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Westlake Legal Group > fnc/world (Page 88)

Islamic State expands reach in Afghanistan, threatening West

The Islamic State group has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan the group is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries, according to U.S. and Afghan security officials.

Nearly two decades after the U.S.-led invasion, the extremist group is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities and its strategy of targeting civilians, both in Afghanistan and abroad. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which has also clashed with IS, as a potential partner in containing it.

A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that a recent wave of attacks in the capital, Kabul, is “practice runs” for even bigger attacks in Europe and the United States.

“This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan,” the official said on condition of anonymity to preserve his operational security. “The IS core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks” in the U.S. and Europe. “That is their goal. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “It is very scary.”

Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, sees Afghanistan as a possible new base for IS now that it has been driven from Iraq and Syria. “ISIS has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan,” he said, pointing to “huge arms stockpiling” in the east.

___

A ‘PROVINCE’ OF THE CALIPHATE

The Islamic State affiliate appeared in Afghanistan shortly after the group’s core fighters swept across Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014, carving out a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in around a third of both countries. The Afghanistan affiliate refers to itself as the Khorasan Province, a name applied to parts of Afghanistan, Iran and central Asia in the Middle Ages.

The IS affiliate initially numbered just a few dozen fighters, mainly Pakistani Taliban driven from their bases across the border and disgruntled Afghan Taliban attracted to IS’ more extreme ideology. While the Taliban have confined their struggle to Afghanistan, the IS militants pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the group in the Middle East, and embraced his call for a worldwide jihad against non-Muslims. Within Afghanistan, IS launched large-scale attacks on minority Shiites, who it views as apostates deserving of death

The group suffered some early stumbles as its leaders were picked off by U.S. airstrikes. But it received a major boost when the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan joined its ranks in 2015. Today it counts thousands of fighters, many from central Asia but also from Arab countries, Chechnya, India and Bangladesh, as well as ethnic Uighurs from China.

The group has long been based in the eastern Nangarhar province, a rugged region along the border with Pakistan, but has a strong presence in northern Afghanistan and of late has expanded into neighboring Kunar province, where it could prove even harder to dislodge. The mountainous province provided shelter for Osama bin Laden for nearly a year after the Taliban’s ouster, and U.S. forces struggled for years to capture and hold high-altitude outposts there, eventually all but surrendering the region to the Taliban.

The area comprising the provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman was so dangerous that the U.S.-led coalition assigned an acronym to it in the years after the invasion, referring to it as N2KL. Militants launching shoulder-fired rockets from Kunar’s peaks downed a U.S. Chinook helicopter in 2005, killing 16 Navy SEALs and special operations forces in one of the deadliest single attacks of the war.

Ajmal Omar, a member of the Nangarhar provincial council, says IS now has a presence in all four provinces.

“Right now in Kunar, the right side of the road is Taliban, the left side is Daesh and the government is in the middle,” he said, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym. Speaking inside his heavily fortified home in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, he said neighboring Kunar would soon replace the Middle East as the IS group’s center of gravity.

“When they began in Afghanistan they were maybe 150 Daesh, but today there are thousands and thousands,” he said.

“The bad news is their acquisition of key terrain, height concealment, where they can have easy access to money, weapons, equipment . . .and from where they can plan, train, stage, facilitate and expedite attacks,” said the U.S. intelligence official. “I think expansion of territory in eastern Afghanistan is their number one military objective,” with the goal of eventually encircling Jalalabad, he said.

___

TURNING TO THE TALIBAN

It’s been nearly 18 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaida when bin Laden and his lieutenants were planning the Sept. 11 attacks. Now military and intelligence officials see the Taliban as a potential ally against a similar threat.

In recent months the Taliban have said they have no ambitions to monopolize power in a post-war Afghanistan, while IS is committed to overthrowing the Kabul government on its path to establishing a global caliphate. The Taliban and IS are sharply divided over ideology and tactics, with the Taliban largely confining their attacks to government targets and Afghan and international security forces. The Taliban and IS have fought each other on a number of occasions, and the Taliban are still the larger and more imposing force.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in recent months in a bid to end America’s longest war. The two sides appear to be closing in on an agreement in which the U.S. would withdraw its forces in return for a pledge from the Taliban to keep the country from being used as a launch pad for global attacks.

“One of the hopes of a negotiated settlement is that it will bring the Taliban into the government and into the fight against IS,” the U.S. intelligence official said. “They know the mountains, they know the terrain. It’s their territory.”

But a negotiated settlement could also prompt an exodus of more radical Taliban fighters to join IS. That process is already underway in parts of northern and eastern Afghanistan, where the Taliban have attacked IS only to lose territory and fighters to the rival extremist group.

Russia, which occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s before being driven out by U.S.-backed Islamic insurgents, has been sounding the alarm about IS for years, and had reached out to the Taliban even before the U.S. talks. During a visit to Kyrgyzstan last month, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu described Afghanistan as a “launch pad” for IS after the group was pushed out of Syria and Iraq.

Russia, like the United States, sees a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government as the best way of countering the threat posed by IS, and Moscow has held two rounds of informal talks involving the Taliban, government representatives and other prominent Afghans.

But as peace efforts have stumbled in recent months, Russia has turned to more lethal means of containing the threat. Shoigu said Russia has sent heavy equipment, including helicopters and armored vehicles, to Kyrgyz forces, and has boosted combat readiness in its bases in the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

___

THREATENING THE WEST

Without an aggressive counterterrorism strategy, Afghanistan’s IS affiliate will be able to carry out a large-scale attack in the U.S. or Europe within the next year, the U.S. intelligence official said, adding that IS fighters captured in Afghanistan have been found to be in contact with fellow militants in other countries.

Authorities have also already made at least eight arrests in the United States linked to the IS affiliate in Afghanistan.

Martin Azizi-Yarand, the 18-year-old Texan who plotted a 2018 attack on a suburban mall, said he was inspired by IS and was preparing to join the affiliate in Afghanistan. He was sentenced in April to 20 years in jail.

Rakhmat Akilov, the 39-year-old Uzbek who plowed his truck into pedestrians in Stockholm in 2017, also had links with the Afghanistan affiliate, the intelligence official said. “During interrogation he said ‘this is my commander in Afghanistan and he is telling me what to do,'” he said.

Inside Afghanistan, the group is actively recruiting at universities, where it is more likely to find tech-savvy Afghans able to travel abroad, use social media and help plan sophisticated attacks, according to the intelligence official.

The group’s brutal tactics have been on vivid display inside Afghanistan for years. Suicide bombings have killed hundreds of Shiite civilians in Kabul and elsewhere, and residents who have fled areas captured by the group describe a reign of terror not unlike that seen in Syria and Iraq.

Farmanullah Shirzad fled his village in Nangarhar in late April as IS fighters swept through the area.

“I was terrified to stay,” he said. “When Daesh takes over a village, they kill the people, they don’t care about the children and they come into the homes and they take the women.”

___

Associated Press writer Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-5771d549fc904ddc934bb59a37fe51f3 Islamic State expands reach in Afghanistan, threatening West KATHY GANNON fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 153b36ac-a0aa-54f9-b91b-1702f6033b41   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-5771d549fc904ddc934bb59a37fe51f3 Islamic State expands reach in Afghanistan, threatening West KATHY GANNON fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 153b36ac-a0aa-54f9-b91b-1702f6033b41

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Reports: David Ortiz shot in Dominican Republic

Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was shot and wounded in his native Dominican Republic, his father told ESPN on Sunday night.

Leo Ortiz told ESPN.com that Ortiz was shot while at an entertainment center in Santo Domingo.

“They called to tell me that David is injured and that they took him to a medical center, but they did not tell me how he is or exactly where he was transferred,” Leo Ortiz said, adding: “At the moment, everything is confusing.”

Dominican TV station CDN 37 reported that Ortiz was shot in the leg.

The 43-year-old hit 541 homers in 20 major league seasons, including 14 with the Red Sox. He helped lead Boston to three World Series titles and retired after the 2016 season. He was a 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series MVP, in 2004 and 2013.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f6bcaf6c55d0467cb3b86aec5d024c0d Reports: David Ortiz shot in Dominican Republic SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 3d42d661-4693-54d1-95b5-4d4a96625f0a   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f6bcaf6c55d0467cb3b86aec5d024c0d Reports: David Ortiz shot in Dominican Republic SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 3d42d661-4693-54d1-95b5-4d4a96625f0a

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Official: Canada to announce ban on single-use plastics

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Official: Canada to announce ban on single-use plastics ROB GILLIES fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fnc/world fnc cfaaad07-97c0-50b3-bc0d-9bc8c4932376 Associated Press article

The Canadian government plans to announce it is moving to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.

A senior government official said late Sunday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make the announcement Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Monday’s news conference.

The official says specific items to be banned will be determined based on a science-based review, but they are considering items such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws.

The official says the Canada’s government is looking at what the European Union did and drawing inspiration from their model.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran closes hundreds of restaurants for ‘illegal music and debauchery,’ other violations of ‘Islamic principles’

Westlake Legal Group Teheran-Restaurant- Iran closes hundreds of restaurants for 'illegal music and debauchery,' other violations of 'Islamic principles' Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/islam fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 7081189b-db78-5414-9f7a-771c620b25f9

Iranian police shut down more than 500 restaurants and cafes in Tehran for not observing “Islamic principles” including modesty, the capital city’s police chief announced Saturday.

“The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Hossein Rahimi said in statement Saturday, as AFP reported.

The violations included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery,” according to the Fars news agency, which added that the operation was carried out over the past ten days inside the secretive nation.

Women in Iran are required to dress modestly and under the Islamic dress code they can show only their faces, hands and feet in public and cannot wear bold colors. Alcohol is also banned in Iran.

U.S. WARNS COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS NEAR PERSIAN GULF COULD BE ‘MISIDENTIFIED,’ AMID TENSIONS WITH IRAN

The police chief reportedly said observing Islamic principles was “one of the police’s main missions and responsibilities.”

Tehran citizens were encouraged on Saturday to report cases of “immoral behavior” by texting a specific phone number set up to respond to these crimes. The head of Tehran’s guidance court, which deals with “cultural crimes and social and moral corruption,” made the request for people to report the violations.

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“We decided to accelerate dealing with instances of public immoral acts,” Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi reportedly told the judiciary’s Mizan Online.

He added that people could report instances of those removing their “hijab in cars,” “hosting mixed dance parties” and posting “immoral content on Instagram.”

Westlake Legal Group Teheran-Restaurant- Iran closes hundreds of restaurants for 'illegal music and debauchery,' other violations of 'Islamic principles' Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/islam fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 7081189b-db78-5414-9f7a-771c620b25f9   Westlake Legal Group Teheran-Restaurant- Iran closes hundreds of restaurants for 'illegal music and debauchery,' other violations of 'Islamic principles' Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/religion/islam fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 7081189b-db78-5414-9f7a-771c620b25f9

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Central American migrants say deal doesn’t dash asylum hopes

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cc7caf21340245de9c50f67de370e609-1 Central American migrants say deal doesn't dash asylum hopes fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press article 73a44174-dc32-5333-a65d-8dd9bb2ed932

At the small migrant Juventud 2000 shelter near the border, a Honduran expressed disappointment Sunday over the agreement between Mexico and the United States to more aggressively to curtail migration from Central America.

But Edwin Sabillon Orellana of Honduras said he and his family will stick with their effort to seek asylum in the U.S.

Sabillon said some migrants might decide that waiting in Mexico for the lengthy processing of asylum requests isn’t worth it, but he said he cannot take his family back to their home near San Pedro Sula, a crime-ridden metropolis that is Honduras’ second biggest city.

“In my dreams I never had it in my mind to one day come to the United States,” the 30-year old assembly plant worker said, sitting near a large pot of half-made salsa ranchera awaiting a delivery of cooking gas to the shelter’s kitchen. “I had my job, my wife had her job. My daughter was in a bilingual school — my daughter speaks English. I didn’t have a reason to come here.”

That all changed in April when one of the street gangs plaguing Honduras and other Central American countries gave him a deadline of five days to begin paying a monthly extortion fee of about $120, Sabillon said. He said the gangsters thought he could pay because his daughter went to a good school, but she was on scholarship. The family earned enough only to keep food on the table and pay the utilities, he said.

Two days before the deadline, Sabillon slipped away in the middle of the night with his wife and 8-year-old daughter and left Honduras. It took them about two weeks to reach Tijuana, across the border from San Diego. They quickly crossed into the U.S. illegally near Tijuana’s beach and asked for asylum. After five days in detention they were sent back to Tijuana at night with an appointment to return later this month.

The mechanism that allows the U.S. to send migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico to await resolution of their cases has been running in Tijuana since January. One part of Friday’s agreement between Mexico and the U.S. to head off the threat of U.S. tariffs on all imports from Mexico was an expansion of that program along the entire border.

As of last week, about 10,000 asylum seekers had been returned to Mexico, according to Mexican officials. So far the program has been operating only in California and in El Paso, Texas. It is currently being challenged in U.S. courts.

Mexico has offered opportunities for Central American migrants like Sabillon to legalize their status so they can work while waiting or if they decide to stay in Mexico. But he is not interested.

Most Mexicans are good people, he said, but some curse migrants in the street. On Saturday, he took his family to hear Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador speak at a rally in downtown Tijuana. He wasn’t able to hear the president’s words about respecting migrants’ human rights because the crowd around him got worked up after a woman shouted, “Mexicans first and those from the caravan can go to …,” he said, not repeating the profanity.

“That hurts us a lot,” he said.

Sabillon is at least in the fortunate position of having his U.S. court date just a couple weeks away.

Nearby, at one of the city’s principal crossings to the U.S., dozens of migrants — mostly Haitians — waited in line for a number that would determine when they could cross to the U.S. to request asylum. On Sunday, U.S. border officers announced only two numbers and people who got their numbers in the past week were some 700 places away from the numbers being called, suggesting a wait of many months ahead.

Back at the Juventud 2000 shelter, Luis Torres and other parents killed time watching over the dozens of kids playing in the cramped space between tightly packed tents. The shelter, just one of many in Tijuana, is housing about 150 people, all families. Kids jumped rope and chased each other between tents.

Torres, 40, said that he and his 12-year-old son entered Texas from Reynosa, Mexico, last month. U.S. authorities then flew them to San Diego where they were detained for two weeks, he said.

Torres was confused about the status of his case, because he wasn’t sure whether he had requested asylum by signing documents that agents put in front of him without explaining. In any case he was given a date to return to the U.S. in September.

Torres, a carpenter, left because his neighborhood in Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa, is dangerous and work is hard to come by. He sent his other four children to live with their grandmother outside the city. Torres said that he and his son did not encounter problems in Mexico during the 26 days they took to reach the U.S. border.

Torres had heard talk of the U.S.-Mexico agreement, which includes Mexico sending thousands of National Guard troops to target illegal immigration at its southern border. He said it would be better if each country stuck to its own policies rather than the U.S. pressuring Mexico to do more.

“We didn’t come so that they can play politics with us,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cc7caf21340245de9c50f67de370e609-1 Central American migrants say deal doesn't dash asylum hopes fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press article 73a44174-dc32-5333-a65d-8dd9bb2ed932   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cc7caf21340245de9c50f67de370e609-1 Central American migrants say deal doesn't dash asylum hopes fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press article 73a44174-dc32-5333-a65d-8dd9bb2ed932

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US military vehicle hit by roadside bomb in Niger, officials say

A roadside bomb exploded damaging a U.S. military vehicle struck in the West African country of Niger, but no one was killed, U.S. Africa Command told Fox News on Sunday.

U.S. officials confirmed a tactical vehicle was damaged in Saturday’s explosion but said the cause was “undetermined at this time.”

U.S. Africa Command told Fox News: “A U.S. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (MAT-V) activated an improvised explosive device (IED) while entering a firing range in the vicinity of Ouallam, Niger.”

Westlake Legal Group Map-Ouallam US military vehicle hit by roadside bomb in Niger, officials say Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 3cab2f37-7380-5c5e-9b38-80ab34498bc2

A roadside bomb struck a U.S. military vehicle struck in Niger but nobody was killed, officials said. (US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle McNally/Google Maps)

NIGER AMBUSH RESULTED FROM MULTIPLE FAILURES, PENTAGON SAYS

Its statement added: “U.S. and Nigerien partner forces were conducting a training exercise when the explosion occurred.”

Ouallam, in western Niger, is not far from where four U.S. soldiers died during an October 2017 ambush. The attack by Islamic militants also killed four Nigerien soldiers in the joint patrol force.

The ambush drew attention to the U.S. military’s role in training troops in Niger.

The Pentagon said in November that it planned to reduce its counterterrorism forces in Africa over the next several years.

The move would be in line with the Trump administration’s belief that the main challenge to U.S. security and prosperity is strategic competition with China and Russia rather than threats from extremist groups like the Islamic State group.

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U.S. Africa Command told Fox News: “Niger is a vital partner in the fight against violent extremist organizations. U.S. forces are in Niger to work by, with, and through Nigerien partners to promote stability and security while enabling them to address their security threats.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Map-Ouallam US military vehicle hit by roadside bomb in Niger, officials say Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 3cab2f37-7380-5c5e-9b38-80ab34498bc2   Westlake Legal Group Map-Ouallam US military vehicle hit by roadside bomb in Niger, officials say Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 3cab2f37-7380-5c5e-9b38-80ab34498bc2

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California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says

A fourth U.S. tourist died after he fell critically and suddenly ill at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic about a month before three others died in their rooms, Fox News has learned.

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, became ill almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News on Sunday. He was in the Dominican Republic to attend his stepson’s wedding.

Arnold said her uncle, an avid traveler, had been in relatively good health and just the month before had been skiing in Lake Tahoe.

Westlake Legal Group Wallace-HR California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died this past April after he suddenly fell ill at a Dominican Republic resort. (Wallace family)

Arnold said the family has been particularly concerned after having recently learned of the other seemingly mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic. Miranda Schaup-Werner, a Pennsylvania woman, died almost four weeks later, on May 25, after she had a drink from her minibar at another hotel, the Bahia Principe La Romana.

U.S. TOURIST BEATEN DURING DOMINICAN VACATION ACCUSES RESORT OF VICTIM-BLAMING

“He was fine,” Arnold said of her uncle, who owned a construction business and whose obituary page was filled with comments about his generosity and compassion. “He and his wife arrived there at around midnight on April 10. On April 11 he had scotch from the minibar. He started feeling very sick, he had blood in his urine and stool right afterward.”

Westlake Legal Group Wallace-1 California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article

Wallace, pictured with his wife, Beverly, started feeling sick after drinking the scotch from the minibar, his niece said. (Wallace family)

She said a hotel doctor had checked Wallace, then decided on April 13 that he needed to be hospitalized. He died April 14. Dominican authorities have yet to give the family a cause of death, Arnold said.

“We have so many questions,” she said. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

The U.S. State Department, responding to questions about Wallace’s death, said in a statement to Fox News: “We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in April 2019 in the Dominican Republic.  We offer our sincerest condolences to the family for their loss. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”

PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN DIED AT SAME DOMINICAN RESORT COMPLEX FIVE DAYS BEFORE MARYLAND COUPLE IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES 

In recent days, a Maryland widow went public with concerns about the death of her husband, David Harrison, last year at the same Hard Rock resort under similar, sudden circumstances. The two had gone there with their 12-year-old son to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

“My husband was a very fit, very healthy person when he passed away,” she told Inside Edition. She said he’d had a physical shortly before the trip and, except for high blood pressure which he kept in check with medication, everything was fine.

Westlake Legal Group Wallace-3 California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article

Robert and Beverly Wallace were avid travelers. (Wallace family)

“I started seeing all these other people that were dying of the same exact causes, which made me start to second guess. I no longer feel like my husband died of natural causes,’  McCoy told local TV station WTOP. “We went down there as a happy family, and we came home a broken family. I came home a widow and my 12-year-old son came home fatherless.”

Efforts to get a comment about the deaths of Harrison and Wallace from Hard Rock in Punta Cana were unsuccessful.

On May 30, an engaged couple from Maryland, Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, died in their room at the Bahia Principe La Romana. A hotel employee found them unresponsive in their room after they failed to check out.

Dominican authorities have said either preliminary or final autopsies indicated they all died of natural causes, and that they were isolated incidents, but the families said they had doubts. Some have hired lawyers and planned additional autopsies and tests in the United States.

U.S. officials have been restrained in their comments, only confirming deaths when asked. Neither the State Department, Bahia Principe, nor Dominican authorities have responded to repeated questions by Fox News about how many tourists from the U.S. and elsewhere have died in their rooms, or anywhere in resorts, in recent years.

Nearly half of the roughly 5 million tourists who visit the Dominican Republic each year are from the United States, statistics have shown.

Westlake Legal Group Wallace-4 California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article

Wallace and his wife were in the Dominican Republic to attend a wedding, a relative said. (Wallace family)

While saying little publicly, however, teams of experts and inspectors from several international agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted tests Thursday at the Bahia Principe properties where U.S. tourists died. It was unclear whether they inspected other resorts. The FBI confirmed to Fox News on Friday it was assisting Dominican authorities in investigating the deaths.

The testing and the FBI’s involvement marked the first public indications that officials in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic have considered the possibility of something other than natural causes.

Dominican officials said Schaup, Holmes and Day had pulmonary edema, a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid. They said Schaup, 41, who collapsed after having the minibar drink at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville — which is adjacent to the sister hotel where Holmes and Day died — died of a heart attack, though her family said she was healthy.

In recent days, the family of a Pennsylvania woman who was vacationing in the Dominican Republic last year said she died in her room at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana resort after she had a drink from the minibar. Relatives of Yvette Monique Sport, 51, told Fox 29 Philadelphia she was visiting the popular tourist spot last June, had a drink, later went to bed, and never woke up. Her death certificate said her official cause of death was a heart attack.

“It’s a complete fabrication,” Felecia Nieves, Sport’s sister, said, “that you could have as many people and they all have the same cookie-cutter outcome. It’s impossible.”

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Nieves said she planned to reach out to other families and press for answers.

“This is about justice for people that we love,” she said. “We’re never going to get them back but we can give them justice.”

Westlake Legal Group Wallace-4 California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article   Westlake Legal Group Wallace-4 California man died in April at Dominican Republic resort after drink from hotel room minibar, family says fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente b7ab1131-56a5-58ad-ad29-66dc63404999 article

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Greek prime minister to ask president for early election

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Greek prime minister to ask president for early election fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world fnc/world fnc f621d19c-9c3b-546c-a88f-6275fc304bdf ATHENS, Greece Associated Press article

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a meeting set with Greece’s president to ask him to call an early national election by dissolving parliament.

Tsipras’ office said the prime minister would visit President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday afternoon.

After his left-wing party’s poor performance in the European Union election two weeks ago, Tsipras said he would request the dissolution of the Greek parliament to trigger a vote for its replacement. The government wants it held on July 7.

A regularly scheduled election is not due until October, when the four-year term of Tsipras’ government ends.

The prime minister’s Syriza party finished the European Parliament election well behind conservative opposition party New Democracy.

The leader of Syriza’s former government coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, said Sunday that his party would not participate in an early parliamentary election.

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Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off

A woman went overboard from the Norwegian Epic cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend, and in a grim development, officials called off the search for her on Sunday.

The ship was crossing the Mediterranean Sea while traveling from Cannes, France, to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, but turned around and docked in the middle of the ocean to launch a search party where the passenger, identified as a 63-year-old Korean woman, was last seen.

Passengers told The Sun thousands of people on board were searching for the woman who was last seen wearing pink pajamas.

One vacationer said that it took two hours to sail back in an attempt to find her and that a helicopter also came to search the waters.

After several hours, passengers said the cruise line abandoned the search and the ship set off for Barcelona, where it arrived the next day.

CARNIVAL CRUISE SHIP RESCUES FISHERMEN WHO WERE STUCK AT SEA FOR TWO DAYS

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665

A passenger on the Norwegian Epic cruise ship went overboard over the weekend. (File)

CARNIVAL CRUISE SHIP RESCUES MAN WHO JUMPED OVERBOARD

“Staff eventually just turned the music on and told us to go get and get a drink and after four hours, we were on our way again. It was like it had almost been forgotten about last night,” British tourist Claire Murphy said.

“Around 8 p.m. the search was called off and the captain informed us that according to the family she could not swim at all. Given the conditions it’s unlikely she would have survived,” another passenger, Kyjuan Brown, said.

“Everyone felt for the family. It’s horrible to go on vacation and leave without a family member.”

Norwegian Cruise Lines issued a statement confirming the incident.

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“Early morning on June 8, a 63-year-old Korean female guest went overboard while the ship was sailing from Cannes, France to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. As soon as the report was made, the authorities were notified and a search and rescue operation ensued,” it read.

“The search has now ceased, and sadly, the guest has not been found. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family during this difficult time.”

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665   Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665

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Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off

A woman went overboard from the Norwegian Epic cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend, and in a grim development, officials called off the search for her on Sunday.

The ship was crossing the Mediterranean Sea while traveling from Cannes, France, to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, but turned around and docked in the middle of the ocean to launch a search party where the passenger, identified as a 63-year-old Korean woman, was last seen.

Passengers told The Sun thousands of people on board were searching for the woman who was last seen wearing pink pajamas.

One vacationer said that it took two hours to sail back in an attempt to find her and that a helicopter also came to search the waters.

After several hours, passengers said the cruise line abandoned the search and the ship set off for Barcelona, where it arrived the next day.

CARNIVAL CRUISE SHIP RESCUES FISHERMEN WHO WERE STUCK AT SEA FOR TWO DAYS

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665

A passenger on the Norwegian Epic cruise ship went overboard over the weekend. (File)

CARNIVAL CRUISE SHIP RESCUES MAN WHO JUMPED OVERBOARD

“Staff eventually just turned the music on and told us to go get and get a drink and after four hours, we were on our way again. It was like it had almost been forgotten about last night,” British tourist Claire Murphy said.

“Around 8 p.m. the search was called off and the captain informed us that according to the family she could not swim at all. Given the conditions it’s unlikely she would have survived,” another passenger, Kyjuan Brown, said.

“Everyone felt for the family. It’s horrible to go on vacation and leave without a family member.”

Norwegian Cruise Lines issued a statement confirming the incident.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Early morning on June 8, a 63-year-old Korean female guest went overboard while the ship was sailing from Cannes, France to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. As soon as the report was made, the authorities were notified and a search and rescue operation ensued,” it read.

“The search has now ceased, and sadly, the guest has not been found. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family during this difficult time.”

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665   Westlake Legal Group iStock-Norwegian-Epic Norwegian Epic cruise passenger goes overboard in Mediterranean Sea; search for woman called off fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox news fnc/world fnc article Anna Hopkins 2aa90c96-d312-53ee-9baf-012d276a6665

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com