World News July 2019:
By Merrit KennedyThe World Health Organization's director-general has declared the current Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency. The outbreak in the DRC has killed more than 1,650 people and about 12 new cases are reported daily, according to the WHO. At a news conference Wednesday, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described "a concerning geographic expansion" but the WHO said the outbreak does not pose a global threat. The agency recommended that no borders be closed because of the declaration, and that trade and travel to Congo should not be restricted. Such restrictions, it said, would cause a terrible economic impact on the region and hamper the fight to stop the outbreak. The WHO chief said the DRC needs funding from the international community, otherwise "we will be paying for this outbreak for a long time to come." The director-general convened an emergency panel of experts Wednesday to discuss the possibility of an emergency declaration not long after the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a Congolese city on the border with Rwanda. Goma is home to about a million people and is a transit hub, raising concerns about its potential to promote the spread of the virus. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reported that the person was a pastor in Goma. He appeared to have contracted the virus in the city of Butembo and then traveled by bus to Goma while he was sick. Robert Steffen, chair of the WHO's International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, said Wednesday that there had been no new cases of infected people in Goma.
by Joel GehrkePresident Trump is kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program over the NATO ally’s insistence on purchasing Russian-made anti-aircraft defenses, the White House announced. “Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.” The announcement came amid a steady stream of Russian military planes delivering the advanced anti-aircraft defense systems to Ankara this week. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insisted on his right to deploy the warplanes alongside Russia’s technology, resulting in a standoff that could have far-reaching consequences for the transatlantic alliance. “Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems,” Grisham said. “This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance.” The breach between the United States and Turkey is a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, less than four years after Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet operating on the Syria-Turkey border. Two Russian cargo planes landed in Ankara on Wednesday, the Turkish government announced, bringing with them 13th and 14th shipment of equipment related to the anti-aircraft system. “The delivery of the S-400 long-range air defense system is ongoing,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said. U.S. and NATO officials have warned Turkey repeatedly that the turn toward Russian weapons would result in the loss of the F-35, but Erdoğan dubbed the S-400 deal "the most important agreement in [Turkish] modern history” on Sunday.
By NAHAL TOOSITrump has repeatedly urged Iran to negotiate, saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern, talking points that experts say echo the 2015 deal. Donald Trump has long trashed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever,” a “disaster” that didn’t cover nearly enough of the Islamist-led country’s nefarious behavior. In recent weeks, however, the president has indicated that the Barack Obama-era deal might not be so bad after all. Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to engage in negotiations with him, while saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern — “A lot of progress has been made. And they'd like to talk,” Trump asserted Tuesday at the White House. His aides and allies, meanwhile, have recently suggested that Iran and other countries should follow the guidelines of a deal they themselves have shunned as worthless. At times, analysts and former officials say, it sounds like Trump wants to strike a deal that essentially mirrors the agreement that his White House predecessor inked — even if he’d never be willing to admit it. Iranian officials seem willing to egg him on, saying they’ll talk so long as Trump lifts the sanctions he’s imposed on them and returns to the 2015 Iran deal. And as European ministers warn that the existing deal is nearly extinct, Trump may feel like he is backed into a corner and running out of options. “Trump got rid of the Iran nuclear deal because it was Barack Obama’s agreement,” said Jarrett Blanc, a former State Department official who helped oversee the 2015 deal’s implementation. “If you were to present to Trump the same deal and call it Trump’s deal, he’d be thrilled.”
By Anna MatrangaRome -- More than 200 Italian police officers and FBI agents launched coordinated raids overnight targeting a mafia crime family with ties to the U.S., Italian police said Wednesday. The crackdown resulted in the detention or arrest of 15 suspected members of the Inzerillo crime family, based in the Sicilian capital of Palermo. Thomas Gambino, considered by the FBI to be a significant member of the New York-based crime family, was among those taken into custody in Palermo. In the United States, FBI and Italian investigators raided the homes of three men suspected of belonging to the powerful Gambino clan, in New Jersey, Staten Island and Philadelphia.
By Natasha TurakU.S. sanctions on NATO-ally Turkey might deter future arms deals with the likes of Moscow, but it could also play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands, analysts have told CNBC. Turkish dollar-denominated bonds and the lira have both fallen in recent days amid economic and geopolitical turmoil for Turkey, with investors concerned about its credibility and the potential for U.S. sanctions over a Russian weapons deal. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked the country’s central bank governor earlier this month, prompting fresh criticism regarding the institution’s independence and leading ratings agency Fitch to downgrade Turkey’s investment rating to “BB-.” But looking ahead, market watchers are now worried about the American response to what continues to be a significant headache for NATO: Ankara has officially begun receiving parts for the Russian S-400 air defense missile system, the result of a weapons deal that Washington has long lobbied hard against.
By Ben Westcott, CNNHong Kong (CNN) - China held military drills off the coast of Taiwan as tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over US support for the island that China views as a part of its territory. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) announced in a statement Sunday that the military exercises off China's "southeast coast" involved both the navy and the air force, but provided few other details. Both Beijing and Taipei tried to downplay the drills, with the PLA describing the exercises as "a routine arrangement according to (our) annual plans." However, they come amid tension between the Beijing and Washington over a $2.2 billion US arms sale to Taiwan, and also coincide with a trip by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States as she prepares to shore up support among the island's allies in the Caribbean. On Friday, China threatened to impose sanctions against any US companies who sold weapons to Taiwan. Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai made it clear on Friday on Twitter that any attempts by the US government to "split" Taiwan from China would provoke a swift response. "Those who play with fire will only get themselves burned. Period," he tweeted.
By Bianca Britton, Dakin Andone and Kay Guerrero, CNN(CNN) - Indian authorities have released footage showing the final moments of the climbers who died in the Indian Himalayas in May.The video was found on a "memory video device" near the Nanda Devi East, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said Monday, which showed the group of climbers moving slowly near the summit on the unnamed peak. The group of eight climbers -- four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and their Indian liaison officer -- went missing when they were attempting to scale a previously unclimbed peak on May 26.
The US State Department has approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan, estimated to be worth $2.2bn (£1.76bn), the Pentagon said. The deal is for 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment. China's foreign ministry has called on the US to "immediately cancel" the proposed sale. Spokesman Geng Shuang said the action "grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's sovereignty and security interests". He also accused the US of violating the One China policy, under which the US recognises and has only formal ties with China and not Taiwan. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
By Sam MeredithNorth Korea’s mission to the United Nations has accused the U.S. of being “obsessed with sanctions” and “more and more hell-bent on hostile acts” against Pyongyang. North Korea’s delegation to the UN said Wednesday that the country was responding to a letter sent to all UN member states late last month. In it, the U.S. — alongside the U.K., Germany and France — called on countries around the world to implement tougher sanctions on Pyongyang. The mission said the letter was sent by the U.S. on June 29, the same day President Donald Trump tweeted he would like to shake hands with leader Kim Jong Un during his visit to the demilitarized zone on the Korean Peninsula. “What can’t be overlooked is the fact that this joint letter game was carried out by the Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN under the instruction of the State Department, on the very same day when President Trump proposed for the summit meeting,” a press statement from the North Korea mission said. The meeting on Sunday, which saw Trump become the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in the isolated regime, culminated in the pair agreeing to resume talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Protesters had mostly cleared out of the Legislative Council building after three hours of occupation. Then a cordon of riot police used tear gas and charged to scatter the crowd.By The New York TimesRight Now Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, held an early morning news conference after the police fired tear gas at protesters near the Legislative Council. Hong Kong’s leader vowed to pursue those who acted illegally. After a day of protests that escalated in violence, Carrie Lam, the city’s embattled top leader, condemned the protesters who stormed the offices of the legislature and wrecked and defaced the building, vowing to pursue those who acted illegally. “This violence and lawlessness have seriously affected the core values of Hong Kong’s legal system,” Mrs. Lam told reporters in the early hours of Tuesday morning. “I feel very indignant and saddened by this and want to strongly condemn it. I believe that the public feels the same.” Mrs. Lam, the city’s chief executive, was accompanied by Police Commissioner Stephen Lo, who was asked why his officers made a surprise retreat as the protesters appeared close to breaching an inner door.
It came as the US and the insurgent group are engaged in peace talks.By Alex WardAn attack on Monday by the Taliban in Afghanistan has killed roughly 40 people — including children — and injured around 100 more. It’s a stunning reminder of how bad the situation in the country remains after nearly two decades of war and relatively little attention paid by President Donald Trump and 2020 Democrats. The Taliban took responsibility for a multifaceted strike in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, which included a car bomb and a lengthy gun fight. A private war museum, a television station, schools, and sports agencies were damaged by the Taliban’s blast. Nooria Nazhat, the spokesperson for Afghanistan’s ministry of education, told the New York Times that at least 51 students were wounded when the car bomb that initiated the attack at rush hour damaged two school buildings. That’s tragic, not least because just two days earlier Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib tweeted, “Our youngest citizens have the most to gain from peace and security.”
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) - Donald Trump's two eldest children had quite the weekend. Ivanka Trump, traveling with her father in Asia, sought to play the role of a sort of shadow secretary of state. She attended a series of bilateral meetings between the US and foreign powers at the G20. She was part of the photo-op following the President's 20 steps into North Korea with dictator Kim Jong Un. (And she made it awkward!) She tried to edge into a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, IMF chairwoman Christine Lagarde and British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20. "You probably saw that Ivanka Trump was -- she's done a fantastic job, and also a fantastic job in getting jobs for a lot of people within our country -- almost 10 million people," Trump told the media during a news conference over the weekend in Osaka, Japan. Donald Trump Jr., for his part, was making news of his own. During Thursday's debate, he retweeted this tweet regarding California Sen. Kamala Harris' racial identity: "Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She's not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That's fine. She's not an American Black. Period." (Don Jr. later deleted the retweet, which had shared the tweet with the comment, "Is this true? Wow." His spokesman told The New York Times that it was a misunderstanding.)
A suspected stowaway who is believed to have fallen from the landing gear of a flight into Heathrow Airport has been found dead in a London garden. The body - believed to be that of a man - was found in Clapham just before 15:40 BST on Sunday. The individual is believed to have fallen from a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi, police said. A neighbour said the man fell a metre away from a resident who had been sunbathing in the garden. The man, who did not want to be named, said he heard a "whomp" so he looked out of an upstairs window and saw the body and "blood all over the walls of the garden". "So I went outside, and it was just then the neighbour came out and he was very shaken," he said.
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