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US launches airstrike on the Iraq-Syria border, killing commander

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US military forces launched a number of airstrikes against Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.

In a recent statement from the US Department of Defense, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the ‘precision airstrikes’ were ‘defensive’.

US military targeted the facilities because Iran-backed militias are using them to launch drone attacks on US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

“As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.”

PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY JOHN KIRBY

“Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” said Kirby. Both of the targeted locations are on the border between Syria and Iraq.

Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.

President Biden will “protect U.S. personnel”

“Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks,” said Kirby.

US military forces are in Iraq to assist the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat ISIS.

“The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.”

“The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.”

The Jerusalem Post reports the airstrike killed a commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

Iraqi security and local militia officials could not confirm the identity of the commander. They believe the airstrike also killed another 3 men who were travelling in the vehicle with him.

The vehicle was carrying weapons across the Iraqi border. The strike hit the vehicle after it had entered Syrian territory, two Iraqi security officials said.

There is not yet any independent confirmation the airstrike killed the commander.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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The world’s worst airlines revealed as budget carrier takes infamous title

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In a recent survey conducted by UK consumer advocate Which?, the world’s worst airlines have been exposed, with a budget airline clinching the dubious honour.

For the second consecutive year, a European carrier has earned the title of the worst airline globally, as voted by passengers. Wizz Air, a Hungarian-based budget airline, has garnered the unfortunate distinction, according to the survey encompassing feedback from over 10,000 flights predominantly used by British travelers.

British Airways, a prominent name in the aviation industry, surprisingly found itself among the ‘worst’ for both long and short-haul travel, securing the 14th and 15th positions, respectively, out of 17 carriers.

Customer service

The survey, which gauged travelers’ experiences over the past year, evaluated airlines based on criteria such as customer service, value for money, seat comfort, and food and drink quality.

Wizz Air faced severe criticism for its dismal performance in various aspects, including delays and subpar customer service.

One passenger lamented the airline’s communication difficulties when seeking assistance, dubbing it “impossible” to reach.


Scoring merely one out of five stars for customer service and no more than two stars in any other category, Wizz Air was denoted as the lowest-scoring airline.

The report highlighted dissatisfaction among customers, with 44% reporting encountering some form of problem during their Wizz Air flights.

Budget carrier

In stark contrast, Jet2.com, a UK budget carrier, claimed the top spot in the ‘best short-haul economy airlines’ category, followed closely by Icelandair, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, and Longanair.

Surprisingly, Qantas was the sole Australian carrier to make it to the list, securing the fifth position in the ‘best long-haul economy airlines’ category.

Despite receiving commendable ratings in various categories such as customer service, seat comfort, and value for money, Qantas lagged in punctuality, with only 43% of its flights recorded as on time.

The best

Singapore Airlines emerged as the leader in the ‘best long-haul economy airlines’ category, closely trailed by Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways.

Notably, Emirates garnered praise for its punctuality, with three-quarters of its flights arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

Meanwhile, British Airways faced criticism across the board, ranking low in each category.

Experts suggest that British Airways’ struggle to maintain standards while competing with low-cost carriers has led to a decline in customer satisfaction.

With these revelations, the aviation industry faces scrutiny over service quality, punctuality, and overall customer experience, underscoring the importance of continual improvement to meet travelers’ expectations.

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Police unravel timeline in alleged double murder case

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Police have reconstructed a detailed timeline surrounding the suspected double murder of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, shedding light on the chilling events that unfolded last week.

Allegedly, a serving NSW Police officer procured an angle grinder and weights to aid in disposing of the bodies of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

Gunshots were reportedly heard in the vicinity of Mr. Baird’s Paddington residence around the time of the alleged murders last Monday, according to police sources.

Beau Lamarre-Condon, the accused, purportedly made “partial admissions” to a friend regarding his involvement in the shooting deaths, according to police statements.

Prior to becoming a police officer, Lamarre-Condon was a celebrity blogger

Yet to be found

Despite extensive efforts, the bodies of Mr. Baird, a former Channel 10 presenter, and his partner, Mr. Davies, a Qantas flight attendant, have yet to be located.

Police divers are currently combing a rural property with multiple dams in Bungonia, regional NSW, in search of evidence.

Since surrendering himself to authorities on Friday morning, Mr. Lamarre-Condon, 28, has not cooperated with investigators.

However, detectives plan to conduct further interviews with him today.

Moved the bodies

Police suspect that Mr. Lamarre-Condon may have relocated the bodies multiple times before turning himself in.

Assistant Commissioner David Hudson outlined the timeline pieced together by investigators.

Neighbors reported hearing gunshots in Brown St, Paddington, at approximately 9:50 am on Monday, February 19, which had not been initially reported to the authorities.

According to police allegations, Mr. Lamarre-Condon signed out a service weapon from Miranda police station four days before the purported murders and returned it the following day.

A triple-0 call was purportedly made from Mr. Baird’s phone around 9:54 am on Monday, but the call abruptly ended without any communication.

Furthermore, text messages were sent from Mr. Baird’s phone to his housemates the next day, indicating that he was relocating to Perth.

However, police assert that these messages were actually sent by Mr. Lamarre-Condon, Mr. Baird’s former boyfriend.

Angle grinder

Mr. Lamarre-Condon allegedly purchased an angle grinder and padlock from a local hardware store before driving to a rural property, where he is suspected to have transported the victims’ bodies in a rented van.

Police believe Mr. Lamarre-Condon returned to the rural property alone to move the bodies after suspicions arose regarding his friend’s knowledge of the events.

Additional purchases, including weights from a department store, were allegedly made in the following days.

The accused reportedly remained in control of the van and visited various locations, including a friend’s premises in Newcastle, before eventually surrendering himself to authorities.

Friends ‘didn’t know’

Assistant Commissioner Hudson disclosed that Mr. Lamarre-Condon had not disclosed his employment as a police officer to his friends, and there were reports of him using a key to access Mr. Baird’s home in the past.

An investigation is underway to ascertain how Mr. Lamarre-Condon retained possession of his service weapon for several days.

Commissioner Karen Webb emphasized that if the allegations against Mr. Lamarre-Condon are proven true, it represents a significant failure on the part of law enforcement.

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What will the collaboration between ASEAN & China achieve?

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have reached a mutual agreement to reduce barriers hindering the flow of services between the two parties.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 11, 2022.

Mutual agreement

The agreement, announced after a series of discussions, aims to boost trade relations and create a more conducive environment for the services sector.

The accord signifies a commitment to cutting red tape and regulatory obstacles that have historically impeded the growth of services trade between ASEAN member states and China.

Shared interests

The collaborative effort is expected to lead to increased market access and improved conditions for service providers, promoting healthy competition and innovation.

This move aligns with the broader regional trend of breaking down trade barriers and fostering stronger economic ties.

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