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NATO claims credit for killing Al-Qaeda second-in-command in Pakistan

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NATO said Tuesday that Al-Qaeda’s second in command in Afghanistan had been killed in an air strike near the Pakistani border.

The US-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said Saudi-born Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, commanded foreign fighters and directed attacks on NATO and Afghan troops.

It described him as Al-Qaeda’s “second highest leader in Afghanistan”, saying he frequently travelled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, “carrying out commands from senior Al-Qaeda leadership”.

He also supplied weapons and equipment to insurgents, and managed the transport of insurgent fighters into Afghanistan, the military said.

NATO said he was killed in an air strike on Sunday with “one additional Al-Qaeda terrorist in Watahpur district, Kunar province” which borders Pakistan.

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The United States announced last year that it would focus military operations in Afghanistan towards the eastern provinces, which border Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt where US officials say Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have sanctuary.

NATO forces are in Afghanistan helping the Western-backed government fight a bloody, Taliban-led insurgency following the US-led invasion shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

There are around 130,000 international troops in Afghanistan and all NATO-led combat forces are due to leave by the end of 2014.

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[A US Predator drone sets off from its hangar at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2009. AFP Photo/Bonny Schoonakker]


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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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