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Monday, Aug 19th

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Islamic State claims bombing at Kabul wedding that killed 63

Kabul deadly explosion kills 63The suicide bomber stood in the middle of the dancing, clapping crowd as hundreds of Afghan children and adults celebrated a wedding in a joyous release from Kabul’s strain of war. Then, in a flash, he detonated his explosives-filled vest, killing dozens — and Afghanistan grieved again.

The local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in the capital this year, with 63 killed and 182 wounded, while outraged Afghans questioned just how safe they will be under an approaching deal between the United States and the Taliban to end America’s longest war.

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Gibraltar rejects US pressure, says Iranian oil tanker free to go

Gibralter frees iranian tankerThe government of Gibraltar on Sunday rejected a U.S. request to continue holding an Iranian supertanker detained more than a month ago on suspicion of attempting to breach global sanctions against Syria.

The ship was free to go and could be sailing unfettered by Monday, authorities said. The Gibraltar government, in a statement, cited differences between the sanctions authorized by the U.S. and those of the European Union.

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Denmark: Trump’s Plan to Buy Greenland Is ‘Final Proof That He’s Gone Mad’

Greenland not for saleGreenland on Friday dismissed the notion that it might be up for sale after reports that U.S. President Donald Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying the world’s biggest island.

“We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,” Greenland’s foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters.

Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

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A Kremlin-Linked Firm Invested Millions in Kentucky. Were They After More Than Money?

Ashland, Kentucky aluminum plant built by Russians

Last summer, it looked like things were finally about to change for Ashland, Ky. For two decades, the jobs that once supported this Appalachian outpost of 20,000 people on a bend in the Ohio River have been disappearing: 100 laid off from the freight-rail maintenance shop; dozens pink-slipped at the oil refinery; 1,100 axed at the steel mill that looms over the landscape. Then, on June 1, 2018, standing on a stage flanked by the state’s governor and business leaders, Craig Bouchard, the CEO of Braidy Industries, pointed across a vast green field and described a vision as though he could already see it.

In the little-used park just off I-64, Braidy would build the largest aluminum mill constructed in the U.S. in nearly four decades. The $1.7 billion plant would take aluminum slab and roll it into the material used in everything from cars and planes to soda cans. It would employ 600 full-time workers earning twice the average salary in the region, Bouchard said, and create 18,000 other jobs across the state. Gesturing at the empty space around him, the CEO described an employee health center, a technical lab, a day care and hundreds of employees walking around “carrying iPads.” More than just making aluminum, the plant would help “rebuild northeast Kentucky, and in fact all of Appalachia,” Bouchard told the crowd.

TVNL Comment: Very worth a read to understand the Russians and Mitch McConnell, and how they interacted to threaten the security of the United States.

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Trump resists aides’ pressure to back Hong Kong protesters

Pressure on Trump to back Hong Kong protesters

Donald Trump’s top aides are urging him to back Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, but the president isn’t interested, multiple people familiar with the administration’s internal debates say.

In recent days, national security adviser John Bolton, China hands at both the National Security Council and the State Department, and several economic advisers have pushed for a more assertive posture on the Hong Kong demonstrations, which have paralyzed the former British colony and roiled markets.

They are finding little traction with a president focused more narrowly on trade negotiations with Xi Jinping — and worried that criticizing the Chinese leader’s efforts to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong will scuttle the possibility of inking a deal this winter.

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‘Absolute Amateur Hour’: Team Trump Mangles Messages to Iran

Tem Trump mangles message to Iran

The Trump administration keeps sending conflicting and contradictory messages to Iran about its terms for new negotiations, multiple U.S and European officials tell The Daily Beast. And the ensuing chaos has vexed the president, complicated diplomatic efforts for American allies abroad, and utterly baffled policymakers at home.

“Absolute amateur hour,” said one former senior administration official, who was involved with the internal squabbles.

For several months, the United States has been actively attempting to pass messages, via allies, to the Iranians in an effort to move closer to beginning formal diplomatic talks with Tehran.

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Police and protesters clash at Hong Kong airport

Hong Kong police crackdown at Hong Kong airport
  • The latest: Riot police clashed with protesters at Hong Kong's airport, but officers have started retreating. It's almost midnight local time.
  • Earlier today: For the second day in a row, check-ins were suspended and dozens of outgoing flights were canceled.
  • Anti-China extradition bill movement: The protests were sparked in early June by a proposed law which would have seen people extradited into mainland China's opaque justice system. The bill has been suspended, but not withdrawn.

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