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Coptic Orthodox Church Of Alexandria / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Pope Francis drew a crowd of 15,000 to an open-air Mass in Egypt on his last day visiting the overwhelmingly Muslim nation, where Christians and their churches have been the target of recent attacks by Islamic militants.

Francis led the Mass on Saturday in Cairo at the country's Air Defense Stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000. In his homily, Francis urged attendees to be good to their fellow Egyptians and not be hypocritical in their faith, saying “the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity.”

It was Francis' first papal visit to Egypt, where Catholics haven't seen a pope on their soil since St. John Paul II visited in 2000.

Despite security concerns, the Catholic pontiff arrived at the military-run sports stadium in a blue Fiat, with his window rolled down. He then hopped into an open-topped golf cart and zoomed around to greet the crowd before the start of the mass.

Onlookers cheered him wildly, waving Holy See and Egyptian flags and swaying to the music of hymns.

Although Francis has eschewed the bullet-proof "pope-mobile" used by his predecessors on foreign trips, security was exceptionally tight around the stadium, with armed guards standing watch and helicopters hovering overhead.

Catholics constitute less than 1 percent of Egypt's 92 million people. Copts are the largest Christian community, still only representing 10 percent of the majority-Muslim nation.

Egypt's Coptic Christians have repeatedly been targeted in recent deadly attacks, including ones carried out by ISIS. Most recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings during church services in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday earlier this month. The double bombings, which killed at least 45 people, led Egypt's president to declare a three-month state of emergency.

Attacks against Copts in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the epicenter of the jihadist group's brutal insurgency, have forced hundreds of families to flee the region and seek refuge elsewhere in the country.

At a cafe in Cairo, a 47-year-old Christian woman who identified herself as Nermine told ABC News it sent a strong message to all Egyptians that Francis "kept his promise" and still visited the country, despite the recent church bombings. She said the attacks haven't stopped her from going to church.

"We need to learn and we need to move forward," Nermine said in an interview Friday. "I went to church after Palm Sunday -- the priest was praying for the bomber."

Nermine told ABC News she personally doesn't experience discrimination as an Egyptian Christian, but rather the contrary. She said her Muslim friends and colleagues were very apologetic and supportive after the bombings on Palm Sunday.

"I don't feel different," she said. "I feel part of their families, they feel part of mine. We engage in their Ramadan and feasts. They engage with us."

Ibrahim Morgan, a parishioner at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Cairo, told ABC News he now worries about his family when they attend church and feels his Christian community is caught in the fight against Islamic extremism.

"I pray for my country, for my government that they win this battle," Morgan said in an interview Friday. "We cannot afford to lose this battle."

Morgan told ABC News he has faith in Francis, whom he called a "courageous" man.

"He is not afraid," Morgan said. "He is a man of peace and he is willing to die for it. That is very courageous."

After arriving in Cairo on Friday, Francis traveled to the presidential palace where he met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Next, the pontiff visited Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the Sunni Muslim world, where he met with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, according to the Vatican.

Francis also visited the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church and met with its patriarch, Coptic Pope Tawadros II. The two leaders then presided over an ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter’s church in Cairo, the site of another suicide bombing claimed by ISIS, according to the Vatican. That attack in December killed dozens of Coptic worshipers during a Sunday mass.

Francis is scheduled to return to Vatican City later Saturday.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Russia has launched a push to show off its growing military presence in the Arctic in the past two months, even inviting foreign journalists on a rare tour of one of its bases in the region.

The Alakurtti base, which ABC News and several other foreign media organizations were invited to see this week, is above the Arctic Circle, about 250 miles from the northern port Murmansk and on the border with Finland.

A Soviet-era base, surrounded by forest and around 8 foot of snow in April, Alakurtti was presented to foreign journalists as an example of Russia’s wider military expansion back into the Arctic.

The Soviet Union had deployed huge forces to the Arctic Circle as part of its strategic defenses; the peninsula on which Alakurtti is located is nicknamed the “unsinkable aircraft-carrier” because of the number of airbases there.

 But after the collapse of the USSR, the number of troops dropped steeply and many bases fell into disrepair.

Now, however, Russia is returning. In the past two years, Russia has launched a major effort to build up its military presence, constructing a string of new bases, as well as refurbishing Soviet ones and building up its communications infrastructure along its northern coast.

The reason is new: as ice around it recedes, uncovering resources and opening up shipping routes, the Arctic is emerging as a new arena for geopolitical competition. With the U.S. Geological Survey estimating 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas to be located there, jostling to claim the resources has already begun.

 But while other Arctic countries, including the United States, have only slowly begun to declare their interests in the region, Russia has rushed in.

“For the scale of what Russia is doing, it’s hard to find a comparison in any of the other Arctic states,” said Katarzyna Zysk, a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford and an associate professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies who has researched Russian military policy in the Arctic.

The most impressive new base is a huge new facility on Franz Josef Land, an empty, ice-blasted archipelago jutting into the Arctic Sea. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the base, known as the “Northern Shamrock,” which will house 150 personnel and host air defense units.

Russia is building three more bases in the Arctic, and says it is creating an air defense shield to cover much of the northern coast. A new “Arctic Brigade” has also been established at Alakurtti, the first of two planned.

 Many of the facilities are meant to have a dual-purpose in also serving as support infrastructure for the Northern Sea Route, a shipping passage that is predicted to become increasingly used as much of the Arctic becomes ice-free during summers by mid-century.

Russia is also paying serious political attention to staking its claim for the resources beneath the Arctic: it has submitted a claim to the U.N. that 460,000 square miles of ocean floor should be considered its territory.

But while the plans and some of the construction are already impressive, how significant the Russian build-up will be remains open to debate.

Some analysts have also puzzled over Russia’s motivations for the Arctic push, to what extent it reflects a genuine long-term strategy to shape the region or whether it’s ultimately primarily political posturing.

Pavel Baev, a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said that although the vision was clear, in reality the expansion appeared to make little sense now when Russia is enduring an economic crisis and beginning to make cuts in its military.

“It’s a luxury you can ill-afford,” Baev said.

 Some of the questions marks around Russia's Arctic plans were illustrated by Alakurtti, the base that ABC News visited.

To some extent, Russia’s Arctic expansion is a rebranding exercise. The new Arctic Brigade at Alakurtti is partly carved out of an existing force at the base, which already hosts the 80th Motor Rifle Brigade.

The approaches to the base are a broken-down village and a cluster of peeling Soviet-era apartment blocks. The base itself has been impressively refurbished: new plastic cladding on the outside of the buildings. Inside, the canteen, classroom areas and living quarters the journalists were shown were spotlessly clean; one would be tempted to say virtually untouched, in fact.

Militarily, the base is also something of an outlier. Unlike the others, it cannot service the northern sea route. It’s only apparent military purpose, Baev said, could be a defense (or attack) against Finland.

“What was the point of this base was never convincingly explained,” said Baev, who believes there are signs that the second Arctic Brigade may now never materialize.

While useful for training forces in Arctic conditions, one of the base’s purposes, or at least the Arctic brigade’s presence there, seems to be symbolic, meant to telegraph Russia’s wider Arctic plans to its potential competitors and to impress the audience at home.

The mastering of the Arctic certainly plays well into the Kremlin’s narrative of Russia’s revival as a global power. Putin, a nature buff who heads the board of the Russian Geographical Society, also seems to have taken a personal interest in the region.

 But, professor Zysk said, the public relations benefits can't explain the scale of the effort.

“It’s very expensive propaganda,” she said.

Russian military planners view the Arctic as a vulnerable area in the event of a conflict with the United States and NATO, she said. They also see real economic potential in establishing infrastructure that will facilitate shipping while accessing resources in the long-term.

Likewise, in the territorial disputes to come, Moscow appears to be preparing to negotiate from a position of strength. In Zysk's opinion, Russian authorities consider the Arctic to be of real importance.

“In general there are good reasons to think that this investment Russian is making in the Arctic is irrational,” she said. “Everyone thinks that the Arctic is the last place that Russia should invest. And still Russia is doing it. I think it’s genuinely important for the Russian authorities.”

Some in the United States agree with them. The head of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, has been calling for the United States to begin seriously boosting its capabilities in the Arctic and warning against leaving Russia's expansion there unchallenged.

“When Russia put Sputnik in outer space, did we sit with our hands in pocket with great fascination and say, ‘Good for Mother Russia’?” Adm. Zukunft asked at a conference in Washington, D.C., in 2015.

In some ways, the analysts said, Russia is going into the Arctic now because it can. With the other Arctic powers -- which also includes Canada, Sweden and Norway -- largely absent, Russia can punch above its weight and later might already be too late, when the costs of competing could grow prohibitively high.

“Point is that the Arctic is probably the one region where Russia feels strong compared with the global powers,” professor Baev said. ”And feeling strong is a feel-good thing."

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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- North Korea fired a ballistic missile that broke up shortly after its launch, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News Friday.

The missile, fired from an area known as Pukchang in central North Korea, traveled 21 miles before breaking up in mid-air, the official said. Early indications are this was a single-stage liquid-fueled mobile-launched missile the U.S. is calling the KN-17, the official said.

The KN-17 missile is a new type of missile that has been test-fired twice before. On April 15, one exploded shortly after launch from Sinpo, North Korea. The other missile fired on April 4 flew about 34 miles before spinning out of control into the Sea of Japan.

Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement that the missile "did not leave North Korean territory" and that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had determined the missile "did not pose a threat to North America."

"U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our steadfast commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan," the statement continued.

President Donald Trump criticized the rogue Asian nation on Twitter shortly afterward, while also invoking Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom he discussed the North Korean threat during a summit earlier in the month.

"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" wrote Trump.

 

North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017

 

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on member nations of the U.N. Security Council on Friday to step up their diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea after recent provocations from the rogue regime.

"We have said this before and it bears repeating; the policy of strategic patience is over," Tillerson said during an open session on North Korea, adding it was time to "adopt a new approach."

He proposed three actions for the 15 member nations to embrace: fully implement commitments regarding North Korea, including existing Security Council resolutions; suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea; and increase North Korea's financial isolation.

Regarding financial pressures, Tillerson, using an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, called for “new sanctions on DPRK entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs” and to “tighten those that are already in place.”

"The United States also would much prefer countries and people in question to own up to their lapses and correct their behavior themselves, but we will not hesitate to sanction third-country entities and individuals supporting the DPRK's illegal activities," Tillerson said.

He specifically highlighted the importance of China's efforts, saying it alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang. China accounts for 90 percent of all trade conducted by North Korea.

“The U.S. and China have held very productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what China has already done,” Tillerson said.

In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Tillerson said China had warned the North Korean government about conducting another nuclear test, saying it would take "sanctions actions of their own."

While a negotiated solution is clearly the Trump administration's preference, military action is still on the table. The United States is committed to defending itself and its allies from North Korean aggression, Tillerson said.

It's a sentiment echoed by President Trump, who, in an interview with Reuters Thursday, warned of a possible "major conflict" with North Korea.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump said.

"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he added.

This week, the U.S. military is showing its full force in the region. The U.S. Navy conducted bilateral maritime exercises with South Korea and Japan.

On Tuesday, the USS Michigan, one of the Navy's Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, arrived in the South Korean port of Busan -- intended to send a message to North Korea, according to a U.S. defense official. The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group will also arrive off the Korean Peninsula at the end of the month.

North Korea has launched five missile tests this year alone. The latest launch in mid-April, though assessed as a failure, came hours after North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a big parade to celebrate the birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung, a grandfather of Kim Jong Un.

The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first test flight of an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. military is investigating whether two Army Rangers were killed by friendly fire either from fellow U.S. troops or from Afghan commandos they were accompanying. The deaths came during a raid targeting the top ISIS leader in Afghanistan who is believed may have been among the 35 of the terror group's fighters killed in an intense firefight.

Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio, both of the Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment, were killed in the raid Thursday. A third Ranger received a head wound and remained with his unit.

Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed Friday that their families have been informed that their deaths may have been caused from friendly fire.

According to Davis, the raid targeted a compound housing Abdul Hasib, the ISIS Emir in Afghanistan. It is suspected, though not confirmed, that the ISIS leader was among the 35 ISIS fighters killed in the raid.

The heavily defended compound was located in the same Mohmand Valley where two weeks ago the U.S. dropped the massive bomb nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs". Afghan officials say that bomb may have killed as many as 100 ISIS fighters.

The raid began Wednesday evening at 10:30 p.m. local time as 50 Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos were inserted by helicopter near the compound.

Almost immediately the U.S. and Afghan forces found taking enemy fire in an intense firefight that lasted three hours.

Rodgers and Thomas were mortally wounded in the initial moments of the firefight.

Airstrikes from fixed-wing aircraft and Apache helicopters were called in to support the American and Afghan troops in the firefight.

ISIS-Khorasan, is the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan. The group consists of existing Pakistan Taliban fighting groups that re-branded themselves as an ISIS affiliate.

The U.S. military’s current estimate is that there are between 600 and 800 ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan, a significant drop from the 3,000 or more estimate from 18 months ago.

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William N. Finley IV/@WNFIV(NEW YORK) -- A luxury music festival planned for this weekend in the Bahamas has been postponed amid a storm of social media complaints from attendees and a statement by the island nation’s tourism office calling the situation "total disorganization and chaos."

The official website for the Fyre Festival posted a statement at midday Monday ET that reads, "Fyre Festival set out to provide a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience on the Islands of the Exumas.

Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time and we are unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests."

The statement -- which came hours after attendees posted pictures from the local airport showing people apparently trying to catch flights back to the states -- continued, "The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned."

It added that the organizers are trying to get attendees still on the island on complimentary charter flights back to Miami, Florida.

Earlier, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism released a statement saying, "The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale."

Fyre Festival attendee Trevor DeHass told ABC News on Monday morning that the moment he and his friends landed on the island of Exuma on Thursday night for what he thought would be "the most luxurious festival in the world," they began to worry.

DeHass said the food, for example, was not up to the upscale standards advertised for the all-inclusive weekend. He said he and his friends were served two slices of bread, a slice of cheese and a small salad for dinner Thursday. DeHass also said that he has been unable to find Fyre Festival organizers at the site -- only local hires who he said aren't able to answer his questions.

DeHass has been tweeting about his experience.

@FyreFraud Here's the dinner they fed us tonight. Literally slices of bread, cheese, and salad with no dressing. #fyrefraud #fyrefestival #dumpsterfyre pic.twitter.com/NmNXakSFlq

— Tr3vor (@trev4president) April 28, 2017

His tweets are one small piece of an explosion of complaints on social media about the festival. Fyre Festival ticket packages cost up to thousands of dollars, with some starting at $4,395 per person. Other guests are also saying that what was advertised as a tropical getaway lacks even the most basic accommodations.

Stuck at #fyrefestival trying to leave for the last 8 hours. barley any food or water or security or electricity pic.twitter.com/jHPMnJw5gx

— Lamaan (@LamaanGallal) April 28, 2017

We have been locked indoors with no air NO FOOD and NO water #fyrefestival #fyrefest fyrefraud pic.twitter.com/wg5pZmSvnx

— Lamaan (@LamaanGallal) April 28, 2017

This sums up Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefestival #fyrefest pic.twitter.com/x4xcFBL8Yg

— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017

A request for comment from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism on the allegation in some posts of attendees being locked indoors did not receive an immediate response.

Since the posts began appearing online, some groups have arrived back in Miami. William Finley posted a video to Twitter showing passengers on a flight cheering as they landed back in the states.

We just landed in Miami. We have the conch. Fyre Fest is dead. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/hnnnDJCai4

— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017

The festival lineup was scheduled to include high-profile acts like Ja Rule, Daya and Tyga. Requests for comment from their respective representatives were not immediately returned to ABC News, but Rule had been posting all week on Instagram and Twitter about the festival, even showing off a "Fyre" airplane in one of his posts.

Blink-182 was also scheduled to headline, but said Thursday that they would not be attending.

pic.twitter.com/lMjXQSMPqC

— blink-182 (@blink182) April 27, 2017

In a video published on the Fyre Festival YouTube page in January, the events was billed as the "The best in food, art music and adventure" and featured models and artists playing on the beach and in the water.

Fyre Festival released a statement on Instagram early Friday morning, saying "things got off to an unexpected start."

Requests for comment from the festival itself have been bounced back have bounced back with an automatic-replay email stating they are dealing with "overwhelming demand" for comment.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- British police said they have foiled an active terrorist plot following Thursday night raids in London and southeast England.

Six suspects were arrested on terrorism-related charges during the raids in London and Kent, and one woman was seriously wounded, according to Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

“Due to these arrests that we have made, I believe that we have contained the threats that they posed,” Basu told reporters at a press conference Friday.

During the police swoop in the Willesden area of northwest London, shortly before 7 p.m. local time on Thursday, armed officers fired CS gas into a residence on Harlesden Road that had been under observation as part of a current counter-terrorism investigation. One of the suspects -- a woman -- was shot by officers, Basu said.

The injured woman was transported to a hospital, where she remains in serious but stable condition. She has not yet been arrested due to her condition but is being monitored by police, according to Basu.

When asked by reporters if the raid in Willesden disrupted an active plot, Basu replied “yes” but did not elaborate.

Basu said searches are ongoing at three addresses in London, including Harlesden Road, as part of the investigation.

Police carried out the counter-terrorism raids just hours after a man armed with large knives was arrested in London near the Houses of Parliament on Thursday. The 27-year-old man, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.

There are two ongoing searches at addresses in London as part of the investigation. The arrest of the knife-wielding man and Thursday night’s raids are “two separate, unconnected and ongoing counter-terrorism investigations,” Basu said.

Police activity in London has increased since March 22 when an attacker drove a vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four and injuring others. The suspect, identified as U.K. native Khalid Masood, fatally stabbed a police officer at the gate of Parliament before he was shot and killed by authorities.

Basu said the attack is still “fresh in people’s minds.”

“I would like to reassure everyone that across the country officers are working round the clock to identify those people who intend to commit acts of terror,” the deputy assistant commissioner told reporters. “After that attack, we increased the number of officers on duty patrolling at key locations -- and that continues as we police against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat.”

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Franco Origlia/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Pope Francis arrived in Cairo Friday on his first papal trip to Egypt, which is aimed at addressing tensions between the country's Muslims and Christians after recent violence targeting Egypt's Coptic minority.

Although Pope Francis has eschewed the armored "popemobile" used by his predecessors on foreign trips, there was increased security around the sprawling capital as the pontiff’s Alitalia jet touched down. His historic two-day visit comes just two weeks after suicide bombings on two Christian churches killed at least 45 people in northern Egypt.

From the airport, Francis traveled to the presidential palace where he met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Next, the pontiff is scheduled to visit Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the Sunni Muslim world, where he will meet with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, according to the Vatican.

On Friday, Francis will also visit the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church and meet with its patriarch, Coptic Pope Tawadros II. Copts in Egypt are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, though they constitute just 10 percent of the 92 million people in the majority-Muslim nation.

Egyptian Copts have repeatedly been targeted in attacks, including ones carried out by ISIS. Most recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings during church services in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday. The killings led Egypt's president to declare a three-month state of emergency.

After their meeting, Francis and Tawadros will preside over an ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter’s church in Cairo, the site of another suicide bombing ISIS claimed responsibility for. That attack killed dozens of Coptic worshippers during a Sunday mass in December. There, the two leaders will pray for victims of the recent attacks, according to the Vatican.

Francis will celebrate an outdoor mass on Saturday before returning to Vatican City.

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3D_generator/iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korea has launched five missile tests so far in 2017. The latest launch in mid-April, though assessed as a failure, came hours after North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a big parade to celebrate the birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung, a grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first test flight of an intercontinental
ballistic missile, or ICBM.

Here's what to know about each of the five tests that have already occurred this year.

Feb. 12

In February, North Korea successfully tested a land-based KN-15 missile, a new solid-fuel intermediate-range missile, which traveled 310 miles into the Sea of Japan.

Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told a congressional panel Tuesday that the February launch marked a significant advancement for North Korea because it was its first
successful solid-fueled missile fired from a mobile launcher.

Mobile-launched missiles are harder to track and can be fired at short notice.

Hyten labeled the launch of what is now believed to have been a KN-15 missile as “a major advancement” by North Korea because it was "a new solid medium range ballistic missile off a new
transporter erector launcher."

The February launch occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida over the weekend.

Photos taken by the club's patrons and later posted on Facebook captured Japanese and U.S. officials responding in real-time to the incident, sparking criticism about why such important meetings
were not conducted in a more secure location.

March 6

In early March, North Korea launched five medium-range Scud-type missiles. Four traveled more than 600 miles, the upper limit of their range, into the Sea of Japan. The fifth took off, but later

crashed.

Three of missiles landed in waters in Japan's economic exclusion zone, which extends 200 miles from its shoreline.

Shortly after this test occurred, the U.S. delivered the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea, a process which the U.S. started working on with its ally
after the flurry of North Korean missile tests in 2016.

THAAD is a missile defense shield designed to intercept short and medium range missiles.

March 21

Later in the month, North Korea tested a mobile-launched missile which exploded "within seconds of launch," according to U.S. Pacific Command.

The launch was near Kalma in eastern Wonsan province, where North Korea previously attempted to test its mobile-launched Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. Last year, North Korea test-
fired eight Musudan rockets, but only one was considered a success.

U.S. officials have not identified what type of missile was tested on March 21 since it exploded so soon after launch.

April 4

On April 4, a KN-17 missile launch came just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, during which the pair discussed how to curb North Korea's missile and
nuclear programs.

The Trump administration is hoping China will exert its economic influence over North Korea since the country controls eighty percent of all foreign trade with the reclusive regime.

U.S. officials said the missile spun out of control and landed in the Sea of Japan after traveling 34 miles. It was being assessed as an in-flight failure.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a terse statement following Tuesday's test, saying, "North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has
spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

The KN-17 is a new mobile-launched, single-stage missile that uses liquid fuel. It has not been successfully tested by North Korea, so it's difficult to assess its full range.

April 16

Less than two weeks later, North Korea launched another KN-17 that exploded shortly after launch.

"The launch failed very early on, so that makes it harder to know exactly what they were trying to do," Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said
days later. "But I think that our understanding is that it was not one of the longer-range missiles that they were trying to test there; it was something like a medium-range ballistic missile."

Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on the failed missile launch en route to South Korea on Air Force 2.

While speaking with U.S. members of the military in Seoul, Pence described it as a "provocation."

"This morning's provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of
America in this part of the world," Pence said. "Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear inspires our nation and inspires the world, and it's an honor for us to share
this meal with you today."

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the_guitar_mann/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Ahed Festuk stood outside the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D- Ill., waiting for an aide to come and collect her. With her long blond hair, black jeans and flowered
scarf, she looked very much like any other millennial living in her adopted home of Brooklyn, New York.

But Festuk was nervous. Along with four other Syrian women, she was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to share the reality on the ground in the city that is truly her home: Aleppo.

“I feel I have a big responsibility,” Festuk, 30, said. “Even if they only listen to me five percent, it’s a big responsibility.”

Festuk said she was among the first people to protest against Syria’s authoritarian leader, Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo in 2011. But much has changed in Syria for her since those first moments of
the revolution.

The uprising, now a full-blown civil war, has killed more than half a million people and displaced 5 million others over the past six years. Since December 2015, when she was granted political
asylum, Festuk has been living in the United States on her own, learning English and trying to advocate for her country.

“I love to tell people I’m from Syria. Some people say, ‘You’re not scared to say that?’ But why should I be scared? I’m brave to be from Syria and be part of the Syrian revolution,” she said.

It’s that pride, and optimism for Syria’s future, that brought Festuk and the four other Syrian women to Washington this week. Since President Trump launched an airstrike against the Syrian
military April 7 and his secretary of state declared that “the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” the future of Syria is being discussed around the world.

But Festuk and the other women from her delegation said the voices of Syrian women have been noticeably absent from those discussions.

“It’s probably 95 percent Western men, and then the other 5 percent are Syrian men, and then us,” Noha Alkamcha, who works with Syrian local councils and civil society organizations, said.

Alkamcha, 32, said there are “a million women behind the scenes doing the actual work,” but few are quoted in the international press and even fewer have seats at the negotiating table.

The women’s tour is helping to change that. Along with Festuk and Alkamcha, three other women -- Zaina Erhaim, Yasmin Kayali and a woman who asked that her identity not be revealed for safety
reasons -- met with congressional staff from the offices of Durbin and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as well as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and international organizations this week.

Erhaim, a journalist and the Syria coordinator at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, helped organize the delegation.

“We are really here to promote Syrian civil society, to promote Syrians’ rights and to promote the fact that Syrians are people, they are faces and human beings, they are not just numbers you see
on the news,” Erhaim, 32, said. “Not all Syrians are Assadis or ISIS.”

But that fact has been lost in much of the media coverage and political discourse around Syria, experts say.

Some of that is because of Assad’s own strategy, said Ibrahim al-Assil, a fellow at the Middle East Institute. Weakening or silencing civil society organizations like the ones these women represent
helps Assad stay in power, he said.

“Assad controls only some territories inside Syria but, at the same time, the regime is not allowing any kind of work for civil society or local governments in the territories outside its control,”
al-Assil said. “They want to make it clear that it’s either the regime -- or that the other option will be just chaos. They don’t want another alternative to emerge.”

But building alternatives is crucial to eventually rebuilding Syria, the women said, even if how Syria transitions to a democracy is unclear.

And they have been on the forefront of that work for years. Alkamcha said she helped organize more than 300 civil society organizations to define their vision in 2016 before the Geneva peace talks.

Kayali, 35, founded Basmeh and Zeitooneh, a humanitarian organization that works with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey.

“Today, this conflict has so many different international players and so many different geopolitical levels that it is very difficult to answer how it will end,” Kayali said. “I’m sure the end is
going to surprise us all, but regardless of how it ends, we need to prepare for that end and we need to prepare for the day after.”

“The work that we are doing on the ground is to be able to later rebuild Syria,” she added.

Barry Pavel, senior vice president at the Atlantic Council who worked on defense policy for both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, said Trump’s recent airstrikes gave the United States
new leverage in helping end the conflict in Syria. But he stressed that ensuring that there is a “very robust and resilient plan for a political transition” is crucial to the country’s future.

He also said the United States has much to learn from its policies in Iraq.

“It’s not about the days after, it’s about the years after Assad goes,” Pavel said. “We want to make sure the situation isn’t more dangerous than it was than before he went.

“There has to be a structured, deliberate diplomatic plan that moves Syria toward a new future,” he added.

Alkamcha said Syrian women are eager to be part of that plan.

"The U.S. does not have any successful story of intervention in history -- that we are very familiar with," she said. "When Tillerson says this is the end of Assad's era, we 100 percent support
that ... But with a clear strategy for political transition and who will be the alternative for Assad.

“Definitely, the civil society and opposition will be an alternative, but we want to be involved in that decision-making by the U.S.”

As Kayali waited for a meeting with staffers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to begin, she watched a video of her 5-year-old son that had been sent via WhatsApp from her family in
Jordan. Although her children missed her, she said, she felt she had an obligation to share what was happening more than 5,700 miles away in their homeland.

“I believe that this is my duty to my people,” Kayali said. “I believe I am fortunate to be able to move around because of the passport I have and because of my ability to speak the English
language. I think I owe it to my people to give them a voice.”

For Festuk, it’s also about giving voice to protesters who lost their lives opposing Assad.

She said she remembers attending her first demonstration in the early days of the uprising in 2011. The protest lasted only five minutes but felt “like five hours,” she said, before the protesters
were chased off by police and soldiers.

But those five minutes with a few people swelled within months to more than 10,000 people protesting in Aleppo, she said. Despite the fact that it was dangerous, they kept protesting, sure that a
better future was within reach.

“It was really an amazing feeling,” she said. “At that time, I felt that soon we would be successful, soon we would take the Assad regime out, and that soon we would overthrow them and their
regime.”

She paused, looking out the window of the Hart Office Building toward the manicured lawns of D.C. and the vast marble steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“But it doesn’t work like that. Actually, the whole world supported [the regime] and left us behind. No one listened to us,” she said.

“When I remember those days and how we lost amazing people,” she said, stopping in mid-sentence as tears came to her eyes.

Still, Festuk said, she would go back to Syria the “next day” if Assad were removed from power.

“I love my country, I love Syria, and especially Aleppo,” she said. “I will go immediately.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A man armed with knives was arrested on suspicion of terrorism Thursday in London near the Houses of Parliament, police said.

Authorities have cordoned off Whitehall and Parliament Street, where the suspect was arrested, near Parliament Square Thursday afternoon, following a stop-and-search operation.

The suspect, identified as a 27-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, according to London's Metropolitan Police Service.

Authorities recovered knives from the man, who is being detained under the Terrorism Act and is in custody at a police station in south London.

The Metropolitan Police Service said the investigation is ongoing and "as a result of the arrest there is no immediate known threat."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two U.S. military service members were killed Wednesday night in an anti-ISIS operation in Achin District of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. A third American service member was wounded in action.

Their identities, service, and unit affiliations are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

"The fight against ISIS-K is important for the world, but sadly, it is not without sacrifice,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, Commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. "On behalf of all U.S. Forces and our coalition partners, I offer our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen comrades.”

ISIS-K stands for ISIS-Khorasan, a branch of the organization operating in the Khorasan region of Afghanistan.

Achin is the same district where an American soldier was killed earlier this month and where the massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) bomb was dropped on April 14.

On Monday, during a press conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Nicholson said that ISIS is attempting to establish a presence in Afghanistan, and the MOAB bomb was meant to send "a very clear message" to the group.

“I will say we were sending a very clear message to ISIS, not only to ISIS here in Afghanistan but also ISIS main,” Nicholson. “If they come here to Afghanistan, they will be destroyed. In keeping secretary’s intent, they will be annihilated.”

President Trump has ordered a review of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- An large overnight explosion on Thursday rocked Syria's capital, the country's state media and opposition activists said.

The explosion occurred at a military installation near the Damascus airport, according to both SANA state TV and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring organization with on the ground contacts in Syria.

State television blamed the explosion on Israel, saying it had attacked the location with several missiles from inside the occupied Golan Heights, which Israel controls.

In an interview with Israel's Army Radio, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz stopped short of saying Israel was behind the attack, but said "the incident in Syria is absolutely in line with Israeli policy to act to prevent advanced weapons from Syria going to Hezbollah in Lebanon with the help of Iran."

"I don't want to go into the matter more or expand on it," he added, before saying that "the Prime Minister has said that every time that we receive intelligence of efforts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah -- we will act. This incident is exactly in line with that policy."

The blasts were reported at 4 a.m. local time. While damage was reported, there were no immediate casualty reports.

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The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that the U.S. will not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a White House readout of calls Wednesday between the leaders.

"President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries," the readout says.

According to Trump, the two leaders called and asked him to consider renegotiating NAFTA, instead of terminating the trade deal.

"I agreed subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA," Trump tweeted, adding "Relationships are good – deal very possible!"

Earlier Wednesday, an administration official told ABC News that the White House would not comment on rumors that a NAFTA executive order was in the works.

"I would say that NAFTA has obviously been a top priority for the President from day one and it's safe to say we've been working on addressing the issues with it since the beginning," the official said.

While campaigning for president, Trump slammed NAFTA as a "disaster" and the "worst trade deal in history."

As president, he has continued to speak out against the trade deal, last week calling it "very, very bad" for American companies and workers.

"We're going to make some very big changes or we're going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all," he said during a separate speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this month. "It cannot continue like this, believe me."

The trade agreement was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and implemented in 1994. NAFTA expanded trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, eliminating tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.

In Wednesday's readout, Trump said, "it is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Pena Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better."

A summary from the office of Pena Nieto echoed the White House readout.

"The leaders agreed on the benefit of maintaining the North American Free Trade Agreement and work together with Canada to carry out a successful renegotiation for the benefit of the three countries," it said.

A readout released by Trudeau's office several hours before was more sparse, saying that Trudeau and Trump "continued their dialogue on Canada-U.S. trade relations, with the Prime Minister reinforcing the importance of stability and job growth in our trade relations."

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disqis/iStock/Thinkstock(SICHUAN PROVINCE, China) -- A 2-year-old toddler in China received just minor bruises after she was run over by two cars.

CCTV China surveillance video captured the terrifying moment when the tot dashed into street traffic in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

In the video, which was filmed Monday, the toddler can be seen observing traffic on the roadside for a few seconds before running across the road and being met by a white car, followed by another one close behind. After the two cars pass, the toddler appears to be lying face down on the ground before a woman, later identified as her grandmother, rushes over to scoop the girl up in her arms.

The toddler was immediately taken for medical attention. Doctors from No. 2 People's Hospital of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture said that the toddler only had minor bruises on her head and no other injuries. She was released Tuesday.

"The surveillance video footage on site and our preliminary investigation show that when the toddler was running across the road, she was in the blind zone of the first car and the driver didn't see her. And the following car was moving too closely behind the first one and the driver failed to see the toddler [too]. So both cars ran over her," said Guo Wei, a police officer with Xichang Public Security Bureau.

The toddler's father says that his daughter is a little frightened by the whole ordeal.

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