U.S. Is Sending 400 More Troops to Syria – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States is sending an additional 400 troops to Syria to help prepare for the looming fight for Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate, American officials said on Thursday.

The increase, which includes a team of Army Rangers and a Marine artillery unit that have already arrived in Syria, represents a near-doubling of the number of American troops there.

The United States military has declined to say how many troops it has deployed in Syria. The formal troop cap is 503, but commanders have the authority to temporarily exceed that limit.

The Rangers’ presence became apparent last weekend when they were seen driving around the northern Syrian town of Manbij in Stryker vehicles and armored Humvees. The Washington Post earlier reported the deployment of the Marine artillery battery.

Source: U.S. Is Sending 400 More Troops to Syria – The New York Times

Melania Trump Gains in Popularity | Ken Walsh’s Washington | US News

First lady Melania Trump arrives in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, where she hosted a luncheon on International Women's Day. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

First lady Melania Trump arrives in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, where she hosted a luncheon on International Women’s Day. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP)

More than half of Americans now give first lady Melania Trump a favorable rating, a marked improvement in her standing since her husband Donald Trump became president.

The latest CNN/ORC poll finds that 52 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Melania Trump,

Eight-six percent of fellow Republicans have a favorable view of Melania Trump, while only 22 percent of Democrats have a favorable view.

Fifty-eight percent of men and only 46 percent of women view Melania Trump positively.

Source: Melania Trump Gains in Popularity | Ken Walsh’s Washington | US News

Passenger causes plane to divert after he’s charged $12 for a blanket – CNN.com

Who hasn’t complained about airline fees? Well, there’s apparently a limit to the degree a customer can gripe — especially if it happens in midair.

Story highlights

  • A Hawaii-bound flight was diverted to Los Angeles Wednesday morning
  • A man threatened an airport employee after refusing to pay $12 for a blanket, police said

Source: Passenger causes plane to divert after he’s charged $12 for a blanket – CNN.com

Natural gas plant to rise where coal once fell in Masontown – Post Gazette

Hatfield’s Ferry, a large Greene County coal plant shuttered in 2013, has drawn the attention of a New Jersey power developer that plans to build a large natural gas plant on the site. APV Renaissance Partners, a subsidiary of American Power Ventures, said it plans to submit a permit to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection within the next month for a combined-cycle power plant. David Neurohr, a spokesman for APV, would only say that it’s a “redevelopment project” whose details would be disclosed at a public information meeting on April 5, between 5 and 8 p.m., at the Carmichaels and Cumberland Township Volunteer Fire Department. However, in late January, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Valley Forge-based grid operator that manages the flow of electricity for 13 states

Source: Natural gas plant to rise where coal once fell in Masontown

Ax attack at Düsseldorf main train station | News | DW.COM | 09.03.2017

Police converged on Düsseldorf’s main railway station after an attacker with an ax injured seven people. Authorities believe the 36-year-old suspect they detained acted alone.Police in Düsseldorf have arrested a man who allegedly went on a rampage with an ax at the city’s main station on Thursday night that left at least seven people injured.

The suspect jumped from a bridge in an attempt to escape police. He was brought to a nearby hospital with severe injuries.

Düsseldorf police later identified the suspect as a 36-year-old man “from the former Yugoslavia” who lives in the nearby city of Wuppertal. Investigators said they believe the man likely acted alone “based on the current state of investigations.”

“The suspect seems to have psychological problems,” they said in a statement.

Source: Ax attack at Düsseldorf main train station | News | DW.COM | 09.03.2017

Huntsman offered job of ambassador to Russia, White House official says – The Washington Post

March 8 at 8:42 PM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has offered former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman the position as U.S. ambassador to Russia, a high-profile and sensitive post amid investigations into the contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.Trump made the offer to Huntsman earlier this week, according to a White House official not authorized to discuss the move publicly until it is announced. Huntsman has indicated that he will accept the post, the official said Wednesday. The former governor did not immediately return a request for comment.

Huntsman has twice before served as an ambassador. He was the nation’s top diplomat to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and then served in that role in China under President Barack Obama. Huntsman, who ran for president in 2012, was also briefly under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of state.

Source: Huntsman offered job of ambassador to Russia, White House official says – The Washington Post

St. Paul-bound Amtrak train freed from giant North Dakota snowbank – Twin Cities

RUGBY, N.D. —  On the fourth attempt, an Amtrak train carrying 111 passengers that was stuck almost 13 hours in a 25-foot-high northern North Dakota snowbank was on its way to other eastward stops on Wednesday night.

Three attempts failed earlier in the day after heavy snow and two days of fierce winds plugged the tracks with a  200-foot-long snowbank.

The St. Paul- and Chicago-bound Empire Builder train got stuck five miles west of Rugby in north-central North Dakota at about 7 a.m. and was finally dug out about 6:45 p.m., according to Amy McBeth, BNSF public relations director for the Minneapolis region.

BNSF inspected the train for any damages and the train was moving again at about 7:45 p.m.

Source: St. Paul-bound Amtrak train freed from giant North Dakota snowbank – Twin Cities

Private Space Stations Could Orbit the Moon by 2020, Robert Bigelow Says

Giant space-station refueling depots could be orbiting the moon by 2020, but only if the Trump administration makes the funding and national drive needed for it to happen a priority, according to aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow, whose company, Bigelow Aerospace, has launched three private space-habitat prototypes into orbit — includingthe first inflatable space-station module, said that a commercial station in lunar orbit would be a vital destination for moon exploration.

“The key is going to be how fast the Trump administration can react,” Bigelow said in an interview Friday (March 3). The administration would have to move quickly “to energize funds and to galvanize the private sector” to make a lunar depot by end of 2020 possible, he added. [Bigelow Aerospace’s Inflatable Space Station Idea (Photos)]

Source: Private Space Stations Could Orbit the Moon by 2020, Robert Bigelow Says

Obamacare revision clears first hurdle in House committee early Thursday – The Washington Post

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 23 to 16 to advance the American Health Care Act shortly before 4:30 a.m. Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) called the move historic and praised President Trump, who has vowed to counter resistance to the bill with his own campaign-style effort.

Source: Obamacare revision clears first hurdle in House committee early Thursday – The Washington Post

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