Suspected chemical attack in Douma; Trump sends national guard to Mexico border

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  • Suspected chemical attack in Douma – Dozens of people are reportedly dead after a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say. A joint statement by the medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the civil defense, which operates in rebel-held areas, said 49 people had died. There has been no independent verification of the reports. Syria’s government has called the allegations of a chemical attack a “fabrication.”
    • Earlier, activists and rescuers said at least 30 people had been killed in heavy air strikes on the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region. State media said the strikes were retaliation for the shelling of nearby government-held areas by rebels from Jaysh al-Islam, which controls the region. They also said an evacuation agreement with the group had been put on hold.
  • Texas deploys National Guard – Texas has begun sending National Guard members to the Mexico border. The response from Texas officials, comes three days after President Donald Trump called for militarizing the border (New York Times). A Guard spokesman said 250 personnel would be sent to patrol the area within the next 72 hours. Brigadier General Tracy Norris, commander of the Texas Army National Guard, said the deployment would begin meeting “the priorities of the governor and the president in securing our border.” (New York Times) Arizona is also planning to deploy 150 troops there next week. President Trump says he wants to send up to 4,000 National Guard members to secure the border with Mexico, until his proposed border wall is built.

  • Silva hands himself in – Brazil’s ex-president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva handed himself into police after being ordered to start a 12-year prison term for corruption. He insisted on his innocence and called his bribery conviction a political crime. The BBC reported that da Silva was holed up in a union building in his hometown, outside Sao Paulo.

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  • Facebook users who Mark Zuckerberg once referred to as “dumb fucks” in early 2004 are now facing up to the reality behind that insult. With admissions from the company that almost all its 2 billion users probably had their data harvested by “malicious actors,” and that 87 million – not 50 million – profiles were probably used by Cambridge Analytica, the business model powering Facebook is being laid bare. Read WikiTribune’s background analysis to the data mining saga.

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  • “If the ice melts too much, water will bury the island. So, that’s when people have to move away.” That is how nine-year-old Izerman describes the impact of climate change on his home in the Marshall Islands. The low-lying island nation is home to more than 50,000 people — about half of them are under 18. Izerman says he is learning to climb trees to prepare for when the big waves come. But he’s mostly worried about the idea of his family having to move away. In this interactive documentary from PBS Frontline, meet Izerman, Julia and Wilmer, three children whose homeland could become uninhabitable within their lifetime.

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