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  • icholakov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Facebook post written by a senior enlisted U.S. military leader raised eyebrows this week after it instructed troops to beat ISIS fighters with a shovel if they don't surrender.Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell, wrote Tuesday that ISIS has two options: "surrender or die.""If they surrender, we will safeguard them to their detainee facility cell, provide them chow, a cot and due process," Troxell wrote. "HOWEVER, if they choose not to surrender, then we will kill them with extreme prejudice, whether that be through security force assistance, by dropping bombs on them, shooting them in the face, or beating them to death with our entrenching tools."An entrenching tool is a collapsible shovel-like tool often carried by military personnel.The post included the hashtag: #ISIS_SurrenderOrDie.When asked by ABC News about the post, Master Sgt. Robert Couture said Troxell's comments "emphasized the sincerity of the coalition's resolve in defeating ISIS, or Daesh, who over the past four years, have committed countless atrocities against men, women and children around the world.""[Troxell's] intent is to communicate the tenacity of the warrior ethos, that even when faced with the brutal and unforgiving nature of combat, will use every resource available to fight and win," Couture added.Asked about the hashtag, Couture said that Troxell came up with it while doing a USO Holiday Tour in December with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford."He delivered this message to primarily service member audiences at their various stops to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Poland and aboard the carrier U.S.S. Teddy Roosevelt underway," Couture said.He added that the hashtag reinforces the larger slogan used by U.S. Central Command: #DefeatDaesh.Troxell did deliver a nearly identical message to troops in Afghanistan while on the USO Holiday Tour. A video, first identified by The Washington Post and shot by a Stars and Stripes reporter, shows Troxell telling service members that ISIS must be "annihilated."He goes on to repeat the line used in Tuesday's Facebook post, telling troops, “That may be through advising, assisting and enabling the host-nation partners. It may be by dropping bombs on them. It may be by shooting them in the face. And it even might be beating them to death with your entrenching tool, but we are going to beat this enemy!”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • OnickzArtworks/iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- A jewelry store inside the Ritz hotel in Paris was the victim of an armed robbery Wednesday evening, according to French police.No one was injured in the heist, officials said.Police said three men were arrested at the scene, while two escaped with an undetermined amount of jewelry.Davy Parker, who works near the hotel said there was a commotion outside after hearing what sounded like gunshots."Everyone was in panic in the street.” Parker said, “But the police arrived really quickly.”The Ritz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Anolis01/iStock/Thinkstock(BANHAM, England) -- What should have been a quick and easy TV news piece at the zoo instead became a version of Animal House for one reporter recently.The BBC's Alexander Dunlop was visiting England's Banham Zoo to report on its annual counting of animals, when he was mobbed by a group of lemurs.In the 46-second video, Dunlop starts to speak on camera, but the animals jump on him and in front of him. Two lemurs then rest on his shoulders and one appears to bite him."And I'm at one of the -- ow!" Dunlop says. "Ow! God, you little nipper."He then tries to distract the lemurs by waving his hand, but that doesn't seem to work.Finally, Dunlop, with lemurs in tow, on his shoulders and at his elbow, decides to take a stab at taping his piece along with his new striped-tail friends."And I'm at one of the region's zoos where they're doing their annual stocktakes of animals," he says, laughing. "Ow! Ow! Ow! ... I think it's one of the more enjoyable parts of the job, counting lemurs."For lemur fans looking for an experience slightly similar to Dunlop's, the Banham Zoo offers a "Lemur Encounters" walk-through enclosure so animal lovers can get "up close with the charismatic but endangered lemurs of Madagascar."
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  • jcamilobernal/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. is suspending security assistance to Pakistan "until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against [terror] groups including the Afghani Taliban and the Haqqani Network," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday.The move comes after President Trump ramped up his criticism of the difficult American ally in a series of tweets earlier in the week, accusing Pakistan of giving the U.S. "nothing but lies & deceit."The State Department declined to provide a total amount of assistance being suspended-- but this new announcement is in addition to $255 million in foreign military assistance the U.S. suspended on August 31. Those funds -- essentially money that the U.S. provides to Pakistan to purchase American military equipment -- remain suspended, in addition to past years' foreign military assistance that are now suspended as well.In addition, the Pentagon will suspend further military reimbursements to Pakistan as part of its Coalition Support Fund, a program that reimburses U.S. allies for costs they have incurred in counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations. In fiscal year 2016, that figure totaled $550 million -- although Defense Secretary James Mattis withheld $50 million of that money in July, citing the same difficulties securing Pakistan's cooperation.That puts the total new amount suspended likely in the hundreds of millions at least-- in addition to the $255 million already suspended.ABC News first reported the decision had been made on Wednesday, after State Department officials called members of Congress to brief them of the decision.But to critics, the announcement seemed to come quickly on the heels of the president's pronouncement Monday on Twitter where he charged that Pakistan has taken "more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years" and in return provided "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help."Pakistan is a key partner in the fight against terrorism, but the U.S. has also accused it of supporting and providing safe haven to terror groups like the Haqqani Network, an independent division of the Taliban responsible for multiple attacks in neighboring Afghanistan over the years."No more!" Trump vowed on Monday.But senior State Department officials deny that the announcement was done quickly to make policy out of the president's tweet."It had always been our intention to evaluate on an ongoing basis Pakistan's responsiveness to our request for support of the South Asia strategy and as we evaluated, if we felt that Pakistan was not addressing the request that we had made, that we would take further actions to put pressure on Pakistan or to underscore our dissatisfaction with their lack of responsiveness," one senior official told reporters.In real terms, the decision means that the U.S. will now not deliver military equipment or transfer security-related funds, unless required by law or if deemed in U.S. national security interests, Nauert said during the State Department's briefing Thursday. But she and two senior State Department officials stressed that the suspensions were not permanent -- with the possibility of Pakistan earning the funds back if it takes steps to show cooperation.The State Department declined to say whether anyone in the administration called the Pakistani government to tell them this news, citing "private diplomatic conversations" -- but one senior official said Pakistan was briefed "in general terms," adding later, "When we talk to Pakistan, we will provide the information they need to be able to evaluate this."But it is "something that should not come as a surprise to Pakistan," Nauert also said, because President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary Mattis have all had conversations with Pakistani leadership about this concern -- and because Trump laid it out in his South Asia strategy speech on August 21."We have been paying Pakistan bill
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  • Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images(WINDSOR, England) -- The leader of the city council in Windsor, England, has sparked a firestorm by calling for the police to clamp down on homelessness and begging in the town, ahead of the Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle scheduled for May.Simon Dudley claimed there is "an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy" in the city, in a tweet sent over the Christmas break, and said he would write to the Police "asking for them to focus on dealing with this" before the Royal wedding.A couple of days later, he tweeted again that, "A letter will be going from me as leader of @RBWM to @StansfeldPCC asking that @ThamesVP enforce the Vagrancy Act against organized begging in #Windsor. Residents have had enough of this exploitation of residents and ~6 million tourists."True to his word, Dudley did send his letter. In it, he berated police for not dealing with "anti-social behaviour, including aggressive begging and intimidation in Windsor."He added that "there is a growing concern amongst residents, businesses and visitors regarding the number of people occupying the streets of Windsor."In another portion of the letter that has sparked controversy, Dudley also said evidence shows "that a large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless, and if they are homeless they are choosing to reject all support services to beg on the streets of Windsor. In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice."He cited security risks posed by "the bags and detritus that those begging are accumulating and leaving on our pavements, at times unattended."Dudley has named Britain's housing shortage problem as a cause of the homelessness and called on the government to allocate more funds for affordable housing and homeless services.Some public officials have distanced themselves from Dudley after the comments, including British Prime Minister Theresa May."I don’t agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made," May said Thursday in Surrey, England.A worker with The Windsor Homeless Project, Murphy James, said he also does not agree with Dudley’s characterization of the situation, saying,"I’m not aware of any cases of aggressive begging," he said. "Messages on Facebook, Twitter, all of the forms of social media, e-mails, text messages, whatever, have all said, from members of the public in Windsor, that they have never experienced anybody aggressively begging."James said the messages he's read have not cited any instances of begging. "Not only have they never experienced anyone aggressively begging, but they can’t remember anybody actually begging."James also challenged Dudley's claim that the city of Windsor has an epidemic of begging."We have 12 to 15 people in my estimation sleeping rough in Windsor," James said. "If you apply that next to our next town, which is Slough, who have the second rate of homelessness next to Brighton -- and at last count I believe it was 968 people recorded homeless -- then is 12 to 15 people an epidemic?"Some U.K. housing charities have also criticized the notion that homelessness is a choice. Greg Beales, a former policy advisor to past prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said the issues are complicated."People sleeping on the street don’t do so through choice; they are often at their lowest point, struggling with a range of complex problems and needs and they are extremely vulnerable, at risk from cold weather, illness and even violence," Greg Beales, director of communications, policy and campaigns at the nonprofit Shelter, said. "They desperately need our help, support and advice to move off the streets into safety and, eventually, into a home. Stigmatizing or punishing them is totally counter-productive."Britain has an acute housing shortage and homelessness has become a hot button issue. The lack of housing is expected to be a big issue in upcoming electi
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