ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
65°
Showers
H 82° L 67°
  • cloudy-day
    65°
    Current Conditions
    Showers. H 82° L 67°
  • rain-day
    79°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 82° L 67°
  • clear-night
    74°
    Evening
    Clear. H 82° L 67°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

UN warns Islamic State losses shouldn't lead to complacency

The U.N. counter-terrorism chief warned Monday that recent losses by Islamic State extremists "should not lead to complacency at any level," saying the extremist group remains a global threat with up to 18,000 militants in Iraq and Syria.

Vladimir Voronkov also told the Security Council that the Islamic State group is reported to have created a network of cells in various cities in Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, and is closely linked to its leaders in Syria and Iraq.

He said the Islamic State's "center of gravity" remains in Iraq and Syria, where it reportedly controls between 14,000 and 18,000 militants, and its central leadership maintains "an intent to generate internationally directed attacks."

His briefing on the latest U.N. report on extremist threats from the Islamic State and al-Qaida comes as President Donald Trump has ordered a U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria, saying IS has been defeated, and a potential troop pullout in Afghanistan.

Voronkov, the undersecretary-general of the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism, said the threat from IS has increased because of combatants who fought with the group returning home, relocating or being released.

Michele Coninsx, head of the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said IS' dramatic loss of territory "has driven its evolution into a covert and more locally focused network in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere."

She told the council the Islamic State group— also known as ISIS — aims to undermine stabilization and rebuilding in its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

The extremist group "remains one of the international terrorist groups most likely to carry out a large-scale, complex attack in the future," Coninsx said.

U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen said the significant military setbacks IS has suffered, notably in Iraq, Syria and the southern Philippines, are "a testament" to the work of a global coalition to defeat the extremist group.

But he said "much more work remains to be done to defeat ISIS."

Cohen made no mention of any troop withdrawals from Syria or Afghanistan but said "ISIS is seeking to survive, reconstitute and ultimately re-emerge in Iraq and Syria."

"ISIS is also coordinating with affiliates to plan attacks elsewhere, including Afghanistan, southeast Asia and west Africa," he said.

Cohen encouraged all countries to adapt to the changing threat from IS, praising the coalition for severely degrading its ability to raise funds and finance its operations "through destroying ISIS-controlled energy assets and removing key ISIS commanders responsible for finance."

The U.N.'s Coninsx stressed that IS, along with other extremist groups and their affiliates, have "consistently demonstrated their intent and ability to exploit new technologies and seek innovative ways to circumvent obstacles to its financial, technical and recruitment capabilities."

As examples, she said her experts noted "an increased use of mobile payment services by terrorist groups" in west Africa, and "the misuse of cryptocurrencies for malicious, criminal and terrorist purposes."

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that while the Islamic States' income from contraband fuel continues to fall, the extremist group seized a number of oil fields in Syria's eastern province of Deir-el-Zour last autumn which enabled it to sell oil at $30-$35 a barrel for a number of months through intermediaries.

He said IS and other extremist groups continue to take hostages, participate in the illegal trade in drugs and agricultural products, and the sale of organs and cultural artifacts — and they are constantly looking for new sources of income.

"Their coffers are being filled through trading in industrial products including sulfuric and phosphorous acid and cement," Nebenzia said. "They're also investing in fishing in Iraq. They're speculating on the stock markets, receiving income from cryptocurrencies, playing in online casinos, and also making use of scams on the internet and deliveries of fake medicines."

He said some fighters are also "compelled to sell the weapons and ammunition that they have."

And in a number of Afghan provinces, Nebenzia said, there has also been "active illegal mining, processing and deliveries abroad of iron, copper, gold, jewels and semi-precious stones."

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A loaded gun was brought inside a Pittsburgh elementary school Monday, officials said. >> Watch the news report here WPXI-TV reports that the weapon wasn't found until after school, when another student told a bus driver that someone had a gun. Children are not required to go through the metal detectors at Pittsburgh Faison Elementary School in Homewood, but a district spokesperson told WPXI that there are going to be changes in security measures starting Tuesday morning. >> Read more trending news  The kindergarten student had the loaded gun, with the safety on, in his backpack, inside his locker. Officials told WPXI that parents got a notice from the district's phone system. WPXI is working to find out if the child's parents will be charged.
  • Razor blades have been found under the handles of shopping carts at a Walmart store in North Carolina, police said. >> Watch the news report here The blades were found at the store in Siler City, about 35 miles south of Greensboro, WSOC-TV reported. Two people reportedly have been hurt. Siler City police are seeking two people of interest, both described as white men in their 30s. Police said the men were seen in a tan Chevrolet Suburban or GMC SUV. >> Read the full descriptions here >> See the surveillance photos here – The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • A skyride malfunctioned Monday night at SeaWorld San Diego, initially stranding nine adults and seven children – including an infant. Here are the latest updates: Update 11:26 p.m. PST: Rescue workers have saved all 16 people who were trapped on the Bayside Skyride at SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Fire Department tweeted late Monday. >> See the tweet here Original story: A rescue is underway at SeaWorld San Diego after a skyride malfunctioned Monday night, initially stranding nine adults and seven children – including an infant. >> See a photo from the scene here >> Read more trending news  As of 10:30 p.m. PST, crews had rescued 14 people from the Bayside Skyride, which stalled when heavy winds 'tripped a circuit breaker' more than three hours earlier, KSWB reported. Two people were still trapped on the ride's gondolas, the San Diego Fire Department said. >> See the tweet here KSWB said some of the gondolas were over Mission Bay when the ride stopped working. Those trapped were 'lowered by harnesses & rescued by [San Diego Lifeguards] boats,' the Fire Department tweeted. Read more here.
  • A University of Central Florida employee suffered burns Monday after a chemical reaction, according to Orange County Fire Rescue officials. Firefighters were called to 3512 Perseus Loop Lane near the Facilities Operations building on UCF's campus around 3 p.m.  The 29-year-old who was the only person in the building at the time, and was transporting the chemicals when a static discharge sparked a fire.  He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with burns to his face, arms and chest according to responding firefighters.  A university spokeswoman said the incident happened in a building on campus that is designed to handle chemicals and no students were involved in the incident or ever in any danger.  The worker's name was not released. Mike Jachles with OCFR said he was conscious and alert when he was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
  • Four days after the announcement of a series of executive actions to fund his signature border wall, President Donald Trump’s administration still needs to fill in the details on his plans to shift over $6.6 billion from the Pentagon and Treasury Department into funding border security, as members of Congress continue to wonder if the move will dig into their local military base construction projects. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and their staffs were awaiting guidance on where the Pentagon would look for money in the $3.6 billion sought by the President in his emergency declaration from military construction projects, which was already the subject of new lawsuits. “Congress has not enacted any emergency legislation even remotely related to border wall construction, and thus the President’s reallocation of funds is unlawful,” read a suit filed against the President and Pentagon by several environmental groups. In a letter to the Acting Secretary of Defense, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) asked for a breakdown of which projects would be put on hold – as under the ‘national emergency’ law used by the President, the Pentagon would make those decisions – not the Congress. Congress approved $10.3 billion for military construction in Fiscal Year 2019 – the $3.6 billion sought by the President would be more than one-third of that amount – which has drawn expressions of concern from lawmakers. As Kaine noted in his letter, the move to shift money from military construction comes at a time when the Pentagon already was having to deal with hurricane damage at two major domestic bases – Camp Lejeune for the Marines in North Carolina, and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Tyndall was seriously damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018 – and despite support for rebuilding the base, Congress has not yet acted on extra money for the Pentagon – or on broader hurricane relief for those hit in Florida and Georgia. During the partial government shutdown, Democrats in the House approved a bill which had $12.1 billion in disaster aid, both for hurricanes and wildfires – but that bill does not seem to be on the agenda in the U.S. Senate at this point. @DrNealDunnFL2 Dr Dunn, we are hearing here in the Panhandle that Trump is going after Tyndall rebuilding money for his wall. Please don’t let this happen! No Tyndall would be catastrophic to our area. Please help! — Billy Shears (@BillyShears9) February 14, 2019 The Commandant of the Marine Corps said over the weekend that he needs $3.5 billion just for repairs at Camp LeJeune from damage caused by Hurricane Florence in September of 2018 – which is equal to the figure of how much in military construction the President wants to shift into a border wall. Earlier this month, Air Force officials said they planned to spend $3 billion to rebuild Tyndall, which was flattened by Hurricane Michael in October of last year. House Democrats say they plan to hold a hearing as soon as next week to get a better idea on what military construction projects the Pentagon wants to scrap – in order to move money to the wall. Also still unclear is the legal underpinnings for two other moves announced last week by the White House, where the President would move money from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund, as well as money from a Pentagon anti-drug account – into a border wall.