International News

International News (385)

01
June

Iran says US talks 'futile', denounces black American's deathPeople gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, arrested by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US. May 28, 2020. (Reuters/Eric Miller)

Iran's new parliament speaker said Sunday any negotiations with Washington would

 

be "futile" as he denounced the death of a black American that has led to violent protests across the US.

 

Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards' air force, was elected speaker on Thursday of a chamber dominated by ultra-conservatives following February elections.

 

The newly formed parliament "considers negotiations with and appeasement of America, as the axis of global arrogance, to be futile and harmful," he said in his first major speech to the chamber.

 

Ghalibaf also vowed revenge for the US drone attack in January that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Guards' foreign operations arm.

 

"Our strategy in confronting the terrorist America is to finish the revenge for martyr Soleimani's blood," he told lawmakers, pledging "the total expulsion of America's terrorist army from the region".

 

Ghalibaf has also slammed the US over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis which has led to widespread protests across the country.

 

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets from New York to Seattle demanding tougher, first-degree murder charges and more arrests over the death of Floyd, who stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

 

Decades-old tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared in the past year, with the sworn arch enemies twice appearing to come to the brink of a direct confrontation.

 

The tensions have been rising since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a landmark nuclear accord and began reimposing crippling sanctions on Iran's economy.

 

That was followed by the US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January that killed Soleimani, a hugely popular figure in the Islamic republic.

 

Days later, Iran fired a barrage of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq in retaliation, but Trump opted against taking any military action in response.

 

Ghalibaf called for ties to be improved with neighbours and with "great powers who were friends with us in hard times and share significant strategic relations", without naming them.

 

The 58-year-old Ghalibaf is a three-time presidential candidate who lost out to the incumbent Hassan Rouhani at the last election in 2017.

 

The newly elected speaker had also served as Tehran mayor and the Islamic republic's police chief before taking up his latest post.

 

In a tweet on Saturday, he slammed what he called the United States' "unjust political, judicial, and economic structure".

 

This had been "pumping war, coups, poverty, indiscrimination, torture, fratricide and moral corruption to the world, and racism, hunger, humiliation, and 'choking by knee' in its own country for hundreds of years", Ghalibaf said.

 

"What can one call it if not the Great Satan?" he added, using Iran's term for its arch enemy.

 

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed his remarks on Twitter.

 

"Some don't think #BlackLivesMatter. To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a #WorldAgainstRacism," he said.

 

The post was accompanied by an image of a 2018 statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which the text was changed to be critical of the United States instead of Iran.

 

The altered text read: "The US government is squandering its citizens' resources.

 

"The people of America are tired of the racism, corruption, injustice, and incompetence from their leaders. The world hears their voice."

 

Pompeo responded to Zarif by tweeting that "you hang homosexuals, stone women and exterminate Jews", without elaborating further. (JP)

31
May

photo : F1 experiences

Formula One's truncated coronavirus-hit season, will finally get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, the Austrian government announced on Saturday. The Spielberg circuit has also been given the green light to stage a second race the following weekend. Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced that the two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators. He said that the two races had been approved after F1 organisers had presented a complete and professional plan, to combat the spread of COVID-19. The F1 season was thrown into chaos, with the cancellation of the traditional curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in March, only hours before practice was due to begin. Melbourne was one of 10 races either cancelled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey believes a 15-18 race season is still possible. The 2020 F1 season was to have featured a record 22 races, now it is set to be one of the shortest campaigns for over a decade//AFP

31
May

photo : youtube

SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans toward orbit from Florida on Saturday, in a mission that marks the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT or 1922 GMT, launching Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, on a 19-hour ride aboard the company’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station. Crew Dragon separated from its second stage booster at 3:35 and minutes later entered orbit. The craft launched from the same pad used by NASA’s final space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley, in 2011. Since then, NASA astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft//Reuters

31
May

photo : DW

A roadside bomb killed a television journalist in Kabul on Saturday, soon after a top Afghan official appointed to lead peace talks with the Taliban, said his team was ready for the long-delayed dialogue. The blast, which targeted a minibus carrying 15 employees of private television channel Khurshid TV, was claimed by the Islamic State group, according to SITE Intelligence which monitors jihadist activity. The attack, which the government called "heinous", claimed the lives of a reporter and a driver, and punctuated an overall reduction in violence that has followed on from a three-day ceasefire the Taliban instigated May 24. Just hours before the blast, Afghanistan's former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, who has been appointed to head talks with the Taliban, said his team was positioned to start dialogue. Abdullah credited the general lull in violence for setting the tone for discussions//AFP

30
May

photo : AP

Curbs in Japan's capital of Tokyo to contain the coronavirus are to be eased further from Monday, Jun 1, Governor Yuriko Koike said, citing the recommendation of an advisory panel. Cram schools, gyms, and theatres are among the facilities, that will be allowed to reopen in a phased relaxation process, Koike told a news conference on Friday. The city can "move to the next step of the phased easing of curbs, as long as Tokyo takes the necessary precautions, to contain the spread of the virus", she quoted the panel as having said. Japan lifted its state of emergency for Tokyo this week, following a drop in daily infections. The country has recorded about 17,000 infections and some 900 deaths from the virus//Reuters/CNA

30
May

photo : ctvnews

China accused the US of taking the UN hostage on Friday, over a controversial security law for Hong Kong and warned Western nations to stay out of its internal affairs. The US, Britain, Canada and Australia led criticism of the planned law, which would punish secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and acts that endanger national security, as well as allow Chinese security agencies to operate openly in Hong Kong. China's rubber-stamp parliament on Thursday approved the plans for the law, which followed seven months of huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year, "The proposed law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework," they added, referring to Hong Kong's special status within China under the terms of its handover from Britain in 1997//AFP

30
May

photo : who

US President Donald Trump has announced that he is terminating the country's relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO). The president has accused the WHO of failing to hold Beijing to account over the coronavirus pandemic. Washington will redirect funds to other bodies, he said. The US is the global health agency's largest single contributor, providing more than $400m in 2019. Trump, who is campaigning for re-election this year and has been criticised for his own handling of the pandemic, has blamed China for trying to cover up the coronavirus outbreak. More than 102,000 people in the US have lost their lives to Covid-19 - by far the biggest death toll in the world. Trump's criticism of the WHO's handling of the pandemic began last month when he threatened to permanently withdraw US funding, suggesting the UN health agency had failed in its basic duty in its response. He later labelled the WHO a "puppet of China"//bbc

29
May

photo : DW

Spain will open gradually to tourism this summer, starting with European countries, and will ensure visitors only go to areas that have the coronavirus under control, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said. Spain usually welcomes more than 80 million visitors each year, making it one of the most visited countries in the world, with tourism a key part of its economy. But it has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis and wants to be cautious as it opens to visitors from Jul 1, Gonzalez Laya told Reuters. Ms Laya said, in this very atypical year of 2020, we will not be able to behave as usual. Much remains to be decided as to who will be able to travel where and on what criteria, with talks going on first with European countries on when a territory can be deemed safe, Gonzalez Laya said. Spain is considering opening its own territory gradually to foreign tourism as regions exit lockdown//Reuters/CNA

29
May

photo : pintarnesia

Over 90,000 mosques will reopen on Sunday after being sanitised, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced on Thursday. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance is all set to reopen more than 90,000 major and minor mosques across the Kingdom, except mosques in Makkah. The ministry and its staff have already embarked on maintenance, cleaning and sanitisation process of the mosques, which will reopen on the dawn of Sunday, except the mosques in Makkah, after over a two-month closure in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Under 15-year old children are banned from praying at mosques. Wearing facemasks and avoidance of handshaking and scrambling at mosques gates, are also recommendable//GulfNews

29
May

photo : siakapkeli

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has denied rumours that he was in Singapore for medical treatment. Muhyiddin said in a Facebook post on Thursday, May 28, that he wished to state that rumour is altogether untrue. For everyone's information, he is under quarantine at his home in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Rumours of Muhyiddin being in Singapore for treatment, following a previous surgery for pancreatic cancer two years ago, came amid other rumours that the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which took power in March, had lost its majority and that the deposed Pakatan Harapan coalition now had 130 members of parliament. Muhyiddin was placed under quarantine after attending a meeting where one official tested positive for COVID-19 just before Hari Raya. Although Mr Muhyiddin tested negative, he was advised to remain in home quarantine for two weeks//CNA

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