World News July 2019:
by Heather VogellIn the latest chapter in ongoing litigation, the private equity fund that bought what used to be called the Trump Ocean Club claims the Trump entities pocketed money that should have gone to the Panamanian government. formerly managed by President Donald Trump’s companies are accusing them of stiffing the Panamanian government. In a legal filing Monday in an ongoing lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, private equity manager Orestes Fintiklis and the company he leads, Ithaca Capital Partners, claimed that two Trump companies failed to pay Panamanian taxes equal to 12.5% of the management fees they drew from the hotel. The Trump entities were allegedly supposed to withhold those fees in advance and pay them to the government regardless of whether the property was profitable or not. Instead, the Trump companies simply kept the money, the suit claims, “thus intentionally evading taxes.” That and other financial irregularities exposed Fintiklis and the companies he represents “to millions of dollars in liability,” according to the suit, which also claims Trump companies sought to cover up their actions. The filing does not say whether a tax penalty has been levied by Panamanian authorities. Fintiklis declined to comment.
By Christian Berthelsen - Bloomberg NewsA onetime business partner of Donald Trump’s hotel management company claimed in a court filing that the president’s firm evaded income taxes on a project in Panama and under-reported employee salaries there. The accusations were contained in a court filing Monday by the business partner, Orestes Fintiklis, and his company, Ithaca Capital Investments, as part of a lawsuit against Trump International Hotels Management. Ithaca assumed control of the property after Trump withdrew from it in March 2018, and a bitter feud over the development has ensued. Ithaca claims it’s now exposed to millions of dollars in liabilities because of the alleged tax underpayments on Trump’s management fees, which it says were discovered after Panamanian authorities launched an audit of the project a year ago. The under-payments also had the effect of making the development’s finances appear better than they actually were, according to the complaint in Manhattan federal court. ”Mr. Fintiklis is trying to distract from his own fraud and material breaches,” the president’s company said in a statement. “The Trump Organization did not evade any taxes. To the extent any taxes were to be withheld, it was the responsibility of the condominium that owns the hotel. The Trump Organization’s only role was to manage the property.”
Announcement comes ahead of a visit by US envoy Jared Kushner to Israel to discuss an Israeli-Palestinian 'peace' plan. Israel approved the construction of 6,000 new homes for Israeli settlers and 700 new homes for Palestinians in an area of the occupied West Bank where it has full control. The announcement by an unnamed Israeli official on Wednesday came ahead of an expected visit to Israel by United States envoy Jared Kushner to discuss a White House plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. The approvals are for the West Bank's Area C, which is under Israeli security and civilian control and where its settlements are located. It accounts for more than 60 percent of the West Bank, the Palestinian territory that would form part of a future Palestine state under the so-called two-state solution. It was not immediately clear if all of the homes will be new construction or if some already exist and are receiving retroactive approval. Settlements are illegal under international law and are major stumbling blocks to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. They are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
By Zack BudrykGermany’s foreign minister on Wednesday said the nation will not join a naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz led by the U.S. amid increasing tension with Iran, according to Reuters. The U.S. Embassy in Berlin said Tuesday that the U.S. had asked Germany to join a coalition including Britain and France that aimed to secure shipping through the strait amid what it called “Iranian aggression.” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday that despite tensions in the region, “there is no military solution” and it viewed the U.S. mission as potentially escalating the friction. “Germany will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States,” Maas said, according to the news service. The U.S. has accused Iran of attacking ships in the strait, through which about 20 percent of the world’s oil travels. Iran has denied the attacks and in July seized a British-flagged tanker passing through the s3trait. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition faces significant opposition to joining U.S.-led efforts in the region, particularly from her junior Social Democrat partners, including Maas. “The government is reticent about the concrete U.S. proposal and so has not made an offer,” government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said after a cabinet meeting in Berlin, according to Reuters.
By Shannon Van SantHong Kong is charging 44 protesters with rioting in connection with a demonstration that turned violent on Sunday. If found guilty, they reportedly could face up to 10 years in jail. Demonstrators marched from a park in Hong Kong's central business district to the Chinese government's Liaison Office, where the peaceful protest then turned into a confrontation between demonstrators and the police. "For hours Sunday, the protesters and police clashed on the two main thoroughfares that run through central Hong Kong Island," NPR's Julie McCarthy reported. "Demonstrators hurled bricks, paint-bombs and bottles. Riot police responded with volleys of tear gas ... and reportedly rubber bullets." In a statement announcing the charges, Hong Kong police accused protesters of "peace-breaching acts." Protesters set up "roadblocks by umbrellas, wooden planks, bamboo sticks and railings; pried up pavement bricks, demolished roadside fences, damaged street signs and lampposts as well as attacked police officers at scene with lethal weapons such as bricks and sharpened iron rods," the statement said. Police said they arrested "49 persons comprising 32 men and 17 women, aged between 16 and 41." Of those, 44 were charged with rioting and a 24-year old man was charged with "possession of offensive weapons." They "included 14 students and seven clerks. Others had jobs such as being a chef, nurse, electrician and construction worker. Five were unemployed," the South China Morning Post reported.
By Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman and Eric SchmittThe United States had a role in the operation that killed the younger Mr. bin Laden, officials said. But other details, including where he died, remained unknown. WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, who was viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of Al Qaeda and had repeatedly threatened to attack the United States, is dead, according to two American officials. Details of the strike that killed him were scarce, including when and where. The United States government played a role in the operation, but it was not clear how, according to the officials, who discussed his death on the condition of anonymity because it involved sensitive operations and intelligence gathering. Mr. bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, officials said. He was killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information about his whereabouts in February, but American military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death by then. Though Mr. bin Laden carried a prominent name and lineage, the news of his death represented more of a symbolic victory for the American government than the removal of a threat. Al Qaeda has not carried out a large-scale attack in years, and though Mr. bin Laden was being groomed to eventually take over the group, that time appeared to be well into the future. A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. After the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in a SEAL Team 6 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, two of his top lieutenants began preparing Hamza bin Laden for a top leadership role. He married a daughter of one of them and pledged to avenge his father’s death.
China Abruptly Announces It’s Totally Released Most of the Estimated 1 Million Muslims Held in Internment CampsBy Elliot HannonThe Chinese government made the unexpected announcement Tuesday that it had released most of the minority Muslims being held in controversial internment camps across the country’s Xinjiang region. Two regional leaders told the media that as many as 90 percent of the ethnic Muslims being held had left the so-called reeducation camps, been given jobs, and “returned to society.” The government has offered no evidence of the release and has long refused to provide much information about the heavily guarded camps that have sparked international condemnation. Experts estimate the number of minority Muslims interned in Xinjiang tops 1 million. The abrupt announcement comes as international criticism has ratcheted up over Beijing’s sweeping detentions in the region to stamp out simmering separatist aspirations and assimilate the some 12 million ethnic Uighurs living there. During a press conference Tuesday, government officials toed the line from Beijing insisting that the camps were vocational training centers, going so far as to call the detainees “students.” “Tuesday’s briefing—which was paired with an exhibition profiling Xinjiang as a travel destination and featuring performances by ethnic-minority musicians and dancers in traditional garb—is part of China’s campaign to counter Western-led criticism of its treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
By Julia Horowitz, CNN BusinessLondon (CNN Business) - The pound hit its lowest level in more than two years Tuesday as investor anxiety about the prospect of a messy Brexit continues to grow. Boris Johnson has used his first days as prime minister to double down on his threat to leave the European Union on October 31, even without an exit agreement in place to protect trade. That's driven the pound to lows against the dollar not seen since March 2017. The pound nearly broke below $1.21 on Tuesday before recovering slightly. The currency has weakened dramatically since Brits voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
By Jeff CoxPresident Donald Trump ripped into China in a series of tweets Tuesday just as the two sides are set to resume stalled negotiations toward a much-anticipated trade agreement. The president claimed that China is not buying more U.S. agricultural products as it promised to do and may be slow-walking the talks as it awaits the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. “China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through,” Trump wrote. The criticism comes as an entourage led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are in Shanghai to meet with their Chinese counterparts. While U.S. officials have tamped down expectations for a major deal this week, there is hope that at least some progress can be made in the tit-for-tat tariff battle that began about a year and a half ago. The stock market struggled at the open in the wake of Trump’s trade comments, with the Dow industrials off by about 100 points in early trading.
Rome -- A commander of Italy's Carabinieri police force said Tuesday that two American teens accused of murdering an Italian officer set upon the officer and his partner as soon as they approached the pair and identified themselves as law enforcement. Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth are facing charges of murder and extortion in the stabbing death of Mario Cerciello Rega. The murder charges carry possible life prison sentences. Providing further detail of the events that unfolded in the Friday killing last week, Carabinieri Commander Francesco Gargano said officers Mario Cerciello Rega and Andrea Varriale "were attacked immediately" by the two Americans. "They did not have the possibility to use weapons and react," Gargano said, adding that the officers were attacked as soon as they identified themselves as Carabinieri police officers. That claim contradicts the Americans' own accounts to investigators. They say they didn't know the two officers were police, as they were in plain clothes. CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports the suspects were visited in a Rome prison by U.S. Embassy officials on Monday. Documents released on Monday, in which investigating judge Chiara Gallo explains her decision to allow the continued detention of the pair, provided context of the fatal encounter. The document revealed that the teenagers had been drinking alcohol and that the judge believed they had shown a "total absence of self-control and critical capacity." She said they had "demonstrated an excessive immaturity."
By Huw JonesLONDON (Reuters) - Britain will not automatically have direct access to the European Union’s financial markets after Brexit, even if it meets all the conditions set out by Brussels, under an EU policy document published on Monday. Updating its policy on market access for foreign banks, insurers and investment firms, the EU’s executive European Commission said countries outside the bloc would not necessarily have market access even if their rules were equivalent. Faced with a huge financial center on its doorstep that would be outside the bloc after Brexit, Brussels has begun tightening up equivalence conditions. Britain has said UK rules will be identical on day one of Brexit but this does not give a guarantee of access. “It should be noted that equivalence empowerments do not confer a right on third countries ... to receive an equivalence determination, even if those third countries are able to demonstrate that their framework fulfils the relevant criteria,” the Commission’s policy paper said.
Guardian NewsIran's Revolutionary Guards have released audio of an exchange in which a UK warship is told not to intervene in the capture of a British-flagged tanker on 19 July. Iranian commandos seized the Stena Impero near the strait of Hormuz two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar over concerns it was defying EU sanctions by transporting oil to Syria
Hong Kong -- China's central government condemned ongoing protests in Hong Kong on Monday, following another weekend of unrest. Protesters clashed with riot police on Saturday and Sunday, leading to more than 60 arrests. Government officials say the violence has caused serious damage to the semi-autonomous city's international image, rule of law, and the lives of residents. CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio, who has been covering the protests for two months, said Monday was the first time China's central government held a press conference on affairs in Hong Kong since the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing condemned the violent protests, and urged calm. Without pointing a finger at any specific country or individuals, Chinese government spokesman Yang Guang said "irresponsible people" in the West had shown sympathy to "violent crimes" of what Beijing considers wanton rioters in Hong Kong. He defended the police forces for using "due diligence" in the clashes.
By Alex WardMissile tests. Building provocative submarines. It’s all good. In just the past week, North Korea has unveiled a brand new submarine that could potentially launch nuclear weapons and tested two short-range missiles that gravely threaten US allies South Korea and Japan. The casual observer might understandably expect President Donald “fire and fury” Trump and his hawkish administration to respond forcefully to these new provocations. But the opposite has happened: They’re taking the barrage with a degree of calm virtually unseen before from this administration. In fact, they’re actively downplaying — and in some cases even defending — North Korea’s actions. For instance, on Thursday, Fox News’s Brett Baier asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Kim showing off his shiny new (and potentially extremely deadly) submarine and whether that kind of thing makes it harder to reach a deal with North Korea. Pompeo’s response was stunning: “I went to a defense facility,” he said flatly. “We all go look at our militaries, and we all take pictures of them.” America’s top diplomat equating his own routine visits to US military sites with a North Korean dictator posing for propaganda photos meant to send threatening signals to Washington and its allies is ... unusual, to say the least. Hours later, Trump expressed similar sentiments, telling Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Kim’s missile tests didn’t worry him at all. “They haven’t done nuclear testing, they really haven’t tested missiles other than, you know, smaller ones, which is something that lots [of countries] test,” he said.
By Stuart Wolpert, UCLA NewsMore than 100 years after Albert Einstein published his iconic general theory of relativity, it is beginning to fray at the edges, said Andrea Ghez, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. Now, in the most comprehensive test of general relativity near the monstrous black hole at the center of our galaxy, Ghez and her research team report July 25 in the journal Science that Einstein’s theory holds up. “Einstein’s right, at least for now,” said Ghez, a co-lead author of the research. “We can absolutely rule out Newton’s law of gravity. Our observations are consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. However, his theory is definitely showing vulnerability. It cannot fully explain gravity inside a black hole, and at some point we will need to move beyond Einstein’s theory to a more comprehensive theory of gravity that explains what a black hole is.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a trio of congressional resolutions aimed at blocking his administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month cited threats from Iran as a reason to approve the $8.1 billion arms sale to the two U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia is an enemy of Iran and tension has mounted between the UAE and Tehran over several issues, including the UAE's coordination with U.S. efforts to curb what it calls Iran's malign activities in the region.
CBS This MorningNorth Korea claims to have tested a new high-tech weapon, and says the missile launch was meant as a warning to U.S. ally South Korea. South Korea says the weapons were similar to this Russian- made missile that flies lower and can make in-flight adjustments. The launches were the first since President Trump briefly entered North Korea last month. Margaret Brennan joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss how this latest launch will affect diplomatic relations in the region.
EU negotiator rejects 'unacceptable' demands by new UK PM, urges member states to 'stay calm, show unity'. The European Union has rejected a push by Boris Johnson, Britain's new prime minister, to rewrite an agreement over the United Kingdom's departure from the bloc, or Brexit. The dismissal on Thursday by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier came as European officials accused Johnson of "bullying" and taking a "combative" approach by amping up the threat of a damaging "no-deal" divorce. A day after assuming office, Johnson on Thursday set up a showdown with Brussels by vowing to negotiate a new divorce deal and threatening that, if the EU refused, he would take his country out of the bloc on October 31 without one. In his first address to parliament as Britain's new prime minister, Johnson said the terms of the agreement struck in November by his predecessor, Theresa May, were "unacceptable" and would "sign away our economic independence". He urged the bloc to "rethink" its opposition to a new deal, saying: "If they do not, we will, of course, have to leave the EU without an agreement."
By Linda GivetashTemperatures reached a record 105 degrees in Paris and 98.4 degrees at London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday.LONDON — The United Kingdom recorded its hottest July day on Thursday in a heat wave that also shattered temperature records in France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The U.K.'s Met Office said the mercury hit 98.4 degrees at London's Heathrow Airport before 2 p.m. local time, making it the country's hottest day ever for the month of July. Paris also reached a stunning 105 degrees at 1:36 p.m. local time, according to the French meteorological agency Météo-France. The Royal Netherland Meteorological Institute said the country saw its hottest day ever, reaching 104 degrees at the Gilze-Rijen airbase in the southern part of the country. Belgium's head forecaster for its national meteorological agency David Dehenauw said the Kleine Brogel air base, roughly 55 miles east of Antwerp, broke national records reaching 105 degrees. As Britons endured delayed trains, suffocating subways and baking homes, the Met Office said the country's record temperature of 101.3 degrees could still be surpassed as the afternoon wore on. Although the sky-high temperatures were expected to be short-lived with rain forecast to bring reprieve to Britain on Friday, experts warn that extreme heat has become the new normal with climate change. The past four years were the hottest on record globally and the World Meteorological Organization has warned this year is expected to be the same.
By Zachary Cohen, Nicole Gaouette, Sophie Jeong and Barbara Starr, CNN(CNN) - North Korea has fired two projectiles toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean officials, an act that comes amid increased uncertainty about the future of nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. The South Korean military told CNN that North Korea launched the two unidentified projectiles from the Wonson area on Thursday morning -- Wednesday afternoon in the US -- and that the flight distance was approximately 430 kilometers (about 267 miles). Analysts say the two objects were most likely missiles. The two projectiles were launched at 5:34 am Thursday local time (4:34 p.m. ET Wednesday) and 5:57 a.m. local time (4:57 p.m. ET Wednesday), according to the South Korean military. "Our military, in preparation for additional launches, is maintaining (its) readiness posture by monitoring related movements," an official in the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. "The US and South Korea are in the process of analyzing the details in relation to the launches," the JCS said.
By Babak Dehghanpisheh, Nafisa EltahirGENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates. The Swedish operator of a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf last week said it had been able to speak to crew members and all 23 of them were safe. “We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board,” Stena Bulk spokesman Pat Adamson said. The company said it had no evidence that the ship had been involved in a collision, one of the reasons Iran has cited for sending commandos to capture it last Friday. The tough remarks by Khamenei’s aide, Hossein Dehghan, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards whose views are seen as reflecting those of Khamenei, appeared to take a firm line in response to Western proposals to beef up security in the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of the seizure of the ship. Dehghan said Iran would take action if the status of the strait were altered, and that no country would be allowed to ship oil through it unless all countries can.
Boris Johnson said he wanted to "change the country for the better" after he became the UK's new prime minister. Speaking outside Downing Street, he said the UK would leave the EU on 31 October "no ifs, no buts", adding: "The buck stops with me." "The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters" who said it could not be done were "wrong", the new PM added. He also promised to sort out care for the elderly "once and for all", and invest in transport and education. Reforms to the social care sector have eluded previous governments because of their cost and complexity. "We will fix it once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve," he insisted.
By Michael MartinaBEIJING (Reuters) - China warned on Wednesday that it was ready for war if there was any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island. The Pentagon said this month the U.S. State Department had approved sales of weapons requested by Taiwan, including tanks and Stinger missiles estimated to be worth $2.2 billion. China responded by saying it would impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in any deals. Defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a news briefing on a defense white paper, the first like it in several years to outline the military’s strategic concerns, that China would make its greatest effort for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
President says if UK steps away from 'wrong actions' in Gibraltar, it will then get 'appropriate response' from Tehran. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani appears to have suggested that if the United Kingdom releases an Iranian tanker it apprehended off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month, then his country will return a British-flagged vessel it seized last week. "If Britain steps away from the wrong actions in Gibraltar, they will receive an appropriate response from Iran," Rouhani said on Wednesday during a weekly cabinet meeting. The Grace-1 supertanker was seized off the British overseas territory on Spain's southern coast on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions. Some two weeks later, Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, claiming that it had collided with a fishing boat and violated international law. London and Tehran have denied the accusations in turn and descended into a feud over the ships' seizures amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most significant oil artery. “It was the first time that he [Rouhani] seemed to link the seizure of a ship by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) less than a week ago to the seizing in Gibraltar of the Iranian oil tanker," said Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran.
Close analysis of Kim Jong Un's new nuclear-missile submarine reveals it's bound for a suicide missionBy Alex LockieNorth Korea on Monday recalled the days of "fire and fury" by releasing images of leader Kim Jong Un touring a suspected nuclear-capable submarine, and a close reading of the images reveal once again that a US fight with North Korea could mean death for millions in the region, and suicide for Pyongyang, the country's capital. Kim hasn't been pictured inspecting weapons capable of carrying nuclear warheads since the thaw in tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, but on Monday, it appears to have lost its patience with now stalled peace talks. North Korea showed Kim touring a factory building a submarine, which HI Sutton, a submarine analyst, said probably took place on the country's east coast.
By Alex WardThe revelation is clearly a message for Trump. North Korea has released pictures of a new submarine that it could potentially use to launch nuclear weapons. If that’s the case, the country may have gained a very dangerous, stealthy ability to threaten the US and its allies — all in defiance of President Donald Trump. Pyongyang released three images on Monday night showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un standing in front of a massive submarine inside a shipyard. Experts say it’s large enough that it could carry missiles equipped with nuclear bombs, allowing Kim to order nuclear strikes from unknown underwater locations. While none of the photos definitively prove the vessel could shoot nuclear-tipped projectiles — they’re cropped so you can’t see the top part of the submarine where the weapons would go — analysts tell me North Korea would probably only be interested in developing a submarine if it had nuclear capability. “Why waste the real estate?” MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang said, noting that North Korea wouldn’t bother putting conventional bombs on one of its only two missile-carrying submarines. This revelation is a potential game changer. Though experts believe the pictured submarine is an untested, still-in-construction prototype, it shows that North Korea is steadily improving its ability to threaten the US and its allies from harder-to-detect locations. Which means in the unlikely event that the US and North Korea get into a nuclear war, it’d prove very hard for Washington to destroy the submarine before it could launch nukes at South Korea, Japan, or even the United States.
By Rebecca KlarClimate change may be causing a wide-spread, drug-resistant fungus, according to a study published Tuesday in the American Society for Microbiology. Researchers found that the new fungal disease could be the first to emerge as a result of climate change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in March. The CDC had said it was resistant to antifungal drugs. It was first discovered in 2009 in Japan and reported first in the U.S. after mid-2015. To examine the potential impact of climate change on its emergence, researchers compared the thermal susceptibility of Candida auris to its close relatives. The study found that the fungus was able to adapt as the climate warms.
TIMESouth Korean jets fired 360 rounds of warning shots after a Russian military plane violated South Korea’s airspace on Tuesday, Seoul officials said, in the first such incident between the countries.
Yelena Grigoryeva sounded the alarm after her name appeared on a website that offered prizes for attacking gays. Days later, she was dead. A Russian LGBTQ activist, Yelena Grigoryeva, was fatally stabbed in St. Petersburg Sunday night after her name was listed on a website that encourages people to “hunt” LGBTQ activists, inspired by the torture-themed film "Saw." Reports in the Russian newspaper Fontanka said that a suspect, a “40-year-old resident of Bashkortostan,” had been detained by police. Grigoryeva, 41, was active with Russia’s Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT for Equality and other activist causes, according to the Russian LGBT Network.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran observes all U.S. ships in the Gulf region and has an archive of images of their daily movements, the head of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said on Tuesday, according to the Young Journalists Club news site. Iran and the United States came to the brink of war last month after the Islamic Republic shot down a U.S. drone, nearly prompting a retaliatory attack which U.S. President Donald Trump called off at the last minute. Tensions have also spiked between Iran and Britain after the Islamic Republic seized a British-flagged tanker last Friday because it had collided with a fishing vessel, according to Iranian officials.British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in early July, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.
CNN Digital Expansion 2018 Veronica StracqualursiBy Veronica Stracqualursi, CNNWashington (CNN) - Afghanistan has demanded the United States clarify remarks made by President Donald Trump, who said the country "would be wiped off the face of the Earth" if he wanted to win the war in Afghanistan. "The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate," Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesman for the President of Afghanistan, said in a statement. "Given the multifaceted relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for clarification on the US President's statements." Trump on Monday had suggested that he could put an end to the Afghanistan war in a week, but that it would cost millions of lives and wipe the country "off the face of the Earth." "If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people," Trump said, seated beside Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday. "I have plans on Afghanistan, that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in -- literally, in 10 days, and I don't want to do -- I don't want to go that route." The US has been pursuing a diplomatic strategy to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, holding on-again, off-again talks with the Taliban in Qatar to reach a peace deal. Earlier this month, a group of prominent Afghans —including some Afghan government officials acting in a personal capacity — held two days of joint talks with the Taliban, unofficially agreeing on a roadmap on how they might reach a peace deal.
Kabul, Afghanistan -- The Afghan government asked Tuesday for clarification of President Donald Trump's statement that the U.S. military could end the war in Afghanistan in 10 days, but that the country would be wiped out in the process. Mr. Trump suggested on Monday, in a seemingly off-hand remark, that he could order such a military intervention in lieu of a peaceful resolution to the 18-year-war that began with the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban. Mr. Trump made the remarks Monday during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose help he seeks in negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban that would enable U.S. forces to withdraw from Afghanistan. Mr. Trump said he could win the Afghan war in just 10 days but it would also wipe "Afghanistan from the face of the earth."
By Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAYLONDON – Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as Britain's new prime minister on Tuesday and the incoming leader faces a bumpy ride amid pressure to get the nation's stalled exit from the European Union – known as Brexit – over the line. Britain's 77th prime minister will also have to deal with an escalating crisis with Iran. American-born Johnson, 55, who enjoys a good relationship with President Donald Trump, becomes Britain's 14th prime minister to serve under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. He will be the third leader from the United Kingdom's Conservative Party, including David Cameron – who called 2016's controversial referendum on EU membership – charged with making sure that Brexit takes place. In a brief address, Johnson said he would "deliver Brexit" and "unite the country." Johnson won about two-thirds of eligible votes in a weeks-long contest decided by an internal party vote by approximately 160,000 Conservative Party members after May stepped down over her handling of Brexit. Britain elects a party, not a leader, meaning the ruling party can change its leader and still remain the government of the day. Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt, a close political ally of May's. "Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!" Trump tweeted. While Johnson was the odds-on favorite to win, he will be quickly tested.
By Merrit KennedyPresident Trump said Iran's claim that it has captured 17 people spying for the U.S. is "totally false," as tensions continue to ratchet up between the two nations after the U.S. said it downed an Iranian drone last week. On Monday, a senior Iranian intelligence officer told reporters in Tehran that Iran has detained CIA-trained Iranian nationals who were attempting to gather information on the country's military and nuclear capabilities. "The rulings for these spies have been issued and a number of them will be executed as corruptors on Earth," said the intelligence officer, who was not identified. Iran's semiofficial news agency Fars describes him as the director-general of the intelligence ministry's counterespionage department. The Iranian reports do not specify how many of the alleged spies were set to be executed, or when that might happen. On Monday morning, Trump categorically denied that there was any truth to the news out of Iran. "The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do," the president said in a tweet. He added, "Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!"
John Bacon, USA TODAYThousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets Monday as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló clung to his job amid a deepening scandal involving vulgar text messages that have fueled intense emotions across the island. Hundreds of thousands of protesters were expected, and they quickly overwhelmed the expressway into San Juan for what could be the largest rally yet, coming one day after Rosselló announced he would not seek re-election but refused to resign. Rosselló's boyish charm and dogged determination helped him survive controversies surrounding Hurricane Maria, which ripped the island apart in 2017, and a series of corruption scandals. "Chatgate," however, is proving his most difficult hurdle. Monday marked the 10th consecutive day of protests. The issue involves the leak of more than 800 pages that include sometimes profanity-laced, misogynistic texts and online chats with male members of his administration. Mario Negrón Portillo, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s school of public administration, told The Guardian that Rosselló had a reputation as a meek family man. The brutal language revealed in the texts rocked the island of more than 3 million people, he said. “Everyone woke up one day and the governor was spouting vulgarities,” Negrón said. “There’s nothing worse for a politician than losing legitimacy. I think Ricardo Rosselló has lost legitimacy.”
Al Jazeera EnglishIsraeli forces have begun the demolition of about 100 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank built close to the separation barrier. The residents of Wadi al-Hummus had fought a seven-year legal battle to overturn the military eviction order. But Israel's High Court dismissed the case despite the land being under the administration of the Palestinian Authority. Al Jazeera's Rob Matheson reports live from Wadi al-Hummus in the occupied West Bank.
Tehran, Iran -- Iran said Monday it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites, and that some have already been sentenced to death. The arrests took place in the Iranian calendar year ending in March 2019 and those taken into custody worked on "sensitive sites" in the country's military and nuclear facilities, an Iranian intelligence official told a news conference in Tehran. He didn't say how many of them got the death sentence or when the sentences were handed down. Iranian state television published images Monday it said showed the CIA officers who were in contact with the alleged spies, the Reuters news agency reports. The CIA didn't offer any immediate comment in response to CBS News inquiries. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former CIA director, declined on Monday to address specifics of the arrests. But he added: "The Iranian regime has a long history of lying."
He said a no-deal Brexit, something Mr Johnson has left open as an option, was "not something I could ever sign up to". Asked if he thought he would be sacked next week, Mr Hammond said he would resign on Wednesday to Theresa May. He said he intends to quit after Prime Minister's Questions but before Mrs May steps down. Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hammond said it was important the next PM and his chancellor were "closely aligned" on Brexit policy. Mr Johnson has said the UK must leave the EU by the new Brexit deadline of 31 October "do or die, come what may". His leadership rival Jeremy Hunt has said a no-deal exit cannot be ruled out, but he is prepared to further delay Brexit if required to get a new withdrawal deal. Mr Hammond said the situation "might be more complicated" if Mr Hunt wins the Tory leadership contest, but "all the polling" suggested Mr Johnson would succeed.
By John Bacon, USA TODAYAn audio recording released Sunday reveals the tense moments before a British-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces rappelling from helicopters to the ship's deck. The Stena Impero tanker "was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards ... for failing to respect international maritime rules," the guard said after the seizure Friday. Video posted online showed Iranian soldiers in black ski masks sweeping onto the ship in the Strait of Hormuz. In the audio recording released Sunday by the security risk firm Dryad Global, the voice of an apparent Iranian official warns the tanker's crew to alter course. "If you obey, you will be safe," the voice says. "Alter your course 3-6-0 degrees immediately." The voice of a British naval officer patrolling the area then can be heard, warning that the ship had a right to continue undisturbed. "I reiterate that as you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, intruded, obstructed or hampered,” the British officer says.
Iran has offered a deal with the US in which it would formally and permanently accept enhanced inspections of its nuclear programme, in return for the permanent lifting of US sanctions. The offer was made by the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a visit to New York. But it is unlikely to be warmly received by the Trump administration, which is currently demanding Iran make a range of sweeping concessions, including cessation of uranium enrichment and support for proxies and allies in the region. Zarif insisted, however, that his offer was “a substantial move”. “It’s not about photo ops. We are interested in substance,” he told reporters at the Iranian mission to the UN in New York on Thursday. “There are other substantial moves that can be made.” He said: “If they [the Trump administration] are putting their money where their mouth is, they are going to do it. They don’t need a photo op. They don’t need a two-page document with a big signature.” Iran has faced an steadily tightening US-driven oil embargo and severe banking sanctions since May last year, when Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA). The embargo has triggered a standoff in the Gulf that has escalated dramatically in recent months:on Thursday, Trump said a US warship, the USS Boxer, had shot down an Iranian drone that had come within a kilometre of the vessel. “The drone was immediately destroyed,” the president said. “This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities, and interests.” Earlier in the day, Iran said it had seized a foreign-owned vessel suspected of being used for oil smuggling out of Iran. Zarif dismissed the seizure as a routine marine policing matter.
by Yun LiThe pace of companies moving production out of China is accelerating as more than 50 multinationals from Apple to Nintendo to Dell are rushing to escape the punitive tariffs placed by the U.S., according to the Nikkei Asian review. The trade war between the U.S. and China has dragged on for more than a year with 25% tariffs placed on $200 billion of Chinese goods. President Donald Trump is still threatening to slap duties on another $325 billion of goods. In wake of the intensifying battle, more and more companies announced plans or are considering shifting manufacturing from China. American personal computer makers HP and Dell could move up to 30% of their notebook production in China to Southeast Asia, Nikkei reported. Apple has asked its major suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to India, according to an earlier report from the Nikkei. Japan’s Nintendo is also going to pull a portion of its video game console production from China to Vietnam, according to Nikkei. Not only are foreign companies rethinking its production location, a handful of Chinese companies are also leaving China. Chinese multinational electronics company TCL is moving its TV production to Vietnam, while Chinese tire maker Sailun Tire is transitioning its manufacturing line to Thailand, Nikkei reported.
By Merrit KennedyThe World Health Organization's director-general has declared the current Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency. The outbreak in the DRC has killed more than 1,650 people and about 12 new cases are reported daily, according to the WHO. At a news conference Wednesday, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described "a concerning geographic expansion" but the WHO said the outbreak does not pose a global threat. The agency recommended that no borders be closed because of the declaration, and that trade and travel to Congo should not be restricted. Such restrictions, it said, would cause a terrible economic impact on the region and hamper the fight to stop the outbreak. The WHO chief said the DRC needs funding from the international community, otherwise "we will be paying for this outbreak for a long time to come." The director-general convened an emergency panel of experts Wednesday to discuss the possibility of an emergency declaration not long after the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a Congolese city on the border with Rwanda. Goma is home to about a million people and is a transit hub, raising concerns about its potential to promote the spread of the virus. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reported that the person was a pastor in Goma. He appeared to have contracted the virus in the city of Butembo and then traveled by bus to Goma while he was sick. Robert Steffen, chair of the WHO's International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, said Wednesday that there had been no new cases of infected people in Goma.
by Joel GehrkePresident Trump is kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program over the NATO ally’s insistence on purchasing Russian-made anti-aircraft defenses, the White House announced. “Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.” The announcement came amid a steady stream of Russian military planes delivering the advanced anti-aircraft defense systems to Ankara this week. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insisted on his right to deploy the warplanes alongside Russia’s technology, resulting in a standoff that could have far-reaching consequences for the transatlantic alliance. “Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems,” Grisham said. “This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance.” The breach between the United States and Turkey is a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, less than four years after Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet operating on the Syria-Turkey border. Two Russian cargo planes landed in Ankara on Wednesday, the Turkish government announced, bringing with them 13th and 14th shipment of equipment related to the anti-aircraft system. “The delivery of the S-400 long-range air defense system is ongoing,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said. U.S. and NATO officials have warned Turkey repeatedly that the turn toward Russian weapons would result in the loss of the F-35, but Erdoğan dubbed the S-400 deal "the most important agreement in [Turkish] modern history” on Sunday.
By NAHAL TOOSITrump has repeatedly urged Iran to negotiate, saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern, talking points that experts say echo the 2015 deal. Donald Trump has long trashed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever,” a “disaster” that didn’t cover nearly enough of the Islamist-led country’s nefarious behavior. In recent weeks, however, the president has indicated that the Barack Obama-era deal might not be so bad after all. Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to engage in negotiations with him, while saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern — “A lot of progress has been made. And they'd like to talk,” Trump asserted Tuesday at the White House. His aides and allies, meanwhile, have recently suggested that Iran and other countries should follow the guidelines of a deal they themselves have shunned as worthless. At times, analysts and former officials say, it sounds like Trump wants to strike a deal that essentially mirrors the agreement that his White House predecessor inked — even if he’d never be willing to admit it. Iranian officials seem willing to egg him on, saying they’ll talk so long as Trump lifts the sanctions he’s imposed on them and returns to the 2015 Iran deal. And as European ministers warn that the existing deal is nearly extinct, Trump may feel like he is backed into a corner and running out of options. “Trump got rid of the Iran nuclear deal because it was Barack Obama’s agreement,” said Jarrett Blanc, a former State Department official who helped oversee the 2015 deal’s implementation. “If you were to present to Trump the same deal and call it Trump’s deal, he’d be thrilled.”
By Anna MatrangaRome -- More than 200 Italian police officers and FBI agents launched coordinated raids overnight targeting a mafia crime family with ties to the U.S., Italian police said Wednesday. The crackdown resulted in the detention or arrest of 15 suspected members of the Inzerillo crime family, based in the Sicilian capital of Palermo. Thomas Gambino, considered by the FBI to be a significant member of the New York-based crime family, was among those taken into custody in Palermo. In the United States, FBI and Italian investigators raided the homes of three men suspected of belonging to the powerful Gambino clan, in New Jersey, Staten Island and Philadelphia.
By Natasha TurakU.S. sanctions on NATO-ally Turkey might deter future arms deals with the likes of Moscow, but it could also play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands, analysts have told CNBC. Turkish dollar-denominated bonds and the lira have both fallen in recent days amid economic and geopolitical turmoil for Turkey, with investors concerned about its credibility and the potential for U.S. sanctions over a Russian weapons deal. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked the country’s central bank governor earlier this month, prompting fresh criticism regarding the institution’s independence and leading ratings agency Fitch to downgrade Turkey’s investment rating to “BB-.” But looking ahead, market watchers are now worried about the American response to what continues to be a significant headache for NATO: Ankara has officially begun receiving parts for the Russian S-400 air defense missile system, the result of a weapons deal that Washington has long lobbied hard against.
By Ben Westcott, CNNHong Kong (CNN) - China held military drills off the coast of Taiwan as tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over US support for the island that China views as a part of its territory. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) announced in a statement Sunday that the military exercises off China's "southeast coast" involved both the navy and the air force, but provided few other details. Both Beijing and Taipei tried to downplay the drills, with the PLA describing the exercises as "a routine arrangement according to (our) annual plans." However, they come amid tension between the Beijing and Washington over a $2.2 billion US arms sale to Taiwan, and also coincide with a trip by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States as she prepares to shore up support among the island's allies in the Caribbean. On Friday, China threatened to impose sanctions against any US companies who sold weapons to Taiwan. Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai made it clear on Friday on Twitter that any attempts by the US government to "split" Taiwan from China would provoke a swift response. "Those who play with fire will only get themselves burned. Period," he tweeted.
By Bianca Britton, Dakin Andone and Kay Guerrero, CNN(CNN) - Indian authorities have released footage showing the final moments of the climbers who died in the Indian Himalayas in May.The video was found on a "memory video device" near the Nanda Devi East, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said Monday, which showed the group of climbers moving slowly near the summit on the unnamed peak. The group of eight climbers -- four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and their Indian liaison officer -- went missing when they were attempting to scale a previously unclimbed peak on May 26.
The US State Department has approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan, estimated to be worth $2.2bn (£1.76bn), the Pentagon said. The deal is for 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment. China's foreign ministry has called on the US to "immediately cancel" the proposed sale. Spokesman Geng Shuang said the action "grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests". He also accused the US of violating the One China policy, under which the US recognises and has only formal ties with China and not Taiwan. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
By Sam MeredithNorth Korea’s mission to the United Nations has accused the U.S. of being “obsessed with sanctions” and “more and more hell-bent on hostile acts” against Pyongyang. North Korea’s delegation to the UN said Wednesday that the country was responding to a letter sent to all UN member states late last month. In it, the U.S. — alongside the U.K., Germany and France — called on countries around the world to implement tougher sanctions on Pyongyang. The mission said the letter was sent by the U.S. on June 29, the same day President Donald Trump tweeted he would like to shake hands with leader Kim Jong Un during his visit to the demilitarized zone on the Korean Peninsula. “What can’t be overlooked is the fact that this joint letter game was carried out by the Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN under the instruction of the State Department, on the very same day when President Trump proposed for the summit meeting,” a press statement from the North Korea mission said. The meeting on Sunday, which saw Trump become the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in the isolated regime, culminated in the pair agreeing to resume talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Protesters had mostly cleared out of the Legislative Council building after three hours of occupation. Then a cordon of riot police used tear gas and charged to scatter the crowd.By The New York TimesRight Now Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, held an early morning news conference after the police fired tear gas at protesters near the Legislative Council. Hong Kong’s leader vowed to pursue those who acted illegally. After a day of protests that escalated in violence, Carrie Lam, the city’s embattled top leader, condemned the protesters who stormed the offices of the legislature and wrecked and defaced the building, vowing to pursue those who acted illegally. “This violence and lawlessness have seriously affected the core values of Hong Kong’s legal system,” Mrs. Lam told reporters in the early hours of Tuesday morning. “I feel very indignant and saddened by this and want to strongly condemn it. I believe that the public feels the same.” Mrs. Lam, the city’s chief executive, was accompanied by Police Commissioner Stephen Lo, who was asked why his officers made a surprise retreat as the protesters appeared close to breaching an inner door.
It came as the US and the insurgent group are engaged in peace talks.By Alex WardAn attack on Monday by the Taliban in Afghanistan has killed roughly 40 people — including children — and injured around 100 more. It’s a stunning reminder of how bad the situation in the country remains after nearly two decades of war and relatively little attention paid by President Donald Trump and 2020 Democrats. The Taliban took responsibility for a multifaceted strike in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, which included a car bomb and a lengthy gun fight. A private war museum, a television station, schools, and sports agencies were damaged by the Taliban’s blast. Nooria Nazhat, the spokesperson for Afghanistan’s ministry of education, told the New York Times that at least 51 students were wounded when the car bomb that initiated the attack at rush hour damaged two school buildings. That’s tragic, not least because just two days earlier Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib tweeted, “Our youngest citizens have the most to gain from peace and security.”
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) - Donald Trump's two eldest children had quite the weekend. Ivanka Trump, traveling with her father in Asia, sought to play the role of a sort of shadow secretary of state. She attended a series of bilateral meetings between the US and foreign powers at the G20. She was part of the photo-op following the President's 20 steps into North Korea with dictator Kim Jong Un. (And she made it awkward!) She tried to edge into a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, IMF chairwoman Christine Lagarde and British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20. "You probably saw that Ivanka Trump was -- she's done a fantastic job, and also a fantastic job in getting jobs for a lot of people within our country -- almost 10 million people," Trump told the media during a news conference over the weekend in Osaka, Japan. Donald Trump Jr., for his part, was making news of his own. During Thursday's debate, he retweeted this tweet regarding California Sen. Kamala Harris' racial identity: "Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She's not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That's fine. She's not an American Black. Period." (Don Jr. later deleted the retweet, which had shared the tweet with the comment, "Is this true? Wow." His spokesman told The New York Times that it was a misunderstanding.)
A suspected stowaway who is believed to have fallen from the landing gear of a flight into Heathrow Airport has been found dead in a London garden. The body - believed to be that of a man - was found in Clapham just before 15:40 BST on Sunday. The individual is believed to have fallen from a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi, police said. A neighbour said the man fell a metre away from a resident who had been sunbathing in the garden. The man, who did not want to be named, said he heard a "whomp" so he looked out of an upstairs window and saw the body and "blood all over the walls of the garden". "So I went outside, and it was just then the neighbour came out and he was very shaken," he said.
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