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Sweden asks the US to explain Trump comment

The Swedish embassy in Washington has asked the U.S. State Department for an explanation of a comment made by President Donald Trump that suggested there had been some sort of security incident in Sweden on Friday.

The U.S. President was speaking at at a political rally in Florida on Saturday when, in connection with the mention of a need to keep the United States safe, he said: “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.

“Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

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Trump did not elaborate on the Swedish reference, leaving many Swedes baffled.

“We have asked the question today to the state department. We are trying to get clarity,” said Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom apparently responded on Twitter with the remark “owing to certain circumstances”, followed by a passage from her speech in parliament last week on Sweden’s foreign policy.

The passage read: “In 2016, ‘post-truth’ was named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. Both functioning democracy and constructive cooperation between states require us to speak with, and not about, each other, to honor agreements and to allow ideas to compete. They also require us to respect science, facts and the media, and to acknowledge each other’s wisdom.”

Many Swedes on Twitter mocked Trump’s remark using the hashtag #LastNightInSweden.

Former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt also took to Twitter, saying: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by David Goodman)

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Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach (CA) (FMBL: OTCQB) | Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach Declares First-Quarter Cash Dividend of $23 Per Share

Farmers Merchants Bank of Long Beach Declares First-Quarter Cash Dividend of $23 Per Share

Feb 17, 2017

OTC Disclosure News Service

Farmers Merchants Bank of Long Beach (OTCQB: FMBL) today announced
that its board of directors has declared a regular quarterly cash
dividend of $23 per share. The quarterly dividend is payable on March
31, 2017 to shareholders of record as of March 15, 2017.

The declaration represents FM’s 491st dividend payment, including
special dividends. FM has paid a dividend each year to shareholders
since 1916.

About Farmers Merchants Bank of Long Beach

Founded in Long Beach in 1907 by C.J. Walker, Farmers Merchants Bank
has 24 branches across Orange County, Long Beach and the South Bay. The
Bank specializes in commercial and small business banking, business loan
programs, home loans, and a robust offering of consumer retail banking
products, including checking, savings and youth accounts. Farmers
Merchants Bank is a California state chartered bank with deposits
insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Member FDIC) and
an Equal Housing Lender. For more information about FM, please visit
the website,

Copyright © 2017 Businesswire. All Rights Reserved

The above news release has been provided by the above company via the OTC Disclosure and News Service. Issuers of news releases and not OTC Markets Group Inc. are solely responsible for the accuracy of such news releases.

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Iraqi forces advance towards Mosul airport in push to capture city

BAGHDAD, SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq, Feb 19 (Reuters) – U .S.-backed Iraqi forces began moving on Sunday towards Mosul’s airport, the first target of a ground offensive to capture the western side of the city that remains under control of Islamic State, the Iraqi military said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier on Sunday announced the formal start of a ground offensive on western Mosul, asking the Iraqi forces to ”respect human rights” during the battle. Islamic State militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after U.S.-backed forces surrounding the city forced them from the east in the first phase of an offensive that concluded last month. Iraqi federal police units are leading a northward charge on the Mosul districts that lie west of the Tigris river, aiming to capture the Mosul airport, located just south of the city, according to statements from the armed forces joint command.

They captured several villages and a local power distribution station in the first hours of their progress and killed several militants including snipers, the statements said.

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world,” the commander of the U.S.-led coalitions forces, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, said in a statement.

Iraqi planes dropped millions of leaflets on the western side of Mosul warning residents that the battle to dislodge Islamic State was imminent as troops began moving in their direction, the Iraqi Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

Up to 400,000 civilians could be displaced by the offensive as residents of western Mosul suffer food and fuel shortages and markets are closed, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande told Reuters on Saturday.

Commanders expect the battle in the west to be more difficult than in the east because tanks and armored vehicles cannot pass through its narrow streets and alleyways.

The militants have also developed a network of passageways and tunnels that will enable them to hide and fight among the civilians, disappear after hit-and-run operations and track government troop movements, according to residents.

Western Mosul contains the old city center, with its ancient souks, Grand Mosque and most government administrative buildings.

It was from the pulpit of the Mosul Grand Mosque that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” over parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014. The city — Iraq’s second biggest — is the largest urban center captured by Islamic State in both countries and its de facto capital in Iraq. Raqqa is its capital in Syria. Islamic State was thought to have up to 6,000 fighters in Mosul when the government’s offensive started in mid-October. Of those, more than one thousand have been killed, according to Iraqi estimates.

The remainder now face a 100,000-strong force made up of Iraqi armed forces, including elite paratroopers and police, Kurdish forces and Iranian-trained Shi’ite paramilitary groups.

The United States, which has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the fighting, leads an international coalition providing critical air and ground support, including artillery fire, to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

The Sunni group imposed a radical version of Islam in Mosul, banning cigarettes, televisions and radios, and forcing men to grow beards and women to cover from head to toe. Citizens who failed to comply risked death.

Capturing Mosul would effectively end the militants’ ambitions for territorial rule in Iraq. They are expected to continue to wage an insurgency, however, carrying out suicide bombings and inspiring lone-wolf actions abroad.

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