Tag Archives: launches

'How in the hell was he still employed?' Gowdy launches congressional investigation into Porter scandal

'How in the hell was he still employed?' Gowdy launches congressional investigation into Porter scandalThe Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee says he has launched an investigation into the White House's decision to allow staff secretary Rob Porter to continue to work for months after it was reportedly informed by the FBI of domestic abuse allegations against him.



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The Best New Product Launches This Week

The Best New Product Launches This Week



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Turkey launches offensive against Syrian city held by US-backed Kurdish forces

Turkey launches offensive against Syrian city held by US-backed Kurdish forcesTurkish warplanes stuck residential parts of Syria’s Afrin on Saturday, forcing people to hole up in their homes and shelters, as Ankara launched an offensive to smash positions held by US-backed Kurdish forces. Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the civilian administration that governs the city in the northwest of Syria, said several wounded people had arrived in the hospitals. "As of this moment our brave armed forces have started the aerial offensive to eliminate the PYD and PKK and Daesh elements in Afrin," said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and the Kurdistan Worker's Party respectively, and using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. Associated Press journalists at the Turkish border saw at least five jets heading toward Afrin. They also witnessed a convoy of buses, believed to be carrying Syrian opposition fighters, traveling along the border across from Afrin. The convoy included trucks mounted with machine guns. A senior Turkish official said the jets hit positions held by US-backed SDF militias. The militias had said any attack would be “sudden and unjustified” and “breathe new life” into Islamic State. Turkey has been shelling the area for two days, while Syria had warned it would shoot down any Turkish planes over its territory. Ankara, which claims the offensive will provide safety to its Turkey’s borders and the region, informed foreign governments involved in Syria about the attack, which began at 5pm local time and has been codenamed Operation Olive Branch. A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district, in Adana after Turkish military started the''Operation Olive Branch'' in Afrin on January 20, 2018. Credit: Anadolu Agency  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has discussed Turkey's military offensive in Syria with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Separately, Turkey's chief of military staff Hulusi Akar spoke with his US and Russian counterparts, Turkish media reports said. Ministry officials said Saturday Tillerson requested a telephone conversation with Cavusoglu. They did not provide further details. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria Saturday's attack follows Turkish anger at a US announcement of plans to create a 30,000 Kurdish-led "border security force" along the border of Turkey. Tillerson later said the US plans were "misrepresented," in an apparent bid to appease Turkey. Russia has removed its military observers  from the Kurdish-run city. Moscow has said it will demand Turkey halt military operation in Afrin in support of its Syrian allies. At 7.30pm local time, Russia pulled back troops deployed close to Afrin to Tell-Afjar, which is within the de-escalation zone established in September. The Defence Ministry said the decisions was made “to prevent possible provocations” and to “exclude the threat to life and health of Russian servicemen”. Rojhat Roj, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish militia group, confirmed that a Turkish plane struck Afrin city. Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters  



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Turkey launches ground offensive in northern Syria against US-backed militias

Turkey launches ground offensive in northern Syria against US-backed militiasTurkish ground forces entered Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday morning in a bid to oust US-backed Kurdish militias from the border between the two countries. The escalation comes on the second day of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch”, which began on Saturday with a barrage of air strikes on the Kurdish YPG militia in the same province. Turkey said it wanted to create a 30km safe zone around Afrin, deep inside Syria, representing a new phase of Turkish involvement in the country's civil war. Hours after ground forces entered the country, a missile fired in Syria hit the Turkish border town of Reyhanli, killing a Syrian national and wounding 32 people. Turkey made its move just a week after the US announced it was working to create a new Syrian Border Security Force by backing Syrian Democratic Forces, which include militia from the Kurdish YPG. The Turkish government regards the YPG as a terrorist organisation closely tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has carried out a bloody three-year insurgency in Turkey’s southeast. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria Despite a call for restraint by France, which wants an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Turkish officials have taken a zero-tolerance line in northern Syria. Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu declared on Sunday that anyone who opposes Turkey’s operation there is siding with terrorists and will be treated accordingly. The ground invasion draws Turkey risks a confrontation with its NATO ally the US, which closely backs the YPG as its partner against Isil and as a border guard force in the Euphrates area. Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, said on Twitter: "In its second day, The Olive Branch Operation continues to ensure peace and security for our people, protect Syria's territorial integrity and eliminate all terrorist elements in the region." In comments that appeared to be aimed at Washington, he added: "Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms." However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later ruled out any clashes with US troops. "It is out of the question to have a direct clash between Turkey and the US in the region," he said. Early on Sunday morning, before the invasion was announced, Turkey claimed four rockets struck the border town of Kilis, wounding one person and causing damage to buildings. Turkey retaliated with a volley of artillery towards YPG positions in northern Syria. Mr Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in northwestern Turkey on Sunday that “there is no stepping back” from the mission to clear Afrin of YPG.   "We are not alone . . . Allah is with us," Mr Erdogan said: "God willing, this operation will come to an end in a short time." The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish shelling  on the village of Jalbara killed eight civilians, including at least one child. Return fire saw one Syrian refugee killed and 32 people wounded on a Turkish town close to the Syrian border. Sunday’s invasion had been hinted at for several weeks by Ankara, and Mr Erdogan has promised to expand the operation to other Kurdish regions. The US has tried to maintain a balance between its NATO alliances and Syrian battlefield politics, but this position is growing less tenable. Just a week ago, a coalition spokesman confirmed that half of the new 30,000-strong Syrian Border Security Force would come from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by Syrian Kurds belonging to the very YPG militias in Turkey’s crosshairs.



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Airstrikes pound Syria's Afrin as Turkey launches 'Operation Olive Branch'

Airstrikes pound Syria's Afrin as Turkey launches 'Operation Olive Branch'By Mert Ozkan and Ellen Francis HASSA, Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey opened a new front in Syria’s nearly seven-year-old war on Saturday, launching airstrikes against a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia in Afrin province that raise the prospect of a further strain on relations between Ankara and Washington. The operation, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Ankara, pits Turkey against Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when ties between Turkey and Washington – NATO allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State – appear dangerously close to a breaking point.



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Turkish army launches new strikes on Kurdish militia in Syria

Turkish army launches new strikes on Kurdish militia in SyriaThe Turkish army said it launched new strikes Saturday against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria, amid mounting expectations of a cross-border ground operation. The army said it hit in “legitimate self defence” camps and refuges used by the YPG in response to fire coming from the Afrin region controlled by the militia group, which Turkey deems to be a terror organisation. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened over the last days to launch a ground operation, also including pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, to oust the YPG from Afrin and the area.



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Australia Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign After Former Child Model Commits Suicide

Australia Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign After Former Child Model Commits SuicideThe suicide of a 14-year-old girl who was once the face of iconic Australian outback hat maker Akubra has left the nation shocked.



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Cornered Merkel launches talks with SPD in bid to secure fourth term

Cornered Merkel launches talks with SPD in bid to secure fourth termBy Michelle Martin BERLIN (Reuters) – More than three months after a German election, Chancellor Angela Merkel is still scrambling to form a new government and will on Sunday launch a five-day attempt to persuade the Social Democrats (SPD) to join a coalition with her conservatives. The SPD reluctantly agreed to exploratory talks and is playing hard-to-get. Enticing them to team up with her is Merkel’s best bet of forming a stable government and extending her 12-year tenure after her efforts to form an alliance with two smaller parties failed last year.



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FBI launches new investigation into Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation

FBI launches new investigation into Hillary Clinton's charitable foundationAn investigation has been launched by the US Justice Department into whether the Clinton Foundation conducted “pay-to-play” politics or illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State. FBI agents from Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation has offices in former President Bill Clinton’s presidential library, have taken the lead in the probe, The Hill reported. The Hill reported that officials, who spoke anonymously, said the investigation was looking at whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favours in exchange for contributions to their charitable efforts.



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Congo launches deadly crackdown on anti-president protests

Congo launches deadly crackdown on anti-president protestsCongolese security forces shot dead a man and injured several others Sunday in a bloody crackdown on Catholic worshippers who gathered at churches across the country to demand President Joseph Kabila leave power. AFP reporters witnessed the latest of several recent outbreaks of bloodshed in the vast, mineral-rich central African country, wracked by tension over delayed elections. An AFP reporter at a demonstration in the central city of Kananga saw a man shot in the chest by soldiers who opened fire on worshippers gathered for what church leaders said would be a peaceful protest.



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