Turkey-backed rebels close in on Islamic State-held Syrian city al-Bab
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:11:15 -0500
By Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey-backed rebels closed in on an Islamic State-held city in northern Syria on Friday, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, with Turkish tanks and warplanes supporting the assault. The city is of strategic importance to Turkey, partly because Kurdish-dominated militias have also been trying to take it from the jihadists. Turkish state media said late on Thursday that Ankara had sent 300 commandos to northern Syria to reinforce "Euphrates Shield", the operation it launched three and a half months ago to push both Islamic State and Kurdish fighters back from the border.


Syrian army declares truce around Damascus, parts of Idlib province
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:08:23 -0500
BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army declared a ceasefire in several areas around Damascus and the northwestern province of Idlib beginning on Friday evening, but did not say how long the pause in fighting would last. There was no immediate comment from rebels on the truce. The areas affected included the government-besieged town of Madaya near Damascus and Kefraya and al-Foua in Idlib, which are surrounded by insurgents. (Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

New CDC data understate accidental shooting deaths of kids
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:08:18 -0500
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Government statistics significantly understate the number of children in the U.S. who were killed by unintentional gun discharges last year.

Doping scheme may have touched all Russian athletes: WADA
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:07:10 -0500
A report that connected over 1,000 Russian athletes to a state-run doping system only scratched the surface of a drugs culture that may have touched all the country's Olympians, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said on Friday. Niggli described the numbers in Canadian law professor Richard McLaren's explosive report as "frightening" but likely do not reveal the full scale of a deep-rooted, institutionalized doping program operated by Russia. "Richard McLaren and his team only had access to a fraction of what probably happened in Russia," Niggli told Reuters in a phone interview.

Sound engineer, attorney among Oakland fire victims
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:06:48 -0500
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A popular sound engineer, a young attorney and a woman described as a visionary were among the people killed in a fire that engulfed a dance party inside an Oakland warehouse. The Alameda County Sheriff's Department has released the names of all 36 victims. They ranged in age from 17 to 61.


Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox bids $14 billion for UK's Sky
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:06:10 -0500
By Jessica Toonkel and Kate Holton NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has proposed buying the 61 percent of British pay-TV firm Sky Plc it does not already own for around $14 billion, five years after a political scandal scuppered a previous bid. The plan is conditionally backed by Sky's independent directors and would strengthen the position of James Murdoch - who is both chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky - in his 85-year-old father's media empire. People familiar with the matter said the Murdochs had pounced after Britain's vote to leave the European Union in June has sent the pound down about 14 percent against the U.S. dollar and Sky's share price tumbling.


4 more likely homegrown Zika cases found in Texas
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:05:33 -0500
DALLAS (AP) — State officials have announced four more cases of Zika that are believed to have been transmitted in Texas, almost two weeks after announcing the first such case.

Obama orders review of election-season hacking
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:03:50 -0500
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review of election-season cyberattacks, including the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign and raised fresh concerns about Russia's meddling in U.S. elections, the White House said Friday.


Russian doping conspiracy benefited over 1,000 competitors
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:02:34 -0500
By Mitch Phillips LONDON (Reuters) - More than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests as Moscow "hijacked international sport" over the course of five years, an independent WADA report said on Friday. The second and final part of the report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren provided exhaustive evidence of an elaborate doping scheme sponsored by Russia's Sports Ministry. "We are now able to confirm a cover-up that dates back until at least 2011 that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalized and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy," McLaren told a news conference.


Prince Andrew to press: End false stories about daughters
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:00:53 -0500
LONDON (AP) — Britain's Prince Andrew wants the media to leave his daughters alone.




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