Apr. 13, 2018

BLOOMBERG

The U.S. and its allies edged toward punitive measures against Syria as President Donald Trump met with his national security team to discuss a response to an apparent chemical weapons attack by the country and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet said it is "vital" to react to the incident.

President Donald Trump ordered the creation of a task force to review business practices at the United States Postal Service, a move that could affect one of the president's favorite corporate targets: Amazon.com Inc.

India is reducing its dependence on Russia for critical defense programs, with the joint venture BrahMos missile set to be guided by a locally-developed target tracking device in the next year.

Like much of the ex-communist region, the European Union's poorest member has watched its citizens head west in droves to snag fatter salaries in countries including the U.K. Add to that already low fertility rates and a growing share of elderly people, and Bulgaria is among the most exposed to demographic threats. The population is on track to drop below 7 million.

Members of an 11-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact said Friday they opposed any renegotiation of the deal to accommodate the U.S. should it decide to rejoin at a later date.

Lucara Diamond Corp. has recovered yet another massive diamond in Botswana, at a site previously owned by giant De Beers. The 472-carat light brown stone is the third largest found by Vancouver-based Lucara at the Karowe mine. The site has proven a windfall for the Canadian miner which now produces some of the biggest and best diamonds in the world.

AP Top Stories

President Donald Trump is poised to pardon Scooter J. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to sources familiar with the president's thinking.

The son of a disgraced former Michigan judge is accused of killing his father and dumping the body on an abandoned golf course near his Florida home. Investigators aren't saying much about the death of James "Skip" Scandirito, 75, who resigned a judgeship in Macomb County, Michigan, in 2000 in the face of sexual misconduct charges. But they've arrested his only child, James Anthony "Jimmy" Scandirito, 49, and charged him with murder.

At a time when President Donald Trump tweets about potentially launching missile strikes against the Syrian government, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the chief executive can do that without congressional approval. "The existing AUMF gives him the authority he needs to do what he may or may not do," Ryan said Thursday at a press conference.

Taliban attacks overnight in Afghanistan killed at least 13 policemen and wounded several others, officials said Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday stressed the "urgent" need to build a powerful navy during a surprise visit to observe naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea, state media reported as the country prepares for live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The National Park Service decided Thursday that it will raise fees at 117 national park sites, but the increases are quite modest compared to the previous proposal. Facing a more than $11 billion backlog in the upkeep of national parks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke previously proposed raising fees to $70 in 17 of the most popular parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. The government allowed the public to weigh in on the fee increases, and the responses showed overwhelming opposition to the dramatic increase.

President Donald Trump has nominated the first African-American woman for promotion to general. Marine Corps Col. Lorna M. Mahlock will be promoted to the rank of brigadier general, if confirmed, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Tuesday.

The government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi expressed "serious concern" on Friday over a move by the International Criminal Court prosecutor seeking jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to arrest an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor if she conducts activities in his country, arguing it was no longer an ICC member so the court had no right to do any investigating.

Five U.S. military aircraft crashed over a period of less than a month beginning in mid-March 2018, killing 16 crew members and alarming military officials. Two of the crashes involved U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, underscoring concerns that the naval aviation fleet is overworked, undertrained and poorly-maintained.

Israelis stood still on Thursday for a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as a two-minute siren wailed across the country and the nation paid respects to those systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators in World War II.

The number of civilians killed and wounded by suicide bombings and "complex attacks" in Afghanistan has more than doubled so far this year, the United Nations said on Thursday.

BBC

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said a reported chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents. The US and France say they have proof it took place and, alongside the UK, are considering military retaliation.

Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers.

Portugal's parliament has approved a new law making it easier for people to change their legal gender. Citizens from the age of 16 will now be able to change their gender and name in documents without the need of a medical report.

WND

Goldman Sachs analysts attempted to address a touchy subject for biotech companies, especially those involved in the pioneering "gene therapy" treatment: cures could be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask.

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