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Boeing Is Working on a Mach-5 Spy Plane

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:35

The Valkyerie II could compete with Lockheed's SR-72. In early January 2018, Boeing announced it’s developing a concept for a hypersonic reconnaissance and strike drone that could compete with Lockheed’s own SR-72. Both Boeing’s “Valkyrie II”concept and Lockheed’s “Son of Blackbird” could be capable of cruising at speeds exceeding Mach 5, potentially allowing them to evade all but the most sophisticated enemy defenses.


The Latest: India's defense minister warns Pakistan

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:28

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — The Latest on militant attacks in the India-controlled portion of Kashmir (all times local):


Trump Says Israeli Settlements Complicate Peace Process

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:33

Right now is the “only opportunity” for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement, according to President Donald Trump ― but he expressed doubt over whether Israel is up to the task.


Pakistan Taliban says deputy chief killed in US drone strike

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:10

The deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a US drone strike, the militant group said in a statement Monday, as Washington continues to intensify attacks along the Afghan border region. Khalid Mehsood, deputy leader of the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), died after the pre-dawn strike in North Waziristan tribal agency on February 8, the militants said in the emailed statement. The group's leaders have nominated Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud to take his place, the statement said, adding Mehsud has "undeterring trust" in Pakistani Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah.


Plane crash outside Moscow leaves 71 dead amid snowy conditions

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:01

An airplane carrying 65 passengers and six crew members crashed outside Moscow amid snowy conditions on Sunday.


Isil leader Baghdadi 'alive in Syria but injured and no longer in control'

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:45

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is still alive but injury and poor health has forced him to relinquish control of the terror group, according to an Iraqi intelligence chief and US officials. Baghdadi is hiding out in the desert on the Syrian side of the Syria-Iraq border northeast of Deir Ezzor province, said Abu Ali al-Basri, director general of Iraq’s intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the ministry of interior. "We have irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organisation that al-Baghdadi is still alive and hiding," Mr Basri was quoted on Monday in the government daily As-Sabah. The official said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) chief had suffered from “fractures and serious wounds” which were likely the result of previous airstrikes on the organisation’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria.   Iraqi displaced people flee their houses due to the fighting between Iraqi forces and Isil at the old city areas, western Mosul, Iraq,  Credit: EPA Baghdadi, who also suffers from diabetes, is thought to have been left unable to walk unassisted  from injuries incurred from a raid in 2015 which were exasperated by another last May. Mr Basri described his condition as “severe”, saying he added that the jihadist had recently been admitted to a hospital in the Jazeera desert for his “deteriorating psychological state”. Russia had claimed it killed the reclusive leader, who has not been seen in public since declaring Isil’s caliphate from the Iraqi city of Mosul in July 2014, in an air strike on a meeting of senior Isil commanders near Raqqa on May 28. However it offered no evidence to back up the claim and it was questioned by the US-led coalition against Isil at the time. US officials confirmed to CNN that while Baghdadi's injuries were not considered life-threatening they did mean he has not been able to continue to command the daily operations of the group. Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, is thought to be communicating with the group’s followers via voice messages sent over encrypted app services. His last public message was in September last year.  Isil militants pose with the jihadists' flag after they seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin in 2014 Credit: AFP In the 46-minute audio, he called on supporters to carry out attacks on the West. Baghdadi’s whereabouts has been the subject of much speculation since the group’s defeat in all its former major strongholds in Iraq and Syria. The 46-year-old was believed to be holding up near Baaj, west of Mosul, until the US-backed Iraqi army offensive on the area in the spring of last year. Since then he is thought to have been moving around villages along the Syria-Iraq border still under Isil’s control. The Telegraph was told by a resident of the village of Jdaidet al-Okaibat in the outskirts of Deir Ezzor that he appeared on June 24 last year for Ramadan prayers, where he greeted followers and appeared "in good spirits".   Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, declared final victory over Isil late last year but stressed Iraqis to stay vigilant as sleeper cells and insurgencies remain a threat. Isil retains a significant presence in the desert plains of northeastern Syria's Hasakeh province despite having lost most of its cross-border "caliphate" which once also covered a third of neighbouring Iraq. Since the end of the offensives in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor - when thousands of fighters fled west - Isil had been taking advance of chaos elsewhere in Syria to regroup. There have been reports of the group launching numerous attacks against Syrian troops in Hama province. Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government on its battle with Isil, said that of the group's 43 founding members Baghdadi is the last one left.  He said most of Isil's most senior commanders had been killed, leaving the jihadist group without any real leadership.   


Dutch foreign minister admits lying about meeting with Putin

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 07:36

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — In a potentially damaging admission on the eve of his first visit to Russia as a member of the Dutch government, Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra on Monday acknowledged lying about attending a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in 2006.


Monday's Morning Email: The Next Recession Will Be Brutal. Here's Why.

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 07:22

TOP STORIES (And want to get The Morning Email each weekday?


Helicopter crash victims identified

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 07:18

NTSB investigating the Grand Canyon crash.


Range Rover Sport PHEV conquers Heaven's Gate

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 06:15

With Land Rover now producing some two-wheel drive models that are more road-focused than its traditional off-road fare, and even a convertible, it's probably a good time for the company to reaffirm the imperious off-road capability its vehicles have long been renowned for. The petrol-electric performance SUV has now become the first vehicle in history to climb the stairs to the natural rock arch of Heaven's Gate. The Range Rover Sport P400e used for the challenge was a showroom standard model, so there were no enhancements made to help it overcome the awaiting obstacles to reaching the summit and negotiating the demanding course.


OFF THE AIR: NBC Pulls Commentator Whose Insensitive Japan Comments Sparked Furor

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:59

The NBC commentator who was skewered by viewers for insensitive remarks he made during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has been relieved of his duties, the broadcaster announced on Monday.


Trump aide lacked security clearance because of abuse allegations

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:45

Gregory Korte, White House correspondent for USA Today, talks with Rachel Maddow about accusations of domestic abuse against White House staff secretary Rob Porter and how long the White House has known about the accusations without doing anything.


Couple who quit jobs and sold belongings to sail round the world lose everything as boat capsizes two days into journey

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:23

Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh began their adventure on a 28-foot sailboat last week, setting off from the marina in Tarpon Springs. Two days later, the emergency services were called to reports of a capsized boat in the Gulf of Mexico near Madeira Beach – about 25 miles down the coast. “I sold everything I had to do this,” Mr Broadwell told the Tampa Bay Times.


Mike Pence says US is willing to talk to North Korea as Japan warns against 'smile diplomacy'

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:12

United States vice president Mike Pence has raised the prospect of direct talks without preconditions between Washington and North Korea, while continuing to impose tough sanctions on the regime. His remarks follow widespread criticism of his failure to engage with a high level North Korean delegation at the opening of South Korea’s Winter Olympics at the weekend, which analysts described as a squandered opportunity. As he flew out of Seoul on Air Force Two, Mr Pence walked back from Washington’s previous hard-line stance that there would be no negotiations before Pyongyang made real concessions, telling the Washington Post that talks could start while the pressure campaign is ongoing. “The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearisation,” he said. “So the maximum pressure is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk,” he said. The change in policy suggests real progress was made on the sidelines of the Olympic Games, despite the overt chilliness between Mr Pence and the North’s delegation, which included Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong. The new strategy was conceived while watching Olympic speedskating heats on Saturday evening with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose government is considering an invitation from Kim Jong-un to attend a rare summit in Pyongyang. The invite, which was hand-delivered by Kim Yo-jong during a lunch at the presidential palace, has revived hopes of an end to a tense international stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear and weapons programme. Ms Kim appeared to charm South Korea’s media with her near-permanent smile as she conducted a whirlwind round of diplomacy as the first member of the Kim dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War of 1950-1953. However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed on Monday that it was still too early to judge whether the latest developments represented the start of a diplomatic process “We’ve said for some time it’s really up to the North Koreans to decide when they’re ready to engage with us in a sincere way, a meaningful way,” Mr Tillerson told reporters during a trip to Egypt. “They know what has to be on the table for conversations.” Dr Tony Michell, a North Korea expert and managing director of the Euro-Asian business consultancy, said President Moon would likely wait until after the mid-June local elections if he decided to go to Pyongyang. “He has some time and the real question is how far can he modify the American line to allow meaningful talks to take place?” he said. One negotiating option could be a “freeze for a freeze”, where North Korea would put its nuclear and missile tests on hold in exchange for the scaling down of joint US and South Korean military drills, suggested Dr Michell. However, Seoul’s regional ally Japan has urged caution. On a trip to Brunei, Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, warned the world to remember that North Korea remained committed to its internationally-opposed nuclear and missile development programme. “Without being swayed by [North Korea’s] smile diplomacy, Japan will firmly coordinate with [the US and South Korea] towards the ultimate goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula,” he said.


A Disney Vacation Just Got Way More Expensive

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:02

Disney raised entry prices for most tickets at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida over the weekend.


Katie Couric Is Skating On Thin Ice With Dutch Olympics Fans

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 04:07

NBC Olympics commentator Katie Couric managed to tick off plenty of people in the Netherlands when she attempted to explain the country’s dominance in speed skating.


Liberia's Johnson Sirleaf wins $5 mln African leadership prize

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 04:05

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Africa's first elected female head of state, has won a $5 million Mo Ibrahim award, designed to improve the quality of African political leadership. Johnson Sirleaf, who handed over leadership of the war-scarred West African state last month to ex-international soccer star George Weah, is only the fifth person to win the 10-year-old award. Since its inception, the prize founded by Sudanese telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim has not been awarded on several occasions because there was not deemed to be a suitable candidate.


Ahead of Lunar New Year, China's Xi says will banish 'ghost' of poverty

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 03:56

China will banish the "ghosts" of poverty, Chinese President Xi Jinping told villagers in a poor southwestern part of the country during a traditional visit to outlying regions before the Lunar New Year. Chinese leaders generally use the time around the festival to make inspection trips around the country where they flag important policy initiatives or areas of concern for the year ahead. The week-long holiday, starting on the eve of the new year, on Thursday, is the most important in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home, many for the only time in the year.


Grand Canyon helicopter crash victims: British tourists killed when chopper crashed into jagged rocks named

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 03:04

The three British tourists killed when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into jagged rocks in the Grand Canyon have been named. Becky Dobson, 27, was on holiday with boyfriend Stuart Hill, 30, and his brother Jason Hill, 32, when they were killed in the helicopter crash at 0520 local time [1220 GMT] on Saturday. The group had been celebrating a birthday and were travelling aboard a Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters aircraft near Quartermaster Canyon at the famous national park in Arizona, when it crashed and burst into flames.


Explosion At Power Station Plunges Northern Part Of Puerto Rico Into Darkness

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 01:56

A power station caught fire and exploded in Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing blackouts in the city of San Juan and the northern part of the island, authorities said.


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