6 INJURED! BOEING JET CRASH-LANDS AT GUYANA AIRPORT.

A Boeing jetliner carrying 126 people crash-landed at the airport in Guyana's capital Georgetown on Friday, injuring six people, the transport minister said. The Fly Jamaica Airways plane was bound for Toronto when it suffered a hydraulic problem shortly after takeoff and returned to the airport, crashing and skidding off the runway, Transportation Minister David Patterson said.

He said the injuries were not life-threatening and the wounded were taken to a hospital near the airport in this country bordering Venezuela to the east. "They are all stable and are being looked at. There were no reports of broken bones," Patterson told a news briefing at the airport. The 118 passengers on board the Boeing 757-200 included 82 Canadians. There were eight crew members aboard. After departing at 2:10 am, the pilot reported a problem with the hydraulic system 10 minutes into the flight.

Syria War: Army Frees  19 IS Hostages - State Media
The Syrian army has freed 19 women and children held hostage since July by so-called Islamic State, state media say.

They say the captives were rescued when troops launched an operation north-east of the desert city of Palmyra. The hostages were seized during an IS attack in the southern Suweida region. More than 200 people were killed. Suweida is a stronghold of the Druze religious minority, and the captives were drawn from this community.

Thursday's reports in the state media have not been independently confirmed. There were originally more than 30 hostages. Six were freed last month, others escaped and at least one was reportedly killed by IS militants.

Over the past year, IS fighters have lost most of the land they once held across Syria and neighbouring Iraq. At the peak of the group's power, about 10 million people lived in IS-controlled areas, but the US military said earlier this year that the jihadists had been ousted from 98% of their former territory.

Pakistan Blasphemy Case: Asia Bibi Freed  from Jail
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row, has been freed from prison.

Last week's Supreme Court ruling sparked violent protests from Islamists and the government agreed to their demand to stop her leaving Pakistan. News of her release led to some confusion, with reports she had been taken to another country. But the foreign office later said she was still in Pakistan.

The case is highly sensitive and Information Minister Fawad Hussein said journalists had been "extremely irresponsible" in reporting she had left the country without official confirmation.

Those reports were based on comments from her lawyer, Saiful Malook, who has been granted temporary asylum in the Netherlands after facing death threats.

California Shooting: Trump Orders Flags at Half-Staff; Dems Demand Action, 'When Will Enough Be Enough?'

On the heels of the second high-profile mass shooting in two weeks, this one at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, that killed 12, Democrats in Congress took to social media Thursday to urge -- and plead -- for legislative action.

Sen. Chris Murphy, the Democrat from Connecticut who represented the state in 2012 when a shooter at a Newtown elementary school killed 20 children and six adults, said his congressional colleagues are "blind" and silence on gun violence is "unconscionable."

President Donald Trump, who called the California shooting "terrible" in a tweet Thursday morning, ordered flags be flown at half-staff until Saturday at sunset as "a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence" in response to the shooting. Trump also commended the "great bravery shown by police" and said Helus, the first officer to enter, was "shot numerous times." Helus, survived by his wife and son, was looking to retire next year, the sheriff's office said.

In the latest massacre, at a country bar's college night late Wednesday in a Los Angeles suburb, a lone shooter burst in tossing what appeared to be smoke bombs and firing dozens of rounds, witnesses and authorities said. Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran who was one of the first on the scene, was among the dead, according to police. The suspect, 28-year-old Ian David Long, was also found dead inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, police said.

California Shooting: Ex-Marine Ian David Long Identified as Suspect

A US Marine Corps veteran with suspected mental health issues killed 12 people in a busy bar in California, including a policeman, officials say.

The shooting began at 23:20 local time on Wednesday in Thousand Oaks about 40 miles (65km) north-west of Los Angeles. At least 200 people were reportedly inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, which was hosting a student line-dancing night.

Police named the suspect as 28-year-old Ian David Long.Earlier this year, police mental health professionals cleared him after he was found behaving "irrationally" at his home, said authorities.

Trump-Russia Probe 'Under Threat' After Sessions Fired
The US inquiry into alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 election could be under threat after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, top opposition Democrats say.

Nancy Pelosi, who leads Democrats in the House of Representatives, called the decision a "blatant attempt" to end or impede the investigation. The probe has been criticised by Mr Sessions's successor Matthew Whitaker. The Democrats, who won the House in the mid-terms, have vowed to protect it.

Some Republicans appear to have shared the Democrats' concern over the future of the inquiry, which is being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said it should not be impeded in any way.

Mr Mueller is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, resulting in a series of criminal charges against several Trump associates.

Mr Trump has vehemently denied any collusion took place, and repeatedly called for the inquiry to be shut down, calling it "the greatest political witch hunt in history". Democrats see this latest move as an attempt to do just that.

Trump Considering  Attorney General Replacements
President Donald Trump is considering former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to replace fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sources familiar with the matter said.

Trump fired Sessions on Wednesday without immediately naming a replacement, instead installing Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

Both Christie and Bondi are longtime political allies of the President's and were initially considered contenders for the Justice Department perch during the transition.

If nominated, Christie, a former US attorney, could face similar calls to the ones Sessions faced to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation given his role as a prominent 2016 campaign surrogate for Trump. But unlike Sessions, there is no indication he had contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign or transition.

Trump Reviewing  His Answers to Mueller as He Changes Who Oversees the Russia Investigation

As he was preparing to remove Jeff Sessions as attorney general, President Donald Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller.

The move to replace Sessions with Matt Whitaker, who has been openly critical of the special counsel, comes as the White House braces for a return of public activity on the Russia investigation following a pre-election quiet period, according to people briefed on the matter.

As acting attorney general, Whitaker also now takes over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's role in overseeing the special counsel probe, which officials inside the Justice Department and lawyers representing witnesses believe is moving closer to a conclusion.
Simon Coveney: Brexit Border Deal 'Not for Granted'
The Irish foreign minister has warned against expectations of an imminent breakthrough in the Brexit talks. Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Simon Coveney said a deal on the border "is not necessarily to be taken for granted, not by a long shot".

Speaking in Dublin, he appealed to people "not to get carried away" on the basis of rumour. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is confident a deal can be made to avoid a hard border.

Although 95% of a Brexit deal is said to be agreed, the UK and the EU have yet to agree on how to guarantee that there will be no return to visible infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in future.

Both sides agreed to put in place a "backstop", also referred to as an insurance policy, that would only be triggered if a future trade deal is not in place by the end of 2020 - or if this final deal does not ensure a "frictionless" border. One option being considered is for the whole of the UK to remain temporarily aligned to the EU customs union, avoiding the need for customs checks at the border.

US Man Wins Three Times in One Day  Playing Scratch Cards
A US man struck it more than lucky by bagging a $5m prize on a scratch card - then buying more tickets on the same day and twice winning again, lottery officials say. In August, Robert Stewart purchased several scratch cards from his local shop in New Jersey. After winning the top prize he had another go, sealing $500 and $100. The retired union worker says he plans to help friends and family with the winnings.

Iraq's PM Picks Five Ministers from Online Applications
The Iraqi prime minister has picked five members of his cabinet from among thousands of online applicants. Adel Abdul Mahdi was asked to form a government in October, ending months of deadlock after inconclusive elections.

Mr Mahdi said more than 15,000 people had applied for five of 14 cabinet posts after he announced the opportunity on his personal Facebook account. They were also asked to describe projects they had overseen, outline their thoughts on what makes a successful leader and how they would tackle the problems their ministry is facing. Iraq is facing a multitude of domestic problems, including high unemployment, corruption and rebuilding after the devastation left by the Islamic State group and the long war to defeat it.

Dubai Police Start Training on Flying Motorbikes
A year after California-based startup Hoversurf showcased its hoverbike at tech expo GITEX in the white and green livery of the Dubai Police, the company has returned with a new model and evidence its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle might be, well, taking off. Making good on a deal signed in 2017, Hoversurf has now gifted Dubai Police its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has begun training officers to fly it.

Segura-Conn said Dubai Police have exclusive rights to order as many units as they want: "They're going to let us know in the next month or two if they'd like any more" Tim Robinson, editor-in-chief of Aerospace magazine, described the vehicle as "pretty limited" when it came to potential police work, but did not pour cold water on the hoverbike, adding it "looks bags of fun."

Hoversurf has already developed a ducted fan system it claims is smaller, quieter, safer and more efficient than a propeller with the equivalent thrust, that it plans to add to future models.

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