World News Briefs — May 14, 2019

BBC: US ‘blames Iran’ for damage to tankers in Gulf of Oman

US investigators believe Iran or groups it supports used explosives to damage four ships off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, media reports say.

Military experts were reportedly sent to investigate the incident and found a large hole in each of the tankers.

No evidence has emerged to show that Iran was involved. The affected countries are yet to assign blame.

The incident has increased tensions between Iran, which borders the nearby Strait of Hormuz, and the US.

About a fifth of oil that is consumed globally passes through the strait. Last month, Iran threatened to close it if it was prevented from using the waterway.

This followed a US decision to end exemptions from sanctions for major importers of Iranian oil.

Read more ….

MIDDLE EAST

Trump says US not ramping up for military conflict with Iran.

US issues new warning to Gulf sailors after UAE says ships were sabotaged.

Saudi Arabia says oil stations attacked by armed drones. Saudi shuts major oil pipeline after Huthi drone attacks.

US military probes oil tanker ‘sabotage attacks’ off UAE coast.

Military officer says no rise in Iran threat in Iraq, Syria.

Yemen rebels hand security of Hodeida ports to ‘coastguard’: UN.

Erdogan accuses Syria regime of undermining Turkey-Russia deal.

U.S. embassy in Israel: Americans should ‘remain vigilant’ for terror attacks.

Trump’s election has boosted Israeli settlement construction.

ASIA

China-Russia relations are unrivalled, Beijing warns before US’ Mike Pompeo meets Vladimir Putin.

Sri Lanka orders nationwide curfew amid anti-Muslim riots. Muslim killed in Sri Lanka riots despite curfew.

Four Pakistani police officers killed in bomb attack.

UN mission urges financial isolation of Myanmar’s military.

North Korea describes US impounding of vessel as ‘robbery’.

North Korea’s Red Cross visits China as drought hits crops.

Fresh IMF deal a ‘political blow’ to Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

7.5 magnitude quake rattles residents on Papua New Guinea island.

AFRICA

Gunmen kill four at Catholic parade in Burkina Faso: church.

Mali calls for more EU help amid attacks in Africa’s Sahel.

Sudanese protesters, army officer killed in overnight clashes. Sudan crisis: Clashes in Khartoum leave several dead.

South Sudan refugees flood into DR Congo.

Angola drought: Millions at risk of starvation.

S.Africa unemployment rises as Ramaphosa vows action.

Somalia postpones exams after papers leaked on social media.

EUROPE

Russia tells Pompeo: Enough mistrust, let’s reboot our ties.

Brexit talks to continue as cabinet sets summer deadline to quit EU.

Pentagon warns EU against blocking U.S. companies from defense pact.

Poland cancels visit from Israeli officials over Holocaust dispute.

Row as France remembers troops slain in hostage raid.

Facebook shuts down string of right-wing ‘fake news’ accounts accused of spreading anti-migration and anti-Semitic messages in Italy ahead of EU elections.

Floods hit Bosnia, triggering alarm in Balkans.

AMERICAS

US Attorney General Barr names Connecticut prosecutor to investigate Russia probe’s origins: report.

Democrats and Trump fight in court over his financial records.

US targets $300B of Chinese goods for new tariff hikes.

Montana Gov. Bullock enters U.S. presidential race.

US police launch bid to evict pro-Maduro activists from Venezuela embassy.

Guatemala ex-dictator’s daughter barred from presidential race.

Canadian officials visit former diplomat Michael Kovrig in custody in China.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Iraqi army hunts ISIS remnants spreading fear in former ‘caliphate’.

German intelligence agency warns of ‘Islamic State’ attacks.

Collapse of USS Cole bombing case marks another failure for Guantanamo’s military courts.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

China accuses US of threatening World Trade Organisation’s future as trade war heats up.

WhatsApp attacked by advanced spyware via missed calls.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma says staff should have sex six times in six days to reach ‘marriage KPI’.

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