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US drops ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ in Afghanistan

The US military on Thursday dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat, targeting an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb hit a “tunnel complex” in Achin district in Nangarhar province, US Forces Afghanistan said in a statement.

© DOD

© DOD

Syria’s Assad says chemical attack ‘100 percent fabrication’

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town was a “fabrication” to justify a US military strike, in an exclusive AFP interview.

“Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication…Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,” Assad said Wednesday, in his first interview since American cruise missiles hit a central Syrian air base.

© Syrian Presidency -Press Office Handout

© Syrian Presidency -Press Office Handout

US banks report solid earnings, still hopeful on Trump agenda

Strong trading results, rather than lending, was the driving force behind solid earnings reported by large US banks Thursday, as executives expressed measured optimism about the prospects for President Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported big jumps in first-quarter net income compared with the same period of last year, while Wells Fargo continued to feel the effects of a fake accounts scandal and reported flat profits, missing analyst estimates.

© AFP Molly RILEY

© AFP Molly RILEY

Unpredictable Trump unsettles China as N. Korea policy wobbles

From Twitter threats to Tomahawk missiles, US president Donald Trump’s unorthodox and seemingly impulsive approach to foreign policy has unsettled China, piling new pressure on its hands-off North Korea policy.

As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, Beijing appears alarmed by Trump’s strident pronouncements as it tries to figure out how to manage the billionaire politician, who insists China handle the Pyongyang problem or suffer the consequences.

© AFP Mandel Ngan

© AFP Mandel Ngan

US assessing ‘military options’ as North Korea test looms

The United States is assessing military options in response to North Korea’s weapons programs, a White House foreign policy advisor confirmed Friday, saying another provocative test was a question of “when” rather than “if.”

As speculation mounted that Pyongyang is preparing to fire a trial nuke or missile on a major anniversary Saturday, the official said the United States was poised to deal with the security threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

© US NAVY MCSA

© US NAVY MCSA