Iran general replacing Soleimani vows revenge for US killing
TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian general who replaced the leader killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad vowed Sunday to take revenge as Tehran abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in response to the slaying.
Esmail Ghaani’s threat comes as the blowback over the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani mounted Sunday with Iraq’s parliament calling for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil.
The three developments could bring Iran closer to building an atomic bomb, see an proxy or military attack launched by Tehran against America and enable the Islamic State group to stage a comeback in Iraq, making the Middle East a far more dangerous and unstable place.
Adding to the tensions, President Donald Trump threatened to demand billions of dollars in compensation from Iraq or impose “sanctions like they’ve never seen before” if it goes through with expelling U.S. troops.
Ghaani made his remarks in an interview with Iranian state television aired Monday.
2 more missing in Australian wildfires as rain brings relief
SYDNEY — Two more people are missing in remote parts of New South Wales state as rain and cooler temperatures brought some measure of relief Monday to Australian communities battling wildfires.
But the rain was also making it challenging for fire crews to complete strategic burns as they tried to prepare for higher temperatures that have been forecast for later in the week.
The wildfires have so far scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. They have killed at least 24 people and destroyed about 2,000 homes.
More than 135 bushfires were still burning across Australia’s most populous state, including almost 70 that were uncontained. The Rural Fire Service is warning the rain won’t put out the largest and most dangerous blazes before conditions deteriorate again this week.
Australia’s capital, Canberra, had the worst air quality of any major city in the world on Monday morning. The Department of Home Affairs, which is responsible for coordinating the country’s response to disasters, told all non-critical staff to stay home because of the abysmal air quality.
5 dead, 60 hospitalized in Pennsylvania Turnpike crash
Five people were killed and about 60 were injured on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning, when a loaded bus went out of control on a hill and rolled over, setting off a chain reaction that involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger car.
The injured victims, ranging from 7 to 67 years old, are all expected to survive, though two patients remain in critical condition, authorities and hospital officials said Sunday afternoon. The crash, which happened at 3:40 a.m. on a mountainous and rural stretch of the interstate about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh, shut down the highway in both directions for several hours before it reopened Sunday evening.
Two UPS drivers, Daniel Kepner, 53, and Dennis Kehler, 48, were killed in the crash, company spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said. Both were driving together in a tractor-trailer out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Petrella said.
From wire sources
State police have not identified the other three victims who were killed.
The bus was traveling from Rockaway, New Jersey, to Cincinnati, Ohio, Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Stephen Limani told reporters.
Trump returns to Washington to face a pair of challenges
WASHINGTON — His 17-day holiday stay at his Florida resort over, President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Sunday night facing twin challenges: the fallout from the strike he ordered to kill an Iranian general and his looming impeachment trial in the Senate.
The dueling images — one of potential chaos in the Middle East, the other a politicized ritual occurring for only the third time in the nation’s history — will shape a defining month of Trump’s presidency, one that comes just before the first votes of the 2020 campaign are cast.
Even before Air Force One touched down outside the divided nation’s capital, Trump faced growing questions from Democrats fearful that the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani endangered Americans in the region and may have been an effort to distract from the president’s political crisis back home.
“Next week, the president of the United States could be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate. We know he’s deeply upset about that. And I think people are reasonably asking, ‘Why this moment?’” Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for president, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Why does he pick now to take this highly inflammatory, highly dangerous action that moves us closer to war?” the Massachusetts senator said.
Japan vows to improve border checks, bail after Ghosn flight
TOKYO — Japan’s justice minister vowed Monday to strengthen border departure checks and review bail conditions after Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, fled the country.
Masako Mori told reporters at a news conference the ministry has already acted to prevent a recurrence but declined to give details.
She was asked about reports that Ghosn had hidden in a box and that baggage checks at a regional airport might have been insufficient.
Ghosn skipped bail while awaiting trial on various financial misconduct allegations and later said from Lebanon that he did it to escape injustice.
Mori declined to say who might be held responsible for such a high-profile flight, stressing it was still under investigation.
Extremists attack Kenya military base, 3 Americans killed
NAIROBI, Kenya — Al-Shabab extremists overran a key military base used by U.S. counterterror forces in Kenya before dawn Sunday, killing three American Department of Defense personnel and destroying several U.S. aircraft and vehicles before they were repelled, U.S. and Kenyan authorities said.
The attack on the Manda Bay Airfield was the al-Qaida-linked group’s first attack against U.S. forces in the East African country, and the military called the security situation “fluid” several hours after the assault.
Five attackers were killed, Kenyan military spokesman Paul Njuguna said.
Al-Shabab, based in neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the assault.
One U.S. serviceman and two contractors with the U.S. Department of Defense were killed in the fighting, according to a statement issued late Sunday by the U.S. Africa Command, or Africom.