It’s Monday July 10, 2017

10Jul

00:0000:00

A partial ceasefire in southwestern Syria - agreed between the United States and Russia - should be expanded to all of Syria if it is to be successful, according to a statement from Iran's foreign ministry. The United States, Russia and Jordan announced a ceasefire and "de-escalation agreement" that started Sunday for the southwest, after a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg. Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, "the agreement can be fruitful if it is expanded to all of Syria and includes all the area that we discussed in Astana talks for de-escalating the tension." In Astana peace talks, Russia, Turkey and Iran tried to finalize an agreement on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria but failed to reach an deal. Russia and Iran are the main international backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Washington supports some of the rebel groups fighting to topple him.

 

 

The United Nations says there is no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq - despite recent progress in driving the Islamic State group from Mosul. A statement released Monday says thousands of Mosul residents will likely remain displaced from the city after the fight is concluded, because of "extensive damage caused during the conflict." Airstrikes, artillery and militant bombings have destroyed thousands of buildings as well as key infrastructure in Mosul. Iraq's Interior Ministry says more than half of all buildings in western Mosul, where the fighting was heaviest, were damaged or destroyed. More than 800,000 people were forced from their homes since the operation began in October. Iraqi forces are still battling the extremists in a small area along the west bank of the Tigris River, where Iraqi commanders say hundreds of fighters are using their own families as human shields.

 

 

As the Gulf crisis over Qatar festers, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is embarking on his first shuttle diplomacy mission, heading to the region in a bid to end a deadlock that has badly damaged ties between several key American partners and threatens to hinder counter terrorism efforts. Tillerson also said on Monday that the Trump administration is starting to repair ties with NATO ally Turkey, without acknowledging Washington still pursued some policies that have been the focus of tension. Tillerson's comments came a day after he met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for talks on regional security issues, including U.S. backing for Kurdish Syrian YPG forces fighting to drive Islamic State from their Raqqa stronghold. Turkey views the YPG as a branch of the PKK, the outlawed Kurdish separatist group that has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. It fears an effort to form a contiguous Kurdish state embracing some Turkish territory. Ankara was infuriated last month when Washington - which has designated the PKK a terrorist group - announced that it would continue the Obama administration's policy of arming the YPG, although U.S. officials insist that the United States will retrieve the weapons once Islamic State is defeated. The Trump administration also has persisted in resisting Turkey's demand that it extradite Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who lives in Pennsylvania and is accused by Erdogan of masterminding a failed military coup in July 2016.

 

 

Peruvian officials say a double-decker tour bus went out of control and rolled over on a narrow road in the hills, killing at least nine people and injuring 25. Peru's Ministry of Health says the accident Sunday night happened about 2 kilometers from the presidential palace in Lima. Its statement says the local bus was driving on San Cristobal hill to give the passengers a panoramic view of the city. The ministry says the bus appears to have been moving at excessive speed.

 

 

Two major wildfires in California have forced nearly 8,000 people out of their homes. About 4,000 people evacuated and another 7,400 were told to prepare to leave their homes, as fire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento. In Southern California, at least 3,500 people evacuated as two fires exploded in size at separate ends of Santa Barbara County and a third one threatened homes near a town in San Luis Obispo County. A wildfire also destroyed most of a Boy Scout camp in western California, burning "a number of structures" and killing all of the animals in the nature center at the camp, the Outdoor School at Rancho Alegre. About 80 people, mostly children, were rescued after being trapped for hours at the Circle V Ranch Camp in Santa Barbara County before they were evacuated from the area. Other wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of western Canada. In British Columbia, firefighters were battling more than 200 wildfires that destroyed dozens of buildings, including several homes and two airport hangars. The largest fire in western Canada covers 20 square miles.

 

 

Israeli and Palestinian officials have signed a rare agreement to provide additional electricity to Palestinian residents of the northern West Bank. Under Monday's deal, Israel's national electric company will sell an additional 60 megawatts of electricity to the power-starved Jenin area, with an option to more than double the supply. The electricity will be distributed through a Palestinian-operated substation. The Palestinians are building a total of four substations, with backing from the European Investment Bank.

 

 

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday after their week-long July 4 recess, with Republicans in the Senate preparing to revive their stalled bill aiming to replace ObamaCare. President Trump urged Republicans via Twitter to continue pushing until they pass a new health bill, but some influential GOP senators said they doubted it would be possible to get 50 of the Senate's 52 Republicans to back even a revised proposal, with moderates objecting to proposed Medicaid cuts and conservatives rejecting maintaining any of the pillars of ObamaCare. Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on the CBS program Face the Nation, "my view is that it's probably going to be dead." McCain said Republicans probably would have to strike a compromise with Democrats to pass any health-care bill.

 

 

Lawmakers from both parties responded with derision to President Trump's tweet saying that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, had discussed "working constructively with Russia" by "forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit" with Moscow to prevent election hacking. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted that working "with Putin on a 'Cyber Security Unit' is akin to partnering with Assad on a 'Chemical Weapons Unit," while Rep. Adam Schiff of California said "we might as well mail our ballot boxes to Moscow." Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Trump's suggestion he was willing to "forgive and forget" Russia's meddling made him more determined than ever to help pass new sanctions against Russia. Trump stepped back from his earlier comment later Sunday, tweeting that just because he "discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen."

 

 

A California teen is celebrating two big lottery wins in a week. The California Lottery says 19-year-old Rosa Dominguez won $555,555 on a $5 scratch-off ticket purchased at a gas station. After that win, she said she was nervous and "just wanted to cry." A few days later, she bought another $5 scratch-off ticket at a different station and won $100,000. The Lottery didn't say when the tickets were purchased. The Lottery says Dominguez collected her $655,555 in total winnings recently and tells the organization she plans to go shopping and buy herself a new car.