Monday, April 10, 2017

3:02 PM 4/10/2017 - Accidents and other news

Accidents - 4.10.17

Security guard shot behind San Luis Hotel in Galveston |
Multiple gunshot victims at California elementary school: fire officials | Reuters
Police: Fatal shooting of Cook County judge may have been attempted robbery - Chicago Tribune 

4.10.17 - M

News Reviews and Opinions: “I think what we should do is ask Russia, how could it be, if you have advisers at that airfield, that you didn’t know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?” McMaster said on Fox News. | Sant'Anna di Stazze, - ma... A teper - remontiruy, kapitalno, i z golovoy... | » The Latest: Chief pledges fair probe of video showing fight 09/04/17 22:06
U.S. to hold accountable those who commit crimes against 'innocents' | Reuters
US air strike gives Tillerson a boost...
US sends mixed signals on Syria ahead of G7 meeting -
Syria: G-7 Ministers to Press Russia to End Assad Support |
Trump’s strikes on Syria: Russia trolls with ‘real war’ threats
Trump officials tell Russia to drop its support for Syria’s Assad - The Washington Post
Rex Tillerson Arrives for Talks in Pisa, Italy - YouTube
tillerson pisa - Google Search
the leaning tower of pisa - Google Search 

ISIS as the creation of Russian Military Intelligence - 4.10.17 


Police: Fatal shooting of Cook County judge may have been attempted robbery

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Chicago police say a Cook County judge shot to death Monday morning outside his South Side home might have been the victim of an attempted robbery, though it didn’t appear any possessions were taken from the judge and a woman companion who was wounded.
Citing preliminary information, police said the woman, 52, encountered the gunman by the garage of the two-story brick home in the 9400 block of South Forest Avenue around 4:50 a.m.  Words were exchanged and she was shot once in the leg.
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"Upon hearing the commotion and the gunshot, Judge (Raymond) Myles exited his residence," Melissa Staples, the chief of detectives, said at a news conference at police headquarters. "(He) exchanged words with the offender before he was fatally shot multiple times."
The woman is expected to survive.
Staples said detectives were pursuing "multiple and promising leads" and reviewing video footage from public and private surveillance cameras in the neighborhood.  She said detectives do not know if the judge’s work had anything to do with the shooting.
Myles, 66, an associate judge in Cook County Circuit Court's Criminal Division, was a longtime jurist who has been involved in several high-profile cases.  A year and a half ago, he was beaten by another motorist during a road rage incident.
The chief of detectives could not provide a description of the suspect but said he fled on foot and then possibly in a car nearby.  Staples said the FBI has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Calling the shooting "another senseless act of violence," First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said Superintendent Eddie Johnson has ordered the department to use "every resource to track down the offender and bring them to justice."
"Everyday civil servants like Judge Myles, and those of us in law enforcement, work tirelessly to hold criminals accountable and make our streets safer," Navarro told reporters. "You have our word, we won’t let Judge Myles’ life be lost in vain and we will hold his killer accountable."
A neighbor and friend of the judge said he was awakened by gunfire and screams early Monday morning.
"I heard maybe six shots. The shots woke me up, and the screaming of the woman woke me up.  She was screaming, 'Don't kill him, don't kill him!'" said the neighbor, who asked not to be named for his safety.
The neighbor said he called 911 and was told that other people had already called.  He then looked out the window and saw the woman's body near the garage, its door open.  When police arrived, he went outside and saw the judge lying on the porch.
"I think he was alive when they carried him to the ambulance," he said.
The neighbor said he believes the judge and the woman were leaving the home to work out at a health club nearby.  They always got up early to work out, he said.  "The woman, she had a bottle of water with her."
The neighbor also thinks that cameras installed by the judge at his home caught the shooting.  There had a been push recently to get cameras installed throughout the neighborhood.  He remembered joking with Myles about how the cameras might catch neighbors doing something embarrassing.
"We would joke, after the cameras were installed," he said.
"I knew him well," the neighbor said. "Great guy, great neighbor.  He looked after the neighborhood.  Any mischief in the neighborhood, he was investigating.  He was always at the block clubs.  He never talked about being a judge. He was just Ray."
The neighbor said he just saw the judge over the weekend.  They talked about their yards. "He tended a garden in the back, a vegetable garden," he said. "It was always greenery.  He was developing a green thumb."
Another neighbor, Clayshia Moore, walked up and down the block barefoot before the sun began to rise. She had lathered her feet and hands with blessed oil while her aunt, Sondra Patterson, poured more of the oil down the street.
Patterson hoped the oil would protect her neighbors. “That God will cover us,” she said. “That he will help protect us.”
Moore was in bed when she heard five to six gunshots just before 5 a.m. She thought the noise could have been coming from the trash cans in the alley. She didn’t know there had been a shooting until she saw officers and paramedics just a few houses from where she lives.
Chicago police did not release details about what led to the shooting, leaving neighbors to speculate.
“That’s kind of odd coming from that house,” said one neighbor who did not want to be identified. “They quiet, they real quiet.”
The same neighbor said residents at a recent block club meeting had discussed installing cameras on the block in response to an uptick in home burglaries.
“Yeah, the area is going down, that’s for sure,” she said.
Most of the homes on the block are owned by their original owners, Patterson said. She has lived in her home since the 1970s. It’s only been in the past five years that she’s noticed crime in her neighborhood.
“We’ve never seen this before,” she said.
Myles joined the court in October 1999 when the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him to fill a vacancy. Circuit judges then appointed him as an associate judge in June 2001, and he has served in the criminal division since March 2009.
The two suspects in the infamous murder of seven people at a Brown's Chicken in Palatine appeared before Myles shortly after their 2002 arrests.  Myles was the judge who ordered William Balfour to be held without bond in the 2008 killings of three relatives of singer Jennifer Hudson.
Just before 9 a.m. Monday, a handful of young men stood outside Myles's locked courtroom, Room 204, at 26th Street and California Avenue, waiting to attend his scheduled morning call.
A woman emerged.
"Judge Myles?" she asked quietly, then directed the men to a courtroom down the hall.
The death of the judge stunned colleagues – and even one defendant – at the county’s main criminal courthouse where Myles had worked for years.
The defendant was slated to appear before Myles on Monday and began to cry on hearing the news of his death, according to his courtroom staff.
LeRoy K. Martin Jr., presiding judge of the Criminal Division, headquartered at the Leighton Criminal Court building, last saw Myles on Friday when he brought his teenage daughter to spend the day with him at the courthouse.
“Everyone here is devastated,” Martin said. “People know when a judge is fair.”
Martin said it was unclear if Myles’ work as a judge played any factor in his killing.
“You don’t think of it in terms of jobs where people are putting their lives on the line (like) police, fire, first responders,” the judge said. “Nonetheless, when you’re doing criminal cases, you’re sensitive to the fact that judges are being blamed for the sentences. People get angry. I suppose time will tell if this had anything to do with his position.”
Martin said Myles was enthusiastic about his assignment to the “youthful offenders” call, where he heard narcotics cases involving defendants about age 27 and younger.
“He was very patient with people and gave out a lot of tough love,” Martin said. “ …He would try and provide services for people, to work with people, and try to keep people out of the penitentiary.”
The two judges had discussed expanding Myles’s assignment to include young defendants charged with crimes other than drug offenses.
“He was in favor of doing that,” Martin said. “It was just his concern about young people. We’d talk about the youth. If we’re going to succeed as a society, we’ll need to give youth a chance to succeed.”
Before joining the bench, Myles had worked as an assistant state’s attorney and then in private practice as a criminal defense lawyer.
“He was on both sides of criminal cases,” Martin said. “That gave him a certain perspective.”
Longtime courthouse employees said Myles was hardworking and friendly, a devoted father and Cubs fan who wore a flashy team jacket to work during their World Series run last year.
“He was a huge Cubs fan,” Martin said. “We would tease each other because I’m a huge White Sox fan.”
“This is the first time any of us have gone through this,” Martin said. “We’ll just have to pick up and carry on, and he’d want it that way.”
Windelin DeLoach, a criminal defense attorney who practiced before Myles for five years, said the judge was known for insisting that defendants get their high school diploma or GED.
He would make people who didn't fulfill the conditions of their bail to write hundreds of lines -- like students -- as punishment instead of revoking their bond.  DeLoach said this happened to at least three of her clients.
"He wanted to make sure that every person that came into his courtroom accused of a crime got his education because he believed if you had an education, a GED, you won't come back to his courtroom," she said.
"He was a phenomenal human being. I don't know who is going to replace Judge Myles. He ruled his courtroom with an iron fist but with a great amount of kindness, fairness and justice," DeLoach said. "This  was a man who walked with dignity. This was a man who walked proudly through the courthouse. He walked through the hallways... he had nothing to fear, so this was stunning."
In 2015, Myles was attacked after getting into a minor traffic collision.
Authorities said Myles was trying to park along East 86th Place when his car was struck by another vehicle. The two drivers got out of their cars, but when the judge pulled out a cellphone and began taking pictures of the damage, the other driver punched him in the face, causing serious injuries, according to court records.
The judge fell to the ground bleeding and the assailant fled, according to a Cook County state's attorney's spokeswoman.  Myles was taken to Jackson Park Hospital, where he was treated for a fractured nose, facial bruising and a chipped tooth, injuries that later required reconstructive surgery, records show.
Ten months went by before authorities arrested Deandre Hudson, 22, and charged him with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to someone over the age of 60, according to court records.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans released a statement saying he joined "all of the judges today in the Circuit Court of Cook County in expressing our sadness regarding the tragic passing of our colleague and friend.
“Judge Myles joined the bench with a wealth of experience in law and extensive service to the community. I have always known Judge Myles to be focused and determined in the pursuit of justice, and his conduct earned him the confidence and respect of the people who appeared before him.”
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At least four people shot at California elementary school: police

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Security guard shot behind San Luis Hotel in Galveston

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GALVESTON, Texas – Police say a 23-year-old security guard was shot behind the popular San Luis Hotel in Galveston overnight.  
Galveston Police Captain Joshua Shirard confirms the guard is in ICU after having surgery at UTMB-Galveston. The guard, police say, will likely have more surgeries Monday.
Late Sunday the guard said he spotted three suspicious men in a back parking lot at the hotel, located in the 5200 block of Seawall Boulevard. When the guard approached the men, at least one of them opened fire and shot him multiple times.
Hotel guest Charlesetta Malone says she had just pulled into the parking lot and was getting her suitcases out of her car trunk when she heard at least six or seven shots. 
“We were just kind of caught off guard and we were just getting our bags out of the car,” she said. “And all of a sudden…pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! Just that quick and we hit the ground.”
The suspects fled the scene and remained on the run as of Monday morning.
An off-duty officer heard the gunfire and found the wounded guard, who was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
Galveston Police are working with other agencies to try and track down the suspects and get a better description of the gunman. Houston Police responded with a helicopter to search by air, but so far no arrests have been made.
Galveston police say there is no surveillance video from the hotel showing what happened. Investigators are checking with neighboring businesses to see if they captured the suspects fleeing from the scene.
Call Galveston Police at 409-765-3702 if you have any information
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Trump officials tell Russia to drop its support for Syria’s Assad

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Officials in the Trump administration on Sunday demanded that Russia stop supporting the Syrian government or face a further deterioration in its relations with the United States.
Signaling the focus of talks that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to have in Moscow this week, officials said that Russia, in propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, bears at least partial responsibility for Wednesday’s chemical attack on villagers in Idlib province.
“I hope Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad, because every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “This Week.”
In advance of Tillerson’s arrival, the Kremlin said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had no plans to meet with the secretary of state.
(Louisa Loveluck, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
The Washington Post's Louisa Loveluck reports on the regional reaction to President Trump's cruise missile strike against a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians.What does the U.S. strike against Syria mean for Bashar al-Assad and the region (Louisa Loveluck, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
“We have not announced any meetings. A meeting with Tillerson is currently not on the president’s schedule,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.
The U.S, ambassador to Russia, John Teft, had said last month that Tillerson would likely meet Putin “in the near future,” according to the Associated Press.
Peskov told reporters “as far as I understand, [Tillerson] is coming and will have negotiations with our foreign minister.” He said that if a meeting with Putin materializes, “we will inform you appropriately.”
Although U.S. officials acknowledged that they have seen no evidence directly linking Russia to the attacks, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that Russia should be pressed to answer what it knew ahead of the chemical attack since it has positioned warplanes and air defense systems with associated troops in Syria since 2015.
“I think what we should do is ask Russia, how could it be, if you have advisers at that airfield, that you didn’t know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?” McMaster said on Fox News.
The timing of the comments, with Tillerson heading soon to Moscow, signaled the administration’s intent to pressure Russia to step away from Assad, who is supported by the Kremlin with military aid and diplomatic cover.
(Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and senators of both parties on April 9 discussed the U.S. strategy in Syria. Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and senators of both parties on April 9 discussed the U.S. strategy in Syria.(Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
In Italy for a G7 meeting, Tillerson took part in a wreath-laying ceremony Monday morning at a memorial to 560 villagers killed by the Nazis in 1944. It is on a hilltop in Sant’Anna di Stazzema near the city of Lucca.
Afterward, Tillerson spoke briefly, his words seeming to reflect events unfolding in present day Syria.
“We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world,” said Tillerson, who was not originally scheduled to attend but wanted to be present at the ceremony with the foreign ministers of Italy, Germany and the European Union. “This place will serve as an inspiration to us all.”
The fallout from the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians, plus the U.S. missile strike that came in retaliation for it, adds strain to a rocky relationship that is at its lowest point in decades. A host of issues are responsible, topped by Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and Moscow’s support for separatists in Ukraine, and have prompted U.S. and European sanctions. These topics have now been overshadowed by last week’s missile strike.
The Russians had hoped that relations with the United States might improve under President Trump, who expressed admiration for Putin during the campaign. Tillerson’s nomination and ­confirmation as secretary of state also raised prospects. given the former ExxonMobil executive’s experience negotiating a major deal with Rosneft, the state-controlled oil giant.
But 11 weeks into Trump’s presidency, expectations have been substantially lowered.
“This is a big cold shower,” said Samuel Charap, a Russia analyst with the Rand Corp. “Even if behind closed doors they might engage on other issues in a more pragmatic manner, the public posture is going to be one of emphasizing how they disagree about [Syria]. Putin is not going to want to be seen as chummy with the U.S. secretary of state.”
On Sunday, both Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, cast doubts on Assad’s legitimacy as Syria’s leader. Haley said that eventually the unrest in Syria cannot end if Assad remains in power.
“In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad,” Haley said. “And in no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government.”
Tillerson noted other instances when Syrian forces deployed chemical weapons, and other attacks on civilians involving barrel bombs and conventional weapons.
“I think the issue of how Bashar al-Assad’s leadership is sustained, or how he departs, is something that we’ll be working [on] with allies and others in the coalition,” said Tillerson, who after weeks of keeping a low profile was making his debut on the Sunday morning talk shows. “But I think with each of those actions, he really undermines his own legitimacy.”
Neither suggested that Assad’s demise was imminent.
“Once the ISIS threat has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria,” Tillerson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” using an acronym to refer to the Islamic State militant group.
The U.S. missile strike in Syria carries the implicit threat of a larger U.S. role in the conflict. Tillerson said Sunday that the strike functioned as a warning to any country acting outside of international norms, in an apparent reference to North Korea.
“At least in the short run, it will further complicate efforts to improve the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship, which seemed to be Tillerson’s objective in going to Moscow,” said Jeffrey Mankoff, a Russia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In the longer term, the threat of further U.S. intervention is a card that the U.S. can play to get the Russians to tighten the screws on Assad — on both the chemical weapons and possibly on accepting a political deal with the opposition.”
Tillerson departed around dawn Sunday for Italy to attend a meeting of the G-7 nations, a bloc of industrialized democracies. He is due to arrive late Tuesday in Russia for his first visit as secretary of state.
He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet, but it is not known if the secretary of state will also speak with Putin, who personally bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson in 2012.
Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said the Russians still hold out hope for a breakthrough, but that depends on whether Putin and Trump hit it off, not on anything Tillerson and Lavrov say.
“Things will only happen as a result of direct personal, sustained contact between Putin and Trump,” McFaul said. “That’s the way things work with Putin.”
But closer ties with Russia also carry political risks for Trump. Should the Trump administration ease sanctions ­imposed over Ukraine, for instance, critics would label it payback for Russia’s ­pre-election hacks targeting Democrats.
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Several analysts said that Assad has humiliated Putin by using chemical weapons despite Russia’s guarantee that Syria’s stockpiles would be whisked away. Moscow’s interest in getting sanctions eased is greater than its loyalty to Assad. And that could provide maneuvering room for Tillerson.
That appears to be Tillerson’s calculation, too.
“I do not believe that the Russians want to have worsening relationships with the U.S.,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But it’s going to take a lot of discussion and a lot of dialogue to better understand what is the relationship that Russia wishes to have with the U.S.”
David Filipov in Moscow and Mike DeBonis and Abby Philip in Washington contributed to this report.
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Russia trolls with ‘real war’ threats

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A vocal member of the QandA audience expressed her own feelings on euthanasia in Australia. Courtesy: ABC
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to face an ultimatum over his support for President Assad. Picture: AFP PHOTO / POOL / Pavel Golovkin
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pledged to defend “innocents” around the world ahead of a critical meeting in Russia later this week.
Speaking in Italy before a meeting of G7 Ministers that is expected to lead to an ultimatum for Russian President Putin over his support for Syrian President Assad, Mr Tillerson visited the site of a Nazi massacre at Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
“We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world,” he said.
“This place will serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Monday’s meeting of G7 nations is expected to lead to a directive pledging fresh sanctions against Russia if it fails to cut ties with President Assad.
It follows US air strikes against the Syrian government in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed 72 people including 11 children last week. The deadly attack came after Russia had pledged to rid Syria of chemical weapons and Mr Tillerson was scathing in his criticism of Russia over that failure.
“Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has simply been incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement,” he said.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with Rex Tillerson in his previous role as ExxonMobil President and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / ALEXEY DRUZHININSource:AFP
The harsh comments set the scene for a potential showdown between Mr Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin once awarded Mr Tillerson with the Russian Order of Friendship and the former oil executive faces harsh scrutiny over their dealings.
However their relationship will now be put to the test as Mr Tillerson visits with the Russian Foreign Minister this week under the shadow of Syria and an FBI investigation into Russian influence on the US election. It’s unclear whether a meeting with Mr Putin has been arranged.
Over the weekend, Russia warned of a “real war” in tweets asking followers whether they trusted US President Trump and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to command.
It also asked followers what the “probable outcomes” of the G7 meeting might be, including “conventional war”, a “war of clowns” of a “mix of the above”.
The aggressive suggestions come after UK Foreign Secretary Johnson cancelled a scheduled trip to Russia to clear the way for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to visit on Wednesday.
Instead, Mr Johnson spent the weekend speaking to his foreign counterparts and drumming up support from G7 ministers for a directive expected to be issued at the G7 meeting in Lucca, Italy on Monday that will likely declare Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go.
The Russian Embassy said it is “deplorable Boris Johnson found himself unfit to stand Western ground on Syria in bilateral talks with (Russian foreign minister) Sergey Lavrov”.
Russian media also blasted Mr Johnson as a “poodle” and painted a picture of the UK as a US lapdog that is unable to make foreign policy decisions of their own accord.
President Donald Trump shocked many of his critics by launching air strikes last week and has reinvigorated efforts to remove Syrian President Assad. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, FileSource:AP
On Monday, foreign ministers from the G7 — which includes Canada, France, Germany, the US, UK, Italy and Japan — will meet with the aim of pressuring Russia to drop its support for President Assad.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who is hosting the meeting, said the efforts have brought about a “renewed harmony” between the US and Europe.
The group was formerly known as the G8 and included Russia, but he nation was kicked out after its 2014 annexation of Crimea and support of pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson warned US air strikes may not be the last military action we see from the world’s most powerful military towards the Assad government.
“Crucially — they could do so again” he told The Sun about the strikes that followed the sarin gas attack that killed up to 80 people in early April.
“We cannot miss this moment. It is time for Putin to face the truth about the tyrant he is still propping up,” he said.
“I am focused on working with the US and getting the G7 behind the goal of ending this war and rebuilding Syria — one Rex Tillerson will deliver for the whole of the G7 to Russia.”
He added: “There is no doubt that the US action is a game changer in Syria.
“We need to make it clear to Putin that the time to back Assad has gone.”
The first freight train to run from Britain to China left on Monday, carrying vitamins, baby products and other goods as Britain seeks to burnish its global trading credentials for when it leaves the European Union. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Syria: G-7 Ministers to Press Russia to End Assad Support

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(LUCCA, Italy) — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering Monday for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad.
Last week's nerve gas attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed more than 80 people, stirred President Donald Trump to strike for the first time at Assad's forces. U.S. warships fired 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian air base from which the U.S. believes the attack was launched.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who is hosting the meeting, said Europe's broad support for the U.S. military strikes had contributed to a "renewed harmony" between the United States and its partners ahead of the first meeting of G-7 foreign ministers since Donald Trump took office in January.
"'We need to remember that not 10 years ago, but 100 or 120 days ago, the concern in Europe was that the United States and the EU were moving apart," Alfano told Sky TG24 Sunday. "I welcome this renewed harmony."
Officials are hoping that this can be leveraged to bring a new diplomatic push to end the 6-year-old civil war in Syria.
The meeting in the Tuscan walled city of Lucca brings together U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida , along with other G-7 foreign ministers, at a moment when the United States is sending a Navy carrier strike group toward the Korean Peninsula to provide a physical presence following North Korea's persistent ballistic missile tests.
The meeting also comes amid an ongoing terror threat that was underscored by the deadly Palm Sunday bombing of Coptic churches in Egypt claimed by the Islamic State terror group, and another truck attack on European soil, this time in Stockholm, on Friday.
The United States is fighting Islamic State group militants in Syria but had previously avoided striking government forces, largely out of concern about being pulled into a military conflict with Russia.
The chemical attack has sent a new chill through relations between the West and Moscow, which denies Syrian forces used chemical weapons.
If the international community is successful in pushing for a diplomatic solution in Syria. Alfano was cautious on the question of whether to push Assad out, saying that decision should be up to the Syrians.
"I have to say, the Libya experiment did not go well. We are still paying the price," Alfano said, referring to the lawlessness that has ensued since the killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the subsequent flow of migrants to Europe via Italy.
Russia was kicked out of the club of industrialized nations, formerly the G-8, after its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and assistance for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Britain's Johnson, who had been due to visit Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow ahead of Monday's G-7 meeting, canceled the trip at the last minute, saying the chemical attack had "changed the situation fundamentally."
He said that instead he would work with the United States and other G-7 nations "to build coordinated international support for a cease-fire on the ground and an intensified political process."
Tillerson is due to travel to Russia after the G-7 gathering, and Johnson said he will deliver a "clear and coordinated message to the Russians."
But Washington has sent mixed signals about whether it shares its allies' determination that Assad must be removed from power.
After the chemical attack, Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Tillerson said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power.
In a round of television interviews that aired Sunday, though, Tillerson said the top U.S. priority in the region remains the defeat of Islamic State militants.
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US sends mixed signals on Syria ahead of G7 meeting

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At a summit in Italy, foreign ministers of the G7 group of industrialized nations were expected to seek clarity from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on whether the US is now committed to deposing the Assad regime.
At the weekend, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggested regime change in Syria was inevitable in the wake of last week's 
chemical weapons attack 
that was widely blamed on the Assad regime.
Haley told CNN's "State of the Union" that removing Assad was now a US priority. "If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it's going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with Assad," she said.
But Tillerson was more equivocal, saying that the priority was the defeat of ISIS. Asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" whether deposing Assad was a priority, he replied: "I think the president has been quite clear. First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS." He went on to say that the Syrian people would determine the future of Assad.
Senior Trump administration officials stepped up their rhetoric against Russia at the weekend, ahead of a meeting between Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow later this week.
Tillerson said Russia's support of the Syrian regime made it complicit in the Assad's actions.
"I hope Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad, because every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility," Tillerson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley holds up photos of victims of the Syrian chemical attack during a Security Council meeting.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley holds up photos of victims of the Syrian chemical attack during a Security Council meeting.
Haley said Tillerson would put pressure on Moscow over its support for Assad. "There's a lot of answers that need to come from Russia. I think that's why it's good that Secretary Tillerson is going to Russia this next week. And I think that there will be a lot of answers that come out of that meeting," she told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
"We're calling (Russia and Iran) out," Haley added. "But I don't think anything is off the table at this point. I think what you're going to see is strong leadership. You're going to continue to see the United States act when we need to act."
US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria
US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria


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Foreign ministers of the G7 group of nations, which include the US, Japan, Britain and Germany, were gathering in Lucca, Italy, on Monday, where Syria was likley to dominate the agenda. It is the first meeting of US allies since President Donald Trump ordered the bombardment on the Shayrat airbase in western Syria last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the strike on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Sunday. Both leaders agreed on the "inadmissibility" of US action against a sovereign state.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, Russia and Iran both called for an "objective, unbiased" investigation into the chemical attack that provoked the strikes.

Warning from Iran

On Monday, Rouhani warned the US not to carry out any more strikes against Syria. "Repeating this action can be very dangerous for the region," he said.
Tillerson and Lavrov discussed the missile strike in a phone call Saturday. According to a statement issued by Russia's Foreign Ministry, Lavrov said US statements that the Syrian government used chemical weapons "do not correspond with reality."
"Lavrov stressed that an attack on a country whose government is fighting terrorism only plays into the hands of extremists creates additional threats to regional and global security," the statement said.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps off his plane at Pisa Military Airport on Sunday night, arriving for the G7 summit.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps off his plane at Pisa Military Airport on Sunday night, arriving for the G7 summit.
Tillerson said Russia should do more to meet commitments it made in 2013 to guarantee the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. "That will part of the discussions when I visit Moscow next week is to call upon Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian government to fulfill the obligation it made to the international community when it agreed to be the guarantor of the elimination of the chemical weapons," he told ABC on Sunday.
"And why Russia has not been able to achieve that is unclear to me. I don't draw conclusions of complicity at all, but clearly they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians."

US flip-flops on Syria

The Trump administration has dramatically reversed its position on Syria in the past week.
"If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it's going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with Assad," she said.
"Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria."
Haley's comments were a significant departure from President Donald Trump's previous stance on Assad's future -- before to his election victory in November, he said fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously 
was "idiocy.
Only five days before the chemical attack, Haley said removing Assad was not a priority.
"Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out," Haley had told reporters on March 30. On the same day, Tillerson said on a trip to Turkey that the "longer-term status of Assad would be decided by the Syrian people."
CNN's Radina Gigova and Darya Tarasova in Moscow, Hamdi Alkhshali and Merieme Arif in Atlanta and Bijan Hosseini in Abu Dhabi all contributed to this report.
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US air strike gives Tillerson a boost...

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US air strike gives Tillerson a boost for Moscow talks

Reuters - ‎4 hours ago‎
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) gestures as he talks with Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano (C) and E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (R) during a ceremony at the Sant'Anna di Stazzema memorial, dedicated ...

Tillerson, G7 ministers look to pressure Russia to reconsider Assad support

Fox News - ‎5 hours ago‎
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with six other Group of Seven foreign ministers, aims to send Russia a “clear and coordinated message” in the wake of the U.S.' response to a gas attack that left scores dead. Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary ...

Trump's missile 'message' only deepens the US's Syria conundrum

Washington Post - ‎7 hours ago‎
Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? Sign up for the Today's WorldView newsletter. The Trump administration has been basking in the afterglow ...

John McCain Says the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Was Partly Trump's Fault

TIME - ‎56 minutes ago‎
“I think it probably was partially to blame,” McCain said on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. “And Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson basically saying the same thing after kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing argues vigorously ...

Assad Allies Russia and Iran Say U.S. Crossed 'Red Line' in Syria

New York Magazine - ‎3 hours ago‎
Over the weekend, as the Trump administration struggled to explain its position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and Iran reaffirmed their support for his regime. In a statement released by their joint command center in Syria, the Assad ...
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The Latest: Chief pledges fair probe of video showing fight

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Trump’s Syria strikes accomplish nothing

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By Moustafa Bayoumi/Washington
Donald Trump, the man who just over a month ago wanted to bar entry of all Syrian refugees into the United States, now wants us to think that he cares deeply about Syrian children. I don’t believe it.
What I do believe is that our president is a bad actor. He was a bad actor on his old television show, and he’s still a bad actor today. And he’s a bad actor in both senses of the term, which is to say his actions are poorly executed and morally questionable.
Addressing the nation from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the president announced that he had authorised “a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched”. Trump was referring to a chemical weapons attack on Tuesday that killed more than 80 people, including dozens of women and children, in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun. The chemical attack had in all likelihood been carried out by the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
But what will the US’s military strike – a barrage of at least 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at a lone airfield – really accomplish?
According to reports, the missiles targeted only a single Syrian airfield and not Syria’s air defences. In other words, the attack does not ground Syria’s air force. Nor did the attack strike any of the Russian aircraft currently bombing Syria. In fact, the Russians were alerted of the attack beforehand (who may, in turn, have also alerted the Syrians). The attack does not significantly degrade the military capabilities of Bashar al-Assad.
So why attack in the first place? Once again, we’re being told by military officials that their actions are intended “to send a message.” What nonsense this is. Will Bashar al-Assad now cease his murderous actions because he’s just been delivered “a message”? How are we supposed to believe there is any strategy to Trump’s actions anyway? Just last week, Nikki Haley, Trump’s UN ambassador, said of Assad: “Do we think he’s a hindrance? Yes. Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No.”
What the erratic flip-floppery of Trump’s foreign policy really means is that America’s foes can easily manipulate the Trump administration into greater and greater military quagmires.
Has the administration considered how Lebanon’s Hezbollah will react to the US bombing their close ally Bashar al-Assad? Is the Trump administration prepared to put large numbers of troops on the ground to accomplish its goals? Will it militarily challenge Russia if needed? Or does the US military now only “send messages”?
The administration seems to have no vision of what it wants to accomplish or what it can accomplish. Trump ended his announcement of Thursday’s strike with the modest goal of ending “terrorism of all kinds and all types.” Good luck with that. Meanwhile, the heart of the problem is that the United States seems always to have only one solution to war: make more war.
None of this exonerates the murderous, thuggish and brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. The moral and strategic imperatives of our world today demand that the Syrian civil war be brought to a swift and just conclusion. And we must recognise that the end of Syria’s civil war will not be found through military means but through careful deliberation between many different parties.
But we are moving farther away from those goals. At its best, Thursday’s reckless and largely ineffective bombing does little but make US lawmakers feel good about themselves. At its worst, it deepens a war which the US has no idea how to end. – Guardian News & Media
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Trump’s strike against Syria doesn’t change the narrative

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Programmer Pyotr Levashov reportedly suspected in US election hacking arrested

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Madrid: A Russian computer programmer, Pyotr Levashov, has been arrested in the Spanish city of Barcelona, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Madrid said on Sunday.
It was unclear why Levashov was arrested. The embassy spokesman declined to give details for his arrest, and Spanish police and the interior ministry were not available for comment on Sunday.

Intelligence leaders pledge Russia probe

The US Senate intelligence committee seeks to answer whether President Trump was directly involved in Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.
Russian television station RT reported that Levashov was arrested under a US international arrest warrant and was suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last year's US election.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the US Justice Department's criminal division, said: "The US case remains under seal, so we have no information to provide at this time."
The criminal division is separate from the national security division, which is responsible for investigating state-sponsored cyber crimes.
A US Department of Justice official said it was a criminal matter without an apparent national security connection.
Spanish authorities notified the Russian embassy of Levashov's arrest on Friday, the embassy spokesman said.
In January, Spanish police arrested another Russian computer programmer, whose name was given as "Lisov" and who was wanted by the United States for leading a financial fraud network.
The US government has formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails to help the campaign of Republican President Donald Trump. The US Congress is also examining links between Russia and Trump during the election campaign.
Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly denied that Russia tried to influence the election.
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Urban Dictionary: sconce

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To have a look at something or to investigate it further
When john found the door was open he decided to have a sconce inside.

Manhunt Intensifies for Joseph Jakubowski, Man Who Allegedly Stole Guns and Mailed Manifesto to Trump

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Police in Wisconsin ramped up security at local churches on Sunday as the manhunt continued for a 32-year-old fugitive who is accused of stealing more than a dozen weapons from a gun store and mailing an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump.
Over 150 officers from local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies were searching for Joseph Jakubowski, who they say allegedly broke into the Armageddon Gun Shop in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Tuesday and stole 16 high-caliber rifles and handguns.
Police said Jakubowski is considered "armed and dangerous" and was in possession of a bullet-proof vest and helmet.
Manhunt Intensifies in Wisconsin to Find Wanted Gunman 2:01
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Authorities said they were increasing security presence at local churches because of "anti-religion sentiment" contained within a 160-page manifesto they believe was written by Jakubowski and sent to Trump at the White House.
Police said at a press conference on Friday that Jakubowski had been "highly agitated" by national politics recently and an associate of his claimed the wanted man had spoken of a plan to steal guns and carry out an unspecified attack.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, canceled its services on Sunday after a suspicious man who looked like Jakubowski stopped by the church on Thursday asking questions, according to a statement from the Rock County Sheriff's Office.
John McNary, the lead pastor at nearby Heartland Church, in Sun Prairie, told NBC News he saw local police doing extra patrols in the area and that his church had extra security in place on Sunday.
"We were taking extra precautions, just in case," he said.
The Sun Prairie Police Department told NBC affiliate WMTV on Sunday afternoon that the man who visited the Bethlehem Church late last week was not Jakubowski and was not related to the police's investigation.
McNary also said he had spoken with an officer who said they did not believe the man was Jakubowski.
Investigators have already followed up on around 400 tips and leads, according to the sheriff's department statement. The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Jakubowski's capture.
Police released a video last week that the suspect allegedly posted on Facebook appearing to show a man mailing an envelope with his manifesto addressed to Trump.
"Basically he's angry at all government officials," Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said at the press conference on Friday. "Whether it's the president or whether it's local officials or whether it's law enforcement, he has a dislike for anyone that has authority or governmental power."
Authorities identified the person who filmed the video as an associate of Jakubowski and a person of interest in the investigation, Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden told reporters Sunday.
"We're going to constantly revisit that individual and see if they can think of something else that may have been forgotten and what was the motive and some of those type of things," Spoden said.
On Tuesday night, police responded to a report of a car fire near the burglarized gun shop and discovered the burned vehicle belonged to Jakubowski.
He has one felony conviction for attempting to steal a gun from a police officer in 2008, and a history of misdemeanors.
Jakubowski is described as 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds with green eyes and brown hair.
For the video, the person who took the video, what do we know about that person?
15;52;07;20 RS: That person has been interviewed and continues to be a person of interest uh with us and the Janesville police department and uh with the FBI and so um they're going to be somebody that we're going to continue to talk to to see if we can ascertain whatever information they had they have been cooperating with us, which is obviously something that we're very happy about, um but we're going to constantly revisit that individual and see if they can think of something else that may have been forgotten and what was the motive and some of those type of things.
15;52;36;17 BM: Is it a friend? Do you know the relationship?
15;52;38;12 RS: um we know it was an associate
15;52;41;24 BM: And not under arrest at this point. [RS: no]
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Trump advisers: U.S. seeks to fight Islamic State and oust Syria's Assad - Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune

Trump advisers: U.S. seeks to fight Islamic State and oust Syria's Assad
Chicago Tribune
In this Feb. 20, 2017, file photo, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., that McMaster will be the new national security adviser. McMaster on April 9, 2017 ...

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National Security Adviser HR McMaster: US Wants to Eliminate 'Murderous Regime' in Syria - TIME

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National Security Adviser HR McMaster: US Wants to Eliminate 'Murderous Regime' in Syria
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the United States wants to defeat the Islamic State and remove Syrian President Bashar Assad — although not in a unilateral move — in his first televised interview. McMaster left open the possibility for ...

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Ahead of Moscow visit, Tillerson blames Russia's "failure" in Syria for killings - CBS News

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CBS News

Ahead of Moscow visit, Tillerson blames Russia's "failure" in Syria for killings
CBS News
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has no evidence that Russia was involved in last week's fatal sarin gas attack in Syria, but Russia's “failure” allowed the deaths of innocent people, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, ahead of his visit to Moscow. “Well, to ...

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Tillerson cites Russian inaction as helping to fuel Syrian poison gas attack - Duluth News Tribune

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Duluth News Tribune

Tillerson cites Russian inaction as helping to fuel Syrian poison gas attack
Duluth News Tribune
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement about the visit of China's President Xi Jinping and about the situation in Syria, at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper. WASHINGTON ...

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