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Isil facing endgame after fall of last city in its caliphate

Pharma news - November 3, 2017 - 3:01am

Islamic State is facing its endgame after Syrian troops retook its last-remaining city and Iraqi forces closed in on its final pocket of territory along the border.  The loss prompted Britain to announce it would soon begin withdrawing its jets from the coalition air effort against Isil, drawing down a three-year offensive against the terror group as its "caliphate" crumbles. The simultaneous assaults on Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria and Al-Qaim in western Iraq leave Abu Kamal, on the Syrian side of the border, the last town of note under its full control. The battle for Deir Ezzor, led by the Syrian government and allied militias with Russian air support, saw two months of heavy fighting, but the city fell relatively quickly compared to Isil’s capital Raqqa and Mosul in northern Iraq.  A Syrian pro-government member watches as smoke rises from buildings in Deir Ezzor Credit: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images Isil jihadists seized Deir Ezzor province in 2014, including vital oil and gas fields that served as a key source of revenue for the extremists. The jihadists were making millions of pounds a month from the sale of crude pumped from the two main oil fields. It had also been strategically important as a corridor to transfer fighters, arms and goods between Iraq and Syria.  As Raqqa came under intense pressure, many of Isil’s senior and foreign fighters moved to Deir Ezzor, which became its new operational and financial hub.   While Isil has been driven from most of its strongholds in Deir Ezzor, it still controls over 35 percent of the province, much of it empty desert. Syrian government forces battle IS in Deir ez-Zour 01:00 At the height of its power the group controlled a third of Syria and a third of neighbouring Iraq, making up a quasi-state the size of Britain. The coalition announced last week it has lost 90 per cent of its caliphate.  In Iraq, troops reached the border on Friday morning and continued to close in on the last remaining pocket of militant-held territory in Anbar province. Desperate militants were seen crossing from the Iraqi side to Abu Kamal in Syria, according to opposition media.  Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, pledged the battle will be finished within days and would declare Iraq completely clear of Islamic State. Smoke billows from the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor during an operation by Syrian government forces Credit: AFP/Getty Images The jihadists are now confined to a small stretch of harsh desert land either side of the Syria-Iraq frontier.  Omar Abu Layla, executive director of news outlet DeirEzzor24, said he thought as many as 4,000 fighters could still be around Abu Kamal, who could still mount insurgent attacks. “Isil gave up Deir Ezzor without much of a fight. This was a strategy,” he told the Telegraph. “They have returned to fighting in the desert. They know [President Bashar] Assad doesn't have anywhere near enough forces to take and hold the 120km (75 miles) from Deir Ezzor to the border. What we will see in Abu Kamal is a battle like Raqqa." A soldier from the Syrian government forces flashes victory sign Credit: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images Air Cdre Johnny Stringer, who leads Britain’s contribution to the air war against Isil, said the UK could begin withdrawing RAF jets from the US-led coalition’s campaign as early next year. “I think we will still need an element of manned fast jet strike as well," Air Cdre Stringer told reporters on Friday. "But I am hoping that we may see the ability to draw down elements of that final bit because frankly the tempo of our operations is going to reduce as Daesh are beaten in Iraq and in Syria." He said Isil’s caliphate had “all but disappeared” but warned it was now likely to morph into an insurgent organisation. Colin P. Clarke, a terrorism expert at the RAND Corporation, said Isil "is being forced to change its strategy and tactics, but it has been proactively preparing for the next phase of the conflict". The world is watching it shift from being "an insurgency with fixed headquarters to a clandestine terrorist network dispersed throughout the region and the globe", he said. Experts say as Isil will continue to grow abroad and may even look to link with other extremist groups in the region for strength.  “Look for more coordination between Isil and al-Qaeda outside and inside Syria and Iraq, despite their ongoing friction in other areas such as Yemen,” said Maha Hosain Aziz, who specialises in political risk, prediction and strategy as a professor at New York University. “Isil will also continue to expand its recruitment pool worldwide to prepare for its long-term goal of forming a global Islamic caliphate.”

Categories: Pharma News

China disputes Trump's claims of fentanyl 'flood' into United States

Reuters Health News - November 3, 2017 - 1:21am
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's drug control agency disputed on Friday U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that most of the synthetic drug fentanyl at the heart of the U.S. opioid crisis was produced in China.
Categories: Consumer Health News

Kevin Spacey Reportedly Dumped By Talent Agency And Publicist

Pharma news - November 3, 2017 - 12:08am

In the wake of mounting accusations of sexual harassment and assault against actor Kevin Spacey, his publicist and talent agency will no longer represent him, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

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New Trump immigration efforts aim to stop child border crossers

Pharma news - November 3, 2017 - 12:02am

By Mica Rosenberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many of the immigration initiatives launched by the Trump administration in recent weeks target one kind of migrant: children. The measures are aimed at expelling young people already in the United States illegally and preventing new ones from crossing into the country. Some of the policy shifts have generated headlines, including Trump's decision in September to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

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California governor rejects parole for ex-Mexican Mafia head

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 10:56pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday blocked parole for a former Mexican Mafia prison gang leader, saying he remains a danger to society despite efforts to turn his life around and years of cooperating with law enforcement.

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Papa John's Gets Badly Burned In Twitter War With DiGiorno

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 10:40pm

If you smelled charred pizza, that may have been Papa John’s ― because the company got badly burned in a Twitter war.

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Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe Trump Likely Committed A Crime Linked To Russia

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 9:43pm

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 49 percent of Americans believe President Donald Trump “likely” committed a crime connected to Russia’s suspected interference in last year’s U.S. presidential election.

Categories: Pharma News

Struggling Venezuela looks to restructure debt

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 8:46pm

Crisis-hit Venezuela, seen by many investors on the threshold of default, will try to restructure its debt after its oil company makes a scheduled $1.2 billion payment, according to President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday. "After this payment, I decree a refinancing and a restructuring of all external debt and all of Venezuela's payments," Maduro said in a statement broadcast on state television. US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in August, however, threaten to complicate Maduro's ambition.

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Russia wants UN report on Syria sarin attack shelved

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 8:28pm

Russia demanded Thursday that the UN Security Council shelve a report blaming the Syrian government for a sarin gas attack and that a new probe be conducted into the use of the deadly nerve agent, according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP. The text circulated to the Security Council also called for a six-month extension of the UN-led panel tasked with identifying who is behind chemical attacks in Syria's six-year war. The United States put forward on Thursday a rival draft resolution that would extend for two years the mandate of the panel known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), according to the text seen by AFP.

Categories: Pharma News

Why The Alt-Right Now Loves Papa John's

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 8:14pm

Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter got cheesed off about the NFL kneeling controversy on a conference call with investors on Wednesday, and by Thursday his product was being held up by the world’s most influential neo-Nazi site as the potential pizza of choice for the alt-right.

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Rogue Twitter Employee Deletes Donald Trump’s Account On Last Day

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 8:12pm

President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, briefly vanished from the internet on Thursday.

Categories: Pharma News

NC officials still looking for deadly prison's assault tally

Pharma news - November 2, 2017 - 8:04pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Three weeks after the deadliest attempted prison breakout in North Carolina history, prison and law enforcement officials still can't quantify the scope of the violence that correctional officers at the understaffed prison had been confronting daily.

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