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World News May 2019: Get the latest World Headline News with news links and news feeds from major news organizations.

Trump takes dig at Japan for ‘substantial’ trade advantage and calls for more investment in US
By Spencer Kimball
President Donald Trump, on the first day of his state visit to Japan, dug at Tokyo for what he called a “substantial advantage” in trade and asked Japanese businesses to invest more in the United States. “Japan has had a substantial advantage for many, many years, but that’s okay, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” Trump said during a meeting with Japanese business leaders in Tokyo. The president said Tokyo and Washington were “getting close” to a deal that would address the U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. had a deficit of $56.8 billion in goods and services with Japan in 2018, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. “With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove the barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said. The president’s state visit comes amid tensions with carmaker Toyota over potential auto tariffs. Trump has repeatedly threatened Japanese and European carmakers with tariffs. Earlier this month, Trump postponed a decision on car levies for up to six months and directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to seek trade agreements with Tokyo and Brussels.

By Margaret Talev and Anthony Capaccio
President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of about 1,500 additional U.S. troops and military hardware to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran. The troops will serve “mostly in a protective capacity,” Trump said as he departed the White House on Friday for Japan. The president’s decision comes after his administration said it had evidence Iran is threatening possible attacks on American interests or allies in the region. The administration earlier expedited the deployment of a carrier battle group to the Middle East along with a Patriot missile battery and additional bombers. “We’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops to the Middle East,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.” The troops are meant to bolster forces already in the region working on missile defense, surveillance, and keeping shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf open, according to a Pentagon notice sent to congressional defense committees and obtained by Bloomberg. They’ll also provide engineering and fire support, the notice said.

China on Friday denounced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for fabricating rumors after he said the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies was lying about his company’s ties to the Beijing government. The U.S. placed Huawei on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world’s largest telecom network gear maker and escalating a trade battle between the world’s two biggest economies. Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services. Pompeo, speaking Thursday in an interview on CNBC, also dismissed Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei’s assertions that his company would never share user secrets, and said he believed more American companies would cut ties with the tech giant.

Tensions between the countries has escalated in recent weeks
By Alahna Kindred
IRAN’S youth will witness the demise of American and Israeli civilisation, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed. The leader’s comments come a day after a senior Revolutionary Guards commander bragged Donald Trump “wouldn’t dare” attack Iran. In a meeting with students Khamenei said: “You young people should be assured that you will witness the demise of the enemies of humanity, meaning the degenerate American civilisation, and the demise of Israel.” Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated after Mr Trump sent an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East. The display of military force was against Iranian threats to US troops and interests in the regions, Washington officials said. Major General Gholamali Rashid said the US would never attack Iran because of its “spirit of resistance”. Semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying: “If the criminal America and its Western and regional allies don't dare carry out a face-to-face military attack against our country, it is because of the spirit of resistance and sacrifice of the people and youth." A huge US naval presence has built up in the Gulf amid a fevered standoff between Washington and Tehran.

By Yen Nee Lee
There has been a rise in the emission of an illegal greenhouse gas that destroys the earth’s ozone layer — and China is responsible for “a substantial fraction” of that increase, according to a new study. The research published on Wednesday found that China accounted for 40% to 60% of the global increase in trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, emissions between 2014 and 2017. Emissions of the gas came primarily from the Chinese northeastern provinces of Shandong and Hebei, according to the study. Scientists who conducted the study came from the University of Bristol in the U.K., Kyungpook National University in South Korea, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. Their research built on earlier studies about the spike in CFC-11 emissions into the atmosphere after 2013 by giving details on the geographic origins of those increases.

By Tal Axelrod
The U.S. Navy on Wednesday sent two ships through the Taiwan Strait, marking its latest trip through the disputed waterway in a move likely to anger China as Washington and Beijing ratchet up tensions in their prolonged trade war.  A military spokesperson told Reuters that the voyage was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl. “The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. Taiwan has long been one of several flashpoints in the relationship between the U.S. and China, whch have included economic disputes, sanctions and Chinese military activity in the South China Sea, where the U.S. also sends naval patrols. The news comes as the world's two largest economies have slapped millions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs on each other in an escalating trade war. The move could be interpreted by Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China insists is part of its territory, as a sign of support from Washington. The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

All FPO-ministers will be replaced by technocrats as Austria gets a minority government for the first time ever.
By Daniela Prugger
Vienna, Austria - There is a significant chance that a 1990s Vengaboys song will become this year's summer hit in Austria. "We're going to Ibiza" was played over and over  again as protesters gathered in front of the chancellor's office in  Vienna on Saturday. "Ibiza-Gate" has triggered a political earthquake  here. "That was one of the most remarkable political days  in the life of us all. The mood was energetic," says Can Gulcu, a  43-year-old curator at the Wien Museum. Laura Holzinger-Sahan, a 22-year-old philosophy and history student agreed: "It  was chaotic and stressful, but all the nicer that so many people were  there." The pair had brought together speakers and DJs to organise the protest. According to them, 15,000-20,000 people joined in.

A screenshot of a 1989 Associated Press  article about a United Nations official’s “global warming” prediction  circulated among climate change deniers.
By Kim LaCapria

By Ryan Browne, CNN
Washington (CNN) - US  F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian  Su-35 fighter jets off the coast of Alaska on Monday, according to a  statement from North American Aerospace Defense Command. The  Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers flew into the Air Defense  Identification Zone, which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska's  western coast. The  Russian bomber flights are seen by US military officials as part of  Moscow's effort to train its military for a potential crisis while  simultaneously sending a message of strength to adversaries. This  latest intercept comes amid tensions with Russia on a wide range of  geopolitical issues and a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met  Russian Vladimir Putin in the resort town of Sochi where he warned Russia about interfering in US elections, taking a tougher public line than President Donald Trump on the issue. US  F-22s fighter jets and an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System  from North American Aerospace Defense Command "positively identified  and intercepted a total of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35  fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on  May 20," NORAD said in a statement.

Exclusive by Frederik Pleitgen and Sheena McKenzie, CNN
Tehran, Iran (CNN)Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has said his country won't negotiate with President Donald Trump unless the US shows Tehran "respect" by honoring its commitments under the disputed nuclear deal. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Zarif warned the US was "playing a very, very dangerous game" by boosting its military presence in the region. Zarif criticized the US for sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf. "Having all these military assets in a small area is in of itself prone to accidents," Zarif said. "Extreme prudence is required and the United States is playing a very, very dangerous game." He accused Washington of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the 2015 deal designed to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions. "We acted in good faith," Zarif said of the deal, which was signed by the US, Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. "We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises."

By Fred Kempe
The Trump administration is engaged in a global juggling act involving so many strategically significant balls that it would confound the capabilities of the most skilled circus performer. President Trump’s allies praise him for his willingness to take on issues long neglected by U.S. policy makers: confronting China’s unfair trade practices, taking on Iran’s malign regional behavior, working to replace Venezuela’s dictator with democracy, and deploying carrots and sticks to denuclearize North Korea, to name just a few. Succeeding at any one of those challenges would be a major win. Score them all and President Trump’s name would be written large in history books. By the same token, dropping any of those balls – and any juggler knows that likelihood grows with the volume of what must be managed – would have long-lasting consequences, for the regions involved and for U.S. credibility globally. Even so, Juggler-in-Chief Trump keeps adding complexity to this high-risk, uncertain-return show. Whether by increasing tariffs further on China and further restricting Huawei’s access to U.S. markets, or by sending a carrier strike group to the Middle East, President Trump ratchets up pressures in the hope of leveraging that into success.

The State Department on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of non-emergency staff from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, a move that comes as the U.S. government has alluded to risks of an attack by the Islamic Republic or its proxies in the region. The Wednesday order follows a travel advisory posted on the embassy’s website Sunday urging American citizens not to travel to Iraq and to remain vigilant. The department said in light of the heightened tensions, non-emergency staff at both the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil would be evacuated, adding that the government’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there is “extremely limited.”

Confusion and mixed signals have characterized the past couple of days when it comes to the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The New York Times reported late Monday that the White House had reviewed updated military plans, prepared by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, to deploy up to 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East if Iran were to attack U.S. forces or resume work on nuclear weapons. In this case, “the White House” seems to mean national security adviser John Bolton, who ordered the update and has been spearheading the recent U.S. pressure campaign against Iran (and several other countries). The Times noted that it was “unclear whether the president has been briefed on the number of troops or other details.” On Tuesday, President Donald Trump dismissed the report as “fake news,” saying no plans were in the works to send troops but that if conflict did break out, “we’d send a hell of a lot more” than 120,000. Trump has reportedly questioned his adviser’s bellicose approach to the crisis in Venezuela, and it seems like there’s daylight between them on Iran as well. Trump still seems to be holding out hopes that the pressure campaign will lead to direct talks with the leaders of Iran, as it did with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, while Bolton views such negotiations as a waste of time and has long sought regime change.

American Airlines pilots confronted  Boeing about potential safety issues in its 737 Max planes in a meeting  last November, US media are reporting. They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times. Boeing reportedly resisted their calls but promised a software fix. But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people. Currently 737 Max planes are grounded worldwide amid concerns that an anti-stall system may have contributed to both crashes.
Boeing is in the process of updating the system, known as MCAS, but denies it was solely to blame for the disasters.

JERUSALEM  — The United States ambassador to Israel, a driving force in crafting  the Trump administration’s long-awaited proposal to settle the  Israeli-Palestinian conflict, declared Tuesday that Israel was “on the  side of God.” Speaking at a celebration sponsored by an American evangelical group to mark the anniversary of the move of the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Ambassador David M. Friedman said that Israel was gaining strength for two reasons. First, he said, the relationship between the two countries was growing “stronger and stronger and stronger.” “And  the second is that Israel has one secret weapon that not too many  countries have,” Mr. Friedman added. “Israel is on the side of God, and  we don’t underestimate that.” The  remark reflected a common belief among evangelical Christians, but was  also the latest sign of an anything but evenhanded approach to the  conflict by the Trump administration. In  addition to moving the embassy to Jerusalem, a move seen as partial to  Israel in the dispute over the city’s sovereignty, the administration  has made deep cuts in aid to the Palestinians and stopped referring to  the West Bank as “occupied.”

Consumer and industrial activity in both the U.S.  and China slowed in April, even before the world’s two biggest economies  entered the latest phase of an escalating trade war that could take a  bite out of global growth. “The real message today is that both  the economic data from the U.S. and China have disappointed. They’re  like two boys in the sandbox that are spitting on each other, and it  could get a lot worse,” said Marc Chandler, global market strategist at  Bannockburn Global Forex. The  latest round of tariffs announced by President Donald Trump and China  President Xi Jinping raised the stakes and potential economic hit on  both economies. Trump boosted the tariffs on $200 billion in goods to  25% from 10%, while Xi upped the tariffs on $60 billion in goods.

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and the Netherlands said on Wednesday they  were suspending military training operations in Iraq as the United  States warned of increased threats from Iran-backed forces amid an  escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. A German  defence ministry spokesman said Berlin had no indications of its own of  any impending attacks on Western interests by Iran and said the training  programmes could resume in the coming days.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed with his Russian counterpart  on Tuesday over Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, with both  men pointing fingers at the other as the U.S. ramps up its preparations  for next year's presidential election. In a news conference during Pompeo’s first trip to Russia as  America’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov continued to  reject the accusations that his government engaged in the kind of  multifaceted meddling operation outlined in special counsel Robert  Mueller’s report last month. After intercepting a question about election interference intended for  Pompeo, Lavrov blamed Washington in a six-minute tangent, accusing the  U.S. of conducting the “lion’s share” of attacks against Russian  internet operations. He also told reporters of a memo he delivered to  Pompeo that he said contained “actual information” to prove that the  U.S. government had interfered in Russian domestic policy.

"Don't test us," Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom said in an interview with Sky News Tuesday. "While we have renounced any escalation in the region, I would assure  you that Iranian armed forces are fully ready for any eventuality in the  region, so they should not try to test the determination of Iran to  confront any escalation in the region," Baeidinejad said. His comments come shortly after the head of Iran's  National Security Foreign Policy Committee, Heshmatollah Falahat  Pisheh, said the international community must be wary of "making crises"  surrounding the "sabotage" of four commercial ships off the coast of  the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, as tensions continue to rise  between Iran and the United States.
When asked about the attack on Monday, President Donald Trump fired a verbal warning to Iran, telling reporters, "We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a bad mistake." Pisheh said in an interview with Iranian state media Monday that "Iran and the United States can manage the crisis by themselves."

FM Javad Zarif says his country anticipated 'activities to escalate tension' by 'hardliners' in the US and Middle East. Iranian officials accused "hardliners" in the United States  and elsewhere of attempting to orchestrate an incident that would  ratchet up tensions with the Islamic Republic, as the supreme leader  vowed there would be no war. The allegation by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad  Javad Zarif on Tuesday came as tensions in the Gulf continue to rise as  American military forces head to the region and amid a series of attacks  on oil infrastructure. Four ships - two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati - were damaged on Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in what Emirati officials described as acts of sabotage near the port of Fujairah. The incident happened 140km south of the Strait of Hormuz, where about one-third of all oil traded by sea passes through. "We ... talked about the policies that hardliners in the US  administration as well as in the region are attempting to impose," Zarif  told Iranian state TV in India after a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

A security flaw  in the massively popular WhatsApp messaging platform exposes its 1.5  billion-plus users to one of the world's most malicious spyware  programs, "Pegasus." The spy software enables remote  access to your phone's most private information — from text messages to  call logs to location data. Pegasus first surfaced in  2016 when it was reportedly used to spy on a human rights activist in  the United Arab Emirates. In the years since, it's been linked to the  death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the  Mexican government's capture of alleged drug trafficker Joaquín "El  Chapo" Guzmán. The company that makes Pegasus, the NSO Group, is notoriously secretive. The Israeli firm sells sophisticated hacking tools to governments,  militaries, and intelligence agencies — and it tries to keep such a low  profile it even  changes its name on a regular basis.
Here's everything we know about the secretive firm behind one of the world's most effective spyware applications:

DUBAI — Oil prices rose sharply Tuesday morning on reports of a drone attack at oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. The incident is an “act of terrorism,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said according to the state new agency SPA, describing attacks on two oil pumping stations near Riyadh for the country’s East-West pipeline carried out with bomb-laden drones. Brent crude futures were up 1.3% at $71.14 a barrel, up 90 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.67 per barrel at 12:40 p.m. London time, up 1.03% for the session. The fire has since been contained, according to the SPA. Al-Falih asserted that oil production was not interrupted. State oil company Saudi Aramco said that its oil and gas supplies to Europe have not been affected, and that no one was injured. “This act of terrorism and sabotage in addition to recent acts in the Arabian Gulf do not only target the Kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies and the global economy,” the SPA described al-Falih as saying. No one has yet been directly accused of carrying out the attack, but a Yemeni Houthi-run TV channel announced on Tuesday morning it had launched drone attacks on several Saudi installations.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Saudi and U.S. officials say were "sabotage" attacks, though images of the ships have shown clear visible damage to only one of the vessels. Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker on Sunday remained unclear, and none of the nations to which the vessels belong had assigned any blame. However, on Monday American officials told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that the initial assessment of a U.S. team sent to investigate the incidents was that Iran or Iranian-backed proxies had used explosives to blow holes in the four ships. The incidents demonstrated the raised risks for shippers in a region vital to global energy supplies as tensions soar between the U.S. and Iran in the wake of President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal agreed by world powers and to impose harsh new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Saudi and U.S. officials say were "sabotage" attacks, though images of the ships have shown clear visible damage to only one of the vessels. Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker on Sunday remained unclear, and none of the nations to which the vessels belong had assigned any blame. However, on Monday American officials told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that the initial assessment of a U.S. team sent to investigate the incidents was that Iran or Iranian-backed proxies had used explosives to blow holes in the four ships. The incidents demonstrated the raised risks for shippers in a region vital to global energy supplies as tensions soar between the U.S. and Iran in the wake of President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal agreed by world powers and to impose harsh new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were attacked while sailing  toward the Persian Gulf, adding to regional tensions as the U.S.  increases pressure on Iran. The Saudi tankers were damaged in “a sabotage attack”  off the United Arab Emirates coast on Sunday, state-run Saudi Press  Agency reported. The vessels were approaching the Strait of Hormuz, the  world’s most important chokepoint for oil shipments. The U.A.E. foreign  ministry on Sunday reported an attack on four commercial ships near its  territorial waters. No one has claimed responsibility. The precise nature of the incident remained unclear —  neither Saudi Arabia nor the U.A.E. said exactly what happened — but  the report comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf. The U.S.  has deployed an aircraft carrier, bomber planes and defense missiles to  the region amid worsening friction with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional  rival.

Sweden is resuming its investigation of Julian Assange on rape  allegations and will issue a European warrant for his arrest, state  prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said Monday. Assange is currently in a  British prison, where he's being punished for eluding a similar warrant  in 2012. Swedish prosecutors had idled their case while Assange  was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. But with the  controversial WikiLeaks founder now in U.K. custody, Persson said,  "conditions have changed in the case and I believe that there are again  opportunities to push the matter forward." Persson said  her office will seek to extradite Assange — a request that could be  enforced after he serves at least half of a 50-week prison term for  jumping bail. Acknowledging that the U.S. is seeking Assange's  extradition, Persson added that it will be up to British authorities to  determine how to prioritize multiple requests for Assange's extradition  and/or arrest.

BEIJING — China moved to retaliate against the United States, announcing plans on Monday to raise tariffs on American goods ranging from beer and wine to swimsuits, shirts and liquefied natural gas. The decision, which follows President Trump’s increase in tariffs on Chinese goods last Friday, escalates the pressure in the ongoing trade war. Trade talks between the two sides broke down last week without a deal, causing tensions that have rippled through financial markets and the global economy. American stocks plunged on Monday, extending the recent losses. Beijing’s retaliation comes at a time when many in China feel that the United States has behaved highhandedly in threatening tariffs. “Mutual trust and respect are of the essence in handling the negotiations,” said Zhu Ning, a Tsinghua University economics professor. It isn’t clear whether China’s retaliation would end with the tariff increases. In the past, China has slowed imports at customs and launched investigations into foreign companies during times of tension.

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden reopened an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday and will seek to extradite him from Britain, a potential setback to efforts by the United States to put him on trial over a huge release of secret documents.

IRAN  has warned if the US makes a military move against the Middle Eastern  nation it will “hit them in the head” as tensions between the two powers  continue to rise. Amirali Hajizadeh, head of Iran’s  Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division, boasted to the Iranian  Students' News Agency: "An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50  planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat  for us in the past but now... the threats have switched to  opportunities. If the Americans make a move we will hit them in the  head." His words come shortly after an Iranian leader warned US  President Donald Trump  the US fleet dispatched to the Persian Gulf will face “dozens of  missiles” if it “attempts any move”, raising the prospect of a direct,  explosive military confrontation.

President Donald Trump on Saturday called for China to act now on trade or risk facing a worse deal if negotiations continue into a possible second term after the 2020 presidential election. Trump claimed China was ‘beaten so badly’ in recent trade negotiations that Beijing wanted to wait until after the 2020 election in the hope a Democrat would win the White House and offer them a better deal. Trump, however, said he would prevail in the upcoming election and warned that a trade deal would be ‘much worse’ for China if it was negotiated during his second term. Chinese and U.S. negotiators held trade talks in Washington on Friday after Trump more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, raising the rate from 10% to 25%. The administration is also moving to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. Trump said Friday’s talks were constructive and negotiations will continue while tariffs remain in place, though they could be lifted depending on how the situation progresses. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin told CNBC no further trade talks are planned between the two sides “as of now.” Chinese state media has reported that the next round of talks is expected to take place in Beijing. Trump abruptly announced the tariff hike last Sunday, shattering hopes that a trade deal was near and sending U.S. markets into turmoil for much of the week. The president cited slow progress in negotiations as the reason for his decision.

USS Arlington carrying Patriot missiles to join USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, currently in the Red Sea. The US government has approved the deployment of a Patriot missile defence battery and another warship to the Middle East amid increasing tensions between the US and Iran. The USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, and rotary aircraft, as well as the Patriot missiles, will join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, which already passed through Egypt's Suez Canal on Thursday, and is currently sailing in the Red Sea, according to CNN. The US says the deployments of military hardware to the region comes in response to "heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations". The Patriot missile system is a defence mechanism against aircraft, drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and is currently deployed in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

(CNN) - A  previously extinct species of bird returned from the dead, reclaiming  the island it previously lived on and re-evolving itself back into  existence, scientists have said. The  white-throated rail colonized the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean and  evolved to become flightless, before being completely wiped out when  the island disappeared below the sea around 136,000 years ago. But  researchers found similar fossils from before and after that event,  showing that the chicken-sized bird re-appeared when sea levels fell  again a few thousand years later, re-colonized the island and again lost the ability to fly. The flightless rail can be found on Aldabra to this day. The  extremely rare process is known as iterative evolution -- the repeated  evolution of a species from the same ancestor at different times in  history. The team's study,  published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, marks the  first time the process has been seen in rails, and is one of the "most  significant" instances ever found in birds, according to the authors.

Joyce Lee, Josh Smith - SEOUL (Reuters) - The leader of North Korea ordered its military to boost its strike capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said on Friday, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show development of a new advanced missile system. Kim Jong Un’s call for a “full combat posture” follows the U.S.  seizure of a large North Korean cargo ship accused of illicit coal  shipments in violation of U.N. sanctions. The increased tensions  come amid a gridlock in dialogue after the second summit between Kim and  U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed over U.S. demands for Pyongyang’s  nuclear disarmament and Kim’s demands for relief from sanctions. “(Kim)  stressed the need to further increase the capability of the defense  units in the forefront area and on the western front to carry out combat  tasks and keep full combat posture to cope with any emergency,” KCNA  news agency reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Iran and deployment of a carrier strike group to the Middle East are "deliberately provocative," Jarrett Blanc from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said Thursday. Not only do these sanctions target Iran's export revenue, it also affects a "very large employment sector of the Iranian economy," said Blanc, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank. This will be "understood as an effort to destabilize the middle class," he added. Trump on Wednesday slapped fresh sanctions on Iranian industrial metals — the country's second-largest source of export revenue after petroleum — and threatened further action unless Tehran "fundamentally" changes its behavior. That came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Tehran's intention to violate two provisions of the 2015 nuclear agreement — also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. On Sunday, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that the Trump administration would deploy a carrier group and bombers to the Middle East in response to "troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

A  TERRIFYING bladed weapon nicknamed the “ninja bomb”, which kills  terrorists while leaving civilians unharmed, has already been used by  the US military - with devastating results. The drone-deployed R9X, which is also known as the Flying Ginsu, a  reference to a razor-sharp knife used by chefs, is a modified version of  the Hellfire missile,  which has been used to target terrorists with precision strikes.  However, rather than exploding, the weapon, which has been nicknamed the  Ninja Bomb,  uses sheer force to kill its target, and has been compared to a  speeding anvil falling from the sky. What makes it particularly lethal  is the six long blades it is fitted with, which extend outwards just  prior to impact, cutting anything close by to ribbons - including metal  and concrete.

(CNN) - Donald Trump just laid another risky global bet -- escalating a trade war with China by imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods in the midst of ongoing trade talks -- and neither he nor anyone else can be sure of what happens next. The sharp escalation could rattle investors and is the latest manifestation of the building superpower conflict across the Pacific. It will stoke new concern about the President's unapologetically unpredictable statesmanship. The confrontation comes at a time when anxiety is already growing over Trump's stewardship of several other foreign policy crises, including with Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. The US imposed new tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods following a midnight deadline and after the President accused Beijing of backtracking on a deal between the world's two largest economies. It's possible that the gambit could work as negotiators from the two sides are meeting again in Washington on Friday. But the fear will be that the US and China are now heading for a prolonged showdown that could hurt the world economy. Trump said on Friday that there was no rush to reach a deal since tariffs of up to 25% were now "being paid" on some of China's exports to the US. "Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind," Trump tweeted. - How dumb is Trump, he must be the dumbest person on the planet. Trump must think the American people are as dumb as he is, tariffs are a tax on the American people.

President Trump on Friday defended his decision to impose steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and promised much steeper penalties would follow, putting the rest of the world on notice that he will follow through on his protectionist agenda no matter the blowback. In a series of tweets, Trump said that talks with Chinese leaders would continue, but he repeatedly warned that China should “not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute.” White House officials accused China of reneging on prior details of the talks earlier this week, something Trump’s chief trade negotiator Robert E. Lighthizer told reporters was “unacceptable.” Chinese officials have denied backing away from any commitments. The chain of events that began with higher tariffs and continued through Trump’s tweets have sown unrest in financial markets around the world and have left investors and business executives unsure of what is to come. Trump in the past has threatened severe penalties only to back down days later, but he has also shown a willingness to dig in and trust his instincts, even if advisers have warned against it. He believes the strength of the economy gives him leverage to use aggressive trade tactics.

Analysis: An increasingly isolated and beleaguered American president is creating a dangerous confrontation with a hostile regime in Tehran. WASHINGTON — As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to be sounding the drums of war against Iran Thursday, and U.S. warships were steaming toward the region, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if there is a risk of military confrontation. After the requisite caution that “I guess you could say that always,” Trump added, “hopefully, that won’t happen.” Then, in comments that were notably pacific, Trump suggested he would welcome talks with Tehran: “But they should call, and if they do, we’re open to talk to them," he said. "We have no secrets.” It was a striking departure from the rhetoric of his secretary of state and his national security adviser, both of whom have stepped up their warnings that the U.S. would retaliate against Iran for any attack on U.S. interests by Iran’s proxies.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has told his military to maintain a "full-combat posture" as tensions continue to rise with the U.S. His order follows the firing of three missiles Thursday, the second missile launch in a week. North Korea says the test was part of its regular military training. South Korea claims they may be part of a new weapons system. As North Korean missile tests go, CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer says Thursday's was less a show of force than an attempt to grab attention. North Korean state media released pictures Friday morning showing a gleeful Kim apparently watching those missile launches -- the second such drill he had observed in five days. North Korea's state media avoided specifying what the weapons were, but the U.S. military says they were three short-range ballistic missiles.

WASHINGTON — The United States has seized a North Korean shipping vessel that was violating American law and international sanctions, the Justice Department announced Thursday, a move certain to escalate tensions already on the rise between the two nations because of recent North Korean weapons tests. Prosecutors said the carrier ship, the Wise Honest, was being used to export North Korean coal, a critical sector of the North’s economy that the United States and the United Nations have aggressively imposed sanctions on in an effort to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program. The ship was also being used to import heavy machinery. It was the first time the United States has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for international sanctions violations, the Justice Department said. The Wise Honest is the second-largest cargo ship in Pyongyang’s fleet.

(CNN Business) - BBC radio broadcaster Danny Baker has been fired after posting a racist tweet about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new baby.
On  Wednesday, the BBC Radio 5 Live presenter tweeted a black and white  photo of a man and woman holding hands with a chimpanzee in a suit and a  top hat, with the caption, "Royal baby leaves hospital." Amid  widespread accusations of racism, Baker deleted the tweet and said he  was sorry the "gag" had "whipped some up." He claimed the connotations  had not occurred to him because his "mind (is) not diseased." In  a second message, Baker said that the tweet was "supposed to be a joke  about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about  monkeys & race, so rightly deleted. Royal watching not my forte." On  Thursday, the broadcaster said he made an "enormous mistake." A  BBC spokesperson said: "This was a serious error of judgment and goes  against the values we as a station aim to embody. Danny's a brilliant  broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us."

The EU has responded firmly to Iran's threat to roll back its 2015 nuclear deal commitments, saying in a statement Thursday that it rejects any ultimatums but remained committed to the multilateral pact. "We reject any ultimatums and will  assess Iran's compliance on the basis of Iran's performance regarding  its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT," the joint  statement from the EU high representative and the foreign ministers of  France, Germany and the U.K. read, referring to the deal itself — the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — and the Treaty on the  Nonproliferation of Weapons, respectively. In essence, the EU is  saying that inspectors, not declarations, will determine how it  approaches Iran going forward. And that may take some time: Data on  Iran's nuclear activities will be unclear until the International Atomic  Energy Agency publishes its quarterly report in August.

A team at blockchain services company Coinfirm has been watching the erratic movements of the bitcoin associated with $40 million stolen in the latest Binance breach. At 4:11 AM on May 8 the hacker or hackers moved 1214 BTC ($7.16 million) to new addresses and then moved another 1337 “to 2 new addresses held by the hacker.” This is the fourth major exchange hack of the year, following Cryptopia, DragonEx and Bithumb.

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed fresh sanctions  targeting Tehran as both countries escalate their rhetoric over Iran's  nuclear ambitions. The White House announced sanctions on the steel, iron, aluminum and copper sectors of the country hours after Iran said it would stop complying with certain parts of the Obama-era nuclear agreement. President Trump's  executive order imposing new sanctions on Tehran also came on the  one-year anniversary of his announcement that he would withdraw the U.S.  from the nuclear deal. "It remains the policy of the United  States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and  intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of  Iran's malign influence in the Middle East," Trump said in the order  released Wednesday. "It  is also the policy of the United States to deny the Iranian government  revenue, including revenue derived from the export of products from  Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, that may be used to  provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass  destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional  aggression, and military expansion." The sanctions could impact  other countries conducting trade with Iran, and Trump warned in a  statement that the executive order "puts other nations on notice that  allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer  be tolerated."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has  launched a physical attack on Hamas in immediate response to an alleged  cyber-assault. The IDF hit a building in the Gaza Strip with an  airstrike after claiming the site had been used by Hamas cyber  operatives to attack Israel’s cyber space. The IDF claimed it stopped the attack online before launching  its airstrike on Hamas. It claims it has now wiped out Hamas’ cyber  operational capabilities. Israel Defense Forces said via Twitter:  “We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli  targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted  a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has  been removed.” It could mark a change in modern cyber warfare tactics, given that it is the first time a cyber-attack has been met with immediate physical retaliation. However, as ZDNet points out, the US is still the first country to respond to cyber-attacks with military force. In 2015, the nation launched a drone strike to kill the  British national in charge of ISIL's hacker groups Junaid Hussain.  Hussain had also dumped personal details of US military forces online. This latest attack is different to the 2015 US retaliation: The  IDF apparently reacted immediately, rather than planning its response  over weeks or months.

A Chinese delegation will come to the U.S. this week for trade talks after President Donald Trump upended negotiations by threatening new tariffs on Sunday, according to sources familiar with the matter. One  of the sources briefed on the status of talks said the Chinese would  send a smaller delegation than the 100-person group originally planned.  It is unclear whether Vice Premier Liu He would still helm this smaller  group, an important detail if the team were traveling to Washington with  an eye toward sealing a deal. Two senior administration officials  described Liu as  “the closer,” since he had been given authority to  negotiate on President Xi Jinping’s behalf. The  team from Beijing was set to start talks with American negotiators on  Wednesday as the world’s two largest economies push for a trade  agreement. It is unclear whether the talks will still start Wednesday.

On land, in the seas, in the sky, the devastating impact of humans on nature is laid bare in a compelling UN report. One million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction. Nature everywhere is declining at a speed never previously seen and our need for ever more food and energy are the main drivers. These  trends can be halted, the study says, but it will take "transformative  change" in every aspect of how humans interact with nature. From the bees that pollinate our crops, to the forests that hold back  flood waters, the report reveals how humans are ravaging the very  ecosystems that support their societies. Three years in the  making, this global assessment of nature draws on 15,000 reference  materials, and has been compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy  Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It runs to  1,800 pages. The brief, 40-page "summary for policymakers",  published today at a meeting in Paris, is perhaps the most powerful  indictment of how humans have treated their only home.
It says  that while the Earth has always suffered from the actions of humans  through history, over the past 50 years, these scratches have become  deep scars.

Washington The United States is deploying forces to the Middle East, in response to what administration officials say are threats of a possible attack by Iran or allied fighters on American troops in the region. White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East. Bolton said the move was in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." He didn't provide details, but said the U.S. wants to send a "clear and unmistakable" message to Iran that "unrelenting force" would meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of its allies.
"The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces," he said.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean state media on Sunday showed leader Kim Jong Un observing live-fire drills of long-range multiple rocket launchers and what appeared to be a new short-range ballistic missile, a day after South Korea expressed concern that the launches were a violation of an inter-Korean agreement to cease all hostile acts. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over Saturday’s drills and stressed that his front-line troops should keep a “high alert posture” and enhance combat ability to “defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country.”

EUROCRATS  have been warned plans for further expansion of the European Union will  meet with resistance from EU member states due to Brussels' failure to  address long-time issues. Top Eurocrats have been warned European Union  member states will not agree to further expansions of the bloc until  key issues have been addressed in full. British MEP Steven Woolfe  insisted failure in Brussels to help resolve youth unemployment or  clarify their position on monetary harmonisation will have EU members  resist more integration.  Speaking to Euronews, Mr Woolfe said: "Not only have we just expanded  dramatically over the last few years, but they are also still  considering expanding into other European countries after not solving  all the problems of unemployment for the youth, whether you’ve got a banking union across the European Union.

London (CNN Business) - Europe  is making good on a promise to buy much more American natural gas as it  seeks to ease transatlantic trade tension and reduce its reliance on  Russian energy. The European Union has imported roughly 8 billion cubic meters of liquid natural gas from the United States since July 2018, more than three times the amount purchased in the preceding two years. The bloc committed at an energy summit in Brussels on Thursday to further purchases so long as the price is competitive. The pledge appears calibrated to appease President Donald Trump, who has applied tariffs to steel and aluminum from the European Union and has threatened new taxes on cars made in the bloc. Natural gas is one area where Europe and the United States have found common ground on trade.

The bizarre murder of Kim Jong Un’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, is  unlikely to ever be officially resolved after the second suspect in the  killing was released. Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong was set free early  Friday and will fly back to Hanoi this evening, according to her  lawyer. Her co-defendant, Siti Aisyah from Indonesia, was freed in March  11. Both women initially faced murder charges and death by hanging  after security cameras caught them apparently smearing something on the  victim’s face at Malaysia’s main international airport in February 2017.  Both women said they were pawns in a plot orchestrated by North Korea,  and gave the odd explanation that they thought they were acting in a  prank TV show. Kim died of what Malaysian investigators said was  exposure to VX, a toxic nerve agent, and authorities said a team of  North Korean agents flew out of the country shortly after the incident.  The two women were the only people put on trial for the crime, and there  aren't believed to be any further leads.

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May  was heckled by her own party Friday, the morning after a shellacking in  local elections that saw her Conservative Party suffer heavy losses  amid an ongoing impasse over Britain's departure from the European  Union. “Why don’t you resign,” a man in the  audience of the Welsh Conservative Party’s Spring Conference yelled as  May took the stage. “We don’t want you.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial measure into law enabling the creation of a national internet network that would be able to operate independently from the rest of the world. Putin signed the measure — largely theoretical as of now — on Wednesday, according to documents obtained by CNN. The Russian network aims to protect against foreign online restrictions, creating a "sustainable, secure and fully functioning" local internet, according to the Kremlin. The law legally establishes the creation of the Russian internet server but few details have been disclosed, CNN noted.

Gavin Williamson has been sacked as defence secretary following an inquiry into the leak of information from the National Security Council. Downing Street said the PM had "lost confidence in his ability to serve" and Penny Mordaunt will take on the role. The inquiry followed reports over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network. Mr Williamson, who has been defence secretary since 2017, continues to deny leaking the information.

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that U.S. military action "is possible" in Venezuela to bolster opposition leader Juan Guaido's bid to oust President Nicolas Maduro. “The  president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent – military  action is possible, if that’s what’s required – that’s what the United  States will do,” Pompeo told FOX Business on Wednesday. Pompeo's  remarks appeared to mark an escalation of the Trump administration's  rhetoric on Venezuela. Pompeo and other officials, including President  Donald Trump, have said that "all options are on the table" but focused  mostly on economic sanctions and other diplomatic tools. "We  are trying to do everything we can to avoid violence," Pompeo told FOX.  "… We’d prefer a peaceful transition of government there where Maduro  leaves and a new election is held.” Pompeo on Tuesday said Maduro was ready to flee Venezuela but changed his mind after Russia persuaded him to stay.

Vladimir Putin refused to return a salute from one of North Korea's top generals on Friday, taking the opposite approach to President Donald Trump when faced with the same situation. Putin was seen in a 50-minute documentary broadcast Monday on Korean state TV shaking hands with a line of dignitaries after a summit with Kim Jon Un in Vladivostok, Russia. When a senior general chose to salute Putin, the president smiled, did not return the salute, and instead offered a handshake.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday signed a bill labeling all U.S. troops in the Middle East as terrorists, according to Reuters. Iranian lawmakers last week passed the legislation as a form of retaliation after President Trump designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization," Reuters noted. Rouhani on Tuesday ordered Iran's ministries of intelligence and foreign affairs, armed forces and supreme national security council to enforce the law, the news service added, citing Iranian state media. Iranian lawmakers earlier this month warned they would take "reciprocal action" against the U.S. if Trump designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions. The 47-year-old was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act last month after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He  took refuge in the London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to  Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which he has denied. In a letter read to the court, Assange said he had found himself "struggling with difficult circumstances". He apologised to those who "consider I've disrespected them", a packed Southwark Crown Court heard. "I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done," he said.

It was the  boldest move yet by Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader: at  sunrise, he stood flanked by soldiers at an air force base in the heart  of the capital, saying rebellion was at hand. Mutinous  security forces supporting him had released the country’s most famed  political prisoner. National guardsmen stood at Mr. Guaidó’s side as  others joined marches to support the protesters that they had spent  years repressing. In the streets,  anti-government demonstrators clashed with forces loyal to the president  amid reports of live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. A health clinic  in Caracas took in 69 people injured during the day. An armored vehicle  rammed protesters, but it was not immediately clear how many people  were hurt. Yet at the end of the day,  Mr. Guaidó fell short of the prize he sought: the toppling of President  Nicolás Maduro, who has relied on force, intimidation and widely  discredited elections to remain in power.

Rioting broke out in Paris today as thousands gathered for May Day protests dubbed 'Armageddon' by extremist demonstrators. Thugs from the so-called Black Bloc anti-capitalist movement were involved in running battles with police soon after 1pm. By 2pm, there had been 165 arrests in Paris, most for public order offences related to the rioting. Weapons were also confiscated as the police used tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges to try and restore order.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has stopped tracking the amount of territory controlled or influenced by the Afghan government and militants, a U.S. watchdog said on Tuesday, one of the last remaining public metrics that tracked the worsening security situation in the war-torn country.

All 1,800 workers who had been trapped at a Sibanye Gold Ltd. underground platinum mine in South Africa have been brought to the surface, the Department of Mineral Resources said in a tweet. Efforts had been under way to hoist up those remaining after an accident had blocked a shaft used to transport miners, James Wellsted, Sibanye’s spokesman, said earlier in the evening. The company had been trying to bring them to the surface since 2 p.m. local time. Workers had congregated at pick-up points about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) underground after an accident with their transport system, he said, adding no serious injuries had been reported.

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - It was a quiet Easter holiday at the offices of major European oil companies and refiners when an email in Russian landed. “What the hell does it say?” one manager recalled thinking as he sent it to his Moscow office for translation.

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