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News

Monday briefing: Syria and Russia point finger at Israel over missile attack on Assad airbase

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Tensions have heightened between opposing forces in the deeply complex conflicts in Syria

Anna Freeman

09 Abril 2018 12:14

Happy Monday, this is Anna bringing you today's top stories.

More tragedy in Syria - Israeli war planes have bombed a Syrian regime airbase, Russian and Syrian militaries have said. The Russian military said that two Israeli F-15 jets carried out the strikes from Lebanese airspace. It comes after reports of a chemical attack by Assad’s regime against civilians in Ghouta. On Sunday, US President Donald Trump said the Syrian regime and its backers would pay a ‘high price’ for the use of chemical weapons in the attack that killed 42 people, but the Pentagon denied US forces were involved in Monday’s strikes. Separately, the White House shared an account of a telephone conversation between Trump and Emmanuel Macron, in which the presidents ‘agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response’.

No sprinklers - The 50th-floor apartment in Trump Tower where a man was killed in a fire on Saturday did not have sprinklers, a safety requirement that Donald Trump fought against in the 1990s. Todd Brassner, 67, died at a hospital on Saturday after a fire tore through his apartment in the plush building, which opened in 1983 at a time when residential sections of buildings did not require have sprinklers.

Anti-immigrant sentiment wins - Hungary’s Eurosceptic and anti-migration prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has won a third consecutive term in office following a sweeping win for his Fidesz party in Sunday’s elections. His campaign almost exclusively focused on the apparent threat posed by migration, and Orbán’s Fidesz will have a majority in parliament and could even regain a two-thirds ‘supermajority’ which allows constitutional changes.

Defamation case - Hollywood actor Geoffrey Rush is reportedly virtually housebound and barely eats after the publication of articles alleging inappropriate behaviour, according to a court document. Rush’s solicitor filed a report in the federal court on Monday, saying the Australian star had suffered ‘tremendous emotional and social hardship’ since the publication of articles by the Daily Telegraph in 2017. Rush is suing the Sydney newspaper and the journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation in articles claiming he behaved inappropriately towards a colleague during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.

Antarctica - A group of scientists have compiled a record of snowfall in Antarctica going back 200 years, with the study showing there has been a significant increase in precipitation over the period, up by 10%. Some 272 billion tonnes more snow was being dumped on the White Continent annually in the decade 2001-2010 compared with 1801-1810. This yearly extra is equivalent to twice the water volume found today in the Dead Sea.

Hamilton sweeps awards - Hip hop musical Hamilton won big at London’s Olivier Awards, picking up seven gongs from its 13 nominations. Hailing from New York’s Broadway, The West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's show about US founding father Alexander Hamilton won best new musical and outstanding achievement in music. But its creator had to stay away from the London awards, the biggest event in the UK theatrical calendar, after being diagnosed with shingles.

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