02-19-2017  10:55 am      •     

World News

At least 52 NATO troops - 34 of them Americans - killed this month plus many more Afghans

Rising death tolls, military timetables slowed. Infighting in the partner government. War-weary allies packing up to leave - and others eyeing an exit.
Events this spring - from the battlefields of Helmand and Kandahar to the halls of Congress - have served as a reality check on the Afghan war, a grueling fight in a remote, inhospitable land that once harbored the masterminds of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The Taliban have proven resilient and won't be easily routed. Good Afghan government won't blossom any faster than flowers in the bleak Afghan deserts. Phrases like "transition to Afghan control" mask the enormous challenge ahead to make those words reality.


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Five NATO troops, 12 Afghan police and six civilians killed in attacks

Five NATO service members died Tuesday from fighting in the south and east of Afghanistan, officials said, as Taliban militants ramp up attacks on Afghan and international security forces.
Authorities also said that 12 Afghan police officers and six civilians have died in attacks and bombings since early Monday.


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Report says big projects don't help the least privileged

The World Bank on Tuesday urged Mideast countries to invest more in their impoverished rural areas instead of relying on subsidies and mega-projects to alleviate inequalities in the region. The organization's recommendation, outlined in a report, underscored the shifting demographics of the region -- one where experts say rapidly expanding economies have shifted governments' focus to urban areas at the expense of the rural lands that for centuries formed the backbone of the region.


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US humanitarian aid of 6.5 million to be available immediately

The United States is sending a senior envoy to Kyrgyzstan, where ethnic violence has killed at least 700 people and driven an estimated 200,000 people to neighboring Uzbekistan. The UN Commission for Human Rights says the wave of violence was planned in advance and orchestrated by opponents of the current government.


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Diplomat expresses anger at Cuba's inclusion on list of 13 who don;t do enough to combat problem

Cuba reacted angrily Tuesday to its inclusion on a U.S. list of countries that could be sanctioned for failing to fight human and child trafficking, calling it a "shameful slander" and part of Washington's efforts to justify its trade embargo.
Cuba is one of 13 countries put on notice Monday that they are not complying with the minimum international standards to eliminate the trade in human beings and sexual slavery, and could face U.S. penalties.


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Peter Erlinder violated Rwandan law by saying both Hutus and Tutsis contributed to genocide

A Rwandan court is expected to rule Thursday on whether a jailed law professor from Minnesota should be freed on bail for health reasons, his family said Tuesday. Peter Erlinder, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, has been accused of violating Rwanda's laws against minimizing genocide. Erlinder was arrested May 28 while in the country to help with the legal defense of an opposition leader.


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IRENE, South Africa (AP) — United States goalkeeper Tim Howard's bruised ribs are improving, and the U.S. Soccer medical staff said Monday he is expected to play Friday against Slovenia.

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Watch video of crash site

An Air India plane crashed near the southern Indian town of Mangalore Saturday morning. Of the 166 people on board 158 are feared dead. The crash occurred when the plane overshot the runway. All crew members died at the site.  


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Liberal Democratic party led by Nick Clegg holds balance of power

British Prime Minister has resigned as leader of the Labour Party in the wake of a crushing defeat in last week's election. His departure brings another unknown factor into Britain's volatile post-election confusion. The Conservative Party won the most seats but not enough to form a majority. The Liberal Democrat party is seeking to negotiate a power sharing deal.


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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's president and prime minister may both be in Tanzania this week, but they didn't even share a flight to get there. The agendas of the longtime rivals are worlds apart too, raising more questions about their struggling coalition government.


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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
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  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
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