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U.S. Sending 1,500 More Troops to Middle East amid Iran Tensions

U.S. Sending 1,500 More Troops to Middle East amid Iran TensionsPresident Trump announced Friday that the U.S. will send about 1,500 more troops to the Middle East to play a “mostly protective” role, amid escalating tensions with Iran."We want to have protection," Trump said at the White House as he left for Japan. "Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now and we'll see what happens."About 1,000 troops will be sent to the region and close to 600 will have their deployments in the Middle East extended, according to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rear Admiral Michael Gilday."The Iranians have said publicly they were going to do things," Gilday said. "We learned through intelligence reporting they have acted upon those threats and they have actually attacked."The Pentagon will also send a Patriot anti-missile battalion, a fighter-aircraft squadron, engineers, and more intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft.Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said U.S. Central Command had requested the additional troops and that they are intended to “improve our force protection and safeguard U.S. forces given the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces, including the IRGC [Iran's Revolutionary Guard] and its proxies.”"In my capacity, the most difficult decision is authorizing a mission that I know puts the men and women of our Armed forces in harm's way," Shanahan said during his address at the U.S. Naval Academy's commencement ceremony. "I will continue to give those orders, but only when absolutely necessary."The Trump administration deployed four bombers as well as the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf earlier this month amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region. The U.S. currently has about 5,200 troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria.Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have intensified since April, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and gas that eight countries had been granted.“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump wrote on Twitter.



Life in prison for 'evil' loner who kidnapped US teen, killed parents

Life in prison for 'evil' loner who kidnapped US teen, killed parentsCalling him the "embodiment of evil," a US judge on Friday sentenced a 21-year-old man to life in prison for murdering a couple in their home in order to kidnap their 13-year-old daughter. Jake Patterson pleaded guilty in March to first degree murder and kidnapping for shooting dead James and Denise Closs in their rural Wisconsin home last October. In handing down the maximum sentence of life without parole, Judge James Babler rejected defense attorneys' pleas for the possibility of parole in several decades' time.



'Here we go again.' Federal judge blocks Mississippi's 'heartbeat' abortion law

'Here we go again.' Federal judge blocks Mississippi's 'heartbeat' abortion lawThe law would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat is detected.



Amanda Eller, Missing Maui Yoga Instructor, Ate Berries and Drank From Waterfalls to Survive

Amanda Eller, Missing Maui Yoga Instructor, Ate Berries and Drank From Waterfalls to SurvivePhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/Maui Police Department/FacebookAmanda Eller, the 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist who went missing on a hike in a Maui forest on May 8, ate plants and berries and drank from the base of waterfalls to survive, her rescuers say. Hours after rescuers in a helicopter plucked Eller from a ravine, she said that she had to make the choice to stay alive while lost for 16 days in the forest.“There were times of total fear and loss and wanting to give up, and it did come down to life and death, and I had to choose,” Eller said from her hospital bed on Saturday. “I chose life.”Eller also thanked the volunteers who tirelessly searched for her, the Maui community, and those who donated to help fund the search. “People that know me, that don't know me, just under the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive just warms my heart," she said in a video posted on the Facebook page “Find Amanda.”Chris Berquist, a friend who was fired from a part-time job for not returning to work until he found Eller, told Maui Now that she was “alive and well” and, despite cuts to her legs and severe sun exposure, was “walking and healthy.”“We found her in a stream bed, she was waving up at us while we were in the helicopter, and we got her out nice and safe,” Berquist told ABC News Radio. “She was not injured. She has a little bit of exposure from the sun, a little bit of sunburn. She lost her shoes a few days in. But no injuries."She was last seen buying a Mother’s Day present on the surveillance video of a local shop on May 8. Eller’s family reported her missing when she did not answer calls after going hiking. Her white SUV was found in the Makawao Forest Reserve parking lot with her cellphone and wallet inside, prompting fears that she might have been abducted. Her friends and family offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who could provide information about her disappearance. More than 60 volunteers worked tirelessly to comb the area where she was thought to have hiked, but her family now said she slipped into a deep ravine between two waterfalls, slightly twisting her leg, and could not climb out. Rescuers had to be air-lifted in and out of the ravine to carry out the rescue.Eller’s father John told a local news channel that he had been “bawling like a baby” since hearing the news. He said that she was “mentally 100%” but that she had skin damage to her feet and legs from sun exposure. Another friend involved in her rescue, Javier Cantellops, a former Special Operations Airborne Ranger with the 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, told a local news station what it was like when they spotted her: “We all look to our right… and out of the woodwork, man, you see Amanda Eller, my friend, coming out, waving her hands,” he said. “It was unbelievable, dude.” Eller’s mother Julia said she had never given up hope on finding her daughter alive. “I felt in my heart she was alive,” she told KHON2. “I never gave up hope for a minute. Even though at times I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew we would find her if we just stayed with the program, stayed persistent and that we would eventually find her.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



Rep. Nadler falls ill during public meeting on Upper West Side

Rep. Nadler falls ill during public meeting on Upper West SideRep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, became ill during a public meeting on speed cameras with Mayor de Blasio on the Upper West Side.



Man lights cigarette on Spirit Airlines flight in startling viral footage

Man lights cigarette on Spirit Airlines flight in startling viral footageWild footage from a Spirit Airlines flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota, shows apassenger who began smoking mid-flight, breaking one of the cardinal rules ofair travel