By Jan Strupczewski and Lidia Kelly BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - The United States and Russia must cooperate in fighting Islamic State in Syria, the president of the European Council said on Sunday, stressing Russia should focus its military actions there on the radical Islamists and not the Syrian opposition. At a news conference on the sidelines of a summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya, Donald Tusk said that Russian bombing of President Bashar al-Assad's opponents was only increasing the wave of refugees to Europe. "It should be our common aim to coordinate our actions against Daesh and for sure the cooperation between the United States and Russia is a crucial one," Tusk said, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. "But we need not only more cooperation, but also more good will, especially from Russian action on the ground in Syria. It must be focused more on Islamic State and not - because we cannot accept it - against the moderate Syrian opposition," Tusk said. Europe is facing an inflow of 1 million refugees from the Middle East and Africa this year alone as a result of the Syrian conflict, which pits the forces of Islamic State, Assad and the Syrian opposition against each other. Russia joined the conflict a month and a half ago with air strikes in Syria, but has been targeting mainly areas controlled by forces opposed to its long-term ally Assad, rather than by Islamic State. "We have no doubt that from actions against the Syrian opposition the only result will be a new wave of refugees and we have started seeing that, in fact it has started," Tusk said. "This is why the cooperation between Russia and other countries, especially the United States, is so important also in this context of the refugee crisis," he said. Russia, the United States and powers from Europe and the Middle East outlined a plan on Saturday for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years, a day after gunmen and suicide bombers from Islamic State went on a rampage through Paris, killing 129 people. Tusk said that after attacks in Paris, the G20 had to step up efforts to cut off financing to terrorists. "Terror networks cannot plan or operate without the money that moves through the financial systems of many countries. Only if we fully cooperate on exchange of information about suspicious transactions, will we be able to stop this threat effectively," Tusk said. (Writing by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Digby Lidstone)
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Recent history shows the opportunity to pass major bills can disappear quickly. What should Democrats’ top priority be?
- The Telegraph
Police in Portland, Oregon have arrested fifteen suspects after a mob of around 200 alleged Antifa members smashed up the Democrat headquarters and federal immigration offices in the city on Wedensday, while three people were arrested after a crowd in Seattle attacked buildings and burnt a US flag. The two Pacific Northwest cities have been hotspots for protests and violence since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations began last year in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. There were also protests in Denver, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento in California. Portland Police released photographs of eight of the 15 arrested suspects as well as images of confiscated items including knives, batons and bullet-proof vests.
- The Independent
Educator says she wants to keep on teaching when Joe Biden takes office
Residents of Kamala Harris' ancestral village are celebrating with firecrackers and food as she is sworn into office as vice president of the United States. The story: According to the Associated Press, Thulasendrapuram, a village in Tamil Nadu, India, beamed with a festive atmosphere during Harris’ inauguration as U.S. vice president on Wednesday. The villagers watched the inauguration live, holding Harris’ portraits while setting off firecrackers.
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
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With Joe Biden sworn in as president, the long wait for Donald Trump’s health care plan is now officially over. If he ever had one, no one ever saw it.
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President Joe Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
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Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- CBS News
The vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory, where Harris will live, is undergoing repairs.
The United Arab Emirates has swung open its doors to visitors betting that the blistering pace of its coronavirus vaccine rollout means it can keep infections in check while giving its economy a shot in the arm. The UAE case rate is still well below Britain with 574 per million, one of Europe's worst hit countries and now in lockdown, but far higher than its neighbours Saudi Arabia with 7 per million or Oman with 33 per million, even as the UAE boasts the second highest level of vaccinations to population on the planet. The UAE has avoided imposing a new lockdown, while some countries in Europe and elsewhere are on a second or third wave of tough restrictions.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A powerful earthquake shook parts of the southern Philippines on Thursday night, but authorities said it was too deep to cause major damage and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake measured magnitude 7.0 and was located 95.8 kilometers (60 miles) below the sea and about 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Pondaguitan in Davao Occidental province, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, some residents ran out of their houses as the ground shook and power cables and business signs swayed, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.
- National Review
Biden Admonishes Reporter for Questioning Whether Vaccine Goal Is Ambitious Enough: ‘Give Me a Break’
President Biden pushed back on a reporter at a press briefing on Thursday, who questioned whether the new administration’s coronavirus vaccine goal is ambitious enough. Biden has set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office. During the press conference, Biden called the Trump administration’s distribution of coronavirus vaccines a “dismal failure so far,” warning that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.” However, the seven-day rolling average for coronavirus vaccine doses administered to Americans currently sits at 912,000, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker. (On Wednesday alone, 1.6 million doses were administered.) This indicates that the Biden administration is not far from its goal of vaccinating one million Americans per day. On Thursday, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked Biden if the vaccination goal was “high enough,” since “that’s basically where the U.S. is right now.” “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden responded. “It’s a good start, a hundred million.” Internal projections from the Trump administration showed that the U.S. could administer at least 170 million doses by the end of April, two Trump administration officials told Bloomberg. During the press conference, Biden also announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act to “accelerate the making of everything that’s needed to protect, test, and vaccinate and the care of our people.” Biden warned that the death toll from coronavirus infections would hit 500,000 in February. Over 408,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of Thursday.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved Avril Haines as the Director of National Intelligence, the nation's top intelligence job, making her the first of President Joe Biden's nominees to be approved. The vote was 84-10, with all the "no" votes coming from Republicans. Both Democrats and leading Republicans issued statements praising the nominee.
- The Week
It's the end of a very caffeinated era.When former President Donald Trump occupied the Oval Office, he quite literally had a button on his desk that ordered a Diet Coke to the room whenever it was pressed. But as a glimpse at President Biden's desk just hours after his inauguration shows, the soda-summoning button is gone.> President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk> > — Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 21, 2021While it may have sounded just too weird to be true, Trump's Diet Coke obsession and his button to match were absolutely real. No word on if Biden will install some kind of ice cream-ordering alternative.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
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China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday. In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. ambassador, Kelly Craft. Others covered by the sanctions include Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro; his top diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell; health and human services secretary, Alex Azar; along with former national security adviser John Bolton and strategist Stephen Bannon.
The European Parliament called on EU governments to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president in a resolution on Thursday, after a downgrade of his status by the bloc earlier this month. The EU's 27 states said on Jan. 6 they can no longer legally recognise Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. The European Parliament "calls on ... the member states to unequivocally recognise the constitutional continuation of the legitimate National Assembly of Venezuela elected in 2015 and the legitimate interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido", it said.
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.
- Associated Press
The supporters of a splinter group in the Nepal Communist Party marched peacefully in the center of Kathmandu as they demanded that Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli reinstate Parliament. Parliament was dissolved on Dec. 20 at the direction of the prime minister and new elections were announced for April 30 and May 10, 2021.