the blow to the group's financing has contributed to a 90% jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals.” His claims were supported by recently obtained internal documents from the militant group that highlighted the effects of the group's dwindling funds on its ability to attract and retain fighters. CNN tells us that the number of foreign fighters joining the group has gone “from 1,500-2,000 per month a year ago to 200 per month today,” while ISIS “fighters, meanwhile, seem to be suffering low morale, in some case seeking doctors' notes to avoid serving on the frontlines.” According to State Department sources, the number of militants fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is at its lowest in two years. The Washington Post has more.
According to the Wall Street JournalPentagon officials will not disclose any information on the elusive “cyberweapons” being used against the Islamic State, “concerned that any clues could help the terror network avoid future attacks.” The Journal writes that “officials have said the tactics include actions like disrupting Islamic State’s ability to communicate, sowing confusion among its members, and steering militants toward certain tools that are easier for the U.S. government to intercept or track,” noting that the effect of these cyber efforts remain unclear.
The New York Times reports that five rescue workers "were killed in aerial attacks on their headquarters in northern Syria on Tuesday as violence escalated in the critical battlegrounds of Aleppo Province, where government and insurgent attacks have killed dozens in recent days." The recent attacks have resulted in a spike in civilian casualties, with both sides blaming the other for the escalation in violence.
Nearby, government forces repelled an attack from a coalition of insurgent groups in the western part of Aleppo. Meanwhile, Islamic State militants continue to advance on rebel positions in northern Syria, seizing five rebel-held villages near the country’s Turkish border. The Associated Press has the latest from Syria.
As the Syrian peace process flounders, Reuters tells us that the United Nations has not specified when the next round of peace talks will begin, noting that “U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura is struggling to keep the peace process alive after the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) left formal talks last week.” The HNC has said that it would not rejoin further talks until its demands were met, and the group has called for a meeting of countries, excluding Russia, in Paris, which would work to “put an end to the hostilities against the Syrian people and put pressure on the regime and its allies to abide by the international resolutions and put an end to their severe violations against the Syrian people.’’
Iraqi forces “renewed their offensive toward the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul” today. According to Voice of America, the Iraqi “offensive had stalled out for several weeks after Iraqi forces met stiff resistance after managing to retake just three out of an original target of eight villages from Islamic State fighters.” As Iraqi forces continue to fight ISIS militants in the country, CBS News tells us that “ISIS has lost around 40 percent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq” but warns that “the numbers don’t tell the whole story” as the fight against the group is far from over.
Political pressure pushed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi yesterday to reshuffle his cabinet as protesters gathered around Baghdad’s Green Zone. Abadi’s recent efforts to change ministers in his cabinet have been impeded by chaos in the parliament. The Washington Post writes that the “political unrest has brought a new level of instability to a country that is facing multiple crises, including the fight against the Islamic State militant group and the struggling economy. The United Nations has warned that the upheaval would further embolden the militants.”
Parties to the Yemeni conflict agreed to a roadmap for peace talks in Kuwait yesterday. Reuters writes that “differences over the agenda had made it difficult for the two sides to start real negotiations to end the 13-month war that has killed more than 6,200 people, wounded more than 35,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million people.” Following yesterday’s agreement, officials have expressed confidence that the peace talks would move forward today.
Meanwhile, as Yemeni and Emirati forces continue their advance against local al Qaeda strongholds, Reuters reports that a suspected U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen killed an al Qaeda leader and five of his associates. Earlier this month, U.S. officials said that “they were considering a request from the United Arab Emirates request for air power, intelligence and logistics support,” and it is not clear whether U.S. forces are coordinating with the Emirati and Yemeni ground offensive.
Months after the United States struck a prominent Islamic State radio station in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, local residents claim that the signal returns from time to time. CNN takes us into the expansion of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and the local backlash against the militant group’s brutality. Due to sustained U.S. strikes against the group, according to one U.S. official in the country, “ISIS had a fairly significant presence in six or seven districts in Nangahar, now that's probably down to three or four, but they also seem to be growing more and more in (nearby) Kunar.”
Elsewhere in the country, Afghan forces are attempting to learn from past mistakes and shift their strategy as Taliban militants look towards Kunduz. Reuters writes that, “as part of a new strategy to go after the enemy rather than wait for militants to strike first, Afghan army commandos have carried out at least 10 operations against them around the city since mid-March, and more are planned.” Despite increased levels of confidence in the government’s ability to protect the city, local police express concern that "if the army doesn't clear the whole area, then the Taliban will come back." As Afghan forces enter the new fighting season, Foreign Policy adds that they “must get creative” and suggests that Kabul should be more selective in choosing battles over territory.
Over in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of undermining Iranian economic interests by dissuading businesses from engaging with Iran despite recently lifting sanctions against the country. According to a transcript of a speech he gave, the Ayatollah claimed that "on paper the United States allows foreign banks to deal with Iran, but in practice they create Iranophobia so no one does business with Iran."
Israeli security personnel shot and killed a Palestinian woman and her 16-year-old brother. According to police, the two were carrying weapons as they approached a checkpoint outside Jerusalem and did not respond to police requests to stop their advance, but the account has been questioned by a Palestinian bus driver who witnessed the incident. In the ongoing spate of violence that, since October, has killed 28 Israelis and "at least 193 Palestinians, 130 of whom Israel says were assailants,” Israeli police are on high alert during the Passover holiday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Scarborough Shoal is emerging as the latest flashpoint in the South China Sea after “the U.S. military about a month ago observed Chinese ships conducting survey work around a clump of rocks, sandbars and coral reefs known as the Scarborough Shoal.” The shoal is some 470 nautical miles from the Chinese coast and about 120 nautical miles from the Philippines, with whom the United States recently announced a series joint patrols. U.S. forces have flown three air patrols near the shoal this month, heightening tensions between the United States and China. Beijing has condemned U.S. patrols near the shoal, which it has referred to as China’s “inherent territory.”
Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam has been handed over to French authorities after being held in Belgium following his capture last month. The Washington Post tells us that, “although complete details of his role in the November attacks remain unclear, he is suspected to have been among the logistical planners of the Paris attacks, organizing the hotel rooms and rental cars that facilitated” November’s attacks in Paris. Abdeslam is expected to stand trial “in a case that could shed further light on Islamist militant recruitment and networks in Europe.” Discussing his client, Abdeslam’s lawyer in Belgium said that “he’s a little moron from Molenbeek involved in petty crimes; more of follower than a leader. He has the intelligence of an empty ashtray. He is the perfect example of the 'Grand Theft Auto' generation who thinks he lives in a video game.” The French lawyer who has agreed to defend Abdeslam described him as "falling apart" and suggested that he is ready to cooperate.
Turning to the homeland, the Post reports that “the FBI intends to tell the White House this week that its understanding of how a third party hacked the iPhone of a shooter in San Bernardino, Calif., is so limited that there’s no point in undertaking a government review of whether the tool should be shared with Apple.” Speaking at a cyber conference hosted by Georgetown University, FBI Director James Comey discussed the threshold determining whether government agencies disclose software flaws to software companies under the Vulnerability Equities Process and stated that “the threshold is: Are we aware of the vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don’t have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability that would implicate the process?” Reuters tells us that the FBI reported a software vulnerability to Apple earlier this month as part of the Vulnerability Equities Process. The Journal has more on that story here.
Charlie Savage of the Times writes that “prosecutors have told an Iraqi refugee who is accused of traveling to Syria to help a terrorist organization that he faces evidence derived from the government’s warrantless surveillance program.” The disclosure “elevates the significance of the case by making the constitutionality of that program a central dispute.” The case once again poses questions about the constitutionality of both the FISA Amendments Act and the collection methods used for surveillance.
Finally, the Washington Post tells us that “Gen. David L. Goldfein has been nominated to become the new top officer in the Air Force, nearly 17 years after he survived being shot down in an F-16C fighter jet while flying a combat mission over Serbia.” Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the nomination yesterday. General Goldfein awaits Senate confirmation.
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Ben likened encryption to a living will.
Susan Landau considered how the FBI "workforce is not prepared—not for the investigations of today, and not for the future."
Emma Buchsbaum took a look at Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act as Congress begins the journey to reauthorize it.
Sarah Yerkes asked if Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's latest blunder could be the final nail in his coffin.
Yishai Schwartz summarized the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling in Bank Markazi v. Peterson.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
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Decisive Primaries Prompt Presidential Chatter on Capitol Hill

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Democratic lawmakers have told VOA they are now assuming a presidential contest pitting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, while some Republicans still cling to hopes their party will nominate someone other than the New York businessman. The assessments came one day after Trump swept five primary contests and former secretary of state Clinton won four. Both front-runners dramatically expanded their respective delegate leads, although they did not clinch their party’s presidential...