Politics Trump pushes withdrawal from ‘endless’ Afghanistan, Syria warsJim MANNION•US President Donald Trump says „it’s time” to bring home troops from Afghanistan US President Donald Trump says „it’s time” to bring home troops from Afghanistan (AFP Photo/Jim WATSON)Washington (AFP) – Pushing back against Republican opposition, US President Donald Trump reaffirmed his determination to pull US troops out of „endless wars” in Syria and Afghanistan, in an interview that aired Sunday. But he said they would stay in Iraq to watch Iran.Trump cited the high cost in blood and money after years of fighting in Afghanistan, in arguing for a US withdrawal from the place where the 9/11 attacks were hatched.”It’s time,” he said in the interview with CBS’s „Face the Nation.” „And we’ll see what happens with the Taliban. They want peace. They’re tired. Everybody’s tired.”Trump’s comments come in the face of warnings by US intelligence chiefs that a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria could allow a resurgence by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.On Thursday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly for a measure sponsored by Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of Trump’s Republican party, warning against a „precipitous withdrawal” from either country.But Trump appeared unmoved by the rare Republican pushback, noting that his promises to bring US troops home was „a big part” of the reason he was elected.US officials have been holding talks in Qatar with the Taliban on a framework for peace negotiations, raising prospects for a breakthrough in the 17-year-old conflict.On Syria, Trump said the 2,000 US troops in the country to assist local forces would leave „in a matter of time” but cited the need to protect Israel „and other things that we have” for slowing down — after initially announcing an immediate pull-out.He said he will soon be announcing the recapture of „100 percent of the caliphate” once claimed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.”We’re at 99 percent right now. We’ll be at 100,” said the president, who was expected to make the announcement during his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.- ‘Pockets of something’ -In a report to Congress last week, US intelligence leaders warned that IS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and they could easily spring back in the absence of US forces.Trump responded by rebuking as „naive” and „wrong” his intelligence chiefs, who also had appeared to contradict him on Iran and North Korea.In the CBS interview, he played down the danger of an extremist resurgence but said „we’ll come back if we have to.””You’re going to always have pockets of something,” he said. „But you’re not going to keep armies there because you have a few people. Or you even have fairly reasonable numbers of people.”- Watching Iran -However, the United States will not give up its bases in Iraq, he said.”We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem,” he said.The US military presence in Iraq, he said, is „perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East.””We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do,” he said.In Afghanistan, Trump said he would leave behind intelligence elements — „and if I see nests forming, I’ll do something about it.””We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home,” he said at another point. „Now, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be watching with intelligence. We’re going to be watching, and watching closely.”
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Senior U.S. and South Korean officials met Sunday to discuss an expected second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in South Korea earlier amid reports that he’ll meet North Korean officials soon to work out details for the summit.
Trump told CBS’ „Face the Nation” that „the meeting is set” with Kim, but he provided no further details about the meeting expected around the end of February. The president said there was „a very good chance that we will make a deal.”
With the North under economic penalties and the U.S. unwilling to ease them under the North denuclearizes, Trump said Kim „has a chance to have North Korea be a tremendous economic behemoth. It has a chance to be one of the great economic countries in the world. He can’t do that with nuclear weapons and he can’t do that on the path they’re on now.”
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Biegun and his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon held consultations about working-level U.S.-North Korea talks ahead of the summit.
South Korean media reported Biegun and his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol will likely meet at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom or in the North’s capital of Pyongyang early this week.
Little progress has been made toward ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons since Trump and Kim held their first summit in Singapore last June. During that summit, Kim pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, though he did not provide a timetable or roadmap for his disarmament steps.
Last year, North Korea suspended nuclear and missile tests, dismantled its nuclear test site and parts of its rocket launch facility and released American detainees. The North demanded the United States to take corresponding measurers such as sanctions relief.
U.S. officials want North Korea to take more significant steps, saying sanctions will stay in place until North Korea denuclearizes.
Satellite footage taken since the June summit has indicated North Korea has been continuing to produce nuclear materials at its weapons factories. Last Tuesday, U.S. intelligence chiefs told Congress they believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them.
Biegun said last week that Kim committed to „the dismantlement and destruction of North Korea’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities” during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September and at a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October.
During the second summit, some experts say North Korea will likely seek to trade the destruction of its main Yongbyon nuclear complex for a U.S. promise to formally declare the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, open a liaison office in Pyongyang and allow the North to resume some lucrative economic projects with South Korea.
The Super Bowl LIII halftime show is complete. Now it’s time for millions of viewers to react. And, well, let’s just say early reviews have not been kind to Adam Levine and Maroon 5.
Travis Scott and Big Boi made appearances. But Maroon 5 dominated the spectacle. And that made many unhappy.
LeBron James’ confused response pretty accurately summed up America’s feelings:
LeBron followed up his initial reaction with an absolutely amazing GIF:
Other social media users had Adam Levine jokes:
A few astute observers made a good, historically literate point when Levine stripped off his shirt toward the end of the show:
Those tweets, of course, were in reference to the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
There were other comparisons to past halftime shows as well:
Among the others who might have outdone Maroon 5: Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio:
More Super Bowl coverage from Yahoo Sports:
ATLANTA – In what is likely the final game of his future Hall-of-Fame career, Rob Gronkowski came up big in the moments that mattered. The New England tight end sparked a stalled offense during a critical fourth-quarter drive, catching two passes for 47 yards leading to a 2-yard touchdown run by Sony Michel. It was the Pats’ only trip to the end zone.
It was enough to give the Patriots their sixth championship via a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. Wide receiver Julian Edelman earned MVP honors after catching 10 passes for 141 yards.
The game was going almost nowhere, stuck at 3-3 deep into the fourth quarter when Tom Brady, who won his record sixth championship, finally got hot. The two big strikes, though, were classic Gronk, a bruising over-the-shoulder catch-and-run for 18 yards and then another for 29 that put the Pats on the goal line.
He finished the game with six catches for 87 yards and was instrumental blocking along the offensive line. New England rushed for 155 yards and amassed a 33:05 time of possession, a stat it dominated throughout this postseason. On their final, game-sealing drive, New England rushed seven times for 66 yards.
Gronk will go down as one of the finest tight end blockers in NFL history, a dying breed as offenses open up in the modern game.
“Everybody counted us out from the beginning of the season to midseason. But we’re still here,” a triumphant Bill Belichick said during the Lombardi Trophy ceremony. It was the sixth time Belichick held the NFL’s ultimate prize as a head coach, tying Curly Lambeau and George Halas for number of league championships among coaches.
[Super Bowl gear: Get your New England Patriots title merchandise here!]
The Patriots hadn’t scored since early in the second quarter, allowing a Rams offense under young QB Jared Goff that was accomplishing little to stick around and eventually tie the game
Gronkowski hasn’t said whether he’ll retire or not this offseason, but he has given plenty of indication that the physical beating he has taken on his 6-6, 265-pound frame will cause him to walk away from the game at age 30.
The Rams tried to rally, driving down the field and showing life until Stephon Gilmore picked off Goff on a floater on the Patriots’ 4-yard line. It was a poor and dangerous pass.
The first three quarters were a slog, featuring 12 punts and just six points, the lowest through that period in Super Bowl history.
“It wasn’t beautiful,” Gronkowski said.
Neither Brady nor Goff was sharp. The Rams didn’t use Todd Gurley much. About the only Patriot who did much was Julian Edelman. While the defenses for both teams were stout, there were also ill-advised timeouts, procedural penalties and just poor play. The teams went a combined 4-for-20 on third downs.
New England dominated time of possession in the first quarter but had little to show for it. A Brady interception ended one drive while it was in field-goal range and kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 46-yarder on another, points the team desperately needed until Gronk helped fire the offense up late
More Super Bowl coverage from Yahoo Sports:
NFL awards ‘Miami Miracle” Clutch Performance Play of the Year
NFL awards ‘Miami Miracle” Clutch Performance Play of the Year originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
Saturday night at the NFL’s annual awards ceremony on the eve of Super Bowl 53, the famously-dubbed „Miami Miracle” play that delivered the Dolphins a stunning last-second victory over the New England Patriots was named as the Bridgestone Clutch Performance Play of the Year
The play, involving multiple laterals and a wild mad dash to the pylon, was the Patriots’ fourth loss at Hard Rock Stadium in five seasons. Helping the miraculous play happen was a controversial decision to leave Devin McCourty off the field for the final play in lieu of Rob Gronkowski as the last line of defense, a plan that backfired when Gronkowski was left slipping and diving at Kenyan Drake as the running back crossed the goal line.
A TSA agent died inside the Orlando International Airport on Saturday morning in what police are calling an “apparent suicide.”
TSA confirmed to TIME that an on-duty officer fell from a hotel balcony inside MCO Airport.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family, friends and everyone in our TSA family,” the TSA statement read. “TSA will be rescreening passengers and will continue to work with the Orlando Police Department and GOAA (Greater Orlando Aviation Authority) to return operations to normal.”
The statement did not address whether or not the agent committed suicide, though several reports claim that is the case. Orlando Police said that “[p]reliminary information suggests an apparent suicide” and that the case is an active investigation.
At 9:30 a.m., an individual jumped from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into the atrium area of the airport. A male in his 40s was found in critical condition and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Preliminary information suggests an apparent suicide.
As the situation unfolded, many travelers described scene at the airport as “chaotic” and said flights were delayed.
Images uploaded to social media show large crowds and lines gathering at the airport.