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This Week in World: Russia, Senate, and More

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Russia Sets Up Helicopter Base In Syria

Russia set up a helicopter base in Syria after the US pulled troops out. They set up the base in the northeastern city of Qamishli, Russia announced Thursday. Currently, they hope the move increases Moscow’s control over the ground events in Syria. In addition, Russia has two other permanent bases in Syria.

Right now, it is unclear whether or not the base will be permanent. “Right now it’s a small base to facilitate Russian operations in northeastern Syria, but potentially this could come in handy for Russian operations east of the Euphrates if and when the U.S. withdraws completely from Syria,” said Vladimir Frolov, a senior former Russian diplomat.

US Senate Foreign Relations Wants To Hold Out On Turkey Sanction

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jim Risch said on Thursday he did not want lawmakers to pass legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey for now. Instead, he wants to alleviate tension between Turkey and the US over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

“Probably it’s best we don’t pass a sanctions bill at this moment,” he said during a meeting with reporters in his office. Risch was among a group of Republicans President Trump summoned for a meeting with Turkish Presiden Tayyip Erdogan. In this meeting, Trump urged Erdogan to abandon the defense system.

Demonstrator Dies In Guinea Protests

A young demonstrator died in Guinea on Thursday during protests against President Alpha Conde’s attempt to extend his term. Now, at least 14 other people died during the protests. Recently, the West African country changed its constitution, causing fear that Conde could seek a third term. Currently, the cause of death is unclear. However, an investigation is currently underway.

Indonesia Lifts Tsunami Alert

A powerful earthquake hit Indonesia’s Moluccas islands on Thursday, causing residents to rush to higher ground. As a result of the quake, Indonesia issued a tsunami alert, but they later rescinded it. There have been no reports of injuries, deaths, or damage in the area. “The quake was very strong and lasted for a while. We can still feel tremors but weaker,” a resident said.

Lack Of Rain Prolongs Australian Bushfire Threats

Official Australian weather reports predict no substantial rain during the next three months as firefighters battle over 100 bushfires raging across the east coast. The fires have killed 4 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and decimated nearly 2.5 million acres of farmland. “Conditions are starting to warm up tomorrow, into the weekend and then heating up early next week, a return to more gusty conditions. We’re in for the long haul,”  Rural Fire Service NSW deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said.

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