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BREAKING: Coalition assault underway in Syria

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BREAKING: President Trump has announced the international coalition has begun its military assault on the Syrian government

The United States, France and the United Kingdom are all currently launching missile strikes against the Assad regime after a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week reportedly left dozens dead, including several children. 

The chemical attack, denied by President Assad’s government, was carried out in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday. The U.S. and France say the attack is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria signed in 2013. The French Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council, Francois Delattre, said that Syria’s Government has reached a “point of no return” by using chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has accused the UK of faking the attack, an allegation Britain dismissed as a “grotesque, blatant lie”.

Russia – whose forces are in Syria supporting the Assad regime – said missile strikes would risk starting a war. Senior Russian figures, including the head of the military, have warned that missiles would be shot down and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel came under threat.

As tensions escalate, Syrian Ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told the UN Security Council: The country will have “no other choice” but to defend itself if the West launches military action, adding, “This is not a threat. This is a promise.”

Earlier today UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “the Cold War is back – with a vengeance, but with a difference” because safeguards that managed the risk of escalation in the past “no longer seem to be present”. He went on to say the Middle East is in such “peril” today that it has become a threat to international peace and security. He claimed Syria “represents” the most serious threat.”

Follow @NewsThisSecond and @RaheemRashid for continuing coverage 

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Four U.S Troops Killed In Kabul Airport Attack

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4 U.S. soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in attacks on Kabul airport.

A U.S. official says several Marines were killed and a number of other American military were wounded Thursday in an attack on Kabul’s airport.

U.S. officials have said that information is still coming in and they are trying to determine exact numbers of casualties.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

The Pentagon would not say what troops were involved but acknowledged that “a number of U.S. service members were killed.”

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Amazon’s palm print recognition raises concern among U.S. senators

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Three U.S. senators, including Democrat Amy Klobuchar who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, wrote a letter to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) to express concern about its palm print recognition system, Klobuchar’s office said Friday.

Amazon began rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle in April, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers link a credit card to their palm print.  read more 

Klobuchar, who was joined by Senators Bill Cassidy, a Republican, and Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, expressed concern in the letter dated Thursday about both privacy and competition related to Amazon One.

“Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

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WHO seeks to take political heat out of virus origins debate

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The World Health Organization said on Friday it was setting up a new group to trace the origins of the coronavirus, seeking to end what it called “political point scoring” that had hampered investigations.

The inability of the WHO to say where and how the virus began spreading has fuelled tensions among its members, particularly between China, where COVID-19 cases were first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, and the United States.

The WHO called for all governments to cooperate to accelerate studies into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and “to depoliticise the situation”.

It specified that a new advisory group called the International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens would support “the rapid undertaking” of further studies.

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