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John Moore/Getty Images(GENEVA) -- Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian conflict is "in many ways out of control" as he looks to Russia for help in brokering a nationwide cessation of hostilities, according to BBC.

Kerry, who is in Geneva for talks on how to salvage the crumbling Syrian ceasefire, said progress was being made on a plan to stop violence in Aleppo, where more than a week of fighting has killed over 250 civilians. He said fighting needed to stop in order to start negotiating an end to the country's five-year civil war.

"The United Nations Security Council resolution calls for a full country, country-wide cessation, and that all of the country be accessible for humanitarian assistance," he said Monday.

For Aleppo, the U.S. is considering drawing up with the Russians a detailed map that would lay out "safe zones." Civilians and members of moderate opposition groups covered by the truce could find shelter from persistent attacks by Assad's military, which claims to be targeting terrorists. It is so far unclear if the Russians will accept such a plan.

"We are talking directly to the Russians, even now," Kerry said. "The hope is that we will make some progress."

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iStock/Thinkstock(HAVANA) -- A U.S. cruise ship docked in Havana Monday morning, marking the first time a ship has arrived in Cuba from a U.S. seaport in decades.

The Adonia ship, run by Carnival, left from Miami Sunday. The historic trip represents a new step in normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations.

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SpaceX(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket can carry nearly twice as much into orbit than was previously listed, according to an update on the company's website over the weekend.

The rocket, which has been used to send the Dragon spacecraft on cargo runs to the International Space Station and launch satellites into orbit, can now launch up to 50,265-pounds into low earth orbit, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk. The realization was determined after additional testing.

The new metrics are only for expendable missions, according to Musk, meaning rockets the company tries to land back on Earth will have to carry 30 to 40 percent less payload. SpaceX also says the Falcon 9 can carry up to 8,860-pounds of cargo to Mars.

The company gave an update on its Falcon Heavy rocket, which has yet to fly. The $90 million rocket, which has 27 Merlin engines, can launch up to 29,980-pounds on a journey to Mars. SpaceX announced last week the company is targeting its first Mars mission for 2018.

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KGO-TV(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The Solar Impulse plane took off in darkness from San Francisco Monday morning for the first leg of its journey across the United States.

The solar-powered plane is expected to finish the 720-mile journey Monday night when it lands at Phoenix Goodyear Airport. While the early-morning darkness may seem less than ideal for a plane that is powered by the sun, Solar Impulse is equipped to fly day and night because of solar-energy stored in batteries on the aircraft.

The plane weighs over 5,000 pounds; about the same size of a truck. Solar Impulse arrived in San Francisco last week, marking the completion of its Pacific Ocean crossing.

The trip began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, with stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan, before flying over the Pacific Ocean and reaching Hawaii in July 2015.

Solar Impulse was grounded in Hawaii after the plane's battery system sustained damage during the Japan-to-Hawaii leg of the trip. After at least two planned stops in the United States, Solar Impulse will fly from New York to Europe, according to the project's website. The final leg, which will be from either Europe or Northern Africa to Abu Dhabi, is expected to take 120 hours and be completed this summer.

Pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard began the pioneering project with the goal of highlighting clean energy.

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Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) — Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge turns 1 Monday.

Kensington Palace released four new photos of Princess Charlotte at Prince William and Kate's home Amner Hall in Norfolk to mark the toddler's first birthday. The photographs were taken by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in April.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to be able to share four new photographs of Princess Charlotte," a Kensington Palace spokesman said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess are very happy to be able to share these important family moments and hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do."

The fourth in line to the British throne is shown walking, or nearly walking, in a couple of the photos. The Duke and Duchess released a similar photograph of their son Prince George when he was walking at the same age.

The first daughter, and second child, of Prince William, 33, and Kate, 34, was welcomed into the world last year as a cherubic 8-pound, 3-ounces newborn. Princess Charlotte, as she is known, has grown into an adorably happy baby who was recently seen smiling on the lap of her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The world has seen glimpses of Charlotte in official photographs released by the royal family. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have given us glimpses of Charlotte's life through their own words.

Take a look back at a doting Prince William and Kate's excitement throughout Charlotte's first year.

'I Feel Very, Very Lucky'

Kate gave her first solo interview in March to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday and revealed she was thrilled that her fifth great-grandchild was a little girl.

"The Queen was really thrilled that it was a little girl, and I think as soon as we came back here to Kensington she was one of our first visitors here,” Duchess Kate said. "It's very special having a new little girl."

The duchess added, "I feel very, very lucky that George has got a little sister."

Duchess Kate herself took the first official photos of Princess Charlotte. The series of four photos, released last June, showed Prince George holding his baby sister at the family's Norfolk country home, Anmer Hall.

 
'A Little Joy of Heaven'

Prince William spoke movingly in July about the first two months with Charlotte.

“It has been fantastic and she has been a little joy of heaven. But at the same time it is more responsibility, looking after two little ones, especially when George is around. He’s a little monkey," William told the U.K.'s The Telegraph.

William reflected on juggling his children, work, and royal responsibilities.

"Obviously, at some point there is going to be a lot more pressure and responsibility from the other side of my life, but at the moment I'm juggling the two of them and a young family and I'm enjoying the challenge," he said.

'Concentrating Very Much on My Role as a Father'

In a very personal interview with the BBC’s Royal Correspondent Nick Witchell in April, Prince William spoke movingly about fatherhood and the importance of his family at this point in his life.

“I’m concentrating very much on my role as a father," William said. "I’m a new father and I take my duties and my responsibilities to my family very seriously and I want to bring my children up as good people with the idea of service and duty to others as very important."

'Ladylike' and 'Delightful'

Prince William described Princess Charlotte as being very "ladylike" at six months while Prince George very "lively." He called both of his children "delightful."

'Getting Bigger'

"Charlotte is getting bigger and getting on well with her noisy big brother," Duchess Kate told well-wishers in Wales of 6-month-old Charlotte.

'Very Easy, Very Sweet'

Speaking at a charity event in February, Prince William joked about a rambunctious Princess Charlotte and Prince George.

"No broken bones yet but they're trying. Running around, pushing things, jumping," he said. "Please tell me it gets easier."

"Charlotte is very easy, very sweet but all the fathers say, 'Just you wait. When they get to 9, 10, 11, they go crazy,'" William added. "I'm looking forward to it. There will be some drama."

'The Villa Fan'

Just weeks after Charlotte's birth, Prince William spoke to BBC Sport about his love for soccer and joked about having a hard time letting his children pick their own favorite teams instead of his favorite, Aston Villa.

“The responsible thing would be to say, to let [George] make his own mind up, but I think I might be quite biased," William told BBC Sport.

“It'll probably end up being that Charlotte is the Villa fan and George will go and support someone else!” William said, referring to his newborn daughter.

A group of female soccer players -- who presented William with a soccer jersey for Charlotte -- said the new dad reported being up at night with Charlotte.

"He was saying he's obviously really enjoying being a father and Princess Charlotte is actually keeping him up and probably why his eyes are looking a little bit tired,” England's women's team captain Steph Houghton told the U.K.’s The Telegraph.

'Strong Family Values'

Famed photographer Mario Testino called the opportunity to photograph Princess Charlotte's christening at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the queen's Sandringham estate an "amazing experience."

"What impressed me the most was the energy of the family, and of that between the Duke and Duchess. One sees how solid they are together and one gets a sense of their strong family values," he said in a statement. "It was incredible to be able to document four generations of the British Royal Family together -- the monarch and three heirs to the throne -- and very heartwarming to see the close relationship between them all."

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Haydar Hadi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- On Sunday, Iraqi activists called for an end to the sit-in of Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone over a loudspeaker, according to BBC.

Tensions were high in Iraq the day before after anti-government protesters, chanting anti-government slogans and carrying Iraqi flags, climbed over blast walls surrounding the Green Zone for the first time ever.

A state of emergency was declared Saturday when the supporters of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through the area, home to most ministries and foreign embassies including the U.S. embassy.

In a television appearance, al-Sadr accused Iraqi politicians of blocking efforts for reform, many of which have been proposed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who took office in 2014.

The protesters stormed Iraq's parliament after a parliament session was postponed because it failed to reach a quorum on Saturday. Al-Abadi was expected to introduce several new ministers who were non-partisan technocrats to help tackle corruption.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum called on protesters to evacuate the building and said politicians needed to implement the new cabinet and fight corruption.

As dusk fell Saturday, protesters set up camp outside parliament.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  When Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter from North Carolina disappeared while hiking in New Zealand, Lloyd had to summon her survival instincts when her daughter started to "suffer and die slowly" during their days in the wilderness.

"She was fading on me," said Lloyd, 45. "As a mother, it's terrifying."

"I took a tumble on the water and hit my head on the rock pretty bad," said her daughter, 22-year-old Rachel Lloyd.

Rachel, who graduated from North Carolina State University in December, is in New Zealand studying at Massey University. Her mother was visiting. The duo intended to embark on a one-day hike on Tuesday but they got lost and stranded in a rugged area of Tararua Forest Park.

The pair huddled together for warmth and rationed their supplies as they spent four nights in near freezing temperatures.

"I was speaking with my mom -- I was actually [sic] had to go through kind of my dying wishes which was the hardest thing -- watching my mom watch me suffer and die slowly," Rachel said. "My mom was incredible. She carried me on her back for a little while when she could."

"I was scared to death," Carolyn said. "I thought they wouldn't find us."

But they made two "help" signs and arrows pointing to their location, Jason Diedrichs, director and chief pilot with Amalgamated Helicopters, told ABC News. This photo of one of their "help" signs was first obtained by The New Zealand Herald.

Diedrichs said Rachel was very weak and dehydrated, as they had very little food over the course of the four days.

Rachel's father Barry Lloyd told ABC News Sunday that Rachel is still in the hospital and should be making a full recovery. Carolyn, meanwhile, was healthy when they were found and was never admitted to the hospital, he said.

Barry Lloyd told ABC News he's grateful to the people of New Zealand for helping find his wife and daughter. He said Rachel plans to stay in New Zealand to finish her semester abroad.

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Embassy of Venezuela in Ecuador(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador, killing at least 654 people, a Venezuelan rescue crew pulled a 72-year-old man from the rubble of a building.

Manuel Vasquez was discovered by Venezuelan rescuers in the fishing town of Jaramijo on Friday while doing building inspections after they heard him making noises from underneath the the rubble of a partially collapsed building, according to a statement released Saturday by the Venezuelan embassy in Quito.

Vasquez, who had been trapped in the building since the April 16 earthquake, was dehydrated and disoriented, and was suffering from kidney failure and a urinary tract infection. The embassy said he also lost several toes.

He remains hospitalized.

Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas called the seismic event "the strongest quake we have faced in decades," adding it was the strongest quake registered in the country since 1979.

The nation's armed forces and police were mobilized to keep public order, and Red Cross Ecuador had said more than 1,200 volunteers had taken part in rescue efforts, evacuation and first aid operations. Ecuador's Risk Management agency said 10,000 armed forces personnel were deployed to help people in the coastal areas.

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Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images(LONDON) --  The Duchess of Cambridge appears on the cover of British Vogue to celebrate the magazine's 100th anniversary, in a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery of which Kate is the Charitable Patron.

For the article, which appears in the issue that will hit the news stands June 5, the duchess was photographed by Josh Olins in casual attire to reflect her love of the countryside. She and Prince William have a country home Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk where they split their time with Kensington Palace raising their children.

The @NPGLondon has collaborated with @BritishVogue on a series of photographic portraits of The Duchess #Vogue100 pic.twitter.com/NCx9eKhyv9

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016


"Since 1916, Vogue has been a leading champion of British portraiture," a spokesperson for The Duchess of Cambridge said. "The Duchess was delighted to play a part in celebrating the centenary of an institution that has given a platform to some of the most renowned photographers in this country's history."

"She is incredibly grateful to the team at Vogue and at the National Portrait Gallery for asking her to take part," Kensington Palace said in a statement. "She would like to thank Josh Olins for being such a pleasure to work with. The Duchess had never taken part in a photography shoot like this before. She hopes that people appreciate the portraits with the sense of relaxed fun with which they were taken."

HRH was delighted to celebrate 100 years of @BritishVogue - a leading champion of British portraiture since 1916 pic.twitter.com/sJjCaghs2h

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016


On the British Vogue cover the coat and shirt are Burberry and the vintage hat is from Beyond Retro. The black and white head shot features coat and shirt by Burberry. In the color shot by the gate, the top is Petit Bateau and trousers are Burberry.

Two of the photographs will be displayed in the "Vogue 100 A Century of Style" exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and available to view Sunday May 1.

"To be able to publish a photographic shoot with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been one of my greatest ambitions for the magazine," British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman said.

The images of The Duchess were shot by British photographer Josh Olins in the Norfolk countryside #Vogue100 pic.twitter.com/iz1rNSf1TH

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016


British Vogue scored a coup nearly every magazine editor had hoped for.

"I'm delighted the Duchess agreed to work with us and the National Portrait Gallery, and as a result of this unique collaboration we have a true celebration of our centenary as well as a fitting tribute to a young woman whose interest in both photography and the countryside is well known," she said.

Kate has been the Patron of the National Portrait gallery since 2012 shortly after she married Prince William. The Duchess of Cambridge will view the photographs on Wednesday at the National Portrait Gallery.

"Josh has captured The Duchess exactly as she is -– full of life, with a great sense of humor, thoughtful and intelligent, and in fact, very beautiful," said Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery.

"Not only do they reflect her love of the countryside, interest in photography and championing of the National Portrait Gallery as our very committed Patron, but they also encapsulate what Vogue has always done so brilliantly -– to pair the best photographers with the great personalities of the day, in order to reflect broader shifts in culture and society," Cullinan said. "We had fun in making and choosing these images, and I hope that comes across.”

Catherine is a keen photographer herself and graduated with a degree in History of Art from St Andrews University, where she met and fell in love with William.

She has taken several photographs of her children that have become iconic images of their life.
Kate follows her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, who appeared in the cover of Vogue four times during her life. Princess Diana was photographed twice by Patrick DeMarchelier and once by Lord Snowden. She was also honored posthumously after her death.

"It's a privilege to have been chosen to photograph HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for the Centenary issue of British Vogue and an honor that two of those portraits will hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London," Olins said.

"This was the Duchess's first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural," he said. "I am incredibly grateful to Alexandra Shulman for placing her faith in me for such an important and historic assignment."

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HRH The Duchess of Cambridge(LONDON) --  A series of photos of adorable Princess Charlotte, the second child of Prince William and Kate, were released by Kensington Palace Sunday, a day ahead of her first birthday.

The four new photos were taken by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in April at their home in Norfolk.

The Duchess took these pictures of her daughter in April at their home in Norfolk. pic.twitter.com/dzPlj1snhN

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to be able to share four new photographs of Princess Charlotte," a Kensington Palace spokesman said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess are very happy to be able to share these important family moments and hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do."

Princess Charlotte is shown walking, or nearly walking, in a couple of the photos.

The Duke and Duchess are happy to be able to share these family moments, ahead of their daughter's first birthday. pic.twitter.com/JziskTyCq4

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

The Duke and Duchess released a similar photograph of their son Prince George when he was walking at the same age.

Princess Kate reflected on her daughter just before the Queens 90th birthday in a documentary by ITN: "The Queen was really thrilled that it was a little girl, and I think as soon as we came back here to Kensington she was one of our first visitors here,” Duchess Kate said. "It's very special having a new little girl."

The Duke and Duchess are delighted to share new photographs of Princess Charlotte. pic.twitter.com/Hvnk7FYEFC

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

She added, "I feel very, very lucky that George has got a little sister."

Prince William expressed his sentiments about his growing family shortly after Princess Charlotte's birth. “It has been fantastic and she has been a little joy of heaven," he said. "But at the same time, it is more responsibility, looking after two little ones, especially when George is around. He’s a little monkey."

We hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as we do. pic.twitter.com/PqZnnQyX9h

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

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iStock/Thinkstock(LAMPEDUSA, Italy) -- More than 80 refugees are feared missing after their boat sank off the coast of Libya.

An Italian merchant ship was able to rescue 26 survivors after the Italian coast guard received a satellite phone call Friday. The inflatable dinghy was found taking on water in rough waves of up to 7 feet, according to BBC.

The International Organization for Migration said testimonies gathered from asylum seekers indicated that 84 people were missing.

A spokesperson for the Italian coast guard told BBC similar dinghies used were usually full, carrying 100-120 people.

The rescued refugees were brought to Lampedusa, an Italian island south of Sicily, on Saturday.

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TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has set fire to a huge stockpile of ivory in protest of poaching.

The tusks of nearly 7,000 elephants are being burned  in Nairobi National Park.  They were taken from rhinos and elephants that were poached, as well as from those that died naturally, the government says. The ivory was collected from Kenya's parks and confiscated at its ports.

Before igniting the first pyre, Kenyatta said the fire shows his country's commitment to saving Africa's elephants.

"The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve," he said.

"No-one, and I repeat no-one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage."

The burning comes after African leaders meeting in Kenya urged an end to illegal trade in ivory, according to BBC News.

Some conservationists have expressed opposition to the ivory burn in Kenya, saying destroying so much of a rare commodity could increase its value and encourage more poaching, BBC News reports.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A mother and daughter from North Carolina who went missing Tuesday while hiking in New Zealand have been found, local police said Saturday.

MISSING HIKERS FOUND - Police confirm missing mother and daughter in Tararua Forest Park have been found safe. More soon

— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) April 30, 2016

Carolyn Lloyd, 45, and her daughter Rachel Lloyd, 22, were spotted in Tararua Forest Park by a search helicopter Saturday morning. The pair, who huddled together for warmth and rationed their supplies, were airlifted to a hospital and are in good health, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Rachel, who graduated from North Carolina State University in December, is in New Zealand studying at Massey University. Her mother was visiting.

The mother-daughter duo, who hail from Charlotte, had intended to embark on a one-day hike, but they got lost and stranded in a rugged area of the park. The pair's rental car was found abandoned at the park two days after they failed to check-in to a hotel, according to ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC. Dog teams, helicopters and four-wheel vehicles were used in the search.

Sgt. Anthony Harmer of the New Zealand police told WSOC, "One thing about the New Zealand bush is it often takes people unaware. It’s a little bit steeper and little bit more rugged than a lot of tourists expect or plan for.”

Rachel's father told WSOC he plans to travel to New Zealand this weekend.

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MSF/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon released a 3,000-page report on Friday on the investigation into a deadly U.S. airstrike last October that obliterated a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people and wounding dozens more. As a result of the investigation, 16 military service members received administrative punishments that could affect their future status in uniform.

Military investigators concluded the ground operators and crew aboard an AC-130U gunship were unaware they were firing on a medical facility.

Gen. Jospeh Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said at a Pentagon briefing Friday that the incident resulted from "a combination of human errors compounded by process and equipment failures."

The Oct. 3 attack drew outrage from Doctors Without Borders, which called the strike a war crime. Both President Obama and Afghanistan officials publicly apologized for the attack.

The investigation determined that because there was no "intent" to hit a medical facility, the mistakes committed did not amount to a war crime.

"The fact that this was an unintentional action takes it out of the realm of actually being a deliberate war crime against persons or protected locations," Votel said.

A two-star general officer was among the 16 military personnel punished for the attack. Seven received letters of reprimand while others received counseling and retraining. Although no criminal charges will be filed, the punishments could effectively end the military careers for most of the service members involved.

According to U.S. officials, the majority of military personnel involved were U.S. special operations forces. Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the time, decided on administrative actions against 12 of the 16 service members, including the general. Campbell referred the cases of five service members to U.S. Special Operations Command, then headed by Votel, who decided on the punishments for the three officers aboard the plane and the ground force commander who called in an airstrike. The case of the remaining enlisted service member was forwarded to U.S. Army Special Operations Command that issued a letter of reprimand and directed retraining.

The attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), took place on Oct. 3 during a campaign to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban forces.

Votel said the special operations team that called the airstrike was engaged in "an extraordinarily intense combat situation" while supporting Afghan security forces fighting Taliban fighters. The team called in an airstrike on Taliban fighters.

The building in question turned out to be the MSF trauma center whose coordinates were included on the U.S.'s no-strike list. Because of the combat situation in Kunduz, the AC-130 was rushed into service and the flight crew was not given the latest no-strike information.

Votel said the crew of the gunship and the ground force commander believed they were striking a building several hundred meters away that housed insurgents.

MSF immediately reported to the military that it was attacking a protected hospital. Votel said Friday that the first call was received 10 minutes into the half-hour long attack, but that the information "did not immediately register" with the person taking the call.

After receiving the report, MSF released a statement calling again for an independent investigation from the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF president, on Friday. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

"The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” Nicolai continued. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

As a result of the incident, changes were instituted by senior commanders in Afghanistan ensuring that all aircraft take flight with the latest no-strike list. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has also issued a directive that all commands and services review their rules of engagement for similar situations in the future.

The Department of Defense has made condolence payments to more than 170 individuals affected by the attack. Those injured in the attack and families of the deceased received payments of $3,000 and families of those killed received $6,000. The Defense Department will allocate $5.7 million to build a new hospital in the same area.

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United States European Command (MOSCOW) -- In another close encounter with Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea, the Pentagon said a Russian Su-27 fighter jet Friday conducted a barrel roll within 25 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace.

It is the third time in as many weeks the United States has accused the Russian military of engaging in "an unsafe and unprofessional" manner in the waters and airspace of the Baltic Sea. The previous incidents were the repeated buzzing at close range of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook and another barrel roll of a U.S. reconnaissance plane

A barrel roll is when an aircraft pulls parallel to another aircraft and then rises up and does a complete 360-degree turn over the other aircraft.

"On April 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said.

"The Su-27 performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers," she said. "The Su-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135. More specifically, the Su-27 closed within 25 feet of the fuselage of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll over the aircraft.

"There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior," Baldanza added. "This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved."

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was flying in international airspace at the time of Friday’s intercept and had not crossed into Russian territory.

"The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,” Baldanza said.

On April 11 and 12, the USS Donald Cook was overflown more than 30 times by a pair of Su-27 fighters that on one occasion flew as close as 30 feet from the ship. The Pentagon later released video and still images to demonstrate how risky the Russian aircraft maneuvers had been.

On April 14, another Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter that proceeded to conduct a barrel roll within feet of the U.S. plane.

On both occasions, Russian officials discounted the U.S. characterization that the actions by the Russian military aircraft were unsafe and unprofessional.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional panel Wednesday that the previous encounters carry "an inherent danger" of unintended escalation between the U.S. and Russian militaries.

He commended the crew of the USS Donald Cook for their professionalism because "there's a real risk there because that ship captain has a responsibility to defend his job and an inherent right of self-defense."

"But our own people comported themselves as they always do in the way you'd expect, very professional," Carter said.

The Russian’s motivation is unknown but Carter said it’s “unprofessional behavior, and whether it is encouraged from the top, whether it was encouraged from higher up or not I can't say. But we do expect it to be discouraged from higher up from now on. That's the reason why the chairman had the conversations he did, and these pilots need to get the word, hey, knock it off. This is unprofessional. This is dangerous. This could lead somewhere.”

At the same hearing, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, characterized the risk of miscalculation between the two militaries "arguably, is greater than it was in the Cold War because the spectrum of challenges is wider today than it was traditionally narrow through just the nuclear enterprise."

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