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Russia to allow chemical weapons inspectors into Douma amid concerns attack site has been 'tampered with'

Russia to allow chemical weapons inspectors into Douma amid concerns attack site has been 'tampered with'Chemical weapons experts are due to arrive in Douma on Wednesday to probe the alleged poison gas attack, Russian officials said, as the US voiced fears Moscow may already have "tampered with" evidence at the site. Following weekend missile strikes on Syria by the US, France and Britain, Russia traded accusations with Western nations on Monday, dismissing as "a blatant lie" accusations that Moscow was hindering the investigation in Douma. The four nations confronted each other in tense emergency talks at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague as inspectors prepare for a difficult and dangerous mission. Syrian state media early Tuesday said air defence had shot down missiles over the central province of Homs, with the strikes reportedly targeting regime air bases. It was not known who carried out the attack, with Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb saying: "There are no US or coalition operations in that area." Israel's military declined to comment, as is its custom. Initial reports indicated that the incident may have been a false alarm and that Syrian forces may have opened fire by mistake. Syrian authorities distribute bread, vegetables and pasta to Douma residents more than a week after the attack Credit:  Hassan Ammar/ AP The developments came as UK parliament geared up for its second debate on the West's missile strikes on chemical weapons facilities at the weekend. Ahead of an emergency debate called by Jeremy Corbyn has insisted on parliamentary approval for intervention, Lord Hague told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday morning that the Government had “quite possibly made a mistake” by recalling MPs to vote on action in Syria after the chemical attack in 2013. He said: “I don’t subscribe to the idea that any military action makes things worse. There have been many military actions and wars that have made it worse. "But I do strongly believe that if in 2013 Parliament had given us the permission to launch limited strikes … I do strongly believe that there would have been less Russian adventurism, less foreign intervention and fewer attacks by chemical weapons in the years since then.” The weekend missile strikes by the US, Britain and France were in response to an alleged chlorine and sarin gas attack in Douma on April 7 in which 40 people were said to have been killed. OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said his nine-strong, all-volunteer team had reached Damascus, but so far "the team has not yet deployed to Douma". Syrian and Russian officials had warned of "pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place," Uzumcu said. Igor Kirillov, head of Russia's radiological, biological and chemical protection unit, told reporters the roads still had to be de-mined and cleared and would be tested by UN security services on Tuesday. "On Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts," he added at a press conference in the Russian embassy in The Hague. Pro Assad supporters were among an anti-war demonstration outside parliament in London on Monday Credit: TOLGA AKMEN/ AFP The US ambassador to the OPCW, Ken Ward, claimed however the Russians had already visited the site and "may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission". The Kremlin dismissed the claims. "I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the BBC. And the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, said it was a "blatant lie" that Moscow was hampering the investigation. Instead he said it was the United States, France and Britain who were "standing in the way" of the investigation by ordering air strikes "in the blink of an eye" before the OPCW team had had a chance to do their work. The missiles that US, French and British warships fired on suspected chemical facilities Saturday constituted the biggest Western attack against the regime in the seven-year war to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The targeted sites were largely empty, and were all said to be facilities for chemical weapons storage or production. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron faced anger Monday from their lawmakers for conducting the air strikes with the United States. Despite polls showing scant support for the move, May said it had been her "responsibility as prime minister to make these decisions," while Macron also defended his move as part of his constitutional powers. France urged OPCW nations to boost the organisation's work so it can completely dismantle Syria's "secret" toxic weapons programme. And the United States called for a clear condemnation by the OPCW of "the Syrian government for its reign of chemical terror". A boy sits on a chair along a damaged street in Douma, which was allegedly hit with a chlorine attack Credit: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS The trio of Western powers that carried out the strikes warned they would repeat the operation if Damascus used chemical weapons again. Regime forces have now entered Douma and declared the entire Eastern Ghouta region around it fully retaken, ending a five-year siege and reclaiming an opposition bastion on the edge of the capital. Even though the OPCW team was not allowed in, the Syrian authorities organised a tour of the town for some foreign press. It included a visit to the main hospital to which the victims of the alleged chemical attack where taken. Medical student Marwan Jaber said no chemical weapons were used on April 7. "Suffocation cases arrived as a result of the debris, dust, fire and smoke. They were given routine treatment", he said. But "strangers entered as we were in a state of chaos and spread a rumour among people there had been a chemical attack, and people became alarmed". Damascus and Moscow have vehemently denied that any chemical weapons were used in Douma and alleged instead that grim videos showing civilians foaming at the mouth after the attack were staged. Russian ambassador Shulgin repeated the accusations telling reporters in The Hague that Douma residents had not been able to produce "a single body".



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2 bodies, vehicle found after California family's SUV went into river

2 bodies, vehicle found after California family's SUV went into riverTwo bodies have been found in the search for a missing Southern California family after their SUV plunged into a Northern California river.



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Tarantula Topping Draws The Brave Into North Carolina Burger Joint

Tarantula Topping Draws The Brave Into North Carolina Burger JointA hamburger intentionally topped with a tarantula is attracting customers to a



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Trump signals strikes against Syria, lays into Assad ally Russia

Trump signals strikes against Syria, lays into Assad ally RussiaBy Susan Heavey, Makini Brice and Tom Perry WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, declaring that missiles “will be coming” and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The White House pushed back against suggestions that Trump had broadcast his plans for military strikes via Twitter, saying he had not laid out a timetable for action, that all options were still on the table and he was assessing how to respond. Trump’s tweet was reacting to a warning from Russia that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria over the deadly assault on Saturday on the rebel enclave of Douma near Damascus would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.



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Russian forces move into Douma, site of suspected chemical attack

Russian forces move into Douma, site of suspected chemical attackRussian troops moved into the Syrian town of Douma, where the suspected chemical attack took place. Now the new concern – what happens if a US strike on Syria accidentally hits Russian forces?



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Witness saw SUV possibly belonging to Southern California family disappear into Humboldt County river

Witness saw SUV possibly belonging to Southern California family disappear into Humboldt County riverMystery surrounds the disappearance of a Southern California family of four who were on a road trip and never arrived in the Bay Area.



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Hit-and-run driver crashes into Los Angeles vigil for man killed in hit-and-run

Hit-and-run driver crashes into Los Angeles vigil for man killed in hit-and-runA vigil for a cyclist killed in a hit-and-run crash in Los Angeles was disrupted when a pedestrian was struck by a car in another hit-and-run. More than 100 friends, family and fellow cyclists had gathered at the intersection of LA’s Normandie and Manchester avenues where 22-year-old Frederick Frazier had died a day earlier after being struck by a white Porsche Cayenne. The cyclists “basically took over the intersection” and blocked traffic, said LAPD Captain Rafael Ramirez.



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Hey, Laura Ingraham, David Hogg Actually Did Get Into UC Irvine

Hey, Laura Ingraham, David Hogg Actually Did Get Into UC IrvineParkland shooting survivor David Hogg, famously mocked by Fox News' Laura



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Hey, Laura Ingraham, David Hogg Actually Did Get Into UC Irvine

Hey, Laura Ingraham, David Hogg Actually Did Get Into UC IrvineParkland shooting survivor David Hogg, famously mocked by Fox News' Laura



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Man drives van into restaurant in Germany, killing two plus himself

Man drives van into restaurant in Germany, killing two plus himselfBy Elke Ahlswede MUENSTER, Germany (Reuters) – A German man drove a van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the old city center of Muenster in western Germany on Saturday, killing two of them before shooting himself dead, police and state officials said. Herbert Reul, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to Muenster, told German television the suspect was a German citizen and there was “no indication of an Islamist background”. Reul said the three dead included the perpetrator.



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