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Updated: 22 hours 4 min ago

Exclusive: U.S. warship sails near disputed islands in South China Sea, officials say

March 23, 2018 - 7:53am

By Idrees Ali and Ben Blanchard WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation on Friday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters. The operation, which infuriated Beijing, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as China’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

Austin Bomber Is A Terrorist Of Our Own Making

March 23, 2018 - 6:57am

It's been a hell of a few weeks here in Austin, Texas, and the last one was

How To Cook A Precooked Ham

March 23, 2018 - 3:45am

If an Easter ham is the crowning glory of your table every spring, it may be

Scores of Russian diplomats set to be expelled after EU leaders agree Russia 'highly likely' to have carried out Salisbury attack

March 23, 2018 - 3:35am

Scores of Russian diplomats look set to be expelled from European capitals as ten EU countries indicated they were preparing to follow Theresa May's lead in the wake of the Salisbury attacks. France, Poland, Ireland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands are all in discussions about deporting suspected spies after Theresa May shared intelligence about the nerve agent attack at a meeting of the European Council. Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has also hinted that she may be prepared to go beyond merely rebuking Vladimir Putin, and the EU recalled its ambassador to Moscow overnight in a show of solidarity with Mrs May. Throwing their weight behind the Prime Minister, the 27 leaders of the European Council said it was “highly likely” that the Kremlin was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Responding to the announcement on Friday, Moscow accused the UK of leading the European Union towards an "anti-Russia campaign".  In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said the only explanation was that European leaders "wanted to help the British Prime Minister out of a difficult situation". It came as Markus Ederer, the EU ambassador, was recalled from Moscow on Thursday night to consult with Brussels over the EU’s response to the attack, while a number of EU member states said they were poised to announce expulsions of Russian diplomats. While Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the move was a "measure" rather a "sanction" against Russia, the decision paves the way for further retaliatory action against the Kremlin which could see its European spy network dismantled within a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, a convoy of vehicles left the British Embassy in Moscow on Friday morning ahead of a Russian deadline for 23 diplomats to leave the country. A convoy of vehicles leaves the British embassy in Moscow on Friday morning Credit: Pavel Golovkin /AP Russia said it was expelling the diplomats last Saturday in a carefully-calibrated retaliatory move against London, which has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the nerve toxin attack. On Friday morning, staff were seen embracing colleagues as vehicles were being readied on the grounds of the British embassy. Members of the British embassy staff gather at its compound in Moscow on Friday morning Credit: TATYANA MAKEYEVA /Reuters Leaving a dinner with European leaders on Thursday night, Mrs May said the Council was “standing together” against the growing threat posed by the Putin regime. "I welcome the fact that the EU Council has agreed with the United Kingdom Government's assessment that it is highly likely that Russia is responsible for the attempted murder that took place on the streets of Salisbury and that there is no plausible alternative explanation,” she added. "The threat that Russia poses respects no borders and it is a threat to our values and it is right that here in the EU Council we are standing together to uphold those values." On Friday morning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on a visit to Hanoi that the UK is "feverishly trying to force allies to take confrontational steps". Theresa May left a dinner with European leaders late on Thursday night  It came after five EU countries indicated they are prepared to follow Theresa May’s lead by expelling diplomats suspected of espionage. France, Poland, Lithuania and at least two other countries are understood to be in discussions about co-ordinated expulsions of Russian Embassy officials in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings. On Friday, Latvia said it would expel "one or several" Russian diplomats. The Czech prime minister Andrej Babis said it was "probable" his country would follow suit, with a decision to be made on Monday. Estonia is understood to be taking action. Irish PM Leo Varadkar said Ireland would conduct a security assessment of Russian diplomats, which could lead to expulsions.  It comes as Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said leaders of the 28 EU states agreed that Russia is likely behind the attack.  At a dinner with other EU leaders in Brussels, Mrs May warned her allies that Russia represents a “long term” threat to each of them and urged them to consider taking action either individually or as a bloc. #EUCO agrees with UK government that highly likely Russia is responsible for #SalisburyAttack and that there is no other plausible explanation.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 22, 2018 Following a meeting between Mrs May, the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French officials hinted that the country was prepared to act. Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel agreed on the importance of sending "a strong European message" to Russia. Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania, confirmed she was contemplating the deportation of Russians, and Poland’s deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki told The Telegraph his country was prepared to act unilaterally in expelling Russians if it encouraged others to take steps against Moscow. The development is a huge victory for Theresa May Credit: WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS EU leaders made a joint statement on Thursday night agreeing they stood in "unqualified solidarity" with the UK in a big victory for Mrs May. In a joint statement, they said: "The European Council condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent attack in Salisbury, expresses its deepest sympathies to all whose lives have been threatened and lends its support to the ongoing investigation. "It agrees with the United Kingdom Government's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. We stand in unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security. "The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons under any circumstances, is completely unacceptable, must be systematically and rigorously condemned and constitutes a security threat to us all. "Member states will co-ordinate on the consequences to be drawn in the light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities. The European Union will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications. "Against this background, the European Union must strengthen its resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks, including through closer cooperation between the European Union and its member states as well as Nato. "The European Union and its member states should also continue to bolster their capabilities to address hybrid threats, including in the areas of cyber, strategic communication and counter-intelligence. The European Council invites the European Commission and the High Representative to take this work forward and report on progress by the June European Council."

Smoky condo fire in Vietnam kills at least 13, injures 28

March 23, 2018 - 2:34am

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Residents startled awake by loud noise and smoke signaled for help with lit mobile phones and crawled onto cranes from their balconies to escape a fire Friday at a large condominium complex in southern Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. At least 13 people were killed and 28 injured, with police saying it was unclear if anyone was missing.

Tweeters Freak Out Over Donald Trump's Appointment Of 'Warmonger' John Bolton

March 23, 2018 - 2:00am

President Donald Trump horrified many people on Twitter Thursday when he

Protests Shut Down Sacramento Kings Game, Freeways Over Stephon Clark's Death

March 22, 2018 - 10:49pm

Outraged over the latest police shooting of an unarmed black man, hundreds of

Alan Dershowitz on the resignation of Trump's lead attorney

March 22, 2018 - 8:42pm

Trump was reportedly displeased when attorney John Downed called on the DOJ to end the Russia investigation; Alan Dershowitz shares his reaction on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

911 calls: Police fast on scene of Florida bridge collapse

March 22, 2018 - 8:37pm

MIAMI (AP) — Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene of a pedestrian bridge collapse near a Florida university campus even before witnesses could finish making 911 calls for help, according to audio files released Thursday.

Here Are 6 Of John Bolton's Most Belligerent Op-Eds In Recent Years

March 22, 2018 - 8:24pm

President Donald Trump named John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the

Austin Bomber's Recording Says He's Not Sorry, May Be A 'Psychopath'

March 22, 2018 - 8:15pm

The Texas man suspected of creating a series of bombs that terrorized the

U.S. Drops Charges Against Turkish Security Accused Of Attacking American Demonstrators

March 22, 2018 - 6:58pm

The U.S. has dropped criminal charges against nearly all of the Turkish

Fired officer who killed unarmed black man to get back pay

March 22, 2018 - 6:30pm

CINCINNATI (AP) — A white police officer fired after he fatally shot a black unarmed motorist will get about $344,000 in back pay and legal fees from the University of Cincinnati, the school said Thursday.

Miccosukee tribe seizes non-native dad's newborn in hospital

March 22, 2018 - 6:04pm

MIAMI (AP) — A tribal court for a sovereign Indian nation in Florida ordered the return of an infant Thursday that was taken from her parents, a Miccosukee mother and a white father, at a Miami-area hospital.

The Latest: Protest decries police shooting of unarmed man

March 22, 2018 - 5:44pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man (all times local):

Former Mormon Missionary Center Leader Accused Of Sexual Assault

March 22, 2018 - 5:07pm

Years-old sexual abuse allegations against a former Mormon missionary leader

Petersen Automotive Museum to host ‘Outlaw’ Porsche Panel

March 22, 2018 - 3:08pm

Celebrating all things underground Porsche culture with a new 'Outlaw' panel, the Petersen Automotive museum will host craftsmen and icons from the Porsche Hot Rod world during an exclusive event

These Are The Biggest Marches In U.S. History

March 22, 2018 - 3:04pm

On Feb. 14, a lone gunman entered the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is up to 16 times more massive than thought

March 22, 2018 - 2:30pm

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), a massive area of floating plastic debris that is more than twice the size of Texas, contains about 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. This is between 4 and 16 times the mass of plastic that scientists previously estimated.  What's worse is that the amount of plastic within this area is growing "exponentially," according to a comprehensive three-year-long study using 30 vessels and a high-tech reconnaissance aircraft.  The study, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, provides a detailed analysis of the size and types of plastic caught up in the Garbage Patch, which occupies about 1.6 million square kilometers, or 617,763 square miles, between Hawaii and California.  SEE ALSO: A floating 'island of trash' has surfaced in the Caribbean The GPGP is just one of five ocean garbage patches that have developed around the world as people use more and more plastic, which is not biodegradable and is used for everything from water bottles to shipping crates. A fleet of 30 vessels, each dragging nets behind them to scoop up pieces of plastic, gathered 1.2 million samples. Scientists from The Ocean Cleanup Foundation in the Netherlands, as well as six universities and an aviation sensor company, used the samples they'd gathered to build a model of how plastic is transported in and out of the GPGP.  The study estimates that the approximately1.8 trillion pieces of plastic within the GPGP weighs about 80,000 metric tons. Another unexpected finding: Most of this mass — 92 percent — is composed of large plastic debris, such as crates and bottles, while just 8 percent or so of the mass is made up of microplastics, pieces smaller than 5 millimeters in size.  Modeled mass concentration of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage PatchImage: THE OCEAN CLEANUP FOUNDATION/lebreton et. al. scientific reports."We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we encountered," said Julia Reisser, chief scientist of the expeditions, who works for The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, in a press release.  At least 46 percent of the mass was composed of ghostnets, or fishing nets drifting at sea, unmoored from the ships that once towed them, the study found.  “There’s a lot more plastic out there than thought,” said Boyan Slat, a co-author of the study and founder of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, in an interview. Unlike earlier studies, which focused on collecting small pieces of plastic within a smaller area of the GPGP, this one attempted to capture the full range of debris floating in the GPGP. The armada of research ships used small nets to catch the small pieces, large ones to wrangle the medium-to-large pieces, and a C-130 Hercules aircraft equipped with LIDAR equipment in order to detect "these mega-pieces” of larger than 1 meter, Slat said.  Using their transport model, the researchers pointed to Asia as a main source of plastic pollution for the GPGP, particularly Japan and China, though plastics from North America contribute to it as well. Plastics that get routed into the Garbage Patch by winds and ocean currents are likely to be permanently trapped there, in a zone of little wind and devoid of weather systems that would break up and disperse the debris. Eventually, some of the surface plastic does sink to the ocean bottom, where it can endanger marine life.  A styrofoam buoy collected during the 2015 ocean surveyImage: the ocean Cleanup Foundation.The researchers used an "apples to apples" comparison of small plastic pieces, dating back to 1970, to analyze their mass estimates against previous studies, Slat said. The conclusion was inescapable: There is more and more plastic being added to the Garbage Patch each year, with far less plastic escaping, to the point where it's undergoing exponential growth.  This May, scientists and engineers affiliated with The Ocean Project plan to test out technology to clean up plastic from the sea, using a vessel off the California coast. The eventual plan is for the group to reduce plastic pollution by cleaning up the GPGP and similar areas of plastics around the world.  The nearly $40 million initiative relies on private funding; since 2013, they'd been raising funds using crowdfunding. Now, according to Slat, the group relies on a group of anonymous philanthropists, split about equally between Silicon Valley and Europe. One prominent investor is Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of Salesforce, Slat said.  “We need to understand how much plastic is out there so that we can clean it up,” Slat said. The goal is to have the first plastic from the Garbage Patch recovered and back in port before the end of this year, Slat said. On its website, the foundation says its goal is to clean up 50 percent of the GPGP recovered within five years of deployment. WATCH: 'Supercolony' of 1.5m penguins discovered in Antarctica