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How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory

How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory

World
After seven devastating years of civil war in Syria, which have left more than 350,000 people dead, President Bashar al-Assad appears close to victory against the forces trying to overthrow him. So how has Mr Assad got so close to winning this bloody, brutal war?A joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic shows for the first time the extent to which chemical weapons have been crucial to his war-winning strategy. Sorry, your browser cannot display this map Source: BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic research. Map built with Carto. 1. The use of chemical weapons has been widespreadThe BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria...
Walmart stores close overnight amid financial fall

Walmart stores close overnight amid financial fall

World
Argentina is in an economic freefall — again — and the government of President Mauricio Macri may be too late to stem the tide of social and economic hardship that lies ahead. DOT, one of the most upscale malls in Argentina, is already taking a hit. The enormous shopping center was inaugurated in early 2009 with a Walmart and Falabella, a Chilean department store, as its flagship stores. However, those economic boom times are no more, and today, the DOT is an empty shell of a mall. "It's really sad", Sandra, who asked that her last name remains private, told ABC News from a completely empty, chic women's clothing store at the mall. "I've worked here for eight years but I don't know what tomorrow might bring. The only times we have customers is [when] people [come] from the m...
1,500 jobs at risk as 42 Homebase stores to close

1,500 jobs at risk as 42 Homebase stores to close

Business
DIY retailer Homebase is set to close 42 stores, putting around 1,500 jobs at risk. The retailer is closing the stores via a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), a controversial insolvency procedure used by struggling firms to shut under-performing shops.Homebase said it anticipated the outlets would close from later this year into 2019.Until then, "all stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will remain open for business as usual and this process will have no impact on customer purchases, outstanding orders or any product or service guarantees".It said a "comprehensive review" had concluded that its current store portfolio mix "is no longer viable"."Rental costs associated with stores are unsustainable and many stores are loss making," it said.The CVA procedure would al...
Thailand cave: Rescuers in race against weather as rains close in

Thailand cave: Rescuers in race against weather as rains close in

World
Rescuers in Thailand are racing against the rains to free 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.A deluge is expected to hit in a matter of days and could force the water level up, threatening to flood the pocket where the group has taken refuge.The boys, aged 11-16, and their coach have been trapped since 23 June.They are believed to have entered the cave when it was dry, before sudden heavy rains blocked the exit.The group was found on Monday night by two British rescuer divers, on a rock shelf about 4km (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave. What are the rescue options? Community of hope springs up outside cave The region of Chiang Rai where the boys are trapped has for the past few days experi...
Austria to close 7 mosques, expel imams in crackdown

Austria to close 7 mosques, expel imams in crackdown

World
Austria's government said Friday that it is closing seven mosques and plans to expel imams in a crackdown on "political Islam" and foreign financing of religious groups. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the government is shutting a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community that runs six mosques. The actions by the government are based on a 2015 law that, among other things, prevents religious communities from getting funding from abroad. Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said the residence permits of around 40 imams employed by ATIB, a group that oversees Turkish mosques in Austria, are being reviewed because of concerns about such financing. Kickl said that, in two cases, permits have already been revoked. Five more imams were d...