Germany's Ursula Von Der Leyen to Lead EU Commission
2019-07-16 23:35:25 UTC
STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen secured European parliamentary approval on Tuesday to become the first female European Commission president on a platform of a greener, fairer and rule-based Europe.
The German conservative got the thumbs up from socialist and liberal lawmakers which, together with the endorsement by her fellow conservatives, gives her a stronger mandate to tackle issues such as climate change, trade and maintaining democracy in the European Union.
Rejection by the EU legislature would have been a painful blow for a bloc beset by challenges ranging from trade to Brexit and erosion of democratic no...
2019-07-05 03:58:47 UTC
Jalalabad, Afghanistan (AFP) -- Of all the sad, wrenching things I have seen as a journalist in Afghanistan, Niaz Bibi's house was probably one of the saddest.
At the age of 70, Bibi has found herself as the main parent of some 40 kids -- the children of her three sons and three grandsons who had been killed by the Islamic State. Bibi does the best she can, but she is so poor that they all live in conditions not much better than a jail.
"Have you seen my father?" some of the children asked me when I came to the house. They didn't know their fathers were dead. They thought they were just away somewhere. They looked at their photos and...
Wyoming: It’s Not Ok to Be Gay, Join the KKK
2019-06-30 19:14:57 UTC
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The leaflets distributed by students at a junior high school told pre-teens to “Join the KKK” and that “It’s not OK to be gay.”
In the capital of the state known for the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, school officials have worked to respond to the spring incident. They’re holding community meetings and plan to hire a “diversity and cultural awareness” counselor while providing additional employee training.
“We’ve got a pretty good plan to try to work on all of that,” said Boyd Brown, superintendent of Laramie County School District No. 1.
Others aren’t so confident the Cheyenne school dis...
EU, South American Bloc Mercosur Announce World's Largest Free Trade Deal
2019-06-29 01:15:31 UTC
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and South American bloc Mercosur agreed a free-trade treaty on Friday, concluding two decades of talks and committing to more open markets in the face of a rising tide of protectionism.
The two regions launched negotiations exactly 20 years ago and intensified efforts to reach an accord after Donald Trump’s presidential victory led the Europeans to freeze talks with the United States and seek other global trading allies.
As world leaders meet at a G20 summit in Japan, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a news conference the deal sent a “loud and clear message” in support of open trade...
Mexico to Provide 40,000 Jobs to Migrants
2019-06-28 18:19:59 UTC
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is finalizing a deal to provide 40,000 factory jobs to migrants in northern states, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday, addressing a key need for the thousands waiting in Mexico as their U.S. asylum cases are decided.
Speaking at his daily press conference, Lopez Obrador said he expected an agreement with factories to be signed next week.
“This agreement is going to be signed, there will be no legal problem,” he said. “We are arranging this so that they can be hired without much processing.”
Mexico’s border states have been inundated with migrants who must often wait weeks to seek U.S....
Shocking Images of Drowned Father-Daughter Highlights Migrants’ Deadly Journey
2019-06-25 23:57:20 UTC
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.
The searing photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.
According to Le Duc’s reporting for La Jornada, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramír...
Euro Hits Three-Month High Against US Dollar
2019-06-24 04:00:44 UTC
TOKYO (Reuters) - The euro rose to a three-month high against the dollar on Monday, as bearish bets on the U.S. currency remained solid on prospects of a near-term interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
The euro stretched its rally last week, up 1.4%, and advanced about 0.15% to $1.1386 in early Asian trade, its highest since March 22.
The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was a shade lower at 96.135, having struck 96.093 on Friday, its lowest since March 21, after the Fed last week opened the door for a potential rate cut as early as next month.
That weighed on the dollar and in turn reinvigorated its counte...
Angela Merkel: There Has to Be a Political Solution on Iran
2019-06-22 21:23:07 UTC
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The international community must seek a political solution on Iran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had aborted a military strike to retaliate against Tehran’s downing of a U.S. drone.
Speaking at an annual gathering of Protestant churches, Merkel also said the Iran issue would be discussed at next week’s meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies in Japan, at least at a bilateral level.
“There has to be a political solution (on Iran) and that is what we are working on,” Merkel said.
<I>Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Tom Sims; Ed...
2 Finalists in UK Leadership Race Make Pitch to Tory Members
2019-06-22 20:51:35 UTC
LONDON (AP) — The two finalists in the race to lead Britain’s governing Conservative Party — and become the country’s new prime minister — made their first formal pitches to party members Saturday, both vowing to be the right man to deliver Brexit.
Ex-foreign secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson, the runaway favorite of Tory lawmakers, faced off with Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, at a Conservative conference in central England’s Birmingham.
Opening his address with a focus on delivering Britain’s stalled exit from the European Union, Johnson told the audience “We need to get Brexit done” and be prepared to le...
US Abruptly Calls Off Retaliation Strike Against Iran
2019-06-21 05:39:58 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official said the military made preparations Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but approval was abruptly withdrawn before the attacks were launched.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries.
The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.
The White House on Thursday night declined reque...
US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran ‘Using Influence for Bad’
2019-06-22 21:38:00 UTC
The U.S. has ranked near Saudi Arabia and Russia in an international poll of countries which use their global influence for bad purposes.
The Ipsos Mori study for King’s College London of 17,000 people in 24 countries found Iran is most likely to be seen as using its influence for bad at 31%.
This is followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia both on 25%, Israel on 24% and the US on 22%.
Countries seen as most likely to use their influence for good are Germany (32%) and Canada (37%), as well as the UN (35%).
<img alt="Germany_and_canada_strongest_defender_of_the_'unalienable_rights'" src="/system/images/20416/large/Ger...
US Drone Shot Down After Entering Iran’s Airspace
2019-06-20 05:51:04 UTC
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have shot down a U.S. “spy” drone in the southern province of Hormozgan, the Guards’ news website Sepah News said on Thursday.
State news agency IRNA carried the same report, identifying the drone as an “RQ-4 Global Hawk’.
“It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the Guards’ website added.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, maker Northrop Grumman says on its websit...
US Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks in See of Oman
2019-06-13 21:55:27 UTC
DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States, which blamed Tehran for the incident.
“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters without providing explicit evidence to back up the U.S. stance.
“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, rec...
US Ranks Last in the world for Maternity Leave
2019-06-13 18:25:15 UTC
NEW YORK, 13 June 2019 — Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Portugal offer the best family-friendly policies among 31 rich countries with available data, according to a new UNICEF repot. Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom and Ireland rank the lowest. The United States is the only country included in the analysis with no national paid leave policy for mothers or fathers, ranking it the worst for maternity leave.
Produced by UNICEF’s Office of Research – The <a href="https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/sweden-norway-iceland-and-estonia-rank-highest-family-friendly-policies-oecd-and-eu"><em>report</em></a> ranks co...
UK’s Johnson Threatens to Withhold $50 Billion Brexit Payment
2019-06-09 01:46:56 UTC
(Reuters) - Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister, said he would withhold a previously agreed 39 billion pound ($50 billion) Brexit payment until the European Union gives Britain better exit terms.
The EU has repeatedly said it will not reopen discussion of the Brexit transition deal it reached with May last year, which British lawmakers have rejected three times, prompting May to announce her resignation earlier this month.
May stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday.
Johnson, a former foreign secretary in May’s cabinet, is popular with ordinary Conser...
Hunt for Shoppers: Luxury Brands Raising Stakes on Instagram
2019-06-07 16:10:35 UTC
PARIS (Reuters) - Big-spending luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are splashing out on everything from dance-fuelled fashion shows to teams of advisers as they target social media platforms in the hunt for young shoppers.
Without the entry barriers of magazine advertising - where a one page glossy ad can cost tens of thousands of dollars - sites like Instagram, a fashionista favorite, have allowed unknown labels to find an audience with canny or eye-catching campaigns.
But big bucks are changing the game as cash rich luxury goods groups like LVMH and Kering hike their social media budgets, giving them vast mea...
EU to Create a System to Get Around US Block on WTO
2019-06-06 20:49:33 UTC
BERLIN/GENEVA (Reuters) - The European Union is set to propose creating a shadow system to get around a U.S. block on appeals in disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a draft proposal circulated to national lawmakers.
U.S. President Donald Trump is blocking appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body, saying its judges have overstepped their mandate and ignored their instructions. Trump’s critics say he resents their power over U.S. law.
Unless the block is lifted, the world’s top trade court will have only one of its seven members left by December, leaving it unable to hear appeals in international trade disputes...
US Senators Seek to Block Trump Saudi Arms Sales
2019-06-05 21:52:21 UTC
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic U.S. senators said on Wednesday they would introduce legislation to block President Donald Trump’s plan for $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional review.
Backers said the introduction of the 22 “resolutions of disapproval,” one for each of the 22 arms deals cleared by the Trump administration, was intended to “protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments.”
The announcement followed furious rejection in Congress late last month of the administration’s declaration that a growing threat from Ir...
North Korea Tells US: Don't Try Our Patience
2019-06-05 06:06:46 UTC
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea warned the United States that agreements made between the two countries’ leaders in Singapore last year could be at risk, blaming the United States for undue pressure to denuclearize, state news agency KCNA said on Tuesday.
The statement comes as media reports indicated North Korea punished some members of its team that steered negotiations with the United States before a failed summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.
Nearly a year after Trump and Kim first met in Singapore and signed a four-point joint statement pledging to work toward a new r...
US Deploys 1,500 Troops to Middle East
2019-05-24 19:49:36 UTC
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States announced on Friday the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country’s Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month’s tanker attacks.
U.S. President Donald Trump publicly announced the 1,500 figure, which had been previously reported by Reuters, and described it as a defensive measure. The troops include personnel manning missile defense systems, aerial surveillance to spot threats and engineers to fortify defenses.
“We want to have protection in the Middle East. We’re going to be sending a ...
Tearful Theresa May Quits as UK Prime Minister
2019-05-25 03:17:25 UTC
LONDON (Reuters) - Fighting back tears, Theresa May said on Friday she would quit after failing to deliver Brexit, setting up a contest that will install a new British prime minister who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union.
May’s departure deepens the Brexit crisis as a new leader, who should be in place by the end of July, is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the EU and potentially a snap parliamentary election.
Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, the favorite to replace May, was first out of the blocks, saying Britain should be prepared to leave the EU without a de...
British PM Theresa May 'Expected to Quit Friday'
2019-05-23 05:52:23 UTC
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected on Friday to announce her departure from office, The Times reported, without citing a source.
May will remain as prime minister while her successor is elected in a two-stage process under which two final candidates face a ballot of 125,000 Conservative Party members, the newspaper said.
<I><strong><hr>Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge</I></strong><hr>
Iraq Could Become An Arena For US-Iran Armed Conflict
2019-05-17 22:02:57 UTC
BAGHDAD (AP) — When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside.
The message, relayed to The Associated Press by two Iraqi government officials, underscores Iraq’s delicate position: Its government is allied with both sides of an increasingly contentious confrontation.
As tensions escalate, there are concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle, just as it is on the path to recovery. The country hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to po...
Dutchman Travels Across 33 Countries on Electric Car
2019-04-18 22:49:36 UTC
Dutchman Wiebe Wakker on Sunday ended a 95,000 kilometer (59,000 mile) electric car journey that he hoped would show the world the viability of such vehicles.
Wakker arrived in the eastern Australian city of Sydney after driving his retrofitted station wagon nicknamed "The Blue Bandit" across 33 countries including Turkey, Iran, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia, with the route determined by the offers he received on his website.
The trip started in the Netherlands and took just over three years. It was funded by public donations from around the globe, including electricity to charge the "Bandit," food and accommodation.
Algeria’s President quits after Six Weeks of Mass Protests
2019-04-02 21:51:36 UTC
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to six weeks of largely peaceful mass protests driven by youth and pressure from the powerful army against his 20-year rule.
Hundreds took to the streets of the capital after state media announced the 82-year-old’s departure, capping a wave of protests demanding the removal of an aging elite seen by many as out of touch with ordinary people and presiding over an economy riven by cronyism.
Bouteflika’s supporters had sought to stop the dissent by telling Algerians not to return to the dark days in the 90s when some 200,000 were killed i...