Your Friday Briefing: Trump, Syria, Merkel, Rutte, Japan, Russia
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Trump ready to fight after travel ban again blocked
President Donald Trump braced Thursday for a long legal battle over his ban on travel from six mainly-Muslim countries after two federal judges ruled against the measure, saying the Republican’s own comments suggested religious bias.
It was a humiliating setback for Trump, who saw his first attempt at limiting travel from the Muslim world halted by the federal courts last month after it had caused chaos at airports both in the US and abroad.
US claims Syria strike, denies targeting mosque where 46 killed
The US said it carried out an air strike in Syria against an Al-Qaeda meeting but denied deliberately targeting a mosque where a monitor said on Friday 46 people were killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of the dead in the Thursday evening raid on Al-Jineh, in the northern province of Aleppo, were civilians.
Trump hosts Merkel after snowstorm delay
President Donald Trump hosts Germany’s Angela Merkel at the White House Friday, a meeting delayed by a snowstorm and still clouded by a storm of words between the two ostensible allies.
The cautious German chancellor and the impulsive US president will hold talks in the Oval Office, hoping to narrow differences on NATO, Russia, global trade and a host of other issues.
European relief as Dutch snub ‘siren song’ of far-right
European leaders breathed a sigh of relief Thursday as the pragmatic Dutch plumped for the status-quo, voting Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte back into power even though the far-right shot up into second place.
“A vote for Europe, a vote against extremists,” Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, said in a Tweet.
US envoy in Japan to reassure on North Korea threat
The United States’ top diplomat was in Tokyo on Thursday to reassure allies that Washington stands with them in the face of the accelerating missile threat from North Korea.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began his first Asian tour in Japan’s capital and was to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
Russia runs up cyber score against US with Yahoo, election hacks
US charges that Russia’s FSB security service was behind the hacking of Yahoo underscored a worrisome run of successes in Moscow’s cyber-efforts against its longtime rival.
Coming after Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly masterminded an effort to shape the US presidential election last year, the accusations add to concerns that the Kremlin is besting Washington on multiple fronts, from international conflict zones to domestic politics and the economy.