A few hundred civilians have fled their homes in the outskirts of western Mosul, the first reported displacement since a U.S.-backed offensive on the jihadists’ remaining stronghold there began at the weekend. A Reuters correspondent saw about 200 women and children being transported on buses by federal police on Wednesday to the town of Hammam al-Alil, some 20 km (12 miles) south of Mosul, where camps have been set up. The federal police and elite Interior Ministry units known as Rapid Response have made quick progress towards western Mosul in a sweep from the south through hilly desert terrain since fighting resumed on Sunday.
Turkey said Wednesday fewer than 100 jihadists were still holed up in the flashpoint Islamic-State Syrian town of Al-Bab, as rebel commanders predicted its capture was imminent. The fight for Al-Bab has seen the bloodiest clashes of Ankara's half-year campaign inside the conflict-torn country and its capture would be one of the most significant reverses for Islamic State in Syria. Speaking to NTV television, Defence Minister Fikri Isik said half of the town of Al-Bab was in the hands of Turkish troops and allied pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, after the government repeatedly said it was "largely under control".
Donald Trump's controversial statements linking immigration and crime in Sweden, a country idealised by some for its liberal values, have sparked the nation to weigh the successes and failures of its integration policy. Two days after the US president's baffling remarks on Saturday in Florida, where he suggested an attack had hit the Scandinavian country the previous evening, riots broke out in the immigrant-heavy northern Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby. "Trump right about Sweden after all! Riot breaks out in Stockholm suburb," Republican commentator Ann Coulter wrote triumphantly on Twitter on Tuesday.
Thousands of activists have marched in Kiev to honor protesters who were killed during the pro-European Maidan demonstrations in 2013-14 and to challenge the government. The March of National Dignity was organized by three nationalist parties — Svoboda (Freedom), the National Corps and Right Sector. Activists gathered on Kiev’s central Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) early on February 22 and began marching toward Parliament, where they planned to announce their demands to lawmakers, the cabinet, and President Petro Poroshenko.
A security scare over the safety of outspoken far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders emerged Wednesday just three weeks before a knife-edge election, after a police agent was arrested for leaking information about him to a Moroccan gang. Wilders, who has courted controversy with his hardline anti-Islam, anti-immigrant stance and his incendiary insults against Moroccans and Turks, has long been under 24-hour police protection. On Saturday, Wilders upped the tone at the launch of his official campaign, denouncing "a lot of Moroccan scum who make the streets unsafe".
For the sixth year in a row Toyota's luxury marque has topped the annual JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. With an overall average score of 110, Lexus is once again the most reliable marque in the US, however this year it tied with Porsche. Away from luxury carmakers, Toyota came out top of the mainstream marques (and third overall) with a score of 123, just ahead of Buick (126) and Mercedes-Benz (131).
Texas has a new plan for its 2.5 million feral hogs: total annihilation. Sid Miller, the state's agriculture commissioner, just approved a pesticide — called "Kaput Feral Hog Lure" — for statewide use. "The 'hog apocalypse' may finally be on the horizon," Miller said in a statement on Tuesday. SEE ALSO: First human-pig chimeras created, sparking hopes for transplantable organs — and debate "This solution is long overdue," he added. "Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years." Texas's agriculture commission estimates that feral hogs cause $52 million in damage each year to agricultural businesses by tearing up crops and pastures, knocking down fences and ruining equipment. The so-called hog lure is derived from warfarin, a blood-thinning agent that's also used to kill rats and mice in homes and buildings. Animals don't die immediately from eating the odorless, tasteless chemical. That would be too kind. Instead, they keep eating it until the anti-clotting properties cause them to bleed to death internally. This week, Miller approved a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code that allows landowners and agricultural producers to use Kaput — essentially warfarin-laced pellets — to keep feral hogs off their property. Not on my watch, hogs. Image: mark thompson/Getty Images Proponents of the hog toxicant, including the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, say it's an effective tool because it's only strong enough to kill the swine, and not other wildlife populations or livestock. In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered Kaput's hog bait under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, a move that made the product available for general use. Still, environmentalists and hog hunters alike staunchly oppose using warfarin to stamp out Texas's feral pig problem. Pigs poop, after all, and other animals could ingest the warfarin along the way. Some Texans hunt the pigs for sport and food, and they're worried about eating poisoned swine. "For Texas to introduce a poison into the equation is a bad decision in our opinion and could likely contaminate humans who unknowingly process and eat feral hogs," the Texas Hog Hunters Association said in a Change.org petition to block the rule change. MIke and his big ole boar from yesterday. Lamar county Texas https://t.co/jQoS5JbtnQ pic.twitter.com/2SeAKs7zbh — TX Hog Hunters Assn. (@texashoghunters) February 14, 2017 Louisiana might become the next state to use Kaput to quell its feral hog population, which worries state wildlife veterinarian Jim LaCour. He said local black bears and raccoons could easily lift the lid to the cages containing the warfarin-laced pellets. "We do have very serious concerns about non-target species," LaCour told the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. "When the hogs eat, they're going to drop crumbs on the outside, where small rodents can get them and not only intoxicate themselves but also birds of prey that eat them. Since the poison will be on the landscape for weeks on end, the chances of these birds eating multiple affected animals is pretty good," he told the newspaper. The pesticide's manufacturer, Scimetrics Ltd. Corp., assures the pesticide is safe for humans and wildlife — just not for feral pigs.
(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said on Wednesday it would offer its high-speed wireless 5G network to certain customers in 11 U.S. cities in the first half of 2017. Verizon will begin pilot testing 5G "pre-commercial services" in cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The company had said last July that it laid out plans to conduct trials for its 5G network this year. AT&T Inc said in January that it planned to test its high-speed wireless 5G network for customers of its online streaming television service, DirecTv Now, in Austin, Texas.