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war

Milagros Ortiz holds a photo of herself as a child at her home in Vancouver, British Columbia.
KUOW Photo/Isabella Ortiz

My great aunt, Milagros Ortiz, has an air about her that's warm and calm. Her laugh is loud, and when she speaks, it's right to your soul.

In her house in British Columbia, we listen to traditional dance music she recorded when she visited Nicaragua a few years ago. It's a place she has mixed feelings about because "pain is there." But there's also resilience and joy, my Tia (aunt in her native language, Spanish) tells me.


The recess bell rings at the Akha elementary school in Mosul and children come thundering out of the classroom. It's the first day of school.

An ordinary scene, except it hasn't happened for three years in this city. Iraqi forces drove ISIS fighters out of Mosul earlier this year in a battle that destroyed huge parts of the northern city, including hundreds of schools.

"None of us went to school when ISIS was here — we stayed at home," says Ali, who is in sixth grade. "It feels good to be back."

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Thanh Tan and James Hong about the lasting impact of the Vietnam War on the children of Vietnamese refugees. Tan is host of KUOW's new podcast Second Wave. Hong is executive director of Seattle's Vietnamese Friendship Association.

In the latest episode of Second Wave, Tan interviews filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their new documentary "The Vietnam War."

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET Thursday

Japanese and South Korean officials have confirmed another missile test by North Korea Friday morning local time. This is the 15th North Korean missile test this year and the first to come after Pyongyang tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

Want to avoid war? Listen to my grandma’s story

Aug 30, 2017
Courtesy of Natalie Newcomb

Recently I was visiting my grandmother, Kazuko Nita, in Japan. 

Achan, as I call her, knows that I’m not good at cooking and that my knife skills are horrible, so she decided to teach me how to thinly slice cucumbers. It was very difficult to cut them thin and quickly, but as Achan says with everything, I need to do it over and over again, then I will get it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

As the leaders of two nuclear-armed countries trade threats, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Trump "is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."

U.S. intelligence analysts say North Korea has developed a warhead that fits on its ballistic missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S. territory, according to The Washington Post.

Three years ago, the Islamic State overran large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and soon declared a caliphate that straddled the border between the two countries. Today, the group's physical caliphate is declining — and the group is preparing its base of fighters for a future under siege.

One of the ways it is doing that is through its musical propaganda.

Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he'd found on the floor of a parking garage.

"It was a government ID for someone from the intelligence community, and he gave it to me since I write about that subject, and he's like, "I figure you can get this back to this guy,' " Graff recalls.

One of Luke Somers' photos in Yemen.
Luke Somers

The headlines about Yemen are dire. Civil war has put almost 7 million people on the brink of famine. The United Nations humanitarian chief says Yemen is in danger of "total social, economic and institutional collapse.”

North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET Saturday

A government spokesman has increased the death toll from Thursday's bombing using the "Mother of All Bombs" in Afghanistan to 94, up from 36.

Ataullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said in a tweet Saturday that 94 ISIS members were killed in the attack on an ISIS underground complex, including four top commanders.

"Fortunately there is no report of civilians being killed in the attack," Khogyani told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The U.S. has dropped the most powerful conventional weapon ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say.

The nearly 22,000-pound "MOAB" — standing for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or as it's also known, the "Mother of All Bombs" — was designed during the Iraq War but had never before been used on the battlefield.

The U.S. has used the bomb's predecessor, a smaller but still massive weapon known as the "Daisy Cutter," in Afghanistan before.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the missile strike President Trump ordered against Syria on Thursday "an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext."

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Poisonous chemicals are suspected of augmenting an aerial bombardment of a rebel-held town in Syria's Idlib province Tuesday, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying at least 20 children were among those who died. The group says the initial death toll of 58 has risen to 72, and that all the victims were civilians.

The attack was reportedly carried out in Khan Shaykhun, a town in northwest Syria that sits about halfway between Homs and Aleppo on the country's main north-south highway.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. doesn't want to take military action against North Korea, but "all of the options are on the table" if a serious threat arises. Tillerson made his frank remarks in a visit to South Korea on Friday, a day after saying diplomatic efforts "have failed" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Tillerson's Asia tour began in Japan and will end in China. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.

Gunmen dressed as medical staff stormed a military hospital in Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens more in a raid that lasted hours. In a statement published on the Islamic State-affiliated Aamaq news agency, the militant group claimed responsibility for the assault in the Afghan capital.

The attack on Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital ended midafternoon local time, after several hours of floor-by-floor clashes with Afghan security forces left all four attackers dead, according to Gen. Dawlat Waziri, an Afghan defense ministry spokesman.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

William Owens, whose son William "Ryan" Owens became the first American to die in combat under the Trump administration, says that he refused a chance to meet President Trump and that he wants an investigation into his son's final mission — a raid in Yemen whose merits have been called into question.

Caption by photographer Dorothea Lange: Ester Naite, an office worker from Los Angeles, operates an electric iron in her quarters at Manzanar, California, a War Relocation Authority center where evacuees of Japanese ancestry will spend the duration.
Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

It’s not often that we look back on ugly times in our nation’s history. We’re not very good at that as Americans.

But the Japanese internment has been coming up a lot lately.

President Trump is defending the Jan. 29 Yemen raid, in which an American Navy SEAL was killed, as a "winning mission." He is also lashing out at Republican Sen. John McCain, who called the raid a "failure."

Trump chastised McCain for talking to the media about it, saying it "only emboldens the enemy," and whacked McCain for not knowing "how to win anymore."

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

U.S. B-2 stealth bombers struck two ISIS training camps in the Libyan desert Wednesday night, the Pentagon said.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the camps housed ISIS fighters, many of whom had escaped the group's former stronghold in Sirte, on Libya's central coast. He added that officials are still working to assess the impact of the strikes, but they believe more than 80 ISIS fighters were killed.

Among the many things President Obama will be handing off to his successor this week: stubborn wars in three separate countries.

Obama came to office eight years ago vowing to end U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet President-elect Trump stands to inherit the nation's longest war ever in Afghanistan, as well as renewed fighting in Iraq that has spread to Syria.

Agreement Reached On Syria Cease-Fire

Dec 29, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in Moscow that the Syrian government and Syrian opposition forces have agreed to a nationwide cease-fire to begin at midnight local time.

The Syrian army said the agreement excludes the Islamic State as well as Jabhat Fateh al Sham — the group formerly known as the Nusra Front — and all groups linked to them. Turkey's foreign ministry said the agreement excludes groups the U.N. deems terrorist organizations.

Soon-to-be President Donald Trump will hold the keys, or the codes, to America's nuclear weapons arsenal in a few short weeks.

Evacuations continue from east Aleppo, as remaining rebels and civilians wait in freezing weather for transportation out of the city.

The end of the evacuations may be coming soon: NPR's Alice Fordham reports that regime forces might be entering the tiny enclave that has been held by rebels as early as Thursday evening.

The fall of eastern Aleppo to the forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a foregone conclusion for weeks now. The question was whether civilians and fighters would be allowed to leave.

Evacuations of embattled eastern Aleppo, which began Thursday after days of efforts to negotiate a cease-fire, have come to a halt.

Thousands of civilians and fighters have already been evacuated from the rebel-held enclave: Some 3,000 civilians were evacuated in the first few convoys, along with more than 40 wounded people, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday.

The aid group anticipated it would take days to fully evacuate east Aleppo.

After years of devastating war, days of increasing desperation and the collapse of one cease-fire, evacuations are underway in besieged eastern Aleppo.

Live images on Syrian state TV showed ambulances entering the rebel-held enclave on Thursday morning to evacuate the wounded. Aid groups confirm that evacuations have begun — despite reports of a brief burst of gunfire targeting ambulances.

In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, a special commission to South Sudan described the state of the country in the starkest terms possible. Atrocities like murder and gang rape are happening on an "epic" scale, reported the commission's chief, who warned that the world's youngest country now "stands on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war."

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