Trump plans US exit from international postal treaty

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it plans to withdraw from an international treaty on postal rates in another moved aimed at pressuring China amid broader trade and political disputes. The United States intends to exit the system of setting postal rates for smaller packages under the Universal Postal Union “as soon as practical” and no later than Jan. 1, 2020, said a statement released by the White House press […]

Mattis to visit toxic Agent Orange site in Vietnam

by Thomas WATKINS Agence France Presse HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (AFP) — The toxic legacy of the Vietnam War will come under the spotlight again Wednesday when US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits a former storage site for Agent Orange, which is blamed for birth defects and cancers among a million Vietnamese. US forces used what is now the Bien Hoa airport outside Ho Chi Minh City as one of the main staging grounds […]

G7 calls for ‘transparent’ probe in Khashoggi case

OTTAWA, United States (AFP) — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven called Tuesday for a “transparent” probe into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and regime critic, saying they were “very troubled” by the case. Jamal Khashoggi, an insider turned critic of the conservative monarchy, was last seen on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort out marriage paperwork. “We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, […]

Two pilots killed in Ukraine fighter jet crash: military

KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — Ukraine’s military said Tuesday that two pilots died when a Sukhoi fighter jet crashed during military exercises with the United States and other NATO countries. The Sukhoi-27 plane crashed at around 5:00 pm local time (1400 GMT) “during a training flight”, the army general staff said on its Facebook page, adding that “the bodies of the two pilots have been found”. The circumstances of the crash are being investigated, the statement […]

US sets new trade talks with EU, Japan, Britain

by Delphine TOUITOU Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US officials announced Tuesday negotiations for separate trade agreements with Britain, the European Union and Japan as part of efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to rebalance global commerce. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the administration notified Congress of its intent to negotiate the three separate trade agreements. “We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, […]

Top US senators scold Riyadh, vow action over Khashoggi debacle

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — An influential US Senate ally of President Donald Trump pledged Tuesday that Congress would take decisive action against Saudi Arabia over a missing writer, calling for the ouster of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told “Fox and Friends,” one of the president’s favorite news broadcasts. Graham, discussing the feared killing […]

Trump says ‘100 percent’ sure to seek reelection

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Not that there was much doubt, but President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he is sure to seek a second term in 2020. “Yes, 100 percent,” Trump told Fox Business television in an interview due to air later in the day. Trump upended politics as usual in the United States with his shock 2016 victory over Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton. Even before upsetting predictions of an easy Clinton win, Trump […]

Koreas and UN Command discuss demilitarizing border

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — The two Koreas and the US-led United Nations Command held talks Tuesday on demilitarizing a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula, as a diplomatic thaw gathers pace. “The three parties examined the progress in removing landmines at the Joint Security Area (JSA)…and discussed other practical matters regarding steps toward disarming the area,” Seoul’s defense ministry said in a statement. The JSA, also known as the truce […]

Pompeo in Saudi for crisis talks on missing journalist

  by Shaun Tandon Agence France Presse RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — US top diplomat Mike Pompeo was in Saudi Arabia for urgent talks with King Salman Tuesday seeking answers about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, amid US media reports the kingdom may be mulling an admission he died during a botched interrogation. “Rogue killers” could be to blame for the disappearance of Khashoggi, who has not been seen since he walked into the […]

Koreas and UN Command begin talks on demilitarizing border

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — The two Koreas and the US-led United Nations Command began talks Tuesday on demilitarising a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula, as a diplomatic thaw gathers pace. “The first meeting between the South, North and the UNC on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) will take place at 10am today at Panmunjom,” Seoul’s defense ministry said in a message sent to reporters. The JSA, also known as […]

‘Calm before storm’ as Asian stocks drift higher

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Asian shares drifted marginally higher on Tuesday following another volatile session on Wall Street but a perfect storm of risks hovering over the global economy curbed investors’ enthusiasm. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng market led the gains, rising by half a percentage point, while equities in Japan scraped into positive territory after suffering stiff losses the previous day. Chinese stocks opened essentially flat while markets in Australia and South Korea were […]

Australia mulling embassy move to Jerusalem: PM

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia is considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Tuesday, following the lead of US President Donald Trump. Morrison called a press conference to say he was “open-minded” to proposals to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move his nation’s embassy to the holy city, a sharp break with the policy of successive Australian governments for decades. “We’re committed […]