Candidate from Sharif's party escapes gun attack in Pakistan
of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, listen to their
leader during an election rally in a suburb of Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday,
July 17. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
Islamabad (AP) — A candidate
running for a seat in Pakistan's parliament from former Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif's political party escaped an assassination attempt in eastern Punjab
province, police said Tuesday.
Local police official Mohammad Afzal
said that Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, who served as a minister in Sharif's former
government, came under attack late Monday in Attock district while returning
from a rally. He said Ahmed was safe.
The incident is the latest
election-related violence in Pakistan after Friday's carnage that saw an
election candidate and 152 others killed in all, in bombings in the
country's southwest and northwest.
Ahmed is from Sharif's Pakistan Muslim
League party. Sharif was arrested on Friday upon returning from London to
face a 10-year prison sentence for corruption.
Also Tuesday, the counter-terrorism
police in Punjab province arrested four suspected militants from the
Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, and the Lashker-e-Jhangvi
group near the central city of Multan.
Mustafa Kamal, a spokesman for
counter-terrorism police, said explosives and weapons were found in the
suspects' possession. The four had planned to carry out attacks on political
rallies and security forces, he said.
Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — the
son of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former President Asif
Zardari — held a string of rallies Tuesday, including in Islamabad suburbs,
the nearby town of Gujar Khan and elsewhere.
The young Zardari is trying to revive
support for his Pakistan People's Party which once had a strong following in
Punjab, the country's largest province.
Tumult of Trump's Europe trip smashes presidential precedent
In this July
11, 2018, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump takes his seat as he attends
the multilateral meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, Belgium.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
Helsinki (AP) — Plenty of U.S.
presidents have created commotion in their travels abroad, but none as much
as President Donald Trump.
The president's tumultuous trip across
Europe, historians say, smashed the conventions of American leaders on the
Trump's "America first" approach to
foreign policy had him seeming to accept the word of a hostile power over
his own intelligence agencies, insulting allies and sowing doubts about his
commitment to the NATO alliance.
"We've never had a president go abroad
and not only lecture to our NATO allies, but also to embarrass them," said
Russia expert William Pomeranz, deputy director of the Kennan Institute at
the Wilson Center. "We've never had our president go on a foreign tour and
categorize our allies as foes. And we've never had our president hold a
joint news conference with a Russian leader where he assigned blame, from
his perspective, to both parties, but in fact dedicated most of his time to
blaming the U.S. Justice Department and intelligence services."
While past presidents have had
difficult foreign trips and been criticized for their summits with Soviet
leaders, Trump's behavior has few parallels, in the view of presidential
historians and longtime Russia watchers.
Franklin Roosevelt was accused of
"selling out" to Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference in 1945; John F.
Kennedy and his aides admitted that he'd been unprepared for his 1961 Vienna
summit with Nikita Khrushchev; the Reykjavík summit between Ronald Reagan
and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 was seen at the time to have ended in failure;
and George W. Bush was mocked for telling reporters in 2001 after meeting
with Putin that he had "looked the man in the eye" and "found him to be very
straightforward and trustworthy."
Trump's trip was different.
"Frankly, I don't think those U.S.
presidents at any point came off as not pursuing U.S. security interests, as
being taken in by the Soviet leader they were meeting with," said Alina
Polyakova, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution. "I think
even President George W. Bush's meeting, where he had that famous quote
about looking into Putin's eyes and seeing into his soul — this summit
dwarfs that by a factor of a thousand."
Indeed, even before he departed
Washington, Trump had made clear that he was itching for a fight. He
criticized members of NATO, the decades-old military alliance, for failing
to spend enough on defense and suggested he might not be interested in
"paying for Europe's protection" any longer.
In his first appearance at a pre-summit
breakfast in Brussels, he went after German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
claiming Germany was "totally controlled" by Russia and later asked on
Twitter, "What good is NATO." The summit ended in a whiplash-inducing
proclamation from the president that NATO was stronger than ever as he
claimed he'd secured new commitments to defense spending, which those
present later disputed.
The drama continued as Trump headed to
his next stop, the U.K. His first official visit was overshadowed by fallout
from the rhetorical grenade he'd lobbed at British Prime Minister Theresa
May before arriving. In a tabloid interview, he criticized May's Brexit
plans, said he might no longer be open to a trade deal with the U.K., and
said one of May's political rival would be an excellent prime minister,
undermining her at a time when her government is in turmoil.
Then came yet another interview, this
one from one of his golf courses in Scotland, in which Trump categorized the
European Union as a top geopolitical "foe."
Nothing, however, had quite prepared
the world for Trump's comments in Helsinki after hours of meetings with
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government, U.S. intelligence
officials have concluded, meddled in the 2016 election, hacked Democratic
Party emails and disseminated them in an effort to help Trump win.
Standing side-by-side on stage with the
man accused of complicity in an attack on the very bedrock of American
democracy, Trump said his intelligence people "think it's Russia. I have
President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this I don't see
any reason why it would be." He also went after his Justice Department,
calling its investigation into Russia's efforts and potential collusion with
Trump's campaign a "disaster for our country."
It was a stunning comment from an
American president — one that he partially tried to walk back 24 hours later
by blaming a grammatical glitch. But he did not retreat from a number of his
other comments giving credence to Putin's denials of election interference
"Trump 0 - Putin 1," blared the front
page of Finland's Kauppalehti newspaper.
Douglas Brinkley, a presidential
historian and professor at Rice University, compared Trump to "a bull
carrying his own china shop around with him."
"Just standing and selling your country
downriver on foreign soil in front of your adversary — there's no precedent
for such disgraceful and irrational behavior," Brinkley said.
Pomeranz said Trump had done himself
political damage by suggesting both sides were to blame for the Russia probe
that has hurt U.S. relations with Moscow — just as Trump did when he blamed
both sides when responding to violent white supremacist protests in
Pomeranz said the damage Trump did by
describing the E.U. as a foe and lecturing his NATO allies was significant.
"I think that is what's going to be
remembered from this week," he said.
India's top court calls for new law to curb mob violence
Oct. 3, 2015 file photo, Indians participate in a candlelight vigil in
memory of 52-year-old Muslim farmer Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched by a
mob, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) — India's highest
court on Tuesday asked the federal government to consider enacting a law to
deal with an increase in lynchings and mob violence fueled mostly by rumors
that the victims either belonged to members of child kidnapping gangs or
were beef eaters and cow slaughterers.
The Supreme Court said that "horrendous
acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm, according to the
Press Trust of India news agency.
"Citizens cannot take law into their
hands and cannot become law unto themselves," said Chief Justice Dipak Misra
and two other judges, A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, who heard a
petition related to deadly mob violence. They said the menace needs to be
"curbed with iron hands," the news agency reported.
The judges asked the legislature to
consider a law that specifically deals with lynchings and cow vigilante
groups and provides punishment to offenders.
India has seen a series of mob attacks
on minority groups since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won
national elections in 2014. The victims have been accused of either
smuggling cows for slaughter or carrying beef. Last month, two Muslims were
lynched in eastern Jharkhand state on charges of cattle theft. In such mob
attacks, at least 20 people have been killed by cow vigilante groups mostly
believed to be tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.
Most of the attacks waged by so-called
cow vigilantes from Hindu groups have targeted Muslims. Cows are considered
sacred by many members of India's Hindu majority, and slaughtering cows or
eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.
However, most of the mob attacks this
year have been fueled mainly by rumors ignited by messages circulated
through social media that child-lifting gangs were active in villages and
towns. At least 25 people have been lynched and dozens wounded in the
attacks. The victims were non-locals, mostly targeted because they looked
different or didn't speak the local language.
Although Indian authorities have
clarified that there was no truth to the child-lifting rumors and that the
targeted people were innocent, the deadly and brutal attacks, often captured
on cellphones and shared on social media, have spread across the country.
While Tuesday's ruling calls for
stringent measures by both the central and state governments, Indian
government has looked somewhere else. It recently blamed the Facebook-owned
messaging service WhatsApp for failing to stop false information and called
on it to take "immediate action" to prevent the social media platform from
being misused to spread rumors and irresponsible statements leading to mob
The Supreme Court advocated setting up
special or fast-track courts to hear cases of lynching and mob violence and
asked the state governments to prepare compensation schemes for the victims.
It also directed that the victims' families be given free legal aid.
The top court also directed authorities
to take action against police or administrative officials who fail to comply
with the court's directive on pursuing such cases.
Widespread distrust of the police and
the courts prevails in India, both of which are burdened by corruption and
poor training. Despite repeated protests, courts are still notoriously slow,
and it often takes years or even decades for a case to go to trial.
Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'
This April 3, 2017 image made available by NASA
shows the planet Jupiter. (NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (GSFC) via AP)
Emiliano Rodriguez Mega
New York (AP) — Astronomers are
still finding moons at Jupiter, 400 years after Galileo used his spyglass to
spot the first ones.
The latest discovery of a dozen small
moons brings the total to 79, the most of any planet in our solar system.
Scientists were looking for objects on
the fringes of the solar system last year when they pointed their telescopes
close to Jupiter's backyard, according to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie
Institute for Science in Washington. They saw a new group of objects moving
around the giant gas planet but didn't know whether they were moons or
asteroids passing near Jupiter.
"There was no eureka moment," said
Sheppard, who led the team of astronomers. "It took a year to figure out
what these objects were."
They all turned out to be moons of
Jupiter. The confirmation of 10 was announced Tuesday. Two were confirmed
The moons had not been spotted before
because they are tiny. They are about one to two kilometers (miles) across,
said astronomer Gareth Williams of the International Astronomical Union's
Minor Planet Center.
And he thinks Jupiter might have even
more moons just as small waiting to be found.
"We just haven't observed them enough,"
said Williams, who helped confirm the moons' orbits.
The team is calling one of the new
moons an 'oddball' because of its unusual orbit. Sheppard's girlfriend came
up with a name for it: Valetudo, the great-granddaughter of the Roman god
Valetudo is in Jupiter's distant, outer
swarm of moons that circles in the opposite direction of the planet's
rotation. Yet it's orbiting in the same direction as the planet, against the
"This moon is going down the highway
the wrong way," Sheppard said.
Scientists believe moons like Valetudo
and its siblings appeared soon after Jupiter formed. The planet must have
acted like a vacuum, sucking up all the material that was around it. Some of
that debris was captured as moons.
"What astonishes me about these moons
is that they're the remnants of what the planet formed from," he said.
Telescopes in Chile, Hawaii and Arizona
were used for the latest discovery and confirmation.
Galileo detected Jupiter's four largest
moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto in 1610. The latest count of 79
known planets includes eight that have not been seen for several years.
Saturn is next with 61, followed by Uranus with 27 and Neptune with 14. Mars
has two, Earth has one and Mercury and Venus have none.
Japan, EU sign trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, European Union's Council President Donald
Tusk, left, and European Union's Commission President Jean-Claude Junker
pose after signing a contract, Tuesday, July 17, at the prime minister's
office in Tokyo. (Martin Bureau/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo (AP) — The European Union
and Japan signed a landmark deal on Tuesday that will eliminate nearly all
tariffs on products they trade.
The ambitious pact signed in Tokyo runs
counter to President Donald Trump's moves to hike tariffs on imports from
many U.S. trading partners. It covers a third of the global economy and
markets of more than 600 million people.
"The EU and Japan showed an undeterred
determination to lead the world as flag-bearers for free trade," Abe said at
a joint news conference with European Council President Donald Tusk and
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Tusk praised the deal as "the largest
bilateral trade deal ever." He said the partnership is being strengthened in
various other areas, including defense, climate change and human exchange,
and is "sending a clear message" against protectionism.
The leaders did not mention Trump by
name, but they did little to mask what was on their minds — highlighting how
Europe and Japan have been pushed closer by Trump's actions.
The agreement was largely reached late
last year. The ceremonial signing was delayed from earlier this month
because Abe canceled going to Brussels over a disaster in southwestern
Japan, caused by extremely heavy rainfall. More than 200 people died from
flooding and landslides.
The measures won't kick in right away
and still require legislative approval. But they will bring Japanese
consumers lower prices for European wines, pork, handbags and
pharmaceuticals. Japanese machinery parts, tea and fish will become cheaper
The deal eliminates about 99 percent of
the tariffs on Japanese goods sold to the EU. About 94 percent of the
tariffs on European exports to Japan will be lifted, rising to 99 percent in
the future. The difference reflects exceptions on such products as rice,
which enjoys strong political protection from imports in Japan.
Overall, European farmers will benefit,
Juncker said, though European consumers will be able to more easily buy
luscious Kobe beef and famous Yubari melons.
The EU said the trade liberalization
will help raise European exports of chemicals, clothing, cosmetics and beer
to Japan. Japanese will get cheaper cheeses, such as Parmesan, gouda and
cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.
The imported wine and cheese could hurt
sales by Japanese wineries and dairies, but Japanese consumers have
historically coveted such European products.
The major step toward liberalizing
trade has been discussed since 2013.
Apart from its deal with the EU, Japan
is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific
deal. The partnership includes Australia, Mexico, Vietnam and other nations,
although the U.S. has withdrawn.
Abe praised the deal with the EU for
helping his "Abenomics" policies, designed to wrest the economy out of
stagnation despite a shrinking population and cautious spending. Japan's
growth remains heavily dependent on exports.
Hawaii lava boat tours continue after explosion, injuries
shows damage to a tour boat after an explosion sent lava flying through the
roof off the Big Island of Hawaii Monday, July 16. (Hawaii Department of
Land and Natural Resources via AP)
Audrey McAvoy and Caleb Jones
Honolulu (AP) — Hawaii tour boat
operators plan to continue taking visitors to see lava, but will follow the
Coast Guard's revised policy and stay farther away after an explosion caused
molten rock to barrel through the roof of a vessel, injuring 23 people.
The Coast Guard prohibits vessels from
getting closer than 300 meters from where Kilauea volcano's lava oozes into
the sea. The agency had been allowing experienced boat operators to apply
for a special license to get closer up to 50 meters, but it stopped allowing
those exceptions Monday morning.
A woman in her 20s was transported to
Honolulu in serious condition with a broken thigh bone. The other 22 people
injured were treated for minor burns and scrapes, including 12 who were
treated at a hospital in Hilo.
Moku Nui Lava Tours Captain Kanoa
Jones, whose boat was not involved in Monday's incident at Kilauea volcano,
said not running the tours would only withhold income from local restaurants
and other businesses dependent on tourism, he said.
"If we stop operating, it not only
hurts us, it hurts the community," Jones said.
The Coast Guard, state and local
officials were investigating what happened.
Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 3rd
Class Matthew West said the agency can't say whether it will change its
safety zone rules until it finishes its investigation.
The county strictly limits access to
the lava on land for safety reasons, making boat and helicopter tours the
only options people have to witness volcanic spectacle in person. The ocean
and aerial tours each cost about $250.
The restrictions have deterred many
travelers from visiting the Big Island in general, and Puna near the volcano
Shane Turpin, the owner and captain of
the vessel that was hit, said he never saw the explosion.
He and his tour group had been in the
area for about 20 minutes making passes of the ocean entry about 500 meters
— which is the length of five football fields — offshore, Turpin said.
He didn't observe "any major
explosions," so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 250 meters away
from the lava.
"As we were exiting the zone, all of a
sudden everything around us exploded," he said. "It was everywhere."
The U.S. Geological Survey says
explosions of varying sizes occur whenever 2,000-degree (1,093-degree
Celsius) lava enters much colder seawater.
Monday's large blast may have been
amplified by the relatively shallow water at the point where the lava
entered the sea. That's because explosions occur much closer to the surface
in such spots.
In contrast, lava that entered the
ocean in 2016 hit a steep slope and quickly fell to deeper parts of the sea,
said Janet Babb, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
The volcano has also been pumping more
lava into the water now compared to past years, Babb said. Kilauea is
sending to the sea as much as 26 times the amount of lava per second than it
did during the 2016-17 eruption.
Officials have warned of the danger of
getting close to lava entering the ocean, saying the interaction can create
clouds of acid and fine glass. Despite the hazards, several companies
operate such tours. The Coast Guard said tour vessels have operated in the
area going back at least 20 years.
The molten rock is coming from the
Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously for the past 35 years.
In May, its eruption entered a new phase when it began spurting lava through
newly formed fissures in a residential neighborhood. It has destroyed more
than 700 homes since then. But the only serious injury over the past two
months was to a man who was hit by flying lava that broke his leg.
Captain Jones said an evening boat tour
left for the ocean-entry site and it was business as usual.
"It is Mother Nature," Jones said. "You
Trump embraces longtime US foe Putin, doubting own intel
President Donald Trump shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin at
the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential
Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16. (AP Photo/Alexander
Jonathan Lemire, Jill Colvin and
Helsinki (AP) — In an
extraordinary embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, President Donald Trump on
Monday openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' firm finding that
Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to his benefit, seeming to accept
Russian President Vladimir Putin's insistence that Moscow's hands were
The reaction back home was immediate
and visceral, among fellow Republicans as well as usual Trump critics.
"Shameful," ''disgraceful," ''weak," were a few of the comments. Makes the
U.S. "look like a pushover," said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki
was his first time sharing the international stage with a man he has
described as an important U.S. competitor — but whom he has also praised a
strong, effective leader.
His remarks, siding with a foe on
foreign soil over his own government, was a stark illustration of Trump's
willingness to upend decades of U.S. foreign policy and rattle Western
allies in service of his political concerns. A wary and robust stance toward
Russia has been a bedrock of his party's world view. But Trump made clear he
feels that any firm acknowledgement of Russia's involvement would undermine
the legitimacy of his election.
Standing alongside Putin, Trump steered
clear of any confrontation with the Russian, going so far as to question
American intelligence and last week's federal indictments that accused 12
Russians of hacking into Democratic email accounts to hurt Hillary Clinton
"I have great confidence in my
intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely
strong and powerful in his denial today.
"He just said it's not Russia. I will
say this: I don't see any reason why it would be," Trump said.
His skepticism drew a quick formal
statement — almost a rebuttal — from Trump's director of national
Intelligence, Dan Coats.
"We have been clear in our assessments
of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive
efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide
unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security,"
Fellow GOP politicians have generally
stuck with Trump during a year and a half of turmoil, but he was assailed as
seldom before as he returned home Monday night from what he had hoped would
by a proud summit with Putin.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona was most
outspoken, declaring that Trump made a "conscious choice to defend a tyrant"
and achieved "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American
president in memory." House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rarely criticizes Trump,
stressed there was "no question" that Russia had interfered.
Even staunch Trump backer Newt
Gingrich, the former House speaker, called Trump's comments "the most
serious mistake of his presidency" and said they "must be
Former CIA Director John Brennan, who
served under President Barack Obama, called Trump's words "nothing short of
treasonous." Brennan tweeted: "Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he
is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???"
In a Fox News Channel interview after
the summit, Putin pronounced the meetings "the beginning of the path" back
from the West's past efforts to isolate Russia. "I think you see for
yourself that these efforts failed, and they were never bound to succeed,"
As he flew home to Washington aboard
Air Force One, Trump tried to clarify his position via tweet, saying: "As I
said today and many times before, 'I have GREAT confidence in MY
intelligence people.' However, I also recognize that in order to build a
brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past - as the world's
two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!"
In their totality, Trump's remarks
amounted to an unprecedented embrace of a man who for years has been
isolated by the U.S. and Western allies for actions in Ukraine, Syria and
beyond. And it came at the end of an extraordinary trip to Europe in which
Trump had already berated allies, questioned the value of the NATO alliance
and demeaned leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's Theresa
The two leaders' long-awaited summit
began with a private face-to-face sitdown — just the leaders and their
interpreters — that lasted more than two hours, before additional meetings
joined by senior aides.
The pair had held lengthy talks before
— on the sidelines of world leader meetings in Germany and Vietnam last year
— but this was their first official summit and was being watched closely,
especially following the announcement Friday of new indictments against 12
Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic emails to help
Asked about the indictments, Putin
suggested that Moscow and Washington could jointly conduct the
investigation, inviting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators to
come to Russia to interview the 12 people— an idea Trump hailed as an
Putin said he'd expect the U.S. to
return the favor and cooperate in the Russian probe against William Browder,
a British investor charged with financial crimes in Russia. Browder, an
outspoken Putin critic, was a driving force behind a U.S. law targeting
Russian officials over human rights abuses.
The summit began just hours after Trump
blamed the United States — and not Russian election meddling or its
annexation of Crimea — for a low-point in U.S.-Russia relations.
"Our relationship with Russia has NEVER
been worse," Trump tweeted Monday morning, blaming "many years of U.S.
foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"
The Russian foreign ministry responded
by liking Trump's tweet and then replying: "We agree."
Asked whether Russia was responsible at
all, Trump said "we're all to blame" for the soured relations.
However, "that changed," he said, "as
of about four hours ago."
Putin ridiculed as "sheer nonsense"
allegations that Russian intelligence agencies had collected compromising
information on Trump during his visit to Moscow years before the election,
saying that he had no idea Trump was even visiting.
Still, Putin said he had indeed wanted
Trump to win the election — a revelation that might have made more headlines
if not for Trump's performance — but had taken no action to make it happen.
"Yes, I wanted him to win because he
spoke of normalization of Russian-U.S. ties," Putin said. "Isn't it natural
to feel sympathy to a person who wanted to develop relations with our
country? It's normal."
At the closing press conference, Putin,
riding high after hosting a successful World Cup, unveiled a gift he'd
brought for Trump: a red and white soccer ball, which he tossed to Trump at
the neighboring lectern. Trump passed it over to his wife, and said they'd
give it to their soccer-loving 12-year-old son, Barron.
Out on the streets, the summit
attracted a grab-bag of protesters, with abortion-rights activists wearing
artificially bulging bellies and Trump masks, anti-fascist protesters
bearing signs with expletive-laden insults, and free traders, anti-war
Ukrainians and gay rights supporters making their voices hear.
Netanyahu visits southern region following Gaza escalation
in the background following an Israeli airstrike that hits a governmental
building in Gaza City, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Jerusalem (AP) — Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu visited a southern Israeli town bordering Gaza on Monday
that was pummeled with rockets from the strip over the weekend and told
community leaders there that Israel is engaged in a "lengthy battle."
Netanyahu's visit to Sderot comes a day
after an informal cease-fire took hold to end 24 hours of intense fighting
between Israel and Gaza's Hamas militants that had threatened to devolve
into all-out war.
Israel pounded Hamas targets in its
most massive bombardment since the 2014 war, while militants fired dozens of
rockets toward Israel that halted daily life in the area. Two Palestinian
teenagers were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, while four
Israelis were wounded from a rocket that landed on a residential home in
Netanyahu visited a local kindergarten
and pledged that Israel would put an end to the rocket fire and a Gaza
militant campaign of flying incendiary kites and balloons across the border
that have ignited fires damaging Israeli farms and nature reserves.
Hamas will face a "wall of steel" if it
keeps up its aggression against Israel, Netanyahu warned, adding however
that the threat won't disappear overnight.
"It doesn't end in one strike,"
Netanyahu said. "We know we are engaged in a lengthy battle."
Hours after Netanyahu spoke, the
Israeli military said planes bombarded two Hamas positions in the northern
Gaza Strip in response to flaming balloons launched into Israel.
On Saturday, the Israeli military said
it struck several Hamas military compounds and flattened a number of its
training camps. Hamas retaliated with more than 200 rockets and mortars
toward Israeli communities, it added.
After Hamas accepted an Egypt-mediated
cease-fire late Saturday, the situation calmed down but flaming kites and
balloons continued to drift over into Israel, with the adopting signaling a
new policy of striking back immediately.
The government is under pressure from
local communities to show zero tolerance to this new threat, and Netanyahu
told local leaders that he had instructed the military to halt it
"There is no such thing as a cease-fire
that does not include the flaming kites and balloons," he said. "If this is
not understood through my words, it will be understood through the
On Sunday evening, the military
announced that following a "situation assessment" it reinforced its Iron
Dome batteries in central Israel and in the country's south and called up a
small number of reserve army soldiers. The Iron Dome shot down more than 20
projectiles over the weekend.
With Israel focused on efforts to
prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military foothold in neighboring
Syria, it has been wary of escalating violence in Gaza. But the extensive
offensive appeared aimed at signaling to Hamas that it was unafraid to
engage if necessary.
The flare-up came after months of
near-weekly border demonstrations organized by Hamas aimed in part to
protest the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Over 130 Palestinians have
been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began on March 30.
Israel says it is defending its
sovereign border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover for
attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli civilians and
Migrants disembark in Sicily after EU sharing plan reached
a migrant disembarked from Frontex ship "Protector" at the port of Pozzallo,
Sicily, Italy, in the early hours of Monday, July 16. (Francesco Ruta/ANSA
Nicole Winfield and Gino Maceli
Pozzallo, Sicily (AP) — About
400 migrants aboard two border patrol ships disembarked in a Sicilian port
Monday after a half-dozen European countries promised to take some of them
in rather than leave Italy alone to process their asylum claims.
Italy's hard-line, anti-migrant
government had kept the two military ships from docking at Pozzallo for two
days until other countries stepped up in the latest standoff over migrant
Early Monday, the ships came into port
and disembarked their passengers, who were seen being screened at dawn. The
women and children had already come ashore.
Doctors at the scene said one of the
men was hospitalized in critical condition with pneumonia, while the others
were in generally good health but suffering from scabies.
On Sunday, Germany, Spain and Portugal
each agreed to respectively accept 50 of the migrants, following similar
offers by France and Malta. They were responding to a request by the Italian
premier, who sent individual letters to each EU member asking for a firm
gesture of solidarity.
But not everyone agreed. The Czech
Republic rebuffed the appeal and called the distribution plan a "road to
hell" that would just encourage more human traffickers.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who
has spearheaded Italy's tough line on migration, said the redistribution
deal was just a temporary solution and that the ultimate goal is for Libya
to be considered a safe enough haven for migrants to be returned. Italy is
also pushing for the EU to fund "hotspots" in migrants' home countries where
asylum bids can be processed.
Salvini said the EU has a "bipolar"
relationship with Libya, providing training and boats to beef up its coast
guard, but then refusing to consider it a safe port where migrants can be
"What is prohibited today can be
normalized tomorrow," he said of Libya's status as a safe haven. "The
European Union should convince itself that this is the only way to get out
of this problem."
International law requires those
rescued at sea to be brought to a safe port; humanitarian groups say Libya
hardly constitutes that, given widespread torture and abuse reported by
migrants in Libyan detention centers.
Asked about the issue Monday, European
Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud repeated that no European ship
participating in a rescue mission can return migrants to Libya "because we
don't consider it a secure country."
The European Commission welcomed the
fact that the two ships had disembarked their passengers and that six EU
countries had stepped forward, but said such "ad hoc solutions cannot be
sustainable in the long term," a spokesman said.
Aid workers at the docks in Pozzallo
said the migrants were traumatized and needed care. They expressed alarm
that families had likely been separated when the women and children were
allowed off the ships, but not the men.
"The reality is that many among these
women are very young girls and the children are very young and need their
relatives," U.N. refugee agency spokesman Marco Rotunno said.
"It is unacceptable that these people
are blocked onboard and that are not allowed to disembark and that their
final destination is being negotiated while they are blocked," he added.
"Disembarking in a safe port should be granted immediately and a fair
relocation should be decided at a later stage."
The migrants had set off from Libya in
a large fishing boat on Friday. Italy and Malta both refused to let the ship
dock, and eventually the migrants were transferred onto two vessels: one
participating in the EU border patrol agency's Mediterranean search and
rescue mission and one from the Italian border agency.
Indonesian mob kills hundreds of crocodiles after man dies
Saturday, July 14, photo, people look at the carcasses of crocodiles
slaughtered by villagers in Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. (AP
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — A mob
slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles at a breeding ground in Indonesia's West
Papua province in retaliation for the death of a local man, officials said
A total of 292 crocodiles were killed
by hundreds of villagers on Saturday following the funeral of a 48-year-old
man who was killed by crocodiles after entering the area around the breeding
pond, said Basar Manullang, the head of the local Natural Resources and
The man was believed to have entered
the sanctuary in the Klamalu neighborhood of Sorong district to cut grass
for his cattle.
"Since killing the crocodiles is
illegal, we are coordinating with the police for the investigation,"
The agency said in a statement that the
villagers were armed with machetes, hammers, shovels and other sharp
weapons. They killed two large crocodiles of up to 4 meters and many babies
measuring 50-150 centimeters.
Witnesses said about 40 policemen came
to the scene but were too outnumbered to stop the mob.
Police said about five witnesses have
been questioned but no suspects have been named.
Police are encouraging mediation
between the victim's family and Mitra Lestari Abadi, the company that
operates the sanctuary.
Trump names EU a global foe, raps media before Putin summit
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the
airport in Helsinki, Finland, Sunday, July 15. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez
Helsinki (AP) — President Donald
Trump named the European Union as a top adversary of the United States and
denounced the news media as the "enemy of the people" before arriving in
Helsinki on Sunday on the eve of his high-stakes summit with Russia's
Trump and his top aides were
downplaying expectations for Monday's summit as Trump continued to rattle
allies by lumping in the EU with Russia and China after barnstorming across
Europe, causing chaos at the recent NATO summit and in a trip to the United
Trump spent the weekend in Scotland at
his resort in Turnberry, golfing, tweeting and granting an interview to CBS
News in which he named the EU, a bloc of nations that includes many of
America's closest allies, at the top of his list of biggest global foes.
"I think the European Union is a foe,
what they do to us in trade," Trump said, adding that "you wouldn't think of
the European Union, but they're a foe."
He said that Russia is a foe "in
certain respects" and that China is a foe "economically ... but that doesn't
mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are
Trump has been reluctant to criticize
Putin over the years and has described him in recent days not as an enemy
but as a competitor.
On Sunday, Trump flew to Finland, the
final stop on a weeklong trip that began last Tuesday. Near Trump's hotel,
police roped off a group of about 60 mostly male pro-Trump demonstrators
waving American flags. Big banners said "Welcome Trump" and "God Bless D & M
Trump" and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Chants of "We love Trump, We love
Trump" broke out as the president's motorcade passed, and Trump waved.
Trump set expectations for the summit
low, telling CBS News, "I don't expect anything. ... I go in with very low
expectations." His national security adviser said they weren't looking for
any "concrete deliverables."
He also said in the interview taped
Saturday that he "hadn't thought" about asking Putin to extradite the dozen
Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington
on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 U.S.
But after being given the idea by his
interviewer, Trump said, "Certainly I'll be asking about it."
The U.S. has no extradition treaty with
Moscow and can't compel Russia to hand over citizens. Russia's constitution
prohibits extraditing its citizens to foreign countries.
Contradicting Trump in an interview on
ABC's "This Week," U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said the idea
of asking Putin to turn over the 12 military intelligence officials was
"pretty silly" and argued that doing so would put the U.S. president in a
He also argued that Trump is entering
the summit with a stronger hand because of the indictments.
"I think the president can put this on
the table and say, 'This is a serious matter that we need to talk about,'"
said Bolton, adding that asking for the indicted Russians to be turned over
would have the opposite effect.
In the CBS News interview, Trump
declined to discuss his goals for the summit — "I'll let you know after the
meeting," he said — but said he believes such sessions are beneficial.
He cited his historic meeting with
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June as a "good thing," along with
meetings he's had with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"Nothing bad is going to come out of"
the Helsinki meeting, he said, "and maybe some good will come out."
From aboard Air Force One, Trump
complained in tweets that he wasn't getting enough credit for his meeting
with Kim and railed that "Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the
people" as he headed to sit down with Putin.
Putin is regarded as creating a culture
of violence and impunity that has resulted in the killing of some Russian
journalists. Trump regularly criticizes American news media outlets and has
called out some journalists by name.
Trump complained: "No matter how well I
do at the Summit," he'll face "criticism that it wasn't good enough."
"If I was given the great city of
Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over
the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough — that I
should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!" he tweeted.
Trump also praised Putin for holding
the World Cup, which finished up Sunday.
Trump and Putin have held talks several
times before. Their first meeting came last July when both participated in
an international summit and continued for more than two hours, well over the
scheduled 30 minutes. The leaders also met last fall during a separate
summit in Vietnam.
But Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador
to Russia, said Monday's meeting "is really the first time for both
presidents to actually sit across the table and have a conversation, and I
hope it's a detailed conversation about where we might be able to find some
overlapping and shared interests."
Congressional Democrats and at least
one Republican have called on Trump to pull out of Monday's meeting unless
he is willing to make Russian election-meddling the top issue. Huntsman said
the summit must go on because Russian engagement is needed to solve some
"The collective blood pressure between
the United States and Russia is off-the-charts high so it's a good thing
these presidents are getting together," he said during an appearance on
NBC's "Meet the Press."
Trump has said he will raise the issue
of Russian election meddling, along with Syria, Ukraine, nuclear
proliferation and other topics. Bolton described the meeting as
"unstructured" and said: "We're not looking for concrete deliverables here."
Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan
photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a convoy of buses
carrying opposition fighters and their families leave the southern province
of Daraa, Syria, Sunday, July 15. (SANA via AP)
Sarah El Deeb
Beirut (AP) — Syrian government
forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the
Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase
in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents.
The government's push came after it had
secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in
June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families left
the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to
the rebel-held Idlib province in the north.
Similar deals in other parts of Syria
resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians
— evacuations that the United Nations and rights groups have decried as
Syrian President Bashar Assad said
Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will
of his army and allied forces to "liberate all of Syrian territories" of
In recent months and backed by Russian
air force, the Syrian government has restored control of over 60 percent of
previously rebel-held territory across the country.
Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday
with visiting Iranian foreign ministry's official Hossein Jaberi Ansari.
Assad's office said the two agreed that the "elimination of terrorism in
most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach
results at the political level" that could put an end to Syria's war.
Syria's government refers to all armed
opposition groups as "terrorists" and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and
regional countries of supporting them.
The statement came a day before
President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland.
Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad
In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand
over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control. Daraa,
which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the
2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Since early Sunday, government forces
turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed
opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said government forces fired more than 800 missiles at an
area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers
from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Observatory
said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and
rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government
fighters. The pro-Syrian government Central Military Media said a number of
insurgents were killed in the clashes.
The Observatory reported airstrikes in
Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also
reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where government
forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a
deal with the rebels.
Government troops are also seeking to
advance on another town to the south through negotiations with rebels there.
Capturing Nawa would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked
to the Islamic State group.
Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani
said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families
will be evacuated out of Daraa. Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya said 10 buses
carrying 407 people left for northern Syria. The station said the evacuation
of nearly 1,000 people will likely be completed by Sunday.
Pakistan mourns victims of carnage ahead of elections
police officer stands guard while people offer funeral prayers in Lahore,
Sunday, July 15 for the victims of Friday’s suicide bombing in Mastung
district of Baluchistan province that killed 128 people. (AP Photo/K.M.
Quetta, Pakistan (AP) —
Pakistanis observed a day of mourning on Sunday for the victims of the
horrific weekend attacks that killed 132 people, including a provincial
assembly candidate during an election rally in southwestern Baluchistan
That attack killed 128people. Another
suicide bombing also on Friday struck an election campaign convoy in
northwestern Pakistan, killing four.
Friday's suicide bombing in Mastung
district took place as the Baluchistan Awami Party's candidate Siraj Raisani
was holding a rally. Another 300 people were wounded.
The deadly attacks occurred just hours
before Pakistan's disgraced prime minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan
from London to face a 10-year jail sentence for corruption. He and his
daughter Maryam, who was sentenced to seven years, were taken to jail upon
their return. They are expected to appeal their conviction on Monday.
On Sunday Sharif released an audio
message from his prison cell bemoaning his arrest and urging his supporters
to rally voters to his Pakistan Muslim League party ahead of general
elections on July 25. Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, has taken over the
leadership of the party and is shepherding it through the election campaign.
"Spread my message all over the
country," he urged his party workers in his brief message.
Meanwhile, black flags of mourning were
hoisted at the Baluchistan Awami Party's offices in the Baluchistan
provincial capital of Quetta and residents displayed banners denouncing the
Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk
visited the provincial capital of Quetta Sunday to express condolences to
Raisani's family and others.
So far more than 150 people have died
in election-related attacks, underscoring the security threat ahead of the
July 25 vote.
Food sent to migrants off Sicily as Italy awaits EU offers
ship of the Italian Coast Guard, with 67 migrants on board rescued 4 days
ago by the Vos Thalassa freighter, is moored in the Sicilian port of
Trapani, southern Italy, Thursday, July 12. (Igor Petyx/ANSA via AP)
Rome (AP) — Another day's worth
of food and beverages was sent Sunday to a pair of military ships off Sicily
as Italy waited for more European nations to pledge to take a share of the
hundreds of migrants on board before allowing the asylum-seekers to step off
onto Italian soil.
Germany, Spain and Portugal each agreed
to accept 50 of the migrants, following similar offers by fellow European
Union members France and Malta on Saturday, Italian Premier Giueseppe Conte
But the Czech Republic rebuffed the
appeal, calling the distribution plan a "road to hell."
Italian Interior Minister Matteo
Salvini has vowed to prohibit further disembarking in Italy of migrants who
were rescued while crossing the Mediterranean Sea unless the burden is
shared by other EU countries.
Salvini, who leads the right-wing
League party in Italy's populist coalition government, told reporters Sunday
the "aim was for brotherly re-distribution" of the 450 rescued passengers on
the two military ships.
Conte contacted fellow EU nation
leaders Saturday, asking them to take some of the rescued migrants. But
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis tweeted that his country "won't take any
migrants," dismissing Italy's approach as a "road to hell" that would
encourage more migrant smuggling.
While campaigning for Italy's March
election, Salvini praised the hard-line stance on immigration taken by
several eastern European countries, among them the Czech Republic. The same
intransigence is being experienced by the Italian government.
Italy's Conte insisted the "solidarity"
strategy was working, citing the offers from France, Malta and Germany.
"This is the solidarity and
responsibility that we have always sought from Europe," the premier said on
Facebook. He added that Italy would "continue on this path, with firmness
and in respect of human rights."
More than 600,000 migrants were rescued
in the central Mediterranean and brought to Italian territory in the last
few years. Many were economic migrants ineligible for asylum. Since their
home countries often don't facilitate repatriation, Italy has been left to
shelter many of them, although thousands have slipped out of Italy to seek
work or relatives in northern Europe.
Finding takers for all of the
asylum-seekers on the military ships waiting off Sicily, in the grips of a
heat wave, could be a long process.
Baby food, milk and juice were among
the provisions being delivered Sunday so the people aboard will have
necessities for another 24 hours.
A fishing boat, launched Friday from
Libya by human traffickers and crowded with some 450 migrants, sailed to
tiny Linosa island off Sicily, passing through both Libya's and Malta's
Off sparsely populated Linosa, a vessel
for European border agency Frontex and an Italian border police boat took
aboard the migrants and brought them to waters outside the Sicilian port of
By Sunday evening, roughly 70
passengers either had been taken or were about to be taken off the ships and
brought ashore in Pozzallo, Italian media said. They included people
suffering from dehydration, pregnant women and some babies, including a
newborn a few days old. Some of them needed to be hospitalized.
Among the evacuated was a woman
weighing 35 kilos after months in Libya.
Many of the rescued passengers
originally are from Eritrea. The Eritrean husband of a pregnant woman who
was experiencing abdominal pain was one of the few men allowed off, Italian
state TV said.
In offering to take in 50 migrants, the
German government cited the context of "ongoing talks about greater
bilateral cooperation on asylum."
According to EU figures, Germany
received almost 1 million asylum applications in 2016 and 2017, the most of
any bloc members. Italy came in second with about 250,000.
The number of migrants arriving in
Italy so far this year is down about 80 percent compared to 2017. Salvini
has vowed to stop all arrivals except for war refugees and people in a few
other select categories, such as pregnant women or young children.
132 die in Pakistan election violence ahead of Sharif return
man mourns over a dead body of his family member who was killed in a bomb
attack in Mastung, Quetta province, Pakistan, Friday, July 13. (AP
Zaheer Babar and Abdul Sattar
Lahore, Pakistan (AP) — The
deadliest attacks in Pakistan's troubled election campaign killed at least
132 people, including a candidate, on Friday just before the arrest of
disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his return to the country.
In the southwestern province of
Baluchistan, a suicide bomber killed 128 people, including a politician
running for a provincial legislature. Four others died in a strike in
Pakistan's northwest, spreading panic in the country.
The attacks came hours before Sharif
returned from London along with his daughter Maryam to face a 10-year prison
sentence on corruption charges, anti-corruption officials said. Maryam
Sharif faces seven years in jail.
He was taken into custody to serve his
sentence however he is expected to appeal and seek bail. It wasn't clear
when his appeal would be filed but he has until Monday.
In the southern town of Mastung,
candidate Siraj Raisani and 127 others died when a suicide bomber blew
himself up amid scores of supporters who had gathered at a rally.
The Islamic State group claimed
responsibility for the attack in a statement carried on its Aamaq news
The group gave no reason for the
bombing that killed Raisani, who was running for the election on the
Baluchistan Awami Party ticket.
Raisani is the brother of the former
Baluchistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani. Caretaker Home Minister Agha Umar
Bungalzai told The Associated Press another 300 people were wounded in
The U.S. State Department in a
statement strongly condemned this week's attacks on political candidates and
their supporters in Pakistan.
"These attacks are cowardly attempts to
deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights," it said. "We will
continue to stand with the people of Pakistan and the broader South Asia
region in their fight against terrorism."
Meanwhile, Sharif arrived in the
eastern city of Lahore from London where he was visiting his ailing wife
when a Pakistani court convicted him and his daughter of corruption.
Sharif's son-in-law is currently
serving his one-year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from
the purchase of luxury apartments in Britain that the court said were bought
with illegally acquired money.
Ahead of his return, police swept
through Lahore, arresting scores of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party
workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport.
Barbed wire was strung across some
roads leading to the Lahore airport on Friday and barricades were positioned
at the roadside ready to close off main boulevards should crowds start to
In a video message Friday reportedly
from aboard his aircraft en route to Pakistan, Sharif said he was returning
knowing he would be taken directly to prison.
Sharif has been banned from
participating in politics, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif now heads his
Pakistan Muslim League and is campaigning for re-election on July 25.
In a televised appeal to supporters
from London earlier this week, Sharif said he was not afraid of prison and
asked people to vote for his party. He also used the opportunity to again
criticize Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country directly
or indirectly for most of its 71-year history, saying Pakistan now has a
"state above the state."
During his term in office, Sharif
criticized the military's involvement in civilian affairs and its efforts in
Pakistani and international rights
groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in
Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power. The military denied the
accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was
requested by Pakistan's Election Commission. The army will deploy 350,000
security personnel to polling stations throughout the country on election
Underscoring the security threat, were
Friday's bombings the first of which killed four people in the northwest
near the election rally of a senior politician from an Islamist party.
The explosion targeted candidate Akram
Khan Durrani, who escaped unhurt, and wounded 20 people, said local police
chief Rashid Khan.
Durrani is running in the July 25 vote
against popular former lawmaker Imran Khan. He is a candidate of Muttahida
Majlis-e-Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.
The attacks came days after a suicide
bomber dispatched by the Pakistani Taliban killed secular politician Haroon
Ahmed Bilour and 20 others at his rally in the northwestern city of
Former lawmaker Imran Khan, who hopes
to become the next prime minister, condemned Friday's attack against his
opponent, Durrani. In a tweet, he said there seems to be a conspiracy to
sabotage the July 25 vote. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow
anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place.
Protests, diplomatic backflips mark Trump's visit to England
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and British
Prime Minister Theresa May, right, talk during their meeting at Chequers, in
Buckinghamshire, England, Friday, July 13. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez
Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire
London (AP) — President Donald
Trump closed out a turbulent 30-hour visit to England on Friday that
featured massive protests, moments of pageantry and startling diplomatic
backflips as the U.S. leader tried to smooth over controversies on trade,
Brexit and his critical assessment of British Prime Minister Theresa May.
After a breach of protocol in bashing
his hosts, Trump was on his best behavior as he wrapped up the visit,
insisting the U.S.-U.K. relationship is at "the highest level of special"
before dropping by Windsor Castle for tea with the queen and heading off for
a weekend at one of his golf courses in Scotland. He left a trail of
double-talk and chaos that has become a pattern in the U.S. president's
recent overseas travels.
Even Trump's reception by Queen
Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle became a dramatic split-screen event, as the
Justice Department in Washington simultaneously announced indictments
against 12 Russian military intelligence officers for 2016 election
interference, charges issued just days before Trump's summit with Russia's
Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Trump's pomp-filled visit to the U.K.
was overshadowed by an explosive interview in The Sun newspaper in
which he blasted May, blamed London's mayor for terrorist attacks against
the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of
The president who prides himself on not
apologizing did his own version of backpedaling at a news conference with
May on Friday, seeking to blame his favorite foil for any perceived friction
with May, whom he lavished with praise after having questioned her
"I didn't criticize the prime
minister," Trump said. "I have a lot of respect for the prime minister." He
blamed the newspaper for skipping over his praise of May in a piece that was
published Thursday just as the prime minister played host to Trump at an
opulent welcome dinner at a country palace.
The president then urged reporters to
listen to a full recording of the interview, which he said would give the
full picture. But the audio already posted on The Sun's website only
undermined Trump's familiar charge of "fake news."
In the interview, Trump criticized
May's plan for Brexit and said it may cause a proposed U.K.-U.S. trade deal
to collapse. He questioned her competence just as her government is in
turmoil from contentious negotiations on how Britain will leave the European
"Well, I think the deal that she is
striking is not what the people voted on," Trump said in the interview. He
also praised one of May's political rivals, former foreign secretary Boris
Johnson, who resigned from her government in protest this week. The
president backed away from the comments on Friday, saying of May's Brexit
talks: "Whatever you're going to do is OK with us. Just make sure we can
trade together. That's all that matters."
May, for her part, praised the strength
of the British-U.S. bond. But in a gentle rebuke, she said: "It is all of
our responsibility to ensure that trans-Atlantic unity endures."
As for her relationship with Trump, she
said: "We are friends."
Trump was greeted by massive protests
across Britain, including tens of thousands of demonstrators who filled the
streets of London alongside a giant balloon that flew over Parliament on
Friday depicting him as a cell-phone-toting angry baby in a diaper.
In a frenetic news conference at
Chequers, May's official country house, an unrestrained Trump blamed his
predecessor for Russian aggression in Crimea, placed fair trade at the
center of Britain's efforts to leave the European Union, defended his
beliefs that immigration has damaged Europe and repeatedly jousted with
television correspondents' whose coverage he found critical.
The news conference was a scene in
itself, featuring the moos of cows in the distance. And Trump at times drew
laughs from some British reporters, who jeered his criticism of the media
and openly laughed at his numerous boasts.
The president's bombast at Chequers was
offset by a rare moment of delicacy hours later, when a chauffeured Range
Rover took Trump and first lady Melania Trump to the courtyard of Windsor
Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II was awaiting them under a canopy on a dais.
There were handshakes all around, then
the threesome stood side-by-side as a military band played America's
national anthem. With the queen in the middle, the Trumps seemed to tower
over the monarch, who stands roughly 5-foot-3. The president is about
6-foot-2, and Mrs. Trump is near that in her stilettos.
The president and queen then broke off
to review the troops, walking slowly past a line of Coldstream Guards
wearing traditional bearskin hats. While Trump typically likes to take the
lead, he appeared mostly to follow the queen's direction, adjusting his pace
The meeting with the queen, a
traditional sign of prestige and power, was lost to some, as U.S. cable
networks began cutting away to cover the Russian indictments. And calls from
Congress grew louder for Trump to cancel Monday's meeting in Helsinki with
Putin, whom Trump has previously declined to challenge on 2016 election
In Britain, the takeaway from Trump's
trip across the pond will probably be the interview, in which he accused May
of ruining what her country stands to gain from its Brexit vote to leave the
EU. Trump linked his own election to the June 2016 referendum in which a
slim majority of British voters supported leaving the EU.
Up to 100,000 people massed in London
for demonstrations against the president's visit. Marchers gathered in
central London before walking through the center of the city to Parliament —
where earlier the 20-foot (six meter) baby blimp hovered overhead. Many
protesters used humor to convey their opposition. One sign read "Trump wears
poorly tailored suits," another proclaimed "Overcomb Brexit." One man was
selling rolls of "Trump toilet paper" emblazoned with a picture of the
Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in
the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters
permission to fly the baby Trump balloon.
"I guess when they put out blimps to
make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," he told The
Sun, which is owned by his media ally, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News
in the United States.
Trump also blamed recent terrorist
attacks there on Khan, who is Muslim. The president claimed Europe is
"losing its culture" because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.
Khan, whose grandparents are from
Pakistan, responded by questioning why Trump repeatedly criticizes him.
"Paris, Nice, Brussels, Berlin. Cities
in America all suffered terror attacks," Khan told British broadcaster Sky
News. "And it's for President Trump to explain why he singled me as the
mayor of London out and not the mayors of other cities and leaders of other
Additional protests were waiting for
Trump in Scotland as he took a weekend break before traveling to Finland to
Italy won't allow boat with 450 migrants; says "go to Malta"
In this photo taken on Thursday, July 12, 2018,
some of the 67 migrants rescued at sea by the Vos Thalassa freighter
disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti, in the Sicilian port
of Trapani, southern Italy. (Igor Petyx/ANSA via AP)
Rome (AP) — Italy and Malta
squabbled Friday over who was responsible for rescuing 450 migrants crowded
aboard a fishing boat in the Mediterranean as the vessel, apparently not
seeking help, headed toward a tiny island off Sicily.
Italian Transport Minister
DaniloToninelli had tweeted that Malta was obliged under maritime law to
rescue the migrants since they were in the Maltese search-and-rescue area
earlier on Friday and also provide the fishing boat with safe harbor.
But Malta retorted that when Rome's
maritime rescue coordination center informed it about the vessel, the boat
was already far closer to the tiny Sicilian island of Lampedusa than it was
to Maltese shores. The Maltese interior ministry also said that persons
aboard the vessel announced their intention to proceed to Lampedusa.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo
Salvini, who's leading the new populist's government campaign to keep more
migrants from reaching Italian shores, was adamant that the boat wouldn't
dock in any Italian port.
"This boat cannot, must not arrive,"
Salvini tweeted. "We already have given, you understand." Salvini was
apparently referring to the costs that Italy has incurred in the last few
years caring for some 600,000 migrants who were rescued at sea and brought
to Italian shores.
On Thursday, Salvini was thwarted
thanks to Italian presidential intervention in his determination that 67
migrants rescued earlier in the week by an Italian tug in the waters off
Libya not set foot in Italy. The tug's captain had told the Italian coast
guard that the migrants were threatening the crew after it appeared that the
tug would turn them over to the Libyan coast guard.
Italian prosecutors are investigation
the alleged threats.
The Italian coast guard vessel Diciotti
arrived in the port of Trapani, in western Sicily, on Thursday, but the
migrants were kept aboard while Salvini vowed that "delinquents" among the
migrants would be jailed, then expelled, leaving it unclear for hours if the
other passengers would be allowed off to seek asylum.
After President Sergio Mattarella
expressed humanitarian concerns about the migrants, authorities granted the
Italian ship docking permission.
Salvini insists that the Libyan coast
guard deal with migrants in waters off the largely lawless North African
country. But U.N. officials and human rights advocates say migrants are at
risk for torture, beatings, rape and other atrocities in Libyan detention
Two African migrants were escorted off
the Diciotti Thursday night by Italian police. The other migrants, including
young children and women then came down the gangway to be taken to a center
Salvini had said a Sudanese and a
Ghanaian among the migrants allegedly tried to hijack the tug so it wouldn't
return them to Libya.
Italian media quoted Trapani Prosecutor
Alfredo Morvillo as saying the investigation would be carried out without
bowing to any political pressures. No arrests were immediately made.
In an interview with Italian radio
station RTL on Friday, Salvini insisted that no more "fake refugees" would
arrive, referring to the large percentage of migrants who see their asylum
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted a
social worker for UNICEF, the U.N. children's advocacy agency, and the aid
group InterSos as saying the migrants recounted several minutes of "great
confusion and fear." Sahar Ibrahim was also quoted as saying that migrants
said they were ready to dive into the sea to avoid being sent back to Libya.
Iceberg 4 miles wide breaks off from Greenland glacier
Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo shows an Iceberg near the village of Innarsuit
on the northwestern coast of Greenland. (Magnus Kristensen/Ritzau Scanpix
London (AP) — An iceberg four
miles wide has broken off from a glacier in eastern Greenland and scientists
have captured the dramatic event on video.
New York University professor David
Holland, an expert in atmospheric and ocean science, told The Associated
Press that "this is the largest event we've seen in over a decade in
A June 22 video of the incident was
taken by his wife, Denise Holland of NYU's Environmental Fluid Dynamics
Laboratory. They had camped by the Helheim Glacier for weeks to collect data
to better project sea level changes due to global warming.
Holland said Wednesday that the
time-lapse video, which is speeded up 20 times, shows "3 percent of the
annual ice loss of Greenland occur in 30 minutes."
"It sounded like rockets going off," he
said, describing it as "a very complex, chaotic, noisy event."
While the couple is studying Greenland,
he said that "the real concern is in Antarctica, where everything is so big
the stakes are much higher."
In northwestern Greenland, another
large iceberg was apparently grounded on the sea floor near the small
village of Innaarsuit, which has a population of 169.
"Its residents were evacuated in the
early hours of Friday in fears that a flood would hit the place as a result
of the broken iceberg," Greenland police spokeswoman Lina Davidsen told
Danish broadcaster TV2.
"All the people in the danger area have
been evacuated to a building that is further up in the village," Davidsen
said. "The evacuation happened only because the iceberg is so close to the
Innaarsuit is located about 1,000
kilometers (620 miles) north of Nuuk, Greenland's capital and largest city.
Earthquakes and tsunamis have created
major floods in Greenland in the past years.
Trump says May's Brexit plan would kill UK-US trade deal
Prime Minister Theresa May takes the hand of President Donald Trump as they
walk up red-carpeted steps to enter Blenheim Palace for a black tie dinner
in Blenheim, England, Thursday, July 12. (Will Oliver/Photo via AP)
London (AP) — U.S. President
Donald Trump lobbed a verbal hand grenade into Theresa May's carefully
constructed plans for Brexit, saying Thursday that the British leader had
wrecked the country's exit from the European Union and likely "killed"
chances of a free-trade deal with the United States.
Trump, who is making his first
presidential visit to Britain, told The Sun newspaper he had advised May on
how to conduct Brexit negotiations, "but she didn't listen to me."
"She should negotiate the best way she
knows how. But it is too bad what is going on," the president said.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid
published an interview with Trump as May was hosting him at a black-tie
dinner at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Britain's World War II Prime
Minister Winston Churchill — the leader who coined the term "special
relationship" for the trans-Atlantic bond.
The Sun said the interview was
conducted Thursday in Brussels, before Trump traveled to Britain. His
remarks on Brexit came the same day May's government published long-awaited
proposals for Britain's relations with the EU after it leaves the bloc next
The document proposes keeping Britain
and the EU in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for
The plan has infuriated fervent Brexit
supporters, who think sticking close to the bloc would limit Britain's
ability to strike new trade deals around the world. Foreign Secretary Boris
Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis both quit the government this week
Trump came down firmly on the side of
the Brexiteers. He said Johnson, May's now ex-foreign secretary, "would be a
great prime minister. I think he's got what it takes."
Meanwhile, Trump said what May proposed
on Brexit would hurt the chances of a future trade deal between the U.K. and
the United States.
"If they do a deal like that, we would
be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it
will probably kill the deal," Trump said.
He said "the deal she is striking is a
much different deal than the one the people voted on."
In fact, much of Britain's division
over Brexit — which has split the governing Conservative party and the
public at large — stems from the June 2016 referendum on withdrawing from
the EU not including language about would come next.
May's government is trying to satisfy
Britons who voted for their country to leave the bloc, but to set an
independent course without hobbling businesses, security agencies and other
sectors that are closely entwined with the EU.
May insisted earlier Thursday that her
plan was exactly what Britons had voted for in the 2016 referendum.
"They voted for us to take back control
of our money, our law and our borders," she said. "That is exactly what we
Trump's undiplomatic attack on May, his
host, will likely raise the temperature around an already controversial
visit. Thousands of people are expected to protest against the president in
London on Friday, when a 20-foot (6-meter) balloon depicting the president
as a screaming baby will be flown near Parliament.
May and Trump are scheduled to hold
talks and a joint news conference on Friday.
Trump's interview easily could
overshadow the government's attempt to lay out plans for what it calls a
"principled and pragmatic" Brexit.
Britain is currently part of the EU's
single market — which allows for the frictionless flow of goods and services
among the 28 member states — and its tariff-free customs union for goods.
That will end after the U.K. leaves the bloc in March.
The plans laid out Thursday in a
98-page government paper gave Britain's most detailed answer yet to the
question of what will replace them.
Under the blueprint, Britain would
stick to a "common rulebook" with the EU for goods and agricultural products
in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks. Such an
approach would avoid disruption to automakers and other manufacturers that
source parts from multiple countries.
The government said Britain would act
"as if in a combined customs territory" with the EU, using technology at its
border to determine whether goods from third countries were bound for
Britain or the EU, and charging the appropriate tariffs in those cases.
Britain says that will solve the
problem of maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland, which is
part of the U.K., and EU member Ireland.
Free trade would not apply to services,
which account for 80 percent of the British economy. The government said
that would give Britain "freedom to chart our own path," though it would
mean less access to EU markets than there is now.
The plan also seeks to keep Britain in
major EU agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, the
European Medicines Agency and the police agency Europol.
When the U.K. leaves the EU, it will
end the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain. But
Britain said EU nationals should be able to travel visa-free to Britain for
tourism or "temporary business," and there should be measures allowing young
people and students to work and study in Britain.
Other elements likely to anger
Brexit-backers are Britain's willingness to pay the EU for access to certain
agencies and the suggestion some EU citizens could continue to work in
Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Jacob
Rees-Mogg colorfully described the plan as "the greatest vassalage since
King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200."
Pro-EU lawmakers, in contrast, think
the proposed post-Brexit ties with the bloc are not close enough.
Italy forces new standoff, refuses to let migrants disembark
ship of the Italian Coast Guard, with 67 migrants on board rescued 4 days
ago by the Vos Thalassa freighter, enters the Sicilian port of Trapani,
southern Italy, Thursday, July 12. (Igor Petyx/ANSA via AP)
Rome (AP) — Italy's hard-line
interior minister refused Thursday to let 67 migrants disembark from an
Italian coast guard ship until an investigation determines whether any of
them had violently threatened their rescuers to prevent being returned to
The Diciotti ship pulled into the port
of Trapani after taking on board the migrants from an Italian-flagged oil
rig supply tug that rescued them Sunday in off the coast of Libya. The
dispute over what transpired next has turned into the latest standoff since
Italy's anti-migrant government took power last month.
Italy's transport minister says the tug
reported that some of the migrants made "death threats" against the crew.
"As soon as our ship turned south, to
be able to meet up with a Libyan coast guard ship to transfer the migrants,
they started to threaten the crew," Christopher Savoye, legal affairs
official of the Vroon Offshore Service that owns the Vos Thalassa tug, told
the shipping news site The Meditelegraph. "They encircled them, pushed them,
making the gesture of cutting their throats."
The tug requested assistance, and the
migrants were transferred to the Italian coast guard's Diciotti. By late
Thursday, it was still docked at Trapani's port, with no authorization to
let its passengers ashore.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said
he wouldn't give the OK until prosecutors determine whether the migrants
actually did make the threats, or if the crew of the Vos Thalassa
"exaggerated" the danger.
"Someone is lying," he told reporters
in Innsbruck, Austria. "Until I have clarity, I personally as interior
minister, as vice premier and as a father, won't let them get off."
Humanitarian organizations, including
UNICEF, the U.N. refugee agency, Doctors Without Borders and Save the
Children, demanded that the migrants be allowed to disembark to receive
"The refugees and migrants, among them
women, children and adolescents, have been at sea for at least four days,"
the aid groups said. "(We) request the urgent activation of primary health
care, the authorization for everyone to disembark starting with minors and
vulnerable people, and the supply of first aid to all those on board."
On the docks, activists protested
Italy's hard-line position. Many protesters wore the red T-shirts that have
become a symbol of those favoring a broader welcome for migrants, who often
dress their children in red to make them easier to spot at sea if their
smuggling boats capsize.
Salvini spoke after meeting in Austria
with his European Union counterparts, including the Austrian and German
interior ministers who along with Italy have agreed to press the EU to take
a tougher line on migration.
Austria's Herbert Kickl said the new
"axis" wants "to send a clear message to the world, and especially to the
traffickers, that it won't be possible anymore in the future, shouldn't be
possible anymore to step on European soil if you don't have a right to
Salvini said he hoped Italy's hard-line
position becomes the European position. He wants to reduce the number of
migrants leaving North Africa to reduce the arrivals in Europe and deaths in
the Mediterranean along the way. He says that will reduce tensions among
European nations over their internal borders.
"Obviously, if you drastically reduce
the departures and arrivals, the problems inside the EU among individual
countries will also be reduced," he said.
He said he hoped Europe as a whole will
continue to recognize the "minority" of people who deserve asylum because
they are fleeing war, but not the others.
"We hope that finally the European
Union resumes defending its borders and the right to security of 500 million
European citizens who in recent years have been put at risk," Salvini said.
Syrian government raises its flag over cradle of 2011 revolt
Thursday, July 5, 2018 file photo shows smoke rising over buildings that
were hit by a Syrian government forces bombardment in Daraa province,
southern Syria. (Nabaa Media via AP)
Beirut (AP) — For the first time
in more than seven years, the Syrian government raised its flag Thursday
over Daraa, the first city to revolt against President Bashar Assad in 2011
and plunge the country into its calamitous civil war.
The display is laden with symbolism as
the government moves to stamp out the last of the uprising against the
52-year-old Assad who has ruled with an iron fist over Syria for 18 years.
His father Hafez Assad was president for three decades before him.
Officials accompanied by state media
crews hoisted the two-star flag over the rubble of the city's main square,
allowing it to wave in sight of the shell of the Omari Mosque where
protesters first gathered in demonstrations demanding reforms then Assad's
ouster in the spring of 2011.
The mosque has since been destroyed in
the government's brutal crackdown against the city, which ranged from
alleged torturing of dissidents to shelling the city with tanks and planes.
With control over Daraa, government
forces can now focus on clearing the last pockets of the opposition and,
separately, the Islamic State group from the frontier at the Golan Heights,
which Israel seized from Syria in a 1967 war.
The corner of southwest Syria is an
important corridor for trade between Syria and Jordan, and onward to the
oil-rich Gulf states. But most of the important fighting against the revolt
has already been concluded in shattering battles farther to the north for
the main cities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs, and territories in between.
Some 400,000 people have been killed in
seven years of war.
Protests in Daraa in 2011 against the
government's mistreatment of teenage detainees ignited a national revolt
against decades of authoritarian rule.
Ahmad Masalmeh, a media activist
formerly based in Daraa, said fighters in the city had accepted an offer of
amnesty from the government, and let back in the state institutions and
symbols of Assad's rule.
Rebels refusing to accept the deal will
be exiled with their families to other rebel-held parts of the country.
The agreement follows a template
imposed by the government and its Russian and Iranian backers that has
forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians, including media activists, army
defectors, and draft dodgers and their family members to give up their homes
to lift the sieges against their cities.
Human rights monitors say the
arrangements amount to a program of political and demographic engineering in
Syria to secure Assad's rule.
Government forces launched an offensive
to recapture southwest Syria and the areas neighboring Jordan and Israel on
June 19. They surrounded Daraa's rebel-held quarters on Monday. Dozens have
been killed in the campaign, including 162 civilians, according to Rami
Abdurrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — among
them women and children.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
told reporters at a news conference that the world body had tried "to
prevent a bloodbath" in the region.
Late last month, Guterres had called
for an immediate end to military operations and a return to cease-fire
arrangements agreed to by Russia, the United States and Jordan.
"I think that our action was useful in
that regard," he said. "But again the objective must be and remains entirely
for us a political solution."
Mohamad al-Hanous, Daraa's governor,
said government forces were in control of 80 percent of the city, according
to the government-linked Central Military Media outlet, while Syrian state
media reported late Wednesday that rebels in Daraa had agreed to surrender
their heavy and medium weapons.
Under the terms of the agreement,
Russia will deploy military police to maintain order in Daraa and facilitate
the transition back to government rule, said a media activist inside who
asked for anonymity out of concern for his safety.
Russian mediators are warning fighters
and civilians against leaving Daraa for Idlib, the northwest Syrian province
where over a million displaced Syrians are living in dire conditions and
exposed to government airstrikes and the possibility of a future offensive.
"Idlib is a crematory," the activist
said Russian mediators warned him.
Humanitarian groups say more than
300,000 people have been displaced by the government's southern offensive,
moving toward the Jordanian border and to Quneitra, a province that borders
Israel and Jordan's borders are closed
to refugees, and the aid group Oxfam said Thursday it was unable to deliver
enough aid across the Jordan border to meet the needs of the internally
The circumstances are especially
perilous for journalists and media activists, who say they fear for their
lives if they are captured by government troops.
The Committee to Protect Journalists
said Wednesday at least 70 journalists were trapped in southwest Syria and
Syria is one of the most dangerous
countries in the world for journalists, according to CPJ. At least 120
journalists have been killed in the country in relation to their work since
the conflict began in 2011, according to CPJ research. At the time of CPJ's
most recent prison census, at least seven journalists were in Syrian state
prisons while many others are missing.
Masalmeh, the media activist, said he
was smuggled out of southwest Syria to Jordan four days ago, leaving his
parents and extended family in Daraa.
He said he had not heard from them in
Japan police search home of nurse in hospital poison deaths
2017 photo shows nurse Ayumi Kuboki in Yokohama, Japan. (Kyodo News via AP)
Tokyo (AP) — Japanese
authorities on Thursday raided the apartment of a nurse who's in custody on
suspicion of fatally poisoning at least two elderly patients at a terminal
Local media have reported the woman
confessed to police she poisoned about 20 patients to have them die when she
was off-duty and could avoid the trouble of explaining the deaths to their
Kanagawa prefectural police said they
searched 31-year-old Ayumi Kuboki's apartment in Yokohama, near Tokyo, for
more evidence in the case.
Kuboki was arrested on Saturday on
suspicion of killing two men in 2016 by injecting disinfectant into their
intravenous drips at the former Oguchi Hospital, since renamed Yokohama
Hajime Hospital, a Kanagawa police official said on condition of anonymity,
citing department rules.
Prosecutors have more than two weeks to
decide whether to indict the former nurse.
The hospital has acknowledged a higher
death rate around that time, raising speculation the poisoning may have been
systematic and more widespread. In 2016, a hospital lawyer told The
Associated Press that 46 other patients had died on the same floor from July
1 until late September that year. It was about a year after Kuboki started
working at the hospital.
Around that time, whistleblowing emails
sent to the city's health department described problems at the hospital such
as a nurse's bottled drink being laced with bleach, a uniform slashed, or
missing medical records of patients, according to investigation results
published by a city committee last year.
Kuboki, who had left the job since,
denied any responsibility when asked about the deaths by Japanese television
networks last year.
The case surfaced on Sept. 20, 2016,
when the hospital informed police of a possible poisoning after 88-year-old
Nobuo Yamaki died while receiving an intravenous injection. Police confirmed
his IV solution had been contaminated with a disinfectant.
Police then found there was another
victim, Sozo Nishikawa, who died two days earlier. Police got hold of his
body just before cremation and conducted an autopsy, which showed he had
been poisoned with the same disinfectant.
Investigators have found traces of the
same disinfectant only on her nurse uniform, according to the Asahi
Investigators also reportedly found
tiny puncture marks in 10 of about 50 unused intravenous bags stored at the
nursing station on the fourth floor, which handles the terminally ill.
The hospital, which stopped taking new
patients and changed its name, installed security cameras and took other
safety steps. It also apologized to its patients and families over the
alleged crime and the patients' deaths.
Typhoon Maria barrels into China after pounding Taiwan
Tuesday, July 10, 2018, photo, large waves crash against the shoreline as
Typhoon Maria approaches in Wenling city in eastern China's Zhejiang
Province. (Zhu Haiwei/Xinhua via AP)
Taipei, Taiwan (AP) — Typhoon
Maria injured two people in Taiwan and prompted more than 3,000 to be moved
to shelters before making landfall in China, authorities said Wednesday.
The government's disaster response
center said the two were hit by falling tree limbs in the capital Taipei on
Tuesday, as the medium-strength storm passed north of the mountainous island
of 23 million people.
The center said a total of 3,430 people
had evacuated their homes in nine cities and counties by Wednesday morning
to avoid landslides triggered by heavy rainfall.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot killed almost
700 people in Taiwan, including about 400 when their village was wiped out
by flooding and landslides.
The central government issued red
alerts for landslides in two mountain villages of northwestern Taiwan's
Hsinchu county, effective Wednesday. Seven cities and counties ordered work
and school closures for the day.
The typhoon also caused the
cancellation of 138 international flights and 170 domestic flights. Its wind
speeds reached 191 kilometers (119 miles) per hour.
Across the Taiwan Strait, schools and
factories in coastal areas of the Chinese province of Fujian are closed.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated to shelters and thousands of
fishing boats returned to port.
Typhoons normally hit Taiwan, China,
Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam from June through November each year.
They form as tropical depressions gather strength from the warm waters of
the Pacific Ocean or the South China Sea, before weakening over the hills of
southeastern China and Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile in western China's in Sichuan
province, heavy rains and landslides prompted the closures of the popular
Mount Emei and Jiuzhaigou tourist destinations. Roads were blocked by
landslides, but there was no word on major damage or injuries.
Trump claims Germany 'controlled' by Russia
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while
speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral
breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo
Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin
Brussels (AP) — In a combative
start to his NATO visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday that a
pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to
Russia" and blasted NATO allies' defense spending, opening what was expected
to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies.
Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting
Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russia.
"I have to say, I think it's very sad
when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're
supposed to be guarding against Russia," Trump said during a breakfast with
Stoltenberg, his first event since arriving in Brussels. "We're supposed to
protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia
and I think that's very inappropriate."
The president appeared to be referring
to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany's
northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland
and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to
Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU
members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe.
Trump said that, "Germany, as far as
I'm concerned, is captive to Russia" and urged NATO to look into the issue.
Trump, who has been accused of being too cozy with Putin — a man accused of
U.S. election meddling — was expected to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel
later in the day.
Stoltenberg pushed back, stressing that
NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences.
The dramatic exchange set the tone for
what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the
military alliance. Trump is expected to continue hammering jittery NATO
allies about their military spending during the summit meeting, which comes
amid increasingly frayed relations between the "America first" president and
the United States' closest traditional allies.
"The United States is paying far too
much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some. So we're
going to have a meeting on that," Trump said as he arrived at the breakfast,
describing the situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers
of the United States and we're going to make it fair."
"They will spend more," he later
predicted. "I have great confidence they'll be spending more."
Trump has been pushing NATO members to
reach their agreed-to target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic
products on national defense by 2024 and has accused those who don't of
freeloading off the U.S.
"Many countries in NATO, which we are
expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2%
(which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have
not been made," he tweeted Tuesday while en route to Europe, asking: "Will
they reimburse the U.S.?"
That's not how the spending words. The
2 percent represents the amount each country aims to spend on its own
defense, not some kind of direct payment to NATO or the U.S.
NATO estimates that 15 members, or just
over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.
During his campaign, Trump called NATO
"obsolete" and suggested the U.S. might not come to the defense of members
if they found themselves under attack — a shift that would represent a
fundamental realignment of the modern world order. He also called Brussels a
"hell hole" and "a mess." Trump has moderated his language somewhat since
taking office, but has continued to dwell on the issue, even as many NATO
members have agreed to up their spending.
Stoltenberg, for his part, credited
Trump for spurring NATO nations to spend more on defense, noting that the
Europeans and Canada are projected to spend around $266 billion more by
"We all agree that we have to do more,"
he said, describing last year as marking the biggest increase in defense
spending across Europe and Canada in a generation.
Trump interjecting, asking Stoltenberg
why he thought that had happened.
"It's also because of your leadership,
because your clear message," Stoltenberg responded.
Arriving for his meeting, Trump had
taken credit for the spending, telling the NATO chief that "because of me
they've raised about $40 billion over the last year. So I think the
secretary general likes Trump. He may be the only one, but that's OK with
Trump was also participating in a
welcome ceremony, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and a working
dinner with some of the same leaders he berated over trade during his last
world leaders summit in Canada last month.
Brussels is the first stop of a
week-long European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as
well as a highly anticipated meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Trump predicted as he departed
Washington that the "easiest" leg of his journey would be his scheduled
sit-down Putin — a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over
his potential embrace of a Russian leader U.S. intelligence officials accuse
of meddling in the 2016 elections to help Trump win.
On the eve of the NATO summit, European
Council President Donald Tusk pushed back against Trump's constant criticism
of European allies and urged him to remember who his friends are when he
meets with Putin in Helsinki.
"Dear America, appreciate your allies,
after all you don't have all that many," he said.
UK police: Novichok could last 50 years in sealed container
UK police officers stand on duty in Salisbury,
England, Tuesday July 10. (Rod Minchin/PA via AP)
London (AP) — The nerve agent
Novichok could remain active for 50 years if kept in a sealed container,
Britain's top counterterrorism police officer said Wednesday, adding that he
cannot yet "guarantee" there are no traces of the lethal poison in
Metropolitan Police Assistant Police
Commissioner Neil Basu told residents of Amesbury Tuesday night that police
are searching for the container that held the nerve agent believed to have
poisoned two people on June 30.
"I would love to be able to say that we
have identified and caught the people responsible and how we are certain
there are no traces of nerve agent left anywhere in Wiltshire," he said.
"But the brutal reality is that I
cannot offer you any reassurance or guarantee at this time."
He said there is so far no definitive
forensic proof that the Novichok that poisoned 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and
45-year-old Charlie Rowley was the same batch used in March against
ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Basu said this can only be proved by
scientists conducting detailed analysis, but that any other explanation is
"This is a very rare substance banned
by the international community and for there to be two separate, distinct
incidents in one small English county is implausible to say the least," he
The nerve agent was produced in the
Soviet Union during the Cold War. Britain has accused the Russian state of
the attack on the Skripals, a charge denied by the Kremlin.
Sturgess died on Sunday; officials say
Rowley has shown slight but significant improvement and has recovered
consciousness. He is in critical but stable condition and officials warn he
is not yet out of danger.
Basu said he hopes Rowley continues to
improve and can give police details about the location of the container. He
said it is possible Sturgess and Rowley had the container in their
possession for some time before opening it with disastrous results.
"The brutal fact is we don't know where
they found it. I am hoping Charlie recovers and when he recovers he will be
able to tell us and perhaps shed some light on it which will narrow our
search dramatically. There is a possibility they found it on March 5 and
only opened it in the past 10 days," he said.
Chinese hackers infiltrate Cambodia ahead of polls
In this July
7, 2018, file photo, supporters wait for the start of a campaign rally of
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Beijing (AP) — Last month, the
daughter of a jailed Cambodian opposition party leader received an email
from a well-seeming activist at a reputed Cambodian non-profit. For weeks,
the sender nudged Monovithya Kem to open an attachment described as
containing interview questions.
Kem suspected a trap set by Cambodian
hackers seeking access to her computer. But a months-long investigation by
California security-research firm FireEye revealed that Kem was among
several Cambodians likely targeted by a far more formidable actor: China.
FireEye said Wednesday it found
evidence that a Chinese hacking team it believes is linked to Beijing has
penetrated computer systems belonging to Cambodia's election commission,
opposition leaders and media in the months leading up to Cambodia's July 29
election. Investigators could not immediately tell what, if any, data had
been stolen or altered.
The Foreign Ministry in China has
rejected these allegations.
Although FireEye did not find evidence
that the Chinese hackers are working to sway the Cambodian elections in the
ruling party's favor, the revelations may cast a murky geopolitical shadow
over the elections critics already say will be neither free nor fair.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, one of the
world's longest-serving rulers and a staunch ally of Beijing, faced what
analysts predicted would have been a tight race before he jailed opposition
leader Kem Sokha last year, accusing him of treason.
After the European Union and the United
States withdrew their support for the election, China stepped in to donate
$20 million to Cambodia's National Election Committee, said Hang Puthea, a
spokesman for the body. China also last year pledged $100 million in
Monovithya Kem, the daughter of Kem
Sokha and an official in his now-disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party,
said she has frequently been targeted by Cambodian hackers in the past, but
the revelation of potential Chinese involvement shocked her.
"To know that a foreign group is
specifically trying to get information from me — now that's scary," Kem said
by phone from Washington, where she is based. "What you're dealing with is
FireEye's head of cyberspying analysis
Benjamin Read said malware-ridden files sent to Cambodian targets were
traced by his team to an unsecured server operated by the Chinese hacking
On the hackers' server, FireEye
researchers found records showing that the group had compromised Cambodia's
election commission and several Cambodian ministries. The servers' access
logs in one instance traced to an IP address in China's southern Hainan
island, said Read, who described TEMP.Periscope as the second most active
Chinese hacking group FireEye has traced.
FireEye says the group appears
state-linked because it seems to be seeking information that would benefit
the Chinese government.
"They don't go for credit card numbers
of bank account numbers, they go for information that's of use to a
government," Read said. "We saw them use the same infrastructure to target
the Cambodia government and private companies. It suggests the Chinese
government doesn't draw a line between political espionage versus commercial
FireEye has previously found that
TEMP.Periscope sought maritime technology from U.S. and European defense
firms and other institutions with projects in the contested South China Sea.
China's Foreign Ministry said in a
statement that it is not aware of TEMP.Periscope and resolutely opposes
cyberattacks as a general principle. "China calls on the international
community to combat cybersecurity threats on a respectful, equal and
mutually beneficial basis," it said.
The Cambodian election commission was
aware of Wednesday's reports about the hacking, Hang, the commission's
spokesman said, and has filed a legal complaint to the Cambodian government.
Government spokesman Phay Sophana said
he was not aware of any specific cases of hacking attacks on state agencies.
Cambodia would protect its online data, especially relating to national
security, the election and financial matters, he added.
The scope of FireEye's findings on
Wednesday did not include Taiwan. But Danielle Cave, a cyber policy analyst
at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who is not affiliated to
FireEye, said China appears to be testing its cyber and covert influence
capabilities on the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its territory.
Cave said Taiwan has long been a target
of campaigns by China that combine spreading propaganda favoring China with
outright hacking to deface websites or pilfer data.
In January, Taiwan prosecutors said
they found evidence that China's Taiwan Affairs Office promised to pay a
Taiwanese politician $500,000 to run a website publishing articles promoting
unification. China dismissed the allegations as "pure nonsense."
The website of Taiwanese President Tsai
Ing-wen's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was defaced by
hackers believed to be from China earlier this month. Kolas Yokata, a DPP
legislator, told The Associated Press the party was investing in
cybersecurity upgrades ahead of November, when Taiwan is expected to hold
local elections that will serve as a referendum on the party's grip on
"We especially cannot accept that our
elections could be manipulated," Yokata said.
Trump lands in Europe, says Putin 'easiest' of his meetings
Air Force One touches down at Melsbroek Military
airport in Melsbroek, Belgium, Tuesday, July 10. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden
Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire
Brussels (AP) — With Europe's
wary eyes upon him, President Donald Trump launched a weeklong trip there on
Tuesday with harsh criticism for NATO allies and predicted the "easiest" leg
of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down with Russian President
As he departed the White House for a
four-nation European tour, Trump did little to reassure allies fretting over
the risk of damage he could do to the 69-year-old trans-Atlantic mutual
defense pact and his potential embrace of Putin during a summit in Helsinki.
Trump said Tuesday he "can't say right
now" if Putin is a friend or foe, but called him a "competitor." The U.S.
intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016
election to boost Trump's candidacy, and warns of further attempts at
interference both in the 2018 midterms and in European elections.
Trump arrived in Brussels on the eve of
the NATO summit after repeated attacks on the pact. He told reporters in
Washington before leaving that "Frankly it helps them a lot more than it
helps us" and then later tweeted from Air Force One that he may demand
reimbursements from the European member nations.
Trump has been pressing NATO countries
to fulfill their goal of spending that 2 percent of their gross domestic
products on defense by 2024. During his presidential campaign, he suggested
he might only come to the defense of NATO nations that fulfilled their
obligation. And a year ago, during his first visit to its Belgium
headquarters, Trump initially declined to explicitly support the
organization's defense agreement.
Trump, who landed in Belgium during the
middle of the soccer-mad nation's World Cup semifinals match, will later
head to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil
over her plans for exiting the European Union.
European Council President Donald Tusk
said on Tuesday in a message to Trump that "it is always worth knowing who
is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem." Tusk recalled
that the Europeans are spending more than Russia and as much as China on
defense. NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the
benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.
"Getting ready to leave for Europe.
First meeting — NATO. The U.S. is spending many times more than any other
country in order to protect them," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, adding:
"Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade
with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!"
On Monday he'd tweeted the situation
was "not fair, nor is it acceptable," and insisted that NATO benefits Europe
"far more than it does the U.S."
He added: "NATO countries must pay
MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!"
Trump, who has compared the sentiment
that underpinned the Brexit vote to leave the EU to his own election, will
be making his maiden presidential trip to Britain at a fraught time for May.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned
within hours of each other in protest of her plan. Trump said might meet
with Johnson in the UK despite his resignation.
Trump's visit is expected to attract
large protests in London and elsewhere in Britain.
Trump's weeklong trip to Europe will
continue with a stop in Scotland before ending with a sit-down in Helsinki
He said that of the high-stakes
meetings of his trip, "Putin may be the easiest of them all."
"I think that getting along with
Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing,
not a bad thing," he added.
The meeting will be closely watched to
see whether Trump will rebuke or embrace Putin, who has repeatedly denied
the allegations of election meddling, in spite of evidence to the contrary.
Suicide bomber kills 12 in attack on Pakistan election rally
A street is decorated with posters of election
candidates in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 10. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)
Peshawar, Pakistan (AP) — Police
in Pakistan say a suicide bomber killed a secular party leader and 11
supporters in an attack on an election rally Tuesday in the northwestern
city of Peshawar.
Peshawar police chief Qazi Jamil said
the bomber struck a rally for Haroon Ahmed Bilour, an Awami National Party
candidate for a provincial seat. He said another 35 people were wounded in
the attack, including Bilour's 16-year-old son.
The ANP governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province, of which Peshawar is the capital, from 2008 to 2013. The military
waged a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in 2009.
Islamic extremists killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks
around the 2013 election. Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed
by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the vote.
The attack came hours after the
military said it would deploy more than 370,000 security forces to polling
stations to ensure free, fair and transparent national elections on July 25.
That is more than five times the number of troops deployed during the last
elections in 2013, when the security situation was much worse.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, an army
spokesman, said 371,388 troops — nearly a third of the total armed forces —
would be deployed to provide security for the upcoming vote. He said the
deployment was requested by the elections oversight body.
He said the troops would provide
security at 85,000 polling stations and carry out other elections-related
duties. Nearly 135,000 of the troops have been called up from retirement,
He told reporters the military would
not be directly involved in the voting and insisted it remained neutral.
"People should vote for the candidate
of their choice, without any fear," he added. "Our loyalty is only with
International and Pakistani rights
groups have recently accused the army and its intelligence agency of
intimidating media outlets in an attempt to stifle criticism of the
military, accused by some of seeking to play a dominant role in the
The military has ruled Pakistan
directly and indirectly for most of its 71-year history.
Ghafoor also dismissed allegations
raised on Tuesday by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who accused the
Pakistani spy agency of pressuring one of his ruling party's candidates to
change political loyalties. Sharif was ousted from office by the country's
Supreme Court last July and was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison on
corruption charges. He plans to appeal the sentence.
Previously, the military removed Sharif
from office in 1999, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless
coup. Musharraf was later forced to resign in 2008.
Analysts say Pakistan will likely have
a coalition government after the elections, as no single political party is
expected to get a two-thirds majority in parliament. Any party that gets a
simple majority can form the government.
UK prime minister seeks to stem Cabinet exodus over Brexit
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is shown
during the second day of the Western Balkans Summit at Lancaster House in
London, Tuesday July 10. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)
London (AP) — British Prime
Minister Theresa May insisted Tuesday that her plan to retain close ties
with the European Union "absolutely keeps faith" with voters' decision to
leave the bloc, as she tried to restore government unity after the
resignations of two top ministers over Brexit.
May has spent the past few days
fighting for her political life as first Brexit Secretary David Davis and
then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quit, saying May's plans for future
relations with the European Union did not live up to their idea of Brexit.
On Tuesday, two more lawmakers followed them out the door.
Johnson sent an incendiary resignation
letter on Monday accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" and flying
"white flags" of surrender in negotiations with the European Union.
May, who has tried to keep calm and
carry on, replaced Johnson with a loyalist, former Health Secretary Jeremy
Hunt, and gave Davis' job to Dominic Raab in a bid to shore up her
She held a meeting of her new Cabinet
on Tuesday before attending a Western Balkans summit in London with other
May's plan seeks to keep the U.K. and
the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining
the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.
At a news conference on Tuesday, May
maintained her plan "absolutely keeps faith with the vote of the British
people," ending free movement of people from the EU, taking Britain out of
European court jurisdiction and saving the "vast sums of money" that Britain
pays as a member.
"But we will do this in a way which
will be a smooth and orderly Brexit, a Brexit that protects jobs, protects
livelihoods and also meets our commitment to no hard border" between the
U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, she said.
Many pro-Brexit lawmakers are furious
at a plan they say will stop Britain forging an independent economic course.
Two Conservative lawmakers, Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley, quit as
vice-chairs of the party on Tuesday over opposition to May's proposals.
Bradley called on May to "deliver Brexit in spirit as well as in name."
But senior pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers
said they supported May and would not resign. Asked if he was planning to
quit, environment Secretary Michael Gove said "absolutely not."
Conservative lawmaker Michael Fallon,
an ally of May, dismissed Johnson's "Brexit dream" rallying cry.
"Dreaming is good, probably for all of
us, but we have to deal with the real world," he said.
Under Conservative Party rules, a
confidence vote in a leader can be triggered if 15 percent of Conservative
lawmakers — currently 48 — write a letter requesting one.
Fallon warned Conservative rebels that
a challenge to May's leadership is "the last thing we need."
Two years after Britain voted 52
percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union, May is trying to find a
middle way between two starkly differing views — within her party and the
country — of the U.K.'s relationship with Europe.
Pro-Europeans want to retain close
economic ties with the bloc and its market of 500 million people, while some
Brexit supporters want a clean break to make it possible to strike new trade
deals around the world.
The British government is due to
publish a detailed version of its plans on Thursday. The EU says it will
respond once it has seen the details.
"It's a good thing that we have
proposals on the table," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Balkans
summit in London. She said the 27 other EU nations would "table a common
response to those proposals."
The resignations rocked May in a week
that includes a NATO summit starting Wednesday and a U.K. visit by U.S.
President Donald Trump beginning Thursday.
The trans-Atlantic relationship has had
some awkward moments since Trump's election. He has criticized May over her
response to terrorism and approach to Brexit, and infuriated many in Britain
when he retweeted a far-right group.
Asked Tuesday whether May should be
replaced as prime minister, Trump said it was "up to the people, not up to
"I get along with her very well, I have
a very good relationship," he said.
He was more enthusiastic about Johnson,
calling him "a friend of mine."
"He's been very, very nice to me, very
supportive. Maybe I'll speak to him when I get over there," Trump said.
Australian rangers trap big crocodile near tourist gorge
In this Monday, July 9, 2018, photo, a large
crocodile is captured in a trap near Katherine, Australia. (NT Department of
Tourism and Culture via AP)
Canberra, Australia (AP) —
Wildlife rangers said Tuesday that they had trapped a 4.7-meter (15-foot)
saltwater crocodile, the largest they had ever caught in the northern
Australian Katherine River and in an upstream region popular with tourists
that is thought relatively safe from the killer predators.
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife
said it had trapped the 600-kilogram reptile on Monday more than 300
kilometers from the ocean and only 30 kilometers downstream from Katherine
Gorge, a major tourist attraction outside the Northern Territory town of
Tourists swim, canoe and take cruises
in the gorge among freshwater crocodiles, a different species that are
small, timid and rarely harm humans. Mid-year is the peak tourist season.
Ranger John Burke said authorities had
been hunting the large crocodile in the area for a decade.
"We've called it a lot of things over
the years because it's been so hard to catch," Burke said.
"On record, this is the biggest
saltwater crocodile removed from the Katherine management zone," he added,
referring to the part of the river where saltwater crocs, a protected
species, are trapped because they're too close to human populations.
Northern Territory-based crocodile
expert Grahame Webb said saltwater crocs, also known as estuarine
crocodiles, were heading farther upstream into fresh water river systems as
their population has boomed since they were protected by federal law in
While large crocs are territorial, Webb
suspected the trapped croc had moved to and from the area where it was
caught during the past 10 years. Satellite tracking had shown one croc
tagged in a Northern Territory waterhole had swum 900 kilometers, for
unknown reasons, before returning to the same place.
"That sort of croc, in my opinion, is
the most dangerous to people," Webb said. "In areas where they're at best
low densities, someone won't have seen one for a long, long time and they
think they're safe and they're not necessarily safe."
Webb said the capture so close to
tourists demonstrated that the government protection program worked.
"It's worrying, but it's good that
they've got an active program and they've got active traps," Webb said.
The croc has been trucked to a
crocodile farm outside Kathrine where it's likely to become a tourist
attraction. Crocodiles are farmed for their meat and hides, but large and
battle-scarred crocs are usually unsuitable for the handbag market.
Since crocodiles became a protected
species, crocodile numbers in the Northern Territory have exploded from
3,000 to an estimated 80,000 to 100,000.
Because saltwater crocodiles can live
up to 70 years and grow throughout their lives, reaching up to 7 meters, the
proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.
Rescuers search for dozens still missing after Japan floods
Rescuers prepare to start a search mission at
the site of a landslide in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture, western Japan
Monday, July 9. (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP)
Haruka Nuga and Mari Yamaguchi
Hiroshima, Japan (AP) — Rescuers
in southwestern Japan dug up more bodies Monday as they searched for dozens
still missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding and left residents to
return to their homes unsure where to start the cleanup. More than 100
people were confirmed dead in the disaster.
Minoru Katayama, 86, rushed back to his
home in Mabi city, in Okayama prefecture, and found his 88-year-old wife,
Chiyoko, collapsed on the first floor. Floodwaters had started rising so
fast that the elderly couple was caught by surprise.
"My wife could not climb up the stairs,
and nobody else was around to help us out," Katayama told national
broadcaster NHK. His wife, who stayed behind and let her husband flee, was
among more than 20 people who were found dead in the city, where a river
At a hospital in Mabi town, about 300
patients were temporarily trapped inside, but all had been safely airlifted
by emergency rescue workers by early Monday.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency
said 108 people were confirmed dead as of Monday night. Officials and media
reports said at least 80 people were still unaccounted for, many of them in
the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said as
much as 10 centimeters (3 inches) of rain per hour fell on large parts of
southwestern Japan. All rain warnings have been lifted.
A Hiroshima resident, Seiji Toda, took
precautions because of his memories of flooding four years ago that killed
more than 70 people in Hiroshima. But he was shocked and helpless when he
saw his restaurant, which he opened nearly 40 years ago, filled with mud
heaped about 1 meter (yards) above the floor and windows smashed. Tables,
covered with clean white tablecloths before he left, were all mud-covered,
chairs thrown to the floor.
"I had never seen anything like this,"
he said on TBS television, standing outside his restaurant in Hiroshima city
while wearing a helmet.
Next to his restaurant were heaps of
broken trees and other debris. Several cars were still half buried in the
The assessment of casualties has been
difficult because of the widespread area affected by the rainfall, flooding
and landslides since late last week. Authorities warned that landslides
could strike even after the rain subsides. Officials in Ehime prefecture
asked the central government to review a weather warning system, noting that
rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties were already reported,
a possible cause of the region's extensive damage.
Some homes were smashed, while others
were tilting precariously. Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes and
leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops. Military paddle boats and
helicopters brought people to the ground.
In large parts of Hiroshima, water
streamed through a residential area, strewn with fallen telephone poles,
uprooted trees and mud.
Thousands of homes were without clean
water and electricity in Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas, where many
people lined up for water tanks under the scorching sun, with temperature
rising as high as 34 Celsius (93 Fahrenheit).
At a local elementary school in
Hiroshima's Yano district, dozens of residents took shelter and some shared
their stories of narrow escape from the landslides and floods. Supplies such
as water, blankets and cellphone chargers were provided.
Ryutaro Hirakawa, 18, said he fled his
house after smelling a strange odor coming from the ground, a sign of a
landslide. "The smell of soil and grass was so strong when I opened the
window," he said. "There were landslides."
Another resident, 82-year-old Saburo
Yokoyama, said he was horrified when he saw floodwater flowing just outside
his house. "It was scary, just scary. In front of our house had become a
river, and was making a huge noise," he said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled his
planned July 11-18 trip to Europe and the Middle East to oversee the
emergency response. Abe said earlier Monday that the government had
dispatched 73,000 troops and emergency workers for the search and rescue
effort. "The rescue teams are doing their utmost," he said.
In Uwajima town in Ehime prefecture, an
overflowing river washed debris down to the coast, turning seawater
partially muddy. A 64-year-old man and a 9-year-old boy were found dead
underneath a mudslide.
Boris Johnson quits UK government in mounting Brexit crisis
Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is
shown in this file photo dated Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Johnson resigned
Monday July 9, amid Cabinet splits over Brexit.(AP Photo/Kirsty
Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka
London (AP) — British Foreign
Secretary Boris Johnson, a charismatic and divisive cheerleader for
Britain's exit from the European Union, resigned Monday, adding to a crisis
over Brexit that threatens to tear apart Prime Minister Theresa May's
May's office said in a terse statement
that the prime minister had accepted Johnson's resignation and would name a
Johnson, one of the best-known and most
flamboyant members of the government, quit just hours after the resignation
late Sunday of Brexit Secretary David Davis, the government's top Brexit
Davis said he could not support May's
plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU, which he said
gave "too much away, too easily."
There was no immediate statement from
Johnson, another loud pro-Brexit voice within May's divided government. Some
euroskeptic lawmakers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer such
as Johnson, a populist, polarizing politician who has never made a secret of
his ambition to be prime minister.
Minutes after Johnson quit, May
defended her Brexit plan to lawmakers in the House of Commons — with Johnson
absent from his usual place on the Conservative front bench.
The plan seeks to keep the U.K. and the
EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the
same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.
May said that was the "only way to
avoid a hard border" between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member
Ireland. Uncertainty over whether tariffs and immigration checks would be
introduced at the border has been a major stumbling block in negotiations
between Britain and the European Union.
Rebuffing claims that her proposals
make too many concessions to the EU, May said "this is the right Brexit" and
would leave Britain free to make its own laws and trade deals.
May's Cabinet agreed to the plan after
a 12-hour meeting Friday, but government unity began to fray within hours.
Brexit-supporting lawmakers were
angered by the proposals, saying they would keep Britain tethered to the
bloc and unable to change its rules to strike new trade deals around the
world. They also argued that the proposals breach several of the "red lines"
the government set out, including a commitment to leave the EU's tariff-free
In a resignation letter, Davis said the
"'common rule book' policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to
the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real
Davis also said that May's plan "would
be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome."
If Davis's resignation rattled May,
Johnson's shook the foundations of her government.
The resignations came just days after
May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a
plan for a divorce deal with the EU.
Less than nine months remain until
Britain reduces the EU's membership on March 29, 2019. EU officials have
warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a deal spelling
out the terms of the divorce and a post-split relationship.
Britain and the EU hope to reach broad
agreement by October so the national parliaments of the remaining countries
can ratify a deal before Britain leaves. The timetable looks increasingly
optimistic, but European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the EU
was "available 24/7."
Schinas said the bloc "will continue to
negotiate in good will, bona fide, with Prime Minister Theresa May and the
U.K. government negotiators in order to reach a deal."
In her Commons statement, May urged the
EU to take her proposal seriously.
"What we are proposing is challenging
to the EU," she said. "It requires them to think again and look beyond the
positions they have taken so far and agree a fair balance of rights and
Steve Baker, a junior Brexit minister
also resigned. May appointed staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker Dominic Raab as
the country's new Brexit secretary.
Davis insisted he did not want his
resignation to become a rallying cry for May's ouster.
"I like Theresa May, I think she's a
good prime minister," Davis said.
Davis did not urge other ministers to
resign, saying he was in a unique position because the Brexit secretary's
job is to sell the government's policy.
"I'd have to deliver this. I'd have to
do something I didn't believe in," he told the BBC. "That's not a tenable
position. ... Others don't have that same responsibility."
The loss of two senior ministers and
the anger among Brexit-supporting backbench lawmakers makes May's position
as leader increasingly tenuous.
Under Conservative Party rules, a
confidence vote in a leader can be triggered if 48 Conservative lawmakers
But leading pro-Brexit legislator Jacob
Rees-Mogg said "I don't think a no-confidence vote is immediately in the
offing." He urged May to abandon her plans and take a tougher line with
"Friday's announcement was turning red
lines into a white flag, and David Davis has made that so clear in his
resignation letter," Rees-Mogg said.
Myanmar court rules Reuters reporters can face full trial
Reuters journalist Wa Lone, center, is escorted
by police as he leaves the court after trial Monday, July 9, in Yangon,
Myanmar. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)
Yangon, Myanmar (AP) — A judge in Myanmar ruled Monday that the
prosecution of two Reuters journalists charged with illegally possessing
official information can go to a full trial.
The case of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo
went through several months of hearings to determine if there was enough
evidence to support the charges, which the reporters denied.
The two had been working on stories
about the Rohingya crisis in western Myanmar, where state security forces
are accused of carrying out massive human rights abuses that caused about
700,000 of the Muslim ethnic Rohingya to flee across the border to
The charges they are facing carry a
punishment of up to 14 years in prison.
Reuters urged the authorities to
release the two.
"We are deeply disappointed that the
court declined to end this protracted and baseless proceeding against Wa
Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. These Reuters journalists were doing their jobs in an
independent and impartial way, and there are no facts or evidence to suggest
that they've done anything wrong or broken any law," Stephen J. Adler,
Reuters' president and editor-in-chief, said in a statement.
"Today's decision casts serious doubt
on Myanmar's commitment to press freedom and the rule of law," it said.
The Myanmar military's actions against
the Rohingya have come under harsh criticism internationally, including
charges that it was carrying out ethnic cleansing.
Nissan says exhaust tests were altered in latest scandal
This June 14, 2018, file photo shows a Nissan
logo on a Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Truismo on display at the
automaker's showroom in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Tokyo (AP) — Nissan Motor
Co. said Monday that it altered the results of exhaust emissions and
fuel economy tests of new vehicles sold in Japan, in the latest
misconduct to surface at the Japanese automaker.
Nissan acknowledged in September
that it had been carrying out illegal post-production tests at its
plants, allowing those who weren't qualified to routinely conduct the
The new misconduct surfaced while
Nissan was checking on its operations recently. Nissan said it found the
findings "regretful," as it was trying to correct itself, and it
promised to continue to investigate.
Nissan, which makes the Leaf
electric car, March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, said the
safety and fuel economy of all the vehicles still were within required
limits. The erroneous testing does not affect exports.
In the earlier scandal, workers in
training had been borrowing and using the "hanko," or stamps that are
often used in Japan for signatures, of certified personnel. Because of
the problems, Nissan has had to recall more than a million vehicles for
Such practices had been routine for
decades, beginning as early as 1979, according to Nissan. Plant workers
were aware the procedure was illegal and covered it up when government
inspectors visited the plants.
Executives have taken pay cuts. The
problems did not result in quality problems because they were the final
step before vehicles were shipped out, according to Nissan.
Japan's corporate world has been
hit by embarrassing scandals in recent decades that raise serious
questions about company ethics.
Kobe Steel also acknowledged
massive fake inspections, which had spanned years and affected products
sent to hundreds of companies, including aluminum castings and copper
tubing for autos, aircraft, appliances and trains.
Japanese scandals are often
characterized by employees covering up for dubious performances and
relationships to "save face," sometimes out of loyalty to the company,
rather than illegal enrichment for personal gain as is more common in
some other countries..