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Trump camp finds no appeasement at Munich

Trump camp finds no appeasement at MunichFor decades, the Munich Security Conference served as a powerful symbol of the strength of the Western alliance. The 2020 installment offered a testament to its accelerating decline.

If the three-day event, which drew to a close on Sunday, illustrated anything, it was that the divergence between the U.S. and the dominant European powers — Germany and France (the U.K. was MIA) — is greater than ever. Those who thought last year’s tense gathering represented a low point in the relationship left Munich this year chastened.

The two sides aren’t just far apart on the big questions facing the West (threats from Russia, Iran, China), they’re in parallel universes.

Most alarming: The biggest disconnect concerns the U.S. commitment to Europe, the very essence of the transatlantic alliance itself.

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Nearly 875,000 people displaced by Russian-backed Syrian offensive: U.N.

Syrian refugees top 875,000Nearly 875,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the rebel-held northwest since early December, including over 40,000 in the last four days alone, the United Nations said on Monday.

. Half a million of those fleeing in the last 10 weeks were children, the U.N. official added.

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Official: Puerto Rico govt loses $2.6M in phishing scam

PR gov't loses $2.6m in phishing scamPuerto Rico's government has lost more than $2.6 million after falling for an email phishing scam, according to a senior official.

The finance director of the island's Industrial Development Company, Rubén Rivera, said in a complaint filed to police Wednesday that the agency sent the money to a fraudulent account.

Rivera said the government agency transferred the money on Jan. 17 after receiving an email that alleged a change to a banking account tied to remittance payments, according to a police statement.

Manuel Laboy, executive director of the agency, told The Associated Press that officials found out about the incident earlier this week and immediately reported it to the FBI.

TVNL Comment: When will they ever learn?

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Here come the brides in Northern Ireland's first same-sex marriage

First same sex marriage in Northern IslandNorthern Ireland’s first same-sex wedding took place on Tuesday after the government lifted a ban on gay marriage in the province, marking legalization of the practice throughout the United Kingdom.

Robyn Peoples, 26, a healthcare worker from the city, and Sharni Edwards, 27, a waitress originally from Brighton, became the province’s first gay couple to wed, according to the Love Equality campaign group.

The women exchanged their vows in Carrickfergus, County Antrim on their sixth anniversary as a couple.

“This means everything to us. Just to be married. This is my wife. I can finally say this is my wife,” Peoples told reporters after the ceremony attended by around 50 friends and family.

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Four members of Chinese army charged with stealing 145 million Americans' data in 2017 Equifax hack

Chinese army hackers charged in Equifax breachFour members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army have been charged with hacking into the computer systems of the credit reporting agency Equifax in 2017.

A nine-count federal indictment unsealed Monday alleges the suspects stole personal information of 145 million Americans.

The suspects were members of the PLA's 54th Research Institute, part of the Chinese military. They were identified as Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei.

"It was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people," Attorney General William Barr said.

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U.S. ambassador to Israel warns against West Bank annexation

David Friedman warns about West bank annexationThe U.S. ambassador to Israel has cautioned Israel against “unilateral action” in annexing West Bank settlements, warning that such a move could endanger the Trump administration’s recently unveiled Mideast plan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially sought to move quickly to annex large swathes of the West Bank containing Jewish settlements, following the U.S. plan’s announcement on Jan. 28. Netanyahu called for his Cabinet to vote on such a measure, only to call it off a day later. The move would have risked provoking a harsh backlash from the Palestinians and the international community.

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Thai forces believe shooter in mall basement as death toll hits 21

Thai forces believe shooter in basementA Thai soldier who has killed at least 21 people in a shooting rampage was thought to be holed up in the basement of a shopping mall in northeastern Thailand on Sunday and security forces were closing in on him, a police officer said.

The officer said nine civilians had been evacuated from the shopping mall and security forces were checking whether any remained there.

“The perpetrator is still in the basement and it doesn’t look as though he has hostages. We are getting close to him,” said the officer who did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak to media.

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