World News June 2019:
The president responded to reports that Kim Jong Un’s brother had been an American asset by reassuring the strongman he would not allow such spying in the future.By David A. Graham Staff writer at The AtlanticFor the second time in two weeks, President Donald Trump interrupted a busy schedule of trashing Joe Biden to say nice things about the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But Trump’s decision, during remarks in Japan in May, to side with Kim over Biden was a brazen but unsurprising violation of the tradition that “politics ends at the water’s edge,” whereas his comments today were far more baffling. Two accounts, a new book by the Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield and a Wall Street Journal story, report that Kim’s brother Kim Jong Nam was a CIA informant. Kim Jong Nam was killed in a shocking chemical-weapons attack in the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Trump was asked about the revelation as he left the White House for a trip to Iowa, and his answer was jarring. “I see that, and I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un,” Trump said. “I think the relationship is very well, but I appreciated the letter. I saw the information about the CIA with regard to his brother or half brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices. I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un.” The first surprising thing here is that Trump gave no sign of having been aware of the story prior to the Journal report. He did not, however, dispute its accuracy. Given how personally involved the president has been in negotiations with North Korea, if the report is indeed accurate, it is hard to imagine he would have been in the dark. Perhaps Trump is simply playing dumb, though he doesn’t typically have much of a poker face.
CNNDrone footage shows mass protests in the streets of Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill as protesters call for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign. Beijing says Lam still has their full support. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
By Adam BienkovLONDON — Boris Johnson once called for Scottish people to be blocked from becoming prime minister because "government by a Scot is just not conceivable." Johnson, the strong favourite to be Britain's next prime minister, also authorised publication of a poem describing Scottish people as vermin who should be exterminated. Writing in the Spectator in 2005, Johnson said that it would be "utterly outrageous" if the then Chancellor Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister on the grounds that he is Scottish. "The Labour machine will try, at some point in the next few years, to insert Gordon Brown," Johnson wrote, in comments unearthed by the Scotsman newspaper on Monday. "That would be utterly outrageous, not just because he is a gloomadon-popping, interfering, high-taxing complicator of life, but mainly because he is a Scot, and government by a Scot is just not conceivable in the current constitutional context." Johnson claimed that Brown was "not really interested in British values" but instead in "his personal political disability as a Scottish MP."
By Scott NeumanWithin days Iran will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium under a 2015 nuclear deal, according to a spokesman for the country's atomic energy agency, who also said Tehran would increase uranium enrichment levels in violation of the agreement, "based on the country's needs." The remarks come amid increased tension between the U.S. and Iran, particularly after last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement. Under the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the U.S. withdrew from a year ago, Iran can keep no more than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched no higher than 3.67% — far below the 90% level considered suitable for building nuclear weapons. At a news conference at the Arak Nuclear Complex that was carried live Monday on Iranian television, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that stockpile limit could be exceeded within 10 days. We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit," Kamalvandi said. He added that his country needs uranium enriched to 5% for its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, built in the 1990s with Russian help and uranium of 20% purity to be used as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which the U.S. supplied to Iran in 1967. Although not weapons-grade, 20% purity is generally considered "highly enriched" uranium, and as The Associated Press notes, "going from 20% to 90% is a relatively quicker process, something that worries nuclear nonproliferation experts." Even so, Kamalvandi held out the possibility that "there is still time ... if European countries act."
By Daniel PolitiWashington is intensifying its campaign to install malware in Russia’s power grid in an illustration of how the administration is getting more aggressive as the cyber war between the two countries intensifies. In a bombshell report released Saturday afternoon, the New York Times reveals the United States is stepping up its digital attacks on Russia’s electric grid. The move is seen as part warning to President Vladimir Putin and part a readiness effort to be ready to carry out a significant cyberstrike if a conflict breaks out. The stepped up incursion into Russia’s power grid is part of the broader response to Moscow’s efforts to affect the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections and comes after many within the administration had been calling for more aggressive action despite the “risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.” And officials say the difference is noticeable. “It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” a senior intelligence official told the Times. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
By Jamie Ehrlich, CNNWashington (CNN) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the United States is "considering a full range of options" regarding rising tensions with Iran, including military options, but emphasized that President Donald Trump has said that he does not want to go to war. "The United States is considering a full range of options. We have briefed the President a couple of times, we'll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set," Pompeo said in an interview on CBS "Face the Nation." When asked if a military response was included in that set of actions, Pompeo responded, "Of course." "The President will consider everything we need to do to make sure, right? But what's the President said? We don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon," Pompeo added. "President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn't want to go to war." Pompeo's comments come as tensions are rising in the waterways of the Middle East, where two tankers -- one carrying oil and the other transporting chemicals -- were attacked near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route that has been the focal point of regional tensions for decades. Roughly 30% of the world's sea-borne crude oil passes through the strategic choke point, making it a flashpoint for political and economic friction. Iran has categorically denied the attacks. The United States has blamed Iran for the attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, releasing video footage that it claims shows an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels' hulls.
She has been the face of large Hong Kong protests against a controversial extradition bill. But the young woman, who came to be known as "Shield Girl", tells the BBC that she will fight on despite the bill's indefinite suspension. Darkness had fallen. Crowds were thinning. A lone girl, in a meditative pose, defiantly sat in front of a row of riot police. It has become an iconic image from the Hong Kong demonstrations. "Bravery in the face of brutality. Beautiful," wrote an observer on Twitter. Her name is Lam Ka Lo. The 26-year-old came to the Admiralty district by herself, where the government headquarters are located, on Tuesday night, hours ahead of a rally organised by Civil Human Rights Front. There were hundreds of protesters with her at that spot, but more and more police officers in full riot gear arrived. "No one really dared to stand so close to the line of police officers," she said, adding that she did not fear police but worried that other protesters might be injured. She started meditating and chanting the Om mantra when tension was running high. "I just wanted to send my positive vibes," she said. "But protesters also hurled insults at the police. At that moment, I just wanted fellow protesters to sit next to me and not to chide them."
By Jesse ByrnesMexico's government on Friday released a copy of a letter that President Trump touted in front of cameras earlier this week in teasing additional details of a deal reached with the country to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the U.S. The letter, first published by the Mexican newspaper Reforma, states that the U.S. and Mexico "will immediately begin discussions to establish definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee claims of migrants." The document, signed and dated June 7, states that under such an agreement both countries would commit to "accept the return and process refugee status claims, of third-party nationals who have crossed that party's territory to arrive at a port of entry or between ports of entry of the other party." It adds that if the U.S. determines after 45 days from the joint declaration reached last week that the measures adopted by Mexico "have not sufficiently achieved results in addressing the flow of migrants to the southern border" then Mexico will take steps to bring the agreement into force within another 45 days. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's top diplomat, presented the document to the Mexican Senate on Friday and said there was no other agreement from the negotiations with the U.S., Reforma reported. Ebrard has said the two sides will reassess the migrant situation after 45 days and again after 90 days.
Rouhani says he needs to see 'positive signals' from other signatories, or Iran will further scale back its compliance. Iran will continue scaling back compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal unless other signatories show "positive signals", the Iranian president told a meeting of Russian, Chinese and other Asian leaders in Tajikistan. Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in a 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and tightened sanctions. Tehran said in May that Iran would start enriching uranium at a higher level unless world powers protected its economy from US sanctions within 60 days. "Obviously, Iran cannot stick to this agreement unilaterally," President Hassan Rouhani told the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. "It is necessary that all the sides of this agreement contribute to restoring it," he said, adding that Iran needed to see "positive signals" from other signatories to the pact, which include Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. He did not give details on what actions Iran would take or say what positive signals Tehran wanted to see. France and other European signatories to the deal, which aimed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, have said they wanted to save it, but many of their companies have cancelled deals with Tehran under financial pressure from the US. Western powers have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies, saying it wants nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
By Amanda MaciasWASHINGTON – The Japanese owner of one of the oil tankers attacked near Iran on Thursday said that the vessel was struck by a projectile and not by a mine, which is what U.S. officials assessed as the source of the blast. “We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo said at a press conference Friday. “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline. On Thursday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous had an “unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion.” The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. President Donald Trump said Friday that if Iran were to block the Strait of Hormuz, “it’s not going to be closed for long,” but did not elaborate on what potential steps the U.S. would take in response. “They’re not going to be closing [the strait],” Trump reiterated during a telephone interview on “Fox & Friends.” Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the strait in response to a U.S. decision to end waivers on reimposed sanctions for companies that export oil from Iran. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point. It’s a gateway for almost a third of all seaborne crude oil.
By Kumail JafferOIL tankers sailing from Saudi Arabia have reportedly been hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman as tensions continued to rise between Iran and the Gulf States – heightening the possibility of regional conflict in the Middle East. The US says they aren't ruling out blaming Iran for the attack that deliberately hit two oil tankers. Iran’s official news agency IRNA said that 44 sailors on the affected ships have now been rescued by the Iranian navy – intensifying the mystery over who carried out the offence, while Defence Minister Javad Zarif dismissed the attacks as "suspicious". The attack comes a week after the UAE appeared to blame Iran for attacking four more vessels in the same sea. One Norwegian ship – Front Altair – was confirmed to be both adrift and on fire, according to a maritime intelligence firm, while the other, Kokuka Courageous, was also damaged. The Chief of the Saudi Arabia-founded Arab League said: "Some parties in the region are trying to instigate fires" – and that the UN Security Council should act immediately. The UK Government echoed the Royal Navy-linked United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations' call for extreme caution as the investigation continues. A spokeswoman said: "We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Strait of Hormuz."
By Paul BaldwinDONALD TRUMP’S USA boasts the most powerful armies the world has ever seen – but today military experts warned they would NEVER beat Iran in a military conflict even as the possibility of a hot war between Iran and the USA increased as British and US servicemen raced to the aid of two oil-tankers attacked off the Iranian coast in the Gulf of Oman. Military threats and sabre-rattling rhetoric have littered dialogue between the two nations in recent months with Iran’s foreign minister warning the US just hours ago it “cannot expect to stay safe” while Donald Trump counter-warned any conflict would be “the end of Iran”. But military experts on both sides of the potential conflict know that despite a massive firepower advantage a USA victory is far from certain, especially accordng to one former ranking US Air Force strategist who now lives on the Straits of Hormuz.
Analysis by Nick Paton Walsh, CNN(CNN) - As the plumes rise from a brazen attack in the Gulf of Oman, oil brokers and diplomats are panicking about another lurch toward confrontation In the Middle East. What happened is fairly clear -- two tankers were struck as they sailed through this busy and strategic shipping lane -- but why it happened and who did it is a lot less easy to explain, not least because it doesn't appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region. The Japanese owned Kokuka Corageous tanker briefly caught fire when it was twice attacked with "some kind of shell," its owner said. One of its 21-strong Filipino crew was injured. The crew of the Bermuda-based Front Altair all escaped unharmed when it too was hit by a blast. The Fifth Fleet's USS Bainbridge was nearby and responded to a distress call received at 6.12 am local time and then another 48 minutes later. It picked up 21 sailors from the Kokuka and is getting a wider view of the scene from a P8 Navy surveillance aircraft. With the rescue operation over, questions have turned to why anyone would do this. That's not as not as straightforward to answer as it looks. Inevitably, similarities have been drawn between Thursday's attacks and events a month ago, when four ships were targeted near the Emirati port of Furajah. For that, officials in Washington and beyond pointed the finger at Iran. But Thursday's incident is significantly more blatant. Yet the same officials will doubtless blame Tehran again. If and when that happens, we should remember US National Security Advisor John Bolton promised to present evidence to the UN Security Council backing up those previous claims, but has yet to do so.
Matt NovakRT has published leaked footage from inside the prison where Julian Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012. And hilariously RT, a Russian propaganda outlet financed by the Kremlin, claims that news outlets and internet users aren’t allowed to embed the video, despite the fact that RT has posted it on both YouTube and Twitter. Assange can be seen in the leaked video walking around what is presumed to be his living quarters in Belmarsh Prison in southern London. The video also shows the WikiLeaks founder talking, smiling, and even laughing with other inmates, which seems to go against the narrative that Assange is quite ill, as his lawyers have recently claimed. Swedish defense lawyer, Per Samuelson, even said a couple of weeks ago that Assange was so ill, “it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.” And while it’s entirely possible that he was very ill at the time, he certainly looks better now. The video shows Assange washing dishes, leaning against a foosball table, and seeming to have a pretty relaxed time in the maximum security facility. There’s also footage of what looks like Assange’s bed, lots of books, newspapers, cups, and TV or computer monitor.
Rob Schmitz, Bobby AllynHundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in a show of defiance against a government proposal that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face charges. Police said the crowd was about 240,000 people, but organizers estimated more than 1 million turned out. Protesters carrying banners and signs objecting to the government-backed legislation marched and chanted "no extradition" through the city center. Many of the marchers wore white, a symbol of justice and mourning in Chinese culture. The crowds were so massive that droves of protesters found themselves marooned in subway stations.
By Jack BeresfordTHEY ENJOYED a warm welcome during their tour around the pubs of Doonbeg, but Eric and Donald Trump Jr may have forgotten one important detail from their epic bar crawl – the bill. Donald Trump’s sons poses for pictures and pulled pints during a memorable night for the Co Clare town that left more than a few with sore heads the next day. Caroline Kennedy, the owner of Igoe bar and restaurant, was full of praise of Eric and Donald Jr. She told the Irish Mirror: "They were so lovely and down to earth and gave a great hello to everyone. I said, ‘Come on lads you have to come in and pull a drink’ so they did." "They were so nice, they came into the restaurant and the local priest Fr Haugh presented them with a picture of the two castles of Doonbeg. "They thanked everyone for their support and for coming out to meet them and said there was a drink for everyone in the house and it was their small gesture." Unfortunately, when it came time to footing the bill, things hit a slight snag with neither of the brothers carrying any cash.
By Michael D. Shear and Maggie HabermanWASHINGTON — The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said. The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas. And over the past week, negotiators failed to persuade Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty that would have given the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.
By Justin CarissimoA fifth suspect is in custody in connection with a homophobic attack on a lesbian couple in London. Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner, 29-year-old Chris, were travelling on a city bus where they were assaulted by a group of teens last month after they allegedly refused to kiss each other on demand. In an interview with BBC News, Chris said won't be afraid to show affection in public moving forward. "I am not scared about being visibly queer. If anything, you should do it more. There are a lot of people's rights at risk and people's basic safety is at risk," she said. "I want people to take away that they should stand up for themselves," she said.
By John BowdenIranian officials took aim at the Trump administration on Saturday following new U.S. sanctions targeting the country's Revolutionary Guard. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi argued the new sanctions showed that an invitation from President Trump earlier this month for Tehran to join the U.S. at the negotiating table was "hollow," Reuters reported. “It was only necessary to wait one week until the claim of the president of America about talks with Iran were proven to be hollow,” Mousavi said, according to the news service. “The American policy of maximum pressure is a defeated policy.” The remarks came a day after the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions targeting Iran's largest petrochemical company, saying it had given financial support to the country's Revolution Guard Corps. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have remained heightened recently, following the deployment of U.S. forces to the Middle East and what a top U.S. commander said this week were ongoing threats from Iranian-backed forces in the area. "It is my assessment that this has caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I'm not sure they are strategically backing down," U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters Thursday, calling the threat "imminent."
By Brad Lendon, Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN(CNN) - The United States and Russian navies are at odds over an apparent near collision in the Pacific Friday with each side blaming the other.The US and Russian warships came somewhere between 50 feet and 165 feet of each other, according to the two opposing reports, with both sides alleging their ships were forced to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid a collision, which can be seen in video and a picture of the event obtained by CNN. This latest incident comes just days after the US Navy accused Russia of intercepting a US aircraft and amid tensions with Moscow on a wide range of geopolitical issues. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian Vladimir Putin in the resort town of Sochi, where he warned Russia about interfering in US elections, taking a tougher public line than President Donald Trump on the issue. "A Russian destroyer .... made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville, closing to 50-100 feet, putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk," US Navy spokesman Cmdr. Clayton Doss told CNN in a statement. "This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision," Doss said. The US guided-missile cruiser was traveling in a straight line and trying to recover its helicopter when the incident occurred, he said. "We consider Russia's actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional," Doss said. The US account was contradicted by Russia's Pacific Fleet, which claimed it was the US ship that instigated the incident, according to comments carried by the state-run RIA-Novosti news agency. CNN obtained the video and picture of the event after a US official told CNN earlier that the Navy was working to declassify images to dispute the Russian narrative that the US was at fault. Two navy officials tell CNN the Russian wake in the photo could only come from a steep turn that has to be executed at high speed.
Analysis by Nathan Hodge, CNNSt. Petersburg, Russia (CNN) - Among the world leaders who joined Queen Elizabeth II and other heads of state to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one was conspicuously absent: Russian President Vladimir Putin. At first glance, that makes sense: The Soviet Union did not take part in Operation Overlord, the massive amphibious invasion that laid the groundwork for the liberation of western Europe in World War II. But Putin has attended in the past. In 2014, he attended the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Allied landings. Asked on Thursday why he was not invited, Putin dismissed the suggestion that he was deliberately snubbed. "As to whether I was invited or not, we also do not invite everyone to every event," Putin said. "Why do I have to be invited everywhere to some event? Am I a wedding general, or what? I have enough of my own business. This is not a problem at all." But Putin also used the question to draw attention to a longstanding Russian grievance: The perception that the Soviet population's massive sacrifices in World War II have been somehow overlooked in the West. "As for the opening of the Second Front, I draw your attention to the fact that this is the Second Front," Putin said, referring to the Normandy landings. "The first was with us. If you count the number of divisions, the strength of the Wehrmacht [the German army] who fought against Soviet troops on the Eastern Front, and the number of troops and equipment that fought on the Western Front from 1944 on, then everything will be clear."
Guardian NewsJeremy Corbyn has condemned Donald Trump for his attack on the Labour mayor of London Sadiq Khan, adding that he is very proud to have a Muslim as a mayor of London. Speaking at an anti-Trump demonstration in Whitehall, the Labour leader added that he would never accept a trade deal that ended up with the NHS being up for sale.
By Lowenna WaterLed By Donkeys have done it again, but this time they've branched out to attack Boris Johnson, and his previous less than flattering comments about president Donald Trump. The anti-Brexit campaigners have targetted Johnson during Trump's three-day state visit to the United Kingdom, by projecting his comments about the president of the United States directly onto Big Ben. These days, the two politicians have nothing but praise for one another. In an interview with The Sun prior to his state visit, Trump said he thought Boris would be an 'excellent' choice for leader of the Tory Party, adding: Now, the group have highlighted the hypocrisy of the two politician's amicable relationship, by highlighting comments Johnson made about Mr Trump in 2015, while he was mayor of London. In the less-than-flattering sound bite, Johnson can be heard saying: I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind if you think that's a sensible way to proceed. You clearly can't ban people going to the United States in that way, or indeed any country. And what he is doing is playing the game of the terrorists, and those who seek to divide us. That is exactly the kind of reaction they hope to produce, and I have to say when Donald Trump says there are parts of London that are no go areas, I think he's betraying a quite stupifying ignorance, that makes him quite frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. I would invite him to come and see the whole of London, and take him round the city, except that I wouldn't want to expose Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump. Ouch, well, that's pretty awkward, isn't it, Boris? How're you going to explain that one away?
By Guy DaviesMass protests have been planned for President Donald Trump’s upcoming state visit to the U.K., just a year after the giant ‘Trump Baby’ blimp sparked controversy in London. Organizers of the protests from the "Together Against Trump" organization told ABC News that protests are planned at Buckingham Palace on Monday, when the president will be attending a state banquet with the Queen, and on Tuesday, when he will be visiting Prime Minister Theresa May. The protest at Buckingham Palace is expected to be a small event, with only 66 people so far registered as "attending" on the Facebook event entitled: Protest at the Palace: Spoil Trump’s Banquet. However, the protest on Tuesday, beginning in London’s historic Trafalgar Square at 11 a.m. local time, is expected to be a much more dramatic affair. Nearly 8,000 people are registered for the Facebook event, while another 33,000 social media users have said they are "interested" as of Sunday morning. A spokesperson from the "Together Against Trump" group told ABC News that they expect protests to take place throughout the country, but that the event in Trafalgar Square is the main event.
By Anna VickerstaffOur balloon is part of a proud history of political satire in the UK that sends a clear, orange, message to Trump and his politics of hate that they are not welcome here. Last year Trump Baby joined 250,000 people on the streets of London with a further 150,000 people around the UK to protest his visit. Upon seeing the balloon, Trump said “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London”. That’s exactly the point. We know Trump isn’t a joke – he is responsible for rampant xenophobia, sexism and transphobia and the creeping rise of far right politics. His climate denial and persistent facilitation of the fossil fuel industry is a death sentence for communities in the global south. But if flying a balloon caricature is what gets under his skin – then that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t respond to reason, to facts or to science. What he does respond to is humiliation. Our balloon is part of a proud history of political satire in the UK that sends a clear, orange, message to Trump and his politics of hate that they are not welcome here. Some people have asked whether a personal attack on Trump is fair. The same question that was posed after Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage were doused in milkshakes during their recent European election campaigns.
By Courtney Han, Alexander Mallin, Andmorgan WinsorA huge blimp with straw-blond hair, an orange-hued face and out-of-proportion hands that is intended to depict President Donald Trump as a baby took flight near Britain's Parliament in London for a couple hours Friday morning. Crowds of protesters accompanied the giant balloon, with signs railing against the U.S. president's policies on immigration, race relations, women, climate change and more. Thousands more protesters had taken to the streets of central London by Friday afternoon, carrying countless placards and banners that read "Together Against Trump," "Trump Not Welcome," "Dump Trump," "Resist Trump" and "Make Love Not Walls." Many other signs were ridden with profanity against Trump, who arrived in London on Thursday with his wife, Melania, for their first official visit to the United Kingdom. "This is what people need to be doing -- to come together in their communities to organize and work out how to stand against right-wing populism and xenophobia that we’re seeing not just in the U.S. but in Europe," Kevin Smith, one of the 16 people behind the Trump balloon, told The Associated Press on Friday. Smith is part of the Stop Trump Coalition, which organized the series of demonstrations. The group describes itself as a "coalition of organizations and individuals joined forces to protest against Donald Trump’s planned visit to the U.K."
India's PM Modi makes major cabinet changes for second term: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been sworn in for a second term after his ruling BJP secured a landslide election victory this month. People across India are hoping he can deliver rapid economic change as the country struggles with high unemployment. Al Jazeera's Katia Lopez Hoda-Yan reports.
Hundreds of Jews enter the holy site on Israel's Jerusalem Day as Israeli police allow access during the end of Ramadan. Israeli forces have entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound along with hundreds of Jews whom they allowed to access the compound on Jerusalem Day - when Israelis celebrate the anniversary of their occupation of East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli forces fired tear gas and detained a number of Palestinians on Sunday who were attending prayers after protests erupted in the mosque compound following an announcement that Jews would enter the holy site. It was the first time in about 30 years that Jews were allowed into the site during the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan, which coincided this year with the Israeli national holiday commemorating control over the city. Earlier in the morning, Israeli police had deployed hundreds of their forces around the mosque compound and across the city as hundreds of Jews waited at the compound gates to enter.
In rare remarks about 1989 unrest, Chinese defence minister says government actions were justified for stability.China has defended a bloody crackdown on protesters around Beijing's Tiananmen Square 30 years ago as the "correct policy", in a rare acknowledgement of the heavily censored events. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, called the seven weeks of protests by students and workers demanding democratic changes and the eradication of corruption in 1989, political "turbulence". Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the June 4 government crackdown when Chinese tanks moved into the area and soldiers opened fire killing demonstrators as well as onlookers in and around Tiananmen Square. Rights groups and witnesses say hundreds or even thousands may have been killed, but the government has kept a lid on what really happened and the number of dead. "Everybody is concerned about Tiananmen after 30 years," Wei said on Sunday. "Throughout the 30 years, China under the Communist Party has undergone many changes - do you think the government was wrong with the handling of June fourth? There was a conclusion to that incident. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence."
Syria's state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week. By ReutersJERUSALEM — The Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets on Sunday after rockets were fired at the Golan Heights, and Syria's state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week. Syrian television reported big explosions near Damascus before dawn and said air defenses had "confronted the enemy." The Israeli military said it struck Syrian artillery and aerial defense batteries in retaliation for Saturday's firing of two rockets at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. An Israeli military spokeswoman said it was still unclear who had fired the rockets, but the Syrian army was held responsible for any attack launched from Syrian territory. "We will not tolerate any firing into our territory and we will respond with great force to any aggression against us," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. On Monday, Israel’s military said it attacked a Syrian anti-aircraft position that had fired on one of its warplanes, and Syrian state media said a soldier had been killed in the incident.
London mayor hits out at US president before his state visit to BritainThe mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has compared the language used by Donald Trump to rally his supporters to that of “the fascists of the 20th century” in an explosive intervention before the US president’s state visit to London that begins on Monday. Writing in the Observer, Khan condemned the red-carpet treatment being afforded to Trump who, with his wife Melania, will be a guest of the Queen during his three-day stay, which is expected to provoke massive protests in the capital on Tuesday. Khan said: “President Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years. “Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but with new sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.”
By Tony CzuczkaChina targeted FedEx Corp. in its escalating trade war with the U.S., giving a hint of which foreign companies it may blacklist as “unreliable.” With Chinese officials due to announce their position on trade talks with the U.S. on Sunday, the investigation into FedEx’s “wrongful delivery of packages” was framed as a warning by Beijing after the Trump administration imposed a ban on business with telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. The latest salvo signals there’s no detente in sight in the struggle between the world’s two biggest economies at a time when trade talks have broken down. Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports kicked in Saturday in Beijing, affecting more than 2,400 goods that face levies of as much as 25% compared with 10% previously. FedEx apologized this week for delivery errors on Huawei packages following reports that parcels were returned to senders, and China’s biggest tech company said it’s reviewing its relationship with the U.S. delivery service. Two packages containing documents being shipped to the company in China from Japan were diverted to the U.S. without authorization, Reuters reported.
By Gordon G. ChangWhether Kim Hyok Chol and four others are dead or alive, Trump can no longer claim Kim Jong Un will negotiate with Washington in good faith. So far, the most important conclusion we can draw from reports North Korea’s senior nuclear negotiator and four foreign ministry officials were executed in March is this: Kim Jong Un is not the reliable, trustworthy negotiator President Trump has made him out to be. According to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, a senior aide to leader Kim Jong Un was “sent to a labor and reeducation camp,” and two lower-level officials were imprisoned. The detention of aide Kim Yong Chol, who led Pyonyang’s outreach to Washington for two Trump-Kim summits, had been known for more than a month, but many are questioning whether Kim Hyok Chol, the nuclear negotiator, was in fact put to death by a firing squad at an airport in the North. Whatever the accuracy of the Chosun Ilbo reporting—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said he was looking into the matter—there is evidence of severe turmoil in Pyongyang political circles, and it appears Kim Jong Un’s grip on power has been weakening in recent months. This increasingly evident turmoil undercuts the notion, advanced by Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, that Kim can negotiate in good faith on a range of issues from denuclearization to inter-Korean reconciliation.
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