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Roy Siemens

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Roy likes politics. Knowledge is power, Roy constantly says, so he spends nearly all day gathering information and writing articles about the latest events around the globe. He likes history and studying about war techniques, this is why he finds writing his articles a piece of cake. Another hobby of his is horse – riding.

At least three people have been shot dead in a tram attack in the central Dutch city of Utrecht on March 18.

Authorities say the incident appears to be a terrorist attack.

Five others were injured in the incident.

Utrecht police have arrested Gokmen Tanis, a 37-year-old Turkish man, in connection with the shooting.

“We have just been informed that the suspect has been arrested,” police chief Rob van Bree told reporters.

It is not yet clear where Gokmen Tanis was detained.

Schools were closed and security was increased while counter-terrorism police worked to locate the suspect.

A picture of the suspect was posted on social media by police, who warned people against approaching him.

A number of raids were reportedly carried out and counter-terrorism officers were pictured surrounding a building near the 24 Oktoberplein junction, where the tram attack took place.

New Zealand Mosque Attack: 49 Killed and 48 Wounded in Country’s Deadliest Attack

PM Mark Rutte earlier said the country had been “jolted by an attack”, which he described as “deeply disturbing”.

The tram attack happened at about 10:45 local time . One witness told local media that “a man started shooting wildly”.

Another witness told Dutch public broadcaster NOS that he had helped an injured woman after the tram came to a stop.

Meanwhile, the threat level has been reduced following the arrest. It was earlier raised to its highest point in the province of Utrecht. Paramilitary police were seen in airports and mosques.

Utrecht University closed all of its buildings and trains were not allowed to run into the city’s central station. Some public transport services have now reopened.

Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, has a population of about 340,000.

Crime levels are low and gun killings are rare, which is the case for much of the country.

49 people have been killed and other 48 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the country’s deadliest attack.

New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern described it as a terrorist attack and one of the country’s “darkest days”.

A gunman identifying himself as an Australian live-streamed the rampage at Al Noor mosque to Facebook. He had espoused racist, anti-immigrant views.

According to police, a man in his late 20s has been arrested and charged with murder.

Two other men and one woman were also detained.

No names have been made public. Firearms and explosive devices were recovered, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

The gunman live-streaming the attack from a head-mounted camera said he was a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant. The footage showed him firing at men, women and children from close range inside the Al Noor mosque.

Facebook had removed the suspect’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage. The live-stream of the attack lasted for 17 minutes.

The suspect who was charged appeared to have published a document online outlining his intentions as well as details about the plan for the attack. He is due in court on March 16.

Australian PM Scott Morrison described the man as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist. New Zealand Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the man had not been known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services.

Kabul Suicide Attack: At Least 43 Killed at Religious Gathering

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at 13:40 on March 15.

A gunman drove to the front door, entered and fired indiscriminately for about five minutes.

One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand that he had seen the gunman shoot a man in the chest. The attacker reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.

The gunman is then said to have driven about 3 miles to another mosque in the suburb of Linwood where the second shooting occurred.

One witness described how one of the worshippers had managed to disarm the man, who ran to a waiting car outside.

It is not clear where the arrests were made. Police also defused “a number of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] attached to vehicles”, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

He said a number of firearms had been recovered from both mosques, and explosive devices were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects.

Authorities advised all mosques in Christchurch to shut down until further notice.

According to the latest census figures, Muslims make up about 1.1% of New Zealand’s population of 4.25 million.

Numbers rose sharply as New Zealand took in refugees from various war-torn countries since the 1990s.

Social media accounts in the name of Brenton Tarrant were used to post a lengthy, racist document in which the author identified the mosques that were later attacked.

The man says he began planning an attack after visiting Europe in 2017 and being angered by events there.

The document is called “The Great Replacement” – a phrase that originated in France and has become a rallying cry for European anti-immigration extremists.

Although New Zealand police said they had charged a man in his late 20s with murder, they did not identify the man.

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According to recent reports, North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or a satellite.

Satellite images suggest an increased activity around a site known as Sanumdong, where North Korea assembled most of its ballistic missiles and rockets.

It comes after reports earlier this week that North Korea’s main rocket launch site at Sohae had been rebuilt.

Last year, North Korea started to dismantle Sohae began but stopped as US talks stalled.

On March 8, President Donald Trump said he would be disappointed if North Korea was to resume weapons testing.

He said: “I would be surprised in a negative way if he did anything that was not per our understanding. But we’ll see what happens.

“I would be very disappointed if I saw testing.”

According to analysts, it is more likely at this stage that North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite rather than test a missile.

However, the US said earlier this week that this would still be inconsistent with the commitments Kim Jong-un has made to President Trump.

Large vehicles have been seen moving around Sanumdong, activity which has in the past indicated that Pyongyang was at least preparing to move some kind of missile or rocket to a launch area.

The satellite images were published by the public radio network NPR.

A much anticipated meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi last week ended without a deal over differences in how much North Korea was willing to limit its nuclear program before it was granted some sanction relief.

The Sohae launch facility at the Tongchang-ri site has been used for satellite launches and engine testing but never for ballistic missile launches.

This week’s satellite images, coming from several US think tanks and testimony from the South Korean intelligence service, appear to show rapid progress has been made in rebuilding structures on the rocket launch pad.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said North Korea could yet face more sanctions if there is no progress on denuclearization.

A historic first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 in Singapore produced a vaguely worded agreement on “denuclearization” but little progress.

Venezuelan troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who attempted to collect a foreign aid at the border, as President Nicolás Maduro blocked the humanitarian transport from crossing from Colombia and Brazil.

On February 23, a number of people were shot with live ammunition, human rights groups say. At least two people were killed.

The opposition wants the aid to go to people hit by the economic crisis, but President Maduro sees it as a security threat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attacks on civilians, which he blamed on “Maduro’s thugs”.

He said in a tweet following the clashes: “Our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have died due to these criminal acts. We join their demand for justice.”

Mike Pompeo also described the burning of some of the aid as “sickening”.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president and helped to organize the aid, condemned the action by security forces.

Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized as leader by dozens of nations, will meet Vice President Mike Pence on February 25 in Bogota, Colombia.

Mike Pence is travelling there to meet leaders of the regional Lima Group, in spite of a travel ban imposed on him by President Maduro’s government.

Venezuela Crisis: Russia Condemns Foreign Powers for Backing Juan Guaido

Venezuela Elections 2018: Nicolas Maduro Wins Another Six-Year Term Amid Opposition Boycott

On February 23, Juan Guaidó posted a tweet which implored the international community to be “open to all options” in order to “liberate” Venezuela from Nicolas Maduro – who is continuing to resist all calls to stand down.

Juan Guaidó organized the collection of hundreds of tonnes of foreign aid at the country’s borders. He gave the government a deadline of Saturday to allow the aid to be brought into Venezuela or vowed to have volunteers march it in themselves.

In response, President Maduro partly closed the country’s borders with Brazil and Colombia, citing threats to security and sovereignty. On February 23, Venezuelans civilians attempted to cross in order to get to the aid stores, which included food and medicine.

Images from crossing points across Venezuela showed security forces firing tear gas at volunteers. Protesters burned outposts and threw projectiles at soldiers and riot police.

Rights groups say at least two people, including a 14-year-old boy, were shot dead in the clashes in Santa Elena de Uairen, near the country’s border with Brazil. Another two were reported to have been killed on February 22.

Amnesty International has described the use of firearms against protesters as a serious human rights violation and a crime under international law.

There have also been reports of several aid trucks being burned – something Juan Guaidó said was a violation of the Geneva Convention.

At about 19:00 local time on February 23, Colombia’s government estimated the number injured at border crossings to be about 300. Journalists at the scene have reported severe injuries among protesters, including several who appeared to have lost their eyes.

Venezuelan troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who attempted to collect a foreign aid at the border, as President Nicolás Maduro blocked the humanitarian transport from crossing from Colombia and Brazil.

On February 23, a number of people were shot with live ammunition, human rights groups say. At least two people were killed.

The opposition wants the aid to go to people hit by the economic crisis, but President Maduro sees it as a security threat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attacks on civilians, which he blamed on “Maduro’s thugs”.

He said in a tweet following the clashes: “Our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have died due to these criminal acts. We join their demand for justice.”

Mike Pompeo also described the burning of some of the aid as “sickening”.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president and helped to organize the aid, condemned the action by security forces.

Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized as leader by dozens of nations, will meet Vice President Mike Pence on February 25 in Bogota, Colombia.

Mike Pence is travelling there to meet leaders of the regional Lima Group, in spite of a travel ban imposed on him by President Maduro’s government.

On February 23, Juan Guaidó posted a tweet which implored the international community to be “open to all options” in order to “liberate” Venezuela from Nicolas Maduro – who is continuing to resist all calls to stand down.

Juan Guaidó organized the collection of hundreds of tonnes of foreign aid at the country’s borders. He gave the government a deadline of Saturday to allow the aid to be brought into Venezuela or vowed to have volunteers march it in themselves.

In response, President Maduro partly closed the country’s borders with Brazil and Colombia, citing threats to security and sovereignty. On February 23, Venezuelans civilians attempted to cross in order to get to the aid stores, which included food and medicine.

Images from crossing points across Venezuela showed security forces firing tear gas at volunteers. Protesters burned outposts and threw projectiles at soldiers and riot police.

Rights groups say at least two people, including a 14-year-old boy, were shot dead in the clashes in Santa Elena de Uairen, near the country’s border with Brazil. Another two were reported to have been killed on February 22.

Amnesty International has described the use of firearms against protesters as a serious human rights violation and a crime under international law.

There have also been reports of several aid trucks being burned – something Juan Guaidó said was a violation of the Geneva Convention.

At about 19:00 local time on February 23, Colombia’s government estimated the number injured at border crossings to be about 300. Journalists at the scene have reported severe injuries among protesters, including several who appeared to have lost their eyes.

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Moscow has condemned foreign powers for backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó who declared himself interim president, calling it a bid to “usurp power”.

Russia said that the move violated international law and was a “direct path to bloodshed”.

On January 23, Juan Guaidó declared himself interim leader – a move recognized by the US and several other nations.

Meanwhile, President Nicolás Maduro, who retains some other nations’ support, broke off relations with the US in response.

Nicolas Maduro has been in office since 2013. He was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, after winning a May 2018 election marred by an opposition boycott and widespread claims of vote-rigging.

President Nicolas Maduro’s Istanbul Lunch Sparks Outrage in VenezuelaJuan Guaidó is the head of the National Assembly, who has said articles within Venezuela’s constitution allow him to assume interim power because he believes Nicolas Maduro’s election, and therefore presidency, is invalid.

The opposition leader has vowed to lead a transitional government and hold free elections.

President Nicolas Maduro’s Istanbul Lunch Sparks Outrage in Venezuela

Venezuela Elections 2018: Nicolas Maduro Wins Another Six-Year Term Amid Opposition Boycott

President Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s new head of state minutes after his declaration in the capital, Caracas, on January 23.

President Trump urged other nations to follow suit – but the move has divided much of the international community.

Seven South American nations, as well as Canada and the UK, have now backed President Trump’s call.

The EU has stopped short of recognition, but called for “free and credible elections” and said Juan Guaidó’s freedom and safety should be respected.

Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba all expressed support for Nicolas Maduro, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted: “My brother Maduro! Stand tall, we are standing by you.”

China, a major investor in Venezuela, said it opposed any outside interference.

Russia sees Venezuela as one of its closest allies in the region. It has lent billions of dollars and has backed its oil industry and its military. Russia has also taken part in military exercises in Venezuela.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We consider the attempt to usurp sovereign authority in Venezuela to contradict and violate the basis and principles of international law.

“Maduro is the legitimate head of state.”

A Russian foreign ministry statement said Juan Guaidó’s declaration was a “direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed”, adding: “Only Venezuelans have the right to determine their future.

“Destructive outside interference, especially in the current extremely tense situation, is unacceptable.”

Russia also warned that any US military interference would amount to “adventurism which is fraught with catastrophic consequences”.

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Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg has been sentenced to death for drug smuggling in China in a ruling which will worsen a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Last year, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was originally given a 15-year jail term but after an appeal the court said the sentence was too lenient.

Today’s ruling comes weeks after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, a top official at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, on a request from the US.

Canada condemned the latest ruling.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said: “It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty, as in this case facing a Canadian.”

China was angered by the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, 46, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the case has soured its relations with both Canada and the US. She was granted bail in December.

Huawei Dispute: Two Canadians Detained in China

Meng Wanzhou: Huawei CFO Arrested in Canada

Huawei denies spying for Chinese government

China has since detained two Canadian nationals, accusing them of endangering national security.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who is believed to be 36, was arrested in 2014 and accused of planning to smuggle almost 500lb of methamphetamine from China to Australia.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2018. However, following an appeal, a high court in the north-eastern city of Dalian on January 14 sentenced the Canadian national to death.

The court also ruled that all of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s financial assets must be confiscated.

“I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist,” he said just before the verdict was announced, the AFP news agency reports.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal.

China has denied that it is using its legal system to take hostages as bargaining chips in the Huawei case.

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, but was granted bail by a Canadian court several days later.

A judge in Vancouver ruled that Meng Wanzhou would be under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

Meng Wanzhou is accused in the US of using a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

She denies any wrongdoing and says she will contest the allegations.

President Donald Trump has said he is willing to intervene in the case.

Meng Wanzhou’s arrest came against the background of an increasingly acrimonious trade dispute between the US and China.

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have made an unannounced Christmas visit at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq.

The first family traveled there “late on Christmas night” to thank troops for “their service, their success and their sacrifice”, the White House said.

President Trump said the US had no plans to pull out of Iraq, Reuters reports.

The trip came days after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quit over divisions about strategy in the region.

The US still has some 5,000 troops in Iraq to support the government in its fight against what remains of the ISIS.

President Trump, the First Lady and National Security Adviser John Bolton traveled on Air Force One to al-Asad airbase, west of the capital Baghdad, to meet military personnel in the base’s restaurant.

The president spent about three hours at the base in what is his first visit to the region.

During the visit President Trump got a standing ovation from troops as he entered a dining hall and walked around greeting them, posing for selfies with them and signing autographs.

He tweeted: “.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!”

The president had planned to spend Christmas at his private golf club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington because of the current partial government shutdown.

“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” he told American servicemen and women at the base.

“We’re respected again as a nation.”

President Trump said the US could use Iraq as a forward base if “we wanted to do something in Syria”, Reuters news agency reports.

He defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria during the visit, saying: “A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking.

US Withdraws Ground Troops from Syria

US Ground Troops Sent to Syria to Fight ISIS

Vladimir Putin Orders Russian Troops Withdrawal from Syria

“I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip Isis [another name for IS] of its military strongholds.

“Eight years ago, we went there for three months and we never left. Now, we’re doing it right and we’re going to finish it off.”

President Trump said there would be no delays in the withdrawal and added that the US “cannot continue to be the policeman of the world”.

He also said that security considerations had prevented him from visiting US troops in the region several weeks ago.

President Trump announced the decision to pull US troops out of Syria last week.

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Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, has quit over President Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria.

He brought his departure forward from February.

Before President Trump’s announcement he had insisted that the US would continue working against ISIS in Syria.

President Trump described Brett McGurk’s resignation as a “nothing event”.

The president tweeted: “Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015. Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!”

US Withdraws Ground Troops from Syria

Brett McGurk’s decision to quit follows the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on December 20.

General Jim Mattis had also opposed withdrawing troops from Syria as well as reducing the US presence in Afghanistan.

Brett McGurk, 45, is an experienced diplomat who was appointed to his current role in 2015 under the Obama administration.

In early December, the envoy told reporters: “We want to stay on the ground and make sure that stability can be maintained in these areas.”

He added: “It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now. I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.”

In his resignation letter, seen by AP news agency, Brett McGurk said that ISIS militants in Syria were on the run but not yet defeated. He said that withdrawing US forces from Syria would create the conditions that gave rise to ISIS.

In an email to staff quoted by the New York Times, Brett McGurk said President Trump’s decision to pull out troops “came as a shock and was a complete reversal of policy”. It “left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered”, he said.

Brett McGurk went on to say: “I ultimately concluded I could not carry out these new instructions and maintain my integrity.”

US troops are being withdrawn from Syria, after President Donald Trump said the ISIS group had been “defeated”, the Trump administration has announced.

However, the Pentagon said it was transitioning to the “next phase of the campaign” but did not give details.

Some 2,000 troops have helped rid much of north-eastern Syria of ISIS, but pockets of fighters remain.

It had been thought defense officials wanted to maintain a US presence to ensure ISIS did not rebuild.

There are also fears a US withdrawal will cede influence in Syria and the wider region to Russia and Iran.

Both the Pentagon and the WhiteHouse statement said the US had started “returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign”.

US Ground Troops Sent to Syria to Fight ISIS

Vladimir Putin Orders Russian Troops Withdrawal from Syria

The Pentagon said it would not provide further details of what that next phase is “for force protection and operational security reasons”.

The White House said the US and its allies stood “ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support and any means of infiltrating our borders”.

Israel said it had been told the US had “other ways to have influence in the area” but would “study the timeline [of the withdrawal], how it will be done and of course the implications for us”.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on state-controlled Channel One TV that the US decision could result in “genuine, real prospects for a political settlement” in Syria.

Pulling troops out of Syria had long been promised by President Trump.

The state department abruptly canceled its daily briefing on December 19 after the withdrawal was announced.

One of President Trump’s supporters, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sits on the armed services committee, called it a “huge Obama-like mistake”.

In a series of tweets, Lindsey Graham said ISIS was “not defeated”, and warned withdrawing US troops puts “our allies, the Kurds, atrisk”.

This week Turkey said it was preparing to launch an operation against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria, which has been an ally of the US in its fight against ISIS.

Cherif Chekatt, who attacked Strasbourg’s Christmas market on December 11, has been shot dead by police, France’s interior minister has announced.

A police unit came across Cherif Chekatt in a Strasbourg street and shot him after the suspect opened fire.

Three people have died following the shooting at the Christmas market and several more were seriously injured. Previous reports had said that four people had been killed in the attack.

Cherif Chekatt, 29, had a string of criminal convictions in France and Germany and had become a radical Islamist in jail.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said three members of the National Police saw a suspicious individual on rue du Lazaret, in the Neudorf area of Strasbourg at 21:00 local time.

The officers stopped the man, who turned round and fired on the police. Police fired back and “neutralized”the attacker, said Christoph Castaner, who later went to the scene.

Hundreds of French police and security forces had been searching for the gunman.

A large police operation had taken place in Neudorf earlier on December 13, but ended apparently without results.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the attack. They include Cherif Chekatt’s parents and two of his brothers.

Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries said that finding Cherif Chekatt meant the worried people of his city would now be able to return to a normal life.

On December 11, at about 20:00 local time, a man opened fire close to the famed Christmas market near Place Kléber, which attracts thousands of visitors.

France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, said the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he opened fire.

The suspect was armed with a gun and a knife and escaped the area after commandeering a taxi, Rémy Heitz said.

As the attacker fled he came into contact with four soldiers, Rémy Heitz said, and began firing at them. The soldiers fired back, apparently hitting him in the arm.

The gunman boasted to the taxi driver that he had killed 10 people, and also said he had been injured during a firefight with soldiers.

Cherif Chakett ordered the taxi driver to drop him near the police station in Neudorf. When he got out of the vehicle, he fired at police officers before escaping.

Cherif Chekatt was born in Strasbourg and was already known to the security services.

The man was the subject of a “fiche S”, a watch list of people who represent a potential threat to national security.

Cherif Chekatt had 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and had spent considerable time in prison as a result.

On December 11, in the morning, police were seeking him in connection with another case, but did not find him at home.

A search of his apartment in Neudorf revealed a grenade, a rifle, four knives – two of which were hunting knives – and ammunition.

Strasbourg Christmas Market Shooting: Three Dead and 11 Wounded, Gunman at Large

Three people died in the Christmas market attack.

The death of Kamal Naghchband, originally from Afghanistan, was announced on December 13. The father of three died in hospital. His mosque announced that his funeral will take place after Friday prayers.

According to Le Figaro, a retired bank worker aged 61, from Strasbourg, was also killed in the attack.

The third victim is believed to be a Thai tourist who was on holiday with his wife. Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, has been named by Thai media as one of the dead.

Two people have been killed and 11 others wounded in a shooting at the famed Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.

The gunman, who was identified by security services, is on the run and is being hunted by police. According to police, the suspect had been injured in an exchange of gunfire with a soldier.

The shooting happened in one of Strasbourg’s central squares, Place Kléber.

France’s counter terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation.

Confirming the death toll had risen to two, the French interior minister, Christophe Castaner, who is on his way to Strasbourg, called it a “seriouspublic security incident”.

Seven of the injured are said to be in a serious condition.

Police said the gunman was already known to the security services as a possible terrorist threat.

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Paris bans action movie shoots following terror attacks

According to France’s BFM TV the suspect had fled his apartment in the Neudorf district of the city in the morning as it was being searched by police in connection with a robbery.

Grenades were found during the search.

Residents in Neudorf have been urged to stay indoors amid unconfirmed reports he has been tracked down and cornered by police in the area.

The European Parliament, which is close to the scene, is currently in lockdown. The parliament’s president, Antonio Tajani, tweeted to say it would”not be intimidated by terrorist or criminal attacks”.

The attack unfolded at around 20:00 local time close to the city’s famed Christmas market.

Emmanuel Foulon, a press officer for the European Parliament, wrote that there was “panic” in the center following the sound of gunfire andthat police with guns were running through the streets.

Saudi Arabia has refused Turkey’s extradition request for suspects in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said: “We do not extradite our citizens.”

Just over a week ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the extradition and on December 5 a Turkish court issued arrest warrants.

The Saudis have charged 11 people with the murder, which took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Arrest warrants were issued in Turkey for former Saudi intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and former royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

Jamal Khashoggi Death: CIA Did Not Conclude Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Murder, Says President Trump

Jamal Khashoggi Death: Saudi Arabia Identifies Journalist’s Killer

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Adel al-Jubeir criticised the way Turkey has shared information with Saudi Arabia.

He said: “The Turkish authorities have not been as forthcoming as we believe they should have been.

“We have asked our friends in Turkey to provide us with evidence that we can use in a court of law. We have not received it in the manner that it should have been received.”

President Erdogan says the order to kill Jamal Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government but insists he does not want to damage the Saudi royal family.

The Saudi government denies that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing.

The Saudi public prosecutor has said Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate as a result of a “rogue operation” on the orders of an intelligence officer.

Jamal Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle. The journalist’s body was then dismembered inside the consulate in Istanbul and the body parts were handed over to a local”collaborator” outside the grounds, the prosecutor said.


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Image source Pixabay

Dramatic Yellow Vest protests took place over several hours in the French capital, Paris.

Protesters have scaled the Arc de Triomphe, as clashes with riot police continued during a third weekend of rallies.

Riot police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon on the Champs-Elysées, while masked protesters hurled projectiles and set buildings on fire.

At least 110 people were injured, including 17 members of the security forces, and 270 arrests were made.

One building was set on fire on a major avenue near the Arc de Triomphe and protesters stole an assault rifle from a police vehicle in the center of Paris.

Stores and subway stations were closed as a result of the violence. However, protesters insisted the movement was peaceful.

Protests over fuel tax have grown into general anger at higher living costs.

Paris Protests: Yellow Vests Clash with Riot Police on Champs-Elysees

France Protests: One Dead and More than 200 Injured in Yellow Vests Blockade

President Emmanuel Macron says his fuel policies are needed to combat global warming.

One person was in a critical condition after protesters pulled down an iron gate at the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre museum, which fell on several people.

An assault rifle was also stolen from a police vehicle although it was unclear if it was loaded, AFP quotes a police source as saying.

According to the French interior ministry, at least 75,000 people had turned out across France for the latest “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) rallies – so called because the protesters donned the high-visible vest required to be carried in every vehicle by law.

Nearly 190 fires were put out and six buildings were set ablaze, the interior ministry said.

Responding to the day’s events from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Macron said the protests “had absolutely nothing to do with a peaceful demonstration of a legitimate unhappiness or discontent.”

President Macron said those responsible did not want change, but instead intended to “wreak chaos”.

Earlier this week, he tried to strike a conciliatory tone, saying he was open to ideas about how the fuel tax could be applied.

However, President Macron’s speech does not appear to have gone far enough in assuaging people of the view that he is out of touch with ordinary people.

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President Donald Trump has decided to cancel a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the naval clash between Ukraine and Russia in Kerch Strait.

On November 25, Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews off the Crimean Peninsula.

President Trump said he would not meet President Putin at a G20 summit in the coming days, “based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned”.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the crisis “entirely” on Russia.

Angela Merkel said she would raise the issue with Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting, which is due to be held in Argentina between November 30 and December 1.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged NATO to send ships to the area. He has implemented martial law across Ukraine’s border regions for 30 days in response to the crisis.

Image NBC News

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On November 29, President Poroshenko announced that Russians living in Ukraine would soon face restrictions on bank withdrawals, changing foreign currency and travelling abroad.

The incident happened on November 25, when two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug were sailing from Odessa to the port of Mariupol, in the Sea of Azov – which is shared between Russia and Ukraine.

The ships were stopped from entering the Kerch Strait and confronted by FSB border guards. After a lengthy standoff, during which the Ukrainian tug was rammed, the vessels began turning back towards Odessa, the Ukrainian government says.

The Russians opened fire, wounding at least three sailors, and seized the Ukrainian flotilla.

The Kerch Strait separates Russia from Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia in 2014.

However, Ukraine says Russia is deliberately blockading Mariupol and another Ukrainian port on the Sea of Azov, Berdyansk.

The 24 captured Ukrainian sailors have now been given two months in pre-trial detention by a court in Crimea.

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to bring in martial law, after Russia seized three of its naval vessels and 23 crew members on November 25.

The ships were sailing off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, when they were captured.

Russia opened fire, before its special forces stormed the vessels. Between three and six Ukrainians were injured.

Ukraine said it was an “act of aggression” from Russia. However, Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.

Image source Wikimedia

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On November 26, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was proposing that parliament back a 30-day martial law – half the length of that recommended by the country’s security and defense council.

President Poroshenko said he did not want the measure to affect presidential elections set for March 31, 2019.

The Sea of Azov on November 25 clash is the first time Russia and Ukraine have come into open conflict in recent years, although Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists and Russia volunteers in the east since 2014.

A number of Western countries condemned Russia’s actions.

In New York, the UN Security Council met to discuss the crisis – but failed to agree a Russian-proposed agenda amid sharp disagreements between Moscow and the West.

The CIA did not conclude that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump has revealed.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

However, officials told media such an operation would have needed the crown prince’s approval and Saudi Arabia maintains it was a “rogue operation”.

Asked about the CIA’s reported evaluation by reporters in Florida, President Trump said: “They didn’t conclude.”

The president’s comments on November 21 came as the Saudi crown prince began a regional tour of the Middle East, starting with the United Arab Emirates – his first official trip abroad since Jamal Khashoggi was killed.

Prince Mohammed is also expected to participate in a G20 meeting of world leaders in Buenos Aires at the end of the month that will be attended by leaders from the US, Turkey and a number of European countries.

Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead

Jamal Khashoggi Case: CIA Claims Saudi Crown Prince Approved Murder

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Meanwhile, France has announced that it is imposing sanctions on 18 Saudi nationals – the same individuals targeted with sanctions by the US, UK and Germany – allegedly linked to the Khashoggi murder.

Their list of individuals does not include Prince Mohammed, a spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs said.

President Trump told reporters in Florida: “They have feelings certain ways. I have the report, they have not concluded, I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to conclude the crown prince did it.”

He added: “But whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently. His father denies it, the king, vehemently.”

However, earlier this week, President Trump released a statement suggesting that Prince Mohammed “could very well” have known about the incident.

The president’s statement said: “[It] could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

He has repeatedly stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia to the US following the killing, calling Saudi Arabia a “steadfast partner” that has agreed to invest “a record amount of money” in the US.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that President Trump had confidence in the CIA following conversations with Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Khashoggi murder.

Sources quoted in the US media at the time stressed that there was no single piece of evidence linking the crown prince directly to the murder, but officials believe the killing would have required his endorsement.

Separately, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday that Director Haspel told Turkish officials last month that the CIA had a recording in which the crown prince gave instructions to “silence” Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.

When asked about the claims by reporters, President Trump said: “I don’t want to talk about it. You’ll have to ask them.”

Saudi Arabia says claims that the crown prince may have ordered the Khashoggi killing are false and maintains that he knew nothing about it.

As a prominent journalist, Jamal Khashoggi covered major stories including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Osama Bin Laden for various Saudi news organizations.

For decades, Jamal Khashoggi was close to the Saudi royal family and also served as an adviser to the government.

However, he fell out of favor and went into self-imposed exile in the US last year. From there, Jamal Khashoggi wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he criticized the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In his first column for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi said he feared being arrested in an apparent crackdown on dissent overseen by the prince since.

In his last column, Jamal Khashoggi criticized Saudi involvement in the Yemen conflict.

At least 43 people have been killed after a suicide bomber attacked a gathering of religious scholars in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say.

Other 83 people were also wounded as the clerics met at the Uranus wedding hall, a large banqueting complex near the airport, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

The attack is one of the deadliest in Kabul in recent months.

No-one has yet admitted responsibility for the blast.

Some 1,000 people were said to be in the complex at the time of the attack.

The suicide bomber gained entry and headed for the centre of the gathering, where he detonated his explosives.

Image source Pakistan Today

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Religious studies lecturer Mohammad Hanif said there was a deafening explosion and “everyone in the halls was screaming for help”.

1TV News quoted the health ministry as saying that 24 of the wounded were severely injured.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the “terrorist attack”.

The president declared November 21 a day of national mourning, with the flag to be flown at half mast.

The UN mission in Afghanistan tweeted: “UNAMA outraged by #Kabul bombing when communities across #Afghanistan are marking day of special religious significance. Credible reports of heavy civilian casualties. UN human rights teams establishing facts. UN family extends deepest condolences to the many families affected.”

Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan condemned the “cowardly act of terrorism” and sent his condolences to the bereaved families.

The Islamic State in Afghanistan group, sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan, has claimed responsibility for most of the recent deadly attacks of this kind.

It said it was behind two attacks in Kabul in August that killed dozens of people.

The Taliban have also continued attacks, although many of them target security forces.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujeed, has denied the group had any involvement in November 20 attack.

According to recent reports, the CIA believes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sources close to the CIA said it had assessed the evidence in detail.

It is understood there is no “smoking gun” but US officials think such an operation would need the crown prince’s approval.

However, Saudi Arabia has called the claim false and insisted that Prince Mohammed knew nothing about plans for the killing.

Saudi Arabia insists Jamal Khashoggi was killed as a result of a “rogue operation”.

The White House says President Donald Trump has spoken to CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the CIA’s assessment of the Khashoggi murder.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders gave no details but said President Trump had confidence in the CIA.

Before the briefing, the president stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia to the United States, as he has done since news of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing emerged.

While there has been widespread international condemnation of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder there has been little in the way of substantial action.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a marriage document. The journalist’s body has not been found.

Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead

Jamal Khashoggi Death: Saudi Arabia Identifies Journalist’s Killer

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Canada Confirms It Heard Murder Tape

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Turkey also insists the order to the Saudi dissident came from the highest levels.

The Washington Post, which Jamal Khashoggi worked for, says the CIA assessment was based partly on a phone call made by the crown prince’s brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the US.

Prince Khalid allegedly called Jamal Khashoggi at the direction of his brother and gave him assurances that he would be safe to go to the consulate.

However, Prince Khalid, now back in Saudi Arabia, tweeted that he had not been in contact with Jamal Khashoggi for nearly a year.

The prince said he had never suggested Jamal Khashoggi – who had been in London for a conference until the day before his disappearance – should go to Turkey for any reason.

It is understood CIA agents have also examined a call made to a senior aide of Crown Prince Mohammed by the team that carried out the killing.

Sources quoted in the media stressed that there was no single piece of evidence linking Crown Prince Mohammed directly to the murder, but officials believe such an operation would have needed his approval.

At a news conference in Riyadh on November 15, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said Jamal Khashoggi was given a lethal injection and his body was dismembered inside the consulate after his death.

The body parts were then handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the grounds, the prosecutor added.

A composite sketch of the collaborator has been produced and investigations are continuing to locate the remains.

Eleven unidentified people have been charged over Jamal Khashoggi’s death and the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

A Saudi intelligence officer ordered dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has concluded.

The intelligence officer was tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia, a spokesman said.

Jamal Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, he added.

The Gulf kingdom’s public prosecutor has charged 11 people over the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

Their cases have been referred to a court while investigations into another 10 people suspected of involvement continue.

Meanwhile, the US treasury department imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said had “targeted and brutally killed” Jamal Khashoggi, who lived and worked in the US, and had to “face consequences for their actions”.

They included Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who the treasury department alleged was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder; Maher Mutreb, who it said had “coordinated and executed” the operation; and Mohammed Alotaibi, the Istanbul consul-general.

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the sanctions were “an important step in responding to Khashoggi’s killing” and vowed to “continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved”.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Canada Confirms It Heard Murder Tape

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Saudi Arabia Admits Journalist Was Murdered

Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed in Consulate Fight, Saudi Arabia Says

At a news conference in Riyadh on November 15, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said Jamal Khashoggi’s body was dismembered inside the consulate after his death.

The body parts were then handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the grounds, he added. A composite sketch of the collaborator has been produced and investigations are continuing to locate the remains.

The prosecutor did not identify any of those charged with the murder.

However, Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaane said investigations had “revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team” sent to Istanbul by deputy intelligence chief Gen Ahmed al-Assiri to force Jamal Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia from his self-imposed exile.

“[The crown prince] did not have any knowledge about it,” the prosecutor insisted.

Crown Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, has denied any role in what he has called a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”.

However, critics believe it is highly unlikely the crown prince would not have been aware of the operation.

Several of the 21 people arrested over the murder have been seen in his security detail in the past. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani have also been sacked over the incident.

The prosecutor said Saud al-Qahtani had been banned from travelling and remained under investigation, but he did not say what had happened to Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government” but that he does not believe King Salman gave it.

On November 15, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that some of the statements by the Saudi deputy public prosecutor were “unsatisfactory”.

Turkish officials have alleged that the 15 Saudi agents who flew to Istanbul in the hours before the murder, one of whom is believed to have been a forensic pathologist working for the Saudi interior ministry, were carrying a bone saw.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has confirmed that his country’s intelligence has heard an audio recording of the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He said: “Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share.”

PM Trudeau is the first Western leader to confirm his country has listened to the purported tape of the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

On November 10, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had given copies to the US, UK, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.

“We gave them the tapes,” he told reporters before flying to Paris for a gathering of world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

“They’ve also listened to the conversations, they know it.”

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Saudi Arabia Admits Journalist Was Murdered

Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed in Consulate Fight, Saudi Arabia Says

However, the US has not said whether it has received a tape and France’s foreign minister has said it is not in possession of one as far as he is aware.

Saudi Arabia has admitted a team of agents murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic who was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing for the Washington Post, and it has arrested 18 people allegedly involved.

At a news conference in Paris on November 12, PM Justin Trudeau said Canadian intelligence agencies had been working very closely with Turkey on the murder investigation.

He added: “I had a conversation with Erdogan a couple of weeks ago over the phone. Here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation.”

When asked whether Canada had heard the purported audio recordings, PM Trudeau said “yes”. But he added that he had not listened to them personally.

According to recent reports, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s spy service, travelled to Turkey to discuss the investigation and listened to the recording.

The director then briefed PM Trudeau and other Canadian officials on his visit to Turkey.

Justin Trudeau sidestepped a question about whether such evidence would have consequences for Canada’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“We are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Justin Trudeau has faced calls to cancel a $13 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for tanks and armored fighting vehicles built by an Ontario-based unit of the American firm General Dynamics.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada are already strained. In August, Saudi Arabia accused Canada of violating its sovereignty and froze new trade after Canadian officials called for the release of detained civil society and women’s rights activists.

On November 12, Turkey reacted angrily after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian contradicted President Erdogan’s assertion that France had received an audio recording from the consulate and accused the Turkish leader of playing “political games”.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 2 television: “The truth isn’t out yet. We want to know the truth, the circumstances of his death and the identity of the culprits. Then we will take the necessary actions.

“If the Turkish president has information to give us, he must give it to us. For now, I don’t know about it.”

Asked if that meant President Erdogan was lying, the foreign minister replied: “It means that he has a political game to play in these circumstances.”

The Turkish presidency’s communications director called the comments “unacceptable” and insisted a representative of French intelligence had listened to the tape on October 24.

Fahrettin Altun told AFP: “If there is miscommunication between the French government’s various agencies, it is up to the French authorities – not Turkey – to take care of that problem.”

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Commemorations took place around the world on November 11 to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended WWI.

President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were among those who attended a service beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

About 70 world leaders gathered in Paris on November 11 for remembrance events.

French President Emmanuel Macron led the main event of the centenary – a somber commemoration at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to France’s fallen under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Image source kremlin.ru

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President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum – with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On November 10, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel visited the town of Compiègne in northern France. They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.

President Donald Trump caused controversy by canceling a trip to a cemetery for the war dead because of bad weather.

A group of around 50 activist organizations held a demonstration in Paris in protest against President Trump’s visit.

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President Donald Trump wants to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran removed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The White House said it was “the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed” on Tehran. The sanctions target both Iran and states that trade with it.

However, temporary waivers will be granted to eight countries to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the move “disgraced” US prestige and liberal democracy.

He tweeted on November 3: “The challenge between the US and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far and the US has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare.”

“This new US president has disgraced the remnant of America’s prestige,” he said, adding that “America today is far weaker”, suggesting that US military power was beginning to “wane and deteriorate”.

The sanctions will be reintroduce on Monday, November 5.

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Meanwhile, EU states that backed the nuclear deal have said they will protect EU companies doing “legitimate” business with Iran.

President Trump withdrew from the agreement in May, describing it as “defective at its core” because it had not stopped Iran developing a ballistic missile program and intervening in neighboring countries.

The president tweeted after the announcement: “Sanctions are coming,” referencing the TV series Game of Thrones and its motto “Winter is coming”.

The US has been gradually re-imposing sanctions, but analysts say this move is the most important because it targets the core sectors of Iran’s economy.

The agreement saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The US sanctions will cover shipping, shipbuilding, finance and energy.

More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft will be put on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that the Brussels-based Swift network for making international payments was expected to cut off links with targeted Iranian institutions.

Being disconnected from Swift would almost completely isolate Iran from the international financial system.

They are the second lot of sanctions re-imposed by President Trump since May.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set out 12 demands that Iran must meet if sanctions are to be lifted – including ending support for militants and completely ballistic missile development.

Mike Pompeo did not name the eight countries that been granted waivers to continue importing Iranian oil.

The secretary said the eight had “demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and co-operation on many other fronts”. Two would eventually stop imports and the other six greatly reduce them, he added.

US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea are among the eight, the Associated Press reports. Turkey also obtained a waiver, Reuters says.

All have been have been top importers of Iranian oil.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state TV that Iran had “the knowledge and the capability to manage the country’s economic affairs”.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Saudi Arabia has admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and blamed his killing on a “rogue operation”, giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it.

Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Saudi government, under intense pressure to explain Jamal Khashoggi’s whereabouts, has offered conflicting accounts.

They initially said Jamal Khashoggi had left the consulate on October 2 – but on October 19 admitted for the first time he was dead, saying he had been killed in a fight. This claim met widespread skepticism.

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Turkish officials believe the journalist, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

Adel al-Jubeir’s comments, describing the incident as murder, are some of the most direct to come from a Saudi official.

He said: “We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”

“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he added.

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

Adel al-Jubeir also said that Saudi Arabia did not know where the body was and insisted the action had not been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as the country’s most powerful figure.

“Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this,” he said, calling it a “rogue operation”.

However, Yeni Safak, a media outlet close to Turkey’s government, says it has information showing that the office of the crown prince received four phone calls from the consulate after the killing.

On October 21, Reuters reported it had spoken to a Saudi official who said Jamal Khashoggi had died in a chokehold after resisting attempts to return him to Saudi Arabia. His body was then rolled in a rug and given to a local “co-operator” to dispose of.

A Saudi operative then reportedly donned Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and left the consulate.

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Image source YouTube

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge – the world’s longest sea bridge and tunnel linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau – is set to open on October 22, years late.

Stretching more than 34 miles, the bridge spans the Pearl River Delta and is an unparalleled engineering feat.

From end to end, including its two link roads, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau  (HZMB) is about 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

The bridge’s structure is designed to withstand earthquakes, the seasonal typhoons which tear through the region and accidental ship strikes.

To allow ships to continue passing through the estuary, the bridge plunges underwater for 4 miles midway, via two artificial islands.

The project also crosses the flight path of Hong Kong’s international airport. That meant engineers had to stay within a strict height limitation.

Construction on the project began in 2009 but has been marred by delays and safety concerns. It has repeatedly overshot its budget, ultimately costing more than $20 billion.

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The original opening date had been set for 2016 and even the actual opening this month had not been confirmed until just before it happened.

The bridge has not only overshot budget and schedule but also taken a deadly toll on the workforce. Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities have each reported nine worker deaths during the work.

It connects three very different parts of China – the two Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong and the mainland. That means the project stretches across different legal and political systems.

Buses and commercial vehicles will carry passengers and freight over the bridge. Local taxis are not allowed on it and only a few private cars will get a permit to cross.

Travelling between Hong Kong and the mainland requires passing border controls. Two immigration centers have been built to process bridge users.

The bridge has been built to save time. The land journey around the delta takes at least four hours – the new bridge is to cut it to a mere 30 minutes.

However, some in Hong Kong have questioned the purpose of the bridge, saying no-one really needed it and that it’s largely an attempt to symbolically bring Hong Kong closer to the mainland.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

According to the report, deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that the Saudi kingdom had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

Saudi Arabia had come under increased pressure to explain Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

On October 19, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

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Observers are questioning whether Saudi Arabia’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

A statement from the kingdom’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Jamal Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favor with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, the statement said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for Saudi Arabia about the war in Yemen.

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

President Trump praised Saudi Arabia for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the kingdom, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy. He said the arrests were an important “first step”.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, the president replied: “I do.”

President Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the kingdom in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

Donald Trump spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110 billion arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

He said: “I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution.”

Earlier this week President Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

Turkish officials believe Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Jamal Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Jamal Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.