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The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Thursday they had arrested a French citizen who headed an Islamic State group in Syria and had been involved in the Paris and Nice attacks in 2015 and 2016. An SDF statement said the man arrested was Adrien Lionel Kayali and that he was born in 1983 and converted to Islam in 2003. French media have reported the captured man's name as French citizen Adrien Guihal, wanted in connection with terrorist activities in France.
Six families of victims killed in one of America's worst mass shootings have filed a lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has claimed the massacre days shortly before Christmas 2012 never happened. Twenty small children and six adults were killed in less than five minutes on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, by 20-year-old killer Adam Lanza who then turned the gun on himself. A Connecticut law firm filed the defamation lawsuit in Bridgeport on Wednesday accusing Jones, his far-right website Infowars, other financial backers, one of his guests and another associate of greed in peddling their campaign.
Burkina Faso has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, following intense Chinese pressure on African countries to break with what it regards as a wayward province. Taiwan now has only one diplomatic ally left in Africa – the tiny kingdom of Swaziland - and formal relations with just 18 countries, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific. The foreign ministry's statement made no direct mention of China, but said "the evolution of the world and the socio-economic challenges of our country and region push us to reconsider our position". Taiwanese and Chinese officials had no immediate comment. China is Africa's largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, although it has been less active to date in Burkina. In March China said it was in the best interests of self-ruled Taiwan's allies to recognise an "irresistible trend" and ditch Taipei in favour of "one China" ruled by Beijing. Burkina is the fifth country to cut ties with Taiwan since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Tsai came to office in 2016, following the Dominican Republic, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe and Panama. The Vatican is possibly next, as the Holy See and China edge closer to an accord on the appointment of bishops there. Taiwan says the Republic of China, its official name, is a sovereign country with the right to develop relations with other countries.
Mercedes-AMG has now completed the final piece of its inline-six powered midsize jigsaw with the reveal of the AMG E53 sedan, which utilises the same 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six also found in the CLS53 and E53 coupe and convertible models. The engine under the hood of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 sedan also produces the same 429 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque as it does elsewhere, but perhaps the standout point of this powerplant is the 48-volt ultra-mild hybrid assist system it also shares with its siblings. There's only one gearbox available with the 2019 E53 sedan, but that's not a problem as it's the excellent nine-speed auto used extensively throughout the Mercedes family at the moment.
An Australian grandmother who said she was tricked into carrying drugs into Malaysia after falling for an online romance scam was Thursday sentenced to death after an earlier acquittal was overturned, her lawyer said. Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was arrested in December 2014 while in transit at Kuala Lumpur airport with 1.1 kilos (2.4 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine stitched into the compartment of a backpack she was carrying. Anyone caught with at least 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of crystal meth is considered a trafficker in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and death by hanging is mandatory in the case of a conviction.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Nicolas Maduro hasn't wasted time consolidating power in the aftermath of his disputed victory in Venezuela's presidential election. He has thrown out U.S. diplomats, arrested alleged military conspirators and cracked down on the nation's last remaining critical major newspaper.
By Greg Torode and Simon Scarr HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - At first glance from above it looks like any clean and neatly planned small town, complete with sports grounds, neat roads and large civic buildings. But the town is on Subi reef in the Spratlys archipelago of the hotly contested South China Sea and, regional security experts believe, could soon be home to China's first troops based in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia. Private sector data analysis reviewed by Reuters shows Subi, some 1,200 km (750 miles) from China's coast, is now home to nearly 400 individual buildings – far more than other Chinese islands. Subi could be the future location of hundreds of People's Liberation Army marines, as well as a possible administrative hub as China cements its claim with a civilian presence, security analysts and diplomatic sources say.
In 1708, the San José— a Spanish galleon ship carrying a stash of gold, silver and emeralds — sank during a fierce battle against the British in the Caribbean Sea. Now, after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for 310 years, the San José's shipwreck has finally been officially identified, thanks to an analysis of the distinctive bronze cannons that sank with the ship.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hailed Russia's hand in his recent victories during a meeting in Damascus on Wednesday with the Kremlin's special envoy to talks on the conflict. It came just days after his troops secured the capital from jihadists and less than a week since Assad travelled to Sochi to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Wednesday, the Russian envoy to Syria was in Damascus to meet Assad and other top Syrian officials, state news agency SANA reported.
A U.S. veteran of the war in Iraq on Wednesday pleaded guilty to fatally shooting five people to death at Fort Lauderdale International Airport in January 2017, in a deal approved by a federal judge that spared him the death penalty. Esteban Santiago, 28, agreed in U.S. District Court in Miami to a plea deal that calls for him to serve five consecutive life sentences followed by 120 years in prison without a right to appeal. Santiago flew from his home in Anchorage, Alaska, to Fort Lauderdale, retrieved a Walther 9mm pistol and two clips of ammunition that he had checked on the flight and opened fire near a baggage carousel.
By Daniel Trotta NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Parkland, Florida, school massacre has had little lasting impact on U.S. views on gun control, three months after the shooting deaths of 17 people propelled a national movement by some student survivors, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday. While U.S. public support for more gun control measures has grown slowly but steadily over the years, it typically spikes immediately after the mass shootings that have become part of the U.S. landscape, then falls back to pre-massacre levels within a few months. The poll found that 69 percent of American adults supported strong or moderate regulations or restrictions for firearms, down from 75 percent in late March, when the first poll was conducted following the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.