World News June 2019:
By Ben Blanchard, Michael MartinaBEIJING/OSAKA (Reuters) - China and the United States will face a long road before they can reach a deal to end their bitter trade war, with more fights ahead likely, Chinese state media said after the two countries’ presidents held ice-breaking talks in Japan. The world’s two largest economies are in the midst of a bitter trade war, which has seen them level increasingly severe tariffs on each other’s imports. In a sign of significant progress in relations on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, agreed to a ceasefire and a return to talks. However, the official China Daily, an English-language daily often used by Beijing to put its message out to the rest of the world, warned while there was now a greater likelihood of reaching an agreement, there’s no guarantee there would be one. “Even though Washington agreed to postpone levying additional tariffs on Chinese goods to make way for negotiations, and Trump even hinted at putting off decisions on Huawei until the end of negotiations, things are still very much up in the air,” it said in an editorial late Saturday.
By Jonathan Lemire & Zeke MillerOSAKA, Japan (AP) — President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to a cease-fire Saturday in their nations’ yearlong trade war, averting for now an escalation feared by financial markets, businesses and farmers. Trump said U.S. tariffs will remain in place against Chinese imports while negotiations continue. Additional trade penalties he has threatened against billions worth of other Chinese goods will not take effect for the “time being,” he said, and the economic powers will restart stalled talks that have already gone 11 rounds. “We’re going to work with China where we left off,” Trump said after a lengthy meeting with Xi while the leaders attended the Group of 20 summit in Osaka. While Trump said relations with China were “right back on track,” doubts persist about the two nations’ willingness to compromise on a long-term solution. Among the sticking points: The U.S. contends that Beijing steals technology and coerces foreign companies into handing over trade secrets; China denies it engages in such practices.
By Jim Acosta, CNN(CNN) - The new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, got into a scuffle with North Korean officials on Sunday during a chaotic scene outside a meeting room where US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talked privately. A source at the scene said Grisham got in "an all out brawl" with North Korean officials as American and North Korean reporters were hustled in to view the summit. Grisham was bruised a bit in the scuffle, the source added. Grisham could be seen after the episode directing reporters outside the building in which Kim and Trump met, and she was later seen looking no worse for wear as she accompanied the President at the DMZ. Trump shook hands with Kim on Sunday and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in the hermit kingdom. The encounter at the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone -- their third in person -- came a day after Trump raised the prospect of a border handshake in a tweet and declared he'd have "no problem" stepping into North Korea.
CBS NewsPresident Trump made history when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and then crossed over the DMZ and stepped onto U.S. soil. CBS News' Weijia Jiang reports from the DMZ.
By Jeff CoxOne of the key issues that will be discussed between U.S. and China officials at this week’s G-20 summit in Japan is getting a balanced deal. China believes any new agreement will need to be evenhanded, while U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told his Chinese counterparts that balance won’t happen, according to CNBC’s Kayla Tausche, citing a person with knowledge of the White House position. The reason why the U.S. will not prioritize balance is because of China’s past trade transgressions. Among other things, China has been accused of stealing U.S. technology. President Donald Trump has targeted China for tariffs as he seeks level ground and to reduce the deficit the U.S. has consistently run in trade between the two sides. The deficit in 2018 stood at $419.5 billion and was already at $106.9 billion through the first four months of 2019, according to Census Bureau data. Trump said Wednesday he would like to see a deal but is content with where things are now. “They want a deal more than I do,” he told Fox Business Network. The U.S. has levied 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and has threatened to put additional duties on the remaining $300 billion of imports.
By Jack Stubbs, Joseph Menn, Christopher BingEight of the world's biggest technology service providers were hacked by Chinese cyber spies in an elaborate and years-long invasion, Reuters found. The invasion exploited weaknesses in those companies, their customers, and the Western system of technological defense. LONDON – Hacked by suspected Chinese cyber spies five times from 2014 to 2017, security staff at Swedish telecoms equipment giant Ericsson had taken to naming their response efforts after different types of wine. Pinot Noir began in September 2016. After successfully repelling a wave of attacks a year earlier, Ericsson discovered the intruders were back. And this time, the company’s cybersecurity team could see exactly how they got in: through a connection to information-technology services supplier Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Teams of hackers connected to the Chinese Ministry of State Security had penetrated HPE’s cloud computing service and used it as a launchpad to attack customers, plundering reams of corporate and government secrets for years in what U.S. prosecutors say was an effort to boost Chinese economic interests. The hacking campaign, known as “Cloud Hopper,” was the subject of a U.S. indictment in December that accused two Chinese nationals of identity theft and fraud. Prosecutors described an elaborate operation that victimized multiple Western companies but stopped short of naming them. A Reuters report at the time identified two: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM. Yet the campaign ensnared at least six more major technology firms, touching five of the world’s 10 biggest tech service providers.
By Jack Stubbs, Joseph Menn, Christopher BingLONDON (Reuters) - Hackers working for China’s Ministry of State Security broke into networks of eight of the world’s biggest technology service providers in an effort to steal commercial secrets from their clients, according to sources familiar with the attacks. Reuters today reported extensive new details about the global hacking campaign, known as Cloud Hopper and attributed to China by the United States and its Western allies. A U.S. indictment in December outlined an elaborate operation to steal Western intellectual property in order to advance China’s economic interests but stopped short of naming victim companies. A Reuters report at the time identified two: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM. Now, Reuters has found that at least six other technology service providers were compromised: Fujitsu, Tata Consultancy Services, NTT Data, Dimension Data, Computer Sciences Corporation and DXC Technology, HPE’s spun-off services arm. Reuters has also identified more than a dozen victims who were clients of the service providers. That list includes Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson, U.S. Navy shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries and travel reservation system Sabre.
By Shirley TayU.S. President Donald Trump’s fresh sanctions on Iran are a “symbolic act” and may leave Washington with no room to exert further pressure on the nuclear power, a former U.S. diplomat said Tuesday. Trump on Monday signed an executive order to impose “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whom he said was responsible for the “hostile conduct” of the regime. While the new sanctions aim to deny top Iranian officials access to important financial resources, “the Ayatollah and most of the people closest to him don’t really have bank accounts in their names ... in Europe or outside of Iran” that would be hit by the sanctions, said Amos Hochstein, who served as U.S. special envoy for international energy affairs under the Obama administration. Washington’s new sanctions come on the back of tense U.S.-Iran rhetoric after Tehran downed an American military drone last Thursday. The Trump administration has accused Iran of being responsible for a recent attack on six oil tankers in or near the Strait of Hormuz. However, Washington may be treading into dangerous waters in its Iran policy, Hochstein told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia. ”
By David ReidNATO said Russia must destroy its short-range nuclear-ready cruise missile system, or the alliance will be forced to respond. The U.S. has previously said it will quit a decades-old missile treaty with Russia if the latter fails to destroy the missile, labeled the SSC-8 by NATO. The 1987 INF Treaty between the U.S. and Russia sought to eliminate nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with short ranges (310–620 miles) and intermediate ranges (620–3,420 miles). NATO has said the SSC-8 violates those terms and that Russia has been deploying the system at locations which could threaten countries across Europe. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia had just five weeks to scrap the system and save the treaty. “We call on Russia to take the responsible path. Unfortunately, we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” he said. Stoltenberg will chair a meeting of NATO member defense ministers which is due to begin Wednesday. He said that gathering, which will include U.S. acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, would look at NATO’s next steps “in the event that Russia does not comply.” The NATO chief said the response would be “defensive, measured and co-ordinated,” but would not result in the deployment of land-based nuclear missiles.
On Thursday, June 20, a reporter asked Russian President Vladimir Putin why the Russian state doesn’t acknowledge the presence of so-called “private military contractors” in Syria, or commemorate those who have died in combat there. “Look, as for the private companies, including the private security companies under which the people you have mentioned were operating – this is not the Russian state, and they are not engaged in combat,” Putin answered. Putin added: “Fortunately or unfortunately, these are issues of an economic nature, related to economic activity, oil production and exploring oilfields – that is what we are talking about here. Of course, we acknowledge that people risk their lives even when addressing these social and economic tasks and problems. Overall, this is also a contribution to fighting terrorism as they are reclaiming these fields from ISIS. But this has nothing to do with the Russian state or the Russian army, so we do not comment on this.” Putin’s response raises the question of how these “private security companies” could be “fighting terrorism” and “reclaiming oilfields from ISIS” if they are not engaged in combat. Do they politely ask ISIS to give up the oilfields? The question is rhetorical; in fact, the terror group ISIS hasn’t controlled any territory in Syria since March of this year. That territory was retaken not by Russian or Syrian regime forces, but by the U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In fact, in February 2018, Russian mercenaries associated with a PMC called Wagner attempted to capture an oil refinery, not from ISIS, which did not control the area where the refinery was located, but from U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led SDF, who responded to the Russian-led attack by calling in U.S. air and artillery support. The U.S. response inflicted several hundred casualties on the attackers and left several Russian “contractors” dead.
By Oren Liebermann and Tara John, CNNJerusalem (CNN) - United States national security adviser John Bolton warned Sunday that Iran should not "mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness," days after President Donald Trump called off a retaliatory military strike against Iran after the downing of an American drone. Bolton also warned of the possibility of a strike against Iran in the future during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. "Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East," Bolton, who has publicly and repeatedly called for regime change in Tehran in the past, said. After coming within minutes of military strikes, Trump stepped back from the brink of a dangerous escalation Thursday. The President said Friday he called off an attack because he decided there would be too many deaths for a proportionate response to the downing of the US drone. The President's stance on the dramatic escalation in tensions with Iran has been in stark contrast to harsh public warnings from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and particularly the views of Bolton. Referring to Trump's decision to call of the strike, Bolton threatened possible military action in the future. "The President said, 'I just stopped the strike from going forward... at this time,'" said Bolton on Sunday. "As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go -- by far the best in the world," Bolton said. "Sanctions are biting, and more were added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the USA, not against the world."
Donald Trump promises new sanctions over shooting down of US drone as Iran warns of 'crushing' response if attacked.US President Donald Trump has vowed to impose fresh sanctions on Iran and said military action was still "on the table" as tensions continued to rise in the Gulf following the downing of an unmanned US drone by Iranian forces. Trump's threat on Saturday came as Tehran warned Washington that "one bullet towards Iran" would cause its interests across the Middle East to go up in flames. Frictions between the United States and Iran have been at fever pitch since Thursday when Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) downed a US surveillance drone. Washington claims the incident happened in international airspace, but Tehran said the drone was shot down over its territory. Trump said the US planned retaliatory attacks on Iran, but he called them off because 150 people could have been killed. Speaking in Washington, DC, before heading to the US presidential retreat at Camp David, where he said he would deliberate on Iran, Trump said his administration intended to pile economic pressure on Tehran.
Exclusive: Neighbour records shouting and banging at flat MP shares with Carrie Symonds. Police were called to the home of Boris Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, in the early hours of Friday morning after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging. The argument could be heard outside the property where the potential future prime minister is living with Symonds, a former Conservative party head of press. A neighbour told the Guardian they heard a woman screaming followed by “slamming and banging”. At one point Symonds could be heard telling Johnson to “get off me” and “get out of my flat”. The neighbour said that after becoming concerned they knocked on the door but received no response. “I [was] hoping that someone would answer the door and say ‘We’re okay’. I knocked three times and no one came to the door.” The neighbour decided to call 999. Two police cars and a van arrived within minutes, shortly after midnight, but left after receiving reassurances from both the individuals in the flat that they were safe. When contacted by the Guardian on Friday, police initially said they had no record of a domestic incident at the address. But when given the case number and reference number, as well as identification markings of the vehicles that were called out, police issued a statement saying: “At 00:24hrs on Friday, 21 June, police responded to a call from a local resident in [south London]. The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour. “Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”
Trump has downplayed or hidden evidence that points the finger at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The battle is on to force that proof into the open.By Christopher DickeyPARIS—There is no longer any question that the Saudi government was behind the savage murder of dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. A meticulous report from the United Nations on Wednesday made that absolutely clear, once again. The details are grisly, transcribed from bugged conversations in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was murdered and chopped up for disposal on Oct. 2. Minutes before the journalist arrived to pick up papers for a civil marriage, Dr. Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, a forensic scientist with the Saudi interior ministry, is heard explaining to the head of the hit team how they’ll get rid of the heavy-set Khashoggi, referred to as “the sacrificial animal.” “Joints will be separated. It is not a problem,” says the doctor. “If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.” But there was nothing in the U.N. report that Donald Trump did not know long ago from U.S. intelligence agencies that had access to the same recordings and transcripts. And it’s clear Trump won’t do a damn thing about it beyond some toothless sanctions against a handful of alleged Saudi murderers not including the allegedly complicit Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Over 1,000 people reported falling ill while staying in the Dominican Republic on a popular food-safety site as reports of mysterious tourist deaths and rampant sickness plague the Caribbean islandBy Áine CainThe sickness came at Melissa Goldberg like a tidal wave. She hadn't felt quite right since her stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, a bastion of resorts in the Dominican Republic. But during her first night back in the US, she awoke feeling severely nauseated. "I couldn't even text anybody in my house to say, 'I'm sick. Come help me,'" Goldberg told Business Insider. "That's how bad it was. Vomit was just everywhere. I slept in it. I just accepted my fate." Business Insider spoke with five Americans who said they fell ill while visiting the Dominican Republic recently. They all reported their experience on IWasPoisoned.com after an explosion in media coverage of tourist deaths and illnesses in the Dominican Republic. And they're not alone. Patrick Quade, the founder of IWasPoisoned.com, said he has seen an unprecedented spike in "highly unusual data" concerning Punta Cana resorts this year. At this point, IWasPoisoned.com has received 1,600 reports of suspected poisonings in the Dominican Republic in 2019. That's up from 10 reports in 2018.
By Steven Jiang, CNNBeijing (CNN) - Interpol's former president Meng Hongwei, who dramatically vanished into police custody after returning to China in 2018, has admitted to corruption charges in a court in Tianjin, Chinese state media reported Thursday. Meng, who was also China's vice minister of public security, was accused of accepting more than $2 million (14.46 million yuan) from businesses and individuals from 2005 to 2017, according to state media outlets Xinhua and People's Daily. In Meng's closing remarks, after arguments from both sides were heard, he "admitted his crimes and expressed repentance," state media reported. The court's verdict and Meng's sentencing will be announced at a later date. Meng disappeared after he left Interpol headquarters in France and took a flight back to China in late September 2018. His wife, Grace, said at the time that the last contact she received from him was a text message saying to wait for his call, followed minutes later by a knife emoji.
The war drums get louder after Iran announces that it will exceed the uranium stockpile limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal.By Elham KhatamiAs the Trump administration works to drum up support for military action against Iran, many GOP lawmakers and mainstream media outlets have predictably and conveniently fallen in line, accepting the narrative that the country is hell-bent on building nuclear weapons and destroying the Middle East. Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since the Trump administration blamed Iran for an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, mere hours after the investigation into the attack began. In the days that followed, the United States has presented little evidence — beyond images, mine fragments, and a magnet — to prove Iran’s alleged role in the attack. The U.S. Navy, for its part, has stopped short of directly blaming Iran, which denies responsibility for the attacks. Last Friday, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation into the matter, adding that “it is very important to know the truth.” Despite the lack of clarity, media outlets like CBS News, FOX Business, The Hill, and BBC News parroted Trump administration claims that “Iran did do it” with little context.
By Rob Picheta, CNNIranian forces have shot down a United States military drone today, a move that could escalate an already tense relationship between the two countries.
Three people were reported wounded in the blast near the southern city of Basra.By ReutersBASRA, Iraq — A rocket landed at a residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including U.S. giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq's southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three Iraqi workers, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. It came after two separate attacks in as many days on bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq, as tension increases between the United States and Iran. The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, police said. The United States evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy last month, citing unspecified threats from Iran against U.S. interests in neighboring Iraq, where Tehran supports some Shi'ite militias. Wednesday's incident came just as Exxon staff who were also evacuated after the diplomats' departure had begun to return to Basra.
By Bianca Britton, CNN(CNN) - Four people will be charged with murder and causing the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, five years after the plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine killing 298 people, international investigators said Wednesday. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said it would issue national and international arrest warrants Wednesday for the four suspects. Three Russians, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, were named, along with Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. According to investigators, Girkin is a former colonel of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), Dubinskiy was employed by Russia's military intelligence agency GRU and Pulatov was a former soldier of the Russian special forces, Spetsnaz-GRU. Ukraine's Kharchenko had no military background, but is believed to have led a combat unit in Donetsk in July 2014.
By Nick Cumming-BruceGENEVA — Saudi Arabia is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate last year, and there is “credible evidence” justifying an investigation into the role of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, a United Nations expert said in a report released on Wednesday. The expert, Agnes Callamard, also said that the United Nations secretary general should establish an international criminal investigation to ensure accountability for the crime. “There is credible evidence warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s,” Ms. Callamard said in a 100-page report, issued after a five-month investigation. Prince Mohammed, the day-to-day ruler of Saudi Arabia, was already widely suspected of having ordered the killing, a conclusion reached by Western intelligence agencies. But the report by Ms. Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the United Nations human rights agency, is the most complete set of findings yet made public on the death of Mr. Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi writer who lived in the United States.
The president responded to reports that Kim Jong Un’s brother had been an American asset by reassuring the strongman he would not allow such spying in the future.By David A. Graham Staff writer at The AtlanticFor the second time in two weeks, President Donald Trump interrupted a busy schedule of trashing Joe Biden to say nice things about the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But Trump’s decision, during remarks in Japan in May, to side with Kim over Biden was a brazen but unsurprising violation of the tradition that “politics ends at the water’s edge,” whereas his comments today were far more baffling. Two accounts, a new book by the Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield and a Wall Street Journal story, report that Kim’s brother Kim Jong Nam was a CIA informant. Kim Jong Nam was killed in a shocking chemical-weapons attack in the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Trump was asked about the revelation as he left the White House for a trip to Iowa, and his answer was jarring. “I see that, and I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un,” Trump said. “I think the relationship is very well, but I appreciated the letter. I saw the information about the CIA with regard to his brother or half brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices. I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un.” The first surprising thing here is that Trump gave no sign of having been aware of the story prior to the Journal report. He did not, however, dispute its accuracy. Given how personally involved the president has been in negotiations with North Korea, if the report is indeed accurate, it is hard to imagine he would have been in the dark. Perhaps Trump is simply playing dumb, though he doesn’t typically have much of a poker face.
CNNDrone footage shows mass protests in the streets of Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill as protesters call for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign. Beijing says Lam still has their full support. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
By Adam BienkovLONDON — Boris Johnson once called for Scottish people to be blocked from becoming prime minister because "government by a Scot is just not conceivable." Johnson, the strong favourite to be Britain's next prime minister, also authorised publication of a poem describing Scottish people as vermin who should be exterminated. Writing in the Spectator in 2005, Johnson said that it would be "utterly outrageous" if the then Chancellor Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister on the grounds that he is Scottish. "The Labour machine will try, at some point in the next few years, to insert Gordon Brown," Johnson wrote, in comments unearthed by the Scotsman newspaper on Monday. "That would be utterly outrageous, not just because he is a gloomadon-popping, interfering, high-taxing complicator of life, but mainly because he is a Scot, and government by a Scot is just not conceivable in the current constitutional context." Johnson claimed that Brown was "not really interested in British values" but instead in "his personal political disability as a Scottish MP."
By Scott NeumanWithin days Iran will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium under a 2015 nuclear deal, according to a spokesman for the country's atomic energy agency, who also said Tehran would increase uranium enrichment levels in violation of the agreement, "based on the country's needs." The remarks come amid increased tension between the U.S. and Iran, particularly after last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement. Under the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the U.S. withdrew from a year ago, Iran can keep no more than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched no higher than 3.67% — far below the 90% level considered suitable for building nuclear weapons. At a news conference at the Arak Nuclear Complex that was carried live Monday on Iranian television, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that stockpile limit could be exceeded within 10 days. We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit," Kamalvandi said. He added that his country needs uranium enriched to 5% for its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, built in the 1990s with Russian help and uranium of 20% purity to be used as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which the U.S. supplied to Iran in 1967. Although not weapons-grade, 20% purity is generally considered "highly enriched" uranium, and as The Associated Press notes, "going from 20% to 90% is a relatively quicker process, something that worries nuclear nonproliferation experts." Even so, Kamalvandi held out the possibility that "there is still time ... if European countries act."
By Daniel PolitiWashington is intensifying its campaign to install malware in Russia’s power grid in an illustration of how the administration is getting more aggressive as the cyber war between the two countries intensifies. In a bombshell report released Saturday afternoon, the New York Times reveals the United States is stepping up its digital attacks on Russia’s electric grid. The move is seen as part warning to President Vladimir Putin and part a readiness effort to be ready to carry out a significant cyberstrike if a conflict breaks out. The stepped up incursion into Russia’s power grid is part of the broader response to Moscow’s efforts to affect the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections and comes after many within the administration had been calling for more aggressive action despite the “risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.” And officials say the difference is noticeable. “It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” a senior intelligence official told the Times. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
By Jamie Ehrlich, CNNWashington (CNN) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the United States is "considering a full range of options" regarding rising tensions with Iran, including military options, but emphasized that President Donald Trump has said that he does not want to go to war. "The United States is considering a full range of options. We have briefed the President a couple of times, we'll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set," Pompeo said in an interview on CBS "Face the Nation." When asked if a military response was included in that set of actions, Pompeo responded, "Of course." "The President will consider everything we need to do to make sure, right? But what's the President said? We don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon," Pompeo added. "President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn't want to go to war." Pompeo's comments come as tensions are rising in the waterways of the Middle East, where two tankers -- one carrying oil and the other transporting chemicals -- were attacked near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route that has been the focal point of regional tensions for decades. Roughly 30% of the world's sea-borne crude oil passes through the strategic choke point, making it a flashpoint for political and economic friction. Iran has categorically denied the attacks. The United States has blamed Iran for the attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, releasing video footage that it claims shows an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels' hulls.
She has been the face of large Hong Kong protests against a controversial extradition bill. But the young woman, who came to be known as "Shield Girl", tells the BBC that she will fight on despite the bill's indefinite suspension. Darkness had fallen. Crowds were thinning. A lone girl, in a meditative pose, defiantly sat in front of a row of riot police. It has become an iconic image from the Hong Kong demonstrations. "Bravery in the face of brutality. Beautiful," wrote an observer on Twitter. Her name is Lam Ka Lo. The 26-year-old came to the Admiralty district by herself, where the government headquarters are located, on Tuesday night, hours ahead of a rally organised by Civil Human Rights Front. There were hundreds of protesters with her at that spot, but more and more police officers in full riot gear arrived. "No one really dared to stand so close to the line of police officers," she said, adding that she did not fear police but worried that other protesters might be injured. She started meditating and chanting the Om mantra when tension was running high. "I just wanted to send my positive vibes," she said. "But protesters also hurled insults at the police. At that moment, I just wanted fellow protesters to sit next to me and not to chide them."
By Jesse ByrnesMexico's government on Friday released a copy of a letter that President Trump touted in front of cameras earlier this week in teasing additional details of a deal reached with the country to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the U.S. The letter, first published by the Mexican newspaper Reforma, states that the U.S. and Mexico "will immediately begin discussions to establish definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee claims of migrants." The document, signed and dated June 7, states that under such an agreement both countries would commit to "accept the return and process refugee status claims, of third-party nationals who have crossed that party's territory to arrive at a port of entry or between ports of entry of the other party." It adds that if the U.S. determines after 45 days from the joint declaration reached last week that the measures adopted by Mexico "have not sufficiently achieved results in addressing the flow of migrants to the southern border" then Mexico will take steps to bring the agreement into force within another 45 days. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's top diplomat, presented the document to the Mexican Senate on Friday and said there was no other agreement from the negotiations with the U.S., Reforma reported. Ebrard has said the two sides will reassess the migrant situation after 45 days and again after 90 days.
Rouhani says he needs to see 'positive signals' from other signatories, or Iran will further scale back its compliance. Iran will continue scaling back compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal unless other signatories show "positive signals", the Iranian president told a meeting of Russian, Chinese and other Asian leaders in Tajikistan. Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in a 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and tightened sanctions. Tehran said in May that Iran would start enriching uranium at a higher level unless world powers protected its economy from US sanctions within 60 days. "Obviously, Iran cannot stick to this agreement unilaterally," President Hassan Rouhani told the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. "It is necessary that all the sides of this agreement contribute to restoring it," he said, adding that Iran needed to see "positive signals" from other signatories to the pact, which include Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. He did not give details on what actions Iran would take or say what positive signals Tehran wanted to see. France and other European signatories to the deal, which aimed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, have said they wanted to save it, but many of their companies have cancelled deals with Tehran under financial pressure from the US. Western powers have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies, saying it wants nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
By Amanda MaciasWASHINGTON – The Japanese owner of one of the oil tankers attacked near Iran on Thursday said that the vessel was struck by a projectile and not by a mine, which is what U.S. officials assessed as the source of the blast. “We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo said at a press conference Friday. “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline. On Thursday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous had an “unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion.” The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. President Donald Trump said Friday that if Iran were to block the Strait of Hormuz, “it’s not going to be closed for long,” but did not elaborate on what potential steps the U.S. would take in response. “They’re not going to be closing [the strait],” Trump reiterated during a telephone interview on “Fox & Friends.” Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the strait in response to a U.S. decision to end waivers on reimposed sanctions for companies that export oil from Iran. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point. It’s a gateway for almost a third of all seaborne crude oil.
By Kumail JafferOIL tankers sailing from Saudi Arabia have reportedly been hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman as tensions continued to rise between Iran and the Gulf States – heightening the possibility of regional conflict in the Middle East. The US says they aren't ruling out blaming Iran for the attack that deliberately hit two oil tankers. Iran’s official news agency IRNA said that 44 sailors on the affected ships have now been rescued by the Iranian navy – intensifying the mystery over who carried out the offence, while Defence Minister Javad Zarif dismissed the attacks as "suspicious". The attack comes a week after the UAE appeared to blame Iran for attacking four more vessels in the same sea. One Norwegian ship – Front Altair – was confirmed to be both adrift and on fire, according to a maritime intelligence firm, while the other, Kokuka Courageous, was also damaged. The Chief of the Saudi Arabia-founded Arab League said: "Some parties in the region are trying to instigate fires" – and that the UN Security Council should act immediately. The UK Government echoed the Royal Navy-linked United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations' call for extreme caution as the investigation continues. A spokeswoman said: "We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Strait of Hormuz."
By Paul BaldwinDONALD TRUMP’S USA boasts the most powerful armies the world has ever seen – but today military experts warned they would NEVER beat Iran in a military conflict even as the possibility of a hot war between Iran and the USA increased as British and US servicemen raced to the aid of two oil-tankers attacked off the Iranian coast in the Gulf of Oman. Military threats and sabre-rattling rhetoric have littered dialogue between the two nations in recent months with Iran’s foreign minister warning the US just hours ago it “cannot expect to stay safe” while Donald Trump counter-warned any conflict would be “the end of Iran”. But military experts on both sides of the potential conflict know that despite a massive firepower advantage a USA victory is far from certain, especially accordng to one former ranking US Air Force strategist who now lives on the Straits of Hormuz.
Analysis by Nick Paton Walsh, CNN(CNN) - As the plumes rise from a brazen attack in the Gulf of Oman, oil brokers and diplomats are panicking about another lurch toward confrontation In the Middle East. What happened is fairly clear -- two tankers were struck as they sailed through this busy and strategic shipping lane -- but why it happened and who did it is a lot less easy to explain, not least because it doesn't appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region. The Japanese owned Kokuka Corageous tanker briefly caught fire when it was twice attacked with "some kind of shell," its owner said. One of its 21-strong Filipino crew was injured. The crew of the Bermuda-based Front Altair all escaped unharmed when it too was hit by a blast. The Fifth Fleet's USS Bainbridge was nearby and responded to a distress call received at 6.12 am local time and then another 48 minutes later. It picked up 21 sailors from the Kokuka and is getting a wider view of the scene from a P8 Navy surveillance aircraft. With the rescue operation over, questions have turned to why anyone would do this. That's not as not as straightforward to answer as it looks. Inevitably, similarities have been drawn between Thursday's attacks and events a month ago, when four ships were targeted near the Emirati port of Furajah. For that, officials in Washington and beyond pointed the finger at Iran. But Thursday's incident is significantly more blatant. Yet the same officials will doubtless blame Tehran again. If and when that happens, we should remember US National Security Advisor John Bolton promised to present evidence to the UN Security Council backing up those previous claims, but has yet to do so.
Matt NovakRT has published leaked footage from inside the prison where Julian Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012. And hilariously RT, a Russian propaganda outlet financed by the Kremlin, claims that news outlets and internet users aren’t allowed to embed the video, despite the fact that RT has posted it on both YouTube and Twitter. Assange can be seen in the leaked video walking around what is presumed to be his living quarters in Belmarsh Prison in southern London. The video also shows the WikiLeaks founder talking, smiling, and even laughing with other inmates, which seems to go against the narrative that Assange is quite ill, as his lawyers have recently claimed. Swedish defense lawyer, Per Samuelson, even said a couple of weeks ago that Assange was so ill, “it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.” And while it’s entirely possible that he was very ill at the time, he certainly looks better now. The video shows Assange washing dishes, leaning against a foosball table, and seeming to have a pretty relaxed time in the maximum security facility. There’s also footage of what looks like Assange’s bed, lots of books, newspapers, cups, and TV or computer monitor.
Rob Schmitz, Bobby AllynHundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in a show of defiance against a government proposal that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face charges. Police said the crowd was about 240,000 people, but organizers estimated more than 1 million turned out. Protesters carrying banners and signs objecting to the government-backed legislation marched and chanted "no extradition" through the city center. Many of the marchers wore white, a symbol of justice and mourning in Chinese culture. The crowds were so massive that droves of protesters found themselves marooned in subway stations.
By Jack BeresfordTHEY ENJOYED a warm welcome during their tour around the pubs of Doonbeg, but Eric and Donald Trump Jr may have forgotten one important detail from their epic bar crawl – the bill. Donald Trump’s sons poses for pictures and pulled pints during a memorable night for the Co Clare town that left more than a few with sore heads the next day. Caroline Kennedy, the owner of Igoe bar and restaurant, was full of praise of Eric and Donald Jr. She told the Irish Mirror: "They were so lovely and down to earth and gave a great hello to everyone. I said, ‘Come on lads you have to come in and pull a drink’ so they did." "They were so nice, they came into the restaurant and the local priest Fr Haugh presented them with a picture of the two castles of Doonbeg. "They thanked everyone for their support and for coming out to meet them and said there was a drink for everyone in the house and it was their small gesture." Unfortunately, when it came time to footing the bill, things hit a slight snag with neither of the brothers carrying any cash.
By Michael D. Shear and Maggie HabermanWASHINGTON — The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said. The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas. And over the past week, negotiators failed to persuade Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty that would have given the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.
By Justin CarissimoA fifth suspect is in custody in connection with a homophobic attack on a lesbian couple in London. Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner, 29-year-old Chris, were travelling on a city bus where they were assaulted by a group of teens last month after they allegedly refused to kiss each other on demand. In an interview with BBC News, Chris said won't be afraid to show affection in public moving forward. "I am not scared about being visibly queer. If anything, you should do it more. There are a lot of people's rights at risk and people's basic safety is at risk," she said. "I want people to take away that they should stand up for themselves," she said.
By John BowdenIranian officials took aim at the Trump administration on Saturday following new U.S. sanctions targeting the country's Revolutionary Guard. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi argued the new sanctions showed that an invitation from President Trump earlier this month for Tehran to join the U.S. at the negotiating table was "hollow," Reuters reported. “It was only necessary to wait one week until the claim of the president of America about talks with Iran were proven to be hollow,” Mousavi said, according to the news service. “The American policy of maximum pressure is a defeated policy.” The remarks came a day after the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions targeting Iran's largest petrochemical company, saying it had given financial support to the country's Revolution Guard Corps. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have remained heightened recently, following the deployment of U.S. forces to the Middle East and what a top U.S. commander said this week were ongoing threats from Iranian-backed forces in the area. "It is my assessment that this has caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I'm not sure they are strategically backing down," U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters Thursday, calling the threat "imminent."
By Brad Lendon, Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN(CNN) - The United States and Russian navies are at odds over an apparent near collision in the Pacific Friday with each side blaming the other.The US and Russian warships came somewhere between 50 feet and 165 feet of each other, according to the two opposing reports, with both sides alleging their ships were forced to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid a collision, which can be seen in video and a picture of the event obtained by CNN. This latest incident comes just days after the US Navy accused Russia of intercepting a US aircraft and amid tensions with Moscow on a wide range of geopolitical issues. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian Vladimir Putin in the resort town of Sochi, where he warned Russia about interfering in US elections, taking a tougher public line than President Donald Trump on the issue. "A Russian destroyer .... made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville, closing to 50-100 feet, putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk," US Navy spokesman Cmdr. Clayton Doss told CNN in a statement. "This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision," Doss said. The US guided-missile cruiser was traveling in a straight line and trying to recover its helicopter when the incident occurred, he said. "We consider Russia's actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional," Doss said. The US account was contradicted by Russia's Pacific Fleet, which claimed it was the US ship that instigated the incident, according to comments carried by the state-run RIA-Novosti news agency. CNN obtained the video and picture of the event after a US official told CNN earlier that the Navy was working to declassify images to dispute the Russian narrative that the US was at fault. Two navy officials tell CNN the Russian wake in the photo could only come from a steep turn that has to be executed at high speed.
Analysis by Nathan Hodge, CNNSt. Petersburg, Russia (CNN) - Among the world leaders who joined Queen Elizabeth II and other heads of state to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one was conspicuously absent: Russian President Vladimir Putin. At first glance, that makes sense: The Soviet Union did not take part in Operation Overlord, the massive amphibious invasion that laid the groundwork for the liberation of western Europe in World War II. But Putin has attended in the past. In 2014, he attended the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Allied landings. Asked on Thursday why he was not invited, Putin dismissed the suggestion that he was deliberately snubbed. "As to whether I was invited or not, we also do not invite everyone to every event," Putin said. "Why do I have to be invited everywhere to some event? Am I a wedding general, or what? I have enough of my own business. This is not a problem at all." But Putin also used the question to draw attention to a longstanding Russian grievance: The perception that the Soviet population's massive sacrifices in World War II have been somehow overlooked in the West. "As for the opening of the Second Front, I draw your attention to the fact that this is the Second Front," Putin said, referring to the Normandy landings. "The first was with us. If you count the number of divisions, the strength of the Wehrmacht [the German army] who fought against Soviet troops on the Eastern Front, and the number of troops and equipment that fought on the Western Front from 1944 on, then everything will be clear."
Guardian NewsJeremy Corbyn has condemned Donald Trump for his attack on the Labour mayor of London Sadiq Khan, adding that he is very proud to have a Muslim as a mayor of London. Speaking at an anti-Trump demonstration in Whitehall, the Labour leader added that he would never accept a trade deal that ended up with the NHS being up for sale.
By Lowenna WaterLed By Donkeys have done it again, but this time they've branched out to attack Boris Johnson, and his previous less than flattering comments about president Donald Trump. The anti-Brexit campaigners have targetted Johnson during Trump's three-day state visit to the United Kingdom, by projecting his comments about the president of the United States directly onto Big Ben. These days, the two politicians have nothing but praise for one another. In an interview with The Sun prior to his state visit, Trump said he thought Boris would be an 'excellent' choice for leader of the Tory Party, adding: Now, the group have highlighted the hypocrisy of the two politician's amicable relationship, by highlighting comments Johnson made about Mr Trump in 2015, while he was mayor of London. In the less-than-flattering sound bite, Johnson can be heard saying: I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind if you think that's a sensible way to proceed. You clearly can't ban people going to the United States in that way, or indeed any country. And what he is doing is playing the game of the terrorists, and those who seek to divide us. That is exactly the kind of reaction they hope to produce, and I have to say when Donald Trump says there are parts of London that are no go areas, I think he's betraying a quite stupifying ignorance, that makes him quite frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. I would invite him to come and see the whole of London, and take him round the city, except that I wouldn't want to expose Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump. Ouch, well, that's pretty awkward, isn't it, Boris? How're you going to explain that one away?
By Guy DaviesMass protests have been planned for President Donald Trump’s upcoming state visit to the U.K., just a year after the giant ‘Trump Baby’ blimp sparked controversy in London. Organizers of the protests from the "Together Against Trump" organization told ABC News that protests are planned at Buckingham Palace on Monday, when the president will be attending a state banquet with the Queen, and on Tuesday, when he will be visiting Prime Minister Theresa May. The protest at Buckingham Palace is expected to be a small event, with only 66 people so far registered as "attending" on the Facebook event entitled: Protest at the Palace: Spoil Trump’s Banquet. However, the protest on Tuesday, beginning in London’s historic Trafalgar Square at 11 a.m. local time, is expected to be a much more dramatic affair. Nearly 8,000 people are registered for the Facebook event, while another 33,000 social media users have said they are "interested" as of Sunday morning. A spokesperson from the "Together Against Trump" group told ABC News that they expect protests to take place throughout the country, but that the event in Trafalgar Square is the main event.
By Anna VickerstaffOur balloon is part of a proud history of political satire in the UK that sends a clear, orange, message to Trump and his politics of hate that they are not welcome here. Last year Trump Baby joined 250,000 people on the streets of London with a further 150,000 people around the UK to protest his visit. Upon seeing the balloon, Trump said “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London”. That’s exactly the point. We know Trump isn’t a joke – he is responsible for rampant xenophobia, sexism and transphobia and the creeping rise of far right politics. His climate denial and persistent facilitation of the fossil fuel industry is a death sentence for communities in the global south. But if flying a balloon caricature is what gets under his skin – then that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t respond to reason, to facts or to science. What he does respond to is humiliation. Our balloon is part of a proud history of political satire in the UK that sends a clear, orange, message to Trump and his politics of hate that they are not welcome here. Some people have asked whether a personal attack on Trump is fair. The same question that was posed after Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage were doused in milkshakes during their recent European election campaigns.
By Courtney Han, Alexander Mallin, Andmorgan WinsorA huge blimp with straw-blond hair, an orange-hued face and out-of-proportion hands that is intended to depict President Donald Trump as a baby took flight near Britain's Parliament in London for a couple hours Friday morning. Crowds of protesters accompanied the giant balloon, with signs railing against the U.S. president's policies on immigration, race relations, women, climate change and more. Thousands more protesters had taken to the streets of central London by Friday afternoon, carrying countless placards and banners that read "Together Against Trump," "Trump Not Welcome," "Dump Trump," "Resist Trump" and "Make Love Not Walls." Many other signs were ridden with profanity against Trump, who arrived in London on Thursday with his wife, Melania, for their first official visit to the United Kingdom. "This is what people need to be doing -- to come together in their communities to organize and work out how to stand against right-wing populism and xenophobia that we’re seeing not just in the U.S. but in Europe," Kevin Smith, one of the 16 people behind the Trump balloon, told The Associated Press on Friday. Smith is part of the Stop Trump Coalition, which organized the series of demonstrations. The group describes itself as a "coalition of organizations and individuals joined forces to protest against Donald Trump’s planned visit to the U.K."
India's PM Modi makes major cabinet changes for second term: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been sworn in for a second term after his ruling BJP secured a landslide election victory this month. People across India are hoping he can deliver rapid economic change as the country struggles with high unemployment. Al Jazeera's Katia Lopez Hoda-Yan reports.
Hundreds of Jews enter the holy site on Israel's Jerusalem Day as Israeli police allow access during the end of Ramadan. Israeli forces have entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound along with hundreds of Jews whom they allowed to access the compound on Jerusalem Day - when Israelis celebrate the anniversary of their occupation of East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli forces fired tear gas and detained a number of Palestinians on Sunday who were attending prayers after protests erupted in the mosque compound following an announcement that Jews would enter the holy site. It was the first time in about 30 years that Jews were allowed into the site during the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan, which coincided this year with the Israeli national holiday commemorating control over the city. Earlier in the morning, Israeli police had deployed hundreds of their forces around the mosque compound and across the city as hundreds of Jews waited at the compound gates to enter.
In rare remarks about 1989 unrest, Chinese defence minister says government actions were justified for stability.China has defended a bloody crackdown on protesters around Beijing's Tiananmen Square 30 years ago as the "correct policy", in a rare acknowledgement of the heavily censored events. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, called the seven weeks of protests by students and workers demanding democratic changes and the eradication of corruption in 1989, political "turbulence". Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the June 4 government crackdown when Chinese tanks moved into the area and soldiers opened fire killing demonstrators as well as onlookers in and around Tiananmen Square. Rights groups and witnesses say hundreds or even thousands may have been killed, but the government has kept a lid on what really happened and the number of dead. "Everybody is concerned about Tiananmen after 30 years," Wei said on Sunday. "Throughout the 30 years, China under the Communist Party has undergone many changes - do you think the government was wrong with the handling of June fourth? There was a conclusion to that incident. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence."
Syria's state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week. By ReutersJERUSALEM — The Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets on Sunday after rockets were fired at the Golan Heights, and Syria's state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week. Syrian television reported big explosions near Damascus before dawn and said air defenses had "confronted the enemy." The Israeli military said it struck Syrian artillery and aerial defense batteries in retaliation for Saturday's firing of two rockets at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. An Israeli military spokeswoman said it was still unclear who had fired the rockets, but the Syrian army was held responsible for any attack launched from Syrian territory. "We will not tolerate any firing into our territory and we will respond with great force to any aggression against us," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. On Monday, Israel’s military said it attacked a Syrian anti-aircraft position that had fired on one of its warplanes, and Syrian state media said a soldier had been killed in the incident.
London mayor hits out at US president before his state visit to BritainThe mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has compared the language used by Donald Trump to rally his supporters to that of “the fascists of the 20th century” in an explosive intervention before the US president’s state visit to London that begins on Monday. Writing in the Observer, Khan condemned the red-carpet treatment being afforded to Trump who, with his wife Melania, will be a guest of the Queen during his three-day stay, which is expected to provoke massive protests in the capital on Tuesday. Khan said: “President Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years. “Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but with new sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.”
By Tony CzuczkaChina targeted FedEx Corp. in its escalating trade war with the U.S., giving a hint of which foreign companies it may blacklist as “unreliable.” With Chinese officials due to announce their position on trade talks with the U.S. on Sunday, the investigation into FedEx’s “wrongful delivery of packages” was framed as a warning by Beijing after the Trump administration imposed a ban on business with telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. The latest salvo signals there’s no detente in sight in the struggle between the world’s two biggest economies at a time when trade talks have broken down. Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports kicked in Saturday in Beijing, affecting more than 2,400 goods that face levies of as much as 25% compared with 10% previously. FedEx apologized this week for delivery errors on Huawei packages following reports that parcels were returned to senders, and China’s biggest tech company said it’s reviewing its relationship with the U.S. delivery service. Two packages containing documents being shipped to the company in China from Japan were diverted to the U.S. without authorization, Reuters reported.
By Gordon G. ChangWhether Kim Hyok Chol and four others are dead or alive, Trump can no longer claim Kim Jong Un will negotiate with Washington in good faith. So far, the most important conclusion we can draw from reports North Korea’s senior nuclear negotiator and four foreign ministry officials were executed in March is this: Kim Jong Un is not the reliable, trustworthy negotiator President Trump has made him out to be. According to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, a senior aide to leader Kim Jong Un was “sent to a labor and reeducation camp,” and two lower-level officials were imprisoned. The detention of aide Kim Yong Chol, who led Pyonyang’s outreach to Washington for two Trump-Kim summits, had been known for more than a month, but many are questioning whether Kim Hyok Chol, the nuclear negotiator, was in fact put to death by a firing squad at an airport in the North. Whatever the accuracy of the Chosun Ilbo reporting—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said he was looking into the matter—there is evidence of severe turmoil in Pyongyang political circles, and it appears Kim Jong Un’s grip on power has been weakening in recent months. This increasingly evident turmoil undercuts the notion, advanced by Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, that Kim can negotiate in good faith on a range of issues from denuclearization to inter-Korean reconciliation.
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