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February 11, 2019 | Via Politico

Shutdown Talks Take a Turn for the Worse

Negotiations to avert another government shutdown abruptly fell apart over the weekend, raising the risk of another shuttering of services, a stopgap funding bill or a declaration by President Donald Trump of a national emergency at the southern border. Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to see whether Republicans and Democrats could strike a deal on border security. But the prospect of that is dimming.

February 11, 2019 | Via CNN

US-Backed Forces Face Fierce Resistance from ISIS in ‘final battle’

Fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched an assault to oust ISIS from its last remaining enclave in Syria, the final remnant of the jihadist group’s so-called “caliphate.” After pausing more than a week to allow tens of thousands of civilians to flee the town, the SDF on Saturday renewed its push to wrest the last 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) from the militants. At least 500 ISIS fighters are believed to remain in the village, thought to be a concentration of ISIS’ most experienced and battle-hardened fighters and commanders.

February 11, 2019 | Via BBC

Turkey Demands China Close Camps after Reports of Musician’s Death

Turkey has called on China to close detention camps holding ethnic Uighurs following the reported death of a renowned musician from the minority. Abdurehim Heyit is thought to have been serving an eight-year sentence in the Xinjiang region, where up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained. The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority based in the north-west Xinjiang region of China, which has come under intense surveillance by Chinese authorities. So far few Muslim-majority countries have joined in public international condemnation of the allegations. Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

February 11, 2019 | Via Reuters

Saudi Arabia Says has ‘nothing to do’ with Bezos-AMI Dispute

Saudi Arabia had “absolutely nothing to do” with the National Enquirer’s reporting on an extramarital relationship involving Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, the kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs said. Bezos on Thursday accused American Media Inc (AMI), the Enquirer’s owner, of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing “intimate photos” he allegedly sent to his girlfriend unless he said in public that the U.S. tabloid’s reporting on him was not politically motivated. He also referenced media reports about alleged links between AMI and Saudi Arabia.

February 11, 2019 | Via Al Jazeera

‘Hitler Paintings’ Fail to Sell at Nuremberg Auction

Five paintings attributed to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler from his early days as a struggling artist have failed to sell at auction in the southern German city of Nuremberg, possibly over fears they could be fake. Sales of alleged artworks by Hitler, who for a time tried to make a living as an artist in his native Austria, regularly sparks outrage that collectors are willing to pay high prices for art linked to the country’s Nazi past. “There’s a long tradition of this trade in devotional objects linked to Nazism,” Stephan Klingen of the Central Institute for Art History in Munich told AFP.

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