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Russia denies US news report it bombed 4 Syria hospitals in 12 hours

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Russia on Monday denied a US newspaper report that its warplanes bombed four hospitals in rebel-held territory in Syria over a period of 12 hours this year.

The Russian defence ministry rubbished the claim in a report by The New York Times, saying “the alleged ‘evidence’ provided by the NYT is not worth even the paper it was printed on”.

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The May strikes — which the newspaper tied to Moscow through Russian radio recordings, plane spotter logs and accounts by witnesses — are part of a larger pattern of medical facilities targeted by forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s devastating civil war.

Nabad al Hayat Surgical Hospital — which staff had fled three days earlier in anticipation of the facility being bombed — was one of those struck during the 12-hour period beginning on May 5, according to the Times’ investigation.

A Russian ground controller gave the exact coordinates of the hospital to the pilot, who reported having it in sight a few minutes later, the newspaper said.

The controller gave the go-ahead for the strike at the same time that a spotter who was tasked with warning civilians about impending strikes logged a Russian jet in the area.

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The pilot then reported releasing bombs, and local journalists filming the hospital recorded three bombs going through its roof and exploding.

Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital — just a few miles (kilometers) away — was bombed multiple times shortly afterwards.

As with the earlier strike, a spotter registered one of Moscow’s jets circling, and a Russian air force transmission recorded a pilot saying he had “worked” the target before delivering three strikes that were confirmed by a doctor, the Times said.

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The Kafr Zita Cave Hospital and Al Amal Orthopedic Hospital were also bombed by Russian aircraft during the 12-hour period. All four facilities had provided their coordinates to the United Nations for inclusion on a list to avoid strikes.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in a lengthy statement reacting to the report claimed The New York Times had become a “victim of manipulation by terrorists and British security services”.

He took issue with a number of details in the report including the anonymity of the newspaper’s sources and said that radioed voice commands are not used to pass coordinates to pilots of Russian fighter planes in Syria.

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced last month that he was setting up an internal investigation into the bombing of hospitals in Syria that had previously flagged their coordinates.

Several dozen medical facilities with links to the UN have been damaged or destroyed by bombs this year. Russian has denied deliberately targeting civilian installations.


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Three judges suspended for drunken 3 AM fight at White Castle — that ended with two shot

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Three judges were suspended after engaging in a drunken shooting outside a White Castle.

"Three Indiana judges involved in a Downtown Indianapolis fight in May that ended with two of the judges shot have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct," the Indianapolis Star reports. "In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell 'engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.'"

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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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In their effort to exculpate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, Republicans put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s denial that he ever felt pressure from the White House to open up investigations into Democrats at the center of their argument. A new GOP memo says that both leaders have acknowledged “there was no pressure” on the famous July 25 call that sparked the inquiry and thus argues that the allegations made by Democrats that Trump abused his power don’t hold.

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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