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 […]

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 […]

May faces angry MPs with Brexit deal in limbo

by Dario THUBURN Agence France Presse LONDON, United States (AFP) — Prime Minister Theresa May faces an angry parliament Wednesday after delaying a key vote on her Brexit deal in a desperate move that leaves the agreement and her own future in limbo. The British leader toured European capitals on Tuesday in an attempt to salvage the deal, after MPs savaged its provisions on the issue of the Irish border. May said she wanted “assurances” […]

Waste plant fire stokes Italy garbage crisis

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Twelve teams of firefighters battled Tuesday to put out a vast fire at a garbage dump in Rome as critics slammed the capital’s beleaguered waste manager and warned of chaos to come. The odor of burning refuse wafted across the historic center as the blaze, which began overnight, crept steadily from the site in the north-east of the city. City hall said it had called the national civil protection agency and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Death toll in Strasbourg market shooting rises to 4: mayor

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) — Four people were killed and 12 more injured by a gunman who opened fire at a busy market in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Tuesday, the city’s mayor told AFP. Three or four of the injured are in critical condition, Mayor Roland Ries said. A manhunt was underway after the assailant managed to flee after exchanging shots with security forces patrolling the area at around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT). © Agence France-Presse

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 […]

Canadian judge grants bail to Huawei exec

VANCOUVER, Canada (AFP) — A Canadian judge granted bail Tuesday to a top Huawei executive after her arrest on a US warrant, in a case that has frayed relations between the North American allies and China. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is wanted by US authorities for violating Iran sanctions but Beijing has expressed outrage over her detention and is holding a former Canadian diplomat in China, intensifying the row. “The risk of (Meng’s) non-attendance […]

Canadian ex-diplomat held in China: Trudeau, think tank

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — A Canadian, believed to be a former diplomat, has been detained in China, prompting concern in Ottawa and Washington, as Beijing fumes over the arrest of a senior technology executive. “We are aware of the situation of a Canadian detained in China. We have been in direct contact with the Chinese,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, adding that Ottawa was taking his arrest “very seriously.” The International Crisis Group earlier […]

Strasbourg shooting suspect was due to be arrested Tuesday morning: source close to probe

PARIS, France (AFP) — The suspect who killed at least two people and injured 11 at Strasbourg’s market on Tuesday was due to be arrested by police earlier in the day over a separate attempted murder, a source close to the investigation said. Police said the suspected gunman was known to authorities and was on France’s “S” watchlist of suspected extremists. © Agence France-Presse