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Pentagon tells Russia not to tamper with alleged Aleppo attack site

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The Pentagon cautioned Russia on Tuesday not to tamper with the site of an alleged gas attack in Syria’s Aleppo and allow investigators to inspect the site.

The global chemical weapons agency, know as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has said it will investigate the alleged gas attack in Aleppo on Saturday that reportedly sickened up to 100 people. The Syrian government and its ally, Russia, blamed the attack on insurgents.

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The Syrian government, which accused rebels of firing chlorine, asked the OPCW to send a fact-finding mission to the city.

“We caution Russia against tampering with another suspected chemical weapons attack site and urge Russia to secure the safety of the OPCW inspectors so these allegations can be investigated in a fair and transparent manner,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said.

In April, the United States accused Russia of blocking international inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria’s Douma and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.

The OPCW will be able not only to determine whether a chemical weapons attack occurred but also to assign blame. That responsibility had fallen to a joint U.N.-OPCW mission until Russia blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution to extend its mandate a year ago.

Past investigations by the joint mission found that Syrian government forces had used chlorine and sarin several times in the civil war, while the Islamist militant group Islamic State was found to have used sulfur mustard gas once. Other rebel groups have not been found in formal reports to have used banned toxic munitions.

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A health official in Aleppo said victims had suffered breathing difficulties, eye inflammation and other symptoms that suggested the use of chlorine gas.

Chlorine is a widely available industrial chemical, but its use as a weapon is banned internationally.

The Pentagon also called on the Syrian government not to use “false pretexts” to carry out strikes in Idlib’s de-escalation zone.

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“We continue to engage the Russian government and military at senior levels to make clear that an offensive in Idlib would represent a reckless escalation of the conflict,” Robertson said.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Sunday its warplanes bombed militants in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib who it accused of firing poison gas at Aleppo.

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A Russian-Turkish deal in September for a demilitarized zone staved off an army offensive against the Idlib region.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Tom Brown


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Authorities searching for spring breakers who flew from Cabo on private plane with 28 COVID-19 victims

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Texas authorities are on the lookout for a group of spring breakers who returned from Cabo San Lucas testing positive for the coronavirus.

According to Alyssa Goard at KXAN News, public health officials announced Tuesday that about a week and a half ago, about 70 students in their 20's flew back to the United States on a chartered plane while others used commercial flights. There are 28 youth from the trip who have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin and University Health Services have made contact with every spring breaker onboard the plane using flight manifest from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 28 confirmed cases are self-isolating at this time. Others are under quarantine while being monitored and tested. The Department of State Health Services has been notified.

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Trump’s schedule is empty because he’s spending his days chatting with titans of industry, world leaders, and celebrities

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President Donald Trump isn't jetting off aboard Air Force One every few days to preside over MAGA and KAG campaign rallies anymore, now that his pandemic is keeping much of the nation – including the president – at home. World leaders have stopped calling – at least in person – so his televised Oval Office diatribes have come to an end, at least temporarily.

Trump's calendar has been looking pretty empty these days (not a dramatic change from pre-pandemic days.)

Here's Trump's public schedule for tomorrow. (Public schedules don't include all of a president's activities.) pic.twitter.com/dst1Nybqbg

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‘Pelosi’s terrible idea’: Critics denounce proposal to give wealthy a tax cut in next stimulus package

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"This is almost unbelieveable."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly set to propose rolling back a cap on tax deductions, which would benefit high-earning Americans, as part of the next step of an economic stimulus package that has already poured trillions into the U.S. economy—much of it going to the richest individuals and corporations in the country.

"This is almost unbelievable," HuffPost senior reporter Emily Peck tweeted in response to the news. "Of all the things to do to help people; she wants to... give upper middle class people a tax break."

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