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The UN Security Council has unanimously demanded a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, as new air strikes on the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta took the civilian death toll from seven days of bombing to more than 500. After the council vote on Saturday, Syrian warplanes backed by Russian air power launched new raids on a town in Eastern Ghouta, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of US billionaire investor Warren Buffett, received a stunning $29 billion last year from the US government, thanks to a new tax law that massively lowered corporate tax rates. In his much-anticipated annual letter to shareholders, Buffett explained that the company's net gain of $65.3 billion in 2017 was only partly due to his employees' efforts. "Only $36 billion came from Berkshire's operations," he wrote.
Four police officers in western Mexico have been arrested on suspicion of abducting three missing Italian men for local gangsters, state prosecutors said on Saturday. The three men reportedly went missing on Jan. 31 after being detained by police at a gasoline station in the municipality of Tecalitlan in southern Jalisco state, the home of Mexico's second biggest city, Guadalajara. The Jalisco attorney general's office said four Tecalitlan police officers, three men and a woman, had been held on suspicion of carrying out the forced disappearance of the Naples natives Raffaele Russo, Antonio Russo and Vincenzo Cimmino.
Around 2,000 Roman Catholic Filipinos protested in Manila on Saturday against a push to legalise divorce, with church groups also using the "Walk for Life" march to slam President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drugs war. The pre-dawn protest was organised by church groups worried about the possible passage of a divorce bill, which is being championed by Duterte's allies in Congress.
SIHEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Gus Kenworthy stood stone-faced, a shivering black puppy curled in his arms and more scurrying around him on the dirty, uneven cement floor. A few feet away, the pups' mother barked and paced, eyeing the 2014 Olympic silver medalist while trying not to trip over the metal chain anchoring her to the wall. Nearly 90 other dogs in and around the cluttered, thin-walled structure also woofed and howled, a cacophony that could be heard from the nearby highway, even over the whoosh of traffic.
At least 23 people, mostly soldiers, were killed and more than a dozen wounded in a series of attacks and suicide bombings in Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, the latest assaults on the war-torn country's beleaguered security forces. In the biggest attack, Taliban militants stormed an army base in the western province of Farah overnight, killing at least 18 soldiers. "Last night a big group of militants attacked an army base in Bala Buluk district of Farah.
A California couple accused of keeping 13 children imprisoned, chained and starved in a squalid suburban home were hit with additional charges on Friday as defense lawyers said they were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of evidence in the case. David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise, 49, were advised of the new charges during a brief hearing in Riverside County Superior Court at which they appeared dressed in black at a table with their attorneys but did not speak. A spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said the new charges included three counts of child abuse against both defendants.
By Jan Strupczewski and Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland's ruling party must do everything it can to stop anti-Semitic remarks that are hurting Poland's standing in the world and putting its interests at risk, European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference on Friday. Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said after he met Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that discussions with other European leaders showed the situation of Warsaw was "very serious". "I told the prime minister the situation ... has a direct impact on Polish interests, Poland's reputation and Poland's standing in the world," Tusk said, adding that Morawiecki understood that.
By Robert Iafolla and Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will consider for the second time in two years whether to choke off a critical funding stream for public-employee unions, potentially reducing organized labor's influence in the workplace and at the ballot box. The nine justices will hear a challenge backed by anti-union groups to the legality of fees that workers who are not members of unions representing teachers, police, firefighters and certain other government employees must pay to help cover the costs of collective bargaining with state and local governments. Two dozen states require payment of these so-called agency fees, covering roughly 5 million public-sector workers, that provide millions of dollars annually to unions.
If you wait until you are 70 to take your Social Security benefit, you will receive monthly payments that are 32 percent higher than the benefits you would have received at 66, which is the retirement age for many Americans. Retirees who wait to claim can get hundreds of dollars more each month than those who take benefits early. Most Americans take Social Security before full retirement age, often because they can't afford not to.
Chinese billionaire Li Shufu has bought a near 10-percent stake in Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, making him the German group's largest single shareholder, a stock market filing showed Friday. Li, who chairs auto giant Geely Automobile Holdings, bought a 9.69-percent stake in the carmaker, worth around 7.2 billion euros ($8.9 billion), according to the filing. The billionaire is no stranger to the European car business, having bought Sweden's Volvo in 2010.
President Trump announced that the U.S. was imposing a new round of sanctions taking aim at North Korea, the latest effort to tighten the economic vise in response to the Stalinist regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. He announced the sanctions as Ivanka visited the Olympic Games in South Korea.
Two death row inmates have won last minute reprieves, including a man whose father pleaded for his life even though his son had hired a hitman to kill his family, officials say. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the rare reprieve for Thomas Bartlett "Bart" Whitaker, 38, who had been sentenced to die Thursday for a 2003 murder-for-hire that took his mother and brother's life and left his father seriously wounded. "Mr Whitaker must spend the remainder of his life behind bars as punishment for this heinous crime," Abbott wrote in a proclamation explaining his decision, shortly before the scheduled execution.
Nigerian officials have apologised after falsely claiming to have staged a dramatic rescue of a group of schoolgirls taken in a mass abduction by Boko Haram on Monday night. Officials in northern Yobe State had claimed on Wednesday to have rescued at least 50 of the girls, in what they described as a "gallant" mission by the Nigerian army. But late on Thursday night, they told families of the missing girls that there had in fact been no rescue at all, saying that the claims had been based on "unreliable" information from the security forces. "We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible," said Yobi state spokesman Abdullahi Bego. "The Yobe State government apologises for that." The admission came amid claims from parents that four days after the initial kidnapping in the town of Dapchi, more than 100 girls remain unaccounted for. At least five parents who were present fainted with the shock upon being told at an official briefing that their daughters were still missing after all. Boko Haram oppression in Nigeria, in pictures One parent, Kundiri Alhaji Bukar, told BBC Hausa language service: ''[The governor] said soldiers were dispatched but the military commander told him they could not locate the girls with the Boko Haram militants. He said no-one is really sure whether the girls were taken away by Boko Haram. But we on our part, we believe Boko Haram abducted the children." The backtracking by the Yobe state officials comes amid growing concerns about the government's handling of the incident. When reports of the attack on the school first surfaced earlier this week, officials initially claimed there had been no abductions at all, and that the missing girls had simply fled to surrounding villages. Critics have drawn comparisons with the government's handling of the notorious Chibok school abduction case in 2014, where officials likewise made a series of denials and contradictory statements before admitting that some 276 children had gone missing. As of Friday morning there was still no solid information on the number of girls believed to be missing. While some are thought to have been abducted, others may have fled to safety in surrounding villages and simply not yet contacted their parents. Mobile phone reception is limited in much of Nigeria's remote rural north. Sandals are strewn in the yard of the Government Girls Science and Technical College staff quarters in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018 Credit: AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images On Wednesday, government officials told the Reuters news agency that around 50 girls were still missing. But one parent, Bashir Manzo, told the Associated Press news agency that parents had presented the state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, with a list of 101 missing children at Thursday's official briefing. “[Mr Gaidam] told us the girls have not been found and we should continue to pray for their safe return,” another parent, Rabiu Sani, told the AP. The flow of official misinformation over the case is likely anger President Muhamamdu Buhari, who was critical of his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan's handling of the Chibok case. Earlier this week, he despatched a team of ministers to the area in an attempt to demonstrate that he was responding quickly to the situation. “I share the anguish of all the parents and guardians of the girls that remain unaccounted for,” Mr Buhari tweeted on Wednesday evening. “I would like to assure them that we are doing all in our power to ensure the safe return of all the girls.”
There's a place in the desert where the ghosts of camels seem to loom out of ancient rocks. The Camel Site, as researchers call it, is spread across the Sakaka basin in Saudi Arabia's Jawf province. Time, human interference and erosion have worn away all tool marks and other signs of the camel reliefs' creation, making their authors difficult to identify and their origin difficult to date, according to a paper published Feb. 9 in the journal Antiquity.
A former South African soldier was sentenced to death in South Sudan on Friday for attempting to overthrow the government. Ex-colonel William Endley, 55, was "sentenced to death by hanging" for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government, said judge Lado Eriminio Sekwat at a court in the capital Juba. Endley, who can appeal the ruling, was also sentenced to nine years and four months in prison for other related crimes, which must be served before his execution.