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Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pulloutSyria's Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey's invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos. The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.


10/13/2019 5:39:13 PM

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.


10/12/2019 4:53:29 AM

California becomes first US state to ban fur productsCalifornia has become the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products.On Saturday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to prohibit residents from making or selling items such as clothing, shoes or handbags made of fur.


10/13/2019 7:40:24 AM

Millions told to evacuate as Super Typhoon Hagibis slams into Japan - throwing Rugby World Cup into chaosAt least six million people were told to evacuate their homes as Super Typhoon Hagibis smashed into Japan on Saturday, triggering mudslides, flooding and the heaviest rain and winds in 60 years. Within hours of the typhoon making landfall at around 7pm local time (11am UK), at least two people were dead, nine were missing and more than 80 were injured, according to local media. Officials warned that the storm could be the most powerful to hit Japan since one of the worst typhoons on record devastated Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1958, killing more than 1,200 people. Even before the storm hit, there were reports of at least one death, with a 50-year-old man killed when his car overturned in strong winds in Chiba Prefecture, an area just east of Tokyo still recovering from a strong typhoon which hit last month. Four others, including two children, were also injured by a tornado in the same area. One resident there told NHK: “When the winds suddenly hit, they blew the roof off my house. The noise was awful. One of my three children was injured but is now in a hospital.” Even before the typhoon hit, strong winds brought havoc to areas such as Chiba, near Tokyo  Credit: Katsuya Miyagawa/Kyodo News The typhoon had been brewing over the Pacific Ocean with recorded winds of more than 145 mph. Authorities issued warnings that with gusts likely to exceed that figure, some houses were at risk of being blown down.  The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of as much as 30 inches of rain in the 24-hour period until midnight on Saturday.  Television footage showed images of damage to roofs and walls of buildings in storm-hit spots across Japan. More than 16,000 homes, mainly along the Pacific coastline, were without electricity.  Some residential areas along the coast in Shizuoka were also reported as being submerged up to around knee height in tidal surges. The approaching typhoon caused rivers to overflow in the area, with reports of at least one person swept away, and widespread landslide warnings also in place. Three people were missing in Gunma Prefecture after a landslide swept through six houses. The weather system passed directly over Tokyo, one of seven regions subject to the non-compulsory evacuation orders - and where a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit just ahead of the typhoon's arrival.  Around 17,000 Self-Defence Forces personnel were on standby across the country for potential deployment on rescue operations. Even as the typhoon moved away from the capital late on Saturday, one expert warned of further flooding as several surrounding prefectures began releasing water from dams, letting it flow downstream. "The situation is now worse than this evening," Nobuyuki Tsuchiya, director of the Japan Riverfront Research Centre, told Reuters. About 1.5 million people in Tokyo live below sea level. Japan's national rugby team waded through floodwater to reach the pitch for practice, with a decision still to be made on Sunday's matches Credit: Japan Rugby Football Union/Reuters A study by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers in June 2018 concluded that a huge storm surge in Tokyo Bay could lead to 8,000 deaths and cause damage estimated at Y115 trillion (£84 billion).  Much of the damage would be to infrastructure, such as underground railway lines, roads and bridges, as well as structures on vulnerable reclaimed land in the bay.  A disaster simulation prepared by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2018 suggested that more than 80 square miles of the city could be inundated in a worst-case scenario, accounting for one-third of the entire city. In low-lying areas, water levels could rise as high as 32 feet above mean sea level.  The government’s estimations are based on data from Typhoon Muroto, which struck the city in September 1934, killing 3,066 people, injuring a further 13,000 and leaving 200,000 people homeless.  Authorities in central Japan called on residents of coastal regions to evacuate to higher ground inland and alerts were sent out to mobile phones through messaging systems and are running on television and radio broadcasts.  Train services in and around Tokyo were cancelled throughout Saturday, along with long-distance bullet train services. Japanese airlines grounded all domestic and international flights out of Narita and Haneda, the two airports that serve the capital, while theme parks and many shops closed their doors. There are fears for low-lying coastal areas, with residents warned they should move to higher ground inland Credit: Kyodo News/AP A number of companies, including car makers Toyota and Honda, have halted production.  Saturday’s Rugby World Cup game between England and France in Yokohama has been cancelled, along with the Italy-New Zealand clash in Toyota City.  A decision is due to be made at midnight on games scheduled for Sunday, including the all-important Scotland-Japan game, which will decide which nation emerges from the group stages of the tournament. The looming super typhoon has also triggered a frenzy of last-minute buying, with store shelves emptied of bread, instant noodles, bottled water and other perishable foods. Stores in some areas have also reportedly run out of batteries and packing tape that is being put across windows to reduce the possibility of flying glass.  Super Typhoon Hagibis - the Tagalog word for “speed” - is the second major storm to hit Japan in just over a month.  Typhoon Faxai struck eastern Japan on September 9, killing three people, leaving more than 40 injured and leaving scenes of devastation in its wake. At the peak of the storm, more than 930,000 people were without power and it took two weeks for some areas to have electricity restored.


10/12/2019 8:36:07 AM

Merkel Says Germany and France Should Deepen Relationship(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.Germany and France should deepen their relationship and coordinate policies more intensively, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly podcast, ahead of a Franco-German ministerial meeting Wednesday.Merkel and several German ministers will travel to Toulouse next week to meet French counterparts and discuss how to intensify political coordination. For example, both governments should agree on common positions before each European Council meeting, she said.Germany and France are the motors of European security and defense policy, Merkel said. Wednesday’s talks will also deal with defense issues such as the next steps in developing European tanks and an airplane, according to the chancellor.Before the talks, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse. The company is the “probably most important project of Franco-German collaboration of the past decades,” Merkel said.Germany and France also plan to foster contacts between citizens of both countries in areas near their border. She said other plans include the foundation of cultural institutes and a fund to facilitate such projects.To contact the reporter on this story: David Verbeek in Frankfurt at dverbeek1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Schaefer at dschaefer36@bloomberg.net, Thomas MulierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


10/12/2019 3:36:13 AM

Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is foundThe family of a missing Utah tech executive has called off a search for her after police reported that a body was found inside a parked car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Police in San Jose said the body was discovered Saturday in an area where Erin Valenti's family had been searching. "While we were praying for a different outcome, we are so appreciative for the help and support you have given," according to a Facebook post by the group Help Find Erin Valenti.


10/13/2019 2:13:57 PM

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?Will Beijing's strategy work?


10/12/2019 10:00:00 AM

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stopsNorwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.


10/12/2019 12:31:10 PM

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police sayCity’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.


10/13/2019 9:40:37 AM

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into RegionKhalil Ashawi/ReutersAmid a Turkish assault, the Kurds, or Syrian Democratic Forces, have struck a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that will bring forces loyal to Assad back into areas that have been under Kurdish control for years.“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government—whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty—for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression [by Turkey],” the Kurds said in a statement.Once the agreement was made Sunday night, Syrian Assad troops began moving into towns near the border with Turkey where Turkish forces have been encroaching since President Trump announced that he was withdrawing American forces from the region earlier this week.The agreement appears to undermine any expectation that United States might continue to assist the Kurds—Washington’s allies against ISIS—as they are attacked by Turkey. In the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, with a Turkish invasion carried out just days later, American forces were unable to carry out a move of about 60 “high value” ISIS detainees out of wartime prisons run by the Kurds, The New York Times reports. The chaos also made way for hundreds of ISIS prisoners on Sunday to escape from a low-security detention camp in the area.In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday that the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat farther away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces had been trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody, and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back from—not completely out of—northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path—passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that such a possibility did not concern him. “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN, which reported that at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders on the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When moderator Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside U.S. troops. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks, and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ISIS could see a revival in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the terror group in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


10/13/2019 9:18:59 AM

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