WORLD NEWS AS REPORTED

Several people killed in blast at rally supporting new Ethiopian leader

REUTERS - 19 min 56 sec ago
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Several people were killed and injured in an explosion at a rally attended by thousands in Addis Ababa on Saturday, Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

Ethiopian prime minister says "a few people" killed in blast at rally

REUTERS - 24 min 7 sec ago
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said "a few people" were killed and others were injured in a blast on Saturday during a political rally in the capital.

US military plans migrant tent camps amid Trump crackdown

BBC - 32 min 35 sec ago
A leaked memo reveals plans for "austere" camps on disused airbases for thousands of migrants.

Blast at Addis Ababa rally for new Ethiopian prime minister: Reuters witness

REUTERS - 51 min 56 sec ago
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A blast was heard at a rally in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Saturday following a speech by the country's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Reuters witness said.

Explosion hits Ethiopia PM rally

BBC - 1 hour 4 min ago
An explosion hits a rally for Ethiopia's new PM Abiy Ahmed attended by thousands of people in Addis Ababa.

Russian and Japanese lawmakers sign memorandum of understanding

TASS [Russian State News] - 1 hour 54 min ago
"This is the first memorandum in the history of our common work," Chairman of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said

Auschwitz survivor: 'Beware of hate'

BBC - 2 hours 3 min ago
Max Eisen arrived at the Nazi death camp aged 15 in 1944. Every year he returns to speak to people about his experience.

Russian military personnel distribute aid in Eastern Ghouta

TASS [Russian State News] - 3 hours 8 min ago
This is a second time relief aid has been brought there. The local people have special cards to get it

Bolivia, Russia to start building nuclear research center in July - ambassador

TASS [Russian State News] - 4 hours 5 min ago
The Bolivian government-funded $300-million project will be implemented jointly with Russia’s nuclear power corporation Rosatom

Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women discovered in surrogacy raid

REUTERS - 4 hours 18 min ago
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women who were carrying babies on behalf of Chinese clients have been discovered during a raid on an illegal commercial surrogacy operation, police said on Saturday.

Trump says North Korea still 'extraordinary threat'

BBC - 4 hours 39 min ago
Donald Trump renews sanctions against North Korea, just days after saying it posed no nuclear risk.

Marine plastic: Hundreds of fragments in dead seabirds

BBC - 5 hours 26 min ago
Flesh-footed shearwater chicks are starving to death because of plastic, a BBC documentary reveals.

Parted at U.S. border by Trump policy, migrants seek their children

REUTERS - 6 hours 30 min ago
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lilian Merida-Galicia and her 7-year-old daughter were apprehended after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and separated by U.S. officials in mid-May.

Russian embassy informs Prince Charles on Britons’ reaction to charges against Moscow

TASS [Russian State News] - 7 hours 5 min ago
The Embassy also sent a letter to Prince Charles where it specified Russia’s stance on the incident around the alleged poisoning of the Skripals

US, Russia Energy Officials to Meet, Discuss Natural Gas

VOICE OF EUROPE - 7 hours 23 min ago
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet Russia’s energy minister next week in Washington, a person familiar with the situation said Friday, as the two countries compete to supply global markets with natural gas and crude. Perry will meet Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Tuesday, in the context of the World Gas Conference in Washington, the source said. Meetings between top energy officials from Russia and the United States, two of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, have been rare in recent years. Relations between Moscow and Washington have cooled over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and as the Trump administration blames the Russian government for cyber attacks that targeted the U.S. power grid over the last two years. The two countries are competing to sell natural gas to Europe. Russia’s Gazprom, the European Union’s biggest gas supplier, and several Western energy companies hope to open Nord Stream 2, a pipeline to bring Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The United States, meanwhile, has begun some sales of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Poland and Lithuania, though LNG shipments can be more expensive than gas sent via pipeline. The United States says the advantage of its LNG is dependability and stable pricing. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as did the administration of former President Barack Obama. Washington believes that the pipeline would give Russia, which has at times frozen deliveries to parts of Europe over pricing disputes, more power over the region. The meeting comes as U.S. national security adviser John Bolton plans to visit Moscow next week to prepare for a possible meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Perry and Novak will also likely talk about oil markets. On Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in Vienna to raise oil output by a modest amount after consumers had called for producers to curb rising fuel prices. Russia, which is not an OPEC member, began cooperating last year with the group for the first time, holding back production to support global oil prices. Before the Vienna OPEC meeting, Novak said Moscow would propose a gradual increase in output from oil-producing countries, starting in July.

Anthony Bourdain: Chef's mother plans memorial tattoo

BBC - 7 hours 24 min ago
Gladys Bourdain says she hopes to get "Tony" inked on her wrist by the chef's own tattoo artist.

Unravelling the mystery of Akon's Wakanda

BBC - 7 hours 53 min ago
The US-Senegalese singer announced plans to build a new city with his own crytocurrency at the centre.

The Aquarius: Migrant taxi service or charitable rescuers?

BBC - 8 hours 21 min ago
The BBC's Gavin Lee sails with the crew of a ship accused by Italy of encouraging illegal migration.

DoD Indefinitely Suspends Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Other Exercises

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 8 hours 25 min ago
To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit and in coordination with senior South Korean officials, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has indefinitely suspended select military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement.

Identifying U.S. troops returned from North Korea may be challenging: experts

REUTERS - 8 hours 28 min ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military will face a difficult task in identifying the remains of soldiers missing from the Korean War as the Pentagon prepares to receive them from North Korea in coming days, officials and experts said.

Assad defies United States, presses assault in southwest Syria

REUTERS - 8 hours 39 min ago
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on opposition areas of the country's southwest on Friday for the first time in a year, a war monitor and rebel officials said, in defiance of U.S. demands that President Bashar al-Assad halt the assault.

The birds filling up with plastic

BBC - 8 hours 58 min ago
On a remote island in the Tasman Sea scientists are battling to save flesh-footed Shearwater chicks.

Pentagon indefinitely suspends some training exercises with South Korea

REUTERS - 9 hours 7 min ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Jim Jong Un.

The Kashmiri art bringing Hindus and Muslims together

BBC - 9 hours 19 min ago
A rare exhibition prompted those who had fled their homes to return for the first time since they left.

Week in pictures: 16 - 22 June 2018

BBC - 9 hours 22 min ago
A selection of the best news photographs from around the world, taken over the past week.

North Korean propaganda changes its tune

BBC - 9 hours 23 min ago
Pyongyang's propaganda changes from blasting the US as enemy to a much more conciliatory note.

What do people in CAR make of envoy Boris Becker?

BBC - 9 hours 30 min ago
The former tennis champion says his Central African Republic passport is genuine, but officials say it's fake.

Russian ambassador sends letter to Prince Charles over visit to Salisbury

TASS [Russian State News] - 9 hours 44 min ago
Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said he had set forth Russia’s position on the incident and stated his country’s full non-involvement in what had happened

French Divided Over Bataclan Performances by Rapper Medine

VOICE OF EUROPE - 10 hours 8 min ago
"All I want to do is the Bataclan, the Bataclan." Those are lyrics to a song released earlier in the year by rapper Medine. Two of his concerts are scheduled for the Bataclan theater in October. But not everyone wants to see the shows go on. At issue, in part, are the words to another song by the artist, whose real name is Medine Zaouiche. In the song, "Don't Laik," one line goes, "I put fatwas on the heads of idiots." The song was released in 2015 — the same year that France was hit by several terrorist attacks, including one targeting the Bataclan. This is not the first time Medina has generated controversy. A decade earlier, he released an album titled Jihad — and he has been photographed in a T-shirt bearing the term, and a massive sword. Now, thousands of people have signed a petition launched by the far right and demanding Medine's concerts be canceled. Critics are tweeting their opposition via the hashtag #pasdemedineaubataclan, or "no Medine at the Bataclan." On French radio, far-right National Rally party head Marine Le Pen described Medine as an Islamic fundamentalist. His performance at the Bataclan, she said, is a threat to public order. Victims' associations are divided. Philippe Duperron, who heads one of them, is against the concerts taking place, out of respect for the victims and the memory of them. Medine and his lawyers are fighting back. The rapper has criticized Islamic fundamentalism a number of times and says he is against violence. He says "Don't Laik" is more of a slap at France's tough secular creed, and that the jihad he refers to is an internal spiritual struggle, rather than violence. "It's been 15 years since I've criticized all forms of radicalism in my albums," he posted recently on social media. Banning his concerts, he argues, amounts to caving in to the far right. Medine's arguments are drawing support, partly in the name of free expression. That appears to be the argument of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.  Still, others argue the divisions over the rapper's concerts are the worst outcome, at a time when the French should be united against terrorism. 

Migrant father describes moment his daughter was taken away

BBC - 10 hours 31 min ago
The BBC speaks to a detained migrant who has not spoken to his daughter since they were separated.

Italy Says Malta Not Taking in Migrant Ship Is ‘Inhumane’

VOICE OF EUROPE - 10 hours 33 min ago
Italy said on Friday Malta had refused to take in a Dutch-flagged ship carrying more than 200 rescued migrants and said the decision was “inhumane,” 10 days after shutting its own ports to a migrant vessel. The new stand-off between the neighboring Mediterranean countries arose as Italy’s new government has been pressuring European partners to shoulder more of the burden of immigration from North Africa. Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli criticized tiny Malta on his Facebook page, where he also posted a photo of an email full of nautical information and signed by the Armed Forces of Malta inferring that it was not responsible for the latest ship as it was not in a “SAR (Search and Rescue) Situation.” Anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said the ship, the “Lifeline,” should take the migrants to the Netherlands since it is flying a Dutch flag. Malta’s government spokesman said in a separate statement that the country was not the competent authority because initial “Search and Rescue” was done by Libya and that the ship had breached its obligations to oblige by Libyan instructions. While Toninelli said the ship was in Maltese search and rescue waters and in difficulty, the Maltese email said the ship “has not manifested any distress.” “Europe must intervene to remedy this inhumanity of Malta,” Toninelli said. Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia shot back with a statement saying "Toninelli should stick to the facts." Toninelli’s criticism of Malta as being inhumane was similar to accusations made by France, which earlier this month accused Rome of “cynicism and irresponsibility” for not letting the charity ship Aquarius dock in Italy. That left the Gibraltar-flagged ship stranded at sea for days with more than 600 migrants on board — until Spain offered them safe haven. Malta had also refused to take in the Aquarius. The tiny island nation has not taken in large numbers of people rescued at sea, while Italy has seen 650,000 arrivals since 2014. The 234 migrants on board the Lifeline include 14 women and four small children. While the number of sea arrivals to Italy has dropped dramatically this year — by more than 77 percent from 2017 — the new populist government has thrust immigration to the top of the EU’s agenda ahead of a summit of leaders next week. Italy’s government, sworn in earlier this month after promising to raise its voice on immigration in Brussels, has sparred with France, Malta and Germany ahead of the meeting. German Chancellor Angela Merkel played down expectations of a breakthrough at a hastily-arranged talks among EU leaders on Sunday on the migration dispute dividing Europe and threatening her own government.

Baron Edouard-Jean Empain who lost finger to kidnappers dies

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:38
Edouard-Jean Empain was an industrialist whose abduction and mutilation gripped France in 1978.

Firefighters quell big blaze near London's Euston train station

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:02
(Reuters) - A large fire in a pub near London's Euston train station was brought under control on Friday evening and there were no reports of casualties, the British capital's fire brigade said.

Seven Argentinians detained after fighting at World Cup match: official

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:56
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's World Cup organizing committee said on Friday seven Argentinians had been detained by police after fighting with Croatian fans at a match on Thursday.

Ex-Vatican diplomat admits guilt at trial for child pornography

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:51
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A Catholic priest who worked as a diplomat at the Vatican's embassy in Washington admitted at the start of his trial on Friday that he had possessed child pornography while based in the United States.

Groups D and E wide open

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:51
Group D Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Musa 49, 75

Trump highlights victims of migrants amid family separations row

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:40
Mr Trump has faced worldwide backlash over the US policy of separating migrant children and parents.

Italy says Malta not taking in migrant ship is 'inhumane'

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:13
ROME (Reuters) - Italy said on Friday Malta had refused to take in a Dutch-flagged ship carrying more than 200 rescued migrants and said the decision was "inhumane", 10 days after shutting its own ports to a migrant vessel.

France seeks to calm Bahrain after rights criticism

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 21:12
PARIS (Reuters) - France sought to assuage Bahrain on Friday after rare criticism by its ambassador to the kingdom over human rights and an honorary citizenship by Paris of a rights campaigner sparked anger in Manama, three sources said.

UN resolution on Transnistria to harm General Assembly’s reputation — Russian diplomat

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:27
The draft demanding complete withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Transnistria was passed by a simple majority of votes earlier

Third Atlantic Resolve Aviation Brigade Arrives in Europe

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:21
Equipment belonging to the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division began arriving in Europe, June 20, marking the third heel-to-toe Atlantic Resolve aviation rotation.
Third Atlantic Resolve U.S. Aviation Brigade Arrives in Europe

Release of 'Wolf Pack' behind Spanish sex assault sparks protests

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:04
MADRID (Reuters) - Five men convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman at the Pamplona bull running festival in 2016 were released on bail on Friday, re-igniting outrage over the case which has led to mass protests calling for tougher punishment of sex crimes.

Musa’s brace gives Nigeria World Cup game win over Iceland

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:52
Nigeria will play its next group stage game against Argentina in St. Petersburg on June 26

Venezuela to back OPEC + decisions aimed at stabilization of oil price

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:43
The ministers of OPEC countries agreed that the members of the OPEC+ oil production reduction deal can increase their daily production by 1 million barrels

New York Air Guard Members Undergo Cold-Weather Training in Greenland

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:43
Twenty-five airmen with the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing spent three days learning to survive during the wing's annual "Kool School" here on the Greenland ice cap.
Students build a shelter during cold weather survival training, commonly known as “Kool School,”at Raven Camp, Greenland.

Car shares dip on Trump tariff tweet

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:39
Mr Trump said the US is considering a 20% tax on European cars, redoubling threats.

Ethiopia's Ginbot 7 opposition movement suspends armed resistance

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:36
Ginbot 7 says recent reforms have given them hope that "genuine democracy" may be "a real possibility".

Boris Becker insists CAR diplomatic passport is genuine

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:16
The foreign ministry of the Central African Republic says the ex-tennis star has a fake document.

UN passes draft resolution on withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Transnistria

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:11
The draft was initiated by Moldova, jointly with Georgia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Estonia and Ukraine

U.S. Remains Engaged in Indo-Pacific Region, Officials Say

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:09
The United States has deep interests in the Indo-Pacific and will remain engaged in the region, U.S. officials said at the Center for a New American Security conference.
David F. Helvey, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, briefs reporters on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' overseas trip while en route to Singapore aboard a military aircraft, June 1, 2017. DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

Trump Threatens 20 Percent Tariff on EU Cars

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:08
U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to impose a 20 percent tariff on vehicles assembled in the European Union and shipped to the United States, in retaliation for European tariffs on American imports. On Friday, the day new EU tariffs went into effect, Trump tweeted, "...if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!" Trump tweeted one day after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department plans to wrap up by July or August an investigation into whether imported cars and car parts are a threat to national security. The new EU tariffs apply to billions of dollars' worth of American goods -- including jeans, bourbon and motorcycles. The action is the latest response to President Trump's decision to tax imported steel and aluminum. The U.S. is scheduled to start taxing more than $30 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks. Like the EU, China has promised to retaliate immediately, putting the world's two largest economies at odds.   A U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, John Murphy, was cited by the Associated Press as saying he estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products could be subjected to new foreign tariffs by the end of the first week of July. Separately, a spokesman for China's Commerce Ministry said, "The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world." "Clarity (is) still lacking about how far things will ultimately go between (the) U.S. and China and the potential ripple effect for world trade," said financial analyst Mike van Dulken. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to apply tariffs because he said countries around the world had been exploiting the U.S. A former White House trade adviser says Trump "has been so belligerent that it becomes almost impossible for democratically elected leaders - or even a non-democratic leader like (Chinese President) Xi Jinping - to appear to kowtow and give in."  Phillip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said, "The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants."

Russian Olympic Committee to focus on reinstating Russia in IOC

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:03
New chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov was elected to take the post of the ROC president on May 29

German delegation to World Cup lays wreaths by Eternal Flame in Sochi

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:46
City authorities, local residents and guests brought flowers and wreaths to the Eternal Flame on the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow

BMW joins Airbus in Brexit warning

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:43
BMW warns the government on Brexit after Airbus says no deal could force it to leave the UK.

Lone woman digs for family lost under Guatemalan volcanic rubble

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:41
SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES, Guatemala (Reuters) - Eleven days after the Fuego volcano rained down on the Guatemalan village of San Miguel Los Lotes, a backhoe ripped the roof off one of the homes buried by ash, revealing a corpse in the still-hot dust.

Syria's president calls current negotiations with US ‘a waste of time’

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:18
According to the Syrian leader, US presidents become "hostages to lobbyists, media and big corporations"

Is racism worsening Australia's China influence row?

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:13
Australia is asserting its sovereignty at home, but some fear the rise of prejudice and suspicion.

French exceptionalism? Bankers, billionaires balk at Macron's elitism

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:05
PARIS (Reuters) - Perhaps only in France would a billionaire and one of the nation's most powerful bankers both publicly chastise the president for neglecting ordinary people.

Russia may raise duties on cars as tit-for-tat measure following US restrictions

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:03
A list of the US goods, which are subject to retaliatory import duties, will be formed within a few days

Putin offers tour of Grand Kremlin Palace to South Korean leader and his wife

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:00
The official welcome ceremony took place in the Georgievsky hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace

Russian, South Korean leaders expect rise of tourist exchange after World Cup

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:56
The presidents "highly commended the potential of tourist exchange between both countries"

Putin May Meet With US Security Adviser Bolton Next Week, TASS Reports

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:40
Kremlin officials are discussing a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and United States National Security Adviser John Bolton when he visits Moscow next week, according to Russia's TASS news agency. The Kremlin confirmed Thursday Bolton was planning to visit the Russian capital to discuss plans for a possible summit next month between Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump. Bolton will meet next week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Russia's, Reuters reported Friday — citing Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis confirmed Thursday in a tweet that "On June 25-27, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton will meet with U.S. allies in London and Rome to discuss national security issues, and travel to Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin." Media reports Thursday quoted unnamed sources who said the meeting is expected to take place next month during Trump's visit to Europe. The two leaders could meet before the July 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels, or following President Trump's visit to Britain two days later. A location has not been disclosed, but several foreign media organizations reported earlier that Putin and Trump could meet in one of the European capitals following the NATO summit. Some media reports say Vienna is a possible venue. Trump has expressed interest in restoring Putin's standing on the global stage. Trump proposed earlier this month at the G-7 summit in Quebec that Russia be readmitted to the Group of Eight countries. Russia's membership was suspended after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

World Cup helps Putin step up his diplomacy

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:37
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin hosted the first official visit by a South Korean president to Russia since 1999 on Friday, in the latest of a series of meetings he has secured with international guests on the sidelines of the soccer World Cup.

Lebanon's Hariri signals new government near

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:28
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Friday he was very close to forming a new government and would hold more talks with the country's main parties.

Kentucky Governor Downplays Effect of EU Tariffs on Bourbon

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:21
In comments at odds with his home state's whiskey distillers, Kentucky's Republican governor is downplaying fears that the European Union's retaliatory tariffs could disrupt the booming market for the Bluegrass state's iconic bourbon industry. "There's always the potential for some type of impact, but I don't think it will be a tremendous impact," Governor Matt Bevin said when asked about tariffs during a TV interview this week with Bloomberg. Bevin, a regular at bourbon industry events celebrating new or expanded facilities, called the tariffs that took effect Friday a "money grab" by the EU, but sounded confident that Kentucky bourbon will expand its share of the vast European whiskey market. "Europeans are still going to drink more bourbon this year than they did last year; they're just going to pay more for it because their government is going to take some of it," he said this week during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box." Bevin referred to Europe as a "small portion" of the bourbon market, but the Kentucky Distillers' Association said EU countries accounted for nearly $200 million of the more than $450 million in total exports of Kentucky bourbon and other distilled spirits in 2017. Kentucky whiskey exports to EU countries have grown more than 10 percent annually in the past five years, said the Kentucky Distillers' Association, which represents dozens of distillers, large and small. Kentucky whiskey exports overall rose by a whopping 23 percent last year, it said. The governor's comments downplaying the effect of tariffs stood in stark contrast to the distillers' group, which warned that duties on American whiskey would have a "significant impact" on investment and employment in the state's $8.5 billion bourbon sector. "As we have said for the past few months, there are no winners in a trade war, only casualties and consequences," the Kentucky Distillers' Association said in its statement, which was released shortly after Bevin's comments but did not directly refer to the governor. Tariffs will drive up the price of Kentucky whiskey in EU markets where customers have plenty of spirits to choose from. If a trade war breaks out, bourbon wouldn't be the state's biggest casualty, said University of Kentucky economics professor Ken Troske. Kentucky's auto parts sector could be hit hard, since many of its products are shipped to auto assembly plants in Canada and Mexico, he said Friday. Many of those vehicles are sent to the U.S. for sale. "Kentucky is a big, big player in that," Troske said. As for the bourbon sector, he said: "I don't think tariffs are going to slow the growth down that much." The EU's tariff action comes in response to Republican President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminum. Its retaliatory move targets other American goods including Harley Davidson bikes, cranberries, peanut butter and playing cards. Kentucky produces about 95 percent of the world's bourbon, with such brands as Jim Beam, Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve and Four Roses. The industry supplies about 17,500 Kentucky jobs, according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association. The industry is in the midst of a building boom, with more than $1.1 billion in projects planned, under way or completed in the past five years, it said. The construction includes expanded production facilities and new tourism centers. Bevin, who routinely lavishes praise on Trump, said this week that the back-and-forth trade actions reflect "a certain amount of posturing that's going on. It's part of the negotiation process." The governor said the EU has more to lose in a trade dispute. "If they want to play this game with the United States, ultimately they're going to lose," he said during the Bloomberg interview. "So I don't see that this will have long-term implications on trade between the EU and the U.S. I really don't, but especially as it relates to bourbon. People in Europe still love bourbon, they're still going to buy it and the European Union will just make money off it." Other trade disputes Bevin's downplaying of tariffs ran counter to comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who said during a recent speech in Louisville that tariffs "will not be good for the economy" and expressed hope that "we pull back from the brink." American spirits makers are being targeted for duties in other trade disputes. Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. whiskey in response to Trump administration duties on Mexican steel and aluminum, while other countries including China and Canada are taking aim at American spirits. Wall Street has been closely monitoring threats of a trade war. Vivien Azer, an analyst at Cowen & Co., said in a recent note that tariffs could affect a "notable piece" of international sales for Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp. The producer of such brands as Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and Woodford Reserve tried to hedge against tariff-related price increases by stockpiling inventories overseas. Small and mid-sized distilleries often don't have the financial wherewithal to stockpile supplies. But even for the biggest distillers, stockpiling offers "only a short-term fix, as there's only so much excess inventory" they could ship, Azer said. But if the trade dispute drags on, "we would generally expect the tariff impact to subside over time as pricing and consumer purchase behavior adjusts," Azer wrote.

Arctic meteorology stations receive new satellite communication equipment

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:14
The meteorology stations are using different communication systems

Turkey's elections explained in 100 and 500 words

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:10
Turkey's elections will decide if President Erdogan will stay in power. Here's what you need to know.

Russia accused of using World Cup to bury bad news

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:08
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Opposition politicians accused the Kremlin of using Russia's World Cup as a cover to avoid dissent while it pushes through unpopular measures, while all eyes are on the country's sporting successes and a de facto ban in place on political protests.

German Chancellor: Sunday's Migration Meeting a 'First Exchange'

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:03
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said an upcoming meeting of European leaders in Brussels would be a "first exchange" toward finding solutions and agreements to problems connected with migration. Speaking at a press conference in the Lebanese capital, she characterized Sunday's planned emergency gathering as a "consultative and working meeting at which there will be no closing declaration." Merkel is visiting the Middle East amid a serious domestic row over migration that's straining her ruling coalition.  Bavaria's Christian Social Union party demands that some migrants should be turned back at Germany's borders, and has given her two weeks to reach agreement with European partners. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the CSU's leader, is threatening to go ahead unilaterally with his plans if she doesn't — potentially threatening the governing coalition. Merkel rejects the idea of taking unilateral action. The meeting on Sunday among leaders from a group of EU countries, led by Germany and France, is intended to thrash out possible solutions. It comes ahead of a full summit of the 28-nation EU next Thursday and Friday. "What it's about on Sunday is talking with particularly affected nations about all problems connected with migration — primary migration as well as secondary migration — and, following on from Sunday, seeing whether we can reach, bi-, tri- or even multinational agreements to better solve certain problems," she said. "So Sunday is a first exchange with interested member states — it was open to all member states, but of course not every country is affected in the same way — no more and no less than a working and consultative meeting." Asked whether she expects her governing coalition to stay together, she replied: "I am working so that the coalition can fulfill the tasks it set itself in the coalition agreement, and we have plenty to do; we have achieved some things already." Earlier on Friday, Merkel tossed a ball with students and passed out jerseys from Germany's national soccer team, currently competing in the World Cup, during a visit to a public school in the Lebanese capital, where many of the students are Syrian refugees. "We try to help you get an education," she told one student in English. There are over a million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, representing nearly a quarter of the population. This makes Lebanon the largest host country in the region, putting a huge strain on the economy. In 2017, Germany gave Lebanon 370 million euros to help with the refugees and in a statement released Wednesday, the EU adopted a support package to Lebanon of 165 million euros ($191 million) to help cope with hosting refugees. At the joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Merkel promised to continue supporting Lebanon and said Germany wants to contribute toward a political solution to the crisis in Syria that would enable the return of refugees to the war-torn country. She also met with the president as well as with representatives of United Nations agencies and Lebanese businessmen during her trip. A day earlier in Jordan, another major refugee host country, Merkel promised a $100 million loan in addition to bilateral aid. She said she hopes the additional funds will help Jordan carry out economic reforms sought by the International Monetary Fund. Earlier on Thursday, in a question-and-answer session with students at the German Jordanian University, Merkel said the refugee influx in recent years, including from Syria, had stirred debate in Germany over fundamental questions. "I am on the side of those, and this is fortunately the majority in Germany, who say we need to be an open country," she said, adding that "of course we need to regulate this."

Merkel plays down chances of breakthrough in EU migration talks

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:59
BEIRUT (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel played down expectations of any major breakthrough at hastily-arranged talks among EU leaders on Sunday on the migration dispute dividing Europe.

Russia, Iran discuss steps to keep nuclear deal in place

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:58
Moscow and Tehran vow to continue coordinating their efforts to protect trade and economic cooperation from Washington’s sanctions

World Cup 2018: Football star's 'long hair' too wild for TV

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:42
Ex-Barcelona star Carles Puyol was due to be a World Cup pundit in Iran but was barred from the studio.

UK High Court rules against gender-neutral passports

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:42
LONDON (Reuters) - A campaigner has lost a legal bid to force the British government to introduce gender-neutral passports.

Putin wishes South Korean leader unforgettable emotions from Russia-hosted World Cup

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:42
President Moon Jae-in will attend a football match of the national teams of South Korea and Mexico in Russia's Rostov-on-Don

OPEC Agrees to Increase Oil Output 1 Million Barrels a Day

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:41
The countries of the OPEC oil cartel agreed Friday to effectively increase their combined production by almost 1 million barrels a day, though questions remain over some of the members' ability to do so amid domestic trouble and sanctions. After a meeting in Vienna, Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the cartel decided to fully comply with its existing production ceiling. Because the cartel had been producing below that ceiling, that effectively means an increase in production. The minister said the difference between that amounts to "a little bit less than 1 million barrels." How that translates into effective production increases is uncertain, as some OPEC countries cannot easily ramp up production. Iran, for example, has been hit by U.S. sanctions that hinder its energy exports. Venezuela's production has dropped amid domestic political instability. The price of oil jumped after the announcement, with the international benchmark, Brent, gaining $1.61 to $74.66 a barrel. Friday's decision means OPEC will observe the production level it agreed on in late 2016, when it cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day. In practice, its combined output was even less due to production problems. That has since then helped push up the price of oil by almost 50 percent. Non-OPEC countries like Russia had agreed in 2016 to participate in OPEC's effort to raise prices, cutting 600,000 barrels a day of their own production. They will discuss with OPEC on Saturday on whether to increase their own production. While OPEC's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, is seen to be open to higher production, Iran has been hesitant because of its trouble to increase output and tensions with the U.S. President Donald Trump has been calling publicly for the cartel to help lower prices. The production limits by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia since 2016 have helped increase oil prices, with the benchmark U.S. crude contract hitting its highest level in more than three years in May. Some analysts note that while Trump has blamed OPEC, his policies have also helped increase the cost of oil by, for example, limiting exports from Iran. Some analysts believe Saudi Arabia needs a Brent price closer to $90 a barrel to cover its domestic spending but is feeling pressure from the United States to head off rising prices by boosting output. Russia may be happy to pump more oil and settle for prices in the $60s, according to Tamar Essner, chief energy analyst for Nasdaq. There are other considerations than dollars and rubles. Daniel Yergin, the vice chairman of research firm IHS Markit and author of several books on the energy industry, says geopolitical factors are a big element in the oil production talks. Yergin said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates support the current, tougher U.S. policy toward Iran, Saudi Arabia's rival for influence in the region. So they will want to support Trump's call for higher production and lower prices. Iran will struggle to increase production, meaning it could lose market share and revenue.

Brazil defeats Costa Rica 2-0 in World Cup group stage match

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:40
In its next match, Brazil will take on Serbia

After immigration scandal, Britain remembers Windrush 70 years on

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:13
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain marked 70 years since the first post-war migrants from the Caribbean arrived on the Empire Windrush with a thanksgiving service on Friday which took on extra meaning after many were revealed to have been wrongly identified as illegal immigrants.

As Hodeidah battle grinds on, residents suffer lack of clean water, electricity

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:05
DUBAI (Reuters) - Residents unable to flee Hodeidah face constant bombardment, lack of clean water and power cuts as an Arab coalition battles to capture Yemen's main port from Iran-aligned Houthis.

Nigerian 'shaman' predicts victory for his country’s team

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:55
Nigeria will face Iceland in Volgograd today

More than 3,000 Icelandic fans come for Volgograd for match against Nigeria

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:52
The Friday match at Volgograd Arena stadium begins at 6 pm

Putin, Moon agree that Trump-Kim summit to help denuclearization

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:50
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The leaders of Russia and South Korea agree that last week's historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would contribute to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Moscow, Seoul discuss South Korea’s participation in Arctic LNG-2 project — Putin

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:48
Putin says the possibility of Korean partners' participation in the Arctic LNG-2 gas production and liquefaction project is being discussed

Pope to make Vatican changes in push for reform, transparency

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:47
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will be making several significant changes in the Vatican in the next few weeks and months to bring in fresh faces with new ideas and promote others as part of his push for reform.

Migrant families separation poster girl 'not taken from mum'

BBC - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:42
The two-year-old and her mother were kept together in a Texas border town, says the father.

Bulgaria to propose immediate closure of EU borders to migrants

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:42
SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria will propose the immediate closure of the European Union's external borders to migrants and the setting up of centers for war refugees outside its territory at the EU's weekend mini-summit on migration.

Face of Defense: Soccer Dream Comes True for Marine Infantryman

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:39
As the team captain for the All-Marine Corps Men's soccer team, this noncommissioned officer said he has wanted to play for the team since 2010, but was not able to due to serving six overseas deployments, including three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Alberto Boy competes for the first time at the Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Marine Le Pen's niece opens finishing school for would-be far-right leaders

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:38
LYON, France (Reuters) - The niece of far-right leader Marine Le Pen launched a political academy on Friday that she hopes will serve as a "finishing school" for would-be luminaries on France's right wing, but denied she was plotting a political comeback.

Russian, South Korean leaders sign joint statement after Moscow talks

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:37
The two countries also signed a memorandum on the establishment of a Russian-South Korean interregional cooperation forum

Palestinians and Israelis remember life under British rule

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:29
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prince William's tour of Israel and the Palestinian Territories is the first official visit by a member of the royal family, but the Holy Land is familiar ground to the British state.

Europe to Impose New Tariffs on US Goods

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:24
The European Union is set to impose tariffs Friday on billions of dollars worth of American goods -- including jeans, bourbon and motorcycles. The action is the latest retaliation against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to slap import tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the globe. The U.S. is scheduled to start taxing more than $30 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks. China has promised an immediate retaliation, a measure that would put the world's two largest economies at odds.   John Murphy, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products could be subjected to new foreign tariffs by the end of July. "The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world." said a spokesman for China's Commerce Ministry. "Clarity (is) still lacking about how far things will ultimately go between (the) U.S. and China and the potential ripple effect for world trade," said financial analyst Mike van Dulken. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to apply tariffs because he said countries around the world had been exploiting the U.S. The European stock market was bracing itself in the face of the new tariffs .   In early Friday trading London's FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip firms rose 0.2 percent to 7,571.78 points (compared with Thursday's closing level.) In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 was unchanged at 12,507.72, while the Paris CAC 40 gained almost 0.3 percent to 5,330.5 points. But that could all change after the reality of the tariffs takes hold. "We've never seen anything like this," at least not since the Great Depression, said Syracuse University economist Mary Lovely. A former White House trade advisor says Trump "has been so belligerent that it becomes almost impossible for democratically elected leaders - or even a non-democratic leader like (Chinese President) Xi Jinping - to appear to kowtow and give in."  Phillip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said, "The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants."

Four Nigerians try to cross into Estonia from Russia using Fan IDs

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:22
All the fans had tried to leave Russia without attending any of the World Cup’s matches

Germany's Merkel says Syria must be more secure before refugees return

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:18
BEIRUT (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday on a visit to Lebanon that conditions in Syria are not yet right for refugees to return, an issue which has led to a dispute between Lebanon's foreign minister and the U.N. refugee agency.

Ukraine Conflict Sees Spike in Violence 

VOICE OF EUROPE - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:08
Even as fans from across the world celebrate the football World Cup in Russia, cease-fire monitors just over the border in eastern Ukraine say there has been a significant uptick in violence in recent days, including the use of heavy weapons and surface-to-air missiles. “Last week for instance we have seen over 7,400 cease-fire violations in total. It was an uptick by 20 percent compared to the week before. And this included many times the use of heavy weapons,” the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission Alexander Hug told VOA this week. It is a war that is taking place across the border from where hundreds of thousands of fans are congregating for the World Cup. The stadium at Rostov-on-Don lies just 200 kilometers from the front lines. The OSCE monitors say both sides are breaking the cease-fire, although most violations are carried out by the Russian-backed forces. On June 15, they fired two surface-to-air missiles at a drone used by the OSCE to monitor the front lines, not far from where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in 2014. The missiles failed to hit their target, and the incident was captured by the drone’s cameras. “There is only one reason why this is happening. It is because those who interfere with our technology, those who stop our patrols, they want to prevent that we see the facts on the ground,” Hug said. Minsk Agreement The 2015 Minsk Agreement on ending the conflict aims to secure a cease-fire and pave the way for regional elections, but it is routinely broken. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone Thursday to his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, and media reports suggest the two sides are no closer to agreeing how to fully implement the agreement. Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France meeting last week failed to agree on the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force. “Ideas over what such a mandate should look like, how it would be formed and what territory it would have authority over are still very far apart,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters after the meeting June 12. Digging in Meanwhile, there is little hope of ending the conflict soon. Just outside Donetsk, the de facto capital for the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, rebel fighters are digging new trenches. “You know, as the saying goes, if you want peace, prepare for war,” said Andrei, a rebel fighter for the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

Moscow and Seoul’s approaches to North Korea issue largely coincide, says Putin

TASS [Russian State News] - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:07
The two states' leaders had discussed "the most important and sensitive issues" of bilateral relations

Under pressure, Merkel downbeat on EU migration breakthrough on Sunday

REUTERS - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 14:54
BEIRUT (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel played down expectations of a major breakthrough being reached at hastily-arranged talks between some EU leaders on Sunday on the migration dispute dividing Europe.

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