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World Monthly Headline News September 2019 Page 2


By Jason Lemon
Iran has dismissed accusations by the U.S. that it was behind coordinated strikes on Saudi Arabia's oil fields, saying that this assessment was a "maximum falsification" that "ignored" logic. "In international relations, even 'hostility' [should have] a minimum degree of credibility and logical frameworks, but the U.S. officials have ignored even such minimum principles," Abbas Mousavi, a spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, said in a Sunday statement, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency. "Such [American] comments and measures are more akin to the plots hatched by secret and intelligence services for damaging the image of a state to prepare the ground for a series of [hostile] measures in [the] future," he continued. Mousavi argued that President Donald Trump's administration's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran has become one of "maximum falsification in the wake of failures." The Houthis, which are backed by Iran and control a large portion of Yemen, on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil fields. The Middle Eastern kingdom is one of the leading producers of oil globally, producing about 10 percent of the world's daily supply. According to Saudi officials, nearly half of its oil supply, or 5 percent of the global oil supply, was disrupted by the drone attacks. Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2015, with the Houthis fighting against a Saudi-led coalition backing the country's deposed government. The U.S. provides military support to the alliance, despite bipartisan efforts by Congress – which have been blocked by Trump – to cut off the assistance. Coalition strikes have been blamed for large numbers of civilian casualties in Yemen as well as humanitarian crises, leading to international condemnation. Responding to the attack on Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed the blame squarely on Iran. "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," Pompeo wrote on Twitter. more...   

By Natasha Turak
DUBAI ⁠— Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell by 2.3% at Sunday’s open as the country grappled with weekend drone attacks on the heart of its oil production facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Reports that the country may take weeks to return to full oil supply capacity is set to send crude futures up by as much as $10 per barrel, analysts say, depending on the scale of the damage. Half the country’s oil production was halted due to fire damage and an assessment of the situation is due on Monday, Saudi energy ministry officials said. They have not yet offered a timeline on full production restoration. “A small $2-$3 premium would emerge if the damage appears to be an issue that can be resolved quickly, and $10 if the damage to Aramco’s facilities is significant leasing to prolonged supply outages,” Ayham Kamel, practice head for the Middle East and North Africa at Eurasia group, said in a research note Sunday. That’s up to 25 cents higher per gallon of gasoline. Abqaiq, in the kingdom’s eastern province, is the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilization plant with a processing capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd). Khurais is the second largest oil field in the country with a capacity to pump around 1.5 million bpd. Saturday’s attack is the biggest on Saudi oil infrastructure since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, when the Iraqi military fired scud missiles into the kingdom. “Oil prices will surely spike on the news of the attacks when markets open on Sunday,” Joseph McMonigle, an energy analyst at Hedgeye Research and former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, wrote in a client note. “In our view, there is almost no geopolitical risk priced into oil markets that are focused solely on the macro and trade narratives.” If the Saudis maintain closure of half its production, it would impact nearly 5 million barrels of crude production a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily oil production. In August, Saudi Arabia produced 9.85 million bpd, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said no one was hurt in the attacks and emergency crews have contained the fires and brought the situation under control. more...

By Carmin Chappell
Saudi Aramco is aiming to restore by Monday about a third of its crude output that was disrupted after drone attacks on two key oil facilities, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing Saudi officials familiar with the matter. The drone strikes on facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais eliminated 5.7 million barrels of production over the weekend. Officials believe that they can restore 2 million barrels by the end of the day Monday, contrary to earlier claims that full production would resume early this week. Aramco, the national oil company, has determined that its facilities were hit by missiles, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. A U.S. government assessment determined that up to 15 structures at Abqaiq were damaged. Experts said that the strikes could cause oil prices to rise up to $10 per barrel, which could cause as much as a 25 cent per gallon rise in gasoline prices. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled 0.4% lower at $54.85 on Friday, and Brent crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $60.25 per barrel. more...

By Sarah Westwood, CNN
(CNN) - White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that President Donald Trump has "many options on the table" in terms of what he could do to respond to what his administration has described as Iran's role in a crippling strike on Saudi Arabia's oil production this weekend.
Conway, in keeping with the Trump administration's policy of declining to outline possible military responses to provocations, declined to say whether a retaliatory strike on Iranian oil is under consideration. But she did leave open the door to a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next week in New York -- something that was a possibility before the attack in Saudi Arabia. "The President will always consider his options," Conway said on "Fox News Sunday" when asked if Trump would still sit down with Rouhani under current circumstances. "We've never committed to that meeting at the United Nations General Assembly. The President's just said he's looking at it." "When you attack Saudi Arabia ... you're not helping your case much," she added. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday. Drone strikes on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, CNN Business reported earlier Saturday. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran. But preliminary indications are that the attacks did not originate from Yemen and likely originated from Iraq, according to a source with knowledge of the incident. The same official said the damage was caused by an armed drone attack. Conway also downplayed the impact of likely disruptions to the global oil market by pointing to Trump's efforts to develop domestic energy. "This President also through his energy policy, Bill, has made us less dependent on these foreign leaders and bad regimes for our energy supply," she told Fox's Bill Hemmer. "We have energy under our feet and off our shore and this President is leading the way to responsibly develop it." CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said there have been more than 200 drone attacks launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, and none have been as effective as Saturday's attack, lending credence to the belief that the attack did not originate from Yemen. more...

The ongoing unrest is seen as an embarrassment to China, which has accused foreign powers of fomenting the protests.
By Veta Chan, Yuliya Talmazan and Mac William Bishop
HONG KONG — Violence erupted once again in Hong Kong Sunday as thousands of protesters marched through the Chinese territory in defiance of a police ban. Hundreds of protesters targeted a government office complex in the downtown area, throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails through police barriers. Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullet rounds. They also used a water cannon to spray blue-dyed water, in a repeat of confrontational scenes that have marked the last few weeks of the demonstrations. Protests have roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city for months, sparked by a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trial. The bill has since been withdrawn by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, but the protests have continued after morphing into a broader rejection of China's growing influence and its impact on the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. Thirty-four-year-old banker, Jess, who did not want to provide her last name out of fear of prosecution, said the protest movement is now about “fighting for our future.” “If Carrie Lam decided to withdraw [the bill] back in June, maybe the movement would end,” she said. “After all the unreasonable beatings and massive arrests of protesters and citizens, we need to step up to fight against this government. A government who works against its people.” more...    

By CHRISTIAN VASQUEZ
President Donald Trump on Saturday said he discussed a potential mutual defense treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call just days before the Israeli election. "I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump wrote. "I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!" Trump continued. Netanyahu has been exploring a defense alliance with the U.S. for some months now, according to reports, and the issue is seen as a potential boost to his re-election bid. The Israeli elections are scheduled to take place Tuesday. The latest polls show a close race between Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz. It's Israel's second snap election in several months after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition following elections in April. more...  

Former PM vents fury in his memoirs at his old colleagues over their stance on Brexit and compares Leave campaign to racist Tory electioneering in 1964. Boris Johnson is a liar who only backed the Leave campaign to help his career and Michael Gove was a “foam-flecked Faragist” whose “one quality” was disloyalty, David Cameron writes in his memoirs. The former prime minister poured vituperation on both his former colleagues Priti Patel, the current home secretary, and Dominic Cummings, the No 10 adviser, in extracts from the book published on Sunday. In what may be Cameron’s most explosive allegation yet, he effectively accused Boris Johnson of mounting a racist election campaign by focusing on Turkey and its possible accession to the EU. “It didn’t take long to figure out Leave’s obsession,” he writes. “Why focus on a country that wasn’t an EU member? “The answer was that it was a Muslim country, which piqued fears about Islamism, mass migration and the transformation of communities. It was blatant.” Then Cameron echoes the explicitly racist Conservative campaign slogan used in Smethwick in 1964: “They might as well have said: ‘If you want a Muslim for a neighbour, vote “remain”.’” In Smethwick, Peter Griffiths had been elected as Conservative MP on the slogan “If you want a n**** for a neighbour, vote Labour.” Cameron writes that Johnson’s claims of concerns about British sovereignty were “secondary to another concern for Boris: what was the best outcome for him?” Johnson “risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career” and was open to a second referendum after a renegotiation, according to a Sunday Times account of Cameron’s book, For The Record. Cameron is even more acerbic about Gove, who was once his close friend. Writing about Gove’s decision to stand against Johnson for Tory leader, he says: “As for Michael, one quality shone through: disloyalty. Disloyalty to me and, later, disloyalty to Boris.” Their conduct during the EU referendum campaign amounted to “open warfare” and the pair seemed to be different people by the end, Cameron writes. “Both then behaved appallingly, attacking their own government, turning a blind eye to their side’s unpleasant actions and becoming ambassadors for the expert-trashing, truth-twisting age of populism.” He said Patel’s attacks on his government’s immigration record “shocked me most” but he did not want to fire her and create a “Brexit martyr”. Cummings was part of a “cauldron of toxicity” with Nigel Farage, he says. Reaction to Cameron’s memoirs has seen the former PM attacked by Conservatives from all wings of the party. Brexiters were enraged by his suggestion that a second referendum might be necessary and that the Vote Leave campaign lied. But Justine Greening, Cameron’s former international development secretary who now sits as an independent MP, said his decision to hold the EU referendum had proved to be a “horrendous mistake” that turned a Tory obsession into a national issue. more...   

Analysis by Tim Lister, CNN
(CNN) - The attack on the world's largest oil processing plant early Saturday morning is a dramatic escalation in the confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia -- even if the Iranians didn't fire the drones or missiles responsible. Several projectiles struck the Abiqaiq plant, starting a series of fires that quickly took out nearly half Saudi's oil production -- 5% of the global daily output -- and sparking fears about the security of the world's oil supplies. It's unclear when Abiqaiq, which is operated by Saudi giant Aramco, will be fully operational again. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed the attack, saying that 10 drones had targeted Abiqaiq, as well as the Khurais oilfield. But attacks of this scale and accuracy would represent a sudden and remarkable increase in Houthi capabilities, and neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia is buying the claim. The United States swiftly discounted the Houthi claim. Late Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: "Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." And he added: "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." In response Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Pompeo of engaging in deception. He wrote on Twitter: "Having failed at 'max pressure', @SecPompeo's turning to 'max deceit' US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory. Blaming Iran won't end disaster." But where did this attack originate and who was behind it? The Houthis have sent dozens of drones and short-range ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia in the past two years. Many have been intercepted by Saudi air defenses; others have fallen harmlessly. A very few have caused limited damage and casualties. Houthi drones are based on Iranian models, themselves often developed from North Korean technology. They are mostly short-range, up to 186 miles (300 km). However, a UN experts' panel reported in January on the deployment of longer-range drones "that would allow the Houthi forces to strike targets deep into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates." The UN panel said it had information that one had crashed within 18 miles (30 km) of Riyadh. Even so, the maximum range of this system, dubbed the UAV-X, would be between 740 and 930 miles (1,200 and 1,500 km), depending on wind conditions. The distance from Houthi-held parts of Yemen to Abqaiq is about 800 miles (1,300 km). more...    

TWO MONSTER asteroids - one twice the size of London's Shard tower - are currently shooting towards Earth and will pass by our planet this weekend according to NASA’s asteroid monitoring team.
By James Bickerton
One of the rocks is between 950 and 2,100 feet across (290-650m) meaning it is categorised as a ‘medium’ asteroid. NASA are confident neither asteroid will hit Earth. In a statement Lindley Johnson, a NASA planetary defence officer, said: “These asteroids have been well observed—once since 2000 and the other since 2010—and their orbits are very well known. “Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time.” The first asteroid, named 2010 CO1, will pass closest to Earth early Saturday morning. more...   

By Caroline Kelly, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday.
Drone strikes on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, CNN Business reported earlier Saturday. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran. "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo tweeted, referencing Iran's president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," Pompeo continued. "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to quash the Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015. The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran, which has been backing the Houthis. Pompeo also called for other countries to denounce Iran and promised American efforts to help support the energy market. more...  

Guardian News - At least six people have died as a result of record-breaking rain in south-east Spain over the past two days. More than 1,100 military personnel have been deployed to the regions of Murcia and Valencia to help evacuate thousands to safety after cascades of water submerged roads.
Death toll rises as torrential rain and floods batter Spain. more...

By Frederick Kempe
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – If one strains hard enough to listen in the humid heat of this oil-rich kingdom, one can hear the rumblings of the most profound event for global energy markets and the world economy, not only for this year but perhaps for this era: It is the decoupling of the world’s two weightiest economies, that of China and the United States. The process seems as inescapable as its extent and global impact remains incalculable. This week’s news that President Trump was delaying by two weeks a tariff increase on $250 billion of Chinese goods planned for October 1, the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, is unlikely to slow this trend, and neither will China’s responding exemption of pork and soybeans from new tariffs. The most knowing delegates at this year’s World Energy Congress, who met here this week, continued to worry about the US-Chinese trade war. It has slowed growth and placed the biggest drag on oil prices. At the same time, however, they were shifting focus to the more momentous and generational event of decoupling. They saw it in the Liquified Natural Gas contracts that the world’s fastest growing LNG exporter, the United States, wasn’t signing with the world’s fastest growing importer, China. They recognized it in the recent Chinese deal to take an equity stake in Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project taken by China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC). Delegates also heard decoupling in the only four LNG vessels that have sailed from the United States to China this year, according to the US Census Bureau, down from 32 in 2018 and 23 in 2017. LNG has transformed global gas markets dramatically in recent years, driven largely by significant demand in China and the rest of east and southeast Asia. However, in a market where financing is driven by long-term contracts, often even before construction begins, American suppliers are already gauging the potential costs, until recently unanticipated, of lost Chinese buyers. more...   

By John Defterios and Victoria Cavaliere, CNN Business
Abu Dhabi (CNN Business) - Drone strikes on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, people with knowledge of Saudi's oil operations told CNN Business. Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency. Five million barrels per day of crude production have been impacted after fires raged at the sites, one of them the world's largest oil production facility, people with knowledge of the kingdom's operations said. The latest OPEC figures from August 2019 put the total Saudi production at 9.8 million barrels per day. A source told CNN Business that Aramco "hopes to have that capacity restored within days." The Saudi interior ministry confirmed the drone attacks caused fires at the two facilities. In a statement posted on Twitter, the ministry said the fires were under control and that authorities were investigating. "Abqaiq is perhaps the most critical facility in the world for oil supply. Oil prices will jump on this attack," Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said in a statement. more...   

And the years just fly by -- 33 days to orbit its star.
Author: MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — In a tantalizing first, scientists have discovered water at a planet outside our solar system that has temperatures suitable for life. Two research groups announced this week that they've found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo. This so-called Super Earth is just the right distance from its star to conceivably harbor life. It's the only exoplanet known so far to have both water and temperatures needed for life, the University College London team reported in the journal Nature Astronomy on Wednesday. But lead author Angelos Tsiaras stressed, "This is definitely not a second Earth." Its star and atmosphere are so different than ours, "Earth-like conditions are not possible," Tsiaras told reporters. "The only question that we're trying to ask here, and we're pushing forward, is the question of habitability." A Canadian-led team announced similar findings Tuesday. In a paper just submitted to the Astronomical Journal for publication, these scientists suggest it might even be raining there. "This represents the biggest step yet taken toward our ultimate goal of finding life on other planets, of proving that we are not alone," the study's lead astronomer, Bjorn Benneke of the University of Montreal, said in a statement. more...

By Samia Nakhoul, Orhan Coskun, Dominic Evans
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he will discuss buying U.S. Patriot missiles with President Donald Trump this month, saying his personal bond with the U.S. leader could overcome a crisis caused by Ankara buying Russian air defense systems. Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system in July raised the prospect of U.S. sanctions, and the State Department has said an offer to sell Raytheon Co’s Patriot missile defense system to Ankara has expired. However Erdogan told Reuters he had discussed buying Patriots in a phone call with Trump two weeks ago and would follow up when they meet at the U.N. General Assembly, which opens next week. “I said no matter what package of ... S-400s we get, we can buy from you a certain amount of Patriots,” Erdogan told Reuters on Friday. “But I said we have to see conditions that at least match up to the S-400s,” Erdogan said, adding that he was referring to the possibility of joint production and favorable lending terms. “He (Trump) said: ‘Are you serious?’ I said: ‘Yes’,” Erdogan said, adding that he told Trump they would discuss it in greater detail when they meet. Asked whether he would also ask Trump to prevent the U.S. Treasury imposing a heavy fine on Turkey’s mainly state-owned Halkbank for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, Erdogan said he was confident they could avoid such a “mistake”, citing what he said was “a different kind of trust” between the two men. “In my opinion a country like the USA will not want to hurt its ally Turkey any more. This is not a rational behavior,” he said in an interview at the Ottoman Dolmabahce palace complex on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. more...   

ANKARA (Reuters) - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to discuss Israel’s announcement of its intention to annex areas of the West Bank, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Saturday. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the occupied West Bank that Israel captured in 1967 and which Palestinians want as part of a future state. Middle Eastern nations and European powers have expressed alarm at the plan, which Netanyahu said he would implement if he wins a closely contested election next week. Arab foreign ministers also condemned the plan on Tuesday as “aggression” undermining any chances of a peace settlement with the Palestinians. more...  

Guardian News - Drones attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco early on Saturday, the kingdom's interior ministry said, sparking a huge fire at a processor crucial to global energy supplies. It was not clear if there were any injuries in the attacks, nor what effect it would have on oil production in the kingdom. more...   

Al Jazeera English - Drone attacks claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels have caused fires at two major facilities run by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant. Citing an interior ministry spokesperson, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday the blazes at the facilities in Abqaiq - home to the company's largest oil processing plant - and Khurais were under control. The ministry did not identify the source of the attack and said investigations were ongoing. It did not specify if there were any casualties or whether operations at the two facilities had been affected. more...

A team of Taliban negotiators from the militant group's Qatar office is in Moscow for talks with Russian officials, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that peace talks with U.S. officials have collapsed. TASS quotes Mohammad Sohail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban's Qatar office, as saying that the Taliban delegation had met with Russia's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, on September 13. RFE/RL has independently confirmed that the Taliban delegation was in Moscow on September 13. Shaheen was quoted by TASS as saying that the Taliban's talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy had focused on "the recent developments regarding the peace process in Afghanistan." Meanwhile, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) has reported that the Taliban delegation in Moscow was headed by Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of Taliban’s negotiation team in Qatar. It said the delegation also included Shaheen and Qari Din Muhammad Hanif. AIP reported that the Taliban delegation was considering a possible trip to China after it concludes its visit in Moscow, but it said a final decision on going China had not been reached by the Taliban delegates. Moscow has hosted two previous rounds of talks in 2019 between Taliban negotiators and prominent Afghan personalities. more...   

Opposition leader plays down images but analysts say they could prove highly damaging.
Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan politician fighting to topple Nicolás Maduro, is facing awkward questions about his relationship with organised crime after the publication of compromising photographs showing him with two Colombian paramilitaries. In an interview on Friday, Guaidó played down the significance of the pictures, in which he posed alongside two members of the Colombian criminal gang the Rastrojos identified as El Brother and El Menor. The photos appear to have been taken on 22 February as Guaidó used an illegal border crossing to sneak across Venezuela’s western border into Colombia to attend a Live Aid-style concert in the town of Cúcuta. “I took hundreds of photos that day,” Guaidó told the Colombian broadcaster Blu Radio. “It was hard to know who was asking for a photo. Misconstruing these photos means playing the Maduro regime’s game.” more...   

Bloomberg Markets and Finance - Sep.13 -- The London Stock Exchange Group Plc has rejected a takeover proposal from Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. after finding "fundamental flaws" with the offer. Bloomberg's Emma Chandra reports on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas." more...

By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
A supporter of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny said Friday he used a drone to spirit off a sensitive computer hard drive for safe keeping as Russian security services raided his Siberian office. In simultaneous morning raids in 43 cities on Thursday, Russian security services descended on the homes and offices of supporters of Navalny, whose "Smart Voting" movement is credited with drastically reducing the number of pro-Kremlin members of the Moscow city council in local elections on Sunday. More than 200 raids were carried out, from Vladivostok on the Pacific to Krasnodar in Russia’s south, according to Navalny's close allies. Among those raided were Sergei Boyko, who came in second with nearly 20% of the vote in the mayoral election in Russia’s third-largest city of Novosibirsk last Sunday. Boyko on Friday posted video of the raid on YouTube showing him launching a drone purportedly carrying a hard drive with sensitive data about the political movement. The video then shows security police banging on the door and entering his office and apartment. “All the important digital information is on there,” Boyko said in the video. “The evacuation is complete: The drone arrived at its destination, the person caught it ... and no one will get their hands on (the digital contents),” he said later in the video. more...   

By Joshua Keating
After last week’s insanity, Parliament was suspended on Monday thanks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategically dubious “prorogation” maneuver. But the Brexit news can’t stop, won’t stop. This week in court: A Scottish court ruled on Tuesday that Johnson’s five-week suspension of Parliament was unlawful, reversing an earlier decision and setting up an appeal at the high court in London next week. While there’s precedent for the prime minister to suspend Parliament before giving a “Queen’s Speech” to set out the government’s legislative agenda, the judges, ruling on a challenge brought by a group of 70 opposition lawmakers, found that Johnson had acted for the “improper purpose of stymieing Parliament” and that he had effectively misled the queen about his motives. Johnson denied lying to the queen. For now, Parliament remains suspended.  After last week’s insanity, Parliament was suspended on Monday thanks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategically dubious “prorogation” maneuver. But the Brexit news can’t stop, won’t stop. This week in court: A Scottish court ruled on Tuesday that Johnson’s five-week suspension of Parliament was unlawful, reversing an earlier decision and setting up an appeal at the high court in London next week. While there’s precedent for the prime minister to suspend Parliament before giving a “Queen’s Speech” to set out the government’s legislative agenda, the judges, ruling on a challenge brought by a group of 70 opposition lawmakers, found that Johnson had acted for the “improper purpose of stymieing Parliament” and that he had effectively misled the queen about his motives. Johnson denied lying to the queen. For now, Parliament remains suspended. This week in worst-case scenarios: Before leaving, MPs forced the government to release documents featuring “reasonable worst case assumptions” about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the British economy. Some of the projections, prepared as part of a contingency operation called Operation Yellowhammer, had already been reported. The full vision is as ugly as feared. Potential impacts include shortages of some foods and rises in the price of food and fuel, massive delays for truck traffic crossing the English Channel, shortages of some medicines, and the possibility of mass protests or riots. The documents make clear that despite Johnson’s upbeat pronouncements, his government is preparing for a scenario every bit as damaging as those predicted by Brexit’s staunchest critics. This week in Northern Ireland: Johnson this week dismissed reports that he is considering a Northern Ireland–only backstop that would leave the territory under EU rules. For months now, Brexit talks have been frustrated by the Irish border problem: There’s no clear way for Northern Ireland to leave the EU customs union without setting up checkpoints on the border with the Republic of Ireland, something that pretty much everyone considers unacceptable. But leaving Northern Ireland in a so-called all-Ireland zone would mean there would be a de facto economic border between it and the rest of the U.K. That would be unacceptable to Johnson’s coalition partners, the Democratic Unionist Party—a largely Protestant Northern Irish parties that favors closer ties with London. more...   

By ZHOU XIN | SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
China has announced that it will exclude imports of U.S. soybeans, pork and other farm goods from additional trade war tariffs, opening the door for significant purchases of agricultural products. The official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday that China's National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce made the exemption in response to the U.S.’ decision of postpone an increase in the tariff rate on $250 billion of Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15. It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on Thursday of the possibility of an “interim trade deal” over the coming weeks. Beijing will allow Chinese businesses to purchase a “certain amount of farm products such as soybeans and pork” from the United States, according to the Xinhua report. “China’s market is big enough and there’s great potential to import high-quality U.S. farm products.” It added that Chinese authorities hoped that “the U.S. will honour its word and fulfil its promises to create favourable conditions for cooperation for the two countries in the agriculture sector”. Hua Changchun, an economist at Guotai Junan Securities, a brokerage, said Beijing's move has increased the likelihood of a narrow trade deal. “But it's a small deal,” Hua said. “It means that there would be no escalation of tariffs as China has agreed to make more purchases. It could provide a certain level of comfort to U.S. farmers and give Trump something to brag about.” It marks the latest in series of rapid-fire developments this week that suggest a concerted effort by China to push for a partial, or interim, trade deal. It also comes just hours after Reuters reported that private buyers in China bought “at least 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Thursday”, the biggest mass purchase since June. China’s Ministry of Commerce had not responded to a request for confirmation of exactly what the exemption would look like, with Friday being a public holiday in mainland China. However, both pork and soybeans have been subject to heavy duties, imposed during successive rounds of Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods. China has levied three rounds of additional tariffs on U.S. frozen pork, including 25 percent in April 2018, 25 per cent in June 2019 and another 10 per cent in September 2019, bringing the final tariff to 72 per cent. If all the trade war tariffs were removed, the rate would return to 12 per cent, the “most favored nations” duty paid by China’s other trading partners. more...

By Rory Sullivan and Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN
(CNN) — A pair of ancient skeletons, known as the 'Lovers of Modena' because they were buried holding hands, were both men, scientists say.
The skeletons made global headlines when they were uncovered in 2009 in Modena's Ciro Menotti cemetery. Their sex could not be determined because they were badly preserved, but they were widely assumed to be a man and a woman. Researchers from the Universities of Bologna and Modena disproved this assumption by testing proteins in their tooth enamel and finding, in both cases, a peptide present only in men. Their paper was published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The relationship of the pair, who are thought to have been middle-aged men who died between the 4th and 6th centuries AD, is currently unknown. Federico Lugli, researcher at University of Bologna and author of the paper, told the ANSA news agency: "There are currently no other burials of this type. Several tombs have been found in the past with couples holding hands, but in all cases it was a man and a woman."What might have been the bond between the two individuals in the burial in Modena, instead, remains a mystery for now." more...  

A TOP SECRET document has revealed the US was “two or three weeks” from launching full-scale nuclear action against the Soviet Union.
By Callum Hoare
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union in 1962, initiated by the discovery of ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The bitter situation began after Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev fulfilled Cuba’s request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion, in response to the presence of US Jupiter ballistic missiles strategically placed in Italy and Turkey. Many historians believe the face-off was the closest the two superpowers came to World War 3, but documents obtained by Express.co.uk reveal just how close the world came to complete nuclear annihilation. In a series of letters between Washington and London – including direct talks between US President John F Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, lay bare the horrific details. One letter, dated October 26, 1962, came from David Ormsby-Gore – the British ambassador in Washington to his peers in London, revealing discussions between JFK and the former Secretary General of the United Nations – U Thant. more...   

By Lizbeth Diaz, Stefanie Eschenbacher
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican government protested and Central American migrants feared deportation back to their violent homelands on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to slam the door on asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexican border. The court on Wednesday found that Trump’s restrictive asylum rule could go into effect nationwide while a lawsuit challenging its underlying legality proceeds, handing the president a victory as he brandishes his anti-immigration credentials for the November 2020 presidential election. The rule requires immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they travel on the way to the United States, enabling the United States to combat a record surge in Central American asylum-seekers. Trump’s immigration crackdown has animated his base of supporters while immigrant advocates in the United States fear the court decision will endanger the lives of migrants, many of them fleeing poverty, street gangs and domestic violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. With the threat of automatic rejection hanging over the most recent arrivals, thousands of migrants are cramped into shelters or sleeping in the streets of Mexican border cities in places such as the state of Tamaulipas, where the U.S. State Department has placed a “do not travel” advisory due to violent crime similar to its warnings against visiting war-torn Sudan or Syria. One asylum-seeker from El Salvador who staying in a Tijuana shelter while awaiting her immigration hearing in San Diego said she could only hope to God she would not be sent back. more...

HONG KONG (Reuters) - This is a transcript of a talk given in late August by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to a group of businesspeople in the city. The transcript is taken from an audio recording of Lam’s remarks that was obtained by Reuters. Last week, Reuters published most of Lam’s remarks and is now able to publish them in full. People who attended the talk say she spoke for about a half hour. The recording, which runs 24 minutes, captures the bulk of the event. Reuters has redacted the transcript in a few spots to remove names mentioned by Lam and questions asked by the audience. CARRIE LAM: In the last two years, one of the policy areas that I have spent most time in is innovation and technology. Now, I actually personally chair the steering committee. In less than three months’ time, Hong Kong has been turned upside down, and my life has been turned upside down. But this is not the moment for self-pitifulness, although I shared with [name redacted] that nowadays it’s extremely difficult for me to go out. I have not been on the streets, not in the shopping malls, can’t go to a hair salon, can’t do anything because my whereabouts will be spread around the social media, the Telegram, the LIHKG, and you could expect a big crowd of black T-shirts and black-masked young people waiting for me. I’m still brave enough to go and this afternoon, I’m still planning to go if my security guards tell me later on that I can still go. But it’s really, I don’t want to cause disruption, inconvenience to the organizers. But as I said, this is not the time for me to self-pity myself. This is a time I come here, and I do other closed-door sessions from time to time with people from all walks of life, and the two things I said is, it’s not about self-pityness, it’s about making a plea for forgiveness and then appeal for love. I don’t want to spend your time, or waste your time, for you to ask me what went wrong, and why it went wrong. But for a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable. It’s just unforgivable. If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology, is to step down. So I make a plea to you for your forgiveness. more...

During a visit to Russia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called reports of Israeli spying devices near the White House “a complete fabrication.” more...

By Jacob Pramuk
President Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he would consider an interim trade deal with China, even though he would not prefer it. The president told reporters he would like to ink a full agreement with the world’s second largest economy. However, he left the door open to striking a limited deal with Beijing. “If we’re going to do the deal, let’s get it done,” he told reporters as he left for a congressional Republican retreat in Baltimore. “A lot of people are talking about it, I see a lot of analysts are saying an interim deal — meaning we’ll do pieces of it, the easy ones first. But there’s no easy or hard. There’s a deal or there’s not a deal. But it’s something we would consider, I guess.” Trump’s statements add to confusion sparked earlier in the day about what the White House would accept in its ongoing negotiations with China. U.S. stock indexes initially climbed on a report that the Trump administration talked about crafting an interim agreement. A White House official then said the U.S. is “absolutely not” considering such a deal, causing markets to give up some of those gains. Asked to clarify if Trump’s position had changed from earlier in the day, White House spokesman Judd Deere emphasized the president’s comment that he would prefer a complete agreement. Trade negotiators from the world’s two largest economies plan to meet next week as they continue efforts to salvage a trade pact and end a widening conflict. The trade war between the U.S. and China has led to concerns about hurt for U.S. consumer and helped to fuel fears of flagging global economic growth. On Wednesday, Trump said he would hold off on hiking tariff rates on $250 billion in Chinese goods until Oct. 15 instead of Oct. 1. He called it a “gesture of good will” because of “the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary.” As the trade war rages, Trump has downplayed its effects on American consumers and the U.S. economy. The president has said he is fine to leave tariffs in place, arguing China has taken a bigger hit from the duties than the U.S. (American businesses bear much of the cost of Trump’s tariffs). more...

China’s Economy Will Shrink. Trade War Has No End In Sight.
By Kenneth Rapoza
Remember at the start of 2019 when you thought—meh, this trade war thing will end in a few months. You can’t win a trade war! President Trump will figure that out and come to his senses. Wrong. Maybe you can’t win a trade war. There will be pain from decoupling. But decoupling is happening. Just look at what the Pentagon and the Department of Defense thinks about China in this year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment and you already know where this is heading. Perhaps even Joe Biden can’t save China now. To some, the trade war is a “lose-lose” situation. It has already damaged relations between the two countries. “The feud not only has precipitated an economic decoupling of the United States and China, but also has pushed the overall bilateral relationship to its lowest point in half century,” writes professor Xiangfeng Yang in an academic article reviewed last week by Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas. It’s that decoupling of the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 economies that apparently makes the Chinese nervous and pessimistic about future relations between Washington and Beijing, even if a trade deal is reached. “Any deal will be just a temporary cease-fire in a long-lasting economic war,” Yang adds. more...   

By Christopher Brito
An underpopulated mountainous region hours east of Rome is looking to fill its villages and they're offering more than $27,000 to get people to move there. Donato Toma, the president of Molise, told the Guardian they are giving newcomers $774 per month over three years to live in its villages, but it comes with conditions. According to the report, the village must have a population of fewer than 2,000 residents for new residents to be eligible. Whoever comes also has to pledge to open a business. "If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture," Toma said. "We wanted to do more, we wanted people to invest here. They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It's a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population." more...   

By Isabel Kershner
JERUSALEM — Facebook suspended a chatbot operated by the official account of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for violating hate speech rules after it sent a message saying that Israel’s Arab politicians “want to destroy us all.” The message, which went out in the name of a Netanyahu campaign volunteer, was trying to rally right-wing support for Mr. Netanyahu and his conservative Likud party in next Tuesday’s election. Chatbots are software programs that try to emulate human conversation. In this instance, the bot provided a pop-up message to viewers of Mr. Netanyahu’s official Facebook page. It urged supporters to come out to the polls to prevent the advent of “a dangerous left-wing government,” whose Jewish leaders, it said, would rely on the support of Arab politicians “who want to destroy us all — women, children and men — and enable a nuclear Iran that would wipe us out.” The comment comes amid a bitter and divisive election campaign in which Mr. Netanyahu has targeted Arab parties and citizens. He pushed, unsuccessfully, to allow party representatives to film inside polling stations, ostensibly to prevent voter fraud. Analysts said that the effort was more likely intended to intimidate Arab voters. They compared it to a tactic used to rally Mr. Netanyahu’s supporters on Election Day in 2015 when he asserted that Arab voters were converging on polling stations in droves. Facebook’s suspension — a 24-hour ban that began at 10.30 a.m. local time on Thursday — targeted only the bot. Mr. Netanyahu’s Facebook page was not affected. In a statement, Facebook said “a careful review” had “found a violation of our hate speech policy. “Should there be any additional violations,” Facebook said, “we will continue to take appropriate action.” Mr. Netanyahu blamed a campaign staffer for the phrasing, saying he had not seen the message before it went out and had immediately ordered it removed. more...    

Netanyahu's pledge to formalise de facto Israeli control over Jordan Valley provokes unease among Palestinian residents.
by Arwa Ibrahim
Ras Ain al-Auja, Jordan Valley - In between sprawling arid lands of the Jordan Valley, which stretches north of the Dead Sea and west of West Bank's borders with Jordan, lies the small Palestinian village of Ras Ain al-Auja. If Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes through his plan, announced on Tuesday, to annex the Jordan Valley and areas north of the Dead Sea, the village of about 350 residents and its fertile farmlands would become part of Israel. Observers have dismissed Netanyahu's plan as a campaign stunt ahead of next week's general election. But Ras Ain al-Auja residents say Netanyahu's words are threatening as his plan would formalise Israeli control over the area. "This is not new. Our lands have already been annexed and we are living under Israeli occupation," 48-year-old Ahmed Atiyat, a farmer in Ras Ain al-Auja, told Al Jazeera. "All these lands and palm trees belong to the Israelis," he said pointing across stretches of farmland dotted with green shrubbery and date palm trees extending towards the Dead Sea. more...    

The likely Israeli spying efforts were uncovered during the Trump presidency, several former top U.S. officials said.
By DANIEL LIPPMAN
The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said. The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use. The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful. President Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cell-phone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cell phone hardened against intrusion.) By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top DHS official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). more...   

By Yusuf Khan
The European Central Bank on Thursday announced a sweeping round of stimulus for the continent's slowing economy, cutting interest rates to their lowest ever level and introducing a round of quantitative easing. The bank said in a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, that it would cut its deposit rate by 10 basis points, to -0.5% from -0.4%, and purchase 20 billion euros' worth of bonds a month starting in November. The move marks the first time the deposit rate has changed since 2016, as Europe's economy has struggled amid losses in demand both from Brexit and the trade war. Quantitative easing was most recently used in December. The ECB also plans to introduce a tiered system to exclude some of the banks that would be suffering from negative rates — something that has been done in Japan and Denmark already. On its website, the ECB said the key interest rates would remain at current levels until inflation hit 2%. 'More than most expected today' "Taken as a whole the ECB has delivered a package of measures which is more than most expected today," Andrew Kenningham, the chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, told Markets Insider in an email. "Admittedly, the 10 basis point cut to the deposit rate was the least that it could have done and the monthly pace of asset purchases, at €20 billion beginning on 1st November, was a bit smaller than expected. "But the key point is that this commitment to more QE is open-ended: it will end shortly before the bank begins raising interest rates." more...  

By Michelle Krupa, CNN
(CNN)Heavy rain could be headed within days to islands in the northern Bahamas where teams are still searching for hundreds of people missing since Hurricane Dorian struck. It's "not the best news for an area that's already been hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian, with heavy rain and very strong winds," CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said early Thursday, referring to the Category 5 monster that less than two weeks ago slammed the archipelago nation. The brewing storm system also may move across the Gulf of Mexico, he said, possibly impacting coastal areas from the Florida Panhandle to Texas. It comes as the Atlantic hurricane season reaches it statistical peak in the weeks surrounding September 10, a period when weather conditions favor storms forming quickly. more...

By Thomas Colson, Adam Payne and Adam Bienkov
The European Union is likely to grant the United Kingdom a third Brexit extension in October to avoid a no-deal exit, a leaked European Parliament draft resolution seen by Business Insider suggests. The resolution, which was put together by the European Parliament's Brexit Steering Group, indicates that members would support a fresh extension if there was a clear purpose, "such as to avoid a 'no-deal exit,' to hold a general election or a referendum, to revoke Article 50, or to approve a Withdrawal Agreement." The resolution says the European Parliament is prepared to extend the UK's membership in the EU beyond October 31, the scheduled exit date, as long as the institutions and functioning of the EU are not "adversely affected." The resolution also restates the Parliament's position that any Brexit deal must contain a backstop for preserving the status quo on the island of Ireland and avoiding a hard border. It also expresses concern with the conduct of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, including its handling of the settled-status scheme for EU citizens wishing to stay in the UK. more...   

By Rebecca Klar
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s supporters had their homes and offices raided Thursday by Russian law enforcement just days after President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia Party lost a third of its seats in the Moscow assembly, according to reports.  The operation involved more than 1,000 officers, 200 individual raids, and at least 39 towns and cities, The Guardian reports. The raids appear to be connected to Navalny’s money-laundering charges, which he has repeatedly said are politically motivated. Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh told The Guardian the raids are “an act of intimidation and robbery” following the local and regional elections. The opposition leader said in an online video that “It’s clear that only Putin himself could give the order for such a large-scale operation.” "Putin is very angry and is stamping his feet," Navalny said, according to Reuters. “I congratulate you. Today the biggest police operation is modern Russian history is taking place.” “This is a case where the actions of the police are no different from those of burglars,” he added. Russia’s Investigative Committee alleges Navalny’s anti-corruption organization laundered 1 billion roubles, about $15 million dollars, from 2016 to 2018, according to The Guardian. more...

By Maayan Lubell, Elana Ringler
SHILO, West Bank (Reuters) - It’s harvest time in vineyards atop the hills of Shilo settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But it’s not Jewish settlers picking the grapes, it’s evangelical Christians.  They are volunteers for the devout U.S. evangelical group HaYovel which brings Christians to help Jewish farmers in settlements that Israel has built on land that Palestinians seek for a state. Evangelicals have been a core support base for U.S. President Donald Trump since the 2016 election. Many are also staunch supporters of Israel, feeling a religious connection with the Jewish people and the Holy Land. The West Bank holds special importance to evangelicals who see a divine hand in the modern-day return of Jews to a biblical homeland - and who call the territory by its Hebrew Old Testament name, Judea and Samaria. The founder of HaYovel, Tommy Waller, is fond of quoting a passage from the book of Jeremiah, which reads: “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel...Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria.” But that land is also at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. more...

Two freefalling parachutists nearly collided in mid-air with two US fighter planes travelling at almost 350mph (560km/h), a report has revealed. The skydivers recorded the aircraft pass under them on a helmet camera as they fell at 120mph (190km/h). The pilots from RAF Lakenheath should have been told by air traffic control the Cambridgeshire parachute site was active, said the UK Airprox Board. The US Air Force base was re-briefing crews to make them aware, it added. The board was unable to establish how close the two pairs came to colliding during the incident over Chatteris airfield on 17 April, and classified it in the second-highest danger category. "The board was shown Go-Pro footage filmed from the helmet of one of the parachutists and could clearly see the F15s passing beneath," said the report. The jets had made a turn shortly before to avoid a refuelling tanker and were then handed over from air traffic controllers at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to those at Lakenheath in Suffolk, home of the US Air Force's 48th Fighter Wing. "However, the frequency became busy just as they transferred and so, by the time the F15 pilots checked in with the controller, they were already about to fly over Chatteris," said the report. The pilots "should have known about its position and activities as part of their normal briefing routine", and either questioned air traffic control or avoided it, it added. more...    

Press TV - Iranian State-Owned Media Outlet
“In 2009, independent research conducted by a team of international scientists discovered, after analyzing some dust samples from the debris in the area where the skyscrapers collapsed, that they all contained a red layer of active thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology.”
Source: Press TV website, September 10, 2019 False The “research,” which includes highly improbable, if not impossible claims, was debunked. On September 10, Iran’s state owned media outlet Press TV published an article headlined: “Fire did not destroy World Trade Center Building 7 on Sept. 11, scientific study reveals.” The article claimed that a “comprehensive study conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in association with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth found that fire was not the cause of the collapse of the Building 7 of the World Trade Center (WTC).” The article failed to mention that the group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, is a project of San Francisco area architect Richard Gage promoting a conspiracy theory that suggests the U.S. government carried out the attacks. Press TV quotes the organization as saying: “Despite calls for the evidence to be preserved, New York City officials had the building’s debris removed and destroyed in the ensuing weeks and months, preventing a proper forensic investigation from ever taking place.” The article also quotes Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth as claiming: “Seven years later, federal investigators concluded that WTC 7 was the first steel-framed high-rise ever to have collapsed solely as a result of normal office fires.” more...  

By Faith Karimi and Chandler Thornton, CNN
(CNN) - An estimated 2,500 people are listed as missing in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian crashed ashore nearly two weeks ago, the government said. Dorian flattened homes after it made landfall on September 1, killing at least 50 people, officials said. The death toll is expected to go up as search-and-rescue crews scour through the ruins in Grand Bahama and Abaco islands. The list is preliminary and all the names have not been confirmed against government records and evacuees, said Carl Smith of the Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency. He urged people to continue submitting missing persons through the hotline or visiting the social services office, which is handling the missing people register. "As we are able to cross-reference our data sets, we will be able to inform family members and reunite survivors with loved ones," he said. Hurricane Dorian tore though the islands as a Category 5 -- the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the Bahamas. The first sweep of hard-hit northern islands -- where some 70,000 people have lost almost everything -- has been completed, including at least a first check for anyone in need of rescue, food or water and an assessment of damage and sanitation needs, said Daniel Gajewski of Fairfax County, Virginia's Urban Search and Rescue team. "Lately it has been a lot of reconnaissance, a lot of building structures, and then from there we're getting a pulse on the locals," said Gajewski, who was deployed through the US Agency for International Development, or USAID.  more...   

Meeting comes as Moscow warns pre-election pledge could lead to a 'sharp escalation of tensions in the region'.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian coastal city of Sochi for talks on Thursday after Moscow condemned the Israeli leader's pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Russia's foreign ministry warned on Wednesday it was concerned over the Israeli leader's plan, saying its implementation could lead to a "sharp escalation of tensions in the region [and] undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours". Moscow pointed out that Netanyahu's pre-election pledge drew a "sharp negative reaction" in the Arab world and reiterated its call for direct talks between Israel and Palestinians. Battling to win re-election in September 17 polls, Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening that Israel would "apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea immediately" if he secured a fifth term, drawing firm condemnation from the Palestinians, Arab states, the United Nations and the European Union. Netanyahu is slated to meet Putin on Thursday at 13:00 GMT as he fights to continue his reign as the country's longest-serving prime minister after an inconclusive vote in April. "The leaders will discuss regional issues including the situation in Syria, with an emphasis on tightening the military coordination mechanisms," Netanyahu's office said on Wednesday. Netanyahu is also expected to meet Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. The Israeli prime minister had also met Putin in Moscow days in the run-up to Israel's April 9 election, where they discussed "events in Syria", including the "special coordination between our militaries" according to Netanyahu. more...   

By Peter Wilkinson and Aimee Lewis, CNN
London (CNN)UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected accusations that he lied to the Queen over his controversial suspension of Parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline.
Johnson was asked on Thursday if he had lied to the monarch, after a Scottish court ruled the day before that his government's advice to the Queen, which led to the five-week prorogation, was "unlawful." "Absolutely not," Johnson replied. "The High Court in England plainly agrees with us but the Supreme Court will have to decide." "We need a Queen's Speech, we need to get on and do all sorts of things at a national level," he added. Johnson has always insisted that his decision was a routine device that allowed the government to start a new parliamentary session with a fresh legislative agenda. Critics describe it as an audacious move to reduce the amount of time available to the opposition to block a no-deal Brexit. The Scottish judges disagreed with the government, saying Wednesday that the suspension was motivated by the "improper purpose of stymying Parliament."
UK lawmakers are now not scheduled to return to Parliament until October 14, but Johnson said that MPs would have enough time to debate Brexit before and after the EU summit on October 17 and 18, where Johnson has said he hopes to secure a deal. "I'm very hopeful that we will get a deal, as I say, at that crucial summit. We're working very hard -- I've been around the European capitals talking to our friends," he said. "I think we can see the rough area of a landing space, of how you can do it -- it will be tough, it will be hard, but I think we can get there." more...    

by Stuart Wolpert, University of California, Los Angeles
The enormous black hole at the center of our galaxy is having an unusually large meal of interstellar gas and dust, and researchers don't yet understand why. "We have never seen anything like this in the 24 years we have studied the supermassive black hole," said Andrea Ghez, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a co-senior author of the research. "It's usually a pretty quiet, wimpy black hole on a diet. We don't know what is driving this big feast." A paper about the study, led by the UCLA Galactic Center Group, which Ghez heads, is published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The researchers analyzed more than 13,000 observations of the black hole from 133 nights since 2003. The images were gathered by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The team found that on May 13, the area just outside the black hole's "point of no return" (so called because once matter enters, it can never escape) was twice as bright as the next-brightest observation. more...

Ashley Strickland-Profile-Image
By Ashley Strickland, CNN
(CNN)This ancient kangaroo really knew how to chew the scenery.
Sthenurine kangaroos, also called "short-faced" kangaroos, are extinct now. But these marsupials lived in Australia around 42,000 years ago. And unlike modern kangaroos, they had short snouts, powerful jaws and teeth and skulls built for a tough, hefty diet. Rex Mitchell, a researcher of feeding biomechanics and skull shape at the University of Arkansas, created a digital model of a skull belonging to one extinct species, Simosthenurus occidentalis, to test the bite force. His study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. Previous research focused on the powerful jaws belonging to the species. Mitchell proposed that the skull would need to be fortified against the outcome of chewing tough, woody food with a strong bite force. With their short noses, they looked more like koalas in the face than modern kangaroos. These marsupial herbivores diverged from kangaroos and wallabies 15 million years ago. Today, their closest living relative is the banded-hair wallaby. Simosthenurus occidentalis could weigh 260 pounds. "They grew to their larger sizes independently of modern-day kangaroos," Mitchell said. "They would have looked quite different to modern-day kangaroos -- in general they had a more thick-set body, long muscular arms with long grasping fingers, many species had only one large toe on each foot, and some, including this species studied here, had box-shaped heads that looked more like a koala's." Mitchell's simulations using the digital skull showed that the cheekbones provided a foundation for muscles to prevent jaw dislocation and the front and roof of the skull created an arch to prevent any twisting during chewing. more...

New species of electric eel can deliver most powerful jolt of any animal
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
(Newser) – The electric eel just got more electric. A newly discovered species found in the Amazon can inflict an 860-volt jolt—the strongest of any animal, say researchers. How strong is that? Science reports you'd experience a jolt of up to 240 volts if you stuck a fork in a wall outlet; a taser delivers about 1200 volts. The Electrophorus voltai was one of two new species identified in the Amazon basin, the work of researchers at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History who ran DNA tests on 107 samples gathered from the area. The prevailing belief had been that there was just one electric eel species: the Electrophorus electricus, which can deliver a 650-volt jolt and was identified in 1766 by famed naturalist Carl Linnaeus, per a press release. more...  

By Adel Abu Nimeh
JIFTLIK, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians tilling the fertile Jordan Valley said on Wednesday they have been rooted for generations to the West Bank land that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex, and they vowed never to give it up. “We tell Netanyahu, and whoever follows him, you will not break the Palestinians’ will, you will never break our will, never, never,” said Hassan Al-Abedi, a 55-year-old farmer who lives in the village of Jiftlik. “It’s our parents’ and grandparents’ land. We will hold onto it no matter what it costs.” Drawing condemnation from Palestinian and other Arab leaders, the right-wing Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he plans to “apply Israeli sovereignty” to the Jordan Valley and adjacent northern Dead Sea if he prevails in what is shaping up as a tough battle for re-election on Sept. 17. Palestinians seek to establish a state in all of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and their leaders said Israeli annexation would violate international law and effectively nullify interim peace deals from the 1990s that included security cooperation. Against the backdrop of Jordan’s desert mountain range to the east, Palestinian farmers tended their crops and worried about their future in an area where the town of Jericho and the River Jordan are reminders of a biblical past. more...

Jordan Valley residents fear Netanyahu pledge could kill off notion of a future state of Palestine
Dark-green date palms stand out against the sprawling desert that descends sharply from the hills of Jerusalem to the Jordan River. To the south, the Dead Sea – the lowest place on the surface of the Earth – shimmers under an oppressive summer haze. Just a few miles north, the Palestinian city of Jericho bakes in the sun. If Benjamin Netanyahu is to be believed, this land – biblical, strategic, mythical – will soon be stripped of its status as part of Palestine. It will be declared by unilateral decree as Israel, as much as Tel Aviv or the Red Sea city of Eilat. “I think Israel will do the impossible,” said Hussein Atiayat, a 65-year-old Palestinian whose family have lived in the valley for generations. “The whole world is supporting him. So what can the Palestinians do?” he added. “We are already destroyed: financially, spiritually, socially.” The Israeli leader announced his plan in his signature dramatic fashion on Tuesday evening, standing in front of a map of the occupied West Bank and promising to extend Israeli sovereignty over large swathes of it. Netanyahu is battling for his political survival before next Tuesday’s election, and the announcement was brushed off by some as a campaign stunt. But for Palestinians in the Jordan valley who have lived through half a century of military rule, his words are not to be taken lightly. “I’m a simple person, but my vision of what might happen is that we will be locked in our town,” said Atiayat. “Life will be miserable.” Arab leaders denounce Netanyahu’s plan to annex Palestinian territories If carried out, Netanyahu will have smashed one of the biggest taboos of the already moribund peace process. Since Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 six-day war, it has kept hold of the land under the appearance of a temporary occupation. more...  

By Charlie D'Agata
Kabul, Afghanistan — It was just after midnight on the morning of September 11 in Kabul when the sound of an explosion echoed across the capital. A couple of phone calls confirmed that a rocket had blown up inside the compound of the U.S. Embassy. Mercifully no one was hurt. It was the first incident since President Trump abruptly announced that the U.S. peace talks with the Taliban were off. "They're dead. They're dead," Mr. Trump wrote. "As far as I'm concerned they're dead." In response, the Taliban has doubled down. "We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. "If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it." The Taliban's fight against Afghan and coalition forces had already ratcheted up significantly in the past two weeks, and that was during the peace talks in Doha. Deputy Interior Minister General Khoshal Sadat told CBS News the Taliban has suffered "hundreds" of casualties in the last 10 days, after the militants launched major offensives across three provinces. That claim was backed up by sources CBS News contacted at Resolute Support, the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan. But the fighting has only intensified, and it's now likely to escalate significantly more. The country faces a presidential election on September 28. The Taliban has targeted elections in the past, and they've threatened to go on the attack again, warning voters to stay away from the polls or face the consequences. more...

Analysis by Luke McGee, CNN
London (CNN)Boris Johnson is having a rough old time. The man who pledged to clean up the UK's Brexit mess and finally leave the European Union -- do or die, remember -- has instead spent his first weeks in office being humiliated. In his latest disaster, Scotland's highest civil court ruled on Wednesday that Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, leading to accusations that his government deliberately misled the Queen. That in itself might not be illegal. But lying to one of the most loved people in the country is hardly a great look for a Prime Minister already up to his neck. Johnson previously claimed that he wanted to suspend -- or prorogue -- Parliament so that he could lay out his new government's legislative agenda in five weeks' time. His critics, however, claim that the real purpose of the move was to prevent his government being held to account as it sprints towards the Brexit deadline on October 31. The court agreed, saying that Johnson's move was motivated by the "improper purpose of stymying Parliament." The ruling itself doesn't mean that Parliament will immediately be recalled. The UK's Supreme Court will hear a final appeal next week that will resolve the issue. But it turns up the heat in the pressure cooker -- and provides Johnson's opponents with more evidence of his weakness and vulnerability. Since becoming Prime Minister, Johnson has been vocal in his commitment to leave the EU on October 31, whether or not there is a deal in place with Brussels. Given the sharply-divided Brexit debate, an unelected PM pursuing a policy for which there is no clear majority, which could lead to food shortages and economic chaos, is -- to say the least -- controversial. Since Parliament returned from its summer break two weeks ago, it has handed Johnson no fewer than six defeats. Johnson's government has been legally obliged to request a Brexit extension from the EU if he doesn't get a deal, forced to publish embarrassing details from their internal communications, and denied a request to hold an early election. The defeats were no great surprise. His predecessor, Theresa May, left him with a working majority of just two, and instead of building a parliamentary consensus around a Brexit compromise, leaned into his role as Brexiteer-in-chief. That led to the infamous rebellion last week and the subsequent sacking of 21 MPs. If it was tough for his government to pass any legislation before, it's pretty much impossible now. No wonder he wanted to suspend such a pesky Parliament. more...   

By Amanda Macias
VIENNA — Despite a slew of unsuccessful tests, Russia’s nuclear-powered missile with so-called unlimited range will be ready for war within the next six years, a slightly accelerated timeline than previously reported, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment. The revelation of the new, more ambitious timeline for the missile comes even though the Kremlin has yet to secure a successful test over multiple attempts, according to sources with knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report. It also comes on the heels of a mysterious explosion off Russia’s northern coast that killed five scientists and sparked fears Moscow had tested the missile in question, called Burevestnik. A U.S. intelligence assessment found that the Aug. 8 explosion occurred during a recovery mission to salvage a lost Burevestnik from the ocean floor. Last March, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled several hypersonic weapons, as well as Burevestnik. Putin said it was nuclear powered and had unlimited range. Burevestnik, also known as Skyfall, has been tested once earlier this year and prior to that, the weapon was tested four times between November 2017 and February 2018, each resulting in a crash. more...

By Maggie Fitzgerald
U.S. oil prices dropped 2% on Wednesday after Bloomberg News reported that President Donald Trump discussed easing sanctions on Iran in order to reopen negotiations. WTI crude oil futures fell 2.75% to $55.84 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 2.5% to $60.83 a barrel. Trump entertained the idea of easing sanctions on Iran in order to arrange a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this month, the report said. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated since June, following attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. drone near the Strait of Hormuz that the U.S. alleges were executed by Iran. Although Iran denies it carried out the tanker attacks and said the drone was in Iranian airspace, President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Iran in response to the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone. The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel between the borders of Iran and Oman, accounts for approximately 30% of the world’s seaborne oil traffic. When asked if he would consider easing sanctions to secure a meeting with Iran, Trump said “we’ll see what happens.” Trump said he believes Iran wants to make a deal. It is unclear whether Iran would even agree to talk with the White House. In July, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told CNBC that Iran is not ready to engage in talks with the U.S. until sanctions are completely lifted. more...  

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called Wednesday on Muslims to attack U.S., European, Israeli and Russian targets in a speech on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by the militant group, the 68-year-old al-Zawahiri also criticizes "backtrackers" from jihad, referring to former jihadis who changed their views in prison and called the 9/11 attacks unacceptable because innocent civilians were harmed. "If you want Jihad to be focused solely on military targets, the American military has presence all over the world, from the East to the West," he said. "Your countries are littered with American bases, with all the infidels therein and the corruption they spread." The coordinated al Qaeda hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people, when airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and another crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Al-Zawahiri's speech was recorded in a 33-minute, 28-second video produced by the group's as-Sahab Media Foundation. As an indicator of when the speech may have been recorded, al-Zawahiri references President Donald Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, which was announced on March 25. He calls on Palestinians to seek "martyrdom" by attacking Israelis with a suicide vest in response. Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian, became leader of al Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions. A July report by the U.N. cited reports that he is "in poor health" but provided no details. more...   

By Bill Chappell
Scotland's highest appeals court has ruled that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament is illegal, saying the prorogation "was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament" ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. The decision by a three-judge panel on the Court of Session will not immediately force the government to allow lawmakers to reconvene — their suspension officially began on Tuesday, and they're not slated to meet again until Oct. 14. But the court's ruling is a victory for Member of Parliament Joanna Cherry of Edinburgh South West, who led the case, and nearly 80 lawmakers who joined her. And it's a turnabout from last week, when a single judge — a "lord ordinary" — dismissed Cherry's original petition. After the decision was announced, Cherry called for Parliament to be recalled, saying, "Now, for every moment Parliament remains prorogued, the British government are breaking the law." Cherry said she wasn't surprised by the unanimous decision, noting that during last week's hearings, she detected "a whiff of bad faith on behalf of Boris Johnson and the British government." more...

By Brad Lendon, CNN
Hong Kong (CNN)Somewhere in the Pacific, a stealthy United States Navy warship is carrying new weapons that analysts say could help to tilt the balance of power in contested areas like the South China Sea. The USS Gabrielle Giffords, a sleek, speedy, low-profile littoral combat ship, left San Diego earlier this month carrying the US Navy's new Naval Strike Missile and a drone helicopter that helps aim it. The Naval Strike Missile is a sea-skimming cruise missile that is difficult to spot on radar, and can maneuver to avoid enemy defenses, according to Raytheon, the main US contractor for the weapon. It is paired on the Gabrielle Giffords with a MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter drone, which is used to scout for targets. more...

By Owen Daugherty
China on Wednesday announced that it is waiving tariffs on 16 types of U.S. products ahead of trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington. The tariff exemptions apply to various U.S. goods including some anti-cancer drugs, and whey and fish meal, which are used in animal feed, China’s Ministry of Finance announced, according to Reuters. The tariff exemptions reportedly mark the first time Beijing has made such a move since the trade war with the United States began. The exemptions will go into effect Sept. 17, just a few weeks before negotiators from the two countries are scheduled to meet face-to-face in Washington. Iris Pang, economist for Greater China at ING, noted that the exemptions do not mean a deal between the two sides is imminent, according to Reuters. “The exemption could be seen as a gesture of sincerity toward the U.S. ahead of negotiations in October but is probably more a means of supporting the economy,” she wrote. “There are still many uncertainties in the coming trade talks. An exemption list of just 16 items will not change China’s stance.” Pang also reportedly pointed out that the U.S. in July exempted tariffs from 110 Chinese products, including some medical equipment. more...

By Matt Egan, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business) - Oil prices fell swiftly on Tuesday after President Donald Trump fired Iran hawk John Bolton as national security adviser.
The surprise exit of Bolton prompted speculation that the tensions between the United States and Iran could ease, or at least that the chance of a military conflict had decreased. Bolton was a strong proponent of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. That campaign was built on tough sanctions that caused Iran's oil exports to plunge. US oil tumbled as much as 2.2% to $57.30 a barrel immediately after Trump tweeted out the firing of Bolton. Crude bounced off those lows and was recently trading around $57.75 a barrel. "This is a knee-jerk reaction given that Bolton has been so adversarial with Iran," said Matt Smith, director of commodity strategy at ClipperData. "With his removal, there is an expectation there won't be as much vehemence in the tit-for-tat with Iran." It's not clear that Bolton's departure was related to Iran policy. Trump was irked by reports that he had faced internal pushback from Bolton over his decision to host leaders of the Taliban at Camp David, multiple people familiar with his frustration told CNN. Trump announced on Saturday the meeting had been canceled. Trump did not mention Iran in his tweet announcing Bolton's firing. "I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration," said on Twitter. Bolton had been scheduled to deliver a briefing along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the White House later on Tuesday. Earlier this year, tensions between the United States and Iran soared to levels that prompted fears of a war. Oil prices jumped as investors feared that attacks on oil tankers risked a disruption of shipments in the Strait of Hormuz, the move important place on the planet to the global supply of oil. Iran's oil exports have plunged by about 2 million barrels per day since the summer of 2018, according to ClipperData. more...

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah’s leader said on Tuesday his Iran-backed movement had shot down an Israeli drone in Lebanon for the first time to strengthen deterrence against attack by arch-foe Israel. On Monday, Hezbollah said it downed and took possession of an Israeli drone in south Lebanon after a flare-up at the border with Israel around a week ago. The brief exchange of cross-border fire between Hezbollah and Israel marked the fiercest shelling exchange since the long-time enemies fought a deadly month-long war in 2006. “Despite all the threats and intimidation, today we are affirming the balance of power and reinforcing the deterrent force that protects our country,” Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Tuesday at a rally marking the Shi’ite Muslim ceremony of Ashura. He added that there were no longer red lines that Hezbollah would not cross in defending Lebanon from Israeli aggression. He said this does not mean U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war, would not be respected, but that Lebanon and its people had the right to self-defense. The resolution banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River in south Lebanon and the U.N.-monitored frontier between Israel and Lebanon. While the heavily-armed Hezbollah has largely kept its arms out of sight and pledged respect for resolution 1701, it retains a strong presence in the south where it enjoys wide support. Lebanon’s government has long complained to the United Nations about regular Israeli military flights in its airspace in breach of 1701. more...

By Kayla Brantley For Dailymail.com
More than 100 people attempting to flee the devastation in the Bahamas have been kicked off a rescue boat bound for Florida for not having a US visa. About 130 Bahamians in Freeport were forced off a ferry before it left on Sunday evening after a surprise announcement was made on board barring those without a visa from entering the US for refuge. 'Please, any person that doesn't have a US visa please proceed to disembark,' the announcement rang over the loudspeaker on board, leaving Bahamians stunned and confused after initially being told they could board with just a passport and police record. This comes just days after Florida lawmakers Marco Rubio and Rick Scott urged President Trump to waive or suspend visa requirements for Bahama citizens who have relatives in the US and are seeking refuge after Hurricane Dorian swept through the islands. more...

By TEDDY NG I SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Chinese state media warned Hong Kong protesters not to test the patience of the central government and said Beijing would act against subversion after an rally calling for the US Congress to back a bill to help protect the city’s human rights. The commentaries on Monday came a day after thousands of protesters joined a peaceful march to the US consulate in Hong Kong, urging American officials and politicians to support their cause by taking diplomatic action against the city’s government. A opinion piece by the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid, said some extreme demonstrators were undergoing a “fit of hysteria, announcing that should their demands not be met, they would rather destroy everything”. “If the U.S. passes the bill to interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, it would not be for the sake of the city, but rather to turn the financial hub into a card Washington can use to increase pressure on Beijing. The U.S. will only decide its policy toward Hong Kong based on American interests,” the article said. It argued that passing the bill would be a “deep intervention” in Hong Kong affairs, and warned it would not influence Beijing’s handling of Hong Kong’s affairs. “If the situation in Hong Kong gets out of control, leading to subversive disorder and humanitarian disaster among society, Beijing will definitely take action in accordance with the Basic Law,” it said. An editorial in China Daily warned protesters against testing the “patience of the central government” and said the rally was proof that foreign forces were behind the protests. “They have already challenged the bottom line of ‘one country, two systems’ by seeking U.S. help to achieve their nefarious goal of ‘Hong Kong independence’,” it said. more...


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