Syrian regime forces continued their offensive against Eastern Ghouta Sunday, a day after they cut off the rebel-held enclave’s largest town, pressing on with a 20-day assault that has left more than 1,000 civilians dead. Government troops and allied militia launched their military campaign for Eastern Ghouta on February 18 and have since overrun more than half of the area, defying global calls for a halt to the violence. The assault has followed a divide-and-conquer strategy, eating away at rebel-held territory, and government forces on Saturday successfully isolated Ghouta’s main town of Douma in a blow for the beleaguered rebels.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any accusations that he meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly. During the tense interview, Putin appeared defensive and even suggested Jewish people were to blame for the United States’ election breach.
“Saturday Night Live” reimagined “Robert Mueller” in the painful finale of “The Bachelor” as a man who “can’t commit” to proving election collusion by Donald Trump with the Russians. And it’s so sad. The cold open parodied Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s yanked proposal on the final episode of the ABC reality show. “So what, you don’t have Trump on collusion?” asks a stunned Strong.
By James Pomfret HONG KONG (Reuters) – Polling kicked off across Hong Kong in crucial by-elections on Sunday, with opposition democrats urging the city’s 2.1 million eligible voters to cast “protest” ballots against perceived meddling from China’s Communist Party rulers. The by-elections will fill four legislative council seats once held by pro-democracy lawmakers who were ousted from public office after authorities deemed they’d failed to take valid oaths of office. Sunday’s polls also coincided with a vote in Beijing’s parliament which is expected to remove the Chinese president’s term limits, setting the stage for President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely.
Twitter suspended several popular accounts on Friday in a major crackdown on “tweetdeckers,” a secret network of accounts that make tweets go viral by retweeting the same content in exchange for money. The company suspended several notably large accounts in Friday’s cleanup, including @GirlPosts, @Dory, @CommonWhiteGirl, @SoDamnTrue and @memeprovider. Some of these accounts, which mostly tweeted jokes and memes, had millions of followers.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp will try to claw back lost seats as polls opened early Sunday in controversial by-elections that have exposed the heart of the city’s political divide. The vote comes as China signals a harder line against any challenges to its sovereignty, with high-profile young candidate Agnes Chow barred from standing because her party promotes self-determination for the semi-autonomous city. Beijing has become increasingly incensed at the emergence of activists advocating independence and sees calls for self-determination as part of a splittist push.
Renee Baio, the wife of actor Scott Baio, has revealed she has a brain disease. In response to a question about her health, Renee Baio tweeted that she was diagnosed with microvascular brain disease five months ago.