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World News August 2019: Get the latest World Headline News with news links and news feeds from major news organizations.

By Bobby Allyn, Frank Langfitt
Britain would face gridlock at ports; shortages of medicine, fuel and food; and a hard border with Ireland if it left the European Union with no deal, according to a leaked government document. The U.K. seems increasingly likely to crash out of the EU on Oct. 31, and the picture the government paints in a confidential document compiled under the code name Operation Yellowhammer and obtained by the Sunday Times is sobering. It details the ways government leaders are working to avert a "catastrophic collapse in the nation's infrastructure." Trucks could be dealt 2 1/2-day delays at ports, with significant disruption lasting up to three months, which would affect fuel supplies in London and the southeast of England, according the document. Medical supplies will also be vulnerable to "severe extended delays," since about three-quarters of the U.K.'s medicine comes across the English Channel. Fresh food will become less available, and prices will rise, according to the document. That outcome is expected to especially hit vulnerable groups. The government anticipates the return of a hard border with Ireland, which could spark protests and roadblocks. It also forecasts the closure of two oil refineries after import tariffs are eliminated, causing an expected loss of 2,000 jobs, worker unrest and disruptions to fuel supplies. A government source told the Sunday Times: "This is not Project Fear — this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios — not the worst case."

By Kumail Jaffer
DONALD TRUMP’S administration has reportedly developed a deadly new long-range hypersonic missile which could be a game-changer in the ongoing arms race with Russia and China. The US President may still be on a golfing trip, but back home a key weapons developer is set to release a new hypersonic missile which could counter Russia’s efficient S-400 systems. The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) was announced this week after the group had worked closely with the US Army to develop the technology. It is set to be a huge upgrade on the Tomahawk cruise missiles used on Syria last year. According to a document detailing the weapon seen by Defense Blog, the mobility of the LRHW is part of a wider strategy to expand and modernise US military technology. It reads: “It will bring online a new class of ultra-fast, manoeuvrable, long-range missiles to neutralise enemy defensive weapons with rockets launched from trucks with Transporter Erector Launchers.”

By Ciaran McGrath
A NUCLEAR explosion in Russia which authorities attempted to surround with a Chernobyl-style information blackout was the result of a top-secret SUPER-NUKE malfunctioning with deadly consequences. Vladimir Putin is developing the nuclear-powered ‘doomsday weapon’ which is not only nuclear-armed but nuclear powered meaning it can theoretically stay aloft for months at time. The 9M730 Burevestnik, which is referred to be NATO as SSC-X-9 Skyfall, is an experimental nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile which the Russians claim is capable of hitting any target on Earth. The Burevestnik/Skyfall with its unlimited range will “belch out radioactive fumes behind it”, an expert has warned, with last week’s spike in radiation levels in a remote area of Russia almost certainly caused by an accident involving the terrifying missile, experts have said. One of six new strategic weapons unveiled by Mr Putin on March 1, Skyfall is widely believed to have the rocket which exploded at a test centre in the north-west of the country, killing five people and injuring several others.

Roughly three tasks every minute
By Jay Peters
Not only does Microsoft have human contractors listen to some of your Skype and Cortana voice recordings, those contractors are paid poorly and given repetitive tasks, according to a report by Motherboard. And thanks to this new report, we now have an idea of what those contractors actually do with the Cortana recordings they listen to. Motherboard says contractors earning merely $12–$14 an hour are expected to transcribe and classify Cortana voice commands into more than two dozen topic areas, including gaming, email, communication, events, home automation, and media control. These transcribed recordings are used to help teach the Cortana assistant to better understand speech. Contractors are expected to work through a grueling 200 classification tasks an hour — that’s three a minute, or one every 18 seconds on average. They do have the potential to earn a bonus of an additional $1 an hour, according to contracts shared with Motherboard. Big tech companies have recently come under scrutiny for how they use human labor to power and train their services. The companies like to portray these tasks as accomplished by AI, but recent investigations have shown that it’s often repetitive work done by poorly-paid humans. Microsoft’s contractors listening to Cortana audio is one small example — content moderators at Facebook, on the other hand, are regularly exposed to extremely traumatic photos and videos and work in horrific conditions, as The Verge has reported.

Over 1.5 million American troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2011. Many returned with visible scars of war -- but for some, their injury is hidden. At some of the military bases throughout those regions, waste materials were disposed of in giant so-called "burn pits," and breathing fumes from those fires appears to have damaged the health of countless veterans. Barry Petersen reports.

LONDON (Reuters) - A Conservative lawmaker at the centre of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit said on Saturday he was pessimistic about his chances because he and other party colleagues could not support a caretaker government led by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

When Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu denied two congresswomen entry into Israel, he criticized the fact that Miftah was funding their trip. But Miftah has sponsored trips for members of Congress in the past, and Israel has let them in the country. NOW, SHE’S OUT … AFTER ASKING FOR AND SECURING permission to visit her elderly grandmother in the West Bank, Rep. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-Mich.) now says she will not go to Israel. -- TLAIB: “Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Washington (CNN)Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, the first and only Jewish candidate on a major party's presidential ticket in US history, called it a "serious mistake" for Israel to bar the first two Muslim women elected to Congress from visiting the country. "It's a serious mistake because it's contrary to the values of the state of Israel, the values to the United States of America which has been the underlying foundation of our relationship," Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" Friday. On Thursday, Israel announced it was banning Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota because of their support of a boycott against Israel -- and after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing "great weakness" by allowing the two lawmakers to enter the country. Trump has previously criticized Omar and Tlaib but his comments about their trip were a remarkable step both by him and his ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to punish political rivals. "This kind of behavior by both leaders, I would say with respect, jeopardizes that tradition of nonpartisanship and American support of Israel," Lieberman, who has been a pro-Israel advocate and supportive of Trump's past actions on US-Israel relations, said.

President Donald Trump praises Israel on its decision to ban Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country, after telling reporters he spoke to Israel prior and expressed support for the idea. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

Who gets to decide what gets blasted into space?
By Loren Grush
This month, space enthusiasts were shocked to learn that an Israeli lunar lander that crashed into the Moon’s surface in April actually had some passengers aboard: a tiny capsule filled with dehydrated microscopic organisms known as tardigrades. These little “water bears,” known to withstand very extreme environments, may have survived the wreck. Almost no one knew they were on board until a recent report in Wired revealed they had been added to the mission last minute — and without any governmental approval. The news was met with a mixture of surprise and dismay, with some fearing that these lifeforms could contaminate the Moon. The good news is that’s probably not going to happen. “At best, the tardigrades will survive in a dormant state for some period of time depending on their level of exposure to vacuum, temperature cycling, and radiation,” Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary protection officer, writes in an email to The Verge.

By Yen Nee Lee
Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio said he wouldn’t rule out China using its Treasury holdings to gain an upper hand against the U.S. in the trade war — a view that contrasts with many other observers. “We have a debtor-creditor relationship, not just a trade relationship. And (that) can be a dangerous thing,” Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, told CNBC’s “Managing Asia” in Singapore. When repeatedly pressed on whether Beijing could weaponize its ownership of U.S. Treasurys, Dalio responded: “I wouldn’t rule it out.” Analysts and investors have said that amid escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies, China could resort to the so-called nuclear option to hurt the U.S.: Selling its large Treasury holdings. But many dismissed that suggestion, saying such a move will harm China too. China was the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys until June, when it was surpassed by Japan. According to data by the U.S. Treasury department, China held $1.11 trillion of U.S. debt in June.

By Debra Shushan
The much-touted shared values between the U.S. and Israel no longer seem to include liberal protections for free speech. The U.S.-Israel relationship suffered a profound setback Thursday. Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri confirmed that Israel would bar two members of Congress, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from entering Israel because of their support for the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel. Thursday’s decision to deny Tlaib and Omar entrance to Israel reversed the earlier position expressed by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who in July said that “Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”

Greenland has said it is "not for sale" following reports that US President Donald Trump has spoken about buying the world's biggest island. The president is said to have discussed the idea of purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, during dinners and meetings with advisers. But Greenland's foreign ministry dismissed the idea, saying: "We're open for business, not for sale." Mr Trump's reported plans have also been quickly dismissed by politicians in Denmark. "It must be an April Fool's Day joke...but totally out of [season]!", tweeted former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which first reported the news, said Mr Trump had spoken about the purchase with "varying degrees of seriousness". Sources quoted in other media differed over whether the president was joking or seriously hoping to expand US territory. The White House has not commented on the reports.

AN OUTRAGED Spanish MP is demanding his country steal Gibraltar back from Briton to make military gains.
By Emily Prescott
Agustin Roseti, an MP for the far-right Vox party, posted a rant to Twitter slamming Britain for turning the island, which borders the north of Spain, into a “parasite”.  He argued Spanish ownership of the island could bolster his country’s military efforts. He added under British control the island poses a risk to Spaniards. He said: “Gibraltar is a military colony in the strait that has a naval base and airfield. “It fulfils three missions: logistics, operational and intelligence.  

Associated Press
ABOARD A NASA RESEARCH PLANE — NASA scientists are crisscrossing Greenland on a mission to track melting ice. Greenland has been melting faster in the past decade, and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. Global warming is the chief culprit, but scientists want to know how this is happening. Both warmer air and warmer water are eating away at Greenland, causing it to lose billions of tons of ice daily in the summer. A team of scientists and engineers aboard a research plane this week are dropping probes into the ice to help figure out which is the bigger cause.

By Jordan Weissmann
The world’s economy is looking very, very dicey at the moment. Investors enjoyed a brief, sweet moment of relief from their perpetual anxiety over Donald Trump’s trade war on Tuesday, when the White House announced that it would delay some of its upcoming new tariffs on Chinese goods until mid-December, in order to avoid mucking with America’s holiday shopping season. But this morning, a whole raft of bad news reminded everybody that, oh yeah, we’re very obviously in the midst of a global slowdown. As Bloomberg summed things up: China reported the weakest growth in industrial output since 2002. Germany’s economy shrank as exports slumped, and euro-area production plunged the most in more than three years as the overall expansion cooled. Prognosis: not great! There have been other danger signs, too. Britain’s economy shrank during the last quarter, partly thanks to pre-Brexit fears, and appears to be on the cliff’s edge of an outright recession. Then there are the bond markets, which are probably best visualized as a sweaty, red-faced man in an expensive suit shouting, “This sucker is about to blow!”

By Yun Li
China hopes to “meet the U.S. halfway” on trade issues, the foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday. The statement came after China said it will have to take the necessary counter-measures to President Donald Trump’s latest tariffs threat. “We hope the U.S. side will meet China half-way, and implement the consensus reached by the two leaders during their meeting in Osaka, and look for mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” China’s spokesperson at the foreign ministry Hua Chunying said Thursday, according to a CNBC translation. The statement drove stock futures higher. “On the basis of equality and mutual respect, we will find mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue and consultation,” Hua said. China’s State Council Tariff Committee said earlier the U.S. tariffs “seriously violated” a consensus reached by leaders of two countries at the G-20 summit. Trump early this month abruptly ended the cease-fire with China by threatening to slap duties on $300 billion of Chinese goods from Sept. 1. Some additional tariffs are now delayed to December and some items have been removed on the tariff list, the administration announced Wednesday.

By Sara Mazloumsaki and Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Vasco Cotovio, CNN
(CNN) - A seized oil tanker at the center of a standoff between the UK and Iran is free to set sail, despite eleventh-hour efforts by the United States to halt the move to release it. The Supreme Court in the British territory of Gibraltar approved the release of the Grace 1, which was seized off the country's coast by authorities last month, after officials said they no longer wished to detain it. Gibraltar said it had received assurances from Iran and the owners of the oil that, were the tanker to be released, its cargo would not be taken to Syria, which would be in breach of European Union sanctions. The ship was seized six weeks ago as it passed through Gibraltar's territorial waters. Two weeks later, Iran seized a British ship in the Gulf, in what was widely regarded as a tit-for-tat operation. As tensions increased, the two sides conducted delicate negotiations in London. "Gibraltar has taken a very careful approach to the detention of Grace 1," Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told CNN "We only acted in July when we had evidence that the cargo aboard the vessel was going to Syria." "What we found aboard the vessel has confirmed the view that we took was the correct view. We have only released the vessel... when we have been convinced that the vessel is not now going to Syria," he added. A last-minute intervention by the US threatened to scupper the deal to release the Grace 1. In a court hearing Thursday morning, instead of announcing the release of the tanker, the Gibraltar attorney general's lawyer Joseph Triay said the US Department of Justice had applied to extend its seizure. The basis of Washington's legal efforts was unclear Thursday. The State Department referred CNN to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment.

By Isabel Kershner
JERUSALEM — Israel on Thursday barred the entry of two American Democratic congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, hours after President Trump had urged the country to block them. Mr. Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home. The two congresswomen, Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, both freshmen, are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Both are outspoken adversaries of Mr. Trump and have been vocal in their support of the Palestinians and the boycott-Israel movement. The president has targeted them in speeches and Twitter postings that his critics have called racist and xenophobic. It was reported last week that Mr. Trump was pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to deny entrance to the two women, and Thursday morning he left little doubt. While Israeli officials were still deliberating the matter, he said in a Twitter post that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China on Thursday vowed to counter the latest U.S. tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods but called on the United States to meet it halfway on a potential trade deal, as U.S. President Donald Trump said any pact would have to be on America’s terms. The Chinese finance ministry said in a statement that Washington’s tariffs, set to start next month, violated a consensus reached between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a June summit in Japan to resolve their disputes via negotiation. In a separate statement, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said, “We hope the U.S. will meet China halfway, and implement the consensus of the two heads of the two countries in Osaka.” China hopes to find mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, she added. Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020 and had made the economy and his tough stance on China a key part of his 2016 campaign for the White House, on Thursday said any agreement must meet U.S. demands.

By Sasha Ingber
The U.S. government has applied to take possession of the Grace 1, an Iranian oil tanker that was detained last month by the British, according to the Gibraltar government. "The U.S. Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered," a spokesperson with Gibraltar's government told NPR on Thursday. The official said the case will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET). The Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the U.S. application came just hours before the government was scheduled to release the tanker. It also reported that the Grace 1's captain and three officers were released from arrest in a separate development. The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. Grace 1 was raided in waters off the coast of Gibraltar, a British territory, by Britain's Royal Marines on July 4. The tanker was impounded on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria — a breach of international sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

By patrick reevell
The explosion of a suspected Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile last week has caused a lot of confusion and anxiety, fueled in part by Russian authorities' continuing secrecy around the accident. Russia has provided few details known about the blast, which a U.S. official told ABC News "likely" took place during a test on the missile, named the SSX-C-9 Skyfall by NATO and as the 9M370 Burevestnik (Storm Petrel) by Russia. Here's what we know and don't about the incident. There was a spike in radiation immediately after the explosion on Friday, briefly elevating levels up to 16 times higher than normal in a city 20 miles from the Nenoksa Missile Test Site on Russia's northern Arctic coast. Russian authorities only officially acknowledged this spike on Sunday, three days after the accident. Nenoksa’s local administration had posted a notice on its website immediately after the blast, warning levels had spiked two times above normal. But this notice was then deleted after Russia's defense ministry denied levels had increased. Russia’s state weather service, Roshydromet, later acknowledged that the spike had sent radiation levels 4 - 16 times above the norm. But it appears the spike was also brief, lasting no more than 2 hours, before the lives returned to normal, according to Roshydromet. The environmental group Greenpeace said its own readings show the spike lasted less than an hour. The group does not dispute the official Russian readings now that levels reduced to normal. All of these readings have come from sensors at the nearby city of Severodvinsk, a nuclear submarine port, 20 miles from the test site.

The ethics commissioner says Mr Trudeau improperly tried to influence a former minister in the SNC-Lavalin affair. The prime minister says he accepts the commissioner's report but disagrees with some of its conclusions. The findings could be an issue for Mr Trudeau in advance of October's general election. Earlier this year, former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Mr Trudeau and his staff of spending months trying to convince her that taking SNC-Lavalin to trial would cost Canadians jobs, and their party votes. Her accusation proved to be politically costly for Mr Trudeau - leading to the resignation of two high-profile cabinet ministers, his top personal aide and the head of the federal bureaucracy - and cast a shadow over his leadership. Ms Wilson-Raybould said the commissioner's report was a "vindication" of her position that she was improperly pressured by Mr Trudeau and his staff.

President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese agricultural products are likely to hurt the Asian nation a lot less than the retaliatory duties Beijing already imposes on the U.S. The White House, while delaying tariffs on big-ticket consumer products until December, decided to push ahead with 10% tariffs on Chinese agricultural products as well as antiques, clothes, kitchenware and footwear from Sept. 1. The list ranges from the exotic -- live primates, whales and foxes -- to the more usual fare of milk and edible oils. But the amount of farm products China exports to the U.S. is much smaller than what it imports from America, even with the retaliatory tariffs in place. China shipped $3.1 billion worth of farm goods to America in the first half of this year, while it purchased $5.6 billion of U.S. agricultural items over the same period, according to Chinese customs data.

By Simon Watkins
As the trade war with the U.S. continues to escalate, China has re-engaged with Iran on three key projects and is weighing the use of what both Washington and Beijing term the ‘nuclear option’, a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iran’s Petroleum Ministry told OilPrice.com last week. For the first of these projects - Phase 11 of the supergiant South Pars non-associated gas field (SP11) - last week saw a statement from the chief executive officer of the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) that talks had resumed with Chinese developers to advance the project. Originally the subject of an extensive contract signed by France’s Total before it pulled out due to re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, talks had been well-advanced with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to take up the slack on development. As per the original contract, CNPC had been assigned Total’s 50.1 percent stake in the field when the French firm withdrew, giving it a total of 80.1 percent in the site, with Iran’s own Petropars Company holding the remainder. At the same time, Iran was desperate to increase the pace of development of the fields in its oil-rich West Karoun area, including North Azadegan, South Azadegan, North Yaran, South Yaran, and Yadavaran, in order to optimise oil flows ahead of further clampdowns on exports by the U.S.

by Erin Banco - National Security Reporter, Asawin Suebsaeng - White House Reporter
Allies are steamed, national-security officials are baffled, and even the president is pissed about the contradictory signals the administration is sending about talks with Iran. The Trump administration keeps sending conflicting and contradictory messages to Iran about its terms for new negotiations, multiple U.S and European officials tell The Daily Beast. And the ensuing chaos has vexed the president, complicated diplomatic efforts for American allies abroad, and utterly baffled policymakers at home. “Absolute amateur hour,” said one former senior administration official, who was involved with the internal squabbles. For several months, the United States has been actively attempting to pass messages, via allies, to the Iranians in an effort to move closer to beginning formal diplomatic talks with Tehran. However, diverging opinions within the Trump administration are foiling the nascent diplomatic process, according to two current U.S. officials and another source with direct knowledge of the matter. The dissent is straining foreign intermediaries who are working as go-betweens between Washington and Tehran. They say they are fed up with receiving mixed messages from Donald Trump’s team. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment for this story. But a senior administration official told The Daily Beast, “The Administration is completely aligned in this approach. The President has been clear, he is open to meeting with Iran’s leadership to work out an agreement and give Iran the future it deserves.”

By Nathan Hodge and Olga Pavlova, CNN
Moscow (CNN) - Residents of a Russian village near the site of a suspected explosion of a nuclear-powered missile hve been told to evacuate, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported, citing a local official. Villagers were asked to leave Nyonoksa on Wednesday morning due to planned military activities, RIA reported Tuesday, citing Ksenia Yudina, head of the press service of the Severodvinsk administration. Local news portal tv29.ru reported that Nyonoksa would be evacuated by train between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Wednesday. The settlement is approximately 30 miles from the port city of Severodvinsk.

By Morgan Krakow
An Israeli flight attendant died after contracting measles and falling into a coma, Israeli media reported Tuesday, the latest incident amid growing measles outbreaks in countries around the world. There were more reported cases of the virus in the first half of 2019 than in any other year since 2006, the World Health Organization announced Monday. Compared with this time last year, there have already been nearly three times as many reported cases of measles. While many of the measles outbreaks occurred in places with low vaccination rates, the WHO said, others are occurring in nations that have high rates, resulting from “lack of access to quality healthcare or vaccination services, conflict and displacement, misinformation about vaccines, or low awareness about the need to vaccinate.” “The United States has reported its highest measles case count in 25 years,” the WHO said in the announcement.

The stock market is very happy about signs of surrender.
By Matthew Yglesias
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday morning that he was going to delay implementation of looming taxes on a broad set of Chinese-made goods and sent the stock market soaring. Just one week ago, financial markets were heading in the opposite direction as his administration officially designated China as a currency manipulator. In both cases, the literal implications of the policy changes are modest. Instead, the market reaction seems to be about reading the tea leaves as to Trump’s longer-term intentions. Designating China as a currency manipulator had no automatic consequences for policy in Washington or Beijing. It was simply seen as an escalating move and a sign of hardening hearts, an indication that Trump’s fans in the business community might not be getting the pre-election climbdown from trade war that they craved. Conversely, delaying the tariffs on a portion of the scheduled-for-tariffing products by a few months does not have a particularly large direct impact on the American economy. Stocks went up instead largely because it was seen as a sign that the previous signs of escalation in the trade negotiations had been read wrongly. Trump seems to remain attuned to stock market signals and nervous about indications that global financial markets don’t like trade confrontation. That gives investors reason to believe that Trump ultimately won’t push trade war to the limits, and that sent markets soaring. The fact that Trump climbed down in the midst of increasing international attention to escalating protests and crackdowns in Hong Kong gives Chinese leaders a timely propaganda win. But critically, nothing in the vast US-China trade dispute docket has actually been resolved. Trump just blinked a little bit in a mutually harmful conflict that has no obvious endpoint.

By Alexander Smith
"Is it dangerous? Yes! I think the phrase 'flying nuclear reactor' tells you all you need to know," one analyst said. A recent explosion during what experts say was likely a Russian nuclear-powered missile test indicates Moscow could be trialing dangerous technology in an attempt to beat U.S. missile defenses. Five scientists were killed and radiation spiked in a nearby city following the blast at an offshore platform in the Russian Arctic last Thursday. Authorities have drip-fed details of the incident to the public. But on Monday, Vyacheslav Solovyov, scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, confirmed that at the time of the blast, nuclear scientists at the Nyonoksa military range were working on "small-sized energy sources using radioactive fissile materials." Another factual morsel came when Russia's state nuclear agency, Rosatom, said the accident happened while testing "isotope power sources within a liquid propulsion system." Experts said this vague, technical wording hinted that the facility was likely testing the same experimental weapon announced in March 2018 by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He revealed that Russia was developing a cruise missile with "unlimited range" that could carry a nuclear weapon to any point on the globe.

By TOI staff
7 were killed in blast that Moscow’s TASS news agency reports was related to a ‘radioisotope power source’. American intelligence officials have indicated that they believe an explosion in northern Russia last week may have been related to work on a nuclear-powered cruise missile, The New York Times reported on Monday. Thursday’s explosion at the Nenoksa Missile Test Site near Severodvinsk released radiation into the atmosphere, killing at least seven people and fueling speculation regarding Russia’s pursuit of a weapons technology examined and abandoned by Washington during the height of the Cold War. If successfully deployed, such a weapon would pose a strategic threat to the United States because it would be capable of bypassing current American missile defenses. However, there is currently no indication that the Russians have managed to succeed where their geopolitical rivals have failed.

By Jill Disis, Sherisse Pham and Laura He, CNN Business
Hong Kong (CNN Business)Authorities in Hong Kong canceled nearly 200 flights Monday because of a major protest at the city's international airport. That's terrible news for companies operating in the financial hub. The decision to cancel all departures and inbound flights not already in the air was made after thousands of pro-democracy protestors gathered at the airport, the region's third busiest after Beijing and Tokyo. Protests have been rocking Hong Kong for months, and the crisis is already having a noticeable effect on the city's economy. Some demonstrations have ended in violent clashes with police. Crowds appeared to be dissipating at the airport by Monday evening in Hong Kong. But the canceled flights are a stark reminder of the risk to global businesses and the city's tourism sector. More than 74 million passengers traveled to and from the airport last year. It handles 1,100 passenger and cargo flights each day, and serves about 200 destinations around the world. The airport contributes 5% to Hong Kong's GDP, directly and indirectly, said Frank Chan, Hong Kong's transport secretary, in May. "This is a disaster for Hong Kong that will cost tens of millions of dollars," said Geoffrey Thomas, editor in chief and managing director of AirlineRatings.com, a website that monitors airlines. The direct impact of Monday's suspension isn't the only problem, he said. "Travelers for months to come will cancel and rebook with other airlines to avoid Hong Kong as a hub," Thomas added.

London -- The death of Jeffrey Epstein is putting new attention on his alleged co-conspirators, who could still face charges. The number one person on that list is Ghislaine Maxwell, who's accused of finding teenage girls for Epstein and his friends -- including a member of Britain's royal family. As CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports, documents unsealed on Friday contain allegations that Maxwell, a close acquaintance of Epstein's, played an "important role" in the late billionaire financier's "sexual abuse ring," directing an underage girl to have sex with Epstein and others. Maxwell strenuously denies the allegations. Her current whereabouts are unknown. "There are multiple victims who claim that Ghislaine Maxwell was a personal participant in recruiting them for Jeffrey Epstein, that she assisted in the scheduling of appointments, multiple victims being delivered to Epstein on a daily basis over an extended period of time," attorney Jack Scarola, who has represented several of Epstein's alleged victims, told CBS News. "There are allegations that Miss Maxwell was an active participant in the sexual abuse." Maxwell has been described as Epstein's ex-girlfriend and assistant -- his "best friend," according to Epstein, and a socialite who helped connect him with the wealthy and famous.

CBC News
Almost all of the 30 gondola cars attached to the cable crashed to the ground at around 4 a.m. on Saturday, according to staff working overnight.

By Choe Sang-Hun
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Sunday that the two projectiles it fired a day earlier were a new type of missile, making this the third new short-range ballistic missile or rocket system the North has successfully tested in less than a month as Washington struggles to resume talks on denuclearization. The two missiles were launched off North Korea’s east coast on Saturday in its second weapons test in the past week. On Sunday, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency released photographs of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, watching what it called the launching of “another new weapon system.” After scrutinizing the photos, outside analysts said the missiles, fired from a tracked mobile launcher with two missile tubes, were of a type unveiled for the first time. North Korea has conducted five weapons tests since July 25, all of them in violation of United Nations resolutions, according to South Korea. They include a new short-range ballistic missile, known as KN-23 among outside analysts, which they said resembled Russia’s Iskander missile in its flight pattern and other traits. The North also tested a new multiple-tube rocket launcher.

By Carly Read
BODIES of Russian scientists killed following a colossal nuclear radiation explosion have mysteriously vanished, arousing suspicions corpses have been thrown into the sea. In a week of three eerie explosions across scarce landscapes in Russia, the death toll including the five killed in a recent deadly radiation explosion is now 10. But Russia’s nuclear energy cooperation said two of the bodies of five research workers killed in the latest explosion, which took place on Thursday, have been hurled into the sea after they disappeared. The five were killed when a rocket engine test went wrong triggering a biblical explosion caught on camera by a terrified resident that felt it miles away.

Prince Andrew was accused in court documents of touching a young woman’s breast at the Manhattan mansion of Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier now facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York. The allegation was contained within a tranche of just unsealed court papers in a defamation case involving Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and media heiress accused of procuring underage girls for Epstein and his social circle of the rich, famous and powerful. Maxwell was sued by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre in 2015. Giuffre alleged that Maxwell defamed her by claiming she was a liar. Giuffre had also alleged that Epstein coerced her into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew. Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s allegations. In a highly unusual statement issued in 2015, Buckingham Palace said “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue” and explicitly denied Prince Andrew ever had sexual contact with Giuffre. “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with [Giuffre]. The allegations made are false and without any foundation,” the royal household later added. Documents filed by Giuffre’s lawyers cite a deposition of Joanna Sjoberg, who also accused Maxwell of bringing her to Epstein. Sjoberg’s deposition testimony, Giuffre’s lawyers said, described allegations involving Prince Andrew.

By Youyou Zhou
The US-China trade war continues to accelerate. America has put 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, and is slated to add an additional 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion. China currently collects tariffs between 5% and 50% on about $113 billion of US imports. Some worry about the long-term negative effects the trade war could have on the global economy, but in the short term, the bi-lateral tariff fight has brought benefits to many other countries. Quartz analyzed the trade flows of product categories affected by the Chinese and US tariffs. The data show that the winner of the US-China trade war so far is neither the US or China. It’s third-party countries like Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada who have stepped in to the void and found new buyers in the US and China.

by Michael H Fuchs
Asia’s historical, political and economic landmines are increasingly blowing up, and Donald Trump seems intent on accelerating the damage in ways that could threaten US national security and prosperity. Things didn’t always seem so bleak. Analysts have long heralded the coming of the “Asian century”. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and others have transformed from autocracies to democratic members of the G20. Today, nations across Asia are innovative economies, flourishing democracies and contributors to global security. Any measurement of GDP size, military might or population illustrate how Asia could be the most important region in the world in the 21st century. The Hong Kong protests are putting China on a collision course with the west. The future of Asia remains bright, but a crippling array of challenges threatens to upend its potential – and could have an immense impact on the US. Two of the most successful democracies in the region – South Korea and Japan, which are also US allies – are in the midst of a diplomatic brawl. The tensions are being driven by the legacy of Japan’s occupation of South Korea in the first half of the 20th century – which remains a devastatingly potent political issue in both countries – and starkly divergent approaches to the region from the two current leaders. The countries’ militaries have brushed up against one another, a trade war is under way, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in recently, ominously, said: “We will never again lose to Japan.”

Troops fire in the air as thousands rally in Indian-administered Kashmir's main city to denounce region's status change. Indian security forces have fired tear gas and shot live rounds in the air to disperse mass protests in Indian-administered Kashmir's main city as thousands rallied against New Delhi's stripping of the region's autonomy, according to local sources. The protests erupted afternoon prayers on Friday, with thousands of people marching towards the centre of Srinagar ignoring a curfew imposed as part of an unprecedented security lockdown in the disputed region, exclusive footage obtained by Al Jazeera showed. Some demonstrators were carrying black flags and placards saying "We want freedom" and "Abrogation of Article 370 is not acceptable." India's Hindu-nationalist government on Monday revoked Article 370 of India's constitution, limiting the region's decision-making powers and eliminating its right to its own constitution. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also downgraded Indian-administered Kashmir from statehood to two federally administered territories - Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh - ruled directly by New Delhi.

China has ordered the Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific to suspend any staff who support pro-democracy protests in the territory. Beijing's demand coincided with a peaceful rally at Hong Kong's airport, where thousands occupied a terminal. Cathay also faced pressure online after China's state-run press fuelled a #BoycottCathayPacific hashtag, which trended on Chinese social media. Hong Kong has seen weeks of protests over China's control of the territory. The protests began about nine weeks ago over a proposed extradition bill between Hong Kong and mainland China and evolved into demands for greater freedoms. Hong Kong is part of China but its citizens have more autonomy than those on the mainland. It has a free press and judicial independence under the so-called "one country, two systems" approach - freedoms activists fear are being increasingly eroded.

By Molly Rose Pike
A HUGE power cut has hit the UK with trains, Tubes and traffic lights cutting out across the country sparking national chaos. Britain was plunged into darkness at rush hour with large parts of London, the South East, Liverpool, Glasgow, Wales, Gloucestershire and Manchester all without electricity.

The Sun
Russia's President Vladimir Putin was appointed prime minister on August 9, 1999 and has has been in power, either as president or prime minister, ever since. His reign is longer than veteran Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and outstripped only by dictator Josef Stalin. Allies laud Putin as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine. Critics accuse him of overseeing a corrupt authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, a move that isolated Russia internationally. The current presidential term is the fourth for Putin, which he will serve until 2024 when he turns 72.

By Umair Irfan
A new UN report highlights the ways we can use land to respond and adapt to a rapidly warming world. The huge new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on land use is finally out. The conclusions are stark: We are changing the Earth’s lands so drastically that our survival is now threatened. Though the report rounds up the best science on various climate horrors from intensifying heat waves and dust storms to growing food insecurity, it also devotes an entire 300-page chapter to evaluating land-based solutions and responses to climate change and land degradation. Such a sweeping problem means that there are a lot of ways to respond. The IPCC sums it all up in one, big, complicated chart:

Pyongyang is engaging in its own maximum pressure campaign.
By D. Parvaz
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday said Pyongyang’s latest missile test was “an occasion to send an adequate warning” to the United States and South Korea over the joint military exercises that started this week. With the test firing of what are presumed to be ballistic, short-range missiles into the sea on Tuesday, North Korea appears to be embarking on its own maximum pressure campaign — which, at best, is aimed at bringing the Trump administration back to the negotiating table, albeit with less stringent expectations. The test came as Ju Yong Cho, the country’s envoy to the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament, accused the United Sates of “inciting military tension” with its joint military exercises with South Korea. Seoul and Washington, said Ju, “can neither conceal nor whitewash” the “aggressive nature” of their military drills. He made no mention of North Korea’s recent missile tests, the nation’s fourth in the past two weeks.

CBS News
A leaked U.N. report found that North Korea allegedly stole about $2 billion using cyberattacks to fund its weapons program. This comes after the country fired two missiles Tuesday in what leader Kim Jong Un called a "warning" against the U.S. and South Korea for conducting joint military exercises. Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World," joined CBSN to discuss the state of relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

Global News
Police were on scene near the Nelson River in Manitoba on Wednesday and a vehicle left the area carrying what is believed to be the bodies of the two suspects in the B.C. murder cases. The bodies were then taken to two waiting planes where officers loaded two boxes, believed to contain the bodies that police say may be that of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, onto two Winnipeg-bound planes so autopsies can be performed to confirm the identities.

Al Jazeera English
Pakistan has stepped up political pressure on India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. It has expelled the Indian ambassador, downgraded diplomatic relations and suspended bilateral trade. Indian security forces have imposed a clampdown in Indian-administered Kashmir as the union government took away the state's autonomy.

By Ehsan Popalzai, CNN
Kabul (CNN)Fourteen people were killed and 145 injured by a Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan on Wednesday, a spokesman for the country's ministry of interior told CNN. Around 9 a.m. local time, an explosive-laden vehicle targeted the gate of the district 6 police headquarters in Kabul, Nasrat Rahimi said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a media message from spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid.

By David Brunnstrom, Josh Smith
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser John Bolton reminded North Korea on Tuesday of its leader’s pledge to President Donald Trump not to resume launches of intercontinental-range missiles after Pyongyang conducted its fourth short-range missile test in less than two weeks and warned it might pursue “a new road.” Trump and his administration have played down the series of short-range tests since July 25 and on Tuesday U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States would not overreact and would keep the door open to talks. Bolton told Fox News Channel the testing appeared aimed at getting the short-range missiles fully operational and Trump was keeping a close eye on developments. “The president and Kim Jong Un have an understanding that Kim Jong Un is not going to launch longer range, intercontinental range ballistic missiles, and so I think the president is watching this very, very carefully.” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the launch of tactical guided missiles on Tuesday were a warning to the U.S. and South Korea’s joint military drills, state media KCNA said.

US asset freeze is an attack on private property, could bring additional hardship to Venezuelans, vice president says. Venezuela's vice president has called the latest US sanctions freezing the assets of President Nicolas Maduro's government a "global threat" and an attack on private property. Delcy Rodriguez said on Tuesday that "the US has to understand once and for all that they aren't the owners of the world". "Every country that has investments in the US should be very worried because this sets a dangerous precedent against private property," she said. Rodriguez also said the US measures were likely to bring additional hardship to the Venezuelan people, who were already suffering from the effects of hyperinflation and a deep recession. The US move, which follows repeated rounds of sanctions against Maduro, includes the authorisation of penalties against "foreign persons" who provide support for his government, the US national security adviser, John Bolton said on Tuesday. "I want to be clear that this sweeping executive order authorises the US government to identify, target and impose sanctions on any persons who continue to provide support to the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro," said Bolton, at a meeting in Peru's capital Lima to discuss Venezuela's political crisis.

CBS News
Hong Kong protesters condemned police in a rare press conference that came as Beijing is escalating its rhetoric. CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports from Hong Kong.

By Zachary Cohen and Alex Marquardt, CNN
Washington (CNN) - US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has submitted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump and plans to move back home to Utah, according to a source familiar with his thinking. Huntsman's resignation is effective October 3 and there is some speculation that he is planning to run for governor of Utah, a role he previous served in from 2005 to 2009. However, a source close to Huntsman told CNN that decision is still up in the air, saying: "We shall see, it's been a long two years." The decision comes as the Trump administration is also dealing with the departure of Fiona Hill, the top official on Russian affairs at the National Security Council. Hill is expected to leave her post this month meaning the administration will have to replace two of its top Russia hands at the same time. The Salt Lake Tribune was first to report Huntsman's resignation. Huntsman's successor, whoever it may be, will face the difficult task of fulfilling Trump's goal of improving ties with Russia at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over issues including Moscow's annexation of Crimea, election interference and the attempted poisoning of an alleged Russian spy in Britain.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced concerns about Trump's reluctance to impose sanctions on Russia and continued attempts to cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election amid his efforts to improve relations between Washington and Moscow.

By Jordan Weissmann
For what feels like the thousandth time now, China is showing why trade wars are not, as President Donald Trump put it, “good, and easy to win.” Last week, the president decided to ratchet up his confrontation with Beijing, announcing that he would soon impose tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese imports. If he goes forward with the move, essentially all of the goods China sells to the U.S. will face taxes at the border. Now, the People’s Republic is hitting back. Government officials have told state-owned companies to “suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural products,” Bloomberg reported Sunday—a retaliatory move putting further pressure on American farmers that one analyst described as “an 11” on a scale of 1 to 10. And the Chinese aren’t stopping there. The government also allowed its currency to dramatically depreciate during trading Monday, letting it fall to an all-time low in the important offshore market.

By Steven Jiang, CNN Business
Beijing (CNN Business)Chinese companies have halted purchases of US agricultural products, marking the latest escalation of the trade war between the United States and China. The halt in purchases comes in response to the Trump administration's announcement of new tariffs on Chinese imports last week, China's Commerce Ministry said Tuesday morning. The new 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports are set to take effect on September 1. China's Commerce Ministry called the new tariffs a "serious violation of the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders in Osaka." At the June G20 meeting in Osaka, American and Chinese officials had agreed to a cease-fire in the trade war. State media had earlier quoted officials as saying Chinese companies had ordered US agricultural products after the Osaka summit, but some deals fell through due to "competitive pricing." China's State Council Customs Tariff Commission also said Tuesday morning it "will no longer exempt US agricultural products purchased after August 3 from import duties." The latest salvo in the trade war sent global markets plunging Monday. In addition to the halt in American agriculture purchases, China devalued the yuan Monday morning, sparking fear that the United States could retaliate. The US Chamber of Commerce warned last week that new tariffs "will only inflict greater pain on American businesses, farmers, workers and consumers, and undermine an otherwise strong US economy."

by Yun Li
China said Monday that it could slap tariffs on U.S. agricultural products that it bought recently, state-run media Xinhua said. “The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has not ruled out import tariffs on newly purchased US agricultural products after August 3, and Chinese related companies have suspended purchasing US agricultural products,” Xinhua said Monday, according to a Google translation. This is China’s newest threat in retaliation against President Donald Trump’s 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods announced last week. China has allowed its yuan to break through 7 against the dollar for the first time since 2008. “The relevant Chinese authorities indicated that China has a large market capacity and a bright prospect for importing high-quality agricultural products from the United States,” Xinhua said. “However, it is hoped that the US will conscientiously implement the consensus reached at the meeting between the heads of state of China and the US, and have the confidence to implement the commitments to create the necessary conditions for cooperation in the agricultural fields between the two countries,” Xinhua said.

by Michael Sheetz
Wall Street analysts warned investors to brace for the trade war between the United States and China to further intensify, after it ratcheted up over the weekend to a level that Cowen says, “on a scale of 1-10, it’s an 11.” “Overnight, Chinese government retaliated against new U.S. tariffs, and it’s designed to get the President’s attention,” Cowen analyst Chris Krueger said in a note to investors on Monday. A Morgan Stanley team of analysts said “investors should behave as if further escalation will happen in 2019.” If that escalation does come, the firm estimated that a global economy recession will come in the next 9 months. “We take its literal message of planned tariffs quite seriously. There’s a pattern of responding to insufficient negotiation progress with escalation,” Morgan Stanley said. This is “a new and potentially more volatile phase,” Compass Point analyst Isaac Boltansky said, adding that China’s response “marks a pronounced escalation in trade tensions between the world’s largest economies.”

By Jonathan Garber
China isn't backing down in its trade war with the United States. Beijing responded to President Trump's threat to place new tariffs on Chinese goods Opens a New Window. on Monday by letting its currency, the Chinese yuan, sink to the weakest level in over a decade and ordering state-owned companies to reportedly halt their purchases of U.S. agricultural products. The onshore Chinese yuan weakened to worse than seven per U.S. dollar, hitting its lowest level since 2008, as Beijing looks to cushion the blow from Trump's tariffs. A weaker yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper for overseas buyers, which may be necessary as China just lost its spot as the US's biggest trading partner. Trade data released Friday by the Department of Commerce showed U.S. imports from China fell by 12% in the first six months of the year, allowing Mexico to supplant it as the U.S.'s biggest trade partner. "China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low," Trump tweeted Opens a New Window. on Monday. "It’s called “currency manipulation.” Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!"

By Andrey Biryukov
(Bloomberg) -- Russia is acting on a pledge by President Vladimir Putin to shrink the role of dollar in international trade as tensions sour between Washington and Moscow. The shift is part of a strategy to “de-dollarize” the Russian economy and lower its vulnerability to U.S. sanctions. But while the central bank was able to quickly dump half of its dollar holdings last year, progress in trade has been slow due to ingrained use of the greenback for many transactions. The share of euros in Russian exports increased for a fourth straight quarter at the expense of the U.S. currency, according to central bank data. The common currency has almost overtaken the dollar in trade with the European Union and China and trade in rubles with India surged. The dollar’s share in import transactions remained unchanged at about a third. “There’s been a strong incentive to change, not just for Russia but for its trading partners too,” said Dmitry Dolgin, an economist at ING Bank in Moscow. “The European Union is also now facing trade pressure from the U.S.” pushing them to try to reduce dependence on the dollar, he said. The euro came close to replacing the dollar as the currency of choice for Russian exports to the European Union, with its share climbing to 42% in the first quarter from 32% a year earlier. Russia still relies on the dollar for more than half of its $687.5 billion annual trade, though less than 5% of those deals are with the U.S. Part of Russia’s motivation to shift is that companies suffer delays on as much as a third of international payments in dollars because Western companies have to check with the U.S. whether the transactions are allowed, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in December.

By Matthew Rozsa
Here are five irrefutable facts about our president's ties to a foreign adversary
In July 2016, Donald Trump — then still the Republican Party's presidential candidate — openly encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic Party's nominee for the White House. "I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," Trump told a group of reporters assembled reporters at a news conference. As former special counsel Robert Mueller's report made clear, this was not the beginning of Trump's association with Russia — but it was certainly a flashpoint. As it was then, Trump's coziness with the foreign adversary is far from hidden. Who could forget his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018? After meeting with the dictator for two hours in Helsinki, Trump told reporters this: "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today."

In Room 270, the records management unit, on the second floor of an imposing granite and marble courthouse in lower Manhattan, 167 documents totaling more than 2,000 pages are being kept under lock and key. But they are about to be unsealed and made public - making a host of important people around the world, including celebrities, politicians and royals, very nervous. The files contain explosive allegations in the case of Giuffre v Maxwell, in which Virginia Giuffre, a woman who claims to have been Jeffrey Epstein's teenage "sex slave", sued Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and the billionaire's former girlfriend, for defamation. The case was settled in May 2017 on the eve of the trial but the details were not disclosed and the final judgment and supporting documents were sealed, with the court noting the "highly sensitive nature of the underlying allegations."

By Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Another foreign oil tanker was seized in the Persian Gulf, Iran's state media said Sunday – the third such ship to be detained by Tehran amid high tensions between Iran and the U.S. after Washington renewed sanctions on Iran's oil exports. Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced it detained the ship's foreign crew for smuggling 700,000 liters – about 185,000 gallons – of fuel from Iran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency, which cited state television. Seven sailors were detained.

By Rajesh Kumar Singh
CHICAGO (Reuters) - With U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday of tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese imports, nearly all goods from China will be subject to import taxes, and Trump says they generate billions of dollars in revenues for the U.S. Treasury from China. But that is not how tariffs work. China’s government and companies in China do not pay U.S. tariffs directly. Tariffs are a tax on imported products and are paid by U.S.-registered firms to U.S. customs when goods enter the United States. Importers often pass the costs of tariffs on to customers - manufacturers and consumers in the United States - by raising their prices. U.S. business executives and economists say U.S. consumers foot much of the tariff bill. That was why, immediately after Trump announced his decision, U.S. retailers blasted the move as “another tax increase on American businesses and consumers,” which they warned would threaten U.S. jobs and raise costs for American families. The new levies will hit a wide swath of consumer goods from cell phones and laptop computers to toys and footwear.

Bloomberg Politics
Aug.01 -- President Donald Trump abruptly escalated his trade war with China, announcing that he would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports that aren’t yet subject to U.S. duties after setbacks in negotiations with Beijing. Bloomberg's Shawn Donnan reports on "Bloomberg Markets: The Close."

As ban comes into force, hospitals and public transport sector say they will not deny services to burqa-clad women. The Netherlands has banned face-covering clothing, such as a burqa or niqab, in public buildings and on transport, as a contentious law on the garment worn by some Muslim women came into force. Between 100 and 400 women are estimated to wear a burqa or niqab in the European country of 17 million people. "From now on the wearing of clothing which covers the face is banned in educational facilities, public institutions and buildings, as well as hospitals and public transport," the Dutch interior ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The legislation - which was passed in June last year after more than a decade of political debate on the subject - also applies to other face coverings such as full-face helmets or balaclavas. Security officials are now required to tell people with face-covering clothing to show their faces. If they refuse, they can be denied access to public buildings and fined 150 euros ($165).  

By Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst
(CNN)Recent intelligence indicates that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has a "heart complaint," according to a senior official involved in international counterterrorism efforts. The official said the information suggests Zawahiri had a potentially serious condition but cautioned it was difficult to ascertain the severity of his health problems and what effect they might have on his longevity. The possibility that Zawahiri, who just turned 68, is seriously ill increases uncertainty over al Qaeda's long-term leadership succession plans. Osama bin Laden's son Hamza bin Laden had been widely tipped to one day take over command of al Qaeda but a US official told CNN on Wednesday that the US now believes that he is dead. Zawahiri's health was also referenced in a UN monitoring report that was circulated this summer to the Security Council. Citing "member state information," the report noted Zawahiri was "reported to be in poor health." It stated that although "Al-Qaida remains resilient" the "health and longevity of its leader ... and how the succession will work are in doubt." Zawahiri has continued to frequently appear in al Qaeda videos and was last heard from last month. There were no obvious signs that he has a serious health condition in these videos. The US still sees al Qaeda as a major threat and a US intelligence assessment on the terror group released in January stated that senior leaders are "strengthening the network's global command structure" as part of its effort to inspire and encourage attacks against the West. The group's "command and control is agile, active and able to respond," one US official who tracks the group told CNN earlier this year.

By Alex Ward
Experts say that would be a huge mistake, but the possibility can’t be discounted. Chinese political and military leaders this week have made a series of statements and possible moves that could foreshadow a future bloody outcome: Beijing’s forces intervening in Hong Kong.  After taking over Hong Kong in a war in the 1800s, Britain returned it to China in 1997 with an important stipulation: The city would partly govern itself for 50 years before fully falling under Beijing’s control. So until 2047, the expectation was that the city and the mainland would operate under the principle known as “one country, two systems.” But Beijing clearly isn’t waiting that long, and critics say it’s imposing its will on the semiautonomous city via a puppet government. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy citizens have protested those and other moves peacefully since the early summer, but in recent weeks, demonstrators and the city’s authorities have used violence to make their points. Mainland China hasn’t taken kindly to the unrest, which it views as deeply threatening to its power. China’s political leadership and law enforcement officials don’t like anyone protesting the government in Beijing and have no tolerance for democratic movements. It’s no wonder, then, that Beijing has talked tough since protests began. But now it seems Chinese authorities may be speaking a little too tough these days.

By elizabeth mclaughlin
North Korea has fired at least one projectile into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News. The official said that the projectile is similar to the two launched by North Korea earlier this week which were assessed to be short-range ballistic missiles. The South Korean Joint Chiefs also later confirmed the launch of unknown short-range projectiles at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 from South Hamgyong Province into the East Sea.  This is the third launch by North Korea in the last two weeks alone. U.S. officials have said these launches appear to be North Korea's protest to joint U.S.-ROK military exercises set to begin later this month. Thursday's launch was first reported by CNN.

By Scott Neuman
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at new U.S. sanctions imposed on the country's foreign minister, calling the Trump administration move "childish." On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, blocking him from doing business with Americans and restricting his access to any property he might have in U.S. jurisdictions. The move is seen as part of the administration's ratcheting up of pressure on Iran amid increased tensions between the two countries. "They have started doing childish things," Rouhani said in a speech in the western city of Tabriz, in Azerbaijan province, according to The Associated Press. "Every day they claim: 'We want to negotiate with Iran, without any pre-conditions.' And then they put sanctions on the country's foreign minister," Rouhani said. In announcing the sanctions on Zarif, Mnuchin said the foreign minister "spreads the regime's propaganda and disinformation." "Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran's Supreme Leader, and is the regime's primary spokesperson around the world," the treasury secretary said in a statement. "The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable." Administration officials did not say whether the sanctions would prevent Zarif from visiting the United Nations in New York.

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Britain on Thursday ruled out exchanging an Iranian tanker detained by Gibraltar for a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf. “We are not going to barter: if people or nations have detained UK-flagged illegally then the rule of law and rule of international law must be upheld,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said while on a trip to Bangkok. “We are not going to barter a ship that was detained legally with a ship that was detained illegally: that’s not the way that Iran will come in from the cold,” he said. “So I am afraid some kind of barter or haggle or linkage is not on the table.”

On July 25, the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a team of investigative bloggers) reported that a Russian Defense Ministry exhibition contradicted claims the ministry made in 2015 and 2016, denying it used cluster munitions in Syria. The CIT had already debunked these denials using footage provided by Russian state media and the Defense Ministry in early 2016. This time, however, the Defense Ministry is tacitly admitting it has used the controversial weapon in Syria. At the Russian Defense Ministry’s “Patriot Park,” located near Moscow, there is a pavilion dedicated to the weapons Russian forces have used in Syria. CIT members visited the exhibition and found RBK-500 and RBK-500 ShOAB-0.5 cluster bombs on display. In January 2016, CIT published its first report debunking the Russian denials about cluster bombs. Most of the footage came directly from Russian state media like Sputnik, RT and Ruptly. In one case, RT reporter and TV host Murad Gazdiev tweeted a video of a Russian Su-34 taking off, loaded with RBK-500 SPBE-D cluster bombs. Armed #ruaf su-34 taxis just before takeoff. Lots of new video will be up on RT/Ruptly soon. #syria pic.twitter.com/TNTR7L4x5T

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - U.S. embassy officials in Cambodia can leave if they do not like it there, a Cambodian government spokesman said on Thursday, following criticism by U.S. diplomats that the Southeast Asian nation’s 2018 election was deeply flawed. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CCP) won all 125 parliamentary seats in the election last year that rights groups said was neither free nor fair following the dissolution of the main opposition party. In a Facebook post on Tuesday marking a year since the vote, the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, said the election had “failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people”. U.S. officials should not make such “barbaric comments”, government spokesman Phay Siphan said in response. “Although we are friends, if these officials don’t like Cambodia, they should pack up and leave. Let me be clear: We don’t welcome you,” Siphan told a regular news conference on Thursday. Siphan said he was referring to a Twitter posting last month by U.S. President Donald Trump telling four ethnic minority Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

By Erin Banco - National Security Reporter, Asawin Suebsaeng - White House Reporter
But somehow, the administration is turning to dovish Rand Paul to work with Iran, too. President Trump wants a new deal with Iran to replace the nuclear agreement he pulled out of, and he’s turning to one of his most hawkish confidants to help do it. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is working in close coordination with senior Trump administration officials who focus on Middle East policy to find an alternative to the Obama administration’s Iran deal, four people with knowledge of the efforts tell The Daily Beast. Part of that effort includes fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials, two of those sources said. Graham’s developing role in the Trump administration’s Iran strategy comes as the State Department, Department of Defense, and other government agencies try to manage the delicate relationship between Washington and Tehran. The two countries have engaged in tit-for-tat escalations over the last several months, feeding fears on Capitol Hill that the two countries are on a crash course that could likely end in a direct military conflict. The situation has worsened in recent weeks, with the Trump administration accusing Iran of attacking tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz, which it heavily patrols.

By John Bowden
A North Korean soldier crossed the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) late Wednesday night and defected to South Korean forces, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday. The Washington Post reported that the unidentified soldier made the crossing just before midnight, and was detained along the Imjin River by South Korean forces. "A South Korean soldier on guard duty first found an unidentified object floating in the river via thermal observation devices, which was later confirmed as a person. The military then took him safely into custody in accordance with due protocol," an official told Yonhap News Agency. "The man is an active-duty soldier, and he expressed his desire to defect to the South. Related procedures are underway," the official added. It was unclear whether the man was injured during his successful escape, as another North Korean soldier was in 2017 when he led soldiers on a dramatic chase during his successful defection attempt while being shot several times.

By Cate Cadell, Patpicha Tanakasempipat
BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized China’s actions in Asia after meeting his Chinese counterpart for the first time this year amid political tension between the two countries. Pompeo spoke out against Chinese “coercion” of Southeast Asian neighbors in disputes over the South China Sea and its dam-building on the Mekong River. His comments highlighted the U.S. divide with China at a meeting in Bangkok of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After meeting China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, Pompeo said both countries wanted to improve ties that have soured on issues ranging from trade, U.S. sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Taiwan and the busy South China Sea waterway.

By Associated Press
The missile hit in the city's neighborhood of Breiqa where a military parade was underway by forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates. ADEN, Yemen — Rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile Thursday at a military parade in the southern port city of Aden and coordinated suicide bombings targeted a police station in another part of the city, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens, officials said. The missile hit in the city's neighborhood of Breiqa where a military parade was underway by forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015 in support of Yemen's internationally recognized government. Since the rebels seized the country's capital, Sanaa, in 2014, Aden has served as the temporary seat of the government. The parade was taking place in the pro-coalition al-Galaa camp, said a security official, without give a breakdown for the casualties.

Bipartisan bill seeks New Start extension– the last formal restraint on the world’s major arsenals. Bipartisan Senate legislation introduced on Wednesday aims to change the administration’s course on nuclear arms control, urging Donald Trump to extend the New Start treaty with Russia or provide justification for allowing it to expire. Trump has already pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia, which is due to end on Friday. That would leave New Start, which limits strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the US and Russia to 1,550 each, as the last formal restraint on the world’s major arsenals and its demise is widely seen as the potential death of arms control. Trump has been dismissive of the treaty, signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2010. The national security advisor, John Bolton, said it was “unlikely to be extended” when it expires in February 2021. Trump is provoking a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. What could go wrong? “Why extend the flawed system just to say you have a treaty?” Bolton asked rhetorically at a rally of young conservatives on Tuesday.

By Manveena Suri, CNN
New Delhi (CNN) - A 7-year-old boy complaining of jaw pain was found to have 526 teeth inside his mouth, according to the hospital in India where he was treated. The boy was admitted last month in the southern city of Chennai because of swelling and pain near his molars in his lower right jaw. When doctors scanned and x-rayed his mouth, they found a sac embedded in his lower jaw filled with "abnormal teeth," Dr. Prathiba Ramani, the head of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, told CNN. While the surgery to remove the teeth took place last month, doctors needed time to individually examine each tooth before they could confirm their findings. After discovering the sac, two surgeons removed it from the boy's mouth. Then Ramani's team took four to five hours to empty the sac to confirm its contents and discovered the hundreds of teeth.

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