US warns UN of ‘clear threat’ from Iran after tanker attacks

by Carole LANDRY UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The United States called Thursday for the UN Security Council to confront a “clear threat” posed by Tehran, after Washington said Iran was behind an attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The council met behind closed doors to hear US acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen present a briefing on Washington’s assessment that Iran was responsible for the suspected attack on two tankers in the […]

Trump announces exit of ‘warrior’ spokeswoman Sarah Sanders

WASHINGTON D.C. (AFP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday made the surprise announcement of the departure of spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who has been widely criticized for her performance in the White House. Trump announced her exit in a tweet and did not name a replacement. “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas,” Trump he said, adding that […]

Federal watchdog: White House should sack Trump aide Conway

WASHINGTON D.C. (AFP) — A US watchdog agency recommended Thursday that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired, saying the close aide to President Donald Trump repeatedly violated a law restricting political activity during her official work. The White House swiftly responded by calling the process “blatantly unfair” and demanding the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) retract its “outrageous” recommendation. In the finding sent to the president, the OSC said Conway has engaged in a […]

Iran ‘responsible’ for Gulf of Oman attacks: Pompeo

WASHINGTON D.C. (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, and said it was taking the case to the UN Security Council. “It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks,” Pompeo told reporters. “This is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the […]

Police face mounting brutality claims after Hong Kong clashes

by Helen ROXBURGH Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Their motto has been “Asia’s Finest” since colonial times, but videos of Hong Kong police beating unarmed protesters have fuelled public anger and sparked accusations of brutality. Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying city streets scattered when police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds on Wednesday. Police insisted the force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and […]

China snubbed Trudeau request for talks about detained Canadians

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — China ignored Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal request for dialogue to end a spiralling diplomatic row, his office revealed Wednesday. Trudeau requested the call in January with Premier Li Keqiang so he could “personally advocate” for the immediate release of two Canadians detained a month earlier and for clemency in the case of another Canadian who would later be sentenced to death for drug trafficking, his spokeswoman Chantal Gagnon said […]

In Tehran, Japan’s Abe urges Iran to play ‘constructive role’

by Amir HAVASI TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Tehran to play a “constructive role” for Middle East peace Wednesday during a rare diplomatic mission to the Islamic republic aimed at defusing US-Iran tensions. Iran has been locked in a bitter standoff with the United States since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year. Washington has since reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions — which […]

South Korean president calls for new Trump-Kim meeting

  OSLO, Norway (AFP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in called Wednesday for US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet soon, saying a prolonged impasse could weaken their willingness to pursue dialogue on the Korean peninsula. During a visit to Oslo, Moon said it was “desirable that Chairman Kim and President Trump meet in the near future”. “If the period of no dialogue is prolonged, then the passion for […]

Hong Kong police start using tear gas, pepper spray, water spray to disperse rally

  (Eagle News) — Hong Kong police started to use tear gas, pepper spray and high-pressure water hoses to disperse thousands of protesters rallying against an extradition bill that would allow violators to be brought to China and tried in courts there. The police started using tear gas after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, as massive protests blocked entry into Hong Kong government headquarters, delaying a legislative session on the proposed extradition bill. The passage […]

Hong Kong football fans boo China anthem in match vs Taiwan Tuesday night

AS mounting criticism of Hong Kong government plans to allow extradition to China, Hong Kong football fans booed the Chinese national anthem and held signs opposing the extradition bill that sparked fears in the territory known for its independence. The incident happened in a home match against Taiwan on Tuesday night where the Chinese national anthem was played. Footage posted on social media from Hong Kong’s 0-2 defeat by Taiwan on Tuesday night showed fans […]

URGENT: Protesters must disperse, ‘not defy law’: top Hong Kong official

  Protesters blocking roads around Hong Kong’s parliament must disperse and obey the law, a top government figure warned Wednesday, in the first official reaction to the latest protests sparked by plans to allow extraditions to China. Matthew Cheung, the city’s chief secretary, called on demonstrators to unblock key arteries and withdraw. “I also urge citizens who have gathered to show restraint as much as possible, disperse peacefully and do not defy the law,” he […]

Thousands rally in Hong Kong over China extradition bill

  by Helen ROXBURGH Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Thousands of protesters rallied in central Hong Kong, seizing two main highways on Wednesday, in a defiant show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. The Asian financial hub was rocked over the weekend by the largest protest march since the city’s 1997 return to China, as vast crowds — estimated by organisers at over one million — called on […]