Trump tests his electoral power in Louisiana governor’s fight

BOSSIER CITY, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump campaigned on Thursday for the Republican challenger in the Louisiana governor’s race, in what is seen as a test of his own political vitality as he battles an impeachment inquiry. Addressing a rally in Bossier City, Trump urged a crowd of thousands whose votes he will depend on for his own re-election bid next year to “send a message” by electing Republican Eddie Rispone on […]

ICC authorizes probe into alleged Myanmar Rohingya abuse

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — The International Criminal Court on Thursday approved a long-awaited full investigation into Myanmar’s alleged abuse of Rohingya Muslims, including crimes against humanity and persecution. The Hague-based war crimes court said in a statement it “authorized the prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction” relating to Myanmar. The probe will look at allegations of “systematic acts of violence”, deportation as a crime against humanity, […]

China’s Xi warns Hong Kong protesters jeopardise ‘one country, two systems’

by Yan ZHAO / Catherine LAI HONG KONG, China (AFP) — China’s President Xi Jinping warned Thursday that protests in Hong Kong threaten the “one country, two systems” principle governing the semi-autonomous city that has tipped into worsening violence with two dead in a week. Hong Kong has been ruled by a unique system guaranteeing greater freedoms than on the mainland since its handover from British rule to China in 1997. But protests, which began […]

UPDATED: Two killed in California school shooting, teen in custody

by Frederic J. BROWN with Andrew MARSZAL in Los Angeles SANTA CLARITA, United States (AFP) —  A teenage boy gunned down fellow students at a California high school on his 16th birthday Thursday, killing two and wounding another three before turning the pistol on himself. The gunman was taken into custody in “grave” condition, police said, as officers stormed Saugus High School in Santa Clarita — the latest in a relentless cycle of classroom shootings […]

2 top US diplomats testify vs Trump in impeachment probe

  by Chris Lefkow Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Two top US diplomats delivered gripping testimony Wednesday about Donald Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, as the impeachment inquiry into the president shifted into a new phase of high-stakes televised hearings. Trump dismissed the probe in the Democratic-led House of Representatives as a “witch hunt” and said he was “too busy” to watch the first […]

Climate change, corruption blamed for Venice flood devastation

  by Ella IDE Agence France Presse VENICE, Italy (AFP) — Much of Venice was left under water after the highest tide in 50 years ripped through the historic Italian city, beaching gondolas, trashing hotels and sending tourists fleeing through rapidly rising waters. The government in Rome was expected to declare a state of emergency at a cabinet meeting on Thursday after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as “a blow to the heart […]

Hong Kong protesters fire arrows at cops and choke city for fourth day

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Pro-democracy protesters challenging China’s rule of Hong Kong on Thursday choked the city for a fourth straight working day, firing arrows at police, barricading roads and disrupting transport links, as schools and businesses closed. The territory has entered its sixth month of protests, which have morphed from mass rallies into a “blossom everywhere” campaign of debilitating disruption by groups of black-clad mainly student demonstrators. Key arterial roads were clogged by […]

Death toll in Australia bushfires rises to four

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — The death toll from devastating bushfires in eastern Australia has risen to four after a man’s body was discovered in a scorched area of bushland, police said Thursday. Residents found the body outside the New South Wales town of Kempsey, one of several areas hit by bushfires in recent days. Police said formal identification was yet to take place but it was believed to be the body of a 58-year-old man […]

Bolsonaro: China part of Brazil’s future

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China is increasingly part of Brazil’s future, President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday, signaling a more pragmatic approach to the Latin American country’s biggest trade partner. Standing alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, Bolsonaro said he hoped the two countries could not only increase but also “diversify our trade relations.” “China is becoming more and more part of Brazil’s future,” Bolsonaro said after the two men signed […]

Trump dodges US-Turkey rows to focus on Erdogan friendship

by Sebastian Smith WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday sidestepped rows snaring US relations with fellow NATO member Turkey, instead of telling visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he is a “fan.” On a day when Congress was holding its first nationally televised hearings in the impeachment probe against Trump, the US president spent several hours meeting at the White House with Erdogan and claimed to be paying no attention to […]

Air pollution shuts schools in Iran’s capital

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Schools in Tehran were ordered to be closed on Wednesday after the Iranian capital was cloaked in dangerously high levels of air pollution, authorities said. Governor Anoushiravan Mohseni-Bandpey said kindergartens, preschools, and primary schools would be shut in the city and the counties of Gharchak, Pishva and Varamin. “The air quality index for the city of Tehran still has not passed the unhealthy status for sensitive groups,” he was quoted as […]

Helicopter crashes during Australia bushfire operation

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A helicopter crashed while fighting a bushfire in northern Australia on Wednesday and the pilot managed to survive with only minor injuries, officials said. “The helicopter crashed during waterbombing operations at the Pechey fire today,” a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokesperson told AFP. A rescue helicopter was sent to the scene and the pilot was treated for minor injuries, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman told AFP. “We transported one male […]