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Jorge Altieri runs his hands over old blood stains on a helmet that saved his life in 1982 when Argentina and Britain went to war over the Falkland Islands.

Looking at the treasured object is still a novelty: The helmet was recently returned to Altieri decades after he lost it on the battlefield where he was almost killed by shrapnel.

"I have it next to me now and I use it like a teddy bear," Altieri said. "I look at it and I get teary-eyed from all the memories."

Argentina lost the war for the South Atlantic archipelago after its troops embarked on an ill-fated invasion nearly 37 years ago, an international humiliation that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.

Argentina still claims the islands, which it calls the Malvinas. Britain says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection.

After decades of tense relations, though, both countries have experienced a thaw, including a deal that allowed a multinational team of experts to exhume and identify the remains of dozens of Argentine soldiers.

Today, veterans and relatives of those who died also say the recovery of objects taken as war trophies has helped heal their scars.

"I can’t stop looking at it, thinking of what it did to stop the bomb shrapnel blowing my head off," Altieri said about his helmet, although he still lost an eye and part of his brain in a blast during battle for Mount Longdon on June 12, 1982, two days before fighting stopped.

In a parallel tale of reconciliation, Argentine veteran Diego Carlos Arreseigor announced March 7 that he is planning to return the blood-stained helmet of fallen British soldier Alexander Shaw, who was killed at Mount Longdon at age 25.

The helmet is expected to be delivered to Shaw’s sister, Susan, in April or May.

"Susan touched me with her spirituality. She was 15 when her brother left for the war," Arreseigor told The Associated Press.

Arreseigor said he had picked up the helmet in a pile of discarded equipment and hid it from a British soldier by keeping it under his jacket.

"I kept it these 37 years, always considering it a trophy of war, a sort of consolation for the loss and the pain of so many fallen friends," he said.

Some years ago he became curious about who had worn it and noticed it had a last name written on one of its interior belts.

Arreseigor eventually found out Shaw’s identity and learned he had been a victim of Argentine artillery.

"The story moved me. Knowing that he died just hours before the cease-fire. … it’s sad like all war stories," he said. "I just turned 60 and I demand our sovereignty over Las Malvinas, but I also pay homage to all of those who died — Argentine and British — because I think that’s the way to rebuild."

For Altieri, having his helmet has helped him find similar closure.

After the war’s cease-fire, Altieri’s helmet was taken to London by a British paratrooper who had pulled it from a heap of military equipment. After the man passed away, it was kept by his family until it was put up for auction four years ago.

At the time, Altieri offered about $520 (400 pounds), but a British man who collects war objects paid twice that amount and Altieri failed to persuade him to sell it.

"He’d say: ‘Even if the queen comes asking for it, I won’t give it away,’" Altieri recalled.

Some days ago, however, the helmet briefly went up for auction again on eBay for about $13,000 (10,500 pounds). When it was taken off the site, Altieri feared he had lost it for good until he heard the news: An anonymous Argentine entrepreneur had bought it for Altieri.

"All the memories of what I lived in the Malvinas came back to me," Altieri said.

He now hopes to display it at home before donating it to a Falklands war museum. "I want people to see it and see what happened to us there."

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Associated Press journalists Paul Byrne and Natacha Pisarenko contributed to this report.

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Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido have taken control of three diplomatic buildings in the United States, the State Department said Monday night.

Spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters that Guaido’s supporters were in possession of two military attache installations in Washington D.C. and the Venezuelan consulate in New York. Palladino added that the Trump administration was "pleased to support these requests."

Carlos Vecchio, Guaido’s ambassador to the United States, posted videos on Twitter of diplomats and military officers walking through the vacant buildings. At the consulate in Midtown Manhattan, staffers removed images of disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez from the walls.

"It is impossible not to feel emotion as we enter this homeland, the sovereign territory of our #Venezuela, liberated from the usurper regime Of Maduro," tweeted Gustavo Marcano, another pro-Guaido official. "This is what will happen throughout our country when the usurpation ceases!"

In another diplomatic coup for the opposition, Panama also accepted a Guaido loyalist as Venezuela’s ambassador Monday.

CUBAN DOCTORS IN VENEZUELA SAY THEY WERE FORCED TO TIE MEDICAL TREATMENTS TO VOTES FOR MADURO

The Maduro government described the takeover by Guaido supporters as a "forced and illegal occupation" and called on the Trump administration to "immediately reverse said de facto forced occupation."

"The diplomatic offices of Venezuela in the United States can only be used by the official diplomatic agents representing the democratic and constitutional government of President Nicolás Maduro," said the government statement, which added, "If the government of the United States persists in the breach of its international obligations, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reserves the corresponding legal and reciprocal decisions and actions in Venezuelan territory." It did not provide details on what those actions might be.

The last remaining American diplomats in Venezuela left the embassy in Caracas and flew home last Thursday. Maduro has cut diplomatic ties with the U.S., though diplomats loyal to him have remained in the United States as representatives to the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

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Washington has thrown its support behind Guaido since he declared himself interim president on Jan. 23. The United States and about 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader and have supported his claim that Maduro was re-elected last year in an allegedly flawed vote.

Maduro has alleged that Guaido is a collaborator in a U.S. plot to overthrow the government in Venezuela, where the population has endured hyperinflation and a dangerous shortage of medicine and other necessities that the opposition blamed on the administration’s socialist policies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Haitian Prime Minister Henry Ceant has been thrown out of office by a no-confidence vote prompted by government dysfunction and inability to quash inflation, blackouts and frequent opposition protests that have paralyzed the country.

The Chamber of Deputies voted 93-6, with three abstaining, on Monday to replace Ceant as soon as President Jovenel Moise and the heads of parliament’s two houses agree on a replacement. Until then, Ceant and his Cabinet will remain in place with limited powers, raising the prospect of even rockier government performance.

Moise and Ceant have had frequent disagreements that have hampered Ceant’s ability to carry out his constitutional duty to run the state.

Ceant has held office since July, when his predecessor was removed for mismanagement of the end of subsidized oil aid from Venezuela.

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This is the Ichiro effect.

Richard Snitzer had never been to Japan. What finally drove the Japanese-American to travel here from his home in Hayward, California, was Ichiro Suzuki; not family ties, not pure wanderlust, but a chance to see a player he called "simply the best."

And get this. He’s not even a Mariners fan, which he’s advertised by wearing his A’s jersey around the Tokyo Dome.

He’ll be there Wednesday when Major League Baseball opens the 2019 season with Seattle facing Oakland to start a two-game series. The 45-year-old Ichiro is expected to play in both. What happens next? Ichiro isn’t saying.

One thing is sure. It will be great theater.

"I’ll have my phone ready to go, and I’ll shoot and stand up and applaud when he bats," Snitzer said. "I just hope he doesn’t get the winning hit against the A’s. If he hits a home run that doesn’t affect the game, I’ll be thrilled."

A’s pitcher Liam Hendriks probably spoke for both teams.

"We’re just happy to be along for the ride," he said. "I can’t wait for the opening series when they announce Ichiro and hear that crowd."

Chances are, most baseball fans in other places will be asleep when A’s right-hander Mike Fiers throws the first pitch of the year — around 5:30 a.m. EDT.

That’s OK, there will be plenty of time for everyone to catch up before the other 28 teams open on March 28 at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium and points in-between. Plenty to see, too, in a season that will stretch to end of October — Bryce Harper now batting in Philly, the Boston Red Sox trying to repeat as World Series champions and more talk about changing how the game is played.

In the meantime, Ichiro slipped into Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Friday under the cover of a gray and black cap pulled way down. He’s been highly visible since then; at a rare news conference, showing off in practice with trick catches in right field, and signing autographs to fans lining the foul lines before exhibition games against the Tokyo Giants.

Almost the only shirts for sale in the Tokyo Dome are Ichiro models. And they’re not cheap: between $35-45 for a T-shirt, $62 for a sweat shirt, and a baseball with No. 51 goes for $30.

"Yes, we are selling well because Ichiro is a man of effort," said Yu Takamiya, a vendor answering questions through his translator app.

Ichiro told reporters on Saturday that — based on spring training — he’s lucky to be here. He hit .080 in Arizona, and he hasn’t played a regular-season game in a year. He was 0 for 6 in two exhibition games against the Tokyo Giants. They don’t count officially. But if they did, he’s hitting .065.

"This is a great gift for me," he said a day after arriving. "I will treasure every moment here on the field. One week after this event, I will be reflecting back on these days."

A’s manager Bob Melvin knows Ichiro well from managing the Mariners 15 years ago.

"There are certain guys that create that kind of buzz," Melvin said. "He’s used to it, but it’s going to be a long few days for him. Once he gets on the field, that’s when you just do your thing and insulate."

Melvin recalled Ichiro’s relentless training. It hasn’t changed. Ichiro was alone running across the outfield in several practices in Tokyo.

"As far as playing and preparing, there was nobody better," Melvin said.

A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty, making his first visit to Japan, called Ichiro "a master."

"He still in control of his destiny here," Piscotty said. "He’s pretty special and it’s an honor to be on the field with him. Obviously you look around, and you see how important baseball is in Japan, and Ichiro’s a part of that."

Other key parts of the upcoming season:

ROSTER RESHUFFLING

Bryce Harper was the biggest name to change places since last season, leaving the Nationals and signing a record $330 million, 13-year contract with Philadelphia. The Phillies were especially busy, adding J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. Also on the move were Manny Machado (Padres), Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals), Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz (Mets), Nelson Cruz (Twins), Patrick Corbin (Nationals) and Josh Donaldson (Braves).

But another slow market for many free agents meant All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel didn’t have jobs on the brink of a new season.

HIYA, SKIP!

New Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo quickly showed he’s all for trying new strategy — he played a four-man outfield defense against Harper in spring training. There are six new skippers in the majors this year: Montoyo, David Bell (Reds), Rocco Baldelli (Twins), Chris Woodward (Rangers) and Brandon Hyde (Orioles) are doing this for the first time in the bigs, Brad Ausmus (Angels) has experience.

NEW RULES

Despite a lot of discussion, nothing major for this season. No prohibition on shifts, no pitch clocks, and no requirement for pitchers to face at least three batters until next year. No robot umpires for now. One change could affect pennant races this summer — no trades after July 31, so no more deals in late August for an extra player in the postseason.

REPEAT AFTER ME

It’s been quite a while since a team won back-to-back crowns — the Yankees were the last to do it, taking their third straight title in 2000. Now, AL MVP Mookie Betts and the Red Sox will try to stop baseball’s longest gap without a repeat champion. Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, will try to avoid becoming the first team to lose three straight World Series since star pitcher Christy Mathewson, famed manager John McGraw and the New York Giants fell in 1911-13.

OPENING NEXT

After the Mariners and A’s leave Japan, they’ll return to the United States to finish out spring training games. Then everyone is in action for regular season play on March 28. Among the matchups: Red Sox at Seattle, Baltimore at Yankee Stadium and Arizona at Dodger Stadium. Also, the Cubs will play at Texas — this will be the Rangers’ last season at the park they opened in 1994 before moving into a nearby new home next year.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Nicaragua’s government and opposition are accusing each other of undermining the latest round political dialogue, after police arrested more than 100 people at a weekend protest.

The opposition Civic Alliance condemned the government’s "violent repression" of Saturday’s protest march. It said some 164 people were arrested.

The government on Monday complained that opposition representatives participating in negotiations had participated in the demonstration, which it labeled a "provocation." It said there were 107 arrests and the detainees were released hours later.

Vatican Ambassador to Nicaragua Waldemar Sommertag has been mediating the talks and he urged patience Monday.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says at least 325 people have died in protests or related violence since April 2018.

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Colombian authorities say about 1,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces have fled to Colombia since last month, giving up weapons and uniforms as they abandon the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Colombia’s foreign ministry on Monday released the updated number of Venezuelan police and military personnel who crossed the border, many around the time of a Feb. 23 attempt by opposition leader Juan Guaido to deliver U.S.-provided humanitarian aid to Venezuela. The attempt failed because Venezuelan forces blocked trucks trying to cross from Colombia into Venezuela.

Despite the desertions, Maduro has retained the support of Venezuela’s key military leaders, who are considered pivotal in determining the outcome of the country’s power struggle. Guaido says Maduro is an illegitimate leader, while Maduro says the U.S. is plotting a coup.

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Teachers and some students have returned to a Brazilian school less than a week after two armed men raided it, killing seven people.

Staff members gathered on Monday to decide when classes should resume, while students were invited to pick up any belongings left behind while running for their lives.

A multitude of flowers and messages lay on the ground outside the entrance gate in homage to victims and survivors.

Ten people died as a result of Wednesday’s shooting, including the two killers and the owner of a nearby used-car dealership.

The tragedy has revived a debate around loosening gun laws in the country, a key campaign promise of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil is the world leader in annual homicides.

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Syria’s defense minister has slammed what he called the "illegitimate" U.S. military presence in his country, vowing that Syria has a right to self-defense.

Gen. Ali Ayoub spoke on Monday in the capital, Damascus, during a rare joint news conference with visiting Iranian and Iraqi army commanders.

The U.S. currently has about 2,000 troops in eastern Syria and is expected to withdraw hundreds of them in the coming months.

The meeting illustrates the strong alliance between Iran, Iraq and Syria at a time when the U.S. is seeking to isolate and increase sanctions against Iran and its regional allies.

The Iraqi army commander, Gen. Osman Ghanemi, also said a border crossing between Syria and Iraq is to be opened in the coming days.

Source: Fox News World

German authorities have charged three Iraqi men with membership in a terrorist organization on allegations they fought for the Islamic State group in their home country, including one suspected of attacks that killed American soldiers.

Federal prosecutors said Monday Mohammed Rafea Yassen Y., whose last name wasn’t given for privacy reasons, joined IS in his hometown of Rutba.

The 28-year-old is accused of 13 bomb attacks in the city from 2006-2008, causing death and injuries to "U.S. forces, the Iraqi army, local police and civilians." He also faces war crimes and accessory to murder charges.

Muqatil Ahmed Osman A., 29, and Hasan Sabbar Khazaal K., 27, are both suspected of fighting for IS.

They came to Germany in 2015 and have been in custody since they were arrested last summer.

Source: Fox News World

The U.S. Navy won’t alter its so-called "freedom of navigation" sail-bys in the disputed South China Sea and has pressed ahead with such operations despite a dangerous maneuver by a Chinese ship against an American destroyer.

Vice Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, told reporters in Manila on Monday that Washington protested that "unprofessional behavior" by the Chinese ship, which maneuvered very close to the USS Decatur as the latter sailed closely by a Chinese-occupied island in the Spratlys in September.

Sawyer said the U.S. Navy will continue such sail-bys and patrols in the South China Sea and elsewhere "until there are no excessive maritime claims throughout the world."

Sawyer spoke onboard the USS Blue Ridge, which arrived in Manila after sailing through the South China Sea.

Source: Fox News World


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