China says to suspend extra tariffs on US cars, parts

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China announced Friday it will suspend extra tariffs added to US-made cars and auto parts for three months starting on January 1 as part of the trade war truce with the United States. Beijing raised tariffs on American-made cars and auto parts this summer by 25 percent in retaliation for US tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. “Suspension of the tariffs is a concrete measure to implement the consensus reached […]

US-backed forces expel IS from east Syria hub

  by Rouba EL HUSSEINI Agence France Prese BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Kurdish-led forces seized the Islamic State’s main hub of Hajin Friday, a milestone in a massive and costly US-backed operation to eradicate the jihadists from eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces secured Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by IS, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “After a week of heavy fighting and air strikes, […]

Protests in Japan as work to relocate US base resumes

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan on Friday resumed work to relocate a controversial US military airbase in Okinawa, prompting protests and “strong anger” from the local governor. Okinawa residents have for years called for the relocation of a US base in a populated part of the southern island, but they want it moved elsewhere in the country, rather than to the remote site on Okinawa favored by the government. “I can’t help but feel […]

13 feared dead in flooded Indian ‘rat hole’ mine

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — At least 13 miners were feared dead after being trapped by flooding in an illegal “rat hole” coal mine site in remote northeastern India, police said Friday. Dozens of emergency workers were pumping water out of a large trench that was flooded early Thursday near a river in mineral-rich Meghalaya state. “We are doing our best to reach out to them. Our information is 13 people were inside at the […]

‘Peace is possible’ in Yemen: US State Department

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday praised UN-brokered talks aiming to end Yemen’s devastating conflict, saying “peace is possible.” “The work ahead will not be easy, but we have seen what many considered improbable begin to take shape,” he said in a statement released hours after Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a ceasefire in the vital port of Hodeida on the final day of peace talks. “The United […]

Ankara train crash leaves nine dead, 86 injured

by Raziye Akkoc and Luana Sarmini-Buonaccorsi Agence France Presse ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) — Nine people were killed and nearly 90 injured after a high-speed train crashed into a locomotive in the Turkish capital on Thursday, officials said, becoming the latest rail disaster to hit the country. The accident comes less than six months after 24 people were killed in a train crash in northwestern Turkey in a series of several fatal accidents in recent years. […]

Five foreigners arrested in Bali drug sweep

  DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) — Five foreigners have been arrested in Bali for drug trafficking, authorities said Thursday, with a German and Peruvian possibly facing execution if convicted under Indonesia’s strict drug laws. The accused smugglers — also including a Chinese, a Malaysian and a Briton — were arrested separately over the past two weeks, Bali police said. The arrests come less than a month after the first member of the Bali Nine heroin-trafficking gang […]

N. Korea food production down in 2018: UN body

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Food production has fallen this year in isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Rice and maize are the North’s main staples, but rice output was expected to be below average because of erratic rains and low irrigation supplies, the FAO said in its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Unfavorable weather conditions also diminished maize yields, it added. As a result, the country […]

Huawei executive gets bail in case rattling China ties

by Deborah JONES / with Michel Comte in Ottawa and Laurent Thomet in Beijing Agence France-Presse VANCOUVER, Canada (AFP) — A Canadian court has granted bail to a top Chinese telecom company executive wanted in the United States, as diplomatic tensions turned to the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, was released on Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail on Tuesday in a case that has […]

Koreas verify removal of frontline bunkers

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Soldiers from North and South Korea are set to verify the dismantlement of guard posts in the demilitarized zone Wednesday, Seoul said, after crossing into each other’s territory peacefully for the first time. The removal of 20 posts along the heavily-fortified frontier was one of the steps agreed at a September summit between the South’s President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, part of a […]

Thousands flee bombs and hunger in eastern Syria

by Delil Souleiman Agence France Presse AL-HOL, Syria (AFP) — Faraj was born in the pouring rain on a nondescript stretch of desert road in eastern Syria as his family fled escalating fighting over the Islamic State group’s last bastion. His family was part of a group of around 200 civilians who managed to escape from a pocket of territory in Deir Ezzor province that is still held by the jihadists. “I had to resist […]

US energy secretary meets Saudi counterpart after OPEC cuts

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia’s energy minister held talks Monday with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, after the kingdom and its allies defied US pressure to cut oil production in a bid to prop up prices. They discussed the “state of the oil market” and energy cooperation between the two countries during a meeting in eastern Dhahran city, the minister, Khalid al-Falih, said on Twitter. Perry tweeted that he discussed the need for […]