Scores feared dead after Iraq airstrikes

For almost one week desperate neighbors had scraped through the rubble, searching for as many as 130 people who lay buried after three homes in a west Mosul suburb were destroyed by coalition airstrikes. The full picture of the carnage continued to emerge on Friday, when at least 20 bodies were recovered. Neighbors said at least 80 bodies had been recovered from one house, where people had been encouraged by local elders to take shelter. The destruction took place in a district that was last week a frontline in the battle for Mosul. “One child was four, the other one year old and the third less than three months,” he said.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

'Russian agent killed Kremlin critic Voronenkov'

MOSCOW -- A Ukrainian official said Friday that the killer of renegade Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was gunned down in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, was a Russian agent, a claim quickly rejected by the Kremlin. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, identified the man who shot Voronenkov on Thursday as 28-year-old Pavel Parshov and said he had been trained in Russia by Russian security services. Ukraine's chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said Voronenkov was killed shortly before meeting with another fugitive Russian lawmaker, Ilya Ponomaryov. Voronenkov, who had toed the Kremlin line while serving as Russian lawmaker but turned a Kremlin critic after his move to Ukraine last fall, was shot dead near the entrance to an upscale hotel in the center of Kiev. It shows the killer shooting Voronenkov from behind as he was walking down the street with his bodyguard.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Booker's 70 points not enough

BOSTON -- The Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker scored 70 points, becoming the sixth different player in NBA history to reach that total, but the Boston Celtics got 34 points from Isaiah Thomas and outlasted the visitors 130-120 on Friday night. Kyrie Irving added 26 points and Kevin Love had 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped Charlotte's three-game winning streak and clinched the Central Division. Cody Zeller added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Julius Randle added 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who earned just their second victory since the All-Star break. Andrew Wiggins scored 36 points before fouling out with 1:17 left in OT and Karl-Anthony Towns added 25 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which dropped its fifth in a row.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Rift among Republicans threatens Trump agenda

WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party's longstanding ideological divisions were laid bare in very public fashion this week, sinking President Donald Trump's Obamacare repeal plan and threatening other elements of his agenda. That could spell trouble for the party in power, as Washington gears up for several legislative battles in the months ahead. In 2010, ecstatic grassroots Tea Party candidates rode into Congress on a wave of anti-establishment fervor, as Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives. The following year, bitter Republican battles over raising the debt ceiling nearly drove the United States into a calamitous default. Getting Republicans to line up on issues has often been like herding cats.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Mongolian yurt library opens in Taipei

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's first library taking the form of a Mongolian yurt was inaugurated on Saturday on the 11th floor of the National Immigration Agency (NIA) building in Taipei, allowing second-generation Mongolian children to enjoy the experience of reading Mongolian books in a yurt. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, NIA director general Ho Jung-chun (何榮村) said that the Mongolian yurt library was the brainchild of Lin Tsai-lin, an immigrant from Mongolia who married a Taiwanese man, in the hopes of helping Mongolian children in Taiwan learn more about Mongolian culture by reading Mongolian publications in a yurt and also allowing people in Taiwan to better understand Mongolia. Over the past three months, Lin has successfully collected around 300 Mongolian-language children's publications, all donated by Mongolian families, friends, bookstores and international organizations. To celebrate the inauguration, Mongolian dancing, contortionist performances, and a "catwalk show" of children wearing traditional Mongolian costumes took place at the ceremony. Among VIPs present at the ceremony were Hai Chung-hsiung, director of the Mongolian Affairs Department under the Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs Commission, and representatives from Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar Trade Representative Office in Taipei and Taipei City Library.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Tokyo wants 'nuke food' on the table

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Japan's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Jiro Akama arrived in Taiwan Saturday, the highest-ranking government official to visit the island since the severing of diplomatic ties between Taipei and Tokyo in 1972. Speaking at the Colorful Japan event in Taipei, Akama called on President Tsai Ing-wen's administration to lift a ban on imports of food from prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The government has faced intense pressure from civic groups and the opposition Kuomintang over the possible easing of the ban. Tokyo has placed strong pressure on Tsai 's administration to lift the import ban. Some analysts suggested that the sending of such a high-ranking official to Taiwan showed Tokyo's eagerness to lift the ban.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

To go hot or cold on Taiwan during Trump-Xi meet? U.S. scholars can't decide

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- U.S. scholars have offered opposing views how Washington should approach relations with Taiwan, amid rumors of an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. U.S. media reported that the two were planning to meet at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, next month. Wilder suggested that the U.S. must focus on solving the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability, over addressing the Taiwan question. Trump should tell Xi that by targeting Taiwan with its missiles, Beijing was threatening regional peace, something that was not acceptable, Easton said. Wilder and Easton were speaking at a U.S.-Taiwan security relations seminar hosted by Hudson Institute on Friday.

March 25, 2017 08:37 UTC

Blow for Trump as Obamacare repeal bid collapses

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump faced the biggest blow yet to his young presidency as his bid to repeal Obamacare went down in flames at the hands of rebel Republican lawmakers. Barely two months into his term, Trump was forced to withdraw an embattled Republican health care bill Friday, moments before a vote, leaving his campaign pledge to dismantle his predecessor's health care reforms unfulfilled. "We were very, very close" to securing enough support for the bill, Trump said in the Oval Office. Instead of projecting humility, Trump went on the offensive Friday, branding Democrats as the real "losers" of the failed repeal bid because "now they own Obamacare. But while Trump was quick to blame Democrats for not giving "a single vote" for his plan, Ryan owned up to the failures.

March 25, 2017 06:45 UTC

Photographer captures glacier melt over a decade

CHICAGO -- For the last decade, American photographer James Balog has been on a mission to document climate change through his camera lens. "I want people to understand the ice," Balog told AFP in an interview at the show opening. "Ice is the manifestation of climate change in action." "People (who) don't believe in global warming and climate change, they need to see this exhibit. People understand that climate change is happening, but it may not always be front and center in their mind," she said.

March 25, 2017 06:11 UTC

Indian Wells champion Vesnina crashes out at WTA Miami Open

MIAMI -- Russia's Elena Vesnina, last week's winner at Indian Wells, crashed out of the WTA Miami Open in the second round on Friday at the hands of Croatian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic. It was not my decision but I think it is not really fair to me," she said. Townsend has never played Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion, and acknowledged it would be a huge challenge. "I really like watching her play," Townsend said of Kuznetsova, runner-up at Indian Wells last week. But Muguruza, the reigning French Open champion pulled out the stops, saving a match point to earn a 0-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 win.

March 25, 2017 05:37 UTC

Rain and colder weather for north, northeast

The latest cold front is delivering lower temperatures and rain across Northern and Northeastern Taiwan, according to the Central Weather Bureau on Saturday. The bureau forecast highs of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius with temperatures dropping to 14 to 15 degrees in the evening in the north and northeastern parts of the island. Residents in Tainan and Taitung should enjoy warmer weather, with highs ranging from 26 to 30 degrees. Aside from a colder weather, heavier rain is expected in north and northeastern parts of Taiwan, while sporadic showers forecast for Central and Eastern Taiwan, as well as the offshore islands Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. Level 8 to 9 winds are forecast in regions north of Tainan, Hengchun, Eastern Taiwan (including Orchid Island and Green Island), Penghu, Kinmen and open plains.

March 25, 2017 04:07 UTC

Tillerson to meet NATO allies next week

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with NATO members next week in Brussels, officials said Friday, as alliance diplomats worked to nail down the date. "We are currently planning to hold the meeting of NATO foreign ministers on 31 March. The NATO foreign ministers meeting had been planned for April 5, but that was thrown into chaos on Tuesday when Tillerson revealed he would not be attending. "The Secretary of State will visit NATO in Brussels, Belgium," acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, without revealing any details of planned meetings. NATO member Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has already announced that he expects to meet Tillerson in Ankara on Thursday, March 30.

March 25, 2017 03:56 UTC

Ducks left floundering in 4-3 loss to Islanders

PITTSBURGH -- John Tavares and Anthony Beauvillier scored in the shootout to lead the New York Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the NHL on Friday night. Beauvillier opened the shootout with a goal, and Tavares snapped a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury in the next round. Stars 6, Sharks 1 Adam Cracknell scored his first hat trick in seven NHL seasons and Dallas handed San Jose its fifth straight loss. San Jose has been outscored 16-5 during the stretch. Lightning 2, Red Wings 1, OT Nikita Kucherov scored 3:28 into overtime to lift Tampa Bay over Detroit.

March 25, 2017 03:45 UTC

No repeal for 'Obamacare' - a humiliating defeat for Trump

WASHINGTON — In a humiliating failure, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders yanked their bill to repeal "Obamacare" off the House floor Friday when it became clear it would fail badly — after seven years of nonstop railing against the health care law. Thwarted by two factions of fellow Republicans, from the center and far right, House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama's health care law, the GOP's No. 1 target in the new Trump administration, will remain in place "for the foreseeable future." It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House Republicans delay no longer and vote on the legislation Friday, pass or fail. Despite reports of backbiting from administration officials toward Ryan, Trump said: "I like Speaker Ryan.

March 25, 2017 02:37 UTC

Harrison Ford says he was distracted during plane landing mistake

"I'm the schmuck who landed on the taxiway," Ford told an air traffic controller shortly after the near-miss on Feb. 13 at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Recordings of Ford's conversations with air traffic controllers were released Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration. Ford asked the air traffic control tower as he landed in the wrong spot. In a phone call with an air traffic controller after the incident, Ford said he "got distracted by theairliner" and also mentioned "big turbulence" from another plane that was landing. After Ford told the employee his name, the man seemed taken aback and assured Ford he won't share his phone number with anyone.

March 25, 2017 00:22 UTC

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