World News December 2018:
Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Politicians from both blocs of Iraq’s divided Parliament called for a vote to expel U.S. troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter. “Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Trump, making his first presidential visit to troops in a troubled region Wednesday, said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 U.S. forces in the country.BEIRUT (Reuters) - Alarmed by a U.S. decision to leave Syria, Kurdish leaders who run much of the north are urging Russia and its ally Damascus to send forces to shield the border from the threat of a Turkish offensive. Their call for a return of Syrian government forces to the border, which Kurdish fighters have held for years, points to the depth of their crisis in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw forces. While little has changed on the ground yet - U.S. forces are still deployed and Trump says the pullout will be slow - Kurdish officials are scrambling for a strategy to protect their region from Turkey before the United States leaves. Talks with Damascus and Moscow appear to be the focus for the Kurdish leadership. Their worst fear is a repeat of a Turkish attack that drove Kurdish residents and the YPG militia out of Afrin city in the northwest earlier this year. They are also trying to convince other Western countries to fill the vacuum when Washington withdraws some 2,000 troops whose presence in northern and eastern Syria has deterred Turkey so far.Russia on Wednesday conducted a final test of a nuclear-capable glider that flies at 20 times the speed of sound, President Vladimir Putin said, adding that the weapon will be included in the country’s arsenal next year. Putin described the successful test, in which the glider was launched from a site in southwestern Russia toward a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula more than 3,500 miles away, as a “wonderful, perfect New Year’s gift for the country.” The fanfare surrounding the test — it led the TV news, and state media reported that Putin gave the launch order — underscores how central nuclear saber-rattling has become to the Kremlin’s effort to depict Russia as a global superpower for audiences at home and abroad.The deadly tsunami that struck Indonesia this weekend is just the latest in a series of seismic disasters along the "Ring of Fire," the arc of fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire — stretching from New Zealand to Indonesia to Japan on the Asian side, and from southern Alaska down through the Pacific Northwest, California, Mexico and the western coast of South America — is where the continental plates meet, and where most of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani has blasted US President Donald Trump for reimposing sanctions on Iran, insisting Washington aims to crumble Tehran's economy and bring the state "to its knees". Presenting Iran’s budget to Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Rouhani warned US sanctions would adversely affect Iranians' lives and destroy the country's economy. He said: "America's goal is to bring Iran's Islamic system to its knees... and it will fail in this, but sanctions will no doubt affect people's lives, and the country's development and economic growth." Mr Rouhani made the dire warning as he announced the country’s annual state budget. He gave the value of the draft budget at about 4,700 trillion rials for the next Iranian year, starting next year on 21 March.NORTH Korean people are increasingly turning against despot leader Kim Jong Un following a desperate attempt by the reclusive nation’s government to venerate the leader that has left its people even more cynical of him. “News from outside North Korea spreads faster in Pyongyang than out in the provinces because there are many trade workers and others who work overseas.” The source added: “This is why people here are well aware that we are under international sanctions. The propaganda depicts Kim Jong Un as ‘everyone’s hero’ but they just laugh.”SEOUL — North Korea will not give up its nuclear arms unless the “U.S. nuclear threat to Korea” is eliminated, North Korean state media said Thursday.The statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency was a particularly stark indication that the two countries are still far apart on what “denuclearization” means on the Korean Peninsula. In a historic summit in June, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to work toward “complete denuclearization” on the peninsula but offered no detailed agreements on how that would be achieved. Since then, Trump has claimed progress in negotiations with North Korea. But talks appear to have stalled as Pyongyang has demanded the removal of international sanctions as a precondition for denuclearization.Mexico President on Trump's Billions in Aid Promise: 'I Have a Dream...That Nobody Will Want to Go to Work in the United States Anymore'The Trump administration pledged billions in aid and investment on Tuesday to strengthen government and economic development in Central America and southern Mexico. The move is a significant change of course from President Donald Trump's previous threats of slashing funding to Central American countries over the arrival of thousands of migrants at the border hoping to claim asylum in the U.S. In total, the U.S. pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment for Central America, with another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.Russia's President Vladimir Putin has accused the UK and US political classes of "disrespecting" the public by questioning the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump's election. "They don't want to recognise [President Trump's] victory. That's disrespect of voters," Mr Putin said. "It's the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it." The president's comments came at his year-end press conference in Moscow. Russia's leader also said British Prime Minister Theresa May has no choice but to follow through with Brexit, as failing to do so would undermine UK democracy. "She must enact the will of the people, expressed during the referendum," he said. "Or otherwise it is not a referendum at all: doing it over and over again if someone did not like it [the result]. Is it a democracy?" - More voters voted for Hillary than Trump.President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday welcomed President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of American troops from Syria, calling it “the right decision.” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that he was ordering the withdrawal because the United States military had achieved its goal of defeating the Islamic State militant group in Syria. But the move caught many by surprise, including some of his military and diplomatic advisers. It has also drawn criticism, even among Republicans, for abandoning Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State and for aiding the geopolitical ambitions of Iran and Russia in the Middle East. Speaking at his annual news conference, which typically runs for several hours, Mr. Putin said he broadly agreed that the Islamic State had been defeated in Syria. “Donald’s right, and I agree with him,” Mr. Putin said. - Did Putin tell Trump to leave Syria as part of their agreement for Russian helping Trump win the election?Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has said he is "very concerned" about a third Canadian detained in China. The latest detention comes amid a growing dispute between both countries following the arrest of a senior Chinese telecom executive earlier this month. Officials say they do not believe this case is linked to that of two other Canadians recently held in China. Canada says it is currently seeking more details on the detention. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were both taken into custody in China shortly after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US, in Vancouver on 1 December. Mr Trudeau said on Wednesday that "we suspect the case is very different from the first two cases", referring to the circumstances surrounding Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor's detention. "We are still very much in the situation of collecting more information on this," he said, suggesting the third Canadian was detained on more "routine" issues.The bizarre story of 1MDB, the Goldman Sachs-backed Malaysian fund that turned into one of the biggest scandals in financial history1MDB is one of the biggest financial scandals of all-time. A financial fraud involving the Malaysian state-owned investment fund, it involved missing billions, Hollywood celebrities and the downfall of the Malaysian prime minister. We broke down all the major events for you that stretched all the way back to 2009. It's one of the greatest scandals in financial history. "1MDB" started out as a government plan to fund infrastructure projects in Malaysia but turned into an alleged swindle to tune of more than $3 billion. It brought down Malaysia's prime minister, the prime suspect is still on the run, and Goldman Sachs might be on the hook for crushing fines. US and Malaysian authorities, as well as those in the UK, Australia and Singapore, among others, are continuing to figure out just what happened, and who is responsible. Malaysia this week filed the first criminal charges for Goldman Sachs and a few ex-bank and fund employees, while lawsuits are still being filed over billions in missing cash. Goldman Sachs says it is cooperating with authorities and will contest the charges. Somehow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, model Miranda Kerr, and the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat got dragged into the mess, too.JAPAN is to deploy its first aircraft carriers since World War Two and equip them with stealth fighters and cruise missiles in a bid to counter growing threats posed by North Korea and China. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: "Under the drastically changing security environment around Japan, the government will take all possible measures to protect the lives and assets of Japanese people. "The review of the new defence guideline is extremely meaningful to show the Japanese people and the world what is truly necessary in our defence to protect the people and to serve as the cornerstone of the future for the Japan Self-Defence Forces." The F-35B aircraft are capable of vertical takeoffs and launching from short runways and have been purchased by Japan because its mountainous terrain means it has relatively little space to build runways long enough for conventional F-35s. Tokyo’s expansion of its airforce comes as its current warplanes are forced to fly sorties over the disputed Senkaku Islands in response to increasingly aggressive Chinese incursions.The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of countries and other parties using them in regional conflicts to lethal effects, a new report said Monday. The report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them, such as Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or by building them domestically like Israel, Iran and Turkey. China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering drones — otherwise known as UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles — at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the United States. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that countries across the Middle East locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, helping expand Chinese influence across a region vital to American security interest. It noted the use of Chinese armed drones across Mideast battlefields, including in the war on Yemen, employed by the Emirati air force. Iran has also violated Israeli airspace with armed UAVs from bases in Syria, provoking armed Israeli response on the suspected bases.The country rejected a bipartisan resolution that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia issued an unusually strong rebuke of the U.S. Senate on Monday, rejecting a bipartisan resolution that put the blame for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi squarely on the Saudi crown prince and describing it as interference in the kingdom’s affairs. It’s the latest sign of how the relationship between the royal court and Congress has deteriorated, more than two months after Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. The assassins have been linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. U.S. Senators last Thursday passed the measure that blamed the prince for Khashoggi’s killing and called on Riyadh to “ensure appropriate accountability.” Senators also passed a separate measure calling for the end of U.S. aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In a lengthy statement early Monday, Saudi Arabia said the Senate’s resolution “contained blatant interferences” in the kingdom’s internal affairs and undermines its regional and international role. The resolution was based on “unsubstantiated claims and allegations,” the statement also said.A top Seante Republican on Thursday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to seize key Ukrainian cities that would grant him a “land bridge” to the annexed peninsula of Crimea. “That strategy is very clear,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Foreign Relations subcommittee for Europe, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s pretty obvious what Putin’s doing.” Johnson offered that assessment after a trip to Ukraine last weekend, where he met with President Petro Poroshenko to discuss the Russian military’s recent attack on three Ukrainian ships that tried to pass through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov. Russia justified the move by claiming sovereignty of the land on both sides of the waterway as a consequence of the annexation of Crimea. Poroshenko forecast that Putin is pursuing a step-by-step effort to take the rest of the Ukrainian land around the sea, to establish an overland route to Crimea.Theresa May has attacked one of her predecessors - accusing Tony Blair of "undermining" the Brexit talks by calling for another referendum. She called his comments an "insult to the office he once held" and said MPs could not "abdicate responsibility" to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll. In London last week, Mr Blair said MPs might back a new vote if "none of the other options work". In response to Mrs May, he insisted that a new referendum was democratic. "Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying," he said.The North’s stinging response came after the United States said it had introduced sanctions on three North Korean officials. North Korea on Sunday condemned the U.S. administration for stepping up sanctions and pressure on the nuclear-armed country, warning of a return to “exchanges of fire” and that disarming Pyongyang could be blocked forever. The North’s stinging response came after the United States said on Monday it had introduced sanctions on three North Korean officials, including a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, for alleged human rights abuses. Denuclearizing North Korea has made little progress since Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met in Singapore in June in a historic summit. The two sides have yet to reschedule working-level talks between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, which were canceled abruptly in November. While crediting Trump for his “willingness” to improve relations with the North, also known as DPRK, Pyongyang accused the U.S. State Department of being “bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire.” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Washington had taken “sanctions measures for as many as eight times against the companies, individuals and ships of not only the DPRK but also Russia, China and other third countries...”HUNDREDS of Russian tanks look poised for a mass invasion of Ukraine as tensions over Crimea threaten to boil over.Latest satellite imagery shows Russian defence forces assembling hundreds of tanks at a new military base near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinksy just over 10 miles from the Ukraine border. Updated images from Google Earth taken in November shows the large-scale military base is being equipped with T-64 and T-62M tanks as well as thousands of military trucks, artillery systems and tankers. The base is near the rebel held territory of eastern Ukraine where Russia has been accused of backing separatists fighters clashing with pro-Ukrainian government forces.Antonio Guterres says it is 'essential to have credible investigation and to have punishment of those that were guilty'. UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for a "credible" investigation into journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. "It is absolutely essential to have a credible investigation and to have the punishment of those that were guilty," Guterres said at the Doha Forum conference in Qatar on Sunday. The UN chief said he had no information on the case except what had been reported in the media. Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 shortly after entering the kingdom's consulate in what Riyadh called a "rogue" operation.Speaking at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Human Rights in the Kremlin on December 11, President Vladimir Putin expressed puzzlement over the fate of Maria Butina, the Russian agent indicted in the United States. Putin said that Butina was “guilty of nothing” – a claim she refuted herself on the morning of Thursday, December 13, when she pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC two days after the Russian president pronounced her innocent. Before accepting Butina’s plea, Judge Tanya Chutkan established that Butina had entered into a plea deal voluntarily, knowingly and with no pressure or coercion, and also without any mental or psychological conditions. - Is that the Russian version of the coffee boy defense used by the Trump campaign?As U.S. President Donald Trump re-imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran last month, hackers scrambled to break into personal emails of American officials tasked with enforcing them, The Associated Press has found — another sign of how deeply cyberespionage is embedded into the fabric of US-Iranian relations. The AP drew on data gathered by the London-based cybersecurity group Certfa to track how a hacking group often nicknamed Charming Kitten spent the past month trying to break into the private emails of more than a dozen U.S. Treasury officials. Also on the hackers' hit list: high-profile defenders, detractors and enforcers of the nuclear deal struck between Washington and Tehran, as well as Arab atomic scientists, Iranian civil society figures and D.C. think tank employees.Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 to 117. After securing 63% of the total vote, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year. Speaking in Downing Street, she vowed to deliver the Brexit "people voted for" but said she had listened to the concerns of MPs who voted against her. Her supporters urged the party to move on but critics warned of a stalemate over finding an acceptable Brexit deal. The prime minister won the confidence vote with a majority of 83, with 63% of Conservative MPs backing her and 37% voting against her. The secret ballot was triggered by 48 of her MPs angry at her Brexit policy, which they say betrays the 2016 referendum result.U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job as members of her Conservative Party seek to oust her in a no-confidence vote Wednesday. May has been unable to shore up support for the draft Brexit deal she negotiated with the European Union. "I will contest that vote with everything I've got," May said outside of No. 10 Downing St. The vote on her leadership will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. local time (1 to 3 p.m. ET). "If she wins, she can serve for another year without another challenge from her party," NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. "If she loses, this triggers a leadership contest within the Conservative Party. The winner of that contest would not immediately become prime minister, and there could be heavy pressure to call a general election."LONDON — Just two days before the British Parliament is scheduled for a historic vote on Brexit, several thousand marchers — edgy, suspicious, aloud with conspiracy theories — massed near Prime Minister Theresa May’s official residence at 10 Downing Street on Sunday to condemn her as a traitor to their cause. The march was called by the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), a once-ascendant movement now in decline, dominated by “Euroskeptics” and right-wing populists. They were at the forefront of the winning Brexit campaign two years ago, when they were led by radio show personality and Fox News contributor Nigel Farage, who was one of the first British politicians to meet with President Trump after his election. Now the Ukippers and their allies at the rally say they are being double-crossed by “the establishment,” aided by a “seditious BBC,” and a deep state of pro-Europe civil servants and global capitalists led by May. In the crowd, one man held aloft a gallows with a hangman’s noose. Others shouted that May should be “taken to the Tower,” the medieval palace-prison where Henry VIII had his wives killed.(CNN)"I can't breathe." These were the final words uttered by Jamal Khashoggi after he was set upon by a Saudi hit squad at the country's consulate in Istanbul, according to a source briefed on the investigation into the killing of the Washington Post columnist. The source, who has read a translated transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi's painful last moments, said it was clear that the killing on October 2 was no botched rendition attempt, but the execution of a premeditated plan to murder the journalist. During the course of the gruesome scene, the source describes Khashoggi struggling against a group of people determined to kill him. "I can't breathe," Khashoggi says. "I can't breathe." "I can't breathe."The transcript notes the sounds of Khashoggi's body being dismembered by a saw, as the alleged perpetrators are advised to listen to music to block out the sound.And, according to the source, the transcript suggests that a series of phone calls are made, briefing them on progress. Turkish officials believe the calls were made to senior figures in Riyadh.The birth of Lulu and Nana—the first two babies believed to be born with Crispr-edited DNA—has triggered soul-searching in China as tech innovators, scientific researchers, and government bureaucrats reconcile conflicting values. At first Chinese media celebrated Jiankui He, the scientist who last week announced he had edited the girls' DNA. Some pundits even speculated whether a Nobel prize might be in the making. But within hours the story began to flip, and the narrative that emerged across the mainland was one of caution and censure. As Chinese scientists and technologists try to speed ahead with innovative research, they are also being reined in by government officials who are mindful of ethical sensibilities in China and abroad. If the news of the human embryo gene-editing experiment reached mainly science-minded readers in the US, in China its impact was far greater.DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predicted a “deluge” of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if U.S. sanctions weaken Iran’s ability to contain them. “I warn those who impose sanctions that if Iran’s ability to fight drugs and terrorism are affected ... you will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism,” Rouhani said in a speech carried live on state television. Separately, Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying that the United States is selling more arms into the Middle East than the region needs, making it a “tinderbox”. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s vital oil industry last month. Drug trafficking is a serious challenge for Iran as it borders Afghanistan - the world’s largest opium producer - and Pakistan, a major transit country for drugs.The world hit another carbon dioxide emissions milestone in 2018, with an estimated 2.7 percent increase in emissions since last year, according to a report published Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters, a scientific journal. This follows an increase of 1.6 percent in 2017 from 2016. The Global Carbon Project, an organization that produced the report, estimates that global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel sources will hit a record high of more than 37 billion tons this year. Just two years ago, there was cause for cautious optimism. From 2014 to 2016, world emissions seemed to be stabilizing. "We thought, perhaps hoped, emissions had peaked a few years ago," Rob Jackson, a professor at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and leader of the Global Carbon Project, said in a news release. "After two years of renewed growth, that was wishful thinking."Russian officials on Wednesday warned of "retaliation" to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting Tuesday that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian "cheating." President Vladimir Putin said if the U.S. started developing new intermediate range missiles, his country would respond in kind to build it's own new weapons. That, however, is exactly what the Trump administration argues Russia has already done, in violation of the treaty. The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile (also known as the Novator 9M729) could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. The bilateral INF treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 310 and 3,410 miles. Russia says the range of the new system does not exceed 310 miles.A Norwegian photographer has shared images of a rare white reindeer calf he encountered while hiking with friends. Mads Nordsveen, 24, from Oslo, said he spotted the animal in the snow on a walk in northern Norway. The images, where the animal almost fades into the landscape, has now been liked almost 20,000 times since they were posted on Monday. Sharing the images on Instagram, the photographer commented: "He almost disappeared into the snow!" White reindeers are considered very rare. In 2016 a white stag was spotted on a road side in Mala, in northern Sweden. Their unusual appearance is caused by a genetic condition that strips the pigment from their fur, but not albinism. According to some Scandinavian traditions, spotting a white reindeer is considered a sign of good luck.Western military alliance Nato has formally accused Russia of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. Following a meeting, Nato foreign ministers issued a statement supporting US accusations of Russian violations. The US has threatened to withdraw from the treaty because of Russian actions. Russia denied being in breach of the INF deal, saying it "strictly abides" by its conditions. The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles with a range of 500-5,500km (310-3,400 miles). "Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security," the Nato foreign ministers' statement reads. "We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty. "We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty."Four men have been charged in the US with fraud and tax evasion in connection with investigations prompted by the leaked Panama Papers. Justice officials said the four were involved in a "decades-long criminal scheme perpetrated by Mossack Fonseca". Mossack Fonseca was the Panama-based law firm subjected to a massive leak of papers in 2016 that lifted the lid on hidden tax activities of the wealthy. Three of the four men named on Tuesday are under arrest, one is at large. Papers for the latest charges were unsealed on Tuesday by the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York. The four men were named as Ramses Owens, Dirk Brauer, Richard Gaffey and Harald Joachim von der Goltz.Republican senators reacted with outrage Tuesday after leaving a classified briefing about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, promising swift action to confront both Saudi Arabia and the White House's timid response to the killing. GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are leading the charge to offer new legislation that would rebuke Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as potentially limit US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying their push was bolstered by the classified briefing, which detailed intelligence linking the Saudi leader to the murder of the US-based journalist. "There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw," said Graham, referring to reports that the Saudi team had included a forensic expert who arrived with equipment to dismember Khashoggi's body.TALKS between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are “out of the question” while global tensions are running so high, the Kremlin has announced. Mr Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov ruled out a formal meeting and said the best option now would be a conversation on the margins of an international summit. Mr Peskov said the possibility of Mr Putin visiting Washington for talks was raised when the two leaders met in Helsinki in the summer. But tensions have since reached boiling point over Mr Trump's decision to pull put of a key nuclear treaty and Russia's renewed campaign of military aggression against neighbouring Ukraine.Eric Hay of Quantum Xchange, which is building a quantum encryption link between Manhattan and Newark. Another start-up exploring quantum encryption is Qubitekk. The world’s leading technology companies, from Google to Alibaba in China, are racing to build the first quantum computer, a machine that would be far more powerful than today’s computers. This device could break the encryption that protects digital information, putting at risk everything from the billions of dollars spent on e-commerce to national secrets stored in government databases. An answer? Encryption that relies on the same concepts from the world of physics. Just as some scientists are working on quantum computers, others are working on quantum security techniques that could thwart the code-breaking abilities of these machines of the future.New launch prompts security concerns after FIVE orbital bodies are propelled into space instead of four. The US military has raised concerns about the mysterious Russian launch. They found five orbital bodies leaving the rocket instead of four, as suggested. Either rocket's upper stage broke, or Russia had kept part of the launch secret. Russia might have just put a new secret weapon into orbit as part of a scheduled launch, according to a new report. The US military has raised concerns about the mysterious Russian launch after they found five orbital bodies leaving the rocket instead of four, as previously suggested. The US Combined Space Operations Centre (CSpOC) believe that either the rocket's upper stage broke in two, or the Russians had kept part of the launch secret.The year's most important meeting on climate change got underway in Poland this week with one glaring absence: a high-level US presence. Global leaders and officials are gathering for two weeks of meetings at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP24, to create a rulebook that will turn the 2015 Paris climate agreement into a workable reality. They aim to establish rules, figure out financing and build ways to verify that nations are meeting their commitments. But even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for action Monday in Poland, telling gathered delegates that "we are in deep trouble with climate change," the United States has been emphasizing its rejection of the Paris agreement and global consensus.Mexico's government on Friday gave President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner the highest honor America's southern neighbor grants to foreigners. The award has caused an uproar in Mexico, where many are angry over Trump's insulting comments about Mexicans and his promises to build a border wall between the countries. The Order of the Aztec eagle award has been bestowed before on figures such as Nobel literature laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the late South African President Nelson Mandela. Trump attended the award ceremony on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. Mexican officials said Kushner earned the award for his work on negotiating a new trade agreement signed Friday by Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The deal replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Kushner said U.S.-Mexico relations have improved because the countries decided to craft "win-win" solutions to migration, drug trafficking and other issues plaguing relations.Police launched tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators angry at President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms. Thousands of French police were deployed Saturday on Paris' famed Champs-Elysee Avenue to contain another round of demonstrations against gas tax hikes. Police launched tear gas and water cannon as some of the so-called Yellow Jackets protesting President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms tried to force their way across official lines.The Sahand destroyer -- which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply -- joined Iran's regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. Iran's navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States. In a ceremony carried live on state television, the Sahand destroyer -- which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply -- joined Iran's regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters, torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and electronic warfare capabilities, state television reported. US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran's nuclear programme in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. The United States has said its goal is to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero. Senior Iranian officials have said that if Iran is not allowed to export then no other countries will be allowed to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping will hold the most important meeting between the leaders of the United States and China in decades in Argentina on Saturday night. It's not just that the two men have the power to call a truce in a multi-billion dollar trade war that has damaged both sides and the global economy. They meet at a defining moment in US-China ties which are turning sharply more adversarial with Beijing being more assertive on the world stage and Washington shifting to a more confrontational pose. For decades, US policy on China has been premised on drawing the rising giant into a rules-based international system, on the basis that greater economic opening would inevitably lead to political liberalization. But that goal, pursued by Democratic and Republican administrations, proved futile. Instead, and especially under the strongman leadership of Xi, China has stuck to market economics but clamped down on political freedoms. Beijing is now seeking to impose its weight on its own region and beyond, making sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea, sparking concerns of accidental clashes between the US and Chinese navies. After decades of discrete and careful diplomacy, it is now seeking to extend its political, military and economic influence into Europe and Africa and offers developing nations an alternative model to the West's liberalized societies.A minister has resigned saying a row over involvement in the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation system shows the UK will be "hammered" in negotiations over a Brexit deal. Science and universities minister Sam Gyimah quit after Mrs May said the UK was pulling out of Galileo. The UK wanted to stay part of it but the EU said it would be banned from extra-secure elements of the project. Mr Gyimah said it was a foretaste of the "brutal negotiations" to come. He's the 10th member of government to resign over the agreement, which he dismissed as a "deal in name only". He said he intended to vote against the deal negotiated with Brussels, and called for another referendum. The UK's interests "will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come", Mr Gyimah said in a Facebook post setting out his reasons for resigning.After meeting with Trump, Argentina's president had to downplay a White House readout that described China's economic behavior as "predatory. A routine White House press statement describing a run-of-the-mill meeting Friday between President Donald Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri caused an unexpected diplomatic dust-up when it attacked China's economic behavior as "predatory." The word choice, while common for the Trump administration, set off alarm bells for Argentine officials who are hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of the G-20 leaders summit, where the two countries will sign a trade pact. Argentina has also courted billions in investment from Beijing over the past decade, and is hoping to announce on Sunday the completion of an $8 billion deal to build a nuclear power plant.
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