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News Daily: Syria strike reports and police cuts in focus

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Syria crisis escalates
In the last few hours, news has broken of apparent missile strikes on Tayfur military airport, close to the Syrian city of Homs. Details are still emerging, but it appears to be a fresh escalation in the country's bloody eight-year conflict.The strikes, if confirmed, come soon after at least 70 people died in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma. Images of men, women and children lying lifeless, many with foam at their mouths, sparked international alarm - and promises to respond.Leading the condemnation was US President Donald Trump, who branded Syria's President Assad an "animal" and warned that he, along with allies Iran and Russia, had a "big price to pay". The Assad regime has always denied using chemical weapons and Moscow said events in Douma had been "staged", but Western powers have dismissed those denials.Syrian state news initially called the reported missile strike on Tayfur a "suspected US attack," but later dropped the reference to the US. The Pentagon has also denied conducting air strikes "at this time", but did launch action last year following another chemical attack.
The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the Syria conflict - explained in full here - on Monday.
Cuts 'likely contributed" to rising crime
The government has insisted that cuts in police resources are not behind the recent spike in violent crime in London, but its own Home Office analysts appear to disagree somewhat.A leaked document from February notes that since 2012, "resources dedicated to serious violence have come under pressure and charge rates have dropped." It adds: "This may have encouraged offenders." The report concludes that while pressure on resources is not the "main driver" that "triggered the shift in serious violence", it has "likely contributed".More than 50 people have died in violent attacks in London since the start of the year - here are their faces. Our home editor Mark Easton says it's hard to pin down what's behind the situation - although we've heard from many different voices about why they think it's happening and what can be done.The officials behind the leaked document were drafting a new strategy to tackle violence in England and Wales, the details of which will be set out later by the home secretary.
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Hamilton wins big
No, not Lewis, but the hip hop musical phenomenon. The West End production of the show about US founding father Alexander Hamilton swept the board last night at the Olivier Awards, picking up seven gongs and equalling the record for the most scooped by a musical.If you've missed all the hype around Hamilton, here's what our arts editor thinks about it - a hint, he loves it - and this is the man behind the magic. Incidentally, that man, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had to stay away from the Oliviers having been diagnosed with shingles.
'Shangri-La' caught between superpowers
By Anbarasan EthirajanWith its scenic mountains and stunning Buddhist monasteries on hilltops, Bhutan is a traveller's dream and described by some as the last Shangri-La - a mystical beautiful place where everything is perfection. The country's capital, Thimphu, is a refreshing delight to those who are tired of traffic and pollution in mega cities. The fresh air and the lush green mountains and snow peaks in the distance offer a visual treat. But beneath the surface, this picture-postcard country has been experiencing an undercurrent of tension and nervousness since last year.Read the full article
What the papers say
Many papers place blame at Russia's door for the latest suspected chemical attack in Syria. The Daily Express accuses the Kremlin of propping up the Assad regime "with terrible wickedness", while the Times leader column insists Russia "cannot be allowed to block investigations into yet another breach of the chemical weapons convention". Others, though, cast their net wider. According to the Sun, "the West is not innocent" as a combination of "ignorance, cowardice and political calculation" means everyone "turned a blinding eye" to the horror in Syria. The Guardian criticises what it sees as the repeated flip-flopping of US policy. Elsewhere in the papers there is focus on the violence on London's streets.
Daily digest
Sacked Deutsche Bank dumps boss after years of lossesHacking apology MP says sorry for "foolish prank".Afghan mother Photos of Jahan Taab went viral and have now changed her life.Masters Golf's famous green jacket gets a new owner.
If you see one thing today
Meet the 'fearless' drag queens of Beirut
If you listen to one thing today
How do we cure our plastic addiction?
If you read one thing today
The reality of trying to escape gang life
Lookahead
Today More Commonwealth Games action, including Adam Peaty and Adam Gemili going for gold in the pool and on the track
On this day
2003 Iraqis pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad as US tanks roll into the centre of the city. Millions around the world watch the moment live on television.
From elsewhere
The strange alliance between #MeToo and the anti-porn movement (Observer)It's time to stop minnow bashing (news.com.au)Ballet losing out to TV talent shows (Telegraph)Three billionaires are racing to space: Who will win? (National Geographic)
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