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US military helicopter carrying 7 people has crashed in Iraq

AP Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — A US military helicopter with seven service members on board has crashed in western Iraq, US officials said Thursday.

The officials said that so far there is no indication that the Pave Hawk helicopter was shot down.

The helicopter is used by the Air Force for combat search and rescue, and was in transit from one location to another when it went down Thursday afternoon near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province

Officials said that rescuers were responding to the location, but other details were not yet available. It’s not clear if there were any survivors.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the crash before it was made public.

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In a short statement, US Central Command said that “rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time,” adding that an investigation will be started to determine the cause of the incident.

The US-led coalition battling Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria have an outpost in Qaim, which is located near the Syrian border. The anti-IS campaign accelerated through much of last year, as coalition and Iraq forces battled to take back a string of cities and towns.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in Mosul in July. In the following months Iraqi forces retook a handful of other IS-held towns including Tal Afar in August, Hawija in September and Qaim in October.

In November, Iraqi forces retook the last Iraqi town held by IS—Rawah, near the border with Syria.

The US-led coalition has continued to work with Iraq and Syrian Democratic Forces to shore up the border region to make sure that foreign fighters and insurgents can’t move freely across the region.

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Trump signs executive order to end separation of immigrant families

Gorkha Post

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WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump has backed down and abandoned his policy of separating immigrant families on the US-Mexico border on Wednesday, after images of children in cages sparked outrage at home and abroad.

“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time we’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

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Trump signed an executive order requiring that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally for as long as their criminal proceedings take. But that may violate a court settlement on how long children may be held, setting up a potential legal fight, unless Congress acts on the issue.

The Trump order also moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings and asks the Department of Defence to help house them. But it does not end a 10-week-old ‘zero tolerance’ policy that calls for criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally.

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