North America

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, […]

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 […]

Trump questions climate change during hurricane damage tour

by Saul LOEB Agence France Presse PANAMA CITY, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump on Monday met with victims of Hurricane Michael in devastated areas of Florida and Georgia but again cast doubt on the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity. Flying in the Marine One presidential helicopter over Florida’s Mexico Beach, one of the towns worst hit by the Category 4 storm, Trump surveyed uprooted trees and rows of […]

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies of cancer: family

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Billionaire Paul Allen, who founded US software giant Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s, died Monday after his latest battle with cancer. He was 65. “My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” Allen’s sister Jody said in a statement. “Paul’s family and […]

Harvard on trial over alleged discrimination against Asians

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Harvard University went on trial Monday over an opaque admissions selection process that critics say discriminates against Asian students. A lawsuit has challenged the use of race as a factor in Harvard admissions — a decades-old push to boost minority enrollments at America’s oldest and perhaps most prestigious university. Federal Judge Allison Dale Burroughs heard opening arguments in the non-jury civil trial in Boston expected to last three weeks. […]

Bezos defends Amazon effort for Pentagon cloud project

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Amazon chief Jeff Bezos on Monday defended the company’s bid for a major Pentagon cloud computing contract, saying it was important to support US defense efforts even if unpopular. “This is a great country and it does need to be defended,” Bezos said onstage during a question-and-answer session at the Wired 25th Anniversary conference in San Francisco. Bezos was asked about his position on defense contracts after Google dropped […]

Rescue teams in Florida search for survivors in hurricane-devastated Mexico Beach

by Cyril JULIEN Agence France Presse MEXICO BEACH, United States (AFP) — Carefully, the search and rescue team examines what is left of a house devastated by Hurricane Michael when it blasted through this small waterfront community days earlier. Wearing a hard hat and with a hammer in hand, chief Dobson, one of several hundred people searching for survivors in the ruins of Mexico Beach, gingerly climbs the rickety stairs to Number 2603. “Fire rescue, […]

US prosecutor pushes for legal change after clergy abuse report

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor has appealed to legislators to “do the right thing” and change state law so that civil cases can be pursued in court in decades-old clergy abuse cases. Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke Friday at the court complex outside Philadelphia where Bill Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. A state grand jury in August found that some 300 Roman Catholic priests had sexually abused children […]

In photos: Scenes of destruction after hurricane Michael hits Florida

  Mexico Beach used to be a little beach town of about 1,000 people, popular with vacationing families and retirees. But Michael changed it all, wiping away everything in a stretch of 100 yards or so between the beach and the coastal highway. Wooden beach bungalows that were built without foundations were simply swept away, leaving empty lots. Remnants of everyday life — sinks, washing machines, bikes — are scattered all over the muddy ground. […]