• iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- About 50 ISIS fighters were killed in U.S. military airstrikes in Yemen targeting two training camps in the country's central region. One of the camps had gained notoriety last week as the scene of an ISIS training video that showed images of ISIS recruits appearing to be kicked in the groin to demonstrate their physical toughness."U.S. forces killed dozens of ISIS members in a strike on two ISIS training camps, Oct. 16, in Al Bayda Governorate, Yemen, disrupting the organization's attempts to train new fighters," the Pentagon said in a statement."ISIS used the camps to train militants to conduct terror attacks using AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and endurance training," it added.A U.S. official said the American airstrikes were the first targeting ISIS in Yemen, a country better known as the home of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).The U.S. military has conducted more than 100 airstrikes this year against AQAP, almost triple last year's strikes. Carried out mostly by drones, the strikes are part of an increased effort to rein in the al Qaeda affiliate's terror and territorial ambitions.Both manned and unmanned aircraft were involved in Monday's airstrikes against the two ISIS camps that were about 20 miles apart, said the U.S. official.One of the camps earned notoriety last week in an ISIS propaganda video that showed a line of ISIS recruits seeming to be kicked in the crotch to demonstrate their mental and physical toughness.Some local fighting groups in Yemen first aligned themselves with ISIS in 2014, the year that ISIS had its most significant territorial gains in Iraq and Syria."Strikes against ISIS targets disrupt and destroy militants' attack-plotting efforts, leadership networks, and freedom of maneuver within the region," said the Pentagon statement.Yemen is involved in a civil war where military forces from Gulf allies have been fighting against Houthi rebels to restore Yemen's government to power. That power vacuum led to a resurgence by AQAP and the emergence of ISIS in Yemen."ISIS has used the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world," said the Pentagon statement. "For years, Yemen has been a hub for terrorist recruiting, training and transit."The U.S. military coordinates with the Yemeni government to carry out counterterrorism operations in Yemen against ISIS and AQAP to prevent both groups from carrying out external terror attacks and limit the territory they control in Yemen.
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  • Rob Ball/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The skies above the United Kingdom and France glowed an eerie orange on Monday.Winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia are thought to have blown dust from the Sahara to cause the surreal skies.Photographers alternately described the color of the sky as red, orange, sepia and yellow-ochre.Eurocontrol said it received an unusually high number of reports of cabin fumes in U.K. airspace.Ophelia, now a storm, has killed at least three in Ireland.
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  • Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Russian "trolls" working for a company that allegedly used fake social-media accounts to try to influence U.S. voters in the 2016 election were required to watch the political thriller TV show "House of Cards" to increase their understanding of American politics, according to an interview broadcast in Russia.In an interview aired Sunday by independent Russian station TV Rain, a man identified only as "Maksim" says he worked for the English-language department of a so-called "troll factory" that U.S. officials say was involved in an information campaign on American social media during the election.Maksim, who said he worked for the company around 18 months and quit in early 2015, said his department was tasked with stirring up dissatisfaction against the U.S. government and harming the election chances of Democrat Hillary Clinton by writing in the comment sections of major American media outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. He said they tried to drive discussion toward specific topics, such as past alleged scandals around the former secretary of state and her husband, former President Bill Clinton."About her it was always bad," said Maksim, whose face was concealed during the broadcast. "The basic message was: 'Aren't you tired, my American brothers, of the Clintons?'"He added that more broadly "our goal was to set Americans against their government ... to provoke riots, to provoke dissatisfaction. There was a goal to influence opinion, to drive the discussion."The troll factory, located in an innocuous-looking building on the edge of St. Petersburg's city center, first attracted wide notice after a 2015 article in The New York Times magazine said the company's workers were pumping out pro-Kremlin messaging on social media and comment sections largely for a Russian-speaking audience. The article said the company has gone by different names but is best known as the Internet Research Agency.Attention has focused on the company again since Facebook said last month that the Internet Research Agency spent $100,000 on U.S. political ads on the social network during the 2016 election.Facebook handed over 3,000 ads it said purchased by the company to the Senate and House intelligence committees that are investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the election. The ads were purchased between June 2015 and May 2017, according to Facebook.Maksim told TV Rain his department had been ordered to study American media to identify divisive topics. Employees were told to read through thousands of posts in the comments sections of U.S. news outlets before commenting themselves, Maksim said, with success measured in how many "likes" a post attracted from other users.“You had to know all the basic problems of the United States of America. Tax problems, problems with the gays, sexual minorities, weapons,” he said. Inserting crude comments about homosexual men, he said, was viewed as a reliable technique for attracting "likes."Employees were required to watch "House of Cards" as a way to learn about American politics and to improve their English.“At the beginning, they made us watch 'House of Cards' in English,” Maksim said.He said he and others in his department were ordered not to refer to Russia in their posts or to try to promote Moscow's viewpoint."We didn't have the goal to turn Americans toward Russia," he said. "You couldn't mention Russia, nor Putin. Because Americans don't talk about that. They basically don't care about Russia and Putin."Maksim's account follows reports from Facebook, an independent Russian journalist and comments from one of the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee about the Internet Research Agency.Facebook told congressional investigators that the Internet Research Agency was especially busy during the U.S. 2016 campaign.The social media giant’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a pos
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  • Sadak Mohamed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two powerful truck bombs in the heart of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday killed at least 300 people and injured about 300 more, in what authorities call the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Storm Ophelia was beginning to pummel Ireland early Monday and is expected to hit Scotland and Northern Ireland today, bringing "violent and destructive" wind gusting up to 90 mph as well as flooding due to heavy rain and storm surges.Forecasters said Ophelia is likely to be the most powerful storm to hit Ireland since Hurricane Debbie in 1961. Ireland closed schools and hospitals ahead of the Ophelia, placed troops on standby and warned people to stay inside.Ophelia was the first Category 3 major hurricane recorded so far east and north in the Atlantic before it weakened to a post-tropical system.In the U.K., officials warned of the risk of strong winds blowing tiles from roofs and large waves throwing debris onto coastal roads, leading to “a potential for injuries and danger to life,” in Northern Ireland, the U.K.’s meteorological service said.The Met Office issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland from 12:00 p.m. -- 11:00 p.m. GMT Monday, saying power cuts are likely and that cancellations and longer journey times are to be expected as some bridges might close while road, rail, air and ferry services might be affected.Ophelia is technically no longer a hurricane, but will still pack hurricane-level wind gusts while passing over Ireland before likely crossing over to Northern Ireland.Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said residents should avoid "unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities." The U.S.-based disaster modeler Enki Research said Ophelia's could cause up to $1.5 billion in damages in Ireland and up to $2.5 billion overall in the British Isles.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Rescued Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle said his children are "improving" after spending their entire life being help captive in the mountains of Afghanistan.“The children are improving, we mentioned before that the eldest Najaeshi Jonah was doing well but that his younger brother Dhakwoen Noah was still struggling as much as ever with even just being able to look at his grandparents faces without terror,” Boyle told CP24 in an emailed statement last week.Boyle arrived in Toronto with his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children on Friday after being held hostage for five years by a Taliban-affiliated terrorist network. The family was rescued in Pakistan on Wednesday in a dramatic operation orchestrated by the U.S. and Pakistani governments, officials said last week.He said Dhakwoen was initially afraid of his grandparents, but he warmed up to them “literally overnight” after his grandmother made him a hearty pancake breakfast.“Obviously he's still incredibly troubled and stressed over everything, but it's a major step,” Boyle said, speaking of Dhakwoen’s newfound love for his grandma. “She's the first person he's accepted since 2015.”He said his daughter, Ma'idah, still finds it hard to be around other men.“She still can't be within a metre of any man except her father but if she sees a woman she starts squirming and trying to get over to her, regardless of who it is — to nestle in the love,” Boyle said.Boyle and his wife, who was pregnant with their first child at the time, were kidnaped while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan in October 2012.The couple had four children while in captivity, but Boyle said their fourth child, an infant daughter, was murdered by their abductors. The Taliban has denied those claims.Boyle said the family is currently living with his parents in Smiths Falls, Ont., located about an hour south of Ottawa, which he his children's "first true home.""We have reached the first true “home” that the children have ever known – after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully," Boyle said in a separate statement on Saturday."Full medical work-ups for each member of my family are being arranged right now, and God-willing the healing process – physically and mentally can begin," he added.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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