By Kamal Namaa ANBAR, IRAQ(Reuters) - Sunni fighters have seized a border post on the Iraq-Syria frontier, security sources said, smashing a line drawn by colonial powers a century ago in a campaign to create an Islamic Caliphate from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran. The militants, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), first moved into the nearby town of al-Qaim on Friday, pushing out security forces, the sources said on Saturday. Once border guards heard that al-Qaim had fallen, they left their posts and militants moved in, the sources said. Sameer al-Shwiali, media adviser to the commander of Iraq's anti-terrorist squad, told Reuters the Iraqi army was still in control of al-Qaim. Al-Qaim and its neighboring Syrian counterpart Albukamal are on a strategic supply route. A three-year-old civil war in Syria has left most of eastern Syria in the hands of Sunni militants, now including the Albukamal-Qaim crossing. The Albukamal gate is run by al Qaeda's official Syria branch, the Nusra Front, which has clashed with ISIL but has sometimes agreed to localized truces when it suits both sides. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, Rami Abdulrahman, said ISIL had pushed the Nusra Front out from many areas of eastern Syria in the past few days and their capture of al-Qaim will allow them to quickly move to the Syrian side. ISIL already controls territory around the Albukamal gate, effectively pinching the Nusra Front between its forces in Syria and those in neighboring Iraq, said Abdulrahman, who tracks the violence. The al Qaeda offshoot has captured swathes of territory in northwest and central Iraq, including the second city, Mosul. They have seized large amounts of weaponry from the fleeing Iraqi army and looted banks. World powers are deadlocked over the crises in Iraq and Syria. Shi'ite Iran has said it will not hesitate to protect Shi'ite shrines if asked by Baghdad but Sunni-run Saudi Arabia has warned Tehran to stay out of Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 U.S. special forces advisers to help the Iraqi government recapture territory seized by ISIL and other Sunni armed groups across northern and western Iraq. But he has held off granting a request for air strikes to protect the government and renewed a call for Iraq's long-serving Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to do more to overcome sectarian divisions that have fueled resentment among the Sunni minority. SHI'ITES MOBILIZE The fighting has divided Iraq along sectarian lines. The Kurds have expanded their zone in the northeast to include the oil city of Kirkuk, which they regard as part of Kurdistan, while Sunnis have taken ground in the west. The government has mobilized Shi'ite militia to send volunteers to the front lines. In Baghdad's Shi'ite slum of Sadr City, thousands of fighters wearing military fatigues marched through the streets. They carried rocket-propelled grenades, semi-automatic rifles and trucks had mounted long-range rockets, including the new 3-metre “Muqtada 1” missile, named after Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Sadr, who has tens of thousands of followers. Sadr has yet to throw his fighters into the recent wave of fighting but has accused Maliki of mishandling the crisis. "These brigades are sending a message of peace. They are the brigades of peace. They are ready to sacrifice their souls and blood for the sake of defending Iraq and its generous people," a man on a podium said as the troops marched by. SUNNI INFIGHTING The fighting, with strong sectarian overtones, is pushing the country towards civil war. Iraq's largest refinery, Baiji, 200 km (130 miles) north of the capital near Tikrit, has been transformed into a battlefield. "Last night, three attacks on Baiji refinery were repelled and attackers ... More than 70 terrorists were killed and more than 15 vehicles were destroyed,” said Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military's commander-in-chief. He showed aerial footage of cars and people being blown up but details of the fighting could not be independently confirmed. The conflict has displaced tens of thousands. On Saturday evening, 15 people were wounded by a army helicopter strike in the village of Al Bu Saif, south of Mosul city, medics said. A health official in Mosul said the wounded included two children and seven women. "Most of them are from the same family. Three are in critical condition from shrapnel wounds," he said. As in Syria, ISIL has started to clash with other Sunni militias in Iraq. In the town of Hawija, ISIL and members of the Naqshbandi Army, made up of former army officers as well as loyalists of Saddam Hussein's former ruling Baath party, started fighting on Friday evening, witnesses said. They said the clashes, in a dispute over power, killed 15 people. "Hawija is falling apart," a senior tribal figure from the community said before the clashes. "There are so many groups working with ISIL. Each group has its agenda." Hawija could be seen as the spark for Iraq's current armed Sunni insurgency. In April 2013, Sunni protesters said security forces shot dead at least 50 of them. They were demanding greater rights from the Shi'ite-led government. After the killings, violence soared in Iraq. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Oliver Holmes Editing by Andrew Roche)
The ceremony is split over two days for the first time, with more winners to be revealed on Sunday.
- Associated Press
Hideki Matsuyama has delivered golf-mad Japan the grandest and greenest prize of all. A decade after Matsuyama made a sterling debut as the best amateur at Augusta National, he claimed the ultimate trophy with a victory in the Masters. Matsuyama becomes the first Japanese winner of a men's major championship.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The prize for the win is more than $2 million.
- WCVB - Boston
Mobile COVID-19 vaccination busses are helping administer the vaccine to people in need in Lowell.
Dismissed for decades by critics as a country bumpkin who loves silly carnival costumes, Bavarian leader Markus Soeder said on Sunday that he was willing to run as the conservative candidate for German chancellor, provided he had the bloc's full backing. Angela Merkel, who has clocked up four election victories and led Europe's biggest economy for 16 years, is not standing for a fifth term when Germany goes to the polls in September. This means the parliamentary bloc formed by her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their sister party, Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), must decide on a candidate.
LONDON (Reuters) -The death of Prince Philip has left a huge void for his wife Queen Elizabeth and Britain has lost its "grandfather", his son Prince Andrew said on Sunday, as tributes poured in and the royals thanked the public for its support. Andrew joined his siblings Charles, Anne and Edward in saying they had taken strength from the outpouring of affection and would rally around their mother in her time of grief. Andrew called his father a "remarkable man" after he left a private church service in Windsor, near where Philip died on Friday aged 99.
The judge in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis policeman charged with George Floyd's deadly arrest last May, denied a defense request on Monday to sequester the jurors after police in a neighboring city fatally shot a Black man. Testimony resumed in the murder trial as the prosecution called an expert in cardiology to testify that Floyd died as a result of the restraint used on him by police rather than a drug overdose, as suggested by the defense. Before jurors were brought into the courtroom, Chauvin's lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, sought to have the panel sequestered in light of the fatal police shooting a day earlier of a Black man named Daunte Wright in a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburban city just north of Minneapolis.
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral will be the first occasion that marks Prince Harry's change of status within the Royal family. The Queen stripped the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of all official royal titles earlier this year after they confirmed that they would not return to their roles as working royals. As a ceremonial event, it is believed that the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Earl of Wessex will attend the funeral in military uniform. But as the Duke was stripped of his honorary military titles, including his prized role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, it is thought he will have to wear a suit despite having served as an Army officer. Protocol dictates that retired service personnel can wear their medals – but not their uniform – at official engagements once they have left the military.
Black Lives Matter of Greater New York chair Hawk Newsome questions how much Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has contributed to charity. The head of New York City’s Black Lives Matter chapter is calling for an investigation into BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors over a series of million-dollar real estate purchases she’s made. Cullors, 37, has reportedly purchased four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the U.S. alone, per New York Post, including property in a mostly white area of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County for $1.4 million.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a longtime advocate of democracy in Myanmar, told Politico Monday the Biden administration is "trying to do the right thing" in responding to the Myanmar military coup.What he's saying: "On the domestic front, I have not yet witnessed something that I’ve been happy about," McConnell said. "But in this area, I think their instincts are good. I think they’re trying to do the right thing."Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeBetween the lines: President Biden has consulted McConnell on the U.S.' response to the takeover in Myanmar, which has led police and military to kill over 700 people since February, Politico reports. The Republican senator, an ally to Myanmar's democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called on the Biden administration to address the coup at the United Nations Security Council to ensure international attention.“Our ability to influence this from halfway around the world is limited,” he said. “But we do have tools.”"The lion share of the burden is on the State Department and the administration," he added. "But in any way that congressional action needs to be a part of this: Count me in."A former top State Department official who used to work with McConnell's staff told Politico McConnell has been "frustrated at times that, on both sides of the aisle, the White House and the State Department hasn't always come up with effective Burma policies."The big picture: The Biden administration has meted out a number of sanctions on Myanmar military officials in response, suspending trade engagement and imposing export controls.But the violence hasn't abated in Myanmar. On Saturday, security forces killed at least 82 pro-democracy protesters, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.Go deeper: UN envoy says "a bloodbath is imminent" in MyanmarMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
The Biden administration says it had no role in the explosion on Sunday at an Iranian uranium enrichment facility. Iran has blamed Israel and vowed to take revenge.Why it matters: The administration is attempting to negotiate a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with a second round of indirect talks set to start on Wednesday. The timing of the incident, along with several recent Israeli strikes on Iranian ships, could make Biden's diplomatic challenge more difficult.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.What they're saying: "We have seen reports of an incident at the Natanz enrichment facility in Iran. The United States had no involvement, and we have nothing to add to speculation about the causes," a senior Biden administration official said.Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed Israel for the explosion, which resulted in damage to centrifuges used to enrichment uranium. He said the incident would not affect the nuclear talks, but “we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's atomic energy organization, denied a New York Times report that the explosion caused such severe damage that it will take 9 months to repair. Salehi said uranium enrichment continues and the damaged centrifuges will soon be replaced.Iranian media reported that the intelligence services were investigating the incident, and one arrest had already been made.Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met this morning in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaking alongside Austin, Netanyahu stressed that Iran was the gravest threat in the region and that Israel would never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.Austin stressed the U.S. commitment to Israel's security but did not mention Iran. Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
A former Minneapolis police officer said Derek Chauvin violated protocol kneeling on George Floyd's neck, but he doesn't think the officer committed a crime
The former officer, who spoke with Insider on condition of anonymity, said he believed Floyd died of a drug overdose.
- The Daily Beast
Wright Family/HandoutPolice in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center fatally shot a Black 20-year-old man during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon, setting off a string of violent protests amid tensions over the Derek Chauvin murder trial. The victim’s mother spent much of Sunday afternoon at the scene of the fatal shooting, pleading with officers to remove the body of her son, Daunte Wright, from the pavement. Hours after the shooting, hundreds of residents surrounded the police headquarters and clashed with police, who responded with tear gas and flashbangs reminiscent of last summer’s protests after the police death of George Floyd. “He got out of the car, and his girlfriend said they shot him,” Katie Wright said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He got back in the car, and he drove away and crashed and now he’s dead on the ground since 1:47... Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us... I said please take my son off the ground.”Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott also identified Wright as the victim of Sunday’s incident. On Sunday night, Elliott called the shooting “tragic” and urged both police and protesters to remain peaceful.“Our hearts are with his family, and with all those in our community impacted by this tragedy,” Elliott tweeted. “While we await additional information from the BCA who is leading the investigation, we continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability.”On Monday afternoon, Elliott added that President Joe Biden had reached out “to offer his administration’s support” following the unrest. The Brooklyn Center Police Department said the incident occurred shortly before 2 p.m., after officers initiated a stop for a traffic violation. Wright’s mother said that during the stop, her son called her to tell her he had been pulled over because an air freshener was allegedly hanging in his rear-view mirror—which is an offense in Minnesota. Katie Wright, mother of Daunte Wright, 20, describes the phone call with her son as he was pulled over. @kare11 pic.twitter.com/3lz5jncTuc— Chris Hrapsky (@ChrisHrapsky) April 12, 2021 “He called me at about 1:30. He said he was getting pulled over by the police. And I said ‘Why you getting pulled over?’ And he said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror. I said, ‘OK take them down,’” Wright said, adding that she could hear a scuffle break out and someone yelling, “Daunte, don’t run.” When she called back, her son was dead.Police say that during a name check, they discovered Wright had an outstanding arrest warrant. As they tried to take him into custody, cops said Wright re-entered his car—prompting an officer to discharge his weapon. Wright then drove several blocks before “striking another vehicle,” police said in a press release. “Officers in pursuit and responding medical personnel attempting life-saving measures, but the person died at the scene.”Police also noted that a female passenger who was in the car was injured during the crash, and she was transported to another hospital. The occupants of the other car were unharmed. It is not immediately clear why police opened fire or if Wright was presumed to be armed, or what the arrest warrant was for.Wright also had previous run-ins with law enforcement. According to court records, he was charged with a petty misdemeanor twice in August 2019—once for selling marijuana and another for disorderly conduct. In February, however, Wright was charged with aggravated robbery. He was released conditionally, according to jail records.The most recent, publicly available warrant for Wright’s arrest in Minnesota’s court records system is from last July, for violation of the conditions of his release on a 2019 robbery charge to which he had pleaded not guilty. Following a hearing in August, and the posting of a $30,000 bond, the judge ordered him conditionally released. He was due to appear in court this summer.Protests then broke out despite Wright’s family pleading for calm. By nightfall, police fired rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, and flashbangs at around 500 protesters who had gathered near the Brooklyn Center police headquarters and defaced the signage. Brooklyn Center also issued a 6 a.m. curfew in an attempt to curtail the violence, but that effort was largely unsuccessful after many of the protesters retreated into nearby residential areas, according to the Star Tribune. This is #DaunteWright and his son Duante Wright Jr. Earlier today Duante Sr. was shot to death during a traffic stop reportedly about an air freshener obstructing a mirror.He was 20 years old and killed by a Brooklyn Center Police Officer in MN. He was unarmed. pic.twitter.com/p3VOOiaLK8— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) April 12, 2021 Around midnight, National Guard troops tried to secure the area as looters stormed a nearby Walmart store. Local media reports that many nearby businesses, including a Foot Locker and New York clothing store, were damaged in the ensuing violence. Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, alongside State Patrol and Hennepin County officers, said early Monday that the Guard presence would remain “robust” for the next “two or three days.”Wright’s mother called for calm, telling the gathering crowds: “All the violence, if it keeps going it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason. We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back.”By early morning, the protests had spread to southern Minneapolis and were gaining strength in numbers ahead of first light. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he is “closely monitoring” events and Brooklyn Center Mayor Elliott called on police to avoid using force against peaceful protesters. “A difficult night in Minnesota. We mourn with Daunte Wright’s family as another Black man’s life is lost at the hands of law enforcement,” Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith tweeted Monday.The shooting was also brought up Monday before court began in the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes before he died during a May 2020 arrest over a counterfeit bill. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, requested to sequester the 12-person jury, stating that Sunday’s shooting could have hindered their ability to make an impartial decision about his client’s fate.Judge Peter Cahill, however, denied the motion after highlighting that while there is “civil unrest and maybe some of the jurors did hear about it,” the cases are unrelated and there has been no evidence of jury-tampering. Brooklyn Center Community Schools have pivoted to remote learning on Monday “out of an abundance of caution,” Superintendent Carly Baker wrote on the school’s website. “I haven’t entirely processed the tragedy that took place in our community and I’m prioritizing the safety and well-being of our students, families, staff members, and community members,” he added.The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota on Monday demanded an “immediate, transparent and independent investigation by an outside agency,” adding that the body-camera footage belonging to all the officers involved in the shooting should be released immediately. The group also called that the names of the officers be released. “We have concerns that police appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do too often to target Black people,” the ACLU of Minnesota tweeted. For Wright’s family, however, the initial shock of losing the 20-year-old, whom they describe as a new father who had a whole life ahead of him,” is still overwhelming. “We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” the family said in a statement. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters,” the family added. “He did not deserve this,” the family added.- Will Bredderman contributed to this report. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
The Virginia police officer who was filmed pepper-spraying a uniformed Black Army officer after holding him at gunpoint has been fired
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia has also ordered an independent investigation into the traffic stop involving 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario.
‘My family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official,’ the embattled Gaetz said in a statement. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has reportedly been denied a meeting with former President Donald Trump amid a sex trafficking probe that has shrouded his political career. The Republican congressman, a staunch supporter and close friend of Trump, believes the former commander-in-chief should run for office again in 2024.
A former Minneapolis police officer said he quit days before the Derek Chauvin trial because he thinks protesters will 'burn the city down' no matter the case's outcome
The former sergeant told Insider that he believed there would be rioting at the close of Chauvin's murder trial and that he feared getting killed.
- Associated Press
La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of ash and hot gas early Monday in the biggest explosive eruption yet since volcanic activity began on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent late last week, with officials worried about the lives of those who have refused to evacuate. Experts called it a “huge explosion” that generated pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks. “It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, told The Associated Press.
- The Telegraph
Iran’s foreign minister on Monday vowed vengeance against Israel for an explosion a day earlier at the Natanz nuclear site that he blamed directly on Tehran’s arch enemy. “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions ... they have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by state TV. Israel has all but claimed responsibility for the apparent sabotage operation that damaged the electricity grid at the Natanz site on Sunday, with multiple Israeli outlets reporting that Mossad carried out the operation, which is believed to have shut down entire sections of the facility. The sabotage could set back uranium enrichment at the facility by at least nine months, US officials briefed on the operation told the New York Times. Iran on Monday said the person who caused the power outage at one of the production halls at Natanz had been identified. "Necessary measures are being taken to arrest this person," the semi-official Nournews website reported, without giving further details.
- Business Insider
People on the Caribbean island where a volcano went off are being evacuated on cruise ships - but not without a COVID-19 vaccine
The evacuees most have received a vaccination before they board the cruise ships, the prime minister has said.
- The Week
Virginia police officer fired after violent stop of Black Army officer. Governor calls for state investigation.
The town of Windsor, Virginia, said Sunday that one officer has been fired and another disciplined over an arrest in December that went viral on social media over the weekend. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said earlier Sunday that video of the traffic stop, in which Army Lt. Caron Nazario was pepper-sprayed at gunpoint by two officers, "is disturbing and angered me," and he said he has directed the Virginia State Police to investigate the incident. Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is also suing the officers, Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, in federal court. Gutierrez and Crocker pulled Nazario over in Windsor on Dec. 5, 2020, because his brand new SUV did not have permanent license plates. At one point, Nazario, in his Army uniform, told the officers he was afraid to get out of the car, video from Nazario's cellphone and the officers' body cameras show. "Yeah, you should be," one of the officers responded. Gutierrez, who pepper-sprayed Nazario inside his car before arresting him, did not follow Windsor police procedures and was "terminated from his employment," the town of Windsor said in a statement. Nazario was released without charge. In a federal lawsuit filed April 2, Nazario argues excessive force by the officers violated his constitutional rights and says the officers threatened to end his military career if he spoke out about the arrest, The Washington Post reports. He is seeking at least $1 million in damages. Windsor, a town of about 2,600 about 30 miles west of Norfolk, "acknowledges the unfortunate events that transpired," and "department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present," Windsor officials said in a statement Sunday night. "The Town of Windsor prides itself in its small-town charm and the community-wide respect of its police department," the statement added. "Due to this, we are saddened for events like this to cast our community in a negative light." More stories from theweek.comTrump finally jumps the shark7 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's corporate hypocrisy1 issue where the Biden administration and Mitch McConnell really see eye to eye