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Saudi Arabia reopens Qatar border after surprise meetingRIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Thursday it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj amid a monthslong rift between the neighboring countries that led to both sides trading accusations of politicizing the ritual.

U.S. says joint S.Korea war games not on the negotiating tableBy Michael Martina and Christine Kim BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills next week, the top U.S. military official said on Thursday, resisting pressure from North Korea and its ally China to halt the contentious exercises. North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fueled a rise in tensions in recent months. U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Zimbabwe's Mugabe in S.Africa after wife is accused of assaultVeteran Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has arrived in South Africa, state media said on Thursday, for a regional summit overshadowed by accusations his wife assaulted a 20-year-old model in a Johannesburg hotel room with an electric cable. Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper, the government's main mouthpiece, said 93-year-old Mugabe arrived at a military air base near Pretoria late on Wednesday.

China targets Alibaba's Taobao, other e-commerce sites, in VPN crackdownBy Cate Cadell BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have issued a warning to the country's top e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba Holding Group Ltd's Taobao.com, over the sale of illegal virtual private networks that allow users to skirt state censorship controls. Five websites have been asked to carry out immediate "self-examination and correction" to remove vendors that sell illegal virtual private networks (VPNs), according to a notice posted by the Zhejiang provincial branch of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China's top cyber regulator. This is the latest in a series of measures taken by China to secure the internet and maintain strict control over content.

China military criticizes 'wrong' U.S. moves on Taiwan, South China SeaThe "wrong" actions of the United States on Taiwan, its South China Sea patrols and deployment of an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea have had a large, negative influence on military trust, a senior Chinese officer said on Thursday. Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, told Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that mutual trust mechanisms between the two militaries had continued to improve, China's defense ministry said.

Investigators likely slain by Congolese militia: UN probeTwo UN investigators killed in March likely died at the hands of Congolese militia members, a UN inquiry found, adding that further investigation will be required to "fully ascertain the identity" of those involved. Michael Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean dual national, were found murdered in March in the Democratic Republic of Congo while on a UN mission investigating violence and mass graves in the country's restive Kasai province. "A group of Congolese, likely militia members from the Kasai Central province, was responsible," read the board's executive summary, obtained Wednesday by AFP.

'I'm terrified': White nationalist Christopher Cantwell cries in video about Charlottesville protestA white nationalist who was featured in a Vice News documentary about the "Unite the Right" Charlottesville marchers at the weekend has posted a video in which he tearfully complains about his current plight. Christopher Cantwell took part in the rally in support of Confederate hero Robert E Lee in Virginia on Saturday, which escalated to violence and ended in the death of a woman.  “I have been told there’s a warrant out for my arrest,” he said while crying on the video. “With everything that’s happening, I don’t think it’s very wise for me to go anywhere. There’s a state of emergency. The National Guard is here!” “I want to be peaceful. I want to be law-abiding. That was the whole entire point of this,” Cantwell continues. “I’m watching CNN talk about this as a violent, white nationalist protest. We have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful!” he added. He also said urged police to contact him if there was a warrant out for his arrest. “I am armed, I do not want violence with you. I’m terrified, I’m afraid you’re going to kill me, I really am,” he said. “If I gotta go to jail today, you know it won’t be the f------* first time… I honestly believe I have been law-abiding. I have been engaged in violence, I have, there’s no question about it and I’ve done nothing to hide that but it was in defence of myself and others and I would not have done it for any other reason,” he added. Cantwell was banned from Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday, while a page connected to his podcast was removed. Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja also said at least eight pages connected to the white nationalist movement were taken down over what Budhraja said were violations on the company's polices on hate speech and organisations. Cantwell, of Keene, New Hampshire, was listed on rally flyers and labelled an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. A former information technology worker who moved to New Hampshire from New York in 2012, the 36-year-old Cantwell describes himself as a white nationalist and said he voted for President Donald Trump. He has a podcast and blog that promote his views. Cantwell says Facebook shut down his account in an attempt to silence him for his views. He also said his PayPal account had been closed. The company wouldn't confirm that because it has a policy of not commenting on the status of accounts. "I'm not surprised by almost any of this because the whole thing we are complaining about here is that we are trying to express our views, and everybody is going through extraordinary lengths to make sure we are not heard," Cantwell told AP in a phone interview from an undisclosed location. "Frankly, whatever you think of my views, that is very scary to me," he said. "Facebook and Instagram is one thing but not being able to participate in the financial system because of your political opinions is something that, you know, people should worry about in America." 

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Des Moines, Iowa (8.4 km from Des Moines, IA)

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