Thursday, September 01, 2016
CANADA APPLIES TO JOIN-CHINA BACKED AIIB BIG BANK -LATEST U.S ALLY TO APPLY.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)
THE FIRST JUDGEMENT OF THE EARTH STARTED WITH WATER-IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THE LAST GENERATION WILL BE HAVING FLOODING
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
GOD PROMISED BY A RAINBOW-THE EARTH WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED TOTALLY WITH A FLOOD AGAIN.BUT FLOODIING IS A SIGN OF JUDGEMENT.
Tropical Storm Hermine forms off Florida: NHC-[Reuters]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
(Reuters) - Tropical depression No. 9 on Wednesday strengthened into Hermine, the eighth tropical storm of the season, the National Hurricane Center said.Hermine is located about 415 miles (665 km) west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km/h), the center said.Hermine's center is expected to approach the northwestern Florida coast on Thursday afternoon and could be near hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall, it added.(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Storm bears down on Florida, hurricane threatens Hawaii-[Reuters]-By Letitia Stein-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida’s governor declared an emergency on Wednesday ahead of an approaching weather system that could bring life-threatening flooding and fierce winds, placing parts of the state’s Gulf Coast under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch.Storm preparations were also under way on Hawaii’s Big Island, where residents were warned of an approaching hurricane. The state’s governor ordered the closing of state offices on Wednesday.In Florida, Governor Rick Scott declared an emergency in 42 of the state’s 67 counties in advance of an expected tropical storm that could make landfall on the north-central Gulf Coast between late Thursday and early Friday, before moving across the northern part of the state and then northeast along the Atlantic Coast. Heavy rains were already pounding parts of the state on Wednesday morning. As much as 20 inches (50 cm) could fall from central to northern Florida, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said, warning of flash floods and mudslides.The approaching system, currently an unnamed tropical depression packing 35 mph (55 kph) winds with higher gusts, could be near hurricane strength at landfall, forecasters said.On its current path, the system would bring heavy rain to coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas. Lori Hebert, 40, woke up on Wednesday to flood waters seeping into her house in the Tampa Bay region. Catfish came onto her driveway as the street flooded outside her home in Gulfport, a small waterfront city.“We haven’t gotten the main storm yet,” she said, loading a dozen orange sandbags into her van. On Hawaii’s Big Island, residents were warned that Hurricane Madeline will bring strong winds and heavy rains as it passes over the area, beginning late on Wednesday.Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation that runs through Sept. 9, freeing up state resources. The National Weather Service tracked Hurricane Madeline swirling about 140 miles (225 km) east-southeast of the town of Hilo around 5 a.m. local time on Wednesday. It said the storm was a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of about 80 mph (130 kph). Madeline, expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Thursday, was forecast to dump as much as 15 inches (40 cm) of rain in isolated areas, it said. There is another brewing hurricane that could affect the state over the weekend. (Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Laila Kearney in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Steve Orlofsky)
FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Calgary under haze from U.S. wildfires-[CBC]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
If things seem a little hazy right now in Calgary and southern Alberta, it's not your imagination.Environment Canada says wildfires burning in Montana, Idaho and even as far away as California have created a haze that is covering southeast British Columbia, most of southern Alberta and southern parts of Saskatchewan Wednesday afternoon.Brian Proctor, a meteorologist with the agency, says while air quality will likely be affected for the next 48 to 72 hours, Calgary could see a slight improvement by midday Thursday.
DRUG PUSHERS AND ADDICTS
1 PET 5:8
8 Be sober,(NOT DRUGED UP OR ALCOHOLICED) be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (DRUGS) were all nations deceived.
21 Neither repented they of their murders,(KILLING) nor of their sorceries (DRUG ADDICTS AND DRUG PUSHERS), nor of their fornication,(SEX OUTSIDE MARRIAGE OR PROSTITUTION FOR MONEY) nor of their thefts.(STEALING)
Canada's move to control fentanyl chemicals not enough to stem crisis: expert-[The Canadian Press]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
VANCOUVER — Canada's plans to restrict six chemicals used to make fentanyl will only increase demands for a more dangerous replacement if other steps to stem a national opioid crisis are not taken, a drug-policy expert says. Don MacPherson, executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, was responding to Health Canada's announcement that a bill brought in by a senator means the government can act quickly to make the unauthorized importation and exportation of the precursor chemicals illegal.Health Canada said Wednesday — International Overdose Awareness Day — that its regulatory proposal expeditiously achieves the intent of Sen. Vern White's bill.Regulations on selling, importing or exporting six chemicals that can be used in the production of the opioid fentanyl are expected to be in place by the end of 2017.Health Minister Jane Philpott said she is also planning a summit for this fall to address the opioid crisis.Restricting the flow of chemicals from countries such as China will not be enough because the illegal market will come up with another drug that may be even more powerful, said MacPherson, who spent 10 years as a drug-policy co-ordinator for the City of Vancouver.Fentanyl arrived on the illegal market after 2012 when oxycontin was pulled from shelves in Canada after so many people became addicted to the painkiller, which also drew heroin users because it could be snorted or injected, he said."Fentanyl is cheap to make, it's cheap to import, it's powerful, it can be cut. So it's sort of a drug dealer's dream but it's a drug user's nightmare," he said."So enforcement actions may actually make it worse in the short term."Health Canada's decision to loosen regulations that made the drug naloxone available to reverse overdoses is a good step but it must be combined with other efforts to prevent more overdose deaths, he said.Supervised injection sites where people can take their own drugs, more specially trained addiction doctors and drug-substitution programs involving methadone, for example, are needed across Canada, MacPherson said.Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux of the Calgary Police Service, who serves on a drug-abuse committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said controlling chemicals is an important step but Canada needs a national strategy to provide timely drug-addiction treatment."In order to be truly effective we have to impact both the demand side of the drug equation and the supply side," he said.Daroux said many chemicals involved in producing fentanyl are already banned in the United States."If we don't follow suit with the U.S., Canada could very quickly become the source country for precursor (chemicals) in the U.S."Alberta and British Columbia have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis, but Ontario police issued a warning this week of a record seizure of "bootleg" fentanyl.On Wednesday, a joint task force examining the drug overdose crisis in B.C. highlighted steps the province is taking on opioid overdoses, pointing to a new testing service to help users determine if their drugs contain potentially deadly contaminants, such as fentanyl.In a tweet, Vancouver Coastal Health said Insite — the supervised injection site in the city — is offering the new program and that 86 per cent of drugs checked so far contain the powerful opioid.A recent coroner's service report said there were 433 apparent illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. between Jan. 1 and July 31. More than 62 per cent linked to fentanyl-laced drugs.— Follow CamilleBains1 on Twitter.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
Canada applies to join China-backed AIIB, latest U.S. ally to apply-[Reuters]-By Yawen Chen and Sue-Lin Wong-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
BEIJING (Reuters) - Canada will apply to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, Canadian and bank officials said on Wednesday, making it the latest ally of the United States to join the new international development bank.The multilateral institution, seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was initially opposed by the United States but attracted many U.S. allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea as founding members.Japan and the United States are the most prominent countries not represented in the bank."This is really for us, as a new government, the earliest possibility at which we could indicate our interest," Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in response to a question why Canada was only applying to join the bank now."We believe the bank is clearly showing that it's going to be a highly effective multilateral institution," he added.Morneau is on a trip to China with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeking to deepen ties with the world's second-largest economy, a distinct change from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's more cautious approach to China."The Canadians' decision to join this bank will greatly strengthen the management of this institution," AIIB President Jin Liqun told reporters."We can see that the U.S.'s attitude towards AIIB is showing signs of changing, as it's encouraging the World Bank to cooperate more with the AIIB," Jin added.White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday that U.S. and Canadian officials had been in touch on the issue. "We know that Canada shares our views about the importance of transparency and good governance when it comes to these kinds of international institutions," Earnest said.Ultimately it will be a "good thing" if Canada joins the AIIB, as it advocates for such governance, he added. Earnest said he was not aware of any U.S. plans to join the organisation.Canada will submit its application to join the AIIB by the end of September 2016, said Daniel Lauzon, a Canadian Finance Ministry official.(The story was refiled to correct the timeframe and the name of the official in the final paragraph)(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Sue-Lin Wong; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton on Air Force One and Timothy Gardner in Washington; Writing by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Peter Cooney)
Brexit town wants government to 'get on with it' and leave EU-[Reuters]-By Sarah Young-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
CLACTON-ON-SEA, England (Reuters) - Gazing out across the calm, gray North Sea toward northern France, families in Clacton enjoy the English summer, some sipping tea, others with cans of beer, outside wooden beach huts strung with union jack flags.Two months ago, many residents of this town of 55,000 in eastern England, were celebrating: 70 percent of people in the area voted on June 23 to leave the European Union, helping secure Britain's 52-48 percent result in favor of quitting the bloc.But the joy of that victory has begun to fade in Clacton, a town represented by the only member in parliament of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP). It has been replaced by frustration at the lack of any clear progress toward making Brexit actually happen."We need to get moving," said Janet Ford, 60, a retired bookkeeper at a Brexit-themed party held by UKIP in a pub.Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not trigger Article 50, the formal mechanism which sets the clock ticking on a two-year deadline to leave the EU, in 2016. Media reports have said it might be as late as the second half of next year, a notion rejected by some government sources.May, who has established departments to negotiate a new relationship with the EU and sign trade deals with other countries, has said that Britain needs time to prepare before Article 50 is triggered.But for Tony Goldstone, 56, a retiree who has been in favor of leaving the EU for over 10 years, the referendum result lacks weight until the formal leaving process is started."We're happy but I don't think it will sink in until they trigger Article 50, because at the moment I feel like we're in limbo," he said, nibbling on sandwiches and chatting to fellow UKIP supporters at the British flag-festooned event.-BETTER DAYS-Once a fringe movement, UKIP's years-long anti-EU campaign helped shape Britain's future. The party came third in the 2015 general election with more than 12 percent of the vote, but under Britain's winner-takes-all system, has only the Clacton seat in parliament.UKIP's success in the town is linked to the area's high retiree population, with one in three residents a pensioner."We've seen the other side of it. We remember a better Britain," said Ford, suggesting a reason why older people in the area tend to vote for UKIP.Many pro-Brexit voters are stirred by a nostalgic vision of Britain. They talk of a country which made its own laws, was unburdened by EU rules and was less crowded before hundreds of thousands of EU migrants began settling in the UK from the mid-2000s."I like the idea that we should run our own country. Immigration was part of it, not all of it. It's everything really associated with making our own laws and controlling our own borders," Ford said.With its pleasure pier of fairground rides stretching 300 meters (yards) off the shore, and cluster of bed and breakfasts, Clacton used to be a destination for holidaying Britons before trips to Europe became popular from the 1960s onwards.About 80 miles (130 km) from London, Clacton has above-average unemployment and part of neighboring Jaywick has been classified as the most deprived place in England.That poverty and a lack of investment is why Graham Thornton, 53, a truck driver said he voted to leave the EU."We need to get our country back," he said. "We need to get it back to the reality where everybody can earn a decent living, everybody can live in a decent home."Munching on his takeaway fish and chips on a bench in the town, Thornton does not want the Prime Minister to delay triggering Article 50."We need to get out as soon as possible and then start talking about what (trade) deals we're going to get because it doesn't matter what deals we're going to get. Can we live on our own? You better believe we can," said.As May and her government return to work from their summer breaks, executing Brexit will be foremost in their minds, and UKIP and its supporters in places like Clacton will be there to make sure it stays the priority."I want UKIP there to keep them (the government) in check, to make sure it goes through properly and they don't make too many compromises," said Goldstone.(Additional reporting by Alex Fraser Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
Danish team removes 500 tons of chemical weapons from Libya-[Associated Press]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish-led international operation to rid Libya of its chemical weapons has removed 500 tons of chemicals from the North African country, Denmark said Wednesday.The government said the chemicals were picked up Saturday at the Libyan port of Misrata and are now on their way out of the Mediterranean Sea toward Germany."We have now removed the chemical remnants from Libya and have ensured that they will not fall into the wrong hands," Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said.Britain and Finland assisted with the maritime operation.Denmark said Libya's U.N.-brokered National Unity government in July handed over a formal request for international assistance to have the chemical weapons removed.In a statement, Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, expressed his confidence that the ultimate objective of verifiably eliminating the Libyan chemicals will be achieved in a safe, secure and timely way."This OPCW-coordinated international effort has achieved a major milestone in guaranteeing that these chemicals will not fall into the wrong hands," he said.
Russian claim it killed IS spokesman a 'joke': US defense official-[AFP]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Washington (AFP) - Russia's claim that it killed Islamic State group spokesman and top strategist Abu Mohamed al-Adnani is a "joke," and the strike was conducted by a US Predator drone, American officials said Wednesday.The Russian defense ministry had earlier said an Su-34 warplane killed "up to 40" IS fighters -- including Adnani -- in a bombing raid near the village of Um Hosh in the province of Aleppo on Tuesday."That's a joke," a US defense official told AFP when asked about Moscow's Adnani claim, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations."It would be funny, if not for the character of the campaign the Russians have undertaken in Syria."Russia has been flying its own bombing campaign in Syria in support of leader Bashar al-Assad since last year, but this is the first time they have claimed to have killed a top-ranking IS leader.The United States says coalition forces had targeted Adnani, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, in an air strike in Aleppo province on Tuesday, but the Pentagon is still assessing the result.Another US official, again speaking on condition of anonymity, said the strike was carried out by a Predator drone that fired a Hellfire missile at a car in which Adnani was believed to have been traveling.The Defense Department drone strike was conducted with help from American special operations forces working with the Central Intelligence Agency, the US official said.The Pentagon is very cautious about confirming the identity of those targeted in strikes, as on previous occasions it has announced deaths only to later learn the individual was still alive.Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook later said there was nothing to indicate Russia had killed Adnani."We don't have any information to support what the Russians have put forward," he told reporters.
South Korean cargo ship sits off B.C. coast after company's financial woes-[The Canadian Press]-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — The Port of Prince Rupert says a large container ship is sitting idly in the waters off British Columbia's northwest coast because the South Korean company that owns the vessel is having financial trouble.The 255-metre long Hanjin Scarlet arrived at the port Tuesday night and was immediately anchored in the inner harbour, said port spokesman Michael Gurney.A number of media organizations were reporting that Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for receivership but the company could not immediately be reached for comment in Vancouver or by email in South Korea.Under normal circumstances, the ship would go directly to the terminal for unloading, but it has not been handled because of the uncertain situation, Gurney said.The port authority said in a release that it is working with DP World, which owns the terminal, and CN Rail to find a resolution.DP World's terminal manager in Prince Rupert declined comment.CN Rail said in a statement that all Hanjin containers in its system will be released for pickup and that the rail company will not accept additional export loads from the shipping company or bookings from other shipping lines destined for Hanjin vessels.A separate CN Rail statement said the company is "closely monitoring the fluid and evolving Hanjin bankruptcy issue, and is developing the necessary steps to protect the interests of our customers and our business."Gurney said the Hanjin Scarlet began its voyage in Busan, South Korea, and port schedules show the vessel was due to make its next stop in Delta, B.C., just outside of Vancouver, later this week.The shipping line's financial fortunes are having a big impact on the Canadian freight industry, said Ruth Snowden, executive director of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association.She said members from across the country have been contacting her, concerned about the fate of the cargo on Hanjin vessels."It's most unusual. This is going to impact ports around the world," Snowden said. "It impacts Canadian importers and exporters because … if I have a container on that vessel I can't get it."There are thousands of containers on Hanjin ships and many more Canadian products could be sitting on docks abroad, Snowden added. Traders will now have to retrieve their cargo and arrange for it to be shipped on other lines, she said."It's going to be very confusing for the next few weeks."— By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver-The Canadian Press
Calm seas, Libya's lawless state open door for migrant flows-[Reuters]-By Steve Scherer and Ahmed Elumami-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
ROME/TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Calmer seas and Libya's lawlessness have opened the way for smugglers to ship thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean this week, in a striking reminder of how far Europe is from ending the migrant crisis.In just four days, Italy's coastguard and European vessels pulled 13,000 migrants from packed wooden boats and rubber dinghies crossing from Libya's coast through the Strait of Sicily, one of the shortest routes from North Africa.Images from rescue vessels showed migrants crammed into fragile boats, some in orange life jackets, others jumping into the water to swim as rescuers shouted for them to stop. Many were women and children, most of them Subsaharan Africans.Some 1,800 migrants were saved in 12 rescue missions on Wednesday, 3,000 migrants on Tuesday, 6,600 on Monday, 1,600 on Sunday and 500 on Saturday, according to Italy's coastguard, which coordinates sea rescues between Libya and Italy.Aid agencies and Libyan officials say calm waters after rough winds in July may have prompted smugglers to dispatch more boats for migrants who can wait weeks for a chance to sail."It's not like people were not coming out, but on Monday they came out by the thousands," Nicholas Papachrysostomou, coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres on board the Dignity 1 rescue ship, told Reuters."In the 10 days before this weekend, we didn't rescue anyone, or very few. It wasn't bad weather, but there were 1 metre to 1-1/2 metre waves. The rubber boats won't come out in those conditions."In Tripoli, naval authorities say they are undermanned and ill-equipped. Years of conflict and chaos have left their naval and coastguard services in tatters.Since the 2011 NATO-backed revolution toppled Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has descended into chaos, with rival governments and armed factions battling for control, leaving both migrant smugglers and Islamist militants space to expand."This is the season for illegal migrants. The calm seas have helped them take advantage," said Ayoub Qassem, a spokesman for Libya's naval forces in Tripoli. "Also our vessels are in severe need of maintenance and spare parts to operate again."-SUDDEN SPIKE, STEADY FLOW-Still, this week's rescues were on a huge scale. On Monday, when some 6,500 were rescued, the Dignity 1 responded to a distress call for a large wooden boat in the morning.After pulling more than 600 migrants off that boat, MSF's Papachysostomou suddenly realised that many more were on their way. "These boats just appeared on the horizon. At about noon you could see rubber boats everywhere, in 360 degrees," he said.The International Organization for Migration said around 105,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat in 2016. An estimated 2,726 men, women and children died trying to make the journey. Three more bodies were retrieved on Wednesday.Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the immigration crisis at a meeting in northern Italy on Wednesday, saying more must be done to improve living standards in Africa."Italy will continue to save lives, but there are limits," Renzi told reporters. Merkel said it was important that migrants who had no right to claim asylum should be repatriated, adding that they needed incentives to stay at home."That’s a very big challenge, but there is no reasonable alternative than to cooperate with these countries and give their citizens the outlook for a better future," she said.This week's surge in new arrivals might also be due to the situation in Libya, with smugglers perhaps trying to avoid armed rivals or police by shipping as many people as possible, said Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Italy."There are moments in which no one leaves from Libya, and then there are moments in which there's a surprising peak in departures...It's like a roller coaster."A new U.N.-backed government has been in place in Tripoli since March, but it is struggling to end factional fighting and impose its authority over hardliners.With EU naval vessels patrolling international waters, smugglers elude authorities by launching their boats from varied locations.Remote beaches along some parts of Libya's coast are sometimes littered with clothing, bottles and shoes migrants have left behind; or the wooden bases of inflatable rafts."Most of our patrol vessels do not work at the moment," Tripoli naval officer Qassem said. "So we can not patrol in the western region of Tripoli where most of the boats of illegal migrants set off."(Additional reporting by Antonella Cinelli and Crispian Balmer in Rome, Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay in Geneva and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Ralph Boulton)
Turkey wants to 'cleanse' strip of territory on Syrian border-[Reuters]-By David Dolan-August 31, 2016-YAHOONEWS
JARABLUS, Syria (Reuters) - Turkey wants to clear Islamic State from a 90-km (56-mile) stretch of territory on the Syrian side of its border, an official said on Wednesday, a week after it launched an incursion that has strained ties with the United States.Operation "Euphrates Shield", in which Turkish troops and tanks entered Syria in support of rebels for the first time, began on Aug. 24 with the swift capture of Jarablus, a town a few km (miles) inside Syria that was held by the militant group.Turkish-backed rebels patrolled the town on motorbikes on Wednesday as children played in dusty alleys.The bulk of Turkish-backed forces have since moved further south into territory held by militias loyal to the Kurdish-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition supported by Washington in its bid to defeat the jihadists.Turkish clashes with SDF loyalists have alarmed the United States, which has described the Turkish action as "unacceptable" because it hindered the battle against Islamic State.But Turkey, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, says that, while it remains intent on clearing Islamist militants from its border region, it also wants to prevent Kurdish militias from seizing territory in their wake.Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the goal was to drive Islamic State from a 90-km strip of land along the border with Turkey, which has been buffeted by a spate of bombings, blamed on the group, that have killed scores."Starting from Jarablus, the cleansing of this region is our priority," Kalin told a news briefing. "We have already cleansed 400 square km successfully."Turkey has long said it wants a "buffer zone" in the area, although it has not used the term during this incursion. As well as driving out the ultra-hardline Islamists, it also wants to prevent Kurdish forces taking territory that will let them join up cantons they control in northeast and northwest Syria.Turkey frets that seizing such a broad swathe of territory could embolden Kurdish PKK insurgents on Turkish soil.-THUD OF EXPLOSIONS-U.S. officials on Tuesday welcomed what appeared to be a pause in fighting between Turkish forces and rival militias, after days when the border area reverberated with Turkish warplanes roaring into Syria and artillery pounded Syrian sites, saying it was hitting Kurdish fighters.In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters on Wednesday there had been calm in northern Syria in the past 24 hours."We continue to work very closely with our coalition partner and ally Turkey in trying to address their concerns about this situation," spokesman Peter Cook said. "Likewise we continue to work with our partners in Syria to try and keep the focus where it should be," he added.On Wednesday only the occasional thud of explosions in the distance was audible along the Turkish frontier.Ankara has denied statements from Kurdish fighters in Syria that a temporary truce had been agreed, saying it would not make any pact with the Kurdish YPG militia, a powerful force in the SDF coalition, as it considers it a terrorist body."The Turkish Republic is a sovereign state, a legitimate state. It cannot be equated with a terrorist organization," EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik told state-run Anadolu news agency, adding this meant there could be no "agreement between the two."Turkey has demanded that the YPG cross the Euphrates river into a Kurdish-controlled canton in Syria's northeast. U.S. officials have threatened to withdraw backing for the YPG if it did not meet that demand, but have said that the Kurdish group has mostly done so.Turkey's EU affairs minister said some Kurdish fighters were still on the western side and called that "unacceptable."Eager to avoid more clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters, the Pentagon said the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State was establishing communications channels to better coordinate in a "crowded battlespace" in Syria.As well as battling Islamic State in Syria, Turkey has been rounding up suspected militants at home. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the authorities had arrested 865 people since the start of 2016, more than half of them foreigners, preventing them crossing through Turkey's long border with Syria and Iraq.(Additional reporting by Asli Kandemir in Istanbul, Ercan Gurses in Ankara and Idrees Ali in Washington.; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Anna Willard)
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