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North Korea nuclear: US 'working with China' on response

The US and China are working on a "range of options" on North Korea, the US top security adviser has said, as tensions mount over the country's nuclear and missile programmes.
Lt Gen HR McMaster told ABC News there was consensus with China that this was a situation that "could not continue".
The comments come after a failed missile test launch by North Korea and a massive military parade.
President Trump had earlier said China was "working with us" on the issue.
Beijing, Pyongyang's biggest ally, has come under pressure from Washington to exert more pressure on its neighbour.
Sunday's comments appear to be the first confirmation that both countries are working together on how to deal with the North Korean issue.
Gen McMaster, who was in the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the latest launch "fits a pattern of provocative and destabilising and threatening behaviour".
"The president has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons," he said.
Military vehicles carry missiles with characters reading Image copyrightREUTERS
Image caption
North Korea displayed its military capabilities during a huge parade in Pyongyang
"I think there's an international consensus now, including the Chinese and the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that just can't continue."
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed North Korea during a meeting last week. Mr Xi offered co-operation on "communication and co-ordination", the BBC's Robin Brant in Shanghai reports.
All about North Korea's missile programme
In pictures: Pyongyang parade (with pom-poms)
Earlier on Sunday, South Korean and US military officials said a North Korean missile had detonated soon after launch. The US Pacific Command said it believed it to be a ballistic missile.
Investigations were continuing, but one unnamed US official said it was unlikely to have been an intercontinental (ICBM) missile.
Ballistic missiles follow high trajectories and are initially powered and guided, but fall to their target under gravity. ICBMs follow a sub-orbital trajectory, others stay within the atmosphere.
North Korea's aim is to be able to put a nuclear warhead on an ICBM that can reach targets around the world.

BBC News

Hundreds gather at attacked Egyptian church to mourn bombing dead

By MOSTAFA SALEM, Reuters


TANTA, Egypt - Hundreds of members of Egypt's Christian minority Copt community gathered at a church in the city of Tanta on Easter Sunday to mourn those killed in a suicide bombing there a week earlier.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday attack on the church and the bombing of another church in Alexandria on the same day, attacks that killed 45 people in total.

Amid heavy security, worshippers filed past a flower-strewn memorial at the Mar Girgis church, with incense burning, and offered prayers.

Copts throughout Egypt, where they make up about 10 percent of the population of 92 million, have been attending Easter services in somber mood following the bombings.

The government imposed a three-month state of emergency in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks, but some in Tanta wondered why the authorities had not acted to prevent the attacks in the first place.

Nassir Munir, who came to mourn the dead, said: "We are paying our condolences to them and to their families and it is a bad situation."

But he said authorities had only introduced security measures after the bombing, which killed 27 people at the Tanta church.

"Why now? I do not understand," he said.

The Abbot of the Mar Girgis church, Beshoy Wadea, said: "We do not want the norm to be that they start moving only when crisis strikes."

Coptic Christians, whose church dates back nearly 2,000 years in Egypt, say they have long suffered from persecution but this has got worse since Islamic State started attacking them. The group claimed responsibility for a church bombing in Cairo in December that killed 25 people.

The Coptic Christian Pope, Tawadros, used his Easter message to deliver a sombre message to the faithful after the bombings.

"We remember the martyrs of Palm Sunday. With their blood they recorded a new page in the history of Egypt's Coptic Christian Church," he said in a video on his website. —Reuters

Dana Vollmer, the Olympic swimmer racing while six months pregnant

With a little more than 1,000 days to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin, preparation - even at this stage - is key.
Such is the case with American swimmer Dana Vollmer, who claimed her seventh Olympic medal in Rio last year.
But she has had to adapt her preparation for Tokyo to cater for, in her words, the "bowling ball" in her stomach.
In her first race since Rio on Thursday, Vollmer was six months pregnant.
The first obstacle was finding a swimming costume that worked for her - up from the size 26 she wore in Rio to a size 32 at Thursday's race in Mesa, Arizona.
"It kind of holds everything in," she said, in an interview on the Team USA website. "We had to go up a few sizes to hold the belly."
Vollmer raced with her doctor's permission, and has amended her training programme while pregnant by doing more strength training.
In an interview before the race with ESPN, she said training was a welcome distraction.
"As hard as people think this is, the race is only 30 seconds long as opposed to the entire day I spend holding and chasing around a 35-pound two-year-old," she said. "This will feel like a break."
After winning gold in the 100m butterfly in the 2012 London Olympics, Vollmer took time off to have her first child, son Arlen, and returned in time to qualify for Rio.
But this time around, she has made the decision to continue training. Baby number two, a boy, is due in July.
"Putting the health of the baby first doesn't just mean sitting on the couch," the 29-year-old said.
Why it's OK to run when you are pregnant
Vollmer isn't the first woman to race while heavily pregnant - in June 2014, Alysia Montano competed in the 800m quarter finals of the US track and field championships while eight months pregnant.
Plenty of women have also taken part in the Olympics while pregnant, though none did in Rio, due to concerns over the effect of the Zika virus on unborn children.
The website of the US Swimming Masters, an organisation helping promote the sport, advises that women can carry on swimming even while heavily pregnant, but that each case is different.
Competing in the 50 metres freestyle only three months before giving birth did present one particular challenge for Vollmer.
"I don't think I've ever done a 50 where I took four or five breaths," she said. "A 50 felt long for the first time in my life."
In the end, Vollmer finished 55th in the preliminary round in Mesa, with a time of 27.59 seconds (last year, she swam the same race in 25 seconds).
Not that her time was a problem.
"Time didn't matter, place didn't matter," she said. "I've loved being here. I've loved seeing all my teammates, all the people from Rio. The race felt great."

BBC News

Jerusalem stabbing: Hannah Bladon named as victim

A British woman has been stabbed to death on a tram in Jerusalem.
She has been named as 20-year-old University of Birmingham student Hannah Bladon.
Ms Bladon was stabbed several times in the chest while she travelled on a tram in Tzahal Square and died in hospital. A 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene.
She had been on an exchange at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which expressed "deep sorrow" over her death.
'Inquisitive and adventurous'
Ms Bladon had been taking classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew at the Rothberg International School, part of The Hebrew University.
The school said: "Her friends described her as an inquisitive and adventurous student who made the most of her opportunity to learn and experience life in Israel."
The University of Birmingham also paid tribute to the 20-year-old saying it was "deeply saddened" to hear of Ms Bladon's death and that it would provide support to its students.
Police say the suspect, a resident of Ras al-Amud in east Jerusalem, was recently released from a psychiatric hospital.
Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy told the AFP news agency that the man was "very mentally disturbed".
Police at the scene of the attack in JerusalemImage copyrightEPA
Image caption
Police cordoned off the road leading to scene of the attack near the Old City
An off-duty policeman travelling on the tram pulled an emergency brake and then tackled the attacker, with the help of another passenger.
He told the AFP news agency: "I was travelling with my family when I heard the cries of 'attack, attack'.
"I sounded the alarm then rushed to the scene of the attack. We overpowered him."
A 30-year-old pregnant woman and a 50-year-old man were also injured in the attack.
BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman said the pair, who were much less seriously injured than the British woman, were either hurt when the tram came to a sudden stop or in the panic to get away.
'Filled with sadness'
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the tragic death of a British national in Jerusalem.
"We are providing support to her family at this difficult time and are in touch with local authorities."
There will continue to be heightened security in Jerusalem after measures were brought in ahead of the Jewish Passover Festival and Easter celebrations.
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said he was "filled with sadness about the attack" and that his thoughts and prayers were with the family of the victim.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted a picture of the knife used in the attack.

 

BBC News

Was Trump right to bomb Syria?

It was not actually an unpopular move, given the gristly videos of Syrian civilians being gassed by their own government. What’s worse, a number of the fatalities were children, infants included.
The world watched in horror as scenes of men, women, and children dying painful deaths was shown on the news and in the internet.
It was for this very reason that President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike last week on the Syrian air base that intelligence sources said was the source of the deadly sarin gas attack of the previous week.
Even non-believers in the US president had to applaud his decision and his emotional reason for authorizing the launch of 59 missiles on the air base that resulted in a few casualties, but also an estimated 20 percent of the Syrian air force being destroyed.
In the days that followed, however, critics began to raise questions on whether Mr. Trump’s action was legal. It was, in effect, an act of war and Congressional approval is needed for the US to declare war on a foreign nation. The POTUS received no such approval.
This raises the age-old question of whether what is moral justifies action that may not be perfectly legal.
As leader of the free world, Donald Trump has a responsibility not to act as global policeman, but as defender of the oppressed, including and especially those begging for his help. And there is no question that the citizens of Syria are among the most oppressed people in the planet. To put it bluntly, their President Bashar Assad is a tyrant who would do anything to remain in power, including murdering his own people by the tens of thousands, for simply refusing to support his regime.
The only reason he has not been kicked out is the support he gets from Russia.
While it is not clear if Russia was aware of the gas attack, or worse, if Russian forces were involved, it is now in their best interest to rethink their position vis-à-vis the Assad regime. Assad may be their boy, but it is in Russia’s best interests to distance itself from such a madman. It would not be unthinkable for who ever replaces Assad to want to maintain Syria’s close relations with the former superpower, given its proximity to the nation.
Syria afterAssad may still opt to stick with Russia, but the action of the US president to hold their insane leader to account for the genocide he perpetrated against his own people will not be forgotten.
That Syria still possesses chemical weapons is beyond question. This was the type of banned weapon that Assad used on his own people. This, after the country had earlier agreed to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons.
There may have been no legal justification for Mr. Trump’s order to launch the missile salvo, but at the very least the strongest message possible has been sent toAssad and his ally Russia. The killing of innocent civilians, toddlers and infants included, cannot continue. Not in Donald Trump’s watch.

Vampire greens: Dead bat found in prepackaged salad

US health authorities on Monday studied the remains of a dead bat discovered inside a prepackaged salad mix sold in Florida for possible traces of the deadly rabies virus.
The Fresh Express company, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, announced a "precautionary recall of a limited number of cases" of their prepackaged Organic Marketside Spring Mix, which had been distributed to Walmart stores across the southwestern United States.
The company issued the recall on Saturday when it learned "that extraneous animal matter was allegedly found" in a salad container.
"Out of an abundance of caution, all salads manufactured in the same production run are being recalled," Fresh Express said, failing to describe the offending "animal matter."
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) said it was working with the Florida health department and the US Food and Drug Administration "to support an investigation of a dead bat" found in the packaged salad sold at "a grocery store in Florida."
The bat carcass however was in poor condition.
"The deteriorated condition of the bat did not allow for CDC to definitively rule out whether this bat had rabies," which is endemic to the creatures across the United States, the CDC said.
CDC spokesman Thomas Skinner told AFP on Monday that the chances of rabies contagion from a dead animal are very low.
Agence France-Presse

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