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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes for wearing brownface makeup in 2001, to reporters on the Liberal party leaderÕs election campaign jet in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in a still image from video September 18, 2019. CBC via REUTERS

World

“I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put make-up on. I shouldn’t have done it,” a grim-faced Trudeau said in comments carried live on Canadian television.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized on Wednesday for wearing brown face make-up in 2001 after an embarrassing picture emerged less than five weeks before an election in which he faces a tough fight.

File image - President Trump

World

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after U.S. ally Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in a crippling attack on its oil sites that was “unquestionably sponsored” by Tehran.

File image - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves after a meeting with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Luxembourg, September 16, 2019.

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File image - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves after a meeting with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Luxembourg, September 16, 2019.

Britain’s Supreme Court will hear a third and final day of legal arguments on Thursday over whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he suspended parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

File image - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

World

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party.

Israel’s election remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with television stations carrying unofficial results showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

World

State-run oil company Saudi Aramco said the strikes would cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day, or more than 5% of global crude supply, at a time when Aramco is gearing up for a stock market listing.

Iran dismissed accusations by the United States that it was behind attacks on Saudi oil plants that disrupted world oil production and warned on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were in range of its missiles.

Farmer Mario Giustocio looks at soy plants in a field near Norberto de la Riestra, Argentina, January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci. File iamge

World

The U.S.-China trade war, however, strengthened Argentina’s hand, prompting China to expand its soymeal import options, market sources say.

China will allow the import of soymeal livestock feed from Argentina for the first time under a deal announced by Buenos Aires on Tuesday, an agreement that will link the world’s top exporter of the feed with the top global consumer.

File image - US President Donald Trump

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Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were ...

U.S. President Donald Trump says he has called off secret talks that were to be held Sunday at Camp David with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and “major Taliban leaders.”

Hurricane Dorian is viewed from the International Space Station September 1, 2019 in a still image obtained from a video. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

World

Dorian is the strongest hurricane on record to hit the northwestern Bahamas as a life-threatening Category 5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas early on Monday, peeling off roofs, toppling cars and snapping power lines as rising floodwater threatened to engulf houses.

China, U.S. kick off new round of tariffs in trade war

World

A new round of tariffs took effect from 0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. EDT), with Beijing’s levy of 5% on U.S. crude marking the first time the fuel had been targeted since the world’s two largest economies started their trade war more than a year ago.

The United States began imposing 15% tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods on Sunday - including footwear, smart watches and flat-panel televisions - as China began imposing new duties on U.S. crude, the latest escalation in a bruising trade war.

Iran says it will take 'stronger step' away from nuclear deal if Europe doesn't act

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Iran has said it will breach the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities one by one, ratcheting up pressure on the countries who still hope to save it. Tehran has threatened to take further steps by Sept. 6, such as enriching to 20% or restarting mothballed centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium.

Iran is prepared to take a “stronger step” in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if European countries don’t take action to save the pact, its foreign ministry’s spokesman said on Monday.

North Korea launches more short-range missiles, clouding prospects for talks

World

Trump said earlier this month Kim told him he was ready to resume talks on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and would stop missile testing as soon as U.S.-South Korea military exercises ended.

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearisation talks.

Trump heaps another 5% tariff on Chinese goods in latest tit-for-tat escalation

World

He said the United States would raise its existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to 30% from the current 25% beginning on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday lashed back at a new round of Chinese tariffs by heaping an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods in the latest tit-for-tat trade war escalation by the world’s two largest economies.

File image - President Hassan Rouhani

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"Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic," Rouhani said in the televised speech.

Iran's president struck a muscular tone on dealings with the U.S., saying Thursday that "talks are useless" as Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further.

Iran moves to strike 4 zeroes from its battered currency. Image credit: AW

World

On Wednesday, the rial traded 116,500 to $1. At the time of the 2015 nuclear deal, the rial traded 32,000 to the dollar.

Iran's president sent a bill to parliament Wednesday that would cut four zeroes from the value of the Islamic Republic's sanctions-battered currency, the rial, as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington.

Trump cancels Denmark trip after PM says Greenland isn't for sale

World

Trump mused about acquiring Greenland from Denmark on Sunday, telling reporters that “it's something we talked about."

 President Donald Trump is calling off an upcoming trip to Denmark after its prime minister rebuffed his interest in buying Greenland, a Danish territory, the White House announced on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese paramilitary vehicles are parked at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in Shenzhen near the border with Hong Kong, China August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Martin Pollard

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China’s State Council has called for greater development of the southern city of Shenzhen and the integration of its culture and economy with neighboring Hong Kong and Macau.

Danish PM: Trump's idea of buying Greenland is 'absurd'

World

Frederiksen said Sunday that the Arctic, with resources that Russia and others could exploit for commercial gain, "is becoming increasingly ...

Denmark's prime minister says U.S. President Donald Trump's idea of buying Greenland from Denmark is "an absurd discussion," reiterating that the semi-autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic is not for sale.

President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.

World

"Just in case it might have an impact on people, what we’ve done is delayed it, so they won't be relevant for the Christmas shopping season,"

The United States announced Tuesday that a 10% tariff set to be slapped on $300 billion of Chinese imports starting next month would be delayed until later this year for certain products, including "cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors and certain items of footwear and clothing."

U.S. farmers suffer 'body blow' as China slams door on farm purchases

World

Tariffs imposed by China on U.S. soybeans have slashed exports of the most valuable U.S. crop and forced Trump’s administration to compensate farmers for two years with combined spending of as much as $28 billion.

Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricultural products, China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday, a blow to U.S. farmers who have already seen their exports slashed by the more than year-old trade war.

China's yuan steadies, but stocks slump as trade war engulfs currency

World

China’s commerce ministry also announced overnight that its companies had stopped buying U.S. agricultural products in retaliation against Washington’s latest tariff threat.

China’s tumbling yuan steadied on Tuesday as authorities took steps to contain its slide, while stocks tanked after Washington labeled Beijing a currency manipulator in a sharp escalation of Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. File image

World

If the United States wants to have negotiations with Iran then it must lift all sanctions, Rouhani said, noting that Iran must be allowed to export oil.

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway.

People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing two unidentified projectiles, in Seoul, South Korea, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

World

A United Nations report said on Monday Pyongyang has continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes and used cyberattacks to take in $2 billion to fund the development.

North Korea fired missiles into the sea off its east coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks, South Korea said on Tuesday, as Pyongyang warned that hostile moves against it “have reached the danger line.”

Defense Head Esper: US to Soon Put Intermediate Range Missile in Asia

World

Trump has called New START "just another bad deal" made by the Obama administration, and has said he wants to negotiate a three-way nuclear arms control agreement among the U.S., Russia and China.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wants to deploy an intermediate range conventional missile in the Pacific region within months, now that the Trump administration has formally pulled out of a Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia.

People take part in a solidarity rally in Lenina Square in support of rejected independent candidates in the upcoming Moscow City Duma election, Aug., 03, 2019.

World

Last week police cracked down and arrested 1,400 people at a demonstration called by the same organizers.

Hundreds of protesters were violently arrested in Moscow Saturday, the latest demonstration against the Kremlin-aligned United Russia party.

Protesters Clash With Police in Hong Kong. Image credit - NYT

World

Millions have taken part in street protests against a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to China to face trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

Hong Kong on Monday bore the scars of another night of violent protests with hard hats, umbrellas and water bottles littering some central streets, as Beijing was set to make an announcement on the Asian financial center’s worst crisis since 1997.

A boat is seen close to oil installations at Lake Maracaibo in Cabimas, Venezuela October 5, 2017. Picture taken October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia

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The meeting did not include the United States, which pulled out of the agreement in May 2018 and slapped sanctions back on Iranian oil exports.

Oil prices fell on Monday after Iran described emergency talks on a multi-party nuclear agreement with a group of signatories as “constructive”, suggesting an easing of tensions in the Middle East.

Other European Union countries, including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy, have also announced plans for their own digital taxes.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday that France would proceed with taxing revenues of big technology firms and urged the United States not to bring trade tariffs into the debate on how to fairly raise levies on digital services.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he meets engineering graduates on the site of an under-construction tramline in Stretford, near Manchester, Britain July 27, 2019. Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS

World

“My friends, I do not want a no-deal Brexit, that is not where we’re aiming, but we have to face the fact that at the moment we’re being told, ...

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned the European Union on Saturday that the “anti-democratic” Irish backstop must be ditched if they were to strike a Brexit divorce deal.

File image - North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un

World

On Tuesday, the North’s KCNA news agency reported that Kim inspected a large, newly built submarine, accompanied by missile program leaders, in a possible signal of the continued development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile program.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles early on Thursday from its east coast, South Korea’s military said, the first missile test since leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to revive stalled denuclearization talks.

S. Korea, Russia differ over warning shots fired at jets

World

Seoul defense officials said the Russian reconnaissance aircraft left the area three minutes later but later returned and violated South Korean airspace again for four minutes.

South Korean air force jets fired 360 rounds of warning shots Tuesday after a Russian military plane twice violated South Korea's airspace off the country's eastern coast, Seoul officials said in an announcement that was quickly disputed by Russia.

Boris Johnson speaks after being announced as Britain's next Prime Minister at The Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, Britain July 23, 2019. Reuters photo

World

Johnson, the face of the 2016 Brexit referendum, won the votes of 92,153 members of the Conservative party, almost twice the 46,656 won by his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Boris Johnson, the Brexiteer who has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by the end of October, will replace Theresa May as prime minister after winning the leadership of the Conservative Party on Tuesday.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Britain said the tanker was approached by Iranian forces when it was in Omani territorial waters exercising ...

Britain on Saturday denounced Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf as a “hostile act” and rejected Tehran’s explanation that it seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.

Undated photograph shows the Mesdar, a British-operated oil tanker in Fawley, Britain obtained by Reuters on July 19, 2019. JOHN PITCHER/via REUTERS

World

The Stena Impero and Mesdar changed direction sharply within 40 minutes of each other shortly after entering the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, ....

Britain said Iran seized two oil tankers in the Gulf on Friday and told Tehran to return the vessels or face consequences in the latest confrontation to ratchet up tension along a vital international oil shipping route.

Iran military says all its drones have returned safely to base: report

World

“All drones belonging to Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz ...

Iran’s top military spokesman said all the country’s drones had returned safely to base, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, after President Donald Trump said a U.S. Navy ship had “destroyed” one.

U.S. says Navy ship 'destroyed' Iranian drone in Gulf

World

Oil prices jumped on Thursday after news of the ship seizure. They later fell, however, on weakness in U.S. equities markets and an expectation that ....

The United States said on Thursday that a U.S. Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.

In the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf, U.S. President Donald Trump told an event at the White House that the drone had flown to within 1,000 yards (meters) of the USS Boxer and had ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.

“The drone was immediately destroyed,” he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the United Nations: “We have no information about losing a drone today.”

The Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken “defensive action” against a drone on Thursday morning as the Boxer was moving into the Strait of Hormuz.

“We do assess it was an Iranian drone,” said Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

The United States has blamed Iran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. Tehran rejects the allegations.

Iran in June shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile. Iran says the drone was in its airspace, but Washington says it was in international skies.

Trump said at the time the United States had come close to launching a military strike on Iran in retaliation for the downing of the U.S. drone.

The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington.

The United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the drone on Thursday was brought down through electronic jamming.

NUCLEAR DEAL

Relations between the United States and Iran have worsened since last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran in which Tehran agreed to restrict nuclear work in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The United States has reimposed sanctions to throttle Iran’s oil trade and says it wants to increase pressure on Tehran to renegotiate the accord, discuss its ballistic missile program and modify its behavior in the Middle East, where Washington is allied to several Arab states opposed to Iran.

Iran’s clerical rulers have ruled out renegotiating the nuclear deal or holding talks on its missile program, which it says is purely defensive.

But Zarif told reporters on Thursday that Iran had offered to make a concession on its nuclear program - to ratify a document prescribing more intrusive inspections - if the United States abandoned its economic sanctions - a proposal that drew U.S. skepticism.

“If Iran wants to make a serious gesture, it should start by ending uranium enrichment immediately,” a U.S. senior administration official said, adding any talks should include “a permanent end to Iran’s malign nuclear ambitions, including its development of nuclear-capable missiles.”

Earlier on Thursday, the United States demanded Iran immediately release a vessel it seized in the Gulf, and a U.S. military commander in the region said the United States would work “aggressively” to ensure free passage of vessels through the vital waterway.

Iran played down the seizure of the ship, which it said was a small vessel that was smuggling oil.

Iranian state TV aired footage of a vessel called “RIAH.”

The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah disappeared off trackers in Iranian territorial waters days ago.

“We do this (inspecting ships) every day. These are people who smuggle our oil,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Zarif as saying, adding: “It was a small ship used to smuggle 1 million liters – not 1 million barrels – of crude oil.”

Washington has recently beefed up its military presence and the U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, says that Gulf Arab states have stepped up patrols.

Revolutionary Guards Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami said on Thursday that Iran had adopted a defensive strategy, but warned that “if our enemies make any mistakes ... our strategy can become an offensive one.”

Oil prices jumped on Thursday after news of the ship seizure. They later fell, however, on weakness in U.S. equities markets and an expectation that crude output would rise in the Gulf of Mexico following last week’s hurricane in the region.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an international network of companies and their agents it said were involved in the procurement of materials for Iran’s nuclear program.

 

Source: Reuters

U.K. defends ambassador after disparaging Trump comments leak. Image credit - politico

World

"While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!"

President Donald Trump in a tweet on Monday said that the United States "will no longer deal with" U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch after his blunt criticism of the president and administration in diplomatic cables was leaked.

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