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[Homework]NPR 2020-01-03

On ahg77

Live from NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer.

Defence secretary Mark Esper says there are indications additional attacks are being planned on the American forces in Iraq and the US may have to take preemptive action. Esper's comments follow US air strikes against Iranian backed militia sites in Iraq and Syria. NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

Esper did not offer any details about possible additional attacks on US forces. Last month an American contractor was killed in Iraq by rockets, the US says, were fired by Iranian backed militia. The American air strikes against the militia sites this week, sparked protests at the US embassy in Bagdad. Where militia's supporters broke windows and burned a guard house. Iraqi forces initially stood by and watched as protesters swarmed the embassy. Esper urged Iraqi officials to protect the embassy and investigate those behind the attacks. For their part, Iraqi officials had condemned the air strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty. Tom Bowman NPR News, Washington.

Turkey's parliament is giving the greenlight to a deployment of Turkish troops to Libya. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the government in Tripoli asked the Ankara for assistance but it's not clear troops would be deployed immediately.

About the approval was expected with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he favored a positive response to the request by Lebanon prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri, under attack by forces loyal to warlord Halifa Haftar. Haftar has the support of Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Analysts say the initial aid is likely to stop short of sending troops.

A court in Belgium has blocked Spain's latest attempt to have Catalonia independence leader Carles Puigdemont sent back for trial. Judges today suspended a Spanish arrest warrant. As Teri Schultz explains from Brussels it follows a seprate court decision that reinforced the right of immunity for European Union lawmakers.

It's the third time Madrid has been foiled in its attempts to bring Carles Puigdemont back to Spain to face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Puigdemont and fellow separatist Toni Comin won seats in the European Parliament in May. They've been living in exile in Belgium since fleeing Spain in 2017 after launching an illegal pro-independence vote. Some of their fellow activists were jailed including Oriol Junqueras who also won the place in the EU parliament. All three Catalan lawmakers were prevented from taking their seats. But last month the top EU court ruled Spain must allow Junqueras to come to Brussels since he has parliamentary immunity. Now the Belgium court has followed that ruling by suspending the arrest warrants against Puigdemont and Comin. For NPR News, I'm Teri Schultz in Brussels.

The Trump administration is announcing a partial and temporary ban on all flavored viping cartridges except tobacco and menthol flavors. Ban considered temporarily because e-cigarette makers like Juul can apply for FDA approval to resume marketing the flavored products.

Stocks power sharply higher on the first trading day of the new year. The Dow was up 330 points. This is NPR.

Rolling strikes that have crippled France's transportation system have now entered their 29th day. That means the walkouts have now surpassed a 1986, 1987 rail strike in terms of longevity. The national SNCF train service said today upwards half of its highspeed trains were not running. Unions in France are angry over French president Emmanuel Macron's efforts to reform the country's pension system, considered to be among the world's most generous.

Europe's largest poultry producers were reporting an outbreak of bird flu. As NPR's Rob Schultz explains Poland says it's been detected in turkeys.

Poland has not had an outbreak of bird flu since 2017. The president of the country's association of breeders and poultry producers says three farms might be affected. With up to 350,000 birds at risk in a three kilometers radius. Local media reporting that the outbreak could require up to 40,000 birds to be slaughtered. Local authorities in Lubartowski county said in a press release that the virus detected as a sub type of the highly pathogenic H5N8 flu. That can also threaten people. Polish authority say crisis meetings have been held while local TV showed police cars blocked a road in the area. Rob Schultz NPR News, Berlin.

Authorities in Central Florida say they are looking into an incident where at least 15 cars were apparently shot out while driving along interstate 4 and interstate 95. County sheriffs and officials in a statement today say it appears the damage was caused by a BB or pellet gun. No injures were reported. Sheriff's office official say the vehicles were hit Wednesday, the area near Deltona Deland Daytona Beach.

I'm Jack Speer, NPR News.                                                   

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