Tuesday 27 June 2017

In the world

(AFP )

Mongolia appeared headed Tuesday for its first ever presidential election runoff, but polling officials delayed an expected announcement, adding drama after a campaign fraught with corruption scandals.

The suspense capped a campaign marked by mudslinging between the candidates that overshadowed voter concerns over unemployment in the debt-laden country wedged between Russia and China.

A run off is expected to be held within two weeks after none of the three candidates secured more than 50 percent of the votes.

(AFP )

Khalid, a 13-year-old from Afghanistan, spends his days in squalor repeatedly trying to scale a metal fence separating him from the better life he dreams about at night.

He is one of around 200 migrants camped next to the Greek port of Patras, dodging police patrols and irate truck drivers, attempting to board a boat to Italy after other countries shut down the overland route to northern Europe.

"One day I will make it, I know," says the boy, who hopes to become an engineer in Germany or Switzerland.

(AFP )

North Korea likened US President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler on Tuesday in its latest diatribe amid high tensions over Pyongyang's military ambitions and ahead of a visit to Washington by the South's new leader.

The latest attack came a week after nuclear-armed Pyongyang called Trump a "lunatic" as tensions rose following the death of US student Otto Warmbier, who was detained for 18 months in the North and then evacuated in a coma.

(AFP )

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing a chemical weapons attack that would result in the "mass murder" of civilians, the White House said Monday, warning the regime would pay a "heavy price" if it goes ahead.

The White House said the preparations were similar to those undertaken by the Assad regime ahead of an apparent chemical attack on a rebel-held town. Washington launched a strike against a Syrian airbase in response.

(AFP )

A former supporter of France's anti-immigration National Front (FN) goes on trial Tuesday for helping her Iranian migrant lover smuggle across the Channel to Britain.

Beatrice Huret faces possible jail time if convicted of helping Mokhtar -- whom she met while volunteering at the since-demolished "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais -- slip out of France under cover of night, on a rickety boat.

(AFP )

Israeli airstrikes hit a series of targets in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip overnight, officials said, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave landed in the Jewish state.

Strikes were recorded in at least three locations in Gaza, Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said, with Hamas bases struck near the southern city of Rafah and Gaza City, as well as open land southeast of Gaza City.

(AFP )

Every Friday night, fighters trade blows in a ring in the dimly lit Monster Club in southwest China, competing for a $75 payday as a crowd cheer them on.

This joint in Chengdu is owned by a former Chicago resident who was inspired by the 1999 US film "Fight Club", starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton as the creators of an underground club of pugilists.

Huoche, a man in his 30s who refuses to give his full name and exact age, founded the club in November 2015.

More than 4,000 fighters have faced off in some 2,000 bouts since then.

(AFP )

The training pitches and classrooms are fit for one of Africa’s most illustrious football clubs, but the political battles rife in Democratic Republic of Congo have stopped Tout Puissant Mazembe from using their new academy.

The teenagers who are meant to be the future stars of African football are losing weight because food rations have been cut back. Lush grass is starting to grow around the buildings that owner Moise Katumbi, exiled tycoon and key opposition leader, has built on his property in Lubumbashi.

(AFP )

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraced each other as friends and partners Monday, pledging their quest for economic growth would strengthen rather than undermine ties between the world's two largest democracies.

While Trump's relations with some traditional allies had a rocky start, he and Modi appeared to strike up an immediate rapport in their first meeting, exchanging hugs in the White House Rose Garden in front of reporters.

(AFP )

The US Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated Donald Trump's controversial travel ban targeting citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries, prompting the president to claim a victory for national security.

The nine justices will examine the case in full in October but said the ban could now be enforced for travelers from the targeted countries "who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

(AFP )

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube announced Monday the launch of an anti-terror partnership aimed at thwarting the spread of extremist content online.

The "Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism" intends to share engineering, research and knowledge to help "continue to make our hosted consumer services hostile to terrorists and violent extremists," the companies said.

Each of the technology giants has been working individually to prevent its platforms or services from being used to promote or spread extremist views.

(AFP )

A boy travelled at least 230 kilometres from Morocco to Spain hanging underneath a bus, officials said on Monday, in another example of desperate measures taken by migrants to get to Europe.

Emergency services in the southern Spanish city of Seville tweeted a video of the boy being led away from a bus they said came from Tangier, some 230 kilometres (143 miles) away, wearing a dirtied white t-shirt.

They said he had been taken to hospital but was in good condition.

A police spokesman told AFP the boy appeared to be Moroccan.

(AFP )

The body of an American who had been reported missing near the ancient Inca capital of Cusco was found Monday at the bottom of a ravine after he tried to climb a mountain, police said.

Seth Thomas, 24, was found in the 300-meter (980-foot) deep abyss at Apu Picol mountain in the southeastern Peruvian tourist region of Cusco. He had been missing since Friday.

"Brigadiers from the High Mountain Rescue Department went down the steep slope to remove the body," a police report said.

(AFP )

Leading French chef Alain Senderens, one of the founders of the Nouvelle Cuisine movement, has died aged 77, food critic Gilles Pudlowski told AFP on Monday.

"He was one of the last great creators of Paris. This creator was a visionary," he said of Senderens, who along with Paul Bocuse, Michel Guerard and others was a stalwart of France's Nouvelle Cuisine in the 1960s and 1970s. "We will never forget you dear Alain. We miss you already," Pudlowski wrote on his blog.

(AFP )

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday softened for the first time her opposition to gay marriage, as her conservative party comes under growing pressure on the issue ahead of elections in September.

Merkel, who had repeatedly voiced her opposition to gay marriage, said that lawmakers could vote according to their conscience, and not toe the party line.

Germany introduced civil unions for gay and lesbian couples in 2001, but they do not have the right to marry.

(AFP )

Police in Mexico found the burned remains of a journalist who was kidnapped in May, the sixth reporter killed this year in the country, a state prosecutor said Monday.

With the grisly find, Salvador Adame, the head of a local TV station in the state of Michoacan, becomes the latest name on the list of more than 100 journalists killed in Mexico since 2000.

More than 90 percent of these killings remain unpunished.

Adame, 44, was surrounded by gunmen and abducted in the western town of Nueva Italia on May 18.

(AFP )

Colombia's leftist FARC rebel force formally completed its disarmament process on Monday to end half a century of war against the state, the United Nations said.

UN monitors "today have the entirety of the FARC's registered individual arms stored away," except for some that were exempted for transitional security at demobilization camps, the body said in a statement.

The disarmament by the roughly 7,000 members of Colombia's biggest rebel group under a 2016 peace accord brings Latin America's oldest civil conflict close to a complete end.

(AFP )

President Donald Trump called on Monday for the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic programs to be "rapidly" tackled, as he thanked visiting Indian leader Narendra Modi for rallying behind sanctions on Pyongyang.

"The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly," Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden after holding his first talks with Modi.

Trump also thanked India for "joining us in applying new sanctions against the North Korean regime."

(AFP )

Police in Mexico found the burned remains of a journalist who was kidnapped in May, the sixth reporter killed this year in the country, a state prosecutor said Monday.

"DNA samples have confirmed that these remains are those of Salvador Adame," said the public prosecutor for the central state of Michoacan, Jose Martin Godoy.

Police and soldiers found the body on June 14 near a highway between the towns of Lombardia and Nueva Italia, Godoy told a news conference.

Adame was the owner of a local television channel.

(AFP )

Brazil's top prosecutor charged President Michel Temer with bribery on Monday, but the embattled conservative leader vowed to fight on.

The bribery charge filed by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot swept Temer into the forefront of a giant graft scandal that has engulfed Latin America's biggest country over the last three years.

Although several past Brazilian presidents and scores of other politicians are currently being probed for corruption, Temer is the first leader in the country's history to face criminal charges while still in office.

(AFP )

Canada is close to implementing a free trade deal with the European Union, but one last detail remains to be ironed out -- what cheeses Canadian distributors can import, sources said Monday.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) foresees a gradual doubling of the volume of European cheeses currently imported by Canada.

The pact has been approved by both the European and Canadian parliaments but must still be ratified by all EU member states.

A European diplomat and a spokeswoman for Canada's trade minister said it will be implemented within weeks.

(AFP )

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday urged US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to prevent "provocations" against Syrian government forces, the foreign ministry said.

In a phone call initiated by Tillerson, Lavrov "called on Washington to take steps to prevent provocations against Syrian government forces carrying out operations against terrorists," it said in a statement.

The communique was issued after Israel said it had fired on Syrian regime positions on Sunday in response to projectiles from Syria that landed in the occupied Golan Heights.

(AFP )

The US Supreme Court gave new hope Monday to the family of a Mexican boy shot on the American frontier, ordering a lower court to reconsider their lawsuit against the border patrol agent who killed him.

Justices said the appeals court made a significant legal error when it ruled that the family of Sergio Hernandez Guereca had no constitutional right to sue the agent who killed him in American courts.

(AFP )

A former nurse who confessed to murdering eight elderly residents who were under her care at retirement homes in eastern Canada was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer faced a possible 200 years in jail, but the judge in Canada's Ontario province opted for eight concurrent sentences with no parole for at least 25 years.

The stout, bespectacled 50-year-old came forward and admitted having fatally injected her victims with insulin at two Ontario care facilities where she worked, often in charge of night shifts, between 2007 and 2014.

(AFP )

Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore has joined Lyon for 10 million euros (£8.8m, $11.2m) on a five-year deal, the French club announced on Monday.

Chelsea will earn 15 percent of any profit from a future sale of the player and the English champions will have first refusal on Traore should he eventually move on, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said at a press conference to announce the signing.

"I was really keen to come to Lyon," admitted the 21-year-old Burkina Faso international, who spent last season on loan at Europa League runners-up Ajax.

(AFP )

US President Donald Trump welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House for their first face-to-face meeting, seeking to forge a chemistry that can add new fizz to a flourishing relationship between the world's two largest democracies.

Despite differences over issues such as immigration and climate change, Modi is expected to assure Trump that the United States has nothing to fear from India's growing economic clout.

(AFP )

Romania's outgoing economy minister Mihai Tudose was designated as the new premier on Monday, days after the ruling Social Democrats torpedoed its own government following an internal power row.

Tudose, 50, now has 10 days to gain the vote of confidence in his government and his programme.

The Social Democrat party (PSD) filed a no-confidence motion in former prime minister Sorin Grindeanu last Wednesday, accusing him of "delays" in implementing reforms in the European Union's second-poorest country.

(AFP )

Citizens from Europe's wealthier nations accept that their countries should take more asylum seekers than poorer ones, researchers said on Monday.

In a survey of 18,000 eligible voters from 15 European nations a "large majority" said countries with more "capacity" should host more migrants.

Capacity is measured by a country's population size and gross domestic product, among other factors.

Simply leaving migrants in the country where they first arrive is not the answer, the survey participants said.

(AFP )

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe weighed in on a row between his environment and agriculture ministers on Monday to rule that a pesticide found harmful to bees would be banned in 2018 as scheduled.

A ban on neonicotinoids, set down in a 2016 law on protecting biodiversity, has been fiercely opposed by cereal and sugar-beet farmers, who dispute research highlighting the chemicals' risk to bees.

In the first sign of discord in the week-old French government, Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert has been lobbying for the upcoming ban to be eased.

(AFP )

Giant Montpellier striker Steve Mounie is on the verge of completing a transfer to English Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town, the French side announced on Monday.

"Steve Mounie has left. He will have a medical before signing in England," said the new Montpellier coach Michel Der Zakarian as the Ligue 1 club began pre-season training.

Mounie, a Benin international, is expected to move for 13 million euros ($14.5 million, £11.4 million).

(AFP )

Spanish firefighters on Monday beat back a wildfire which threatens a renowned national park that is home to endangered species and has forced the evacuation of over 2,000 people from homes, campsites and hotels.

"The weather is evolving as we predicted, winds are clearly more moderate than yesterday," said the official in charge of the environment with the regional government of Andalusia, Jose Fiscal Lopez.

"With all the prudence in the world, we are moderately optimistic," he added.

(AFP )

US President Donald Trump on Monday demanded an apology over the Russia investigation rocking his presidency, as he kept up a days-long attack on Barack Obama for his handling of intelligence about election meddling by Moscow.

Trump's young administration has been consumed by allegations -- under investigation both by Congress and the FBI, and furiously denied by the Republican president -- that members of his campaign team colluded with a Russian effort to tip the electoral scales in his favor.

(AFP )

The US Supreme Court agreed Monday to review whether a Colorado baker discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to make their wedding cake on religious grounds.

The high court took up the case exactly two years after it legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Lower courts had ruled against Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, saying his right to exercise religious freedom did not outweigh the couple's protection under anti-discrimination laws -- decisions seen by activists as victories for gay rights.

(AFP )

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a backlash Monday after setting out proposals for the rights of EU nationals after Brexit that include new residency permit requirements and family reunion rules.

May promised to end the "anxiety" of 3.2 million European nationals but is on a collision course with Brussels after vowing that the European Court of Justice would not be allowed to protect their rights.

(AFP )

Donald Trump hailed Monday's Supreme Court ruling which partially reinstates the US president's travel ban targeting citizens from six mainly Muslim countries as "a clear victory for our national security."

Trump said the top court's ruling "allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective."

"As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm," he added, in a White House statement.