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US denies involvement in Syria missile strike which kills 12 

US denies involvement in Syria missile strike which kills 12 A dozen pro-regime fighters were killed in an air strike on Syrian army positions a monitor said Thursday, claiming the attack was carried out by the US-led coalition, but the Pentagon denied the report. State media reported the overnight air raid in an area where both the regime and coalition have been battling holdout jihadists, but said it only caused material damage. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a broad network of sources across Syria, said the strike had hit army positions south of Albu Kamal, a town on the border with Iraq. "At least three vehicles were destroyed by the strike," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. He said the 12 pro-regime fighters killed were not Syrians, but he could not provide more details on their identity. A military source quoted by state news agency SANA said "some of our military positions between Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh were hit this morning in an aggression by American coalition warplanes". A United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation military observer uses binoculars near the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Credit: BAZ RATNER/Reuters The Pentagon denied the strikes were carried out by the coalition fighting the Islamic State group. "These reports are false, the coalition did not strike any Syrian army positions in eastern Syria," said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner. "The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS (IS) in designated parts of Iraq and Syria, and to set conditions for follow-on stability operations. This mission has not changed." Less than 24 hours after the overnight strikes, missiles targeted a weapons depot belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement at an airbase in the central province of Homs, according to the Observatory. A member of the pro-government forces puts a portrait of the Syrian president on a military weapon Credit:  LOUAI BESHARA/AFP Its director Abdel Rahman said the missiles "would have been fired by Israel". SANA said Syrian air defences had intercepted the missiles in Homs, but reported explosions in the area. Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh lie in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, where Russian-backed Syrian troops and the US-led coalition have been waging separate offensives against IS. A "de-confliction" line in place along the Euphrates River since last year is meant to keep the two assaults from crashing into each other. Loyalist troops are present west of the river while the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are on the east. A military source from forces allied to Syria's government said the strikes had targeted two regime military positions near a frontline with IS. Syrian security forces enter the town of Rastan in the central Homs province on May 16, 2018 after rebels and their relatives were evacuated Credit:  LOUAI BESHARA/AFP "There are no Iranian or Lebanese fighters among the dead," the source said. Iraqi Shiite militia are also fighting alongside Syrian regime forces in the area. The Observatory said the government was sending reinforcements. It was not immediately clear whether jihadists were active in the area at the time, nor whether the pro-regime casualties may have been accidental. The coalition has carried out several deadly strikes against Syrian government forces and allied fighters in recent months. In February, coalition bombing raids in Deir Ezzor province killed at least 100 regime and allied fighters, including Russian nationals, in retaliation for an attack on SDF positions. And in September 2016, US-led strikes on regime military positions in the east left more than 60 Syrian troops dead. The coalition later said it had mistaken the fighters for IS jihadists. Syria: timeline of British involvement since 2013 The Islamic State group has lost nearly all the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq but it still holds some villages in the Euphrates Valley area. On Monday, Syrian troops and allied forces ousted IS from the last districts it held in the capital Damascus. After a fierce month-long battle, an evacuation deal saw the remaining jihadists bussed out of the city towards small pockets of land still held by IS in the Badiya, a vast desert area stretching from central Syria to its eastern border with Iraq. The day after the transfer, IS fighters in the Badiya attacked a nearby government position, leaving more than two dozen Syrian troops and allied fighters dead. The Observatory said the IS fighters responsible were from the group that had just been transferred out of the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus.



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U.S. suggests Russia, Syria may tamper with Douma evidence, Moscow denies it

U.S. suggests Russia, Syria may tamper with Douma evidence, Moscow denies itBy Laila Bassam and Anthony Deutsch DAMASCUS/THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The United States accused Russia on Monday of blocking international inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground. Moscow denied the charge and blamed delays on retaliatory U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria on Saturday. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron faced criticism from political opponents over their decisions to take part in the air strikes.



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Cohen Denies Report That Mueller Has Evidence Of Secret Prague Trip

Cohen Denies Report That Mueller Has Evidence Of Secret Prague TripPresident Donald Trump's lawyer is doubling down after a new report suggesting



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British jets in 'successful' strike on chemical weapons base in Syria as Theresa May denies aim is 'regime change'

British jets in 'successful' strike on chemical weapons base in Syria as Theresa May denies aim is 'regime change'British jets fired missiles at a Syrian military base suspected of holding chemical weapons ingredients on Saturday in the UK's first military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said the "limited and targeted strike" was part of joint action with France and the United States in response to Syria’s latest alleged chemical weapons atrocity. "There is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime," Mrs May said in a televised statement. "This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change. "It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties," she said. Mrs May said "a significant body of information including intelligence" pointed to Syrian government responsibility for a suspected chemical attack in Douma last Saturday. The Prime Minister @theresa_may has made a statement on Syria: t.co/bBfYyowUIopic.twitter.com/QlTeFXmOkt— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) April 14, 2018 She said the strikes would "send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity". "This is the first time as prime minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly. "I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest," she added. Britain’s defence ministry said in a statement that four British Tornado jets had fired Storm Shadow missiles at the base 15 miles west of Homs at 0100 GMT. The ministry said the facility was "a former missile base… where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapon precursors". "Initial indications are that the precision of the Storm Shadow weapons and meticulous target planning have resulted in a successful attack," it said. British forces joined Allies in a precision strike on Syrian installations involved in the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. Read more: t.co/Pf7HxIG1UXpic.twitter.com/5kx3xshZLA— Ministry of Defence ���� (@DefenceHQ) April 14, 2018 "Very careful scientific analysis was applied to determine where best to target the Storm Shadows to maximise the destruction of the stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risks of contamination to the surrounding area. "The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk," it added. Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, said in the statement that the strikes were a "legal and proportionate" response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Polls in recent days have shown public wariness of military intervention in Syria, with Britain still haunted by its participation in the US-led invasion of Iraq. A YouGov poll in The Times conducted this week found that 43 percent of voters opposed strikes in Syria, with 34 percent unsure and only 22 percent supportive. Stop the War protesters block Whitehall outside Downing Street Credit: AP Stop the War last night held protests outside Downing Street. Mrs May cleared the way for British participation in airstrikes on Thursday when the Cabinet gave its unanimous backing for the UK joining the international response to last week's gassing of civilians in Douma, near Damascus. The Prime Minister had ruled out a parliamentary vote on military action when MPs return from their Easter recess on Monday. A dozen Tory MPs were openly demanding a Parliamentary vote on military intervention in Syria when MPs return from recess next week including Ken Clarke, the former chancellor. However the Government believed that military intervention was a decision for ministers under the powers of Royal Prerogative. Cabinet sources have disclosed that Mrs May began Thursday's meeting by telling ministers that since the end of the First World War 100 years ago the international community has upheld the rule that "chemical weapons are abhorrent and should never be used". What happens next in Syria – could Britain be drawn into World War Three? The Prime Minister said that in recent years in Syria there had been "an erosion of that international norm" and it was vital to act "to ensure that that norm is restored". She added that when chemical weapons are used it must not go "unchallenged". A Government source said that while Mrs May did not mention the Salisbury chemical weapons attack in her address to the Cabinet, "she is clear that it is part of that erosion". British lawmakers voted down taking military against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force. But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to Islamic State (IS) group targets. Britain continues to support the US-led coalition targeting IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 strikes. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had on Friday accused the government of "waiting for instructions" from US President Donald Trump on what to do over Syria. "Further UK military intervention in Syria’s appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict," he said.



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Judge Denies Bill Cosby's Request For A Mistrial After Accuser Has Outburst In Court

Judge Denies Bill Cosby's Request For A Mistrial After Accuser Has Outburst In CourtBill Cosby's request for a mistrial was denied Wednesday after one of his



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Airstrikes Hit Syria After Suspected Gas Attack, But U.S. Denies Involvement

Airstrikes Hit Syria After Suspected Gas Attack, But U.S. Denies Involvement## TOP STORIES



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White House denies Trump is sending mixed messages to Moscow, but some see ‘incoherence’

White House denies Trump is sending mixed messages to Moscow, but some see ‘incoherence’President Trump has spoken warmly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but on Monday the administration expelled the largest number of Russian diplomats ever, in response to the attempted assassination of a Russian defector in Britain. Is Washington sending mixed signals?



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Interior Department Denies Ryan Zinke Told Staff 'Diversity Isn't Important'

Interior Department Denies Ryan Zinke Told Staff 'Diversity Isn't Important'The Interior Department is denying a CNN report published Monday that alleged



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UK's Porton Down denies it could have been source of nerve agent that poisoned ex-spy

UK's Porton Down denies it could have been source of nerve agent that poisoned ex-spyBritain’s military research facility at Porton Down said it could not have been the source of the nerve agent that poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the city of Salisbury this month, the BBC reported on Friday. The BBC quoted Porton Down Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead as saying there was “no way” the substance could have come from its laboratories as Russia has suggested. Russia denies any involvement in the attack on the pair who have been critical in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in Salisbury.



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In court, oil company admits reality of human-caused global warming, denies guilt

In court, oil company admits reality of human-caused global warming, denies guiltOn Thursday, in a packed federal courthouse in San Francisco, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup donned a space-themed tie and listened as scientists and lawyers formally presented the fundamentals of climate science. The hearing, dubbed a "tutorial" by Judge Alsup, marked the first time a judge has ever asked for and heard a presentation of climate science for the purposes of deciding a court case. The case Alsup is presiding over involves several fossil fuel companies and two major cities — San Francisco and Oakland. The cities are suing the world's oil giants — Chevron, BP, Shell, and others — for extracting and selling fuels that the companies knew would stoke climate change and sea level rise.  Adapting to these changes requires massive infrastructure undertakings, such as building formidable concrete sea walls, and the coastal cities want Big Oil to pay. SEE ALSO: What you learn by giving 200 Senate speeches on climate change Judge Alsup gave each side two hours to present charts, data, and research on both the history of climate science and "the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise, and coastal flooding."  Although Alsup made clear from the outset that the event was not a trial of climate science — but a climate lesson for himself — the evidence provided likely foreshadows the arguments both sides will make during the actual trial. While admitting the reality of human-caused global warming, lawyers for Chevron (the other oil giants have two weeks to tell Alsup if they agree with Chevron's science presentation) presented outdated science and repeatedly emphasized uncertainties about how fossil fuel emissions will affect global warming. They also presented climate change as a global problem requiring a global solution, foreshadowing a defense strategy of arguing that no single company should be held liable for climate change-related damages. "Oil companies basically went from a climate deniers playbook," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute
, in an interview
. "They overemphasized and overstated really narrow issues of uncertainty about the effects of global warming." Glad I got here early! Big crowd for climate science hearing in SF today #ClimateTrial pic.twitter.com/5YvwUI0D9J — Amy Westervelt (@amywestervelt) March 21, 2018 For instance, the oil companies' lawyer, Ted Boutrous, cited a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from 1990, which stated that the observed increase in global temperature could just be due to natural shifts in the planet's climate.  Nearly three decades have since passed, however, and confidence has grown about tying increasing temperatures to fossil fuel burning. A federal climate report published in late 2017, for example, found that there is no natural explanation for recent global warming.  "This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the report said. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence." As Don Wuebbles, a former White House climate science advisor and atmospheric scientist, said during the tutorial, 17 of the last 18 years have been the warmest years on record. The instrumental climate record began in the late 1800s, although researchers have far longer climate timelines gleaned from tree rings, ice cores, and other so-called "proxy" sources. While three climate scientists presented climate science basics for the plaintiffs, the defendants relied exclusively upon Boutrous, who has previously defended both Walmart and the Standard Fire Insurance Company before the U.S. Supreme Court, to inform the judge about the nuances of climate science. "I don’t know if Ted Boutrous has a background in climate science, but he has a background in spin," Siegel said. Alsup grilling Chevron on rate of change of sea level rise. Chevron says sea level has been rising for centuries, nothing new. Plaintiffs’ experts presented evidence that it’s dramatically increased in recent years, fueled by climate change. #ClimateTutorial @ClimateLawNews — Amy Westervelt (@amywestervelt) March 21, 2018 Chevron and the other oil companies may have a difficult time finding scientists who will, in a federal court, make scientific statements about climate change that oil companies find agreeable. "The oil companies are now in a real pickle," said Siegel, noting that climate scientists have previously made false or misleading statements on behalf of oil companies. Publicly, most of these companies now admit that climate change is occurring, even if they continue to sell more oil and gas that contributes to the problem.  "It's a lot harder to lie to the court under penalty of perjury," said Siegel. Richard Wiles, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Integrity, agrees. "The fact that Chevron’s lawyer, rather than an actual climate scientist, provided the court with its version of climate history suggests that the industry could not find a scientist willing to carry its water," Wiles said in a statement.  NASA satellite data observations showing sea level rise from 1993 to the present.Image: nasaOnly scientists, however, presented evidence for the plaintiffs. Along with Wuebbles, geoscientist Myles Allen, who leads Oxford University's Climate Dynamics Group, and Gary Griggs, a professor of earth sciences at University of California at Santa Cruz, presented climate science information to Alsup.  Griggs noted that significant sea level rise has been measured just miles from the courthouse near the San Francisco shore, and Allen delivered quotes from Svante Arrhenius, a scientist who in 1895 noted that carbon dioxide emissions could have a warming effect on the Earth. As for what comes next, the oil companies have filed a motion asking Alsup to dismiss the case. If this were to happen, there would be no trial, said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, via email.  But if things proceed, the next step will likely be discovery, wherein plaintiffs and defendants exchange information that will be used as evidence in the trial. During the past few years, as climate change-related litigation has increased, oil companies have gone to great lengths to avoid the discovery process, since it could reveal what oil companies knew about climate change, when they knew it, and what they told the public and their shareholders about it. The tutorial event may have been unprecedented, but the case is just one of many current lawsuits against oil companies. Across the country, New York City is also suing the same oil companies for damage caused by human-caused climate change.  “Taxpayers around the country should ask themselves whether they want to foot the bill for climate impacts that scientists now attribute directly to the oil and gas industry or demand that polluters pay for the damages they’ve caused," Wiles said. WATCH: 'Supercolony' of 1.5m penguins discovered in Antarctica  



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