By Nick Tattersall and Phil Stewart ISTANBUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Turkey and the United States are working on plans to provide air cover for Syrian rebels and jointly sweep Islamic State fighters from a strip of land along the Turkish border, bolstering the NATO member's security and possibly providing a safe haven for civilians. Long a reluctant member of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, Turkey last week made a dramatic turnaround by granting the alliance access to its air bases and bombarding targets in Syria linked to the jihadist movement. Struggling with more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees, Turkey has long campaigned for a "no-fly zone" in northern Syria to keep Islamic State and Kurdish militants from its border and help stem the tide of displaced civilians trying to cross. While no such formal arrangement has been struck with Washington, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the two allies saw eye to eye on the need to provide air cover for moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State. "What we have now is air coverage to clear a region from Daesh (Islamic State) and support the moderate opposition so they can gain control of that region," Davutoglu told Turkey's ATV in an interview broadcast live. "We do not want to see Daesh on Turkey's borders." In Washington, U.S. officials said discussions were ongoing about the size and scope of a zone along the border that would be cleared of Islamic State fighters and allow moderate Syrian rebels to operate freely. U.S. officials ruled out the joint imposition of a formal no-fly zone and said the plan was not aimed at creating a "safe zone" for Syrian refugees. “The purpose of the operation is not to create a safe zone into which Syrian refugees will go," a senior Obama administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They might go, but that’s not the purpose of the operation. The purpose of the operation is to clear the border and close the border to Daesh,” the official said. NATO will hold an emergency meeting to discuss security on Tuesday at Turkey's request. Ankara is expected to brief its allies on the measures it is taking but did not request any air or troop support during preparations for the meeting, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. "Turkey has a very strong army and very strong security forces so there has been no request for any substantial NATO military support," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC. SYRIAN KURDS "NOT A TARGET" Alongside its action in Syria, Turkey launched a second night of air strikes on Kurdish insurgent camps in Iraq on Sunday, part of what a senior Turkish official described as a "full-fledged battle against all terrorist organizations". The renewed military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state partly from camps in northern Iraq, has raised suspicions that Turkey's real agenda is checking Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than fighting Islamic State. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby disputed suggestions that Washington had condoned Turkey's strikes on the PKK as a quid pro quo for Ankara's expanded cooperation against Islamic State. He described the timing as a "coincidence". "PKK is a foreign terrorist organization, Turks have a right to defend themselves against it," Kirby said. "There's no connection between what they did against PKK and what we're going to try to do together against ISIL," he said. Ankara is concerned that the success in northern Syria of the Kurdish YPG militia, which has pushed back Islamic State with the help of U.S.-led air strikes, will stoke separatist sentiment among its own Kurds and embolden the PKK. Turkey's Kurds say that by reviving open conflict with the PKK, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is also seeking to undermine support for the pro-Kurdish opposition ahead of a possible early election and stoke up nationalist sentiment. Highlighting the precarious path Ankara is treading as it simultaneously battles Islamic State in Syria and Kurdish insurgents in Iraq, the YPG on Monday accused the Turkish army of shelling its positions in a village on the outskirts of the Islamic State-held border town of Jarablus. A senior Turkish official confirmed that the Turkish army had shot back after it came under fire from across the border late on Sunday, but said it was unclear which group was involved and stressed that the YPG was not a target. "The ongoing military operation seeks to neutralize imminent threats to Turkey's national security and continues to target Islamic State in Syria and the PKK in Iraq," the official said, adding that Ankara was investigating. "The PYD (the political wing of the YPG), along with others, remains outside the scope of the current military effort." The YPG made further gains against Islamic State in northern Syria on Monday, capturing a town near the Euphrates River after a month-long offensive aimed at cutting their supply lines, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, and YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said. HUNDREDS DETAINED The PYD has emerged as the only notable partner so far on the ground for the U.S.-led alliance as it fights Islamic State in northern Syria. But the Kurdish group has links to the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The two share not only ideology but fighters, with the PKK drawing Syrian Kurdish fighters to its camps in northern Iraq and Turkish Kurds among the PYD ranks. That has made for an uneasy compromise between Washington and Ankara. Davutoglu was quoted in the Hurriyet newspaper as saying the PYD could "have a place in the new Syria" if it did not disturb Turkey, cut all relations with the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and cooperated with opposition forces. Washington has reiterated that it labels the PKK as a terrorist organization and stressed that it respects Turkey's right to take action against the militant group. The moves against the PKK come despite negotiations launched by Ankara in 2012 to end an insurgency that has killed 40,000 people since 1984. The PKK has said the actions have rendered the peace process meaningless. Turkish security forces have rounded up 1,050 suspected members of Islamic State, Kurdish militants and ultra-leftists in recent days, Davutoglu said, adding 50-60 of them were foreigners. Local media reports said the vast majority were Kurdish and leftists, not members of Islamic State. (Additional reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Orhan Coskun in Ankara, Humeyra Pamuk and Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul, Phil Blenkinsop and Robin Emmott in Brussels, and Warren Strobel in Washington; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Philippa Fletcher, Toni Reinhold)
- USA TODAY
At least 13 people died after an SUV with 25 passengers collided with a semitruck full of gravel near the U.S.-Mexican border in California.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- The Independent
5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week
QAnon followers believe that on 4 March, which was once the inauguration date of US presidents, Donald Trump will become president again
- Business Insider
Biden hit with first Cabinet defeat as White House withdraws Neera Tanden nomination for budget chief
Neera Tanden, Biden's choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget, became known for social media attacks on the GOP- and those on the left.
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year, in President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin. The sanctions against seven senior Russian officials, among them the head of its FSB security service, and on 14 entities marked a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump's reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Reuters Videos
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- Miami Herald
Colombia became the first country in hard-hit Latin America to receive coronavirus vaccines through COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed alliance aimed at getting shots to countries with fewer resources.
- The Independent
Seven government figures blocked from accessing financial assets in the US
- The Independent
Medical examiner is ‘awaiting toxicology results’ before releasing a report on the death
- Associated Press
A court hearing for 47 democracy activists charged under Hong Kong's national security law resumed Tuesday, following a marathon session that was adjourned well past midnight after one defendant appeared to collapse and was taken away in an ambulance. The court is weighing whether to grant bail to the activists, who were detained and charged Sunday over their involvement in an unofficial primary election last year that authorities say was part of a plot to paralyze Hong Kong's government. Less than half of the bail proceedings were heard on Monday when the court adjourned the session at about 2 a.m. The hearing resumed later Tuesday morning, although at least four defendants who were taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday were not present in the morning session.
- The Independent
President’s warm tone towards Mexico has translated to substantial policy changes
- The Independent
Anchors on RSBN have been playing conspiracy whack-a-mole, swatting down paranoid comments to which they themselves seem sympathetic.
- CBS News
The Senate majority leader said that the Senate will take up President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill as early as Wednesday.
A Palm Beach mansion owned by the Trump family just hit the market for $49 million, and it's right across the street from Mar-a-Lago
The home was previously owned by Donald Trump's sister, who sold it to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump in 2018.
- Reuters Videos
The United Nations is pleading for member states to help it raise $3.85 billion in a donations drive; money it says is needed to avoid wide-scale and "man-made" famine in Yemen's civil war.The U.N. has warned that the country has been on the brink of famine for a long time. The war has lasted for six years, collapsed government services, and its economy.400,000 children there, like Ahmadiya Juaidi, are already severely malnourished according to the U.N.She only weighed 20 pounds when she was admitted to a hospital in Sanaa a few weeks ago. She's said to be 13 years old.Her brother, Muhammad, tells us that Ahmadiya's condition has improved but they're afraid to go back to their home in the countryside, because with a lack of income and food, she'll just deteriorate again.The U.N. was able to avoid mass starvation here in 2018 and 2019 because of well-funded donation drives, including large amounts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait. But that plunged last year. The U.N. received only half of what it needed. It's imploring members again to pledge generously, and pledge quickly.The U.N. also accepts small donations from individuals.
- The Daily Beast
CBSIf you happened to catch any hour of Fox News over the past couple of days, you may be under the impression that Dr. Seuss getting “canceled” is the biggest news story in America. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that it’s not quite so simple.As Stephen Colbert explained in his Late Show monologue Tuesday night, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has decided to stop publishing six rather obscure titles from the iconic children’s author because they contain “racist and insensitive imagery.”“It’s a responsible move on their part,” the host argued. “There hadn’t been an earth-shattering outcry, but they recognize the impact that these images might have on readers, especially kids, and they’re trying to fix it, because Dr. Seuss books should be fun for all people—Black, white, straight, gay, Sneetches both star-bellied and plain, Loraxes, Barb-a-loots, all the Whos down in Whoville and the strange, angry creature called Foo Foo the Snoo.”Colbert went on to highlight just a few of the Dr. Seuss books that “teach vital lessons to this day,” including the anti-war Butter Battle Book, environmental Lorax and Hop on Pop, which “warns against the dangers of pop-hopping.”“The Dr. Seuss folks listened to criticism, thought it was reasonable and made what’s called a change,” he added. “Or as it’s known on Fox News: cancel culture.” Trevor Noah Disgusted by Andrew Cuomo’s Creepy Kiss PhotoAfter playing a montage that just scratched the surface of how much Fox has obsessed over the story this week, culminating in a full-on meltdown from Donald Trump Jr., Colbert said, “I’m not surprised Don Jr. loves The Cat in the Hat, I’ve always believed he can read at a second-grade level. Also, I think his dad calls him and Eric ‘Thing One’ and ‘Thing Two.’”Finally, Colbert read aloud from a brand new Seussian book titled “Oh the Books You Can Read,” which began, “So the book news you heard today just got your goose. And now you’re defensive for old Dr. Seuss. If you find that your bookshelf just got a little bit duller, consider these kids books from people of color.”“There’s lots of new stories you might find quite good,” he continued, “like Imani’s Moon by Janay Brown-Wood. Want more suggestions? No need to keep hopin’. Just pick up Firebird by the Misty Copeland. And this one right here is the real real McCoy, it’s Thomisha Booker’s great book Brown Boy Joy. There’s a whole range of books that will make you feel merry, like this one called Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry.”“So don’t be so cancel-y, culture-y, whiny,” Colbert concluded. “Read these books after pulling your head from your hiney.”For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast.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.
Rivkah Reyes said that while Jack Black and their castmates were all still in touch, the role as Katie led to self-harm and addiction for Reyes.
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex faced several bullying complaints from members of her staff during her time as working royal, it was claimed on Tuesday night, as tensions between the couple and Buckingham Palace deepened. She was accused of driving two personal assistants out of the household and undermining the confidence of a third employee, The Times reported. A spokesman for the Sussexes told The Telegraph: "The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. "She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good." Jason Knauf, the couple's communications secretary at the time, submitted a formal complaint about the claims in October 2018 in an apparent bid to protect his staff. In his email, he said: "I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X was totally unacceptable. The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y."
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex wore earrings during a royal tour which were a gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia who is accused of ordering the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Chopard earrings worn by the Duchess at a formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018 during a royal tour of New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga were a wedding gift from the crown prince according to The Times. Kensington Palace was reportedly instructed to brief the media that the chandelier earrings were “borrowed” and this was reported by outlets covering the engagement. An aide has claimed the Duke and Duchess said the earrings were borrowed from a jeweller. Lawyers for the Duchess told The Times that while she may have stated the earrings were borrowed she did not say that they were borrowed from a jeweller. The lawyer denied the Duchess misled anyone about their provenance.
- NBC News
Tanden's confirmation failure makes her the first Cabinet pick to be disqualified. It's no coincidence that she's an Asian American woman.