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    So much for an abrupt U.S. pullout from Syria. One month ago President Donald Trump surprised many, including some in his own administration, by announcing, 'We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.' He insisted that the time had come for the U.S. military to shift its focus away from Syria. But on Tuesday, it was clear that something or someone had changed Trump's mind. The president said at a White House news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at his side that before the U.S. withdraws from Syria, 'we want to leave a strong and lasting footprint.' This long-term approach, he added, was 'a very big part' of his conversation with Macron, who told reporters that he and Trump now agree that the Syria problem involves more than Trump's priority of ridding the country of Islamic State extremists. The two leaders indicated that they see Syria as part of a broader problem of instability in the Middle East, which includes Iran's role in Syria and Iraq. That kind of strategic thinking bears little resemblance to Trump's words in late March when he said it was time to leave Syria to others. 'We got to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be,' he said March 29. His comments raised questions about U.S. intentions, including its commitment to the Syrian Kurds who have been the main U.S. proxy in fighting IS in Syria and who face an uncertain future. Since then, Trump has taken a markedly different course, including bombing three suspected chemical weapons sites in western Syria on April 13. In announcing that action, Trump said he was committed, along with France and Britain, to using 'all instruments of our national power — military, economic and diplomatic' — to deter Syria from again using chemical weapons. And he said the U.S. would 'sustain' this effort for as long as it takes. Two days later, Macron said France had persuaded Trump to stay in Syria and launch the airstrikes. 'Ten days ago, President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria. We convinced him to remain,' the French president said. In responding to Macron's comments, the White House stressed that Trump's plans had not changed and he still wanted U.S. forces to 'come home as quickly as possible.' On Tuesday Trump seemed to step even further away from his March remarks. After saying he would 'love to get out' of Syria, and claiming the U.S. had 'done a big favor' for Iraq and other countries in Syria's neighborhood by hammering IS, Trump said he and Macron discussed the downside of leaving. 'Emmanuel and myself have discussed the fact that we don't want to give Iran open season to the Mediterranean, especially since we really control it,' Trump said. His comment echoed a concern shared by others, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, that withdrawing from Syria now, while Syria's political crisis is unresolved, would cede ground to Iran and enable its ambition to establish an overland pathway to the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria. Trump stuck to his view that Arab nations should do more to prevent Iran from 'profiting off' the U.S. success against IS. Even after Trump's talk last month of a quick exit, Mattis stuck to his approach, arguing that U.S. strategic goals had not changed. He told a congressional hearing on April 12 that the Trump administration remained committed to finding a political solution to Syria's seven-year-old civil war. 'Our strategy remains the same as a year ago,' he said. 'It is to drive this to a U.N.-brokered peace, but, at the same time, keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it.' On Tuesday, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, Col. Ryan Dillon, told reporters at the Pentagon that the United States is not slowing down in Syria. In fact, he said, the number of U.S. airstrikes against remaining pockets of IS fighters in eastern Syria had increased in the past week.
  • Are you ready to make your mark on Atlanta’s film and TV industry? Are you the next Tyler Perry? ATL is in need of young stars. Check out the Peach City’s latest casting call for your chance at fame.  » RELATED: 9 big movies filming in Georgia in 2017 ‘What Men Want’ Taraji P. Henson will star with Tracy Morgan and Aldis Hodge in the comedy “What Men Want,” according to Variety. The movie is inspired by the 2000 romantic comedy “What Women Want,” which starred Mel Gibson as a marketing executive who could hear what women are thinking. In “What Men Want,” the roles are reserved, and Henson, who portrays a sports agent, can hear men’s thoughts.  What are they looking for? Men age 23-40 that have an ‘80s look – such as long hair (Afro), side burns, mustache, etc. – with no dreads or twists are needed. You’ll be in a flashback photo scene portraying a boxing teammate. You don’t have to have boxing experience, but you’ll need to have an average/fit body and a flat belly. » RELATED: This is what it's really like to work as an extra in Atlanta When are they filming? A photo session will be held in Decatur on April 27 at a time to be determined. You’ll need to have open availability. How much does it pay? Pay is $75 for eight hours. How do I submit? Send an email to WMW.Mhc@gmail.com with the subject line “flashback 4/27.” Include three full-length photos of you holding a sign that has today’s date. Also provide your name, age, phone number, height, weight and your location/distance to Decatur.  » RELATED: 10 reasons to seek a job in Atlanta’s TV and film industry
  • Here are some of the deadliest mass murders in recent Canadian history: April 23, 2018: A man drives a white van for about a mile along a crowded Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people and seriously injuring at least 13 others. Police arrest suspect Alek Minassian. The motive remains unclear. Jan. 29, 2017: Six people are killed and eight injured when a man goes on a shooting rampage at a Quebec City mosque. University student Alexandre Bissonnette, who had taken far-right political positions on social media, pleads guilty. June 4, 2015: A man uses a semi-automatic rifle to fatally shoot three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and wound two others in Moncton, New Brunswick. It's the deadliest attack on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since four officers were killed by a gunman in the western province of Alberta in 2005. That attack remains the deadliest on Canadian police officers in 120 years. Dec. 29, 2014: In the worst mass shooting in Edmonton, a man suspected of domestic violence shoots and kills six adults and two young children in two different homes before killing himself in a restaurant where he worked. April 5, 1996: Angered by his wife's divorce action, Mark Chahal kills her and eight other members of her family in Vernon, British Columbia, before shooting himself. Sept. 18, 1992: A bomb kills nine strike-breaking workers at the Giant Yellowknife gold mine in the Northwest Territories. Dec. 6, 1989: A man with a semi-automatic rifle storms into an engineering classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, asks men to leave and then kills 14 women before turning the gun on himself. Gunman Marc Lepine says he was 'fighting against feminists' he blamed for his troubles. Sept. 1, 1972: An arson attack on a downtown Montreal night club kills 37 people and injures 64. Gasoline was spread on the stairway of Blue Bird Cafe and then ignited. Most of the deaths occurred in the Wagon Wheel country-western bar upstairs. Three young men from Montreal who had earlier been denied entry for drunkenness were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. ___ Replaces 1996 entry to correct name of shooter to Mark Chahal.
  • Details have begun to emerge about Alek Minassian, who was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 of attempted murder for driving a van into a crowded sidewalk in Toronto. Here is a look at the 25-year-old suspect in one of the worst mass killings in Canada's modern history. ___ A YOUNG MAN FROM SUBURBAN TORONTO, AND A STUNNED FAMILY Minassian lived with his family in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, on a street of sizeable, well-tended brick homes. Police say he had no criminal record before Monday. His father, Vahe Minassian, wept and seemed stunned as he watched as his son, showing little emotion, make a brief court appearance Tuesday and be ordered held without bail. When his father was asked later whether he had any message for the families of the people killed and injured, he said quietly: 'I'm sorry.' ____ A 'SOCIALLY AWKWARD' STUDENT Minassian attended Seneca College, according to his LinkedIn profile; a spokeswoman for the Toronto-area school didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about him Tuesday. Another student, Joseph Pham, told The Toronto Star that Minassian was in a computer programming class with him just last week. Pham described Minassian as a 'socially awkward' student who kept to himself: 'He didn't really talk to anyone.' Before college, Minassian attended Thornlea Secondary School in Richmond Hill, graduating in 2011. A Thornlea classmate, Ari Blaff, told CBC News he recalls Minassian was 'sort of in the background,' not the center of any particular group of friends. 'He wasn't overly social,' Blaff told the news broadcaster. Both Thornlea and Seneca declined to discuss him Tuesday. ____ A STINT IN THE MILITARY Minassian joined the Canadian Armed Forces last year, but his stay was brief. The Department of National Defence says he was a member of the military from Aug. 23 to Oct. 25, but didn't complete his recruit training. He asked to be voluntarily released after 16 days, the department said. ___ A BITTERNESS TOWARD WOMEN? Shortly before Monday's attack on a crowded Toronto street, a chilling post appeared on Minassian's now-deleted Facebook account saluting Elliot Rodger, a community college student who killed six people and wounded 13 in shooting and stabbing attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, before apparently shooting himself to death in 2014. Calling Rodger 'the Supreme Gentleman,' the Facebook post declared: 'The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!' The 22-year-old Rodger had used the term 'incel' — for involuntarily celibate — in online posts raging at women for rejecting him romantically. Like-minded people in internet forums sometimes use 'Chad' and 'Stacy' as dismissive slang for men and women with more robust sex lives. Monday's Facebook post mentions that 'Private (Recruit) Minassian' is speaking, and Facebook confirmed that the post was on an account that belonged to the suspect. The social networking site took down his account after the attack, saying in a statement Tuesday, 'There is absolutely no place on our platform for people who commit such horrendous acts.
  • Spelman College is known for producing women who succeed across many career fields including entertainment, science and mathematics. One graduate is continuing the tradition as one of the youngest Chick-fil-A franchise owners in the nation. » RELATED: Notable Spelman graduates  Ashley Derby, who grew up in Marietta, is the new franchise operator of a chain in Los Angeles, bringing the downtown area its first location.  This isn’t the first time she has made history. In 2011 at age 26, she became the youngest African-American female franchise owner in the history of the company. Derby began her career at the fast food restaurant at age 15 as a team member. The goal was to earn extra money to buy a car, but she continued working there throughout her years at Spelman.  Although she was initially a theater major, she switched to economics after one of her bosses pulled her aside to encourage her to pursue positions in leadership with the company.  » RELATED: Quiz: How much do you know about Spelman College Following graduation, she spent three years completing Chick-fil-A management and development programs, which helped her become the owner and operator of a location near the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  Now, she’s preparing to set up shop at a new spot.  “The energy in downtown L.A. is palpable,” Derby said in a press release. “I cannot wait to become a part of this growing neighborhood, and I look forward to welcoming our guests with hand-crafted food and hospitality.” The 6,500-square-foot building, which will be located at 7th & Figueroa, will employ about 80 full- and part-time employees and have seating for up to 80 people. The grand opening is Thursday, Apr. 26.  In the meantime, learn more about the Atlantan’s journey below. » RELATED: VOTE: What is the best Atlanta-based restaurant chain?
  • A Greek prosecutor has ordered an investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement in the local branch of UNICEF. UNICEF said last week it was 'terminating its arrangements' with its national committee in Greece 'due to concerns arising out of a recent independent audit.' UNICEF said in a statement it has concluded that 'the necessary reforms' in the Greek committee won't be achieved. It offered no further details. An Athens prosecutor ordered the probe Tuesday following claims by the head of UNICEF's Greek committee that an audit of the local branch's finances revealed alleged mismanagement. UNICEF has said it will continue its work with children in Greece through its regional office for Europe and central Asia, in collaboration with the Greek government and civil society partners.
  • Kevin Hart is known for starring in box office hits, but this week, he took on a smaller role in a J. Cole music video that references his past infidelities.  » RELATED: Kevin Hart apologizes to wife, kids following cheating rumors On Friday, the rapper released his fifth studio album “KOD,” and it features the standout track “Kevin’s Heart,” which alludes to the comedian’s public cheating scandals.  In the five-minute visuals, the actor makes several public appearance, including at a grocery store and restaurant, where he is watched by people who openly remind him of his previous marital affairs. While at least two women attempt to lure him with her beauty, another man encourages the 38-year-old to learn from his mistakes. When Hart finally makes it home without succumbing to temptation, the clouds form the phrase “Choose Wisely” in the sky.  Last September, the “Night School” star uploaded an Instagram post to apologize to his then-pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, and children for a video that was allegedly “sexually provocative” and showed him with another woman.  He said someone attempted to blackmail him and admitted he “made a bad error in judgement.”  “I put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did,” he said.  The couple is still married, and they welcomed their first child together last November.  » RELATED: Photos: J. Cole performs in Atlanta
  • President Donald Trump and Iran's top diplomat traded sharp warnings on Tuesday, with Trump threatening 'bigger problems' than ever if Tehran restarts its nuclear program. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif put the president on notice, telling The Associated Press if the U.S. pulls out of the nuclear deal, Iran 'mostly likely' would abandon it, too. In a wide-ranging interview, Zarif said a U.S. withdrawal from the landmark 2015 accord would undermine Trump's talks with North Korea by proving that America reneges on its promises. He said if Trump re-imposes sanctions, 'basically killing the deal,' Iran would no longer be bound by the pact's international obligations, freeing it up to resume enrichment far beyond the deal's strict limits. 'If the United States were to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the immediate consequence in all likelihood would be that Iran would reciprocate and withdraw,' Zarif said. He added: 'There won't be any deal for Iran to stay in.' As Zarif spoke in New York on Tuesday, Trump was meeting at the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been leading an effort by France, Britain and Germany to find 'fixes' to the deal that would satisfy Trump's objections. Few expect such a solution can be found by May 12, the date on which Trump has said he'll leave the deal if there's no fix agreed to with the Europeans. 'No one knows what I'm going to do on the 12th, although Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea,' Trump said, referring to Macron. He said if he does withdraw, he would look to see 'if it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations, because this is a deal with decayed foundations.' In a bleak warning to Tehran, Trump added that if Iran ever threatens the United States, 'they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid.' Iran has been working feverishly to frame Trump's expected withdrawal as a major blot on the United States, just as America's closest allies in Europe try to persuade the president not to rip it up. U.S. and European officials say they've made major progress on two of Trump's demands — on nuclear inspections and Iran's ballistic missiles program. But talks have stalemated on Trump's third demand: that the deal be extended in perpetuity, rather than letting restrictions on Tehran to 'sunset' after several years. Iran has outright rejected any changes to the deal, arguing that it's unfair to impose more demands beyond what Tehran agreed to already. Trump's strategy relies on the assumption that if the U.S. and the Europeans unilaterally agree to new demands, Iran will back down and voluntarily comply in order to continue enjoying the benefits. Under the 2015 deal brokered by President Barack Obama and world powers, Iran agreed to nuclear restrictions in exchange for billions in sanctions relief. And even if a so-called add-on deal with the Europeans is achieved, there is no guarantee it will satisfy Trump. His closest aides have said they can't predict with certainty what conditions would be enough to keep him in the pact. As Trump prepares for a high-stakes summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un aimed at resolving nuclear weapons concerns, Zarif emphasized that U.S. credibility was at stake. He said Iran would welcome lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but that Trump was showing the world that the U.S. is 'not a trustworthy, reliable negotiating partner.' 'They're prepared to take everything that you've given, then renege on the promises that they have made in the deal,' Zarif said. 'That makes the United States a rather unlikely partner in any international agreement. And unfortunately this track record is not just limited to the nuclear deal. It includes the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a lot of other freely undertaken commitments of the United States.' Iran has long insisted its nuclear program was peaceful and not oriented toward building weapons. Yet in the interview, Zarif suggested that those concerned that Tehran was racing toward a bomb would have much more to fear if it were no longer bound by limits on its enrichment and processing. 'It would be a completely different situation, from the perspective of those who made a lot of noise about Iran's nuclear program to begin with,' he said. He also pointed out that if Trump upends the nuclear deal, Iran could also choose to leave the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Iran signed that treaty decades ago, and though Zarif said Iran's government isn't advocating an exit, it is 'one of the options that is being advocated by some' in Iran. Zarif spoke to the AP at the official residence of Iran's ambassador to the U.N., alongside Central Park. The top Iranian diplomat is in the United States this week on a long-shot bid to try to salvage the deal, while laying the groundwork for the United States to bear the blame on the global stage if Trump ultimately pulls out. Addressing the conflict in Yemen, he said Iran is urging 'everybody' to stop attacking civilian areas — including the Houthis. The Iran-backed Shiite rebels control much of Yemen and have been lobbing missiles at Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition fighting the Houthis with support from the U.S. The Trump administration and others insist that Iran is illicitly funneling missiles and other weapons to the Houthis, a charge that Tehran has repeatedly denied. 'All over, no matter where you go in the Middle East, you see the fingerprints of Iran behind problems,' Trump said. His ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has paraded missile parts ostensibly recovered in Saudi Arabia in front of reporters and U.N. Security Council diplomats, arguing that they bear markings and other characteristics proving their Iranian origin. But Zarif laughed off her claims. 'I'm not saying Ambassador Haley is fabricating, but somebody is fabricating the evidence she is showing,' Zarif said. As Trump pushes to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Zarif gave no signs that Iran plans to do the same. The Iranian military advisers and Iran-backed Shiite militias aiding Syrian President Bashar Assad are a profound concern for the United States and its closest Mideast ally, Israel. 'We are there as long as that objective needs our presence, and as long as the Syrian government asks us to be there,' Zarif said.
  • Paleontologists from Bulgaria and Macedonia are excavating the fossilized remains of a prehistoric elephant believed to pre-date the mammoth, after its bones were discovered accidentally by a man working in a field. Scientists at the Natural Science Museum of Macedonia and the Natural History Museum of Sofia said Tuesday they began excavating the skeleton in Dolni Disan in central Macedonia last Friday. They estimated the animal would have weighed about 10 tons and have been about 50 years old at the time of its death, roughly 8 million years ago during the Miocene epoch. Biljana Garevska of the Natural Science Museum in Skopje said the fossil was of one of the elephant's ancestors which roamed the region at a time when it was covered by African-like savannah.
  • Since 2017, Essence magazine has honored influencers for its “Woke 100 Women” list, and this year, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made the cut. » RELATED: Who is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms? The second annual round-up was released earlier this month and highlights artists, leaders and executives “who are proven change agents, shape-shifters and power players across the nation and beyond.”  Bottoms, 48, was saluted for “fighting the good fight” and encouraging black women to run for office. She beat  City Councilwoman Mary Norwood last year to become Atlanta’s 60th mayor. “We don’t recognize our own power as women. We organically lead in our communities, we lead in our churches, we lead in our workplace, we lead in our families. Too often we look to other people to lead in a very public way. Don’t be afraid to fail. You’re already leading,” Bottoms once said about black women and politics.  The politician was thrilled to be celebrated and expressed her gratitude on Twitter. “What an honor to even be spoken in the same breath as these incredible women,” she wrote.  The mayor is among a group that includes singers Chloe x Halle, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and activist Erica Garner, who received posthumous recognition.  Want to know who else got a nod? Take a look at the full list here.  » RELATED: Two Georgia women make Essence magazine’s ‘Woke 100’ list
  • A huge four-alarm fire broke out in New York City's Bronx borough early Tuesday, blazing through businesses in Fordham. >> Read more trending news 
  • Can’t wait until you get home to open that package you ordered? You’re in luck: Amazon announced Tuesday that it is now offering in-car package delivery.  >> Read more trending news 
  • Investigators in Broken Arrow need your help tracking down a missing woman.   It’s believed she could be in serious trouble.   In a press release, police say Justin Korf forcibly took Morgan Rower out of her home during a domestic dispute.  The scene reportedly happened at a residence on North 30th Street last night around 9:30 p.m. “The most recent information we have describes Morgan as a 29-year-old white female, approximately 5'2' and 102lbs, with blonde hair and blue eyes,” police said in the release. “The suspect is described as a 36-year-old white male, 6’2” and 175lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes.” His vehicle is said to be a white 1999 Dodge Durango bearing Oklahoma license plate BAX210.  Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to call the Broken Arrow Police Department at at 918-259-8400.          
  • For the second time in a week, late decisions by a pair of GOP Senators provided the margin of victory for a nominee of President Donald Trump, as after fears of a rare confirmation rebuke, Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday got in line behind the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State, setting up a vote later this week for his confirmation in the full Senate. The key votes were delivered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – who last week made a late switch to help salvage the nomination of Mr. Trump’s choice to run NASA – and by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who had talked for weeks that he would never vote to shift the CIA Director over to the post of Secretary of State. But after a late lobbying effort by President Trump, Paul stuck with the White House on Pompeo. Per source w/ knowledge: @POTUS called @RandPaul multiple times today. This may be the clearest personal role @POTUS has had in changing the outcome of a vote. (Pompeo.) — Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) April 23, 2018 “I have changed my mind,” Paul said at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Back in March when the President fired Rex Tillerson from the Secretary of State’s job, Paul had made clear he was not going to vote for Pompeo, worried the CIA chief was too set on excessively using U.S. military force around the world. Labeling Pompeo a “neocon,” Paul had said at the time that he would not vote for the CIA chief, worried that Pompeo was too much like the Republican Party that strongly backed with war in Iraq on Saddam Hussein. “I simply cannot support Pompeo’s nomination to be our chief diplomat,” the Kentucky Republican made clear. But after talks with Pompeo and the President, Paul gave in. The late changes saved the GOP from an embarrassing foreign policy setback for the President – at a time when he is hosting the French President, and will later in the week receive the German Chancellor. “He is extremely qualified for the position,” the President’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued for Pompeo, as she joined GOP Senators in reminding Democrats of the bipartisan votes for past Secretaries of State. “John Kerry was confirmed 94-3. Hillary Clinton was confirmed 94-2. Condoleezza Rice was confirmed 85-13. Colin Powell was confirmed unanimously by voice vote,” Sanders told reporters. The turn of events came hours after the President had blasted Democrats for delaying many of his nominees, by stretching out debate time on the Senate floor, leaving little time for work on legislation. Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018 While the President accurately nicked the Democrats for slow-walking many nominations on the Senate floor, certain high-profile choices like Pompeo, Jim Bridenstine for NASA, and Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell have been held up in the Senate not because of Democrats – but because of a lack of unity among Republicans. For example, Grenell’s nomination was sent to the Senate floor back on January 18. While Democrats did object to action in March, there has been no effort by Senate Republicans to hold a vote – which likely means there aren’t fifty votes for his nomination. When Monday began, that was in question for Pompeo as well, but the support of Paul, Flake, and a handful of Democrats, means the President will get his Secretary of State. “The President deserves to have a Secretary of State that agrees with him or her, in general, on a foreign policy direction,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), as he argued for Pompeo’s approval. There was a bit of irony, as Rubio last week had been one of the holdouts on the President choice to run NASA – a reminder, that with a 51-49 advantage in the Senate, and the absence of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republicans can’t afford to lose more than one vote on anything in the U.S. Senate.
  • A website ranks the number of fatal DUI crashes around the U-S, and the news for Oklahoma is not good. The site ValuePenguin says we have the 10th highest rate of fatal alcohol-related wrecks with nearly 5 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents. Montana, ranked number one, has just over 8 per 100,000. North Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama, and New Mexico round out the top 5. New York had the least number of fatal DUI crashes with just 1.4 per 100,000. They say there's one fatal DUI wreck every 50 minutes in the U.S. You can read more about the story here.