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Pentagon contradicts Trump’s claim that US is ‘keeping’ Syria’s oil: Kurds will be its ‘sole beneficiary’

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After announcing the withdrawal of US troops from northeast Syria, President Trump seemingly reversed course and announced that a contingent of troops would stay behind and secure oil fields in various parts of the country.

“We’re keeping the oil — remember that,” Trump said late last month. “I’ve always said that: ‘Keep the oil.’ We want to keep the oil. Forty-five million dollars a month? Keep the oil.” But as Vox’s Alex Ward points out, the US military has other ideas.

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Speaking to reporters this Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that the US would not benefitting financially from Syria oil.

“The revenue from this is not going to the US. This is going to the SDF,” Hoffman said, referring to the Kurdish-led, US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces.

Ward later confirmed from a senior administration official that the SDF will be the “sole beneficiary” of the “sale of the oil from the facilities they control.”

According to international law, stealing the natural resources of a country after it’s been occupied is a war crime.

Watch Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan R. Hoffman and Rear Adm. William D. Byrne, Jr., vice director, Joint Staff, hold a press briefing at the Pentagon below:

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Australia’s second-biggest city under new virus lockdown

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More than five million residents of Melbourne will be locked down for six weeks after coronavirus cases surged in Australia's second-biggest city, authorities announced Tuesday.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown would begin at midnight Wednesday and last at least six weeks, as he warned residents "we can't pretend" the coronavirus crisis is over.

After the south-eastern city detected 191 new cases in 24 hours, Andrews said there were now too many incidents of the virus to trace and track.

"These are unsustainably high numbers," he said. "No-one wanted to be in this position. I know there will be enormous amounts of damage that will be done because of this. It will be very challenging."

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Markets in retreat after latest stocks surge

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Asian markets mostly fell Tuesday as traders took a step back after their latest rally, with a run of upbeat economic data offset by fears over a spike in new virus infections.

While several countries are suffering a fresh surge in infections -- particularly the United States -- the ongoing easing of lockdown measures and reopening of economies has been the key driver of a months-long surge across equities.

After the latest advances, which saw Shanghai hit a two-year high and the Nasdaq on Wall Street end at another record, dealers stepped back and took profits.

There was also some trepidation on trading floors after Donald Trump's top infectious diseases expert warned the US was still "knee-deep" in its first wave of coronavirus infections.

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US ‘looking at’ banning TikTok and other Chinese apps: Pompeo

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US is "looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, over allegations Beijing is using them to spy on users.

India has already barred the wildly popular TikTok app over national security and privacy concerns while other countries are reportedly mulling similar measures.

Asked on Monday by Fox News's Laura Ingraham if the US should consider blocking the apps -- "especially Tik Tok" -- the country's top diplomat said the Trump administration was "taking this very seriously; we are certainly looking at it."

Pompeo said the US had been working for a "long time" on the "problems" of Chinese technology in infrastructure and was "making real progress."

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