US and UK presence in Gulf brings insecurity

18 Aug 2019; MEMO: The presence of America and Britain in the Gulf region brings insecurity, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards navy, Alireza Tangsiri, was reported as saying by the ILNA news agency, reports Reuters.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and the US and Britain in the Gulf after the Islamic Republic shot down an American drone in June and seized a British tanker last month for violating maritime regulations.

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Gibraltar rejects US demand to seize Iranian tanker

18 August 2019; DW: Gibraltar authorities have rejected a US warrant to seize an Iranian tanker that was previously detained by UK troops.  The ship has since been released, but the US tried to keep it in port by claiming terrorism links.

An Iranian supertanker is free to go after spending some six weeks detained in Gibraltar, the government of the British territory said on Sunday.

House speaker as US emissary: Pelosi emerges as force abroad

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s an American leader whose words resonate on the global stage. Who draws attention in foreign capitals. Who carries a message from the United States by simply arriving.

It’s not just President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is emerging as an alternative ambassador abroad, an emissary for bedrock democratic values and the promise of stability that some see as diminishing in the Trump era.

Russia says no plans to install new missiles unless U.S. deploys them

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will not deploy new missiles as long as the United States shows similar restraint in Europe and Asia, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on Sunday, after Washington’s withdrawal from a Soviet-era arms pact.

The United States formally left the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia earlier this month after accusing Moscow of violating the treaty and deploying one banned type of missile, allegations the Kremlin denies.

Russia has also pulled out of the deal, but Shoigu said it had no plans to deploy new missiles.

Warren, Sanders get personal with young, black Christians

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren framed their Democratic presidential bids in personal, faith-based terms Saturday before black millennial Christians who could help determine which candidate becomes the leading progressive alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sanders, the Vermont senator whose struggles with black voters helped cost him the 2016 nomination, told the Young Leaders Conference that his family history shapes his approach to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the rise of white nationalism in the United States.

Mexico City assesses damage after violent feminist protest

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Workers erected a wooden wall around Mexico City’s iconic Angel of Independence monument Saturday after feminists defaced it with graffiti during a raucous and violent protest over a string of alleged rapes by police.

The disorder Friday night erupted as part of protests that arose this week over a perception that city officials were not adequately investigating the rape accusations. Both victims were teenagers. The demonstrations have become known as the “glitter protests” after marchers doused the city’s police chief in pink glitter.

Turkey urges UN to play 'more active role’ on Kashmir

17 Aug 2019; AA: Turkey on Saturday called on the United Nations to play a "more" active role in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute within the framework of the UN resolutions. 

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry welcomed the consultations held by the UN Security Council on Friday on the recent developments in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Afghan officials: Suicide attack at wedding hall kills 63

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The death toll from a late-night suicide bombing at a crowded wedding party in the Afghan capital rose to at least 63 on Sunday, including women and children, officials said. It was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.

Another 182 civilians were wounded in the Saturday night explosion, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said. Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualty toll as families began to bury the dead. Some helped to dig graves with their bare hands.

Portland ‘ground zero’ for protests between right, left-wing

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday for a long-hyped rally that attracted President Donald Trump’s attention and resulted in at least 13 arrests.

Police seized metal poles, bear spray and other weapons and closed bridges and streets to try to keep the rival groups apart. They were largely successful. Six minor injuries were reported.

Israeli military fires on Palestinians at Gaza fence, 3 killed

18 Aug 2019; MEMO: Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinians as they tried to cross the Gaza fence, the military said on Sunday and Palestinian health officials said three of the men were killed, reports Reuters.

“A short while ago, IDF (Israel Defence Forces) troops spotted a number of armed suspects adjacent to the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. An IDF attack helicopter and a tank fired towards them,” the military said in a statement.


China condemns US lawmakers’ support for Hong Kong protests

HONG KONG (AP) — A spokesman for China’s ceremonial legislature condemned statements from U.S. lawmakers supportive of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, as more protests were planned Sunday following a day of dueling rallies that highlighted the political divide in the Chinese territory.

You Wenze called the lawmakers’ comments “a gross violation of the spirit of the rule of law, a blatant double standard and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”

New York City subway scare suspect taken into police custody

NEW YORK (AP) — A homeless man from West Virginia faced charges Saturday for allegedly placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station, forcing an evacuation and snarling the morning commute, police said.

Larry Kenton Griffin II, of Bruno, West Virginia, was awaiting arraignment late Saturday in Manhattan’s central booking after he was released from a New York hospital where he was being treated and under observation. Police did not specify what, if any, injuries or condition he was being treated for.

Over 470,000 people in Hong Kong say "no" to violence

HONG KONG, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- "Anti-violence!", "Save Hong Kong!" Over 470,000 people gathered on Saturday in a rally held at Tamar Park, Admiralty of Hong Kong, to voice out their demand for peace and stability in Hong Kong.

At around 4 p.m. local time, the metro station near Tamar Park was swarming with people. An hour later, the rally started as the Chinese national anthem was ringing out.

India reimposes movement curbs on parts of Kashmir's main city after clashes

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Indian authorities reimposed restrictions on movement in major parts of Kashmir’s biggest city, Srinagar, on Sunday after violent overnight clashes between residents and police in which dozens were injured, two senior officials and eyewitnesses said.

In the past 24 hours, there has been a series of protests against New Delhi’s Aug. 5 revocation of the region’s autonomy. This followed an easing in curbs on movement on Saturday morning.

Merkel successor denies urging ex-spy chief's ejection

18 August 2019; DW: The head of Germany's ruling Christian Democrats insists she has not called for ex-domestic intel boss Hans-Georg Maassen's exclusion from the party. The ex-spy chief has been accused of sympathizing with the far right.

The woman widely tipped to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor has backed away from an earlier suggestion that the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) should expel the country's former domestic intelligence chief from the party.

Israeli military kills 3 Palestinians at Gaza border -- reports

GAZA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military opened fire at a group of Palestinians as they tried to cross the Gaza border, killing three men and injuring another, local media reported on Sunday.

The Israeli military said an attack helicopter and a tank fired at the "armed suspects adjacent to the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip."

Palestinian officials confirmed the casualties, according to the reports.

Malaysia’s economy to be driven by ongoing mega projects in 2H19

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia’s economic growth for the second half of this year is set to be healthy and driven by the ongoing mega projects, despite the current global economic uncertainties, says Maybank Kim Eng Group economist, Lee Ju Ye.

She said among the mega projects are the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) which has been revived and the Klang Valley MRT 2 as well the LRT 3 project that would become the factors underpinning growth over the long term. 

India: Detention of Cong J-K chief illegal: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Aug 17 (PTI) Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday dubbed the detention of party's Jammu and Kashmir chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir as "outrageously illegal" and hoped that the courts will take cognizance of the matter.

In a series of tweets, the former finance minister said Mir is under house arrest in Jammu since Friday.

"There was no written order of detention. Outrageously illegal ... I hope the courts will act and secure the liberty of citizens," he wrote.

ICT minister says Iran making another supercomputer

Tehran, Aug 18, IRNA – Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology wrote on his Twitter account that a new Iranian supercomputer will be ready by next Iranian year (March 20, 2020).

Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi wrote that "Simurgh is to be '100 times' more powerful than previous ones".

Appreciating "the young creative makers" of Simurgh, Azari-Jahromi wrote that the Iranian supercomputer will serve the people by supporting businesses with the aim of developing artificial intelligence.


Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common

by Ramzy Baroud

Writing under the title of “If the El Paso shooter had been Muslim”, Moustafa Bayoumi stated the obvious.

“If the El Paso shooter had been a Muslim,” Bayoumi wrote in the British Guardian newspaper on August 6, US President Donald Trump “would be lobbing accusations such as ‘Islam hates us’ in the direction of Muslims and not lecturing the public about video games.”

How far will China go to support Pakistan's position on Kashmir?

By Kunal Purohit 

12 August 2019; DW: Both India and Pakistan are vying for China's support in the dispute over Kashmir. Experts say that although China is critical of India's move to control the region, it's unlikely to affect economic ties with India.

On Friday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Beijing as part of Islamabad's efforts to draw global support against the Indian government's decision to scrap Kashmir's special status.

Dismantling Kashmir: Assault on Democracy and Federalism

by Prakash Karat

7 Aug 2019; GANASHAKTI: The Modi government has conducted a lightning strike against the Constitution and federalism.  Under the aegis of the Modi-Shah duo, Article 370 of the Constitution has been disemboweled and the subsidiary provision stemming from it – Article 35A – nullified.  They have then proceeded to launch a brazen attack on the very existence of Jammu & Kashmir by abolishing the state and dividing it up into two centrally-run Union Territories.  

Greg Abbott invoked mental illness after the El Paso Terror. There's been no indication that was a factor.

by Jolie McCullough

A white gunman killed 22 Hispanic shoppers at an El Paso Walmart Saturday and injured more than two dozen more. Abbott and President Donald Trump were quick to highlight mental health issues.


Labour’s fabricated anti-Semitism crisis is a threat to free speech

by Asa Winstanley

UK MP Chris Williamson has begun legal action against Labour, the British political party which has suspended his membership.

The treatment of Williamson by Labour’s bureaucrats has been totally unjust and completely bizarre. His situation is only the latest in a long line of phoney examples of anti-Semitism, which have been barely out of the headlines since 2015.

Protesters in Hong Kong shock world with ugly tactics

by Nathan Morley

NICOSIA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Over the last week, Hong Kong has been disrupted from top to bottom by black-clad radicals hell-bent on causing chaos and wrecking the economy.

Everywhere, public life has been severely disturbed.

In such a climate, it comes as little surprise that the public are increasingly looking for a return to order and normality on this once-tranquil territory of China.

Lebanon PM faces U.S. pressure for tougher line against Hezbollah: analysts

by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Amid recent increased pressure against Hezbollah and its financial activities in Lebanon and abroad, the United States is expected to have exerted pressure on Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during his visit to Washington this week, analysts said.

"The U.S. will make it clear to Hariri that the Lebanese government should be strong enough to reduce Hezbollah's influence by not implementing all decisions taken by the party," Rajeh Khoury, a political analyst, told Xinhua.

India's forced unity will not bring peace

By Peter Sturm

16 August 2019; DW: India is to be a unified nation, says Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People in Kashmir are experiencing what that entails. The region is a tinderbox, also because of Modi's politics, writes journalist Peter Sturm.

In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to blow his own horn: Within 70 days he succeeded in doing what no other government had been able to achieve in 70 years. Make no mistake — he got it done.

Kashmir: Why Amit Shah's 'Development' argument is a hoax

by Prabhat Patnaik

12 Aug 2019; GANASHAKTI: n justification of the move to end Kashmir’s special status, Amit Shah in his speech in the Rajya Sabha brought in the question of Kashmir’s “development”, arguing that closer integration with the rest of India will bring in much investment into the region. He especially appealed to the youth of Kashmir, promising that they would have larger employment opportunities.