All About: Idlib offensive looms, Senators urge Pompeo, U.S. warns Iran
Syrians escaping violence in Idlib have arrived in villages near the Turkish border in droves, fearing Damascus will launch a full-blown assault on the rebel stronghold.
As Idlib offensive looms, Syrians flee to border villages
Syrians escaping violence in Idlib have arrived in villages near the Turkish border in droves, fearing Damascus will launch a full-blown assault on the rebel stronghold. More than 30,000 people have fled their homes in northwest Syria since the army and allied forces resumed bombardment last week, the U.N. humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) said on Monday. It said a military offensive could trigger the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century.
U.S. senators urge Pompeo to press for release of Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar
Eleven Republican and Democratic U.S. senators urged President Donald Trump's administration to "use all tools at your disposal," including imposing more economic sanctions, to ensure "the immediate, unconditional" release of two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar. "We write today with great concern regarding the case of two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, who was wrongfully detained and sentenced to seven years in prison in Burma," the senators, led by Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Jeff Merkley, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which was seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
U.S. voices concern on China's Muslim crackdown, sanctions weighed
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday expressed deep concern over China's "worsening crackdown" on minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region, as the Trump administration considered sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies linked to allegations of human rights abuses. Discussions have gained momentum within the U.S. government over possible economic penalties in response to reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims, which has prompted a growing international outcry, U.S. congressional sources said.
Founder of Peru Shining Path rebellion given second life sentence
A Peruvian court on Tuesday handed down a second life sentence to the founder of the Shining Path rebel group, Abimael Guzman, finding him guilty of orchestrating a car bomb attack in an upscale neighborhood of Lima in 1992 that left 25 people dead and 155 wounded. The bombing on the residential street of Tarata was the Shining Path's deadliest attack on civilians in the capital, contributing to a sense of panic in the city about an insurgency that had already killed thousands of people in the remote Andes and Amazon.
U.S. defense chief to visit Macedonia, concerned about Russian 'mischief'
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday he would visit Macedonia before a Sept. 30 referendum on changing the country's name, also expressing concern about suspected Russian interference in the vote, which Moscow denies. Macedonia scheduled the referendum on the government's deal in June with neighboring Greece to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia which would open the door for it to join NATO and the European Union.
U.S. warns Iran it will respond to attacks by Tehran allies in Iraq
The United States warned Iran on Tuesday it will "respond swiftly and decisively" to any attacks by Tehran's allies in Iraq that resulted in injury to Americans or damage to U.S. facilities. The statement by the White House press secretary accused Iran of not preventing attacks in recent days on the U.S. Consulate in Basra and the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.
Mattis says Afghan forces increasing vetting to avoid insider attacks
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who recently visited Kabul, said on Tuesday that the Afghan government was increasing the vetting and training of local forces in order to minimize so-called insider attacks. A U.S. service member was killed in an apparent insider attack in eastern Afghanistan earlier this month and a member of a U.S. army training unit was shot dead by an Afghan soldier in the southern province of Uruzgan in July.
Hungary's Orban vows to defy EU pressure ahead of unprecedented vote
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the European Parliament on Tuesday he would not bow to EU "blackmail" as lawmakers prepared to vote on whether to punish Budapest for eroding democracy. Some momentum might have been building against Orban during the evening ahead of the Wednesday vote. But it was still unclear whether the 751-strong European Parliament would be able to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass the censure motion, which accuses Hungary of breaching core EU values.
Brazil's jailed former leader Lula ends presidential bid
Brazil's most popular politician, imprisoned former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on Tuesday, ended his legal battle to run for the top office in next month's election. Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, head of the leftist Workers Party (PT) that Lula founded, made the announcement in the southern city of Curitiba, where Lula has been jailed on corruption charges since April.
Pope to meet U.S. Church leaders after archbishop's accusations: Vatican
Pope Francis will meet on Thursday with U.S. Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff steps down. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), asked for the meeting after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano last month accused the pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of doing nothing about it.
(With inputs from agencies.)