By Stephanie Nebehay, Tom Perry and Humeyra Pamuk GENEVA/DAMASCUS/ONCUPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of civilians could be cut off from food if Syrian government forces encircle rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning of a new exodus of refugees fleeing a Russian-backed assault. The army aims to secure the border with Turkey and recover control of Aleppo, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters, adding that she did not expect diplomacy to succeed while foreign states maintain support for insurgents. Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have launched a major offensive in the countryside around Aleppo, which has been divided between government and rebel control for years. It marks one of the most important shifts of momentum in the five-year civil war that has killed 250,000 people and already driven 11 million from their homes. Since last week, fighting has already wrecked the first attempt at peace talks for two years and led rebel fighters to speak about losing their northern power base altogether. The U.N. is worried the government advance could cut off the last link for civilians in rebel-held parts of Aleppo with the main Turkish border crossing, which has long served as the lifeline for insurgent-controlled territory. "It would leave up to 300,000 people, still residing in the city, cut off from humanitarian aid unless cross-line access could be negotiated," the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. If government advances around the city continue, it said, "local councils in the city estimate that some 100,000 – 150,000 civilians may flee". Aleppo was once Syria's biggest city, home to 2 million people. Air strikes continued on Tal Rifaat, Anadan and other towns in the Aleppo countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, and activists said, adding that they were almost certainly from Russian planes. Independent Doctors' Association official Mahmoud Mustafa said at least two people had been killed and 30 wounded in air strikes near Tal Rifaat and villages near Azaz. The death toll could be higher since his figures referred only to victims brought to the organization's hospital on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar border crossing with Turkey. In a residential area of Damascus, a suicide bomber drove his car into a police officers' club on Tuesday, blowing himself up, a Syrian interior ministry statement said. The state news agency SANA reported three dead and 14 wounded. The Observatory said eight police officers had been killed and 20 wounded in the blast. Islamic State claimed responsibility. While mortar and missile attacks have been a common feature of life in Damascus, this was the first bombing of its kind in many months in the center of the capital. Last month, at least 60 people were killed, including 25 Shi'ite fighters, on the outskirts of the city by a car bomb and two suicide bombers near Syria's holiest Shi'ite shrine, the Observatory reported. Islamic State also claimed that attack. "BETWEEN TWO EVILS" Turkey, already home to 2.5 million Syrians, the world's biggest refugee population, has so far kept its frontier mostly closed to the latest wave of displaced. Trucks ferrying aid and building supplies were crossing the border at Oncupinar into Syria on Tuesday, while a few ambulances entered Turkey, sirens blazing. But the crossing remained closed to the tens of thousands of refugees sheltering in camps on the Syrian side of the border. "We Syrians will be stuck between two evils if Turkey does not open the doors," said Khaled, 30, trying to return to Aleppo to rescue his wife and children. "We will have to choose between Russian bombardment or Daesh," he said, using a pejorative Arabic acronym for Islamic State. The U.N. urged Ankara on Tuesday to open the border and has called on other countries to assist Turkey with aid. Assad adviser Bouthaina Shaaban, speaking at her office in Damascus, said the government's aim was also "to control our borders with Turkey because Turkey is the main source of terrorists, and the main crossing for them". The Syrian government describes all the groups fighting it as terrorists. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said as many as a million refugees could arrive if the Russian-Syrian campaign continues. Fifty thousand people had reached Turkey's borders in the latest wave and Ankara was admitting people in a "controlled fashion", he said. The U.N. World Food Programme said in a statement it had begun food distribution in the Syrian town of Azaz near the Turkish border for the new wave of displaced people. "The situation is quite volatile and fluid in northern Aleppo with families on the move seeking safety," said Jakob Kern, WFP's country director in Syria. "We are extremely concerned as access and supply routes from the north to eastern Aleppo city and surrounding areas are now cut off, but we are making every effort to get enough food in place for all those in need, bringing it in through the remaining open border crossing point from Turkey." LITTLE HOPE FOR PEACE TALKS The Russian-backed government assault around Aleppo, as well as advances further south, helped torpedo the first peace talks for nearly two years. International powers are due to meet on Thursday in Munich in a bid to resurrect the talks, but diplomats hold out virtually no hope for negotiations as long as the offensive continues. Rebels say they will not attend without a halt to the bombing. Moscow turned the momentum in the war in favor of its ally Assad when it joined the conflict four months ago with a campaign of air strikes against his enemies, many of whom are supported by Arab states, Turkey and the West. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia on Tuesday to join efforts to bring about a ceasefire. "Russia's activities from Aleppo and in the region are making it much more difficult to be able to come to the table and be able to have a serious conversation," Kerry told reporters. The Syrian president's adviser said talk of a ceasefire was coming from states that "do not want an end to terrorism" and were instead seeking to shore up insurgents, who are losing territory on a number of important frontlines. (This version of the story was refiled to correct name of doctors' association in paragraph 10) (Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Beirut, Tom Miles in Geneva, Gergely Szakacs and Marton Dunai in Budapest and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Giles Elgood, Philippa Fletcher and David Stamp)
- The Independent
Everyone has something to say, and no one can agree
- USA TODAY
Variant cases in US have doubled since Feb. 18; Idahoans burn masks at State Capitol: Live COVID-19 updates
Idahoans burned masks at the State Capitol in Boise to protest health recommendations they view as restrictions on freedom. Latest COVID-19 news.
- The Independent
GOP Governor Reeves instead calls Biden ‘duly’ elected president
- The Independent
Biden signs executive order to expand voting rights: ‘If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide’
‘Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have it counted’
- The Independent
Harry says wife’s success ‘brought back memories’ of his mother for royal family
- The Independent
Harry and Meghan say concerns were raised by unnamed family member over how dark Archie’s skin would be
Duchess wouldn’t reveal who raised the topic, saying it ‘would be very damaging to them’
- Business Insider
Thousands of people who visited a COVID-19 vaccination site in California reportedly received the wrong dose, but officials say nobody needs a booster shot
An estimated 4,300 people at the Oakland Coliseum received a lesser dosage of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on March 1, KTVU reported.
- Associated Press
It’s sleepy by Donald Trump’s standards, but the former president's century-old estate in New York's Westchester County could end up being one of his bigger legal nightmares. Seven Springs, a 213-acre swath of nature surrounding a Georgian-style mansion, is a subject of two state investigations: a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and a civil inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Both investigations focus on whether Trump manipulated the property's value to reap greater tax benefits from an environmental conservation arrangement he made at the end of 2015, while running for president.
- The Week
Britain's tabloids, vilified by Harry and Meghan, are all agog over the 'devastating' Oprah interview
Oprah Winfrey's interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the duke and duchess of Sussex, aired in the wee small hours of Monday morning in Britain. But the British press, one of the two institutions that came out poorly — along with the British royal family — stayed awake for the tightly held interview. Their headlines steered away from the media criticism and focused on the allegations of dysfunction and, above all, racism at Buckingham Palace. Markle's revelation, backed up by her husband, that an unidentified member of the royal family expressed concern "about how dark" their soon-to-be born son's "skin might be" is "devastating," BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond wrote. "This is heading into 'worst-case scenario' territory for the palace." And Harry's description of his father and brother being "trapped" inside the cold, sclerotic royalty "is a velvet covered dagger into the institution he has left," Dymond adds. The Daily Mail, whose parent company recently lost a privacy lawsuit to Markle, and the Daily Mirror focused on the racism charge, while The Sun headlined her suicidal ideation amid a double blow of palace-ordered isolation and tabloid harassment. Monday’s Daily MAIL (3am edition): “How Dark Will Baby’s Skin Be?” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/LHR04di1nP — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Monday’s Daily MIRROR (later edition): “ ‘They asked how dark Archie’s skin would be’ “ #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/jKvwEo9RDv — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Monday’s SUN (3am edition): “Meg: I Felt Suicidal” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/LrfawLF8fr — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 The Daily Express led with Markle upending tabloid gossip, while the Daily Star tried to snark off the whole thing. Monday’s Daily EXPRESS: (2am edition) “All Care Homes Must Open Up To Loved Ones” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/9vkEMUAfmT — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Front-page of Monday’s Daily Star, they’re having some laugh with this story; savages! pic.twitter.com/fmQPc4FRmZ — Tommy Rooney (@TomasORuanaidh) March 7, 2021 The Daily Telegraph featured a column calling the couple "woke" but focused its top story on pre-interview comments by Queen Elizabeth II. The front page of tomorrow's Daily Telegraph: 'Harry and Meghan embody the woke generation'#TomorrowsPapersToday Sign up for the Front Page newsletterhttps://t.co/tlYMNUKPpj pic.twitter.com/4wXW399s14 — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 7, 2021 The "devastating interview" delivered "a body blow to the institution" of the royal family and "upended the narrative created by Britain's bestselling newspapers," Dymond writes. But "the newspapers that the couple so despise — will they change their tune? It is not in their nature." More stories from theweek.com7 spondiferously funny cartoons about the Dr. Seuss controversyJohn Oliver explains why the U.S. unemployment safety net is so broken, citing Florida and ElmoWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chilling
- The Week
The House is expected to clear President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill on Tuesday, after the Senate narrowly passed it Saturday morning, following a lengthily negotiation with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) over unemployment benefits. The narrow Democratic majority is now discussing how to pass other legislative priorities, and Manchin said Sunday he's open to reforming the filibuster. "The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful. and we've made it more comfortable over the years," Manchin said on Fox News Sunday. "Maybe it has to be more painful." One solution could be to require a "talking filibuster," where senators can block legislation temporarily through feats of endurance. "If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk," Manchin said on NBC's Meet The Press.. "I'm willing to look at any way we can, but I'm not willing to take away the involvement of the minority." Manchin repeated that he's "not going to change my mind" on ending the filibuster, but his comments were still greeted positively by filibuster opponents. The talking filibuster "preserves some ability for the minority to slow a bill as long as they physically hold the floor, but then allows an up-or-down vote once they give up," Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon tweeted. "This is the Jimmy Stewart model." Manchin also expressed an openness to exploring other ways to sidestep blanket GOP opposition, suggesting that perhaps the budget reconciliation process could be used to pass voting-rights legislation — it can't — or other priorities. "But I'm not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also," he said. "I'm hoping they will get involved to the point where we have 10 of them that will work with 50 of us." "If we continue to see obstruction from our Republican colleagues — as we saw through this COVID relief package — I think the patience is going to wear thin, even on moderate Democrats," Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said Sunday on CNN. "But we'll see." More stories from theweek.com7 spondiferously funny cartoons about the Dr. Seuss controversyBritain's tabloids, vilified by Harry and Meghan, are all agog over the 'devastating' Oprah interviewJohn Oliver explains why the U.S. unemployment safety net is so broken, citing Florida and Elmo
- Business Insider
Lindsey Graham says he deals with Trump's 'dark side' because he thinks he has a 'magic' other Republicans don't
Graham told "Axios on HBO" that former President Donald Trump could make the party bigger, stronger, and more diverse but "also could destroy it."
- The Telegraph
Forget hiding behind the sofa, the Royal family needed a bullet-proof vest as Harry and Meghan let rip
It was both everything we had come to expect - and not what we were expecting at all. We knew it was going to be blockbuster TV. But what we didn’t anticipate about the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ Oprah interview is how unvarnished their “truth” was actually going to be. From Meghan’s revelation that she was almost driven to suicide by being in the Royal family, to the astonishing claim that Harry was questioned about the potential colour of Archie’s skin, it’s fair to say this two-hour tell-all represented a worst-case scenario for what the couple kept referring to as The Firm. Talk of Royals “hiding behind the sofa” ahead of the primetime, no-holds-barred chat appeared to underestimate quite what the couple had in store. At first, it seemed as if Meghan casually letting slip that she and Harry were secretly “married” by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their actual wedding day in Windsor in May 2018 would be the biggest marmalade dropper of the morning. But viewers had only just settled into the cosy tete-a-tete in someone else’s Santa Barbara back yard when the blows quickly started raining down on the Duchess of Cambridge. Dressed in a black Armani dress with a distinctive white splodge and with her hair tied back in a matronly bun, the pregnant mother-of-one, 39, unleashed on her sister-in-law as the UK entered the second hour of International Women’s Day. Contrary to reports, which first surfaced in the Daily Telegraph in November 2018, that Meghan had made Kate cry during a bridesmaids’ dress fitting, the former actress insisted it was actually the other way round. Implying a distinct lack of sisterly support from the mother-of-three, even when “everything was going on with my Dad”, Meghan insisted: “I’m not sharing that in any way to be disparaging about her,” adding: “I would hope that she would want that to be corrected.”
- The Telegraph
America reacted with widespread anger at Buckingham Palace following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. Serena Williams, the US tennis star who co-hosted the Duchess's baby shower in 2019, said she was a victim of "systematic oppression". She said: "Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life - and leads by example - with empathy and compassion. "She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she's experienced." Ms Williams added: "I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of colour to minimise us."
- The Telegraph
'Kate made me cry': Duchess of Sussex claims it was the Duchess of Cambridge who upset her in row over bridesmaids dresses
Follow the latest in our live blog here The Duchess of Sussex claimed during her interview with Oprah Winfrey that the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry during wedding planning, not the other way round, as had been reported. Megan Markle said in a blockbuster interview that Kate Middleton made her cry during a discussion about the bridesmaid outfit that her daughter, Princess Charlotte, would wear. The incident was first reported in Tatler magazine, which claimed that there had been a “row” over whether the young bridesmaids should wear tights for the Sussexes' wedding in 2018. The Duchess of Cambridge felt that they should, saying it was protocol, while the Duchess of Sussex reportedly did not want them to. In a rare statement, Kensington Palace denied the claims at the time. “Everyone in the institution knew that didn’t happen," the Duchess of Sussex said during the bombshell interview broadcast on Sunday night in the US. “What actually happened? The reverse,” she told Ms Winfrey. “I am not sharing this to be in any way disparaging about her [Kate],” she went on. “I would hope that she would want that to be corrected.”
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Sussex said he felt "let down" by his father who had at one point "stopped taking my calls". In an emotional discussion with Oprah Winfrey about his relationship with the Prince of Wales, he said there was "a lot of hurt". He also said his father, and his brother the Duke of Cambridge, were "trapped" in the Royal family. The Duke said his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales would have been "angry" at the way the Royal family had treated his wife. Speaking about his relationship with his father, he said: "There's a lot to work through there. I feel really let down because he's been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like, and Archie's his grandson. "At the same time I will always love him, but there's a lot of hurt that's happened. "I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship, but they only know what they know." The Duchess interjected: "Or what they're told."
Princess Diana's chief of staff says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal rift echoes the past - and responsibility for reconciliation lies with 'senior palace management'
Ahead of bombshell Oprah interview, Patrick Jephson told CNN that previous tell-all interviews with the royal family "in all cases" has "backfired."
- The Telegraph
Follow the latest reaction in our liveblog here The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were married in their back garden by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their fairytale wedding, they have revealed. In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex said the wedding at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 was a "spectacle for the world". The couple decided to have their own moment and married days before. "Three days before our wedding we got married. The vows we have framed," said the Duchess. "We called the archbishop, and we just said, 'Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us." The ceremony was "just the two of us in our back yard with the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Here are the 11 things you need to know from Meghan and Harry's explosive sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Their callous disregard for our community’s safety and well-being is shameful.”
- The Telegraph
Prince Harry has revealed that he was financially able to step back from the Royal family because his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales left him an inheritance, telling Oprah Winfrey: "I think she saw it coming". The Duke of Sussex told the interviewer Oprah Winfrey that he was now living off money left to him by his late mother after he was “cut off financially” early last year when he and the Duchess moved to the US. “I have what my mum left me and without that we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” he said of his new life in Los Angeles. “It’s like she saw it coming and she’s been with us through this whole process.” The princes were left about £6.5 million each when their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, died 23 years ago. The sum was invested and gathered substantial interest, so Prince Harry inherited around £10 million on his 30th birthday. Diana's sons were also left her wedding dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and made of thousands of pearls, silk layers and a 25ft-train. In 2013, Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, said that other items would also be handed over to William and Harry, in accordance with their mother's will. Other items handed down include: 28 other dresses, designer suits and evening gowns that belonged to Diana, two diamond tiaras, the original text of the Earl Spencer’s tribute to his sister at the funeral in Westminister Abbey and the score and lyrics of the Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin's version of Candle in the Wind, played by Sir Elton at Diana's funeral.