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News - International News

Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 12:04:12
A British-born man who was once investigated for connections to violent extremism carried out the deadly attack outside Parliament in London on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday. Addressing lawmakers in Parliament who only a day earlier had been under lockdown, May said on Thursday morning that the attacker was “a peripheral figure” who had been examined by MI5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence agency, but who had not been “part of the current intelligence picture.” May said that officials were not ready to release the man’s name, but she added that “there was no prior evidence of his intent or of the plot” and that “our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology.” The authorities raided six properties across the country on Thursday, detaining eight people in London and in Birmingham, in central England, as they pressed ahead with a fast-moving investigation. The authorities emphasized that they believed the assailant had acted alone and that they did not expect any further attacks; May said that the nation’s threat level would remain “severe,” meaning that an attack was likely, and not raised to “critical,” signaling an imminent attack. “Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy,” May said, adding: “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.” Among the victims of the attack — three dead and around 40 others wounded — were 12 Britons, at least four South Koreans, three French schoolchildren, two Romanians and one citizen each of China, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy. As Londoners returned to work Thursday morning and Parliament resumed normal business — it began with a debate on trade policy before Mrs. May spoke — police officers were pursuing leads in the case. The police also said that they had lowered the death toll in the attack on Wednesday to four from five, including the assailant, who drove his vehicle over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police constable, Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by the police. “We’re dealing with an enemy, a terrorist enemy, that is not making demands or taking people hostage, but simply wants to kill as many people as possible,” the British defense secretary, Michael Fallon, told the BBC. “This is a new element to international terrorism.” Fallon added that the police had “forestalled a large number of these attacks in recent years, over a dozen last year.” Questions about the assailant continued to swirl. The authorities have declined to identify him, reveal his nationality or say if he was part of a wider network. Rowley, the assistant commissioner, said that a large crime scene remained near Parliament and that the police would be sifting through CCTV footage as well as video evidence taken by witnesses. The investigation, he said, was focused on the assailant’s motive, on identifying his associates, and on the extent to which the attack was premeditated. Unsurprisingly for a multicultural city like London — where a moment of silence was held at 9:33 a.m. on Thursday, to be followed by a vigil in the evening — people from several nationalities were among the victims, Rowley said. He appealed for calm, saying, “We must not allow terrorists to sow discord and fear in our city.” In Parliament, the secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox, began taking questions on trade issues by stating that it would be “not violence, hatred or division, but decency, goodness and tolerance that prevails in our country.” Speaking outside the chamber, Ed Miliband, a former leader of the Labour Party, said that the mood had been one of “shock and determination and also admiration for the job that the security people are doing.” The reaction, he added, showed that “humanity is stronger than the cowardice and depravity of the person who did this.” More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 11:44:25
English business magnate Richard Branson called on Thursday for a second referendum "based on real facts" on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union (EU), saying the first vote was done on a "complete false premise". In an interview with CNBC, the Virgin owner said that Brexit is "one of the saddest things" to happen to Britain and to Europe. "If a hard Brexit happens it would be pretty devastating and it would be the biggest sort of shot in the foot that the British people have ever done to themselves … (I) hope that sense will prevail and that when all the facts are known and are on the table, I would hope that a second referendum could take place based on real facts and not on the facts that people were given," Branson told CNBC. "I just pray and hope that when all the facts are there … Then the British people can have the decision to decide because it was a complete false premise that a referendum was brought on in the first place." British Prime Minister Theresa May will officially notify the EU that the U.K. is planning to leave the bloc when the Article 50 process is triggered on March 29. Some members of the U.K. parliament are trying to make a second referendum happen. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has introduced a bill that would allow citizens to vote on the final terms of the deal reached, though it is likely to be defeated inside parliament. Businesses have already begun making contingency plans. On Tuesday, Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, told CNBC that the bank is shifting jobs away from London while bulking up its European presence by "hundreds of people". More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 11:39:52
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial decision to install a rabble-rouser as leader of the country’s most populous state may signal a new direction in his policy platform and potentially sow seeds of religious tension. Following an impressive victory in recent state elections, Modi's ruling faction — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — named Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister on Sunday. A 44-year old priest, Adityanath is a well-known figure of Hindutva, a right-wing ideology that champions Hindu nationalism. In the past, he's made numerous remarks perceived as hateful towards minority religions in the Hindu-majority nation. He's asked Indian Muslims to leave the country, recently praised President Donald Trump's travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries, and suggested that minorities were to blame for communal riots. Last year, he claimed Mother Teresa was part of a conspiracy to Christianize India. A youth group that he founded, Hindu Yuva Vahini, has also been linked to violent incidents. Adityanath's promotion in Uttar Pradesh, dubbed the political heart of India, signals a dramatic change in Modi's political outlook, strategists said. "There is no denying the signal this pick (of chief minister) sends: with a huge mandate, the BJP has decided to lead with the face of religious nationalism — not the forward-looking, twenty-first century face of the New India — in their most important state," said Alyssa Ayres, senior South Asia fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, in a recent note. While the BJP itself is a Hindu nationalist party, populism and economic development has dominated Modi's first three years in office. Up until now, the prime minister has largely concentrated on manufacturing, sanitation and infrastructure initiatives, such as 'Make in India' and the nation-wide construction of toilets. But Adityanath's rise to power could mean Modi has chosen to focus his governance on religion instead as he looks to cement his leadership before the 2019 general election. "Adityanath's selection may seem surprising because his support for Hindutva appears to contradict Modi's campaign rhetoric of prioritizing economic development above Hindu-first policies," said Eurasia analysts in a note. But for the BJP, Adityanath represents a subservient leader who will continue Modi's anti-corruption drive, shore up support within the Hindu base, and strong-arm the civil service to execute Modi's agenda, the note continued. Following his swearing-in on Sunday, Adityanath said he will look to implement measures aimed at curtailing special privileges for government ministers, including a declaration of assets. He's also promised to improve law and order by eliminating thug rule, a critical issue for a gang-ridden state like Uttar Pradesh. With a population equal to Brazil's, Uttar Pradesh is of central importance to the rest of the nation. "Since independence, the politics of Uttar Pradesh have reflected those of the country as a whole," said Mark Fleming-Williams, global economics analyst at Stratfor, noting that the state has produced eight of India's 15 prime ministers. "It is the country's steering wheel; anyone who wishes to control India must control Uttar Pradesh." While local media are already discussing Adityanath's chances of becoming prime minister one day, a more pressing issue accompanies his new role: Hindu-Muslim conflict. It's feared that his inflammatory remarks and practice of divisive politics will spark fresh tensions between the two groups, who have a long history of conflict in India. Islam is the nation's second-largest religion behind Hinduism, and Uttar Pradesh is around 20 pecent Muslim. "Until now, Modi's BJP government has been relatively circumspect on sensitive communal issues, but the appointment of Adityanath signals a shift in its approach. From now on, Muslims are likely to be left with the understanding that they are in a Hindu country — and that their values and beliefs are of secondary importance," said Fleming-Williams. Religious unity has long been a perennial problem in the world's largest democracy but it's taken on renewed importance amid recent developments. Calls to construct a new Hindu temple in southern Uttar Pradesh and India's ongoing hostilities with Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir have cast an intensified spotlight on Indian Muslims. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 08:34:52
Germany's large current account surplus is the result of the competitiveness of the German economy and the government has no influence over it, the finance ministry said in a report on Thursday. The ministry further added that the surplus will shrink in coming years. The new U.S. administration has accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to gain a trade advantage and called for bilateral discussions to reduce the $65 billion U.S. trade deficit with Germany. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 08:29:53
China is poised to be a key stabiliser in the world economy as its rise and ambitions underscores a transition in world power relations, said an international affairs expert on Thursday. "Since 2008 the question for the world economy has been who will serve as key stabilizer for the world economy," said Kent Calder, director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C. "The U.S. is in nominal terms is still the largest economy in the world, it has some deep underlying strengths … at the same time there's no question that the economic power and geopolitical influence of China has risen sharply in the last decade." Calder was speaking at a media interview at the annual Boao Forum in the Chinese province of Hainan where leaders and thinkers have converged for four days to discuss issues in global trade and diplomacy in the new world order with Donald Trump's presidency. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 08:25:24
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Europeans would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude towards Turkey, his latest salvo in a row over campaigning by Turkish politicians in Europe. Turkey has been embroiled in a dispute with Germany and the Netherlands over campaign appearances by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support for an April 16 referendum that could boost Erdogan's powers. Ankara has accused its European allies of using "Nazi methods" by banning Turkish ministers from addressing rallies in Europe over security concerns. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 08:15:49
A week ago, all looked well in the world of the Federal Reserve and Chair Janet Yellen: Economic hopes were high, the markets were performing well, and the central bank was well on its way to restoring some sense of normalcy after a decade of historically loose monetary policy. Suddenly, things have gotten murkier. The stock market just turned in its worst one-day performance of the year, worries are escalating in Washington and on Wall Street that President Donald Trump's agenda has hit stall speed, and the notion that the Fed will have a free ride seems considerably less certain. Should this keep up, and there's a growing drumbeat on the Street that it will, at least in the near term, it could set up Trump and Yellen on a collision course. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 07:31:37
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought to ban travelers from Iran and other Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, issued a holiday greeting on Wednesday to Iranians celebrating the New Year holiday known as Nowruz. Trump, who has also criticised the nuclear deal between Iran and western powers negotiated during President Barack Obama's administration, did not refer to the travel ban in his statement. "Nowruz means 'new day' in Persian. It is an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for so many Iranians who have come to our country in recent decades to make a new start in a free land," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 07:29:44
Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about infrastructure and reducing urban crime, calling the sit-down a positive first step toward finding common ground. The lawmakers presented Trump with a 130-page policy proposal titled "We Have a Lot to Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century," a reference to Trump's repeated query on the campaign trail asking what did blacks have to lose by supporting him. "We think it's a positive first start and we're going to continue the dialogue," Representative Karen Bass, a Democrat from California, told reporters after the meeting. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2017-03-23 07:11:25
U.S. President Donald Trump and House of Representatives leaders pushed on Wednesday for votes for their plan to overhaul Obamacare and said they were making progress in their efforts to win over conservative Republicans who have demanded changes to the legislation. With a vote on the bill possible as soon as Thursday, members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative Republican faction, said they had been negotiating alterations to the plan with the White House. Much of the discussion hinged on conservatives' desire to scrap what are labeled "essential health benefits" - services that insurance plans are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, such as mental health help. More»