web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 2)

Trump Signs Executive Order To Impose Sanctions On Turkey

Westlake Legal Group 5da4e096210000150c3450bd Trump Signs Executive Order To Impose Sanctions On Turkey

President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order to impose sanctions and visa bans on some members of the Turkish government as relations between the two countries worsened.

The U.S. will place sanctions on three of Turkey’s most powerful officials ― the ministers of defense, energy and interior ― and its departments of defense and energy, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday.

“To avoid suffering further sanctions imposed under this new Executive Order Turkey must immediately cease its unilateral offensive in northeast Syria and return to a dialogue with the United States on security in northeast Syria,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The president first announced the order in a tweeted statement earlier Monday, noting that some U.S. troops would remain in Syria “to monitor the situation.”

The order comes roughly a week after Trump’s widely condemned decision to abandon U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria ― a move experts warned would allow Turkish forces to invade the area and likely lead to the reemergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. 

Turkey launched airstrikes against the Kurds in northern Syria on Wednesday.

This article has been updated with details on the sanctions.

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

Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back

Westlake Legal Group 14syria-briefing-facebookJumbo-v2 Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Politics and Government Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) International Relations Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Assad, Bashar al-

DOHUK, Iraq — Syrian government forces streamed into the country’s northeast on Monday, seizing towns where they had not stepped foot in years and filling a vacuum opened up by President Trump’s decision to abandon the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies.

Less than a week after Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria with Mr. Trump’s assent, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the United States, has benefited handsomely, striking a deal with the United States’ former allies to take the northern border and rapidly gaining territory without a fight.

In addition to Mr. al-Assad, Mr. Trump’s decision to pull United States forces out of the way has also quickly redounded to the gain of Russia and Iran, as well as the Islamic State, as the American retreat reconfigures battle lines and alliances in the eight-year war.

“For the Syrian regime and Russia, the Americans are leaving, so that is a big achievement,” said Hassan Hassan, a Syria analyst at the Center for Global Policy. “In just one day, gone. They don’t have to worry about what this presence means for the future.”

The greatest risk to American troops as they pull back comes from the Turkish-backed militia, the Free Syrian Army, which has spearheaded the Turkish offensive in many places, supported by Turkish Army artillery and mortar fire, and Turkish airstrikes.

American officials say these Turkish-backed militia are less disciplined than regular Turkish soldiers and, deliberately or inadvertently, have fired on retreating American troops.

In a sign of the concern over the safety of the remaining American troops in Syria, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke on Monday with his Russian counterpart about the deteriorating security in the country’s northeast.

Faced with a fast-unraveling situation, Mr. Trump’s policy toward the region continued to fishtail. Having essentially greenlighted the Turkish incursion a week ago, then threatening ruin to the Turkish economy, on Monday Mr. Trump announced that he would impose sanctions on Turkey, raising tariffs on steel and suspending negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Ankara.

Mr. Trump’s decision has turned a relatively stable corner of Syria into its most dynamic battleground. As Turkey and Syrian fighters it supports push in from the north to root out the Kurdish-led militia that was allied with the United States, Mr. al-Assad’s forces have moved in from the south, gobbling up territory.

On Monday, without a fight, government forces seized a number of towns that had recently been held by the United States’ allies, including Tel Tamer, home to an Assyrian Christian community; Tabqa, which has a large hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates River; and Ein Issa, where the United States kept a contingent of forces, until recently.

Fighting continued in towns near the Turkish border to the north, pitting a number of forces against each other and terrifying civilians.

Kurdish militiamen battled Turkish troops around Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad, Syrian border towns the Turks claim to have taken. And both Turkey and the Syrian government were sending troops toward Manbij, raising the specter of new fighting there.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has said the incursion is necessary for his country’s security and that Turkey seeks to establish a 20-mile-deep “safe zone” for hundreds of miles inside Syria’s border.

The invasion has provoked widespread international condemnation and on Monday, the foreign ministers of all 28 European Union member states agreed to stop selling arms to Turkey, an unprecedented step toward a fellow NATO member.

But Mr. Erdogan appeared unfazed, vowing that Turkey would press on in a speech in Azerbaijan.

“We are determined to take our operation to the end,” he said. “We will finish what we started. A hoisted flag does not come down.”

Much of the territory contested in the current fighting was wrested from the jihadists of the Islamic State by an international coalition led by the United States in partnership with a Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F. As the jihadists were rolled back, the S.D.F. seized its territory, which it sought to govern under protection from the United States.

But that partnership angered Turkey, which considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists for their links to a Kurdish guerrilla organization that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

It was Mr. Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria that gave Turkey the opening to strike, setting off the current violence.

No longer protected by the United States, the Kurds struck a deal with the Syrian government, an American enemy, to bring its forces north to protect the area.

A Kurdish official, Aldar Xelil, said in a statement Monday that the agreement would put Syrian government forces on two strips along the border, but not in a section where Kurdish fighters are currently battling the Turks. The government forces would defend the border against the Turks, he said, while the Kurdish-led administration would continue to oversee governance and internal security in the region.

But much about the agreement remained unclear, and the Syrian state news media made no mention of it in its coverage of Syrian troops seizing towns and being welcomed by locals chanting in support of Mr. al-Assad.

About 1,000 United States troops serve on a number of bases throughout northeastern Syria, but President Trump’s orders will remove the troops over the next few weeks, sending them, at least initially, to Iraq. From there, they could be repositioned to other neighboring countries such as Jordan or Lebanon, or head back to the United States, military officials said.

For now, the Pentagon plans to leave 150 Special Operations forces at a base called al-Tanf, in southern Syria.

Trump administration officials had long argued that the troops were needed to check the influence of Iran, Russia and Mr. al-Assad; prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State; and give the United States leverage in eventual peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s war.

The administration has not explained how it plans to pursue these goals without troops or local allies in Syria.

Mr. Hassan, the Syria analyst, said it had become clear that Turkey and Mr. al-Assad had the most to gain from the American withdrawal and the reshuffling of Syria’s northeast.

Despite the international condemnation, Turkey had managed to quash the dream of Kurdish-led self-rule that had been growing for years in less than a week.

“This is the end or the beginning of the end of the Kurdish project in Syria,” Mr. Hassan said.

Mr. al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers had also won big because the United States had expended tremendous resources to defeat the Islamic State, and now Mr. al-Assad is poised to regain the territory.

“It is not just that you left, but that you did all this fighting on his behalf for the last five years,” Mr. Hassan said.

The biggest losers were the Kurds, who lost their foreign backers and saw their political dreams collapse, and the region’s civilians, who were now subject to yet another era of violence and uncertainty.

The new fighting in the north has displaced more than 160,000 people, according to the United Nations, limited access for aid organizations, and scattered families looking for safe places to wait out the violence.

Syrian refugees living in Turkey said they had lost contact with relatives in the border region as families had fled south into the desert hoping to avoid airstrikes and shelling by camping out in the open far from any cellphone coverage.

A Syrian house painter in the Turkish town of Suruc near the Syrian border said three of his wife’s cousins and another couple had disappeared and were thought to have been kidnapped on the road between Manbij and Raqqa.

“No one knows what is happening,” said the painter, Ali, who gave only his first name for fear of reprisals against relatives in Syria.

The loss of American support has terrified the region’s Kurds, many of whom distrust Mr. al-Assad but fear Turkey more.

Giving up the dream of self-rule would still be “a million times better than having our cities taken over by the terrorist mercenaries and criminal Turks,” said Arin Sheikhmous, a Kurdish activist in the border town of Qamishli.

But as Mr. al-Assad’s forces advanced, others feared the horrors often associated with the Syrian state: conscription into the Syrian military or random arrests that have made untold numbers of people vanish into Syria’s prisons.

It remains unclear what will become of the more than 10,000 former Islamic State fighters held in Kurdish-run prisons, as well as the tens of thousands of women and children from the Islamic State now detained in squalid camps.

Some worried that the new deal between the Kurds and the government could see prisoners handed over to Mr. al-Assad.

Hamida Mustafa, a Syrian activist in southern Turkey, said he worried about his brother, who had been detained two years ago by the Kurdish-led militia.

He had heard on the first night of the Turkish incursion that the common criminals had been released while political prisoners had been moved to another prison in the city of Hasakah. He had not been able to locate his brother, but worried that he would end up being passed to the Syrian government and never seen again.

“We are fearful now,” he said. “They did that before.”

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

The New Makers of Plant-Based Meat? Big Meat Companies

Westlake Legal Group 00fakemeat-2-facebookJumbo The New Makers of Plant-Based Meat? Big Meat Companies Meat Impossible Foods Inc Global Warming Beyond Meat Inc

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, scrappy start-ups that share a penchant for superlatives and a commitment to protecting the environment, have dominated the relatively new market for vegetarian food that looks and tastes like meat.

But with plant-based burgers, sausages and chicken increasingly popular and available in fast-food restaurants and grocery stores across the United States, a new group of companies has started making meatless meat: the food conglomerates and meat producers that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods originally set out to disrupt.

In recent months, major food companies like Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue, Hormel and Nestlé have rolled out their own meat alternatives, filling supermarket shelves with plant-based burgers, meatballs and chicken nuggets.

Once largely the domain of vegans and vegetarians, plant-based meat is fast becoming a staple of more people’s diets, as consumers look to reduce their meat intake amid concerns about its health effects and contribution to climate change. Over the last five months, Beyond Meat’s stock price has soared and Impossible Foods’ deal to provide plant-based Whoppers at Burger King has prompted a wave of fast-food chains to test similar products. Analysts project that the market for plant-based protein and lab-created meat alternatives could be worth as much as $85 billion by 2030.

Now, at supermarkets across the United States, shoppers can find plant-based beef and chicken sold alongside the packaged meat products that generations of Americans have eaten.

“There is a growing demand out there,” said John Pauley, the chief commercial officer for Smithfield, one of the largest pork producers in the country. “We’d be foolish not to pay attention.”

In September, Nestlé released the Awesome Burger, its answer to the meatless patties of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. (“We do feel like it’s an awesome product,” a Nestlé spokeswoman said.) Smithfield started a line of soy-based burgers, meatballs and sausages, and Hormel began offering plant-based ground meat.

There are also blended options — a kind of faux fake meat that falls somewhere in the existential gray area between the Beyond Burger and a cut of beef. Tyson is introducing a part-meat, part-plant burger. And Perdue is selling blended nuggets, mixing poultry with “vegetable nutrition” in the form of cauliflower and chickpeas.

Many supporters of meatless alternatives have hailed the new products as a sign that plant-based meat has gained widespread acceptance.

“When companies like Tyson and Smithfield launch plant-based meat products, that transforms the plant-based meat sector from niche to mainstream,” said Bruce Friedrich, who runs the Good Food Institute, an organization that advocates plant-based substitutes. “They have massive distribution channels, they have enthusiastic consumer bases, and they know what meat needs to do to satisfy consumers.”

But the emergence of these meat companies in the plant-based-protein market has also prompted suspicion and unease among some environmental activists, who worry the companies could co-opt the movement by absorbing smaller start-ups, or simply use plant-based burgers to draw attention away from other environmental misdeeds.

“That’s a legitimate concern,” said Glenn Hurowitz, who runs the environmental advocacy organization Mighty Earth. For years, big oil companies bought clean-energy start-ups and essentially shut them down, he noted.

“Making admittedly modest investments in plant-based protein is a legitimately good thing for these businesses to do,” Mr. Hurowitz said, but “it doesn’t entirely balance out all the pollution they’re causing.”

Many of the major food companies began investing in plant-based meat or other vegan alternatives years ago. But the pace has accelerated over the past few months.

“The entire end-to-end process happened in less than a year,” said Justin Whitmore, Tyson’s executive vice president for alternative protein. “We’ll move with the consumer, and we have the capacity that helps us move quickly.”

Veggie burgers have been on store shelves for decades, but companies are only now developing vegetarian products that try to match the experience of eating actual meat, using ingredients such as pea proteins and genetically engineered soy.

Pat Brown, the chief executive of Impossible Foods, has long described the project of creating faux meat as an environmental imperative. “Every aspect of the animal-based food industry is vastly more environmentally disruptive and resource-inefficient than any plant-based system,” he said. Mr. Brown has even set a deadline: Eliminate animal products from the global food supply by 2035.

Not all his new rivals are quite so idealistic. Their goal is not to upend the meat industry in the name of sustainability. It is mainly to make money.

“We’re a meat company, first and foremost,” said Mr. Pauley, the Smithfield official. “We’re not going to apologize for that.”

A spokeswoman for Tyson, the largest meat producer in the United States and the creator of a new line of plant-based chicken nuggets, put it more bluntly. “Right now,” said the spokeswoman, Susan Wassel, “it’s really about the business opportunity.”

Some of the major food companies, including Tyson and Smithfield, have their own sustainability goals. Last month, Nestlé announced a set of environmental initiatives meant to reduce its carbon footprint, including a focus on plant-based products. But as awesome as it may be, the company’s Awesome Burger is not intended to fundamentally change the way we eat.

“We believe in diversity,” said Benjamin Ware, Nestlé’s manager of responsible sourcing. “Products based on animal agents will still have a place in the future, with all the good nutritional aspects.”

That is not necessarily a problem for the future of meatless meat. Any time a plant-based product is added to the grocery aisle is a victory for the movement, many advocates say, regardless of what motivates the company that made it.

“The most important thing to the conventional meat industry is satisfying consumer demand as much as they possibly can,” said Mr. Friedrich, the executive director of the Good Food Institute. “They see that a better technology always replaces an antiquated technology.”

Still, Mr. Brown said he had no plans to collaborate with the major meat producers, whose marketing power and supply-chain infrastructure could help plant-based start-ups reach more customers. He said it was an “encouraging sign” that such companies were investing in plant-based protein, but he emphasized that the success of the movement depended on products that truly recreated the taste and texture of meat.

“If the products are not that great, if they’re just basically repurposed veggie burgers, the harm it does to us is not competition,” he said. “It’s reinforcing consumers’ belief that a plant-based product can’t deliver what a meat lover wants.”

For now, though, it’s too early to tell how consumers will respond to the wider range of options, said Alexia Howard, an analyst at Bernstein who tracks the plant-based meat industry.

“We’ll inevitably see some chipping away of market share,” Ms. Howard said. “But it’s who has the best product that will ultimately survive.”

Beyond Meat is not worried. Ethan Brown, the chief executive (and no relation to his counterpart at Impossible Foods), said the company’s narrow focus on plant-based products would set it apart from other purveyors of meatless meat.

“If Nestlé or Perdue or Tyson think it’s a good idea to buy our product and reverse-engineer it, they’re chasing a ghost,” he said. “We’ve moved on from those models into new models and new iterations.”

As for burgers that combine meat with vegetables, he added, “I haven’t ever heard a consumer tell me they want a blended product.”

Eric Christianson, the chief marketing officer at Perdue, described the company’s investment in blended products as a simple business decision. Because so many companies are producing meatless meat, he said, Perdue decided to focus on a different category — almost-meatless meat.

“There’s a real opportunity to meet the needs of your mainstream consumers — your mom with kids — by bringing the chicken that they love along with the vegetable nutrition that they need,” Mr. Christianson said.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are not interested in such compromises. But in some ways, the plant-based meat start-ups are beginning to resemble major food companies themselves. Beyond Meat is valued at nearly $9 billion, making it about a third the size of Tyson.

“I don’t want to collaborate with them,” Ethan Brown said. “I want to be them.”

Impossible Foods is aiming to expand to other plant-based products, like fishless fish, and make inroads in China. At times, however, the company has struggled to make the transition from start-up to major company. Over the summer, it was unable to meet the rising demand for its patties, leading to shortages at restaurants and forcing staff members to work 12-hour shifts to keep the company’s production facility in Oakland, Calif., running.

Pat Brown, the chief executive, said Impossible Foods had solved that supply-chain problem by collaborating with the OSI Group, a global food processing firm that has worked with big-name brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks. Now, Impossible is poised to quadruple its manufacturing capacity. And the days of marathon factory shifts are over.

“Everybody,” Mr. Brown said, “was happy to see that era come to an end.”

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

AMC Theater Chain Gets Into Streaming With On-Demand Movies

Westlake Legal Group 14amc-facebookJumbo AMC Theater Chain Gets Into Streaming With On-Demand Movies Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Movies Aron, Adam M AMC Entertainment Holding Inc.

LOS ANGELES — In a sign of just how much streaming is changing Hollywood, movie fans will soon be able to rent and buy films for viewing at home — from a movie theater chain.

AMC Entertainment, the largest multiplex operator in the world, will introduce an iTunes-style online video store in the United States on Tuesday, said Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive. The service, AMC Theaters On Demand, will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs, just as iTunes, Amazon and other video-on-demand retailers do.

The movie theater industry has long been at odds with online video. Why trek to theaters if thousands of movies are available at the click of a button at home or on your phone? Sure, new films do not arrive on V.O.D. until they have played in theaters for an exclusive period of about 90 days. But that “windowing” practice, many analysts believe, will become untenable as streaming services like Netflix gain clout.

Hollywood’s five biggest movie studios — Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount — have made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies. Although DVDs still account for billions of dollars in sales for studios, more profit now comes from digital downloads and rentals.

“For us, it’s all upside,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution and home entertainment at Warner. “Most of our other big digital partners are focused on multiple categories — music, books. The great thing about AMC is that movies are the whole focus.”

Films will cost roughly $3 to $5.99 to rent and $9.99 to $19.99 to buy.

Mr. Aron, who took over AMC in early 2016 after running the Starwood hotel chain, has been more willing to embrace change than many other theater executives, in part because he is not blind to his industry’s challenges. Moviegoing in North America — across the chains — has been roughly flat for years, leaving theaters to scratch for growth by charging more for tickets and concessions, a strategy that has its limits.

“Our theater business is mature,” Mr. Aron said. “There is a high-growth opportunity in this digital expansion.”

He called home entertainment a “natural” extension of AMC’s core business — one designed to capitalize on the chain’s fast-growing customer loyalty program, AMC Stubs, which covers more than 20 million households. He said the AMC Stubs database gave the company a marketing advantage for movie rentals and downloads.

For instance, AMC Stubs members bought about six million tickets to “The Lion King” over the summer. When “The Lion King” becomes available digitally on Tuesday, “those people will all get a personalized message from AMC saying that they can now enjoy it at home through AMC Theaters On Demand,” said Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s chief content officer.

Some theater chains in other countries already operate on-demand divisions (Cineplex in Canada is one), but AMC is the first major exhibitor in the United States to do so. Mr. Aron said AMC had been working on the service for more than two years. It was close to introducing AMC Theaters On Demand this summer but held off to fine-tune the technology and online store design.

Under Mr. Aron, AMC has worked to make theatergoing more attractive. It aggressively installed advanced Dolby sound and projection systems, extra-wide screens, and La-Z-Boy-style seats. AMC now serves alcohol in hundreds of its theaters. In 2017, Mr. Aron rolled out greatly expanded food menus at more than 600 theaters.

After noting the popularity of MoviePass, the now-defunct movie ticket subscription service, AMC introduced its own (sustainable) version; for one monthly price, AMC Stubs A-List members can see up to three movies a week.

AMC, based in Leawood, Kan., and partly owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, became the largest multiplex chain in the world in 2016 after going on a breathtaking shopping spree. It acquired the Carmike chain in the United States and added Odeon in Britain and Nordic Theater Group in Northern Europe. As a result, AMC began carrying significant debt — roughly $4.7 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2014.

Its debt load and a bumpy box office ride (attendance at AMC in the United States for the first six months of 2019 fell 3.6 percent, to about 127 million people) have made investors wary. The company’s share price was $8.95 at the close of trading on Monday, down from more than $20 a year ago.

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

YouTube says fake video of Trump figure shooting at media does not violate rules

A fake video that shows a likeness of President Trump murdering journalists, condemned Monday by the White House, does not violate YouTube’s rules.

According to the Google-owned video platform, some content that does not violate the company’s rules may still be inappropriate for some audiences. In those cases, age restrictions can be applied.

“For content containing violence that is clearly fictional, we age-restrict and display a warning interstitial. We applied these protections to this video,” the YouTube spokesperson told Fox News on Monday.

The video, which has been circulating for over a year but received renewed attention after The New York Times reported that it had been played at a conference held by a pro-Trump group at Trump’s Miami resort last week, is an edited clip of a 2014 movie.

In the clip, Trump’s head is superimposed on the main character, and it shows him shooting, stabbing and assaulting people in a church whose heads have been edited to depict top White House critics, the logos of news organizations and a Black Lives Matter logo.

AMAZON SPOKESMAN SAYS ATTACKS AGAINST TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WERE ‘PERSONAL’ VIEWS AFTER BEING CALLED OUT

Westlake Legal Group trump1111 YouTube says fake video of Trump figure shooting at media does not violate rules fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 5e336e34-d716-565f-9f87-3968aea8b666

‘BLACK US VOTERS’ MAIN TARGET OF RUSSIA’S 2016 DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN, NEW REPORT SAYS

As YouTube’s policies state, context is crucial for whether videos are deemed violent enough to be in violation of the rules. The tech giant generally allows graphic content if it is “educational, scientific, newsworthy or a documentary” — as long as there is context provided.

Videos that have been age-restricted cannot be seen by users who are under 18, who are logged out of the platform, or who have Restricted Mode enabled.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said Monday morning that the president “has not yet seen the video, he will see it shortly, but based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video.”

The White House Correspondents Association said in a statement it was “horrified” by the video.

“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the president’s supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami,” said Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) and a journalist at ABC News. “All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the president’s political opponents.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group trump1111 YouTube says fake video of Trump figure shooting at media does not violate rules fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 5e336e34-d716-565f-9f87-3968aea8b666   Westlake Legal Group trump1111 YouTube says fake video of Trump figure shooting at media does not violate rules fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 5e336e34-d716-565f-9f87-3968aea8b666

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

AMC Theater Chain Gets Into Streaming With On-Demand Movies

Westlake Legal Group 14amc-facebookJumbo AMC Theater Chain Gets Into Streaming With On-Demand Movies Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Movies Aron, Adam M AMC Entertainment Holding Inc.

LOS ANGELES — In a sign of just how much streaming is changing Hollywood, movie fans will soon be able to rent and buy films for viewing at home — from a movie theater chain.

AMC Entertainment, the largest multiplex operator in the world, will introduce an iTunes-style online video store in the United States on Tuesday, said Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive. The service, AMC Theaters On Demand, will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs, just as iTunes, Amazon and other video-on-demand retailers do.

The movie theater industry has long been at odds with online video. Why trek to theaters if thousands of movies are available at the click of a button at home or on your phone? Sure, new films do not arrive on V.O.D. until they have played in theaters for an exclusive period of about 90 days. But that “windowing” practice, many analysts believe, will become untenable as streaming services like Netflix gain clout.

Hollywood’s five biggest movie studios — Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount — have made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies. Although DVDs still account for billions of dollars in sales for studios, more profit now comes from digital downloads and rentals.

“For us, it’s all upside,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution and home entertainment at Warner. “Most of our other big digital partners are focused on multiple categories — music, books. The great thing about AMC is that movies are the whole focus.”

Films will cost roughly $3 to $5.99 to rent and $9.99 to $19.99 to buy.

Mr. Aron, who took over AMC in early 2016 after running the Starwood hotel chain, has been more willing to embrace change than many other theater executives, in part because he is not blind to his industry’s challenges. Moviegoing in North America — across the chains — has been roughly flat for years, leaving theaters to scratch for growth by charging more for tickets and concessions, a strategy that has its limits.

“Our theater business is mature,” Mr. Aron said. “There is a high-growth opportunity in this digital expansion.”

He called home entertainment a “natural” extension of AMC’s core business — one designed to capitalize on the chain’s fast-growing customer loyalty program, AMC Stubs, which covers more than 20 million households. He said the AMC Stubs database gave the company a marketing advantage for movie rentals and downloads.

For instance, AMC Stubs members bought about six million tickets to “The Lion King” over the summer. When “The Lion King” becomes available digitally on Tuesday, “those people will all get a personalized message from AMC saying that they can now enjoy it at home through AMC Theaters On Demand,” said Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s chief content officer.

Some theater chains in other countries already operate on-demand divisions (Cineplex in Canada is one), but AMC is the first major exhibitor in the United States to do so. Mr. Aron said AMC had been working on the service for more than two years. It was close to introducing AMC Theaters On Demand this summer but held off to fine-tune the technology and online store design.

Under Mr. Aron, AMC has worked to make theatergoing more attractive. It aggressively installed advanced Dolby sound and projection systems, extra-wide screens, and La-Z-Boy-style seats. AMC now serves alcohol in hundreds of its theaters. In 2017, Mr. Aron rolled out greatly expanded food menus at more than 600 theaters.

After noting the popularity of MoviePass, the now-defunct movie ticket subscription service, AMC introduced its own (sustainable) version; for one monthly price, AMC Stubs A-List members can see up to three movies a week.

AMC, based in Leawood, Kan., and partly owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, became the largest multiplex chain in the world in 2016 after going on a breathtaking shopping spree. It acquired the Carmike chain in the United States and added Odeon in Britain and Nordic Theater Group in Northern Europe. As a result, AMC began carrying significant debt — roughly $4.7 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2014.

Its debt load and a bumpy box office ride (attendance at AMC in the United States for the first six months of 2019 fell 3.6 percent, to about 127 million people) have made investors wary. The company’s share price was $8.95 at the close of trading on Monday, down from more than $20 a year ago.

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

Pope’s bodyguard resigns over leak in financial probe

The Vatican‘s security chief, who served as Pope Francis‘ main bodyguard, resigned Monday over leaks related to a financial investigation into alleged wrongdoing in the holy city.

The departure of Domenico Giani, 57, came after a Vatican police flyer identifying five Vatican employees who were “preventively suspended” as part of the financial probe was published by Italian newsweekly L’Espresso and its daily newspaper, La Repubblica.

The Vatican said the flyer harmed the employees’ dignity and the Vatican gendarmes police.

Gianni had served three popes, including Pope Benedict XVI, in his 20 years with the Vatican security services. He could often be seen running alongside the “popemobile” during foreign trips and appearances.

CATHOLIC CHURCH TO DEBATE MARRIED MEN BECOMING PRIESTS

Westlake Legal Group AP19287366577392 Pope's bodyguard resigns over leak in financial probe Louis Casiano fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/world fnc article 6c530b6a-f74d-553b-ad57-03a3367177e0

Vatican head of security Domenico Giani, top, looks at Pope Francis at the end of a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

“Having always said that I would be willing to sacrifice my life to defend the pope, I took the decision to resign with the same spirit, and to not in any way harm the image and activities of the pope,” Giani told Vatican media.

The Oct. 2 flyer was sent to Swiss Guards and members of the gendarmes police force. The five individuals’ faces, names and job titles were displayed on the flyer, which resembled a wanted poster.

Giani didn’t take responsibility for the mishap but resigned to avoid disrupting the investigation and “out of love for the church and faithfulness” to the pope.

His agents raided two Holy See offices — the secretariat of state and the Vatican’s financial intelligence unit– as part of a probe into financial irregularities concerning a London real estate deal which resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars.

The raids and suspension were part of efforts to recover some of the lost money. The deal has ignited questions about the Vatican’s murky finances and financial mismanagement during Benedict’s papacy.

Pope Francis recently ordered cuts to relieve a $77 million structural deficit. Sources told Reuters Francis was upset over the leak because the five employees had been represented in such a way even though they were not formally suspected of anything.

Westlake Legal Group AP19287365757626 Pope's bodyguard resigns over leak in financial probe Louis Casiano fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/world fnc article 6c530b6a-f74d-553b-ad57-03a3367177e0

Vatican head of security Domenico Giani, right, shares a word with Pope Francis. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An investigation into the real estate deal was opened after the Vatican received complaints from the Vatican bank, known as the  Institute for Works of Religion, and the auditor general’s office against “unknown persons,” Reuters reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The news agency reported the Secretariat of State had wished to buy a partner out of a London building they purchased years ago as an investment so it could gain full control over the property.

The secretariat asked the IOR for a short-term loan of around $165 million. The loan request was refused and the IOR and auditor general made complaints to the Vatican’s chief prosecutor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19287365757626 Pope's bodyguard resigns over leak in financial probe Louis Casiano fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/world fnc article 6c530b6a-f74d-553b-ad57-03a3367177e0   Westlake Legal Group AP19287365757626 Pope's bodyguard resigns over leak in financial probe Louis Casiano fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/world fnc article 6c530b6a-f74d-553b-ad57-03a3367177e0

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

Where the fake Trump media massacre video came from, and other things to know about it

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Where the fake Trump media massacre video came from, and other things to know about it

A fake video of President Trump killing journalists and political opponents was reportedly shown to his supporters at one of his resorts. USA TODAY

After a violent video depicting President Donald Trump on a murder rampage against members of the media and political opponents was shown during a conference at a Trump resort, the people “killed” in the video have called on him to denounce it.

It’s an edited version of the film “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” featuring a church massacre scene. In the video, Trump’s face is superimposed over the body of a shooter who brutally attacks and kills congregation members with faces of media organization logos and critics.

The White House said Monday morning that Trump had not yet seen the video but would see it soon. Based on what he had heard, though, he strongly condemned it.

More: Fake video of Trump shooting media and political opponents shown at conference, according to report

Here’s what we know so far about the video and how it ended up being played in a room at Trump’s Miami-based resort during a conference put on by a pro-Trump group.

Where did the video come from?

The group TheGeekzTeam is a pro-Trump meme video generator with nearly 20,000 YouTube subscribers. 

Its Youtube page has several videos featuring Trump violently attacking Democrats and media organizations. In a similar one, musician and actor Donald Glover’s music video for the song “This is America” is spoofed to again show Trump shooting members of the media. 

The first existence of the “Kingsman” video appears to be in a YouTube upload from the meme group in July 2018, which was also tweeted out at the same time.

The caption of the video reads, “Fake News is very real and very present. Even through all the hate thats thrown at Trump daily, he still wants to help this nation back on it’s feet and make it great again!”

How did the video end up at the conference?

The American Priority conference organizer, Alex Phillips, says organizers were not aware of the video and did not approve its usage at the event. Phillips said it was part of a “meme exhibit” that was played in a “side room” and submitted by third parties.

The conference agenda did include a breakout session called “Memetics.” 

Phillips said the first time organizers were aware of the meme was when The New York Times, which first reported on the video, contacted them. Phillips told The Times that “this matter is under review.”

The Times said that it obtained footage of the clip being played at the conference by an attendee, who passed it onto an intermediary, who then sent it to a reporter.

“American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech,” Phillips said.

Who is in the video?

The lawmakers depicted being shot, stabbed and set on fire in the video include a plethora of Trump critics from both sides of the aisle. Republicans Sen. Mitt Romney and the late Sen. John McCain are among them.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama are some of the many progressives attacked in the video.

Celebrity comedian Kathy Griffin, who was in the video, condemned it as more than just a joke.

“I’m depicted as being murdered by The President of the United States in this video,” Griffin tweeted late Sunday. “The left, right & center left me hanging out to dry regarding the Trump mask photo. Please don’t let it happen again. No, this video isn’t a joke to his followers. And it will not be taken as such.”

McCain’s family members said the video “violate[s] every norm our society expects from its leaders.” (The video was created before McCain’s death but after his cancer diagnosis was public).

Trump was not involved in its creation, but has been silent on Twitter

The Trump administration and campaign were not involved in the video’s creation or distribution, according to spokespeople. 

Trump is known to attack members of the press, referring to them repeatedly as the “Fake News.” 

Since the White House acknowledged on Monday morning that Trump is aware of the video’s contents—despite not seeing it first hand—Trump has tweeted several times. He has shared Fox News clips, endorsed Sean Spicer on “Dancing With the Stars” and lambasted Hunter Biden. He has even repeated his “Fake News” refrain.

The White House said that based on his knowledge of the video this morning, he strongly condemned it. But Trump has not personally remarked on the video. 

The White House Correspondents’ Association and CNN called on Trump to denounce the video.

“We have previously told the President his rhetoric would incite violence. Now we call on him and everybody associated with this conference to denounce this video and affirm that violence has no place in our society,” Jonathan Karl, the president of WHCA, said in a statement.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/14/trump-video-what-we-know-violent-fake-video/3975866002/

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

Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish

Ryan Blaney beat Ryan Newman in a door-to-door race to the finish line to win Monday at Talladega Superspeedway and advance to the third round of NASCAR‘s playoffs.

Westlake Legal Group tall1 Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish fox-news/auto/nascar fox-news/auto/attributes/racing fnc/auto fnc Associated Press article 80d9f8c0-eb4a-5bd6-b63f-e032236a22da

(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Blaney’s first win of the season came as he was desperately trying to remain in title contention. The playoff field will be trimmed from 12 drivers to eight next weekend at Kansas and Blaney was in danger of elimination before his Talladega victory.

Blaney joins Kyle Larson in the round of eight, with six spots sill available.

The race began Sunday until rain stopped it after the first stage and pushed the finish to Monday. It gave Blaney time to recover from a Sunday spin as he tried to enter pit road and it gave Ford and Team Penske the victory. Ford had won seven consecutive Talladega races until Chevrolet snapped that streak in April.

NASCAR MAY SWITCH TO HYBRIDS IN 2020, EXECUTIVE SAYS

Blaney was the leader on a restart with two laps remaining and had a huge push from fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola to gain space on the field. Then Newman came charging along on the outside line with help from Denny Hamlin and he easily zipped past Blaney.

Westlake Legal Group tall2 Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish fox-news/auto/nascar fox-news/auto/attributes/racing fnc/auto fnc Associated Press article 80d9f8c0-eb4a-5bd6-b63f-e032236a22da

The win put Blaney through to the next round of the playoffs. (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

But the Ford train remained committed and Blaney got another push from Almirola to pull alongside Newman. The two raced door-to-door to the finish line, with Blaney winning by a nose. The 0.0070-second margin of victory was the sixth-closest in the history of Talladega, which celebrated its 50th anniversary all weekend.

The win capped a remarkable weekend for the Penske organization, which on Saturday claimed the IMSA overall sports car championship with Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya, and then in Australia won the Bathurst 1000 with Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard.

The race had critical playoff implications as many of the title contenders struggled, and Hendrick Motorsports entire lineup is at risk of elimination next weekend. Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and William Byron are all below the cutline, as is Kansas native Clint Bowyer, who could be eliminated at his home track.

Bowman and Byron were both in pivotal, separate race-ending accidents, while Bowyer seemed to have a tire problem th

Westlake Legal Group tall3 Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish fox-news/auto/nascar fox-news/auto/attributes/racing fnc/auto fnc Associated Press article 80d9f8c0-eb4a-5bd6-b63f-e032236a22da

Brendan Gaughan (62) got flipped during a multi-car accident with six laps to go. (AP)

at caused him to spin and get stuck on the track’s banking. He lost two laps as safety personnel tried to get his car moving again.

UP NEXT

The elimination race of the third round of the playoffs Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Elliott is the defending race winner, and Brad Keselowski won the spring race.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group tall1 Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish fox-news/auto/nascar fox-news/auto/attributes/racing fnc/auto fnc Associated Press article 80d9f8c0-eb4a-5bd6-b63f-e032236a22da   Westlake Legal Group tall1 Blaney wins rain-delayed Talladega NASCAR playoffs race in photo finish fox-news/auto/nascar fox-news/auto/attributes/racing fnc/auto fnc Associated Press article 80d9f8c0-eb4a-5bd6-b63f-e032236a22da

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

The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162699066_fcff1ccc-b8ca-4adf-aed5-30f92fa485e3-articleLarge The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Turkish-backed fighters near the town of Tukhar, Syria, on Monday.CreditAref Tammawi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Trump said Monday that he was halting trade negotiations with Turkey and doubling tariffs on imports of Turkish steel as relations between the countries continued to deteriorate.

Mr. Trump said that he was increasing steel tariffs on Turkey to 50 percent from 25 percent, and warned that additional economic sanctions were coming.

The United States imposed a 50-percent steel tariff on Turkey last year amid a conflict over an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was detained in Turkey and accused of espionage. The tariff was later reduced to 25 percent.

Saudi Arabia has spoken out publicly for the first time about President Trump’s abrupt decision to pull American forces out of northern Syria, with one top diplomat calling the results “a disaster for the region.”

That was the response Monday from the kingdom’s newly arrived ambassador to London, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan.

The decision “does not give one incredible confidence,” the ambassador said when asked whether the pullout had altered the kingdom’s assessment of Mr. Trump’s reliability as an ally. “We are concerned, no question,” he said.

Prince Khalid, speaking in a public discussion with the BBC newscaster Frank Gardner at the Royal United Services Institute, addressed the Syria withdrawal and the upheaval that followed with unusual candor for a diplomat from the kingdom. Official public communications there are usually highly formal and tightly restricted, and Saudi Arabia had studiously avoided criticizing the United States’ Syria policy.

“The last thing we need in the region is another front of chaos, and I think we just got it,” he said.

At the same time, Prince Khalid noted that Mr. Trump had also agreed this week to send some American troops and missile batteries to Saudi Arabia, in order to help “manage the northern defenses.” Those moves came in the aftermath of a crippling attack on the kingdom’s most important oil installation, carried out last month by a barrage of low-flying cruise missiles or drones.

Now the Saudis are trying to square the American decision to send it support with Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of northern Syria.

“Luckily, I am not the ambassador to Washington,” the ambassador joked.

In a conversation after the talk, Prince Khaled also said that Mr. Trump’s pullout of Syria had increased the influence in the region of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, a main sponsor of the Syrian government.

“Russia is becoming an important player in the region — whether one likes it or not, it is a fact,” Prince Khalid said.

“The Russians,” he said, “do to a certain extent understand the East better than the West does.”

The return of government forces to northeastern Syria not only deals a blow to Kurdish-led forces who were supported by the United States, but also signals a major shift in Syria’s eight-year war.

The Syrian Army entered the town of Tel Tamer in northeastern Syria, the state news media reported on Monday, soon after the government of President Bashar al-Assad forged an alliance with the Kurdish forces that control the region.

The Syrian government had been almost entirely absent from the northeast since it withdrew or was chased out by armed rebels in the early years of Syria’s civil war. The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia that worked with the United States to fight the Islamic State, soon became the region’s overarching political force.

Although the Syrian Kurds did not declare Mr. al-Assad’s government an enemy, the Syrian president looked askance at their goal of self-rule and vowed to retake all his country’s territory. He had no way to do so, however, especially with American troops remaining in the area.

President Trump’s decision last week to move those troops out of the way of a Turkish incursion gave Mr. al-Assad an opening, and his forces began to fill it on Monday. Trucks drove large numbers of Syrian soldiers into the area to take up positions.

In some towns, they were welcomed by residents who chanted nationalistic slogans and carried Mr. al-Assad’s photograph.

ImageWestlake Legal Group the-daily-album-art-articleInline-v2 The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Listen to ‘The Daily’: A Kurdish General on His People’s Plight

The Americans promised they would protect his people. Now, one Kurdish leader is forced to turn to former foes for help.

Tel Tamer is a strategic crossroads that connects northeastern Syria with the country’s northern hub, Aleppo, and is 20 miles from Ras al Ain, the center of the Turkish assault.

If Syrian government forces can reach the Turkish border to the north and the Iraqi border to the east, it would be a major breakthrough in Mr. al-Assad’s quest to re-establish his control over the whole country.

Syrian government forces also entered the town of Ain Issa on Monday, a day after it was briefly overrun by Turkish-led troops. Around 500 ISIS sympathizers took advantage of the mayhem and escaped detention, local officials said.

Where Turkish forces have moved into Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-900 The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Towards

Iraq

Ras al Ain

Syrian Army forces

U.S. troops

deployed to a bridge.

Area of

detail

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Towards

Iraq

Ras al Ain

Syrian Army forces

U.S. troops

deployed to a bridge.

Area of

detail

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 The Latest on Syria’s War: A Major Shift, and U.S. Tariffs on Turkey United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Ras al Ain

Towards

Iraq

U.S.

troops

deployed to a bridge.

Syrian Army forces

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

Area of

detail

Government

Control

Sources: Times reporting; Control areas as of Oct. 14th via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | By Sarah Almukhtar, Allison McCann and Anjali Singhvi

A Kurdish official, Aldar Xelil, said in a statement on Monday afternoon that Syrian government forces are to stay away from a section of the Turkish border currently being contested by Turkish-led forces and the Kurdish militia that controlled the area until last week.

Mr. Xelil said the Kurds would fight alone on that part of the border, where the Turkish forces have already established a strong presence. He also said the Kurdish authorities would remain in charge of administering and policing of the region. Syrian officials have not confirmed the details of the plan Mr. Xelil described.

Foreign ministers from all 28 European Union member states agreed unanimously on Monday to stop selling arms to Turkey, the first time the bloc has reached such a decision about a NATO ally.

The European Union chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, who is nearing the end of her tenure, said that the military action by Turkey in Syria raised concerns in Europe about a resurgence of ISIS, and that this was a key motivation for the decision.

President Trump has criticized European countries for not repatriating their citizens who went to fight for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Ms. Mogherini said the issue was not discussed at Monday’s foreign minister meeting.

In a joint statement from the foreign ministers, the bloc condemned Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria, agreeing on strong wording despite initial concerns from Britain.

“The E.U. condemns Turkey’s military action, which seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance,” the ministers said.

The decision is expected to be most significant for Germany, a major source of weapons for Turkey. Britain, France and Italy also sell arms to Turkey.

With the Syrian Kurds forced to turn to Mr. al-Assad and his key backer, Russia, for help in fending off Turkey’s advance, the retreat of United States troops from northeastern Syria appears to be a boon to Moscow’s interests in the Middle East.

On Russian state television’s prime weekly news show on Sunday night, the anchor Dmitri Kiselyov trumpeted the pullback of troops as the latest evidence that Americans are not to be trusted.

“The Kurds themselves again picked the wrong patron,” Mr. Kiselyov said. “The United States, of course, is an unreliable partner.”

But the Kremlin on Monday played down the possibility of a clash between Russian and Turkish forces as analysts cautioned that Moscow’s expanding influence in Syria was tempered by new risks.

The departure of American troops has also created new tests for a Russian military that critics already say is overextended, forcing it to confront a resurgent threat from the Islamic State and the danger of a clash with Turkey.

“We wouldn’t even want to think about such a scenario,” a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said on Monday, answering a reporter’s question about the possibility of conflict between Russian and Turkish forces. “There are communication links between the militaries” for avoiding such a collision, he added.

Last week, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia warned that thousands of detained Islamic State fighters who are originally from Russia and other former Soviet republics may flee as a result of Turkey’s advance, presenting a serious security risk.

Fyodor Lukyanov, a Russian foreign policy analyst close to the Kremlin, said that “Russia’s goal is for more and more territory to come under Assad’s control in one form or another, and the current developments facilitate this.” But, he cautioned, “this is all very dangerous, because this is an extremely fragile situation.”

Underscoring Russia’s growing sway in the Middle East, Mr. Putin landed in Riyadh on Monday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, Washington’s most powerful Arab ally. Mr. Putin planned to discuss regional security, oil prices and business deals in meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kremlin said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said on Monday that his troops would continue to support an invasion of parts of northern Syria, despite the return of Syrian government forces.

The official Turkish explanation for the offensive was to clear the area of the Kurdish-led militia that has close ties with a terrorist group that is banned in Turkey.

At the start of the invasion, Turkish officials said they respected Syrian sovereignty.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Erdogan said a Turkish-backed force would press on with attempts to capture Manbij, a town at the crossroads of two major highways that the Kurdish authorities in northern Syria have handed over to the Syrian government. He then criticized NATO allies for not aiding in Turkey’s fight.

“There is a struggle against terrorists — are you going to stand by your ally, a NATO member, or the terrorists?” he asked.

The invasion of Manbij would be led on the ground by Syrian Arab militias, but would have Turkish backing, Mr. Erdogan said. The Turkish president appeared to be more ambivalent about Kobani, a Kurdish-run city on the Syrian border that Mr. Erdogan had previously threatened to capture. It was the scene of a fierce battle between Kurdish fighters and ISIS extremists in 2014 and 2015 that ended in an ISIS retreat.

Mr. Erdogan implied on Monday that an agreement about Kobani had been reached with the Russian government, Syria’s main international backer, though his meaning was unclear.

“In Kobani with Russia’s positive approach, it seems like there won’t be a problem,” Mr. Erdogan said, without elaborating.

A local journalist said by phone that American troops had been deployed to a strategically-located bridge south of Kobani over the Euphrates River, making it harder for Syrian government troops to reach the area and the United States military base in its vicinity.

The Kurdish authorities handed over control of Kobani to the Syrian government overnight, in a bid to stop Turkish-led forces from making further gains.

“The Americans are still on the bridge,” said Ahmad Mohammad, a Kurdish journalist from the area. The Rojava Information Center, an activist-led information group, also reported that at least three American vehicles were deployed on the bridge on Monday.

The United States military had said it would withdraw from the area but needs time to carry out a retreat.

Tensions between France and Turkey over the invasion of Syria have spilled over into sports.

The two countries met on the soccer field near Paris on Monday night, but only after some French politicians called for the game to be canceled.

It wasn’t, but France’s Foreign Ministry said that Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister, would no longer be attending.

The French authorities announced heightened security at the game, which was being played at the Stade de France near Paris. Over 75,000 spectators were expected, including nearly 4,000 Turkish fans, and many more from France’s Turkish community.

In arguing for the game to be canceled, some French politicians noted that the Turkish national team made a military salute during a game against Albania last week.

“If Turkish soccer players do military salutes, they should expect to be treated like soldiers from an enemy army,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the head of the far-left France Unbowed party, said on Twitter.

Mr. Mélenchon said that France should not play against Turkey because “the basis of the sporting spirit is no longer there.”

Jean-Christophe Lagarde, the head of the centrist UDI party, said the Turkish team had “breached the border that separates sports from politics.”

“Tomorrow at the Stade de France, we cannot decently welcome those who are saluting the massacre of our Kurdish allies,” Mr. Lagarde said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Turkish troops shelled within 550 yards of an American observation post in northern Syria late Friday while United States troops were in the area, according to a military situation report obtained by The New York Times.

Since 2016, the United States has maintained several camps in northern Syria, including a post near the town of Kobani, as part of an international alliance fighting the Islamic State.

The military report undermines both American and Turkish narratives about the shelling, which was first reported on Friday by Newsweek. In American news reports over the weekend, unidentified officials variously claimed that the Turkish shelling was probably deliberate, that it was intense and that it had hit areas on both sides of the American post. In an official statement, the Pentagon said only that Turkish forces had shelled within a few hundred meters of American troops.

In response, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said that the strike was an accident and that its forces had fired on Kurdish troops around 1,000 yards from the American outpost. But the military situation report contests both the anonymous American briefings and the Turkish account.

A map shows two Turkish artillery strikes two miles west of the American outpost and one strike landing roughly 300 to 500 yards southwest of the post, closer than the Turks acknowledged, but less intense than some United States officials have claimed.

The military report said that the shelling near the American post was probably an accident, and added that further misfires by Turkish forces could not be ruled out.

The United States had no greater ally in driving out the Islamic State militants who claimed vast swathes of Syria in the quest for a modern-day caliphate than the coalition of fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Inch by inch, the Kurdish-led militia, working with its American military partners, drove ISIS militants out of their strongholds.

But another United States ally viewed the militia much less fondly: Turkey. Its leaders looked across their southern border and saw not an ally but a threat to its territorial integrity, given the militia’s ties to Kurdish separatists in Turkey.

With Turkish-led forces now threatening the Kurds, the S.D.F. has turned its attention away from the Islamic State, including those militants captured during the war and held in detention camps. Already, some ISIS members said to have escaped, along with hundreds of their family members. A planned transfer of five dozen “high-value” detainees to the United States from Syria never happened.

Between escaped ISIS members and the Islamist sleeper cells believed to have been left behind when the militants were defeated in Syria, there is concern that the world has not seen the last of the extremist group.

Reporting was contributed by Carlotta Gall, Ben Hubbard, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, Patrick Kingsley, Hwaida Saad, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Anna Momigliano, Anton Troianovski, Steven Erlanger, Aurelien Breeden, Karam Shoumali, Eric Nagourney, Russell Goldman and Megan Specia.

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