Tag Archives: Approves

Water agency approves $11B for California twin tunnels plan

Water agency approves $  11B for California twin tunnels planCalifornia's largest water agency on Tuesday approved a nearly $ 11 billion plan to help fund two enormous tunnels, breathing new life into Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious and controversial plan to remake the state's water system.



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Los Alamitos approves ordinance to opt out of state's sanctuary law

Los Alamitos approves ordinance to opt out of state's sanctuary lawLos Alamitos approved an ordinance to opt out of the "Sanctuary State" law, which limits local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.



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UN approves 30-day ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s Ghouta

UN approves 30-day ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s GhoutaThe United Nations on Saturday passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, but Western diplomats said they were sceptical the Syrian regime would actually end its ferocious assault on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta.  After days of intense negotiations, Russia agreed not use its veto to scuttle the UN security council resolution, which calls for a halt to fighting as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the wounded from besieged areas.  The unanimous passage of the resolution was hailed by Western diplomats, who had pushed hard for a deal amid a week of intense Syrian regime bombing of Eastern Ghouta. Hours before the vote, the civilian death toll climbed above 500.   Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, castigated Russia for days of delays which slowed the passage of the resolution. “In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?” A picture taken on February 20 shows smoke plumes rising following a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region Credit: ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images It remains to be seen what impact the deal crafted in meeting rooms at the UN’s New York headquarters in New York will have on the ash-filled streets of Eastern Ghouta. Mrs Haley said the US was “deeply sceptical the regime will comply” with the ceasefire and called on Russia to pressure Assad’s forces to respect it. Russia demanded that the resolution not include a specific time for the ceasefire to go into force. The text instead reads that it should begin “without delay”, making it unclear when the fighting would actually stop. The ceasefire does not extend to terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. Both Russia and the Syrian regime accuse large swathes of the Syrian rebels of being al-Qaeda members, giving themselves a broad license to continue strikes.    “Russia used this loophole in previous agreements to continue bombing indiscriminately,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli think tank. Members of the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz One Western diplomat said they feared the exemption on al-Qaeda might render the resolution “worthless” but that they were still hopeful its passage at UN would compel Russia to at least reduce the violence in Eastern Ghouta.   “The people are happy but they do not trust the regime and its allies,” said one man in Eastern Ghouta, after hearing the news from New York. The council had been due to vote on Friday but the vote was delayed. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, tweeted her frustration, demanding a vote, as the discussions continued late into Friday afternoon. Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria. How many more people will die before the The Security Council agrees to take up this vote? Let’s do this tonight. The Syrian people can’t wait.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) February 23, 2018 More than 500 people have been killed since the assault began Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. New air strikes on the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday took the civilian death toll from seven days of devastating bombardment to more than 500. A Syrian rescuer helps a man at the site of Syrian government bombardments in Douma Credit: HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP “This is about saving lives,” said Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog. "UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go. It's time for the council to come together and shoulder its responsibility to urgently avert a situation that is beyond words in its desperation,” he said. Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council that can veto a draft resolution. It has done so repeatedly throughout Syria’s civil war, torpedoing numerous efforts to stem the bloodshed even as its air force carries out bombing runs on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally. Russia had described civilian testimonies from the embattled area as “mass psychosis” earlier in the week, and blocked a UN Security Council vote.  Ghouta dispatch On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for an immediate truce in Eastern Ghouta. “France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental international humanitarian law,” it read. The letter included a condemnation of the attacks on Damascus by opposition fighters inside Eastern Ghouta, but ended with a call for Russia to “assume its full responsibilities”. In a statement released Friday, the European Union called for an immediate ceasefire and access for aid trucks, citing a “moral duty” to protect civilians. Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta," the bloc said. US president Donald Trump said Russia and Iran's behavior in Syria was a 'disgrace'. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke out Friday. "Russia and Iran must stop the regime," he said. Turkey, Iran and Russia are co-signatories on the de-escalation agreement. Mr Cavusoglu said the offensives in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib were "contrary" to the agreements negotiated by the three countries. How Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria Eastern Ghouta is the last holdout of Islamist and opposition fighters near the capital. The densely populated area has been under siege since April 2013 and has become synonymous with civilian suffering – either through starvation and lack of access to medical supplies, or under intense aerial bombardment. On Friday, helicopters dropped barrel bombs on homes in the Hamorieh neighbourhood, and warplanes strafed the residential neighbourhood of Ein Tarma. According to Save the Children, more than 70 per cent of buildings in Ein Tarma have been destroyed or damaged. Infrastructure across Eastern Ghouta has sustained heavy damage, and some areas have not had water or electricity for two years. Twenty-two hospitals and clinics have bombed since Sunday. Medical charities have accused the Syrian government of deliberately targeting healthcare facilities, which is a war crime. Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in Eastern Ghouta  Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 13 hospitals it supports have been destroyed or damaged this week and that medical staff were struggling to cope with repeated mass-casualty influxes. The latest surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta is thought to be the first phase of an assault that will eventually include ground troops and will follow the same arc as Syrian government forces’ battle for east Aleppo. In Aleppo, the population was starved and endured weeks of air raids, after which ground troops moved in and fought block by block until the entire area was back under government control. Surviving civilians and militants were then bussed to Idlib province, one of the last areas of Syria still controlled by anti-government forces.



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Interpol approves membership for State of Palestine over Israeli objections

Interpol approves membership for State of Palestine over Israeli objectionsBy Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Interpol voted on Wednesday to admit the State of Palestine as a member over Israeli objections at the international police organization’s general assembly in Beijing. The decision came despite Israeli efforts to delay a vote and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the Palestinians’ joining the global police agency contravened signed agreements with Israel. Israel had argued that Palestine is not a state and that it is ineligible to join.



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Thailand approves $5.2bn for delayed China rail project

Thailand approves $  5.2bn for delayed China rail projectThailand’s military government on Tuesday approved $ 5.2 billion to build the first stretch of a high-speed railway that will ultimately link Bangkok to southern China, a massive joint infrastructure project with Beijing that has been dogged by delays. The project is part of China’s huge regional infrastructure plan to build a high-speed rail network connecting the southern city of Kunming with Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. “The Cabinet has approved phase one of the high speed railway… from Bangkok to Korat with 179 billion baht ($ 5.2 billion) budget for a four-year plan,” said Kobsak Pootrakool from the Prime Minister’s office.



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In Swift and Historic Shift, Germany Approves Same-Sex Marriage

In Swift and Historic Shift, Germany Approves Same-Sex MarriageGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel’s abrupt willingness to take up the issue leads to swift action in German parliament.



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Senate approves new Russia sanctions as punishment for meddling in election

Senate approves new Russia sanctions as punishment for meddling in electionThe Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, speaks at a press conference. The Senate has approved new sanctions against Russia. The Senate has approved new sanctions against Russia, as punishment after it was found to have meddled in the 2016 presidential election.



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Israel approves controversial Jerusalem cable car project

Israel approves controversial Jerusalem cable car projectIsrael’s government on Sunday approved plans to install a cable car to Jerusalem’s Old City, a project likely to anger Palestinians and much of the international community. The plan would see a former railway station in west Jerusalem linked by cable car to the Old City in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.



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Japan cabinet approves bill allowing emperor's abdication

Japan cabinet approves bill allowing emperor's abdicationThe Japanese government on Friday approved a one-off bill allowing ageing Emperor Akihito to step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne, in the first such abdication in two centuries. The bill is likely to receive swift final approval in parliament, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet signed off on the legislation. Abdication must take place within three years of the bill becoming law.



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U.S. House approves tighter North Korea sanctions

U.S. House approves tighter North Korea sanctionsThe U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Thursday to tighten sanctions on North Korea by targeting its shipping industry and companies that do business with the reclusive state. Supporters said the legislation was intended to send a strong message to North Korea, amid international concern over the escalation of its nuclear program. The measure would have to be approved by the Senate before it could be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law.



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