California storm deters traffic, but not tourists

More rain, snow and wind hit the West on Wednesday, flooding roads, toppling trees and cutting power while raising threats of debris flows from wildfire scars. But while the weather impacted travel, some tourists were undaunted.(Feb. 13)

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Trump’s Border Troops Have Nothing To Do (HBO)

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas is now home to roughly 1,000 active duty US army soldiers. They’re part of the more than 5,000 troops Donald Trump deployed to the US-Mexico border ahead of the midterm elections, at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Most of the troop in the Rio Grande Valley are now living on Base Camp Donna, ten miles east of McAllen. In the last week, army engineers have built the camp up to accommodate a long-term deployment: it now has hot showers, laundry facilities, and a kitchen to produce two hot meals a day. Many of the soldiers there have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and life on Base Camp Donna is much like life on any other base — except here, there’s no enemy to fight, and the troops have almost nothing to do.

The migrant caravan they’re supposed to be responding to is weeks away and headed to Tijuana, 1,500 miles to the West. The only concrete missions the troops have engaged in so far consist of “hardening” parts of the border with concertina wire. When that’s done, said Major Derek Wamsley, a public affairs officer at the base, “we move back here and wait for the next request from Customs and Border Protection.”

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Ukraine rebels elect leaders in defiance of West

Voters in rebel-held east Ukraine chose new leaders Sunday after Russia defied Western calls not to sabotage peace talks and Kiev urged fresh sanctions against the Kremlin.

German parliament’s lower house marks ‘Kristallnacht’

Germany Parliament’s lower house remembers victims of the Nazi pogrom that heralded the start of the Third Reich’s drive to wipe out Jews, at a time when anti-Semitism is resurgent in the West. A lot of momentous events happened on November in Germany and the date carries extra weight this year as it marks 100 years since the end of the monarchy, as well as the 80th anniversary of the infamous “Kristallnacht” night of Nazi attacks against Jews. IMAGES

Macedonians react after referendum passes with low turnout

Macedonians react after a referendum to change the country’s name drew an overwhelming ‘yes’ majority but was marred by low turnout, complicating the government’s push to ratify a deal aimed at diffusing a long-running row with Greece and opening a door to the West. Only a third of the 1.8 million-strong electorate voted.