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Sunday, July 21, 2019

World News Updates, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs, World News Updates

World News Updates, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs, World News Updates

South China Sea: Rivals stand up to Beijing as they unveil 'biggest' ship of its kind

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 05:22 PM PDT

SOUTH CHINA SEA tensions continued to bubble after Beijing's neighbours began quickly boosting coastguard numbers following threats made by Vietnam.

Michelle Obama takes aim at Trump’s inauguration as she proclaims Barack had ‘no scandal

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 10:01 PM PDT

MICHELLE OBAMA criticised current US President, Donald Trump's inauguration by recounting her overwhelming emotion at her husband's "scandal-free" administration.

Costa Rica crisis: Contaminated alcohol kills at least 19 people after ’fake’ liquor sales

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 06:39 PM PDT

COSTA RICA residents and tourists have been put on high alert and warned not to drink certain types of alcohol after nearly 20 people died from an infected liquor.

Moon landing shock: Neil Armstrong’s face spotted on the Moon for the first time in photo

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 06:24 PM PDT

NEIL ARMSTRONG's face has been uncovered for the first time by a British photographer, it has emerged.

Iran crisis: Twitter blocks Iranian news accounts following seizure of British tanker

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 05:32 PM PDT

IRANIAN news agency social media accounts have been blocked by Twitter after the seizure of the British oil tanker, Stena Impero this week as tensions continue to escalate.

MI6 probe if seized British tanker was given ‘spoofed’ Iran coordinates by Russian spies

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 04:51 PM PDT

A BRITISH oil tanker that was seized by Tehran after steering into Iranian waters is believed to have been steered by false GPS co-ordinates sent by Russian spies, according to recent reports.

'Balls of steel' Michelle Obama can beat Trump in 2020 election, says Piers Morgan

Posted: 21 Jul 2019 01:13 AM PDT

MICHELLE OBAMA and Oprah Winfrey are the only two Democrats who can defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential elections because they both have "balls of steel", Piers Morgan has claimed.

EU climbdown: How Merkel begged Polish PM to back von der Leyen as EU chief

Posted: 21 Jul 2019 01:00 AM PDT

ANGELA MERKEL had to make a last-minute phone call to Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to secure the votes which ratified ally Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission President, a political analyst has said.

South China Sea tensions: Philippines invokes US help as tensions with Beijing soar

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 11:30 PM PDT

DONALD TRUMP is being urged to defend the Philippines from China's increasingly aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, as tensions between Beijing and Washington intensify over trade.

World News, World News Updates, World News Headlines, Latest World News, Current Affairs

World News, World News Updates, World News Headlines, Latest World News, Current Affairs

Putin Says Russians and Ukrainians Are ‘One People’

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 09:13 AM PDT

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he believes Russians and Ukrainians constitute one nation and that the countries should find a way to integrate.

Putin made the comments in an interview with the American film director Oliver Stone on June 19; material from the interview was used in a Stone film about Ukraine and the full transcript was published by the Kremlin on Friday.

“I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are one people … one nation, in fact,” Putin said. “When these lands that are now the core of Ukraine joined Russia … nobody thought of themselves as anything but Russians.”

In light of this bond, Putin said “we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration.”

Iran Says Its Seizure of British Ship Was a ‘Reciprocal’ Move

Posted: 20 Jul 2019 07:12 AM PDT

TEHRAN, Iran — A powerful council in Iran said Saturday the country’s seizure of a British oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz was in response to Britain’s role in impounding an Iranian supertanker two weeks earlier.

Spokesman of Iran’s Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted in the semi-official Fars news agency saying “the rule of reciprocal action is well-known in international law” and that Iran’s moves to “confront the illegitimate economic war and seizure of oil tankers is an instance of this rule and is based on international rights.”

The council rarely comments on state matters, but when it does it is seen as a reflection of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s views. That’s because the council works closely with Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

The free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of international importance because one-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the waterway from Mideast exporters to countries around the world.

The British-flagged Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday evening with a crew of 23 crew aboard. None are British nationals. Maritime trackers show it was headed to a port in Saudi Arabia.

Two weeks earlier, Britain’s Royal Marines took part in the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. Officials there initially said the July 4 seizure happened on orders from the U.S.

Britain has said it would release the vessel if Iran could prove it was not breaching European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. However, on Friday, a court in Gibraltar extended by 30 days the detention of the Panama-flagged Grace.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif characterized the seizure of Iran’s tanker as “piracy.” In comments on Twitter, he wrote that the U.K. must cease being an accessory to the “economic terrorism” of the U.S. — a reference to sweeping American sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s subsequent seizure of the British tanker was seen as a significant escalation. Germany and France have both condemned the move, with Berlin saying it undermines all efforts to find a way out of the current crisis.

In London, Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said military action to free the British tanker would be “extremely unwise,” especially because the vessel was apparently taken to a well-protected port.

Current tensions have been escalating since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and imposed economic sanctions on Iran, including its oil exports.

In May, the U.S. announced it was dispatching an aircraft carrier and additional troops to the Middle East, citing unspecified threats posed by Iran.

The ongoing showdown has caused jitters around the globe, with each maneuver bringing fear that any misunderstanding or misstep by either side could lead to war.

In June, Iran shot down an American drone in the same waterway, and Trump came close to retaliating but called off an airstrike at the last moment. Just this week, Washington claimed that a U.S. warship downed an Iranian drone in the strait. Iran denied that it lost an aircraft in the area. There have also been attacks on oil tankers in recent weeks that the U.S. blames on Iran — an allegation denied by the Islamic Republic.

Stena Bulk, the owner of the seized British tanker, said the vessel’s crew members are of Indian, Filipino, Russian and Latvian nationalities. Iranian officials say the crew remain on the tanker.

The state-run news agency IRNA had reported earlier Saturday that Iran seized the British-flagged vessel after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat — an explanation that portrayed the seizure as a technicality rather than a tit-for-tat move.

The company that owns the ship said the vessel was in full compliance with all international regulations when it was intercepted Friday by “unidentified small crafts and a helicopter” during its transit through the Strait of Hormuz.

The comments Saturday by the Guardian Council reflect how prominently Britain has featured in the rising U.S. tensions with Iran.

There was a brief standoff between the British navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels recently. The British navy said it warned three Guard vessels away after they tried to impede the passage of a commercial British tanker that the navy was escorting.

U.K.-flagged vessels represented less than 0.6% of the 67,533 ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz in 2018, with 427 transits, according to maritime publication Lloyd’s List, quoting research from Russel Group.

Iran’s government has desperately tried to get out of the economic chokehold, urging the other partners in the nuclear deal, particularly European nations, to find ways around the U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is mulling a proposal called the Sentinel Program — a coalition of nations working with the U.S. to preserve maritime security in the Persian Gulf and keep eyes on Iran.

The U.S. is also sending several hundred troops as well as aircraft and air defense missiles to Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia, as part of its increased military presence in the region. The move has been in the works for several weeks.

King Salman approved hosting U.S. armed forces in the kingdom “to increase joint cooperation in defense and regional security and stability,” a statement in the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.


Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.