Britain to become ‘second rate’ in the world after Brexit: EU’s Tusk

BRUSSELS, Nov 14 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Britain will lose influence in international affairs and become a “second-rate player” after it leaves the European Union, European Council President Donald Tusk said.

Backers of Britain’s 2016 vote to exit the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, say that the country – the world’s fifth largest economy – will achieve a new global status unshackled from EU rules and closer to the United States.

Tusk said only a united Europe could confront an assertive China and play an effective global role.

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Battle lines harden as Trump impeachment goes public

WASHINGTON (AP) — With historic impeachment hearings underway, Democrats and Republicans are hardening their arguments over the actions of President Donald Trump as they set out to win over a deeply polarized American public.

Democrats say Wednesday’s extraordinary public session in the House revealed a striking account of Trump abusing his office by pressing the newly elected president of Ukraine for political investigations of rival Democrats, all while holding up needed military aid. “Bribery,” they said, and “extortion.”

Next up in impeachment hearings: A parade of key witnesses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several more witnesses scheduled to testify in the House impeachment hearings over the next week are expected to say they too worried about President Donald Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid from the country.

What’s ahead on the impeachment schedule:

MORE WITNESSES

The House intelligence committee, which is conducting the impeachment hearings, has set a packed schedule of open hearings over the next week.

‘Too busy’: Trump professes disinterest on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — What hearings? What phone call?

Professing disinterest and disdain, President Donald Trump said he was “too busy” doing the people’s business Wednesday to watch the impeachment hearings that imperil his presidency. But even as Trump tried to suggest that he was above the fray, the president repeatedly laid out his many grievances against the process playing out on the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Pompeo's remarks on China fools no clear mind

BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent China-smearing remarks were just another display of the hubris and bias of some Washington politicians when it comes to the differences between the two countries.

In an Oct. 30 speech at the Hudson Institute in New York and on multiple other occasions, Pompeo repeatedly hyped up the so-called "China challenge." He defamed China's political system and policies, bombarded China on human rights, and attempted to drive a wedge between the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

Walmart hires off-duty officers ahead of El Paso reopening

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at its stores in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman police say targeted Mexicans opened fire in a store in August and killed 22 people.

Walmart plans Thursday to reopen the store where the attack happened and amid ongoing lawsuits over safety. Walmart didn’t have a guard in the store the day of the mass shooting.

The reopening will happen unceremoniously, Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said, and will follow a brief meeting with employees. She declined comment on security measures.

Diplomats accuse Trump as impeachment hits Americans’ TVs

WASHINGTON (AP) — On Day One of extraordinary public impeachment hearings, the top American diplomat in Ukraine revealed new evidence that President Donald Trump was overheard asking about political “investigations” that he later demanded from Ukraine in exchange for military aid.

The revelation came as House Democrats pressed their case for Trump’s impeachment before the American people after weeks of closed-door interviews.

U.S. ready to use 'full range' capabilities to defend South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - A top U.S. military officer reaffirmed on Thursday that the United States is ready to use the “full range” of its capabilities to defend South Korea from any attack, a joint statement after a meeting with officials in Seoul said.

Senior U.S. defense officials are gathering in Seoul for annual meetings as the two countries face intensifying threats from North Korea to stop joint military drills and for the United States to change its approach in denuclearization talks.

Vote totals set to be double-checked in Kentucky gov’s race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin could face a legacy-defining decision when the vote totals from the Kentucky governor’s race are double-checked Thursday — concede to Democrat Andy Beshear or contest last week’s election in a historic move that could put the outcome in the hands of state lawmakers.

Bevin faces a growing chorus of Bluegrass State Republicans urging him to accept the results of the recanvass unless he can point to evidence of substantial voter fraud.

GOP presses empty Ukraine meddling theory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans pressed the discredited theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election in defending President Donald Trump in Wednesday’s impeachment hearings.

A look at some of the remarks in the House Intelligence Committee proceeding:

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REP. DEVIN NUNES, top Republican on the panel: “The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling. ... Officials showed a surprising lack of interest in the indications of Ukrainian election meddling that deeply concerned the president at whose pleasure they serve.”

Death toll in Australia bushfires rises to four

14 November 2019; AFP: The death toll from devastating bushfires in eastern Australia has risen to four after a man's body was discovered in a scorched area of bushland, police said Thursday.

Three others have perished in bushfires in New South Wales, the state worst affected by a series of catastrophic fires that broke out along the eastern seaboard late last week.

Oil gains on U.S. crude stocks fall, OPEC comments on slower U.S. shale growth

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil rose on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories, while comments from an OPEC official about lower-than-expected U.S. shale production growth in 2020 also provided some support.

Prices, however, were capped by mixed signs for oil demand in China, the world’s biggest crude importer, as industrial output rose more slowly than expected in October, but oil refinery throughput hit the second-highest level ever.

Takeaways so far from House public impeachment hearings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses whose testimony is at the center of the Democrats’ investigation.

In several hours of testimony, punctuated by occasional bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged.

Here are some key takeaways from Wednesday’s hearing featuring the first public witnesses: George Kent and William Taylor.

TRUMP PUSHED FOR BIDEN INVESTIGATION

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Armenian Thai boxing champion shot dead in Moscow

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/: A three-time world Thai boxing champion, who led an association of Armenian sports federations, Ashot Bolyan, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian investigators said on Thursday.

The 40-year-old former athlete was killed by an unknown attacker, who fired several shots, including into his head, as the man approached his car in southwestern Moscow.

Pakistan rules out deal on Indian spy; says ICJ verdict to be dealt under law of land

ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (APP): Pakistan on Thursday strongly rejected any deal on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying the decision of International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be implemented in accordance with the law of land.

“Absolutely, no deal on Kulbhushan. We will honour the ICJ judgment in light of the law of Pakistan and there should be no doubt about it,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said here at a weekly press briefing, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BRICS business leaders call for stronger economic cooperation

BRASILIA, Nov 14 (NNN-Xinhua) — Business leaders from the BRICS bloc of emerging economies called for stronger integration among member countries to deepen economic cooperation amid rising protectionism.

Integration “is a necessity and a historic trend, and there is no way to stop it,” Xu Lirong, a Chinese member of the BRICS Business Council, said at this year’s BRICS business forum.

Two Russians suspected of sending migrants from Turkey detained in Rhodes

ATHENS, November 14. /TASS/: Port authorities in the Greek island of Rhodes have detained two Russians, who are suspected of helping migrants come to Greece from Turkey, Russia’s embassy in Athens told TASS on Thursday.

According to the port service in Rhodes, on November 2 two Russian citizens named Malenkov and Belenko were detained near the island’s coast. "They are suspected of transporting illegal migrants to Greece from Turkey," the diplomatic mission said.

Clashes as acting Bolivia leader aims to end power vacuum

La Paz, Nov 14; AFP/GANASHAKTI: Bolivia's interim president Jeanine Anez moved Wednesday to fill the power vacuum left by the resignation of Evo Morales, who said he was ready to return from exile in Mexico to "pacify" the country, as riot police clashed with his supporters and one was killed.

Anez, a 52-year-old deputy senate speaker before proclaiming herself acting president on Tuesday -- a move endorsed by the Constitutional Court -- named 11 cabinet ministers and appointed a new military high command.

Islamic Jihad says cease-fire reached to end Gaza fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and the militant Islamic Jihad group in Gaza appeared to have reached a cease-fire on Thursday to end two days of heavy fighting that killed at least 34 Palestinians and paralyzed parts of Israel.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Berim said the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, which rarely acknowledges deals with Gaza militant groups, but some restrictions were lifted on residents of the south, despite the continued fire of several rockets.

India: Dalit (untouchable) youth strangulated to death in Muzaffarnagar

Muzaffarnagar, Nov 14 (PTI) A Dalit youth was strangulated to death at Kamalpur village in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district, police said on Thursday.

The body of the youth, identified as Pankaj Kumar alias Guddu, was found near a tubewell in Kamalpur village under Shahpur police station, Circle Officer Vijay Pratap Singh said, adding that the victim was missing since Wednesday night. The victim was strangulated to death, he said.

Two people have been taken into custody for interrogation, Singh said, adding that the body has been sent for post mortem examination.

Yuantong Airlines starts regular Kashgar-Karachi cargo service

BEIJING, Nov 14 (APP): Yuantong Airlines has started a regular cargo service between Karachi and China’s Xinjiang Kashgar as the first cargo plane loaded with 9.25 tons of goods including chilled aquatic products such as squid, octopus, and shrimp, arrived at Kashgar Airport.

This is the first international regular cargo route to Pakistan opened by Kashgar Airport and the sixth international full cargo flight route launched by Xinjiang Airport Group in 2019.

The airline will operate a Boeing B757-200F, a full cargo aircraft once a week on the route.

Hong Kong endures more transit disruptions, campus violence

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong residents endured a fourth day of traffic snarls and mass transit disruptions Thursday as protesters closed some main roads and rail networks while police skirmished with militant students at major universities.

Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. None of the officers were injured, and six arrows were seized at the scene, police said.

Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes.

Russia among leading suppliers of crude oil to China — energy minister

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/: Russia is holding leading positions in terms of crude oil exports to China and managed to boost supplies by 27.4% year-on-year in 2018, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said adding that the country is also a leader in export of electricity to China.

On Wednesday, Novak participated in a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was held at the venue of the BRICS summit.

India: Overwhelming support from institutes across the world for battle against fee hike: JNUSU

New Delhi, Nov 14; GANASHAKTI: The JNUSU on Thursday said it has received an "overwhelming support" from more than 150 universities and institutes across the world in its battle against the hostel fee hike.

Following protests from the students' union, the administration partially rolled back the hostel fee hike on Wednesday and also removed the clauses pertaining to a dress code and curfew timings from the Draft Hostel Manual.

Cuba seized up to 1.5 tons of drugs so far this year

HAVANA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Cuba has seized up to 1.5 tons of drugs as part of its zero-tolerance policy against illegal narcotics, said a senior officer on Wednesday.

Colonel Juan Carlos Poey, chief of the National Anti-Drug Directorate, said that 1493.20 kilograms of drugs were confiscated from January to September, 93 percent among which were packages washed ashore as a result of international operations not directed at Cuba.

The other 94.48 kilograms of narcotic drugs were seized at airports and ports, and during domestic trafficking.

Articles

RCEP; A Dangerous Agreement to Sign by India

by Prabhat Patnaik

On  October 24-25, there were widespread peasant protests all over the country against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) involving sixteen nations which India is currently negotiating. As negotiations near completion, such protests are escalating, with the All India Kisan Sabha planning to organise a nation-wide protest on November 4, just before the RCEP agreement is due to be signed. And the Kerala government too is organising a protest.

‘This city is not livable’: New Delhi citizens face foul air

By SHEIKH SAALIQ

NEW DELHI (AP) — Sakshi Chauhan has not left her house in a quiet inner-city slum in the Indian capital for the past six days on her doctor’s orders.

The 22-year-old call center operator is recovering from a severe throat infection and the thick smog now blanketing New Delhi has made even breathing dangerous.

“The moment I step outside, I can’t breathe properly,” she said. “I have never seen this level of pollution in my entire life.”

NAM nations stand to gain through economic cooperation

By R.Ravichandran

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (NNN-BERNAMA) — The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), with 120 members, is a movement with a promising prospect for economic cooperation, said Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan for Public and Political Issues Ali Hasanov.

Hasanov said currently, 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in NAM member countries, and more than 75 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and 50 per cent of the natural gas reserves are also in these countries. 

Saudi visit showcases Putin’s growing Middle East influence

by Stephen Kalin

15 Oct 2019; MEMO: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Saudi Arabia on Monday for the first time in over a decade, seeking to capitalise on growing influence borne of military advances in Syria, strong ties with regional rivals and cooperation on energy policy.

Moscow accrued power in the Middle East in 2015 by sending troops to Syria, where it and Iran have been key backers of President Bashar al-Assad amid civil war, while the United States pulled back.

Was Iran really behind the attack on Saudi Aramco facilities?

by Omar Ahmed

On 14 September, state-owned Saudi Aramco’s oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in the Eastern Province were the target of a sophisticated drone and cruise missile attack. The Houthis of Yemen were quick to claim responsibility for “Operation Deterrent Balance 2”, which more than halved Saudi Arabia’s oil output and caused a surge in oil prices by 20 per cent at one point.

Opinions

Whilst 18 Israelis are treated for anxiety, 22 Palestinians are taken to the mortuary

by Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne

14 Nov 2019; MEMO: The extrajudicial killing of Bahaa Abu Al-Ata of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, the second largest faction in the Gaza Strip, has triggered a predictable spike in “conflict related incidents”. As always, it is the Palestinian civilian population residing in the much maligned Gaza Strip who are affected disproportionately.

BRICS summit to usher in new "golden decade" for cooperation

by Xinhua writers Lin Zhaohui, Yan Liang

BRASILIA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 11th BRICS summit to take place here on Nov. 13-14 is poised to usher in a second "golden decade" for more fruitful cooperation of the emerging-market group.

The past 10 years since its first summit in Russia are suitably dubbed a "golden decade" for BRICS, which was originally made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and expanded in 2011 to include South Africa.

Jewish Chronicle urges Britons not to vote for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn

by Nasim Ahmed

9 Nov 2019; MEMO: With just over a month to go until the British public cast their vote in what is expected to be a close race in the country’s most important General Election in recent history, a pro-Israel Jewish community newspaper with a worrying track record of making libellous allegations has urged the British electorate not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

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