| |1. China, Burkina Faso establish ties following Taiwan snub16:15[−]
China and Burkina Faso signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations on Saturday, days after the west African nation cut ties with Taiwan in yet another victory for Beijing in its campaign to isolate the island. A communique on establishing relations was signed in Beijing by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Alpha Barry. Burkina Faso broke off ties with Taiwan on Thursday, becoming the second country to do so within a month and leaving the democratically ruled island with only 18 diplomatic allies around the world.
|↑|4. Mystery wolf-like creature shot in US baffles experts: 'We have no idea'12:40[−]
A mysterious wolf-like creature shot dead in the US has baffled wildlife experts who say they have “no idea” what it is. A farmer killed the animal after spotting it close to his livestock near Denton, Montana. “We have no idea what this is until we get a DNA report back,” Bruce Auchly, spokesman with Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) department, told the Great Falls Tribune newspaper.
|↑|5. Taiwan diplomacy harder than ever in US-China tug of war05:26[−]
Diplomacy has never been easy for Taiwan and is becoming ever more complex as it is caught between the United States under an unpredictable leader and an increasingly assertive China, which claims the self-ruling island as its own. In her strongest statement yet over pressure from China, Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen blamed Beijing after Burkina Faso severed ties Thursday with Taipei. Tsai said China was showing insecurity over "more substantial developments in relations between Taiwan and the US, and other like-minded countries".
|↑|18. Dutch, Australia name Russia as behind MH17 downingПт., 25 мая[−]
The Netherlands and Australia on Friday took the first step towards dragging Russia to court over the shooting down of flight MH17, accusing Moscow of being responsible for the disaster over war-torn eastern Ukraine in 2014. The move won swift support from international allies, a day after investigators concluded that the Russian-made BUK missile which tore apart the Boeing 777 passenger plane in mid-air on July 17, 2014 came from a Russian military brigade based in southwestern Kursk. "There is but one conclusion to be made from yesterday's presentation, namely that Russia is thoroughly responsible for the deployment of this BUK system," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters.
|↑|29. Another Cuba plane crash survivor dies, death toll rises to 112Пт., 25 мая[−]
One of the survivors of the plane crash just outside Havana airport last week died early on Friday, state-run media cited the Cuban government as saying, raising the death toll from one of Cuba's worst air disasters to 112. Emiley Sanchez, a 40-year old Cuban from the eastern city of Holguin where the Boeing 737 had been heading, died in a hospital in the capital due to "severe traumatic lesions and burns" suffered in the accident. "Her state was extremely critical with a unfavorable prognostic and on a progressive downwards path that we could not reverse," the Health Ministry said in a statement read on state-run radio station Radio Reloj.
|↑|32. Australian nun in last-minute appeal of Manila deportationПт., 25 мая[−]
An elderly Australian nun facing deportation after angering Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched a last-minute appeal against the order on Friday, the deadline for her to leave the country. Sister Patricia Fox, 71, has been accused of illegally engaging in political activism as the government cracks down on foreign critics on its soil. Duterte, who accuses the Melbourne native of "disorderly conduct", had the immigration service detain her briefly last month, after which her missionary visa was cancelled.
|↑|36. Venezuela's Maduro seeks oil output boost as he is sworn inПт., 25 мая[−]
Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro was sworn in Thursday for a second term as president of the crisis-wracked Latin American country, just days after winning an election boycotted by the opposition and decried abroad. In a wide-ranging speech, Maduro promised to defeat US sanctions and take steps to correct the course of an economy in ruins, including seeking OPEC support to nearly double its oil output. Wearing a ceremonial sash in the Venezuelan colors, Maduro swore "to respect and enforce the constitution and lead all revolutionary changes" in a ceremony before the Constituent Assembly, which he set up himself last year and stacked with his supporters.
|↑|38. 'It is happening everywhere' Texas mass shooting victims tell governorПт., 25 мая[−]
Victims and survivors of mass shootings in Texas choked back tears, recounted the bloodshed that unfolded before their eyes and pleaded with Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday to improve safety so that another massacre does not take place. "May 18th came around and it finally happened to our school and we weren’t surprised," said Grace Johnson, a senior at Santa Fe High School, the latest campus in a string of deadly U.S. mass shootings that stoked a debate about the best ways to stop the carnage. "Why Santa Fe and we said why not.
|↑|40. US denies involvement in Syria missile strike which kills 12Пт., 25 мая[−]
A dozen pro-regime fighters were killed in an air strike on Syrian army positions a monitor said Thursday, claiming the attack was carried out by the US-led coalition, but the Pentagon denied the report. State media reported the overnight air raid in an area where both the regime and coalition have been battling holdout jihadists, but said it only caused material damage. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a broad network of sources across Syria, said the strike had hit army positions south of Albu Kamal, a town on the border with Iraq. "At least three vehicles were destroyed by the strike," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. He said the 12 pro-regime fighters killed were not Syrians, but he could not provide more details on their identity. A military source quoted by state news agency SANA said "some of our military positions between Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh were hit this morning in an aggression by American coalition warplanes". A United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation military observer uses binoculars near the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Credit: BAZ RATNER/Reuters The Pentagon denied the strikes were carried out by the coalition fighting the Islamic State group. "These reports are false, the coalition did not strike any Syrian army positions in eastern Syria," said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner. "The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS (IS) in designated parts of Iraq and Syria, and to set conditions for follow-on stability operations. This mission has not changed." Less than 24 hours after the overnight strikes, missiles targeted a weapons depot belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement at an airbase in the central province of Homs, according to the Observatory. A member of the pro-government forces puts a portrait of the Syrian president on a military weapon Credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP Its director Abdel Rahman said the missiles "would have been fired by Israel". SANA said Syrian air defences had intercepted the missiles in Homs, but reported explosions in the area. Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh lie in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, where Russian-backed Syrian troops and the US-led coalition have been waging separate offensives against IS. A "de-confliction" line in place along the Euphrates River since last year is meant to keep the two assaults from crashing into each other. Loyalist troops are present west of the river while the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are on the east. A military source from forces allied to Syria's government said the strikes had targeted two regime military positions near a frontline with IS. Syrian security forces enter the town of Rastan in the central Homs province on May 16, 2018 after rebels and their relatives were evacuated Credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP "There are no Iranian or Lebanese fighters among the dead," the source said. Iraqi Shiite militia are also fighting alongside Syrian regime forces in the area. The Observatory said the government was sending reinforcements. It was not immediately clear whether jihadists were active in the area at the time, nor whether the pro-regime casualties may have been accidental. The coalition has carried out several deadly strikes against Syrian government forces and allied fighters in recent months. In February, coalition bombing raids in Deir Ezzor province killed at least 100 regime and allied fighters, including Russian nationals, in retaliation for an attack on SDF positions. And in September 2016, US-led strikes on regime military positions in the east left more than 60 Syrian troops dead. The coalition later said it had mistaken the fighters for IS jihadists. Syria: timeline of British involvement since 2013 The Islamic State group has lost nearly all the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq but it still holds some villages in the Euphrates Valley area. On Monday, Syrian troops and allied forces ousted IS from the last districts it held in the capital Damascus. After a fierce month-long battle, an evacuation deal saw the remaining jihadists bussed out of the city towards small pockets of land still held by IS in the Badiya, a vast desert area stretching from central Syria to its eastern border with Iraq. The day after the transfer, IS fighters in the Badiya attacked a nearby government position, leaving more than two dozen Syrian troops and allied fighters dead. The Observatory said the IS fighters responsible were from the group that had just been transferred out of the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus.
|↑|41. U.S. Senate defense bill would bar Turkey from buying F-35 jetsПт., 25 мая[−]
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate committee passed its version of a $716 billion defense policy bill on Thursday, including a measure to prevent Turkey from purchasing Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, from Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis, would remove Turkey from the F-35 program over its detention of U.S. citizen Andrew Brunson, Shaheen's office said.
|↑|44. Trump fundraiser expands U.S. lawsuit accusing Qatar of hacking his emailsЧт., 24 мая[−]
A fundraiser for U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday added several defendants to a lawsuit claiming the Persian Gulf state of Qatar hacked his email accounts and shared the contents with news organizations. Elliott Broidy, whose access to Trump has been the subject of press coverage in the United States in recent months, sued Qatar in federal court in Los Angeles in March. On Thursday, he filed an amended complaint adding as defendants the brother of the Qatari ruler and Ahmed al-Rumaihi, a former head of investments at the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.
|↑|49. Pope tells bishops not to accept gay seminarians: reportЧт., 24 мая[−]
Pope Francis warned Italian bishops this week to vet carefully applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual, local media reported on Thursday. "Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open," the pope was quoted as saying by newspaper La Stampa's Vatican Insider service. "If in doubt, better not let them enter." The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the remarks, which Vatican Insider and Il Messaggero said were made at a closed-door gathering on Monday.
|↑|50. Pakistan ends colonial-era arrangement as it brings restive tribal border area into mainstream politicsЧт., 24 мая[−]
Pakistan’s lower house has voted for landmark reform that would end draconian colonial era laws making the country’s restive tribal areas subject to collective punishment and beyond the protection of courts. The national assembly voted to bring the semi-autonomous border areas at the centre of the war on Islamist terrorism into the mainstream political fold by incorporating them into a neighbouring province. The move would usher in widespread political reform and see the writ of Pakistan’s courts extend into areas currently ruled by all powerful political agents in a throwback to the British Raj. After independence Pakistan has continued to govern the seven tribal districts making up the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with directly appointed agents wielding nearly total power. It has also kept the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations which left residents with no recourse to courts and liable to face collective punishment for the crimes of tribe members. FATA has been a notorious haven for Islamist militants since the 9/11 attacks and the site of regular military operations to weed out terrorist groups from the districts along Afghanistan’s border. The amendment, which now passes to the senate and ultimately still needs presidential approval, will see FATA officially merged into neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The tribal districts -- Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Orakzai and South Waziristan -- are home to some five million residents, mainly ethnic Pashtuns. They have long complained they are denied aid and investment because of their special status. "Today this house has approved a historic bill, which will have very positive effects for Pakistan. I thank the opposition for their support," Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the assembly. "We need to provide [FATA residents] with all those facilities which are available to the people in the rest of Pakistan," he added. Rahimullah Yusufzai, a regional analyst and an expert on the tribal areas, told AFP: "Pakistan's tribal areas have long been neglected. The government has taken this decision very late." But Ayaz Wazir, a former ambassador and analyst originally from FATA said the districts were unready for the change. He said: “The way the FATA legislation was done quickly, there will be no political and economic improvement for the people of FATA”. "There is no infrastructure in FATA to serve people there is no police, courts or administrative structure. How will people address their issues? In the past they were resolving through political agents and jirgas and after this legislation there is no immediate substitute”.