Top40 News for 07/30/2018

#29 ‘Very positive signals’ after U.S., Taliban talks: sources

A meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with "very positive signals" and a decision to hold more meetings, people with knowledge of the talks said on Sunday.

The meeting between a delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives was first reported in The Wall Street Journal but has not been officially confirmed.

According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were "very positive signals" from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a "friendly atmosphere" in a Doha hotel.

"You can't call it peace talks," he said. "These are a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks. We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue."

He said the talks had been held without the presence of Afghan government officials at the insistence of the Taliban.

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#30 Canadian man legally lists gender as female to get cheaper car insurance: report

Spirited Debate: Christopher Hale and Robert Jeffress on a new law in Canada that allows the government to take away children if their families do not accept their chosen gender identity

A Canadian man legally changed his gender to female so he could take advantage of better car insurance rates offered to women and save up nearly $1,100 Canadian Dollars, a report said.

A man, identified only as “David” who lives in Alberta, told CBC News that he was given a quote of $4,500 Canadian Dollars for the insurance of a Chevrolet Cruze he wanted to buy. The insurers told him his yearly bill would be around $1,100 less if he was a woman.

Men normally pay higher rates as the insurers deem male drivers under age of 25 having a higher risk of getting into traffic accidents than compared to women of the same age.

“I was pretty angry about that and I didn’t feel like getting screwed over any more,” the man said, adding that he asked the insurers to change his gender on the insurances police, a request they refused.

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#31 Somalia, Eritrea mend ties as change sweeps Horn of Africa

Nairobi (AFP) - The presidents of Somalia and Eritrea on Monday signed an agreement to establish diplomatic ties after over a decade of animosity, in the latest lightning rapprochement between Horn of Africa rivals.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's three-day visit to Asmara coincides with an extraordinary peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia -- part of dizzying change in a region burdened by war, proxy conflicts, isolation and iron-fisted rule.

"The two countries will establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors," read a "joint declaration on brotherly relations" signed in Asmara by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Mohamed.

The declaration came just three weeks after Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to two decades of conflict, rapidly restoring diplomatic ties and flights between their capitals.

The history of the three nations, and their fallouts, have been intertwined.

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#32 Aryan Brotherhood gang leader dies in Colorado prison

Prison gang leader Barry Byron Mills, 70, died on July 8 in his cell at ADX Florence

Barry Byron Mills, the murderous leader of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, has died in federal lockup. He was 70 and serving multiple life sentences.

Mills, also known by the nickname 'Baron,' was found dead on July 8 in his single-person cell at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, according to a report on Sunday by the San Jose Mercury News.

Authorities said Mills' death does not appear suspicious. The results of an autopsy could take weeks. 

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills joined the Aryan Brotherhood during a stint at San Quentin prison in the 1970s. 

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