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Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

Top Stories - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 00:41

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives in China on Wednesday for a visit that will include meetings with top Chinese officials over the South China Sea and attendance at a world basketball championship game. Duterte's visit will be his fifth to China but the first during which he plans to finally raise the result of the 2016 Hague arbitration case that mostly invalidated China's claim to virtually the entire South China Sea under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Syria soldiers eye Turkish outpost in recaptured town

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 22:42

Syrian soldier Ahmad Amuri rolls up on a motorbike to hand water bottles to comrades standing guard under pistachio trees, just a few dozen metres from a Turkish observation point in northwest Syria. President Bashar al-Assad's troops seized the town of Morek from jihadists and allied rebels on Friday, encircling the Turkish outpost. "Calm has returned to Morek," Amuri told AFP on Saturday, with water bottles in a black plastic bag, a cap on his head and his uniform covered in dust.


'Words and pictures matter': Two Alaska 13-year-olds arrested for middle school shooting plans, police say

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 21:27

Alaska authorities arrested two 13-year-old students for planning to bring a gun to their school and shoot people, the Juneau Police Department said.


Trump ‘suggested firing nuclear weapons at hurricanes to stop them hitting US’, report claims

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 19:51

Donald Trump suggested firing nuclear weapons into hurricanes to prevent them hitting the US, reports in Washington claim.The president is said to have raised the idea of bombing hurricanes with senior Homeland Security and national security officials on numerous occasions, dating back as far as 2017.


Attorneys: Charges expected in Florida nursing home deaths

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 19:19

Defense attorneys said Sunday that arrests are expected shortly in the case of a Florida nursing home where 12 patients died after its air conditioning power went out amid sweltering heat following Hurricane Irma in 2017. Lawrence Hashish told The Associated Press his client is one of three nurses, in addition to an administrator, expecting to be charged in connection with the deaths after Hurricane Irma, which blew through Florida on Sept. 10 of that year. The storm knocked out a transformer linking the main air-conditioning unit to the power grid at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, sending temperatures soaring .


A Georgia attorney thought a man hit his Mercedes with a golf ball. He ran him over and killed him, DA says

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 19:08

An Atlanta attorney has been charged with murder after he allegedly struck and killed a real estate investor he says hit his car with a golf ball.


Innocent man jailed for 82 days and loses jobs for bringing three jars of honey back to US

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 17:00

Leon Haughton likes honey in his tea.Which is why during his Christmas visit to relatives in Jamaica, he made his regular stop and bought three bottles from a favourite roadside stand before heading home to Maryland.


Bat poo no longer blights church and interrupts service, as worshippers rejoice over new scheme

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 17:00

Enticing the next generation through their ancient doors, keeping donations topped up and ensuring that the organ is tuned usually rank high among any church’s list of priorities. For one congregation in Leicester, however, their problems have been somewhat more ungodly. For years, members of All Saints Church in Braunston-in-Rutland have been plagued by faeces dropping from the ceiling where a 500-strong colony of bats now reside.  This has meant that instead of praying or enjoying the 1,000-year-old church building, parishioners have been slipping on its floors, art and furniture has been covered in sheeting and volunteer wardens have spent hours scouring pews and floors of bat excrement. Now, however, the congregation remains clean and dry. Following a pioneering new scheme, entitled the Bats in Churches project, work has been done to fill the gaps in the ceiling to prevent faeces and urine soaking through without harming the animals. It is illegal to stop bats - which are a protected species - from reaching their roost, leaving many churches unable to patch up holes in their walls and doors which bats use for access. As a result, many congregations across the country have often found themselves at the receiving end of their sporadic, plunging excrement.  Gail Rudge at All Saints Church at Braunston in Rutland, where bats have roosted and caused damage  Credit: ./Photo Copyright John Robertson, 2017.  All Saints Church was one of the first to benefit from £3.8million of Heritage Lottery Funds to reduce the impact of bats on the buildings across the UK. It is one of around 100 churches, which hosts a large bat roost, which is now reaping the rewards of clean floors and clean congregants.  Sue Willetts, church warden, told the BBC: "Before, we had covers down on the floors to collect the droppings. "We had to clean the pews every time, it took an hour before every single service. Now we use the church how its meant to be." Mrs Willetts said that the bat problem “snowballed” five years ago when an old chimney in the village collapsed, prompting its residents to move into the church instead. She added that after signing up to the scheme, ecologists found gaps between the roof and the church and it was possible to block these gaps without harming the bats. She estimated that the church has received £100,000 worth of scaffolding, building, and ecological study works since applying for funding from the project. Rosemary Riddell, from the Bat in Churches project, said work at All Saints Church "has enabled us to sort of roll out solutions to other churches similar to Braunstone and it's really helped us to learn from their experiences". "[The church] was one of our guinea pigs and we're grateful for their engagement and involvement," she added. More than 100 churches have applied for the Bats and Churches Partnership, which monitors bats to see whether church managers could be allowed to take action to protect their historic buildings. It is funded by a multi-million-pound National Lottery grant.  All Saints Church at Braunston in Rutland, Credit: ./Photo Copyright John Robertson, 2017.  During the General Synod earlier this summer, The Telegraph reported that bats in the belfry were being mooted as a potential “tool for mission”.  Bishops visiting York were asked to answer more than 100 questions involving an array of controversial topics such as reporting abuse during confession, non-disclosure agreements and ethical investments in large technology companies; and one was on bats.  The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Venerable Gavin Kirk, asked for an update on the progress of the Bats in Churches project, and “how those afflicted by bats may find out more about it?”  Sir Tony Baldry, chair of the Church Buildings Council, responded: “A number of projects involve volunteers from the community in managing and even exploiting the presence of bats, for school projects and the like. Bats might even prove to be a tool for mission, if we can get them to behave politely.” Asked how bats may prove to be tools for mission, Sir Tony told the media: “We have to work out how to encourage them out of the belfry to roost in bat boxes in churchyards. “They could then be of interest for projects for schools and A-level students studying the life cycles of bats and so on. They are part of God's creation and are interesting mammals. “There are serious challenges. They poo and urinate over large parts of the church, it is very distressing for parishioners on a Sunday to have to clear a whole load of bat poo off the altar and pews and so for some churches that bats have made almost unusable.”


Authorities: Los Angeles deputy lied about sniper assault

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 16:49

A Los Angeles County deputy lied when he said he was shot in the shoulder while standing in a sheriff's station parking lot last week and will face a criminal investigation, authorities said. "The reported sniper assault was fabricated" by Deputy Angel Reinosa, Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon said at a news conference late Saturday. Reinosa, 21, made a frantic radio call Wednesday claiming he'd been shot by someone in a nearby building as he walked to his car outside the Lancaster station, prompting a huge police response.


Driver kicks pregnant woman in stomach during fight at Chick-fil-A, police say

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 16:23

The pregnant woman tried to pull in front of her in the drive-thru lane, police said.


Saudi intercepts six Yemen rebel missiles: coalition

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 16:23

Saudi Arabia intercepted six missiles fired by Yemeni rebels at the southern city of Jizan on Sunday, a Riyadh-led military coalition said, as the insurgents escalate cross-border attacks. The missiles fired by the Iran-aligned Huthis targeted civilians in Jizan, the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency. The rebels' Al-Masirah television said the Huthis had launched 10 "Badr 1" ballistic missiles targeting military aircraft and apache helicopters in Jizan airport and nearby military sites.


Hezbollah chief threatens Israel after Beirut 'drone attack'

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 15:39

The head of Hezbollah on Sunday threatened Israel after a "drone attack" on the Lebanese Shiite movement's Beirut stronghold, vowing to "do everything" to thwart future attacks. Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States, is a major political actor in Lebanon and a key government backer in war-torn Syria. The Shiite movement and Israel, which have fought several wars, have upped their belligerent rhetoric in recent months.


Seven people shot at two-year-old’s birthday party in Washington DC suburb

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 15:03

Seven people have been left hospitalised after a shooting at a two-year-old’s birthday party in a suburb of Washington DC.Police believe the incident, which took place on Saturday at around 9pm local time (1am GMT), may have been sparked by an “exchange of words” between party-goers and a bystander who had approached the group.


China Signals Intervention as Hong Kong’s Protests Intensify

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 14:43

(Bloomberg) -- China sent the strongest warning yet of using troops on Hong Kong’s streets where Beijing says protests have turned into a “Color Revolution,” with water cannons and tear gas fired in skirmishes between police and demonstrators in the 12th straight weekend of unrest.“It’s not only China central government’s authority but also its responsibility to intervene when riots take place in Hong Kong,” the state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday in a commentary, recalling comments by former top leader Deng Xiaoping saying Beijing has to act under such circumstances.President Donald Trump on Aug. 13 said reports from U.S. intelligence agencies show the Chinese government is moving troops to its border with Hong Kong. A day earlier, Global Times, a Chinese tabloid run by the People’s Daily, reported that the Chinese People’s Armed Police were assembling in Shenzhen ahead of “apparent large-scale exercises,” where “numerous” armored personnel carriers, trucks and other vehicles of the paramilitary force were seen heading toward Hong Kong’s neighboring city.In Sunday’s commentary, Xinhua said Hong Kong’s protests have turned into a Color Revolution aimed at overturning the Special Administrative Region’s constitutional institutions, a signal it was ready to take further action. Previously, Chinese officials had described the protests as having some characteristics of a “color revolution.”Protesters’ violent acts have pushed Hong Kong to an extremely dangerous edge, the city’s government said in a statement after a day full of violent clashes between demonstrators and the police where an officer fired warning shots in the air.\--With assistance from Dandan Li.To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Gu in New York at jgu3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kean Zhang at kzhang65@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Lindsey Graham warns Trump not to pull all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 14:32

Trump has long been eager to withdraw American troops out of the country.


Seven dead in Majorca air crash as sightseeing helicopter collides with ultralight plane

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 14:03

Seven people, including two children, died when a sightseeing helicopter and an ultralight aircraft crashed in mid-air over Majorca. The helicopter had three adults and two children on board, all of whom were killed. According to the Balearic Islands government it was believed they were all German. However, a local report suggested one of them may have been Italian. Two men in the ultralight, who were local to Majorca, also died. An ultralight is a form of small aircraft with only one or two seats. Both aircraft were in private use, according to the Diario de Mallorca newspaper. Emergency services were called to the crash at 1.35pm local time, and the mid-air collision happened over the Inca Hospital, in the municipality of Inca, in the north of the island Wreckage from both aircraft was strewn across parts of the town and rural areas. Photographs circulated on social media showed one section landed on fire on what appeared to be a garden wall. A tail section from one of the aircraft came down on a road, and another section crashed into a farm field. Pedro Sanchez, Spain's caretaker prime minister, sent his sympathies to the families of the dead. He wrote on Twitter: "My solidarity and love for the families of the victims that lost their lives in this tragic accident," The Balearic islands government said an investigation into the cause of the tragedy had been launched. More than nine million holidaymakers visit Majorca annually. Of those, more than two million are British. As many as 500 cruise ships now dock in Palma each year, depositing up to 22,000 passengers a day.


Iranian official Javad Zarif arrives unexpectedly at G7 amid tensions. Trump's response? 'No comment'

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 14:00

Iranian official Mohammad Zarif arrived unexpectedly at the G7 meeting in France, a dramatic move that seemed likely to highlight U.S. isolation.


EXPLAINER-Why are the Amazon fires sparking a crisis for Brazil - and the world?

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 13:51

A record number of fires ravaging the Amazon has drawn international outrage because of the rainforest's importance to the global environment and prompted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to dispatch the military to assist in firefighting. WHY DOES THE AMAZON MATTER? The Amazon - 60% of which is in Brazil - is the world's largest tropical rainforest.


Bolivia president does about-face and will now accept aid to put out wildfires

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 13:33

Bolivian President Evo Morales did an about-face on Sunday and said he was now open to international aid to fight the blazes that have engulfed rural villages and doubled in size since Thursday. Morales is also suspending his campaign for re-election for at least a week, just two months from election day, to focus on the wildfires. "There have been offers of aid," Morales told reporters on a tour of some of the impacted areas.


White House insists Trump has authority to block American companies from doing business in China

Top Stories - Sun, 08/25/2019 - 13:24

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow asserted President Trump’s threat to block trade between private Americans businesses and China, saying he has “emergency economic power authority” to do so.


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