Duterte: Philippines Separating From 'Discourteous' US, Turning to China

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  After weeks of controversial comments about President Obama, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that his country would separate itself from the United States and turn toward China and possibly Russia instead, sparking puzzlement from U.S. officials.

Duterte criticized the U.S.'s economy, military and general “discourteous” behavior in a meeting Thursday.

“Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also, America has lost,” he said to the crowd of over 200, later adding, “There are three of us against the world -- China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”

"I will not go to America anymore. We will just be insulted there. So time to say goodbye my friend," he declared.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was “baffled” by Duterte's declaration: “It’s not clear what [the separation] means in all its ramifications.”

He later backtracked, explaining, “I wasn’t trying to say we were surprised by these comments.”

Kirby said Daniel Russel, a U.S. diplomat for East Asian and Pacific affairs, will move ahead with long-scheduled plans to travel to Manila this weekend and meet with government officials.

The State Department isn’t panicking yet, Kirby said, adding that the alliance between the U.S. and the Philippines is "some 70 years old [and] has weathered all kinds of storms.”

"We remain rock solid in our commitment in the mutual defense treaty that we have with the Philippines,” he said.

The White House has taken a similar stance. “We have not received any official requests from Filipino officials to alter any of our many issues where we bilaterally cooperate," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Thursday.

Duterte has been a subject of criticism in recent weeks for calling President Obama "son of a b----" and telling him to "go to hell." Most recently, he's the subject of criticisms about possible human rights violations in his war on drugs via extrajudicial killings of Filipino drug addicts and dealers. Last week, the International Crime Court in The Hague announced that it would be closely monitoring the Philippines and that it was considering launching a full investigation.

What Does This Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy?

A prominent marker of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy has been the “Asia Pivot” – a shift from a focus on Middle Eastern and European foreign policy to one on East Asian and Southeast Asian policy. The Philippines, particularly Manila, has been key in this strategy.

In the struggle over the South China Sea, Manila’s proximity has made it an ideal hub for U.S. military operations. The U.S. has constantly used it for this reason in times of conflict, as in the Vietnam War, and in 2013 when it asked to base drone operations there in air strikes against Syria (and was denied).

"No other country in the region is willing to allow the basing rights the administration spent years negotiating," according to Steve Ganyard, a former deputy assistant secretary of state and ABC News consultant.

Ganyard also highlights the critical implications the move could have for the next presidential administration.

"Clinton will likely use the Philippines as an impetus to quickly set out her own differentiated Asia-Pacific policy early in her term," he said. "It will be much tougher than Obama's and include confronting China's aggressive and illegal regional behavior."

For China, a New Brotherhood

China and the Philippines seem firmly pleased with the decision.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the Philippine leader today with a marching band and an elaborate ceremony, calling Duterte his “brother.”

In the business forum that was the focus of Duterte’s visit, China agreed to loan $9 billion to the Philippines, and 13 pacts were signed between the two nations, marking partnerships on maritime cooperation, financing, transport, drug-busting and more. Jinping has previously said that he admires Duterte's drug-fighting tactics.

In contrast, Jinping’s meetings with Obama are markedly less cordial. Obama was denied his usual red carpet arrival when Air Force One touched down in Beijing for the G20 Summit last month after Chinese and U.S. officials argued over which stairs the president would descend from. Obama ended up having to use a smaller door in the belly of Air Force One, while most other leaders arriving for the G20 Summit did not share the experience.

While there, White House press corps members were roped off and blocked from recording Obama’s arrival. The U.S. called the affair an accident and denied notions that it was a "snub," while the Chinese media declared that U.S. media had dramatized the interaction.

Despite subtle terseness and tension between the U.S. and China, U.S. officials “welcome a closer relationship between the Philippines and China,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

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American Dies in Northern Iraq in Offensive Against ISIS

cnrn/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An American service member died Thursday from wounds sustained in an IED explosion in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said. Further information was not immediately available.

Thursday marked the fourth day of the operation to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from the Islamic State group's control. About 18,000 Iraqi forces, 10,000 Kurdish forces known as peshmerga and a few thousand Iraqi federal police launched the massive military offensive on Monday. Roughly 100 American advisers are also involved in the mission, which is divided into two fronts -- one west of the Great Zab River and the other just north of Qayyarah.

Only a "small number" of the nearly 5,000 American troops stationed in Iraq could find themselves in what a Pentagon spokesman called "a combat environment" while they advise the Iraqi and Kurdish forces involved in the operation.

"Early indications are that Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook at a briefing Monday. “This is going according to the Iraqi plan, but again, it's early and the enemy gets a vote here. We will see whether ISIL stands and fights."

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the operation is advancing “more quickly” than expected, as an Iraqi-led coalition of forces captured several more villages around Mosul today.

According to Kurdish peshmerga commanders, their forces have so far taken the towns of Barima, North Smaqa, South Smaqa, Fazilya, Nawaran, Imam Razil and the village of Dere. The troops are working to clear booby traps and IEDs from all the settlements under ISIS rule.

The peshmerga commanders told ABC News that Thursday morning’s operation aimed to clear more of the outlying villages around Mosul and to tighten the noose around the Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq.

Meanwhile, to the south of Mosul, the Iraqi army is carefully pushing forward today while encountering booby-trapped explosives and fierce resistance from ISIS militants in some villages on the outskirts.

Iraqi special forces joined the fight for Mosul this morning. Iraqi Army Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi said the elite troops, also known as counterterrorism forces, advanced on the town of Bartella with the aid of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and heavy artillery. The special forces are expected to carefully lead the way into Mosul.

"God willing, we will take this town today," he said of Bartella, which ISIS seized in 2014.

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Aleppo's Brief Cease-Fire Extended Amid Concern Over New Russian Offensive

AbdukadirSavas/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin extended a brief "humanitarian pause" in fighting around the besieged city of Aleppo, Syria on Thursday, by adding another 24 hours to the initial 11-hour break in fighting, Russia's military said. The U.N. said Russia has promised to further lengthen the cease-fire by another four days, although that has yet to be confirmed by Russia.

And the rare sense of quiet in Aleppo is fraught by concerns that Russian and Syrian government forces will launch a new offensive once the temporary cease-fire ends. Feeding the fears are signs that Russia is preparing a major assault and using the break only to cover itself against any accusations that it showed insufficient concern for civilians.

A Russian naval fleet, accompanying the country’s only aircraft carrier, is currently steaming toward Syria in what observers says is Moscow’s largest naval deployment since the Cold War. A senior NATO diplomat told Reuters they believed the buildup is intended for a final assault on Aleppo within the next two weeks.

Russian and Syrian officials have suggested that after the cease-fire the Syrian army will clear Aleppo of the forces fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. “After the humanitarian pause, the clearing operation begins,” Franz Klintsevich, a senior member of Russia’s parliamentary defense committee told Russia’s chief state paper, Izvestia.

German leader Angela Merkel pressed anew for the brief halts in fighting to become a full-fledged cease-fire: “There must be work as soon as possible on achieving a cease-fire,” Merkel said at a European Union summit in Brussels. “Not just one over several hours per day, followed by many hours of bombing, but a lasting cease-fire."

For today at least there were none of the Russian and Syrian government airstrikes that have terrorized rebel-held areas in Aleppo in recent weeks. Syrian state media reported that corridors had opened to allow people to exit. And residents of the city said that the government was dropping leaflets urging them to leave.

“There are no warplanes, but we have been hearing the sound of a helicopter that has dropped leaflets from the government,” Mohamed Abu Rajab, a radiologist in Aleppo, told ABC News. He said he is hoping that patients in need of urgent medical care can be evacuated from Aleppo during the cease-fire.

“We are looking into evacuating the wounded and preparing a list of people who have serious injuries that we can’t treat inside, but so far no one has left,” he said.

Fewer than 30 doctors are left in Aleppo, according to the U.N, and only about five hospitals are left functional after others have been destroyed by airstrikes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially agreed to an 11-hour “humanitarian pause” in fighting to allow supplies to reach the estimated 250,000 people still living in the city.

A United Nations humanitarian adviser, Jan Egeland, said Russia has agreed to extend the pause and that the U.N. now had a “window from at least Friday till Monday” and is pushing for longer.

But Russia would not confirm that the cease-fire would go beyond 24 hours. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned reporters that any extension may be cut short if Syrian rebel forces appeared to be regrouping.

Rebel fighters and civilians in Aleppo meanwhile remained deeply skeptical about the pause with little sign today that many are heeding the calls to leave. After the past two weeks of Russian and Syrian airstrikes killing hundreds and targeting hospitals, schools and bakeries, some Aleppo call the cease-fire a “media stunt” and psychological tactic meant to force rebels' surrender.

Some mainstream rebel groups as well as a powerful jihadist organization have rejected the call to withdraw. The jihadist group, Fateh al-Sham, the al-Qaeda affiliate previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra, said in a statement to the BBC that it would fight on, pointing out previous occasions where rebels have been starved and bombed into surrendering.

As the cease-fire began Thursday morning, clashes erupted around one of the opened corridors by which people could leave. Small arm and artillery fire was exchanged around a crossing in Bustan al-Qasr, one of two corridors offered as a way for fighters to exit.

“I was in Bustan al-Qasr this morning and there were clashes,” Wissam Zarqa, a teacher who lives in al-Mashhad in the besieged part of Aleppo, told ABC News. He said the government and the Free Syrian Army were fighting in the area.

Zarqa said he does not want to leave his home and become a refugee and that he also doesn’t believe that leaving is safe, as the Syrian government claims. He said he had heard the government encourage people to cross the front lines and go back to “the lap of the homeland.”

ABC News has seen photos of leaflets locals say were dropped by the government. One shows a photo of a green bus that supposedly will take people out of the besieged area. Another photo on the same leaflet shows a man with what appears to be a head injury lying on the ground with the words “this will be the end” printed on top. Another says the safety of people who decide to leave is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the Russian carrier group sailing toward Syria is apparently headed to reinforce Russia’s air campaign in Syria. A senior NATO diplomat told Reuters that the exceptional deployment suggested Russia was preparing to use it in a coup-de-grace as it launches a final assault on the city: "This is not a friendly port call,” the diplomat said. “In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia's strategy to declare victory there.”

That likelihood seemed to be echoed by the Russian defense committee official, Klintsevich. “After the pause, the clearing operation starts. But it will be difficult for anyone to say Russia is not concerned about the interests of the civilian population,” he told Izvestia.

Despite the grave signs, the pause has been accompanied by new stirrings of new diplomatic talks. A U.S. delegation met with Russian officials in Geneva to discuss how the two sides might agree on how to separate terrorist groups from the rebel opposition in Syria

Russia says the assault on Aleppo is justified by the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda branch that recently rebranded as Fateh al-Sham. The U.N. has called for the around 900 Nusra fighters it estimates to be in the city to leave.

Rebels and activists have criticized that as accepting Russia’s indiscriminate bombing as legitimate. But the U.N. mediator for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, appeared to push for the Russian plan, saying that nations backing Syria's rebels could apply pressure to have Nusra forced out of Aleppo.

“Important countries, like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, which have influence over the mainstream rebel groups, are in a position to suggest to those groups to tell the al-Nusra fighters that it is time to go to Idlib,” de Mistura told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet. That would “take away any alleged justification, or alibi, for the heavy bombing of urban areas of eastern Aleppo.” Mistura said.

Analysts have said rebels could push Nusra out of Aleppo, but will not while engaged in a life-or-death battle with the regime.

Russia has implied it will halt the attack on Aleppo if Nusra can be removed. In practice Russia officials have rarely drawn a distinction between it and other rebel groups. Russian foreign ministry officials publicly only refer to the moderate opposition in quotation marks.

But following a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov over the weekend, the U.S. is now probing Moscow on this issue again.

“I urge Russia to sit at this table in Geneva and be serious about finding a simple way, which we are offering, to make sure that those who are genuinely terrorists are in fact separated out, isolated," Kerry said on Wednesday night.

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Operation to Liberate Mosul Advancing 'More Quickly' Than Expected, Iraqi Prime Minister Says

Romanista/iStock/Thinkstock(MOSUL, Iraq) -- The operation to liberate Iraq’s second largest city from the Islamic State is advancing “more quickly” than expected, Prime Minister Haider Alabadi said Thursday as an Iraqi-led coalition of forces captured several more villages around Mosul.

On the fourth day of the massive military offensive, Kurdish forces known as peshmerga bombarded ISIS positions in areas north and east of Mosul with artillery and mortar fire before launching a fresh ground assault at dawn this morning.

According to peshmerga commanders, their forces have so far taken the towns of Barima, North Smaqa, South Smaqa, Fazilya, Nawaran, Imam Razil and the village of Dere. The troops are working to clear booby traps and IEDs from all the settlements under ISIS rule.

The peshmerga commanders told ABC News that Thursday morning’s operation aimed to clear more of the outlying villages around Mosul and to tighten the noose around the Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq.

Meanwhile, to the south of Mosul, the Iraqi army is carefully pushing forward. They’re encountering booby-trapped explosives and fierce resistance from ISIS militants in some villages on the outskirts.

Iraqi special forces joined the fight for Mosul Thursday morning. Iraqi army Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi said the elite troops, also known as counterterrorism forces, advanced on the town of Bartella with the aid of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and heavy artillery. The special forces are expected to lead the way into Mosul.

"God willing, we will take this town today," he said of Bartella, which ISIS seized in 2014.

On Monday, about 18,000 Iraqi forces, 10,000 peshmerga and a few thousand Iraqi federal police launched the operation to free the strategic city from more than two years of ISIS control. Roughly 100 American advisers are also involved in the mission, which is divided into two fronts -- one west of the Great Zab River and the other just north of Qayyarah.

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the top U.S. military ground commander in Iraq, said 13 Iraqi villages were liberated from ISIS rule on Wednesday during the operation to retake Mosul.

“The Iraqis are ahead of where I thought they would be when this operation started,” Volesky told reporters at a press conference. “They want to get there quickly. But again, it's a hard fight.”

On the first day of the offensive, ISIS fighters used car and truck bombs to defend against Iraqi and Kurdish forces. On the second day, the militants used them to attack the forces to cover the pullback of their own fighters into Mosul’s urban areas -- a tactic that’s not been seen before, Volesky said.

As the fighting intensifies, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis” looms as up to a million civilians are expected to flee Mosul in the coming days and weeks.

“The challenges in this scenario are unprecedented. We don’t often have up to one million people potentially on the move; it’s very rare in scale and size,” said UNICEF regional emergency adviser Bastien Vigneau.

At least 200,000 people are expected to be displaced in the first two weeks of the operation to free Mosul and as many as 1.5 million civilians are estimated to remain in the city. Of the 1 million who could become displaced, approximately half are children.

The first trickle of people fleeing the fighting was spotted on Thursday. Mostly women and children were seen escaping towns and villages around Mosul as they picked their way across perilous battle lines while trying to evade ISIS fighters. Many of them carried a white flag as a sign of peace and waved it over their heads while crossing over no-man’s land, hoping it will identify them as unarmed civilians.

According to the International Rescue Committee, many refugees have told the aid agency stories about residents buying as much white cloth as they can find and preparing their escape plans for when the time comes. Many have also lost loved ones and are struggling to secure enough food to feed their families.

“People are very scared that they will be accidentally hit by missiles and many residents can’t sleep at night because of the noise of heavy bombardments in the city,” Paul Donohoe, senior media officer at International Rescue Committee, told ABC News.

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Drone and Satellite Images Show Aleppo in Ruins as Russia Calls on Rebels to Evacuate

Amnesty International(LONDON) — International human rights group Amnesty International released dramatic drone footage and satellite imagery showing whole areas of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in ruins, in a plea to the United Nations and the international community to put a stop to the "bloodshed and destruction," it says is being wrought on the civilian population there.

“The world’s inaction in the face of the continuing carnage and blatant violations in Aleppo city must end," said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office. "Syrian government forces, with the support of Russia, have launched relentless attacks that have flagrantly disregarded fundamental rules of international humanitarian law."

Calling the Russian and Syrian governments' self-imposed humanitarian pause in the bombings "woefully inadequate," Amnesty called for "impartial humanitarian relief and an end to unlawful attacks." Russia has said the rebel groups and civilians should evacuate the besieged area. The rebel groups have rebuked Russia's call to leave, saying it amounts to surrender.

The group released drone footage showing craters and large areas of the densely-populated city that have been leveled. At least 600 airstrikes targeted the city in the span of just three weeks after the collapse of the U.S.-Russia backed ceasefire on September 19, Amnesty said, resulting in at least 400 civilian deaths.

Some 90 separate locations were damaged or destroyed over a one-week period in an area roughly the size of Manhattan, New York City, the group said, adding that it documented a series of attacks that appear to have purposefully struck civilian targets such as residential homes, medical facilities, schools, markets and mosques.

Since Sept. 21, 14 medical facilities have been hit by airstrikes, putting many of them out of service, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.

“I arrived at al-Sakhour hospital three hours after the attack had happened," a witness to one of the strikes told Amnesty. "The closest front line is around 300 meters away.”

In some instances, Amnesty says, internationally-banned Russian-made cluster munitions were used in attacks.

“Syrian government forces claim to be attacking non-state armed groups but the real objective is clear: to inflict severe suffering on the civilian population in order to drive them out," Maalouf added.

Amnesty says that some 70 countries will call for a "clear message" to be sent in a meeting today to the United Nations Security Council, urging it to do everything in its power to "bring an end to the cycle of war crimes in Syria."

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Assad Claims Viral Picture of Syrian Boy in Ambulance Is Fake, Contradicting Numerous Witness Accounts

Mahmud Rslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) — A photo of a young Syrian boy covered in dust and blood in an ambulance that was viewed by millions and became the face of Aleppo's suffering is being called fake by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, a claim that contradicts numerous witness accounts on the ground in Syria.

The boy, five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, was pulled from a destroyed building in the besieged part of Aleppo's Qaterji neighborhood after a Syrian or Russian airstrike on Aug. 17, according to locals, including medical sources and the White Helmets, a volunteer civil defense group that rescued the boy. On social media, many users said that they were particularly moved by his photo because he looked dazed and confused and wasn't crying despite the obvious injury to his head.

A video showing Omran touching his wounded head and wiping away the blood without shedding a tear went viral and has come to symbolize the humanitarian suffering in Aleppo. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton mentioned the boy's story in two of the presidential debates, including last night's.

Now, the Syrian president has said that the photo of Omran is fake. When confronted with the photo in an interview with Swiss TV SRF1 and asked what he would say to Omran and his family, Assad responded: "We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one.”

Assad makes the claim about nine minutes into the televised interview.

Medical sources in Aleppo confirmed to ABC News in August that they treated Omran following the airstrike.

“Omran was scared and dazed at the same time. He wasn’t crying at all. It seemed like he had been asleep when it happened,” Mohammad, a surgeon in Aleppo who treated him, told ABC News at the time. “He was very lucky. He only had a simple wound in the scalp. We cleaned and stitched the wound and cleaned his face and clothes. There was no brain damage, and he was discharged after two hours,” Mohammad said.

Mohamed Abu Rajab, a radiologist who treated the 5-year-old, told ABC News that “Omran looked very, very shocked and frightened. In the beginning, he didn’t speak at all. But after his treatment, he started crying and yelling, “father, mother.' His parents were very, very affected and scared for their son and crying. But we comforted them and told them that the wound was superficial. But he wasn’t speaking so it seemed like his condition was very serious. It seemed like he was unconscious and like the wound had affected his brain. But it turned out that he was fine."

Omran's older brother later died from his injuries from the same attack, according to monitoring groups, activists and doctors in Aleppo.

The hospital where he was treated has since been completely destroyed by repeated airstrikes and is now out of service, according to medical staff who worked there and the Syrian American Medical Foundation, which supported the hospital.

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ExoMars Module Signal Lost Before Landing on Mars

Stocktrek/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Mars mission launched by the European and Russian space agencies successfully entered the red planet's orbit Wednesday, but scientists have lost the signal from a probe that was scheduled to land on the surface.

ExoMars, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has the main goal of exploring "whether life has ever existed on Mars," according to the ESA.

The mission launched a trace gas orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli module toward Mars in March of this year, and the TGO began orbiting Mars Wednesday. The Schiaparelli module was expected to land on the planet's surface, but contact was lost after it entered the planet's atmosphere, officials said.

Scientists said they hoped to re-establish contact with the module.

The TGO's primary objective is to search for evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could indicate whether there was ever — or is — life on Mars, according to the ESA.

Schiaparelli's mission is to land on the planet and "test key technologies" in preparation for future ESA Mars missions.



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Russian Hacker Suspected in Massive LinkedIn Breach Arrested Overseas

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A suspected Russian hacker has been arrested in the Czech Republic for his alleged role in a cyber-attack on social media giant LinkedIn, sources told ABC News.

The man, so far unidentified by U.S. authorities, was taken into custody by Czech National Police in Prague, based on a "red notice" issued by Interpol, the FBI said in a statement.

While the FBI has not confirmed the alleged hacker’s ties to the LinkedIn breach, the agency’s statement said he is "suspected of conducting criminal activities targeting U.S. interests."

 In May, LinkedIn announced it "was the victim of an unauthorized access" four years earlier that exposed email addresses and passwords of more than 100 million users -- which were reportedly offered for sale on the so-called "dark web."

"We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of the FBI in its efforts to locate and capture the parties believed to be responsible for this criminal activity," LinkedIn said in a statement.

The 27-year-old suspect was arrested two weeks ago in the restaurant of a Prague hotel, sources told ABC News. During the arrest, they said, he collapsed and was then taken to a nearby hospital.

U.S. prosecutors are asking Czech authorities to extradite him to the U.S. so he can face federal charges in San Francisco.

The Russian government said it will try to block the extradition, amid growing tensions between the United States and Russia over cyber-attacks on U.S. targets that the government believes originate in Russia.

"We don’t accept U.S. policy of imposing its extraterritorial jurisdiction on all countries," Alexei Vladimirovich Kolmakov, a spokesman with the Russian Embassy in Prague, told ABC News. "We insist that the detained Russian citizen is transferred to Russia."

In its statement, the FBI vowed to go after hackers wherever they may be.

"As cyber crime can originate anywhere in the world, international cooperation is crucial to successfully defeat cyber adversaries," the statement said.

The arrest in Prague comes only days after U.S. authorities made a rare public accusation, blaming the Russian government for an onslaught of cyber-attacks on Americans political targets including the Democratic National Committee. Sources have also blamed Russian hackers for targeting voter-related systems in nearly half of the U.S. states.

As ABC News first reported, hackers were able to successfully access voter-related information in four states by targeting not only government systems, but also by breaking into computers associated with private contractors hired to handle voter information.

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Video Shows Police Van Ramming Into Protesters Rallying Against US Military Presence in Philippines

iStock/Thinkstock(MANILA, Philippines) — A dramatic video from a demonstration in Manila, Philippines, Wednesday captured the moment a police van appears to ram into a crowd of protesters.

The incident happened outside the U.S. embassy in the country's capital, according to ABS-CBN News, the news division of the largest entertainment and media network in the Philippines.

Hundreds of Filipino activists -- most from a left-wing umbrella group called Bayan, which means "nation" -- had been protesting American intervention and military presence with signs like "U.S. TROOPS OUT NOW" and "NO TO U.S. INTERVENTION" when the demonstration took a violent turn, ABS-CBN reported.

Photos and videos from the event appear to show police throwing tear gas at protesters, and, at one point, dousing them with a powerful spray of water from a fire truck hose. The photos and video also appear to show protesters hurling red paint and rocks at police and the U.S. embassy building.

One video clip appears to show a police vehicle moving backwards and forwards through a group of protesters, and appearing to run some people over. The crowd screamed in response, and some protesters appeared to throw rocks and red paint at the van, the video shows.

The driver of the van, Police Officer Franklin Kho, told ABS-CBN News that demonstrators had been trying to take the vehicle from police, so he was forced to get in and drive it. He added that police and more people would have been hurt if protesters got in the vehicle.

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Two Americans Killed in Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan

iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Two Americans have been killed in an attack near a coalition base near Kabul, Afghanistan, officials said. In addition to the deaths of the U.S. service member and U.S. civilian, two additional U.S. civilians were injured in Wednesday’s attack.

"U.S. service member and one U.S. civilian died as a result of wounds sustained in Kabul, Afghanistan today," according to a statement released by U.S. Forces Afghanistan. "One U.S. service member and two U.S. civilians also sustained wounds and are currently stable.

"The two individuals were killed during an attack near a coalition base by an unknown assailant, who was later killed. They were conducting duties as part of the larger NATO mission to Train, Advise, and Assist the Afghan security services. An investigation is being conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the event.”

There were unconfirmed media accounts in Kabul that the incident may have been an insider attack and that the attacker was wearing an Afghan Army uniform.

"Anytime we lose a member of our team, it is deeply painful," said Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support. "Our sympathies go out to the families, loved ones, and the units of those involved in this incident. To those who continue to target Coalition forces, ANDSF, and Afghan civilians, RS and USFOR-A will continue to pursue our Train, Advise, and Assist mission to help our partners create a better Afghanistan."

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