Today's Intel

Feb. 14, 2019

REUTERS

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused leading European countries on Thursday of trying to break U.S. sanctions against Tehran, in remarks at a Middle East peace summit that were likely to further strain transatlantic relations.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was looking forward to trade talks with China on Thursday, as discussions in Beijing moved to a higher level in a push to de-escalate a tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline for a deal.

President Trump is considering a 60-day extension of the Mar. 1 deadline for higher tariffs on Chinese imports, Bloomberg said on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

The U.S. Senate was set to approve President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee William Barr on Thursday, putting the veteran Republican lawyer in charge of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of any ties between Trump's campaign and Russia.

At least 922 children and young adults have died of measles in Madagascar since October, despite a huge emergency vaccination program, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

A suicide car bomber rammed a bus carrying Indian police officers in Kashmir on Thursday, killing 30 of them in a major attack on security forces in the disputed region that could raise tensions with Pakistan.

U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December as receipts fell across the board, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018.

JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Thursday it plans to launch its own digital coins, called "JPM Coin", that customers will be able to use for instant transfer of payments over a blockchain network.

Cuba charged on Thursday that the United States was secretly moving Special Forces closer to Venezuela as part of a plan to intervene in the South American country using the pretext of a humanitarian crisis.

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, pushing the four-week moving average of claims to its highest level in just over a year, suggesting some moderation in job growth. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended Feb. 9.

AP Top Stories

The Taliban said Wednesday that its negotiators would meet US envoys for talks this month in Islamabad, and also sit down with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss Afghanistan.

A US Air Force officer has defected to Iran and shared information that could cause "serious damage" to America's national security, officials have revealed.

The cry echoed across the chalk-dry Syrian plain: "Water!" Within seconds, the truck carrying a few dozen bottles was emptied by parched refugees who had spent the night out in the open. At least 300 women and children, mostly Iraqi, had slept amid the desert scrubs after escaping the Islamic State group's final redoubt of Baghouz in eastern Syria. A lucky few got tents, but the vast majority were spread out on cheap blankets provided to them by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who also handed out the few cases of bottled water and some food. No humanitarian organizations were present at the location.

A U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference aimed at building a coalition against what Washington sees as the threat posed by Iran also produced signs of a warming of ties between Israel and some Arab countries on Wednesday. Foreign ministers and other officials from more than 60 countries were gathering for the conference in Warsaw.

Saudi Arabia expressed "regret" on Thursday over EU proposals to add it and six other countries to a money-laundering blacklist of governments that do too little to thwart the financing of terrorism and organized crime.

European aerospace giant Airbus said Thursday it would end production of the A380 superjumbo, the double-decker jet which earned plaudits from passengers but failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs.

BBC

At least 34 Indian paramilitary soldiers have been killed in a bomb attack by militants on their convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Dozens of gold panners in Zimbabwe are feared to have drowned after heavy rains flooded two mines. Police said rescue teams were trying to pump out the water and search for bodies and any survivors at the mines near the town of Kadoma.

A Colombian man who admitted sexually abusing nearly 300 children has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.

About 20 teenage girls have been rescued from a fire which swept through an Islamic boarding school in South Africa's coastal city of Cape Town, local media report.

Thirteen same-sex couples across Japan are taking legal action on Thursday against the government, demanding the right to get married. While Japan does not allow gay marriage.

WND

"Twitter, Facebook, and Apple are among 107 major companies that have endorsed federal legislation that would make 'misgendering' a punishable offense. Big Tech companies already have adopted policies that punish employees who call a man a man, but now they've signed on to federal regulation that aims to put the entire nation under that standard.

Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon within two years if it steps up work on its nuclear program and violates the 2015 deal with the West.

Vice President Mike Pence told a conference of European and Middle East leaders on Thursday that Iran is plotting to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth, and seeks to unleash a 'new Holocaust.'

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