Wednesday, April 20th, 2016


Next US president faces fraying ties with China amid anxieties over country’s rise

AFROASIA NEWS – With relations between the US and China said to be at their lowest ebb in 15 years, the challenges facing the next US president are laid bare by a research project that aims to shatter myths about the Asian giant. The US and China have shown they can cooperate on issues such as climate change, but the relationship has taken a hit recently, notably over Beijing’s military expansion in the South China Sea. The rhetoric of election candidates such as Donald Trump over trade, and China’s economicRead More

U.S. says N.Korean remittances at risk if it conducts nuclear test

WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) – A fifth North Korean nuclear test could trigger new sanctions including an effort to choke off hard currency earnings by its workers abroad, the top U.S. diplomat for the Asia-Pacific region has said. “Like a regimen of medicine, the dosage can be upped when the effects fall short of what’s required,” Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel told Reuters on Tuesday. Russel made clear he was speaking about the possibility of fresh sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, byRead More

Japan opens prison to shelter quake evacuees

AFROASIA NEWS – Japan has resorted to opening a prison to those left homeless by two deadly earthquakes, officials said Tuesday, highlighting the challenges of dealing with tens of thousands who have fled their homes. Two major earthquakes and about 600 smaller tremors have rocked the southwestern island of Kyushu since late Thursday, leaving a total of 46 people dead and more than 1,000 injured — 208 of them seriously — in Japan’s worst humanitarian disaster in five years. Many who abandoned their damaged or destroyed homes have had toRead More

Iraq’s Mosul will eventually be retaken from IS: Obama

AFROASIA NEWS – US President Barack Obama said he expects Iraq’s second city Mosul to be retaken from the Islamic State group “eventually”. Obama’s comments in an interview with CBS News on Monday came on the same day that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Washington would send Apache attack helicopters and more troops to Iraq. “As we see the Iraqis willing to fight and gaining ground, let’s make sure that we’re providing them more support,” Obama said. “We’re not doing the fighting ourselves, but when we provide training, when weRead More

AP finds South Korea covered up mass abuse, killing of ‘vagrants’

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — Three decades ago, a policeman tortured Choi Seung-woo over a piece of bread he found in the boy’s schoolbag. After being stripped and having a cigarette lighter repeatedly sparked near his genitals, the 14-year-old falsely confessed to stealing the bread. Two men with clubs came and dragged him off to the Brothers Home, a mountainside institution where some of the worst human rights atrocities in modern South Korean history took place. Even now, Choi weeps as he speaks of what happened there. A guard inRead More

China rejects U.S. query on military flight to disputed island

AFROASIA NEWS – China’s Defence Ministry on Tuesday rejected queries by the U.S. military as to why China had used a military aircraft to evacuate sick workers from a new airport on an island China has built in the disputed South China Sea. CNN quoted Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis as saying it was unclear why China had used a military aircraft rather than a civilian one in the landing on Fiery Cross Reef. China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement its military’s tradition was to help those in needRead More

5 issues vexing U.S.-Saudi relations as Obama visits

AFROASIA NEWS – President Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia Wednesday to attend a security summit amid rising tensions with the wealthy sheikdom. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Saudi Arabia is an important partner in U.S. efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict and counter Islamic State militants, al-Qaeda in Yemen and Iran’s bad behavior in the region. Here are five issues that cause friction between the United States and Saudi Arabia: The 9/11 terror attacks The White House on Tuesday all but threatened to veto a bill in Congress that would allow a lawsuit to proceed against the Saudi government for any role itRead More

US reaffirms support for ‘paused’ Syria peace talks

AFROASIA NEWS – The United States insisted Tuesday that UN-mediated peace talks remain the best hope for Syria, despite mounting violence and an opposition walk-out. Suspected Syrian government air strikes on markets killed at least 44 civilians Tuesday and opposition envoys have “postponed” negotiations in Geneva. But despite the apparent breakdown in the talks, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington still believes a cessation of hostilities is in place. And, while blaming Bashar al-Assad’s regime for most of the recent ceasefire violations, he urged the opposition camp to returnRead More

A message in a bottle that washed up 108 years later officially confirmed as world’s oldest

AFROASIA NEWS – A message in a bottle was dropped into the sea in 1908 and has been confirmed the world’s oldest after it was recovered 108 years later. The postcard inside asked for it to be sent to the Marine Biological Association of the UK – promising the sender a shilling if they returned the bottle. The association in Plymouth said the bottle was one of over 1,000 released as part of marine research carried out by expert George Parker Bidder. Retired German postal worker Marianne Winkler found the bottleRead More

In Remote Ecuador Towns Hit by Quake, Contact Was Cut Off for Days

EL MATAL, Ecuador — The narrow, six-mile road that connected this fishing village to the main highway disintegrated from the earth’s violent heaves, severing it from all outside contact. It would be days before anyone arrived. Residents took to the rubble with shovels and sticks, to little avail. Some used their hands to push away debris from a sandy cliff that had collapsed, smothering all the homes below. There was no water, no electricity. And with all phone lines severed, there would be no calling for help. On Tuesday, aRead More

Supreme Court tie lets states face lawsuits in other states

A tie vote at the Supreme Court means California officials can be hauled into a Nevada state court to face allegations in a long-running tax dispute with a Nevada inventor. But on a separate issue in the case, the justices ruled 6 to 2 that Nevada can’t award damages greater than what California or Nevada law would allow. The court threw out a $1 million judgment awarded to Gilbert Hyatt over allegations that California’s tax agency invaded his privacy and committed fraud. It was the third time the court hasRead More

Officials: 3 to be charged in Flint water crisis

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s attorney general will announce criminal charges Wednesday against two state regulators and a Flint employee, alleging wrongdoing related to the city’s lead-tainted water crisis, according to government officials familiar with the investigation. The charges — the first levied in a probe that is expected to broaden — will be filed against a pair of state Department of Environmental Quality officials and a local water treatment plant supervisor, two officials told The Associated Press late Tuesday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were notRead More

South Sudan rebel homecoming turns to farce

Juba – For the second day in a row South Sudan’s rebels have failed to organise their leader’s much-anticipated return to the capital, Juba, after more than two years of war. Riek Machar, a former rebel leader turned deputy president who was fired, became a rebel leader again and has now fought his way back to the vice presidency, failed to appear in Juba as expected on Monday or Tuesday. Speaking to reporters staking out Juba’s airport since early Monday, rebel spokesmen William Ezekiel said on Tuesday afternoon that unspecifiedRead More

Rocket attack kills three in Sinai

Cairo – Three Egyptian riot policemen were killed Tuesday in a rocket attack on their convoy in the Sinai Peninsula, where authorities are fighting a jihadist insurgency, the interior ministry said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which took place in North Sinai, a stronghold of the Egyptian branch of the jihadist Islamic State group. A ministry statement said “unknown” assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the police patrol on the road to the town of Sheikh Zuweid. One vehicle was struck and three riot policemenRead More

Ethiopia mourns attack victims

AFROASIA NEWS – Ethiopia has declared two days of national mourning for the killing of at least 200 people by gunmen from neighbouring South Sudan without providing any information about the 108 Ethiopian children that went missing during the attack. The country’s house of representative said in a statement broadcasted by state media that flags will be flown at half-mast across the country and in the country’s foreign missions starting on Wednesday. Friday’s attack happened in three districts of the Nuer Zone in the country’s Gambela regional state. The areaRead More