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Toronto police eye deadly van attack suspect's 'cryptic message'

The man accused of plowing a rental van into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people, in Canada’s deadliest mass killing in decades left a “cryptic message” on social media before his attack, police said on Tuesday.
Suspect Alek Minassian, 25, was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in the incident, which had the hallmarks of deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters. 
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was no reason to suspect any national security connection.
Minassian kept his shaved head down during a brief court appearance in Canada’s largest city, speaking quietly with a defense lawyer and stating his name in a steady voice when asked to do so.
One possible clue to his motive emerged on Tuesday as Facebook confirmed Minassian said in a post before the incident that referenced an “incel rebellion,” a shorthand used in some online message boards for “involuntary celibacy.”
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Trump and France's Macron seek new measures on Iran as deadline looms

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Tuesday to seek stronger measures to contain Iran, as the U.S. leader considers whether to ditch an international accord meant to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
At a joint news conference after lengthy talks, Trump did not repeat threats to withdraw from the 2015 agreement with Iran which was negotiated by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, but made clear he has little patience for staying in the deal.
Midway through a three-day state visit by Macron, the two leaders were remarkably chummy, repeatedly shaking hands and extolling each other’s friendship.
The friendliness extended to their talks on Iran, Syria and trade but there was no indication of a breakthrough on Macron’s bid to persuade Trump to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal, maintain U.S. troops in Syria and exempt European allies from 25-percent steel tariffs.
“It’s not a mystery, we did not have the same starting p…

‘Locking up foreigners’: Human rights activists slam new immigration bill in France

After more than 60 hours of heated debate, France's National Assembly has adopted a controversial immigration bill that speeds up the asylum process and steps up deportations, all aimed at controlling illegal immigration.
The new legislation, approved by 228 votes in favor to 139 against, was adopted on first reading late on Sunday and is on its way to the Senate for debate.
One of the key changes is that failed asylum seekers awaiting deportation can be held for up to 90 days, double the existing period of 45 days, but less than the 135-day period the government had initially aimed for, according to Le Parisien.
The deadlines for filing asylum applications or appealing against a rejection have also been altered. 
Asylum seekers will now have 90 days to file an application (down from 120 days) and a fortnight to appeal a rejection.
The new legislation came under fire, as being too tough, by human rights activists and opposition members.
Amnesty International France has issued a stateme…

‘He started hitting everybody’: Eyewitnesses recount horror of Toronto ramming incident

Eyewitnesses of the deadly ramming incident in Toronto, Canada, say the van hit every person it encountered on the city sidewalk and crashed into everything in its path before fleeing the scene.
Nine people are dead and 16 others are injured after the van plowed into pedestrians on the busy Toronto sidewalk Monday afternoon.
“The man was walking through the intersection at Yonge and Kempford. 
He was in the middle of the intersection and the van just went right into him, plowed right into him,” an eyewitness said.
“Apparently he drove down further and he went into a sidewalk by the next building and he hit more people there and he just kept going.”
Witnesses at the scene said onlookers were shouting at the man to stop the car but the driver kept driving and crashing into people.
Another man said he saw one of the victims dragged along the road, leaving a trail of blood on the asphalt. 
“I saw a white van with red coloring on it and all I saw was that he smashed into someone over there. He j…

Toronto’s van ramming suspect identified as Alek Minassian - police

Police have identified the perpetrator of the van-ramming in Toronto on Monday as Alek Minassian, 25, from Richmond, Ontario. The incident has left at least ten people dead and 15 injured.
The man behind the wheel of the van that plowed into pedestrians on Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East was identified as Alek Minassian, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders has confirmed.
Saunders said that, although police are in the very early stages of their investigation, the suspect’s actions “definitely looked deliberate.”
He dismissed reports in the media that the perpetrator might have confronted officers with a gun before he was apprehended, saying that the arrest proceeded without incident and that “nothing indicates that he had a gun.”
The investigators are still “looking very strongly at what the exact motive of this action was," Saunders said. 
Asked if police, in line with earlier media reports, believe the incident to be of a terrorist nature, he added: “We don’t’ rule out anything.”
Mi…

Why ‘silver bullet’ HIV vaccination could now be step closer

Scientists have developed a new way of studying cells infected with the HIV virus, raising hopes that an elusive cure might be found.
According to researchers at Rockefeller University in New York, a new strategy could enable scientists to identify latent cells carrying the virus in patients.
Published in Nature Medicine, the method involves the use of protein to enrich reactivated latent T cells producing HIV material in the blood.

Silver Bullet
With more than 36 million people suffering with HIV globally, a ‘silver bullet’ cure for the immune system-corroding virus remains elusive. 
Tests on macaques, a species of monkey, have now provided hope that a vaccine can be found.
In 2016, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Maryland revealed that a single antibody injection targeting HIV had protected test monkeys from the disease for up to six months.
The antibodies were reportedly developed from a human infected with the virus.

Expert opinion
Experts agree that, while …

Rounding on Russia: G7 foreign ministers support UK's presumption of Russian guilt in Skripal case

G7 foreign ministers have sided with the UK in assigning blame for the Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal to Russia. 
The ministers "share and agree" on the assessment that Moscow was "highly likely" behind the attack.
"We share, and agree with, the UK's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation," the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, the UK itself as well as the High Representative of the European Union, declared in a joint statement issued in the wake of their meeting in Toronto on Monday.
They doubled down on the allegations voiced by London that former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent "of a type developed by Russia," accusing it of running a "Novichok program" that it allegedly failed to declare, in breach of the Chemical…