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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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Trump Says He’ll Make a ‘Major Announcement’ Saturday Afternoon About Shutdown, Border

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Washington (AP) — Trump says he will make a ‘major announcement’ on Saturday afternoon about the government shutdown and border security.

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Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Migrants Than Previously Known

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The Trump Administration separated thousands more migrant kids from their families at the border than it previously acknowledged, and the separations started months before the policy was announced, according to a federal audit released Thursday morning.

“More children over a longer period of time” were separated at the border than commonly known, an investigator with the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office told reporters Thursday morning.

“How many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS” because of failures to track families as they were being separated, he said.

HHS officials involved in caring for the separated children and reunifying families estimated “thousands” of additional children are separated at the border, the inspector general said.

The report sheds new light on the Trump administration’s efforts to deter border crossings by separating migrant families. House Democrats who’ve condemned the separations as inhumane have vowed to investigate the administration’s handling of the policy and its health effects on separated children, and the inspector general said additional investigations are in the works.

The inspector general report said some family separations continued, even after President Donald Trump in June 2018 ended the policy amid uproar and a federal court ordered his administration to reunify the families. The June 2018 court order called on the administration to reunify about 2,500 separated children in government custody. Most of those families were reunited within 30 days.

However, HHS received at least 118 separated children between July and early November, according to the report. DHS provided “limited” information about the reason for those separations. In slightly more than half of those cases, border officials cited the parent’s criminal history as a reason to separate the families, although they did not always provide details. The court order requiring reunifications said family separations should only occur if border officials could specify when parents posed possible dangers to children or were otherwise unfit to care for them, the inspector general noted.

Federal investigators said they had no details about how many of the “thousands of separated children” who entered the care of HHS before the June 2018 court order had been reunited.

“We have no information about the status of the children who were released prior to the court order,” Maxwell told reporters. [POLITICO]

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Prince Phillip Involved in Car Crash

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#BREAKING Duke of Edinburgh involved in car crash near Sandringham Estate but not injured, Buckingham Palace says.

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