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  • Israel condemns UN Security Council's vote on Iran embargo

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 15:56:01 -0400
  • Belarus leader says Putin offers help as pressure builds

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    Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Saturday that Russia's Vladimir Putin has offered to help ensure the country's security, as opposition protesters kept up the pressure on the veteran leader over his claim to have won re-election.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 15:26:55 -0400
  • Newsweek apologizes for op-ed questioning Harris birthright

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    Newsweek has apologized for an op-ed that questioned Sen. Kamala Harris’ U.S. citizenship and her eligibility to be Joe Biden’s running mate, a false and racist conspiracy theory which President Donald Trump has not dismissed. “We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized,” read the apology, signed by Josh Hammer, opinion editor, and Nancy Cooper, global editor in chief.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 15:01:27 -0400
  • Days after deal with UAE, anti-Netanyahu protests resume

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    Thousands of Israelis demonstrated outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, resuming their calls for the embattled leader to step down despite his historic agreement to establish diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates. While Netanyahu has tried to play down the protests, the gatherings appear to be getting stronger. Thousands of people thronged central Jerusalem late Saturday, blaring horns, hoisting Israeli flags and chanting slogans against Netanyahu.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 14:43:51 -0400
  • Police move in after fights break out during Georgia protest

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    After several hours of mostly peaceful demonstrations Saturday in an Atlanta suburb that's home to a giant Confederate memorial, large numbers of police moved in to disperse the crowds when fights broke out. Several dozen right-wing demonstrators, some waving the Confederate battle flag and many wearing military gear, gathered in downtown Stone Mountain where they faced off against a few hundred counterprotesters, many of whom wore shirts or carried signs expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Right-wing groups led by an Arkansas group called Confederate States III%, had applied for a permit to hold a rally in Stone Mountain Park, where there's a giant sculpture of Confederate leaders.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 14:43:44 -0400
  • Iran cries victory after US bid to extend arms embargo flops at UN

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    Iran on Saturday hailed a UN Security Council vote rejecting a US bid to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic republic, saying its foe has "never been so isolated".

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 14:42:21 -0400
  • Angola orders Brazil evangelical churches to close

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    Prosecutors seize buildings run by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, alleging corruption.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 14:40:54 -0400
  • 'Do something:' Harris' rapid rise driven by call to action

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    Hours before Kamala Harris took the stage for the first time as Joe Biden's vice presidential pick, she received a text message from a childhood classmate with photos from their school days. A pensive Harris sits on the floor, dutifully looking ahead, a child in the center of an experiment in racial integration. Fifty years after she was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley’s public schools, Harris is now the first Black woman and first Asian American woman named to a major party presidential ticket.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 13:21:31 -0400
  • Venezuelans brave open sea on tubes, fishing for survival

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    The biggest fear is a fishhook puncturing the inner tube that keeps them afloat far from shore. A small but growing number of people in the coastal town of La Guaira, just a few minutes from the capital of Caracas, have turned to the sea for substance since the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the Caribbean nation’s already miserable economy. "If we had steady work, we wouldn't risk our lives out there," said Juan Carlos Almeida, who is accompanied by his fishing partner Eric Méndez.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 12:55:14 -0400
  • As Relations With U.S. Sink, China Tones Down 'Hotheaded' Nationalism

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    For weeks, China fanned nationalist sentiment in its escalating war of words with the Trump administration. Now, it is toning down its message and calling for a truce, as President Donald Trump increasingly makes Beijing a target in his bid for reelection in November.One after another, top Chinese diplomats have called for "peaceful coexistence" with the United States, forgoing their previous assertions that Beijing's authoritarian system is superior. Hawkish scholars are now emphasizing prospects for defusing tensions, instead of urging China to challenge U.S. military might. Journalists at state-run news outlets are limiting their direct attacks on Trump, under instructions to take a more conciliatory approach."There's a reflection that we should not let nationalism or hotheadedness somehow kidnap our foreign policy," Xu Qinduo, a commentator for China Radio International, a state-run broadcaster, said in an interview. "Tough rhetoric should not replace rational diplomacy."In toning down the rhetoric, the ruling Communist Party hopes to reduce the risk that excessive nationalism will hurt Beijing's global image or cause tensions between the superpowers to accelerate uncontrollably. China's ties with the United States are at a perilous juncture now that Trump has made assailing Beijing a focal point of his election campaign, with his administration taking a series of actions against China in rapid succession.Just in recent weeks, the Trump administration has shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston; imposed sanctions on Communist Party officials; said it would cancel the visas of some students and tech company employees; and proposed restrictions on two popular Chinese social media networks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled abroad urging countries to band together to fight China's "tyranny."Unwilling to concede or look weak, China has responded in kind to most of the measures, closing a consulate in Chengdu and sanctioning U.S. politicians. But in rejecting Pompeo's criticisms, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, also presented an olive branch, saying the government was ready to discuss all of Washington's concerns "at any level, in any area and at any time."Wang avoided the scathing denunciations that have come to characterize China's "Wolf Warrior" diplomacy, named after an ultrapatriotic Chinese film franchise. Only three weeks earlier, Wang had told his counterpart in Russia that the United States had "lost its mind, morals and credibility."The call for dialogue was repeated by several prominent officials, including Yang Jiechi, China's top diplomat, and Cui Tiankai, the ambassador to the United States, in recent days. On Wednesday, Le Yucheng, another senior Chinese diplomat, accused U.S. politicians of telling lies to smear China. But he also said the two countries should work to prevent relations from "spiraling out of control" over the next several months."The change is that the United States keeps attacking, and if China keeps countering, and also stops communicating while simply following along irrationally, it will probably only make the relationship worse," said Song Guoyou, an American studies expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, describing the shift in diplomatic strategy."China may be indeed sending this kind of signal intensively to the United States, saying it hopes to work with it the U.S. on issues calmly," Song said.The campaign for restraint also appears to be aimed, in part, at signaling to Trump's Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, and others in the United States that China still sees a friendly path forward. While Chinese officials believe Biden is less volatile and caustic than Trump, many also worry that he would continue to push for harsh action against China on human rights, technology and other issues, analysts said."There's still a possibility that tensions could become even more profound, and more severe, in the future under a Democratic administration," said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University.Despite the softer tone, China's underlying view that the United States is a strategic and ideological rival bent on suppressing its rise has not changed. China's leader, Xi Jinping, continues to push a forceful agenda, including a crackdown on free speech and activism in Hong Kong, even in the face of punishments by the United States. Xi's government still routinely denounces America as a bully and hypocrite.But China's aggressive moves have also triggered disputes with other countries including India, Britain, Canada and Australia. Xi may now be seeking to project a less confrontational image as China finds itself increasingly isolated."Beijing's rhetoric appears aimed at defusing the global backlash that its brash diplomacy and harsh policies have provoked," said Jessica Chen Weiss, an associate professor of government at Cornell University.As Trump has escalated his punitive campaign against China, Beijing's propaganda apparatus has worked to avoid stoking anger at home by instructing state media outlets to play down unfavorable news and limit talk of war, according to interviews with Chinese journalists.News of the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu last month, a visceral symbol of the erosion of ties between the two countries, was buried in a two-sentence brief at the bottom of page three of People's Daily, the Communist Party's flagship newspaper.Trump's signing last week of two executive orders meant to restrict the use of Chinese social media apps in the United States did not even make the evening news, one of the most widely watched television programs in China.Hu Xijin, the chief editor of Global Times, a staunchly nationalistic party-run tabloid, said that he has been surprised by the speed at which ties with the United States have deteriorated. In this climate, he said, his newspaper had an obligation "not to intensify this conflict," and was trying to limit the publication of content that could rouse hatred of the American people."We stress that when the United States suppresses China, in general we would say that this is the work of the U.S. government," Hu said in an interview. "We would generally not hang these hostile intentions on all of the United States or all Americans."Still, Hu drew some criticism late last month after suggesting on his social media page that China should rapidly expand its stock of nuclear warheads to deter the United States. A prominent nuclear weapons expert, in an unusually blunt rebuke, called such talk "hype" and said its aim was to "incite dissatisfaction" with the party and the military.Tamping down frustration at the United States among ordinary Chinese may be challenging. Chinese social media sites have been awash with assertive commentaries carrying headlines such as "America will collapse this year" and "Does the United States really dare to go to war with our country?"The public generally takes a hawkish view of foreign policy, surveys have shown, favoring greater military spending and a more assertive approach to defending China's territorial claims. Beijing continues to take a tough stance on Taiwan, the self-governed island China claims as its territory, and Thursday said it had held military drills near it.In some cases, Chinese internet users have attacked scholars and journalists who have toned down their rhetoric.Jin Canrong, a professor of international studies at Renmin University, has argued previously that China should take a more assertive role in global affairs and challenge America's influence. China has the ability to destroy U.S. military bases in Asia, he has said.More recently, Jin has said China should pursue a "chess war" with the United States rather than armed conflict or a Cold War. He was criticized on Chinese social media sites for his more moderate tone.In an interview, Jin defended his views, saying the risk of an accidental confrontation was higher before the U.S. election and that China would keep a low profile. "China won't fire the first shot," he said. "We won't provoke."Even as China shifts tactics, its success could be limited. The Trump administration shows no signs of easing its efforts to dismantle decades of political, economic and social engagement with China. The State Department on Thursday said it was designating the U.S. headquarters of the Confucius Institutes, a Chinese government educational organization, as a diplomatic mission, a move China denounced as "totally unacceptable."The Trump administration is also unlikely to heed calls for a cease-fire unless Chinese officials go beyond promises of reconciliation. Beijing may need to offer concrete proposals on issues such as military tensions in the South China Sea or Xi's crackdown in Hong Kong."There's no way to maintain the avoidance of major conflict without concrete trade-offs," said Shi, the American studies expert at Renmin University.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 12:45:08 -0400
  • Heeding mom, Tennessee lawmaker helped women gain the vote

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    One hundred years ago this month, women in the United States were guaranteed the right to vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment — secured by a 24-year-old Tennessee legislator's decisive vote, cast at the bidding of his mother. Harry T. Burn's surprise move set the stage for decades of slow but steady advances for American women in electoral politics. Two years ago, a record number of women were elected to Congress.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 12:07:10 -0400
  • Q&A: What's happening at the US Postal Service, and why?

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    The U.S. Postal Service is warning states it cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail for the Nov. 3 election will arrive in time to be counted, even if ballots are mailed by state deadlines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mail ballots as a way to vote without risking exposure to the virus at the polls. The Post Office has lost money for years, though advocates note it’s a government service rather than a profit-maximizing business.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 11:36:40 -0400
  • Homes with grandparents weigh virus risk as school starts

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    Zita Robinson, who's 77 and diabetic, has been careful around her granddaughter since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. A door connects Robinson's apartment in Phoenix to the main house where 8-year-old Traris “Trary” Robinson-Newman and her mother live, but it mostly stays shut. The separation Trary and her grandmother experience in their home is becoming a bigger issue as children go back to school.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 11:09:56 -0400
  • Critics blame Trump administration for 'embarrassing' Iran embargo defeat

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    After the United Nations Security Council on Friday resoundingly defeated U.S. efforts to extend a global arms embargo on Iran, Tehran basked in the outcome, while U.S. lawmakers and analysts viewed the result as an indictment of the Trump administration's foreign policy.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that the U.S., which garnered the support of only the Dominican Republic among the 15-member council (which includes allies like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), suffered a "humiliation," and a spokesperson for Iran's foreign ministry called it a historic failure that has led to Washington's isolation.President Trump's critics consider it the latest example of his administration's failures regarding Iran under the leadership of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Nicholas Burns, a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, agreed with Tehran about the decision exemplifying Washington's increasing isolation on the international stage, arguing Trump's own mistakes gave Iran "a victory it does not deserve" after his predecessors "unified the world against" the country. And Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a frequent Trump critic, said the defeat is a consequence of putting people without diplomatic experience in charge of diplomatic ventures.> The embarrassing defeat of the Iran arms embargo resolution is a warning of the risks of putting people with no diplomatic experience, like Kelly Kraft, in the most important global posts. https://t.co/O2G5UZenO5> > — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 15, 2020The embargo is set to expire in October under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.More stories from theweek.com Trump's Post Office meddling is plainly illegal USPS says it will freeze collection box removal until after election following backlash FDA approves saliva-based coronavirus test viewed as 'major game changer'

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:47:00 -0400
  • Pope urges Nile states to continue talks over disputed dam

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    Pope Francis on Saturday urged Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue talks to resolve their years-long dispute over a massive dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile that has led to sharp regional tensions and fears of military conflict. Francis, speaking to a crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square on an official Catholic feast day, said he was closely following negotiations between the three countries over the dam. Egypt and Sudan suspended talks with Ethiopia earlier this month after Ethiopia proposed linking a deal on the filling and operations of its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to a broader agreement about Blue Nile waters that would replace a colonial-era accord with Britain.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:29:25 -0400
  • Floyd's death spurs push to train cops to stop police abuse

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    Despite policies on the books for years that require officers across the United States to stop colleagues from using excessive force, there has been little or no effort to teach officers how to intervene, law enforcement officials and experts say. Police departments nationwide are showing new interest in training officers how they should stop, or try to stop, abuse in their own ranks. “I don’t think departments have prepared their officers sufficiently to deal with that sort of situation,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:27:09 -0400
  • Texas testing drops as schools reopen, prepare for football

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    Anyone can get a coronavirus test at the CentroMed clinic in San Antonio, but on a recent day, the drive-thru was empty. With hundreds of deaths reported each day, students returning to class and football teams charging ahead with plans to play, Texas leaders who grappled with testing shortages for much of the pandemic are now facing the opposite problem: not enough takers. “We’re not having enough people step forward,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:20:34 -0400
  • Taking Hard Line, Greece Turns Back Migrants by Abandoning Them at Sea

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    RHODES, Greece -- The Greek government has secretly expelled more than 1,000 refugees from Europe's borders in recent months, sailing many of them to the edge of Greek territorial waters and then abandoning them in inflatable and sometimes overburdened life rafts.Since March, at least 1,072 asylum-seekers have been dropped at sea by Greek officials in at least 31 separate expulsions, according to an analysis of evidence by The New York Times from three independent watchdogs, two academic researchers and the Turkish coast guard. The Times interviewed survivors from five of those episodes and reviewed photographic or video evidence from all 31."It was very inhumane," said Najma al-Khatib, a 50-year-old Syrian teacher, who says masked Greek officials took her and 22 others, including two babies, under cover of darkness from a detention center on the island of Rhodes on July 26 and abandoned them in a rudderless, motorless life raft before they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard."I left Syria for fear of bombing -- but when this happened, I wished I'd died under a bomb," she told The Times.Illegal under international law, the expulsions are the most direct and sustained attempt by a European country to block maritime migration using its own forces since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, when Greece was the main thoroughfare for migrants and refugees seeking to enter Europe.The Greek government denied any illegality."Greek authorities do not engage in clandestine activities," said a government spokesman, Stelios Petsas. "Greece has a proven track record when it comes to observing international law, conventions and protocols. This includes the treatment of refugees and migrants."Since 2015, European countries like Greece and Italy have mainly relied on proxies, like the Turkish and Libyan governments, to head off maritime migration. What is different now is that the Greek government is increasingly taking matters into its own hands, watchdog groups and researchers say.​For example, migrants have been forced onto sometimes leaky life rafts and left to drift at the border between Turkish and Greek waters, while others have been left to drift in their own boats after Greek officials disabled their engines."These pushbacks are totally illegal in all their aspects, in international law and in European law," said professor François Crepeau, an expert on international law and a former United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants."It is a human rights and humanitarian disaster," Crepeau added.Greeks were once far more understanding of the plight of migrants. But many have grown frustrated and hostile after a half-decade in which other European countries offered Greece only modest assistance as tens of thousands of asylum-seekers languished in squalid camps on overburdened Greek islands.Since the election last year of a new conservative government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece has taken a far harder line against the migrants -- often refugees from the war in Syria -- who push off Turkish shores for Europe.The harsher approach comes as tensions have mounted with Turkey, itself burdened with 3.6 million refugees from the Syrian war, far more than any other nation.Greece believes that Turkey has tried to weaponize the migrants to increase pressure on Europe for aid and assistance in the Syrian War. But it has also added pressure on Greece at a time when the two nations and others spar over contested gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.For several days in late February and early March, Turkish authorities openly bused thousands of migrants to the Greek land border in a bid to set off a confrontation, leading to the shooting of at least one Syrian refugee and the immediate extrajudicial expulsions of hundreds of migrants who made it to Greek territory.For years, Greek officials have been accused of intercepting and expelling migrants, on a sporadic and infrequent basis, usually before the migrants manage to land their boats on Greek soil.But experts say Greece's behavior during the pandemic has been far more systematic and coordinated. Hundreds of migrants have been denied the right to seek asylum even after they have landed on Greek soil, and they have been forbidden to appeal their expulsion through the legal system."They've seized the moment," Crepeau said of the Greeks. "The coronavirus has provided a window of opportunity to close national borders to whoever they've wanted."Emboldened by the lack of sustained criticism from the European Union, where the migration issue has roiled politics, Greece has hardened its approach in the eastern Mediterranean in recent months.Migrants landing on the Greek islands from Turkey have frequently been forced onto sometimes leaky, inflatable life rafts, dropped at the boundary between Turkish and Greek waters, and left to drift until being spotted and rescued by the Turkish coast guard."This practice is totally unprecedented in Greece," said Niamh Keady-Tabbal, a doctoral researcher at the Irish Center for Human Rights, and one of the first to document the phenomenon."Greek authorities are now weaponizing rescue equipment to illegally expel asylum-seekers in a new, violent and highly visible pattern of pushbacks spanning several Aegean Islands," Keady-Tabbal said.Al-Khatib, who recounted her ordeal for The Times, said she entered Turkey last November with her two sons, 14 and 12, fleeing the advance of the Syrian army. Her husband, who had entered several weeks earlier, soon died of cancer, al-Khatib said.With few prospects in Turkey, the family tried to reach Greece by boat three times this summer, failing once in May because their smuggler did not show up, and a second time in June after being intercepted in Greek waters and towed back to the Turkish sea border, she said.On their third attempt, on July 23 at around 7 a.m., they landed on the Greek island of Rhodes, al-Khatib said, an account corroborated by four other passengers interviewed by The Times. They were detained by Greek police officers and taken to a small makeshift detention facility after handing over their identification documents.Using footage filmed at this site by two passengers, a Times reporter was able to identify the facility's location beside the island's main ferry port and visit the camp.A coast guard officer and an official at the island's mayoralty both said the site falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Police, an arm of the Hellenic coast guard.A Palestinian refugee, living in a disused slaughterhouse beside the camp, confirmed that al-Khatib had been there, recounting how he had spoken to her through the camp's fence and bought her tablets to treat her hypertension, which Greek officials had refused to supply her.On the evening of July 26, al-Khatib and the other detainees said that police officers had loaded them onto a bus, telling them they were being taken to a camp on another island, and then to Athens.Instead, masked Greek officials transferred them to two vessels that ferried them out to sea before dropping them on rafts at the Turkish maritime border, she and other survivors said.Amid choppy waves, the group, which included two babies, was forced to drain the raft using their hands as water slopped over the side, they said.The group was rescued at 4:30 a.m. by the Turkish coast guard, according to a report by the coast guard that included a photograph of al-Khatib as she left the life raft.Al-Khatib tried to reach Greece for a fourth time, on Aug. 6, but said her boat was stopped off the island of Lesbos by Greek officials, who removed its fuel and towed it back to Turkish waters.Some groups of migrants have been transferred to the life rafts even before landing on Greek soil.On May 13, Amjad Naim, a 24-year-old Palestinian law student, was among a group of 30 migrants intercepted by Greek officials as they approached the shores of Samos, a Greek island close to Turkey.The migrants were quickly transferred to two small life rafts that began to deflate under the weight of so many people, Naim said. Transferred to two other rafts, they were then towed back toward Turkey.Videos captured by Naim on his phone show the two rafts being tugged across the sea by a large white vessel. Footage subsequently published by the Turkish coast guard shows the same two rafts being rescued by Turkish officials later in the day.Migrants have also been left to drift in the boats they arrived on, after Greek officials disabled their engines, survivors and researchers say. And on at least two occasions, migrants have been abandoned on Ciplak, an uninhabited island within Turkish waters, instead of being placed on life rafts."Eventually the Turkish coast guard came to fetch us," said one Palestinian survivor who was among a group abandoned on Ciplak in early July, and who sent videos of their time on the island. A report from the Turkish coast guard corroborated his account.In parallel, several rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have documented how Greek authorities have rounded up migrants living legally in Greece and secretly expelled them without legal recourse across the Evros River, which divides mainland Greece from Turkey.Feras Fattouh, a 30-year-old Syrian X-ray technician, said he was arrested by Greek police on July 24 in Igoumenitsa, a port in western Greece. Fattouh had been living legally in Greece since November 2019 with his wife and son, and showed The Times documents to prove it.But after being detained by the police in Igoumenitsa, Fattouh said, he was robbed and driven about 400 miles east to the Turkish border, before being secretly put on a dinghy with 18 others and sent across the river to Turkey. His wife and son remain in Greece."Syrians are suffering in Turkey," Fattouh said. "We're suffering in Greece. Where are we supposed to go?"Ylva Johansson, who oversees migration policy at the European Commission, the civil service for the European Union, said she was concerned by the accusations but had no power to investigate them."We cannot protect our European border by violating European values and by breaching people's rights," Johansson said in an email. "Border control can and must go hand in hand with respect for fundamental rights."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:14:59 -0400
  • Lukashenko reaches out to Putin, claiming Belarus protests also threaten Russia

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    Belarus' embattled President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday appealed to his long-time ally Russian President Vladimir Putin as protesters continue to call for his resignation following his recent disputed election victory, which the opposition alleges he rigged.Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years, but the so-called "last dictator in Europe" is facing one of his strongest challenges yet, as tens of thousands of people remain in the streets, CEOs in the country's up-and-coming information technology sector threaten to leave, and even some riot police put down their shields and embrace demonstrators.He said it is necessary to contact Putin because the protests are "not a threat to just Belarus anymore." The appeal comes at a rare point of uncertainty in the two countries' relationship, Reuters notes. Lukashenko has recently balked at deepening economic and political ties with Moscow, fearing a breach of Minsk's sovereignty. Russia, in turn, had scaled back subsidies propping up Lukashenko's government, but it seems Putin and Lukashenko are on the same page when it comes to the demonstrations.> Putin answered the call. Kremlin read-out: “Lukashenko spoke of Belarus post-election situation. Both sides voiced confidence problems resolved soon. Main thing is that destructive forces trying to harm mutually beneficial co-op of the 2 countries...don't exploit these problems"> > — Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) August 15, 2020Meanwhile, the opposition is re-emerging after Lukashenko cracked down on potential challengers, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who ran against him in last week's election. Tikhanovskaya left the country for Lithuania this week for safety reasons, but resurfaced on social media Friday and said she is ready to enter talks with Lukashenko, mediated by international partners. Read more at Reuters and NPR.More stories from theweek.com Trump's Post Office meddling is plainly illegal USPS says it will freeze collection box removal until after election following backlash FDA approves saliva-based coronavirus test viewed as 'major game changer'

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 10:14:00 -0400
  • Indian, Nepalese prime ministers talk amid border dispute

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:47:12 -0400
  • 10 things you need to know today: August 15, 2020

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:18:00 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council Rejects U.S. Bid To Extend Iran Arms Embargo

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    The United Nations Security Council has rejected a U.S. bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran. The embargo prohibits Iran from buying and selling conventional weapons. On Friday, only the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the proposed resolution, which recommended extending the ban until the "council decides otherwise."

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:14:00 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council Rejects Iran Arms Embargo Extension

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    The United Nations Security Council has rejected a U.S. bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran. The embargo prohibits Iran from buying and selling conventional weapons. On Friday, only the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the proposed resolution, which recommended extending the ban until the "council decides otherwise."

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 09:14:00 -0400
  • Former Illinois Gov. Thompson, who fought corruption, dies

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    Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, whose prosecutions of public officials — including a predecessor — helped catapult him to become the state's longest-serving chief executive, has died. Thompson, known as “Big Jim," died shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, his wife, Jayne, told the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:45:39 -0400
  • Delaware thrust into unlikely starring role in 2020 campaign

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    Biden announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate this past week in Wilmington and they made their public debut at the suburban high school where Biden votes. The campaign then operated for three days from the opulent Hotel DuPont downtown, where Biden had announced his first run for Senate, for the 1972 race.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:44:34 -0400
  • Belarus leader says Russia willing to help counter protests

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    Thousands of demonstrators in Belarus took to the streets again Saturday to demand that the country's authoritarian leader resign after a presidential vote they called fraudulent. In response, the president declared that Russian leader Vladimir Putin had agreed to provide security assistance to restore order if Belarus requested it. President Alexander Lukashenko spoke Saturday evening several hours after a phone call with Putin as he struggled to counter the biggest challenge yet to his 26 years in power.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:31:07 -0400
  • How a BBC show helped shape Africa

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    The BBC Focus on Africa programme has played a dramatic role in covering the continent over the last 60 years.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:22:41 -0400
  • North Korea's leader is tapping his own private food reserve to feed the country, and it could be a worrying sign

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    "It reflects the perfect storm of economic stresses that North Korea is suffering right now," a former CIA branch chief in Korea told Insider.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:00:00 -0400
  • Partner of dead Belarus protester believes police shot him

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    The partner of a man who died in the protests engulfing Belarus says she does not believe the official account that Alexander Taraikovsky was killed when an explosive device that he intended to throw at police blew up in his hand. Elena German told The Associated Press on Saturday that she is sure her 34-year-old partner was shot by police. German spoke a few hours before Taraikovsky's funeral and burial, an event that could reinforce the anger of demonstrators who have protested what they consider a sham presidential election and the violent police crackdown on opposition.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 07:32:46 -0400
  • US says no bailout for Lebanon, calls for change

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    There can be no financial bailout for Lebanon, a senior U.S. official said Saturday, calling on the country's political leaders to heed popular calls for change, real reform and an end to endemic corruption. David Hale, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said the U.S. and its allies will respond to “systemic reforms with sustained financial support.” Hale arrived in Beirut on Thursday, where he met with volunteers helping out at the site of the blast, as well as the country's top political and religious leadership.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 06:58:24 -0400
  • Iran says U.S. humilated by rejection of bid to extend arms embargo on Tehran

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    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 06:31:14 -0400
  • Putin agrees to prop up Belarus dictatorship, claims leader

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    Belarus's embattled dictator Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday claimed Vladimir Putin had agreed to provide military support if needed as he clung onto power in the face of a growing pro-democracy revolution. Police launched a violent crackdown on protests that broke out last weekend when Mr Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote in a presidential election, results largely seen as completely fabricated. But authorities failed to contain the demonstrations and pressure is mounting at home and abroad on Mr Lukashenko to step down, after ruling the Eastern European country with an iron fist for 26 years. Mr Lukashenko said on Saturday night that Russia and Belarus remained tied with a treaty with a "military component". "I had a long, thorough conversation with the Russian president today," he said. "He and I agreed comprehensive aid to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus will be provided at our first request," he said in comments carried by the Belta news agency on Saturday. Moscow sees Belarus as a strategically important buffer against NATO and the European Union, and will have no desire to see the current leadership replaced with a Westernising reformer. The Kremlin has, however, remained tight-lipped throughout the crisis on whether it would seek to prop up the regime. Analysts say direct intervention of the type seen during the 2014 Ukraine crisis, when pro-democracy protests ousted a Moscow-backed leader, is unlikely at this stage.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 05:43:02 -0400
  • Pompeo inks deal to support more US troops in Poland

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    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sealed a defense cooperation deal Saturday with Polish officials that will pave the way to deploy more American troops to Poland. Pompeo, in Warsaw at the end of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, signed the deal with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak that sets out the legal framework for the additional troops. “This is going to be an extended guarantee: a guarantee that in case of a threat our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm,” Poland's President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 05:25:06 -0400
  • Iran threatens 'dangerous future' for UAE after Israel deal

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    Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed Saturday there would be dangerous consequences for the United Arab Emirates after it announced a historic deal with Israel to open up diplomatic relations. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to establish normalized relations with Israel, Iran's regional archenemy.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 04:20:09 -0400
  • Freed from Belarus jails, protesters recount beatings

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    They emerged dazed, shaken and in tears from the detention center in Minsk, to be met by waiting relatives. Authorities in Belarus have freed at least 2,000 of about 7,000 people who had been pulled off the streets by riot police in the days following a disputed election that kept the country's iron-fisted leader, President Alexander Lukashenko, in power. As they reunited with loved ones early Friday, they told of being struck repeatedly with truncheons, being threatened with gang rape and held amid harsh conditions and overcrowded cells.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 03:14:38 -0400
  • Coronavirus: South Africa crime rate plummets during lockdown

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    A top minister hails a "crime holiday" as figures show offences fell by 40% between April and June.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 03:07:58 -0400
  • Female member of Afghan peace team survives attack by gunmen

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    A female member of Afghanistan's peace negotiating team was lightly wounded in an assassination attempt, officials said Saturday. Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Fawzia Koofi, who is also a former parliamentarian, was attacked Friday afternoon near the capital Kabul while returning from a visit to the northern province of Parwan. Koofi is part of a 21-member team charged with representing the Afghan government in upcoming peace talks with the Taliban, following a U.S. deal with the militants that was struck in February.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 02:39:43 -0400
  • The Ultimate Recovery: Cycles of pain anchor Biden's moment

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    “I’m Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for United States Senate,” he announces, shaking the hand of a grinning beautician. The pitch, captured in an October 1972 broadcast by WPVI in Philadelphia, is one Biden has made repeatedly since, winning seven terms in the Senate and two as vice president. On this, his third attempt, the White House is within Biden's reach at what in some ways seems an improbable moment.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 00:06:56 -0400
  • Japan marks 75th anniversary of war end with no Abe apology

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    Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Naruhito pledged to reflect on the war's events and expressed hope that the tragedy would never be repeated. There was no word of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave thanks for the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but had nothing to say about the suffering of Japan’s neighbors.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 23:53:23 -0400
  • 75 years later, can Asia shake off shackles of the past?

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    Northeast Asia doesn’t so much repeat history as drag it along like an anchor. The bombs stopped falling 75 years ago, but it is entirely possible — crucial even, some argue — to view the region’s world-beating economies, its massive cultural and political reach and its bitter trade, territory and history disputes through a single prism: World War II and Japan’s aggression in the Pacific. Japan in 2020 is unrecognizable to the fascist military machine that once rolled across Asia.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:32:03 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case

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    Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States which alleges that she misled the bank HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran. Meng's lawyers submitted testimony from expert witnesses including John Bellinger, a former White House lawyer, as well as a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd presentation outlining its relationship with businesses operating in Iran, to back Huawei's argument that the United States left out key facts about communication with HSBC about Huawei's operations in Iran when requesting Meng's extradition from Canada.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:51:40 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:39:13 -0400
  • Teen leading in Kansas race admits blackmail, revenge porn

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:43:42 -0400
  • US sees embarrassing UN defeat over Iran arms embargo proposal

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    Just one country joins US in vote, highlighting Washington’s isolation as it seeks more drastic action against IranThe US has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations as its proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran won support from only the Dominican Republic at the security council vote.The US resolution was never likely to be passed in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition. It was proposed as a ploy by the Trump administration to open the way to more drastic action against Iran.But the scale of the defeat on Friday underlined US isolation on the world stage ahead of a major diplomatic confrontation that threatens to consume the security council and further sap its authority.The US stripped anti-Iran rhetoric from earlier drafts of the resolution in the hope of recruiting more supporters, but its insistence that an extension to the UN embargo would be indefinite made that impossible. Estonia and Tunisia withstood eleventh-hour US pressure to support the revised draft, a measure of diminished American clout at the UN. Russia and China voted against the resolution, the US and the Dominican Republic voted in favour, and all the other council members abstained.In his response to the vote, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, lashed out at other member states.“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement issued even before the result of the vote had been declared.US officials have said that following the defeat of the arms embargo resolution, they would embark within days on a legally controversial tactic in an effort to restore UN sanctions lifted when Iran signed a nuclear deal with major powers in 2015.The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has a mechanism that allows any of the parties to the agreement to “snap back” UN sanctions on Iran.Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018 but US diplomats and lawyers will argue it is still technically a party to the agreement and therefore empowered to snap back sanctions. Most of the rest of the world, including some of Washington’s closest allies, disagrees, but the Trump administration has so far shown itself ready to proceed virtually alone.“The US goal this week has pretty obviously been to table a resolution that will fail, so they’ve got an excuse for going to snapback next week,” Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group. “It’s just a little bit embarrassing that it has failed so badly.”The US special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, announced his resignation days before the arms embargo resolution at the UN.If the US proceeds with its snapback plan, it could lead to a situation in which there is no agreement on the status of UN arms sanctions, with the US declaring they are in effect and most other countries insisting there are not.“Frankly, we’re soon going to be entering what you could call ‘security council in Wonderland’, by which the US will claim that the snapback train is rolling and others refuse to accept that,” Gowan said. “There will be lots of procedural fights in the council. But basically there will be two realities.”The UK could find itself trapped between those two realities, forced to choose between them. London so far has stuck closely to an agreed European line with France and Germany.“It appears the UK has chosen to put its security relationship with Paris and Berlin ahead of its desire for a Brexit trade deal with the US,” Gowan said.Vladimir Putin has suggested a videoconference summit on Iran, and the Élysée Palace in Paris signaled that Emmanuel Macron was open to the suggestion. Donald Trump said he had heard about the proposal but had not been told the details. Trump and Macron spoke by phone on Friday but the White House account of the call did not mention the proposed summit.Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment Institute for Peace, said that the US focus was not on building coalitions on the issue but on provoking a diplomatic confrontation at the UN to please Trump’s core supporters.She said the ultimate US aim was also to try to provoke Iran into a reaction, possibly leaving the JCPOA itself, or even expel international nuclear inspectors.“It is a scorched-earth approach, destroying the JCPOA in order to make it difficult for a Biden administration, and for the Iranians, to return to it,” DiMaggio said. “They’re not concerned with keeping a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. They really want to kill this deal.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:21:20 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Clowns suffer, adapt in Peru due to the pandemic

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    Circuses in Peru are built around clowns, providing work for more than 500 of the characters. The coronavirus has kept millions of Peruvians locked down at home, dealing a hard blow to the hundred or so small circuses in the country. In an empty lot in Lima, Santos Chiroque keeps the yellow tent, logs and ropes that he used until March to set up the circus that fed him and his family.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:06:30 -0400
  • Georgia park with Confederate sculpture shuts gates to rally

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    Suburban Atlanta's Stone Mountain Park, home of a giant sculpture of Confederate leaders, says it will close its gates Saturday in the face of a planned right-wing rally. Pro-Confederate, white supremacist and other right-wing groups had planned their event in response to a march by the Black militia group on July 4. Last year, the park also closed down rather than allow a rally organized by white supremacists to go forward.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:01:56 -0400
  • EXPLAINER-What is the U.S. threat to trigger 'snapback' of U.N. sanctions on Iran?

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:36:34 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council rejects U.S. bid to extend Iran arms embargo -Pompeo

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:01:38 -0400
  • Israel hits Gaza militant sites after incendiary balloons

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:35:36 -0400
  • UN launches $565 million appeal for Beirut victims

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    The United Nations launched a $565 million appeal Friday to help Lebanese people affected by the explosion at Beirut’s port with immediate humanitarian assistance and initial recovery efforts. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the money wll enable the U.N.'s humanitarian partners “to help people in need by targeting food security, health, shelter and protection, as well as water and sanitation hygiene support.” U.N. humanitarian officials said some of the $300 million pledged at a donor conference Sunday co-chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations may be committed to the $565 million appeal, but the amount won’t be known for some time because the pledges include a mixture of humanitarian and reconstruction activities.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:19:50 -0400
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