North America

Washington careens toward government shutdown with no deal in sight

by Michael Mathes Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — An intensifying spending standoff sent US lawmakers scrambling Monday to avert a partial government shutdown, with Republican and Democratic leaders deadlocked over President Donald Trump’s demands for border wall funding. As Washington barreled toward a shuttering of key federal agencies in just four days, the White House appeared dug in on Trump’s call for Congress to budget $5 billion in 2019 to fund a […]

Saudi Arabia slams US Senate vote as ‘interference’

  RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia on Sunday rejected as “interference” a US Senate resolution to end American military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen, and another holding its crown prince responsible for the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi. “The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate that was built on untrue allegations and affirms a total rejection of any interference in its internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said in […]

N. Korea hits latest US sanctions, says these may ‘block path to denuclearization’

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korea has condemned the United States over its latest sanctions measures, warning the policy could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever”. The warning from the North on Sunday came days after the US said it was imposing sanctions on three senior North Korean officials over human rights abuses. The sanctioned officials include Choe Ryong Hae, who has been considered a right-hand man to leader […]

US judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal

  by Carlos HAMANN Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A federal judge in Texas ruled late Friday that the US health care law known as Obamacare is unconstitutional — a ruling that opposition Democrats vowed to appeal. US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s 55-page ruling came in a lawsuit filed by several Republican state attorneys general opposed to the federal government health plan, known officially as the Affordable Care Act. Conservative Republicans have […]

Sandy Hook school evacuated over threat on anniversary of gun massacre

(AFP) — US elementary school Sandy Hook, the scene of a horrific shooting that left 26 children and teachers dead, was evacuated Friday after receiving a bomb threat on the sixth anniversary of the massacre. A police spokesman from Newton, Connecticut told AFP all of the students were evacuated without incident. A police search of the premises did not turn up an explosive device, though school administrators closed the institution for the day as a […]

With tech exec arrest, Canada squeezed between China, US

by Jacques LEMIEUX Agence France Presse MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) — The arrest of a top Chinese tech executive at the request of the US has snared Canada in the middle of a major international dispute involving Beijing and Washington. Ottawa confirmed on Thursday that China had detained two Canadian nationals under what Beijing has said is suspicion of threatening its national security. That came nearly two weeks after the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, […]

US believes Chinese intelligence behind Marriott hack

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States said Wednesday that China was behind the massive hack of data from hotel giant Marriott, part of an ongoing global campaign of cyber-theft run by Beijing. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed to Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program that the government believes China masterminded the Marriott data theft. “They have committed cyber attacks across the world,” he told the show. “We consider them a strategic competitor. […]

Second Canadian being questioned by China: FM Freeland

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday a second Canadian was being questioned by China, after Beijing earlier this week notified Ottawa it had detained a former Canadian diplomat. “We are aware of a Canadian who got in touch with us because he was being asked questions by Chinese authorities,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told a press conference. Freeland offered few details, but added her ministry had not been able to make […]

Pompeo urges UN to get tough on Iran missiles

by Philippe RATER / with Shaun Tandon in Washington Agence France Presse UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged the United Nations to tighten restrictions on Iran’s missiles, which he warned could strike US allies, but other powers called instead for dialogue. Pompeo headed to New York for a Security Council meeting on Iran, which recently confirmed a medium-range ballistic missile test, arguing it is legal and […]

Publisher who suppressed story of Trump affair given immunity

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they have granted immunity to a publisher who paid $150,000 to a Playboy model to prevent her from going public with her claim to have had an affair with Donald Trump. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said it had reached a “non-prosecution agreement” with American Media Inc (AMI), publisher of the tabloid the National Enquirer. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael […]

Eight dead in fireworks blast at Mexico church

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A massive fireworks explosion during a procession at a Mexican church killed eight people Tuesday and left some 50 wounded, authorities said. Two children aged 11 and 12 were among those killed in the accident, which occurred around dawn at the San Jose parish atrium in Tequisquiapan, some 145 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Mexico City. Parishioners had donated the fireworks for a festival, but “something went wrong and they […]

Trump appeals asylum ban to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court Tuesday to allow him to enforce a ban on granting asylum to illegal immigrants, after suffering two lower court setbacks. The Justice Department told the high court that the ban, announced by Trump on November 11, needed to be enforced immediately to deter thousands of Central Americans now at the US southern border from crossing into the country illegally in search of […]