World News Briefs — May 15, 2019 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: U.S. believes Iran encouraged tanker attacks: U.S. sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials believe Iran encouraged Houthi militants or Iraq-based Shi’ite militias to carry out Sunday’s attacks on four tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, two U.S. government sources said on Wednesday.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity and who are familiar with U.S. national security assessments, said they viewed the attacks as a serious provocation by Iran which posed a significant threat to shipping.

Iran rejects the allegation of Iranian involvement and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that “extremist individuals” in the U.S. government were pursuing dangerous policies. No one has claimed responsibility for the tanker attacks.

Read more ….

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. pressures Baghdad over Iran-backed militias.

We are on cusp of full-scale confrontation with enemy: Iranian Guards commander.

UAE says it will show restraint after tanker attacks, Iran’s behavior a concern.

Iran suggests oil attacks orchestrated to spark conflict.

Iran says there will be no war with US despite tensions.

Iran vows to defeat US-Israeli alliance amid rising tensions.

US does not seek war with Iran, says Mike Pompeo.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says there will be no war with U.S..

Iran abandons parts of nuclear deal amid tensions with U.S.. Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal.

After rebel pullback, Yemen at a crossroads: UN envoy.

One million face hunger in Gaza after US cut to Palestine aid.

Israeli settlements funding jumped since Trump: official data.

ASIA

Trump to visit South Korea in June for talks on North.

China voices strength, pushes nationalism around trade war.

Weak spots emerge in China’s economy as trade war intensifies.

Taliban overrun district center in south Afghanistan.

Sri Lankan police arrest dozens over violent mob attacks prompted by Easter bombings.

Duterte allies beat opposition in key Philippines midterm vote.

‘Extreme drought’ in North Korea: KCNA.

US-Iran tensions: Pakistan says closely observing situation in region.

China’s Xi Jinping tells delegates: ‘No civilization superior over others’.

AFRICA

Sudanese forces clear protesters with gunfire, transition talks suspended indefinitely.

Sudan crisis: Military and opposition agree three-year transition.

Search on for 11 Niger soldiers missing after ambush killed 17.

‘Terrifying’ Ebola epidemic out of control in DRC, say experts.

Tunisia on edge as Libya’s Hifter advances.

Two Christian aid workers kidnapped by militants in Somalia – Reports.

S. Sudan’s Kiir warns against ‘violent attempts to usurp power’.

Feud between Rwanda, Uganda strongmen takes toll.

S. African president vows to speed reforms after election win.

EUROPE

Merkel admits differences with Macron, says they agree on fundamentals.

Merkel: Europe must unite to stand up to China, Russia and US.

UK: Theresa May to bring Brexit deal back to lawmakers in June.

Kremlin says concerned over escalating Iran tensions despite Pompeo claims.

US trying to impose its services in economy, defence on other countries – Putin.

Ukraine slaps new economic sanctions against Russia.

Poroshenko signs law on Ukrainian as the only state language.

German economy fends off recession, grows 0.4% in first quarter of 2019.

AMERICAS

Trump’s Iran moves trigger warnings, demands from Congress.

White House escalates resistance to House probes.

US economy showing signs of strain amid escalating trade war.

Alabama Senate votes to ban almost all abortions, sending measure to governor’s desk.

Revealed: nine more US states considering hardline anti-abortion bills.

US lawmakers want to tighten visas for Chinese students and researchers.

San Francisco becomes first US city to ban police use of facial recognition technology.

U.S. orders suspension of flights between the U.S. and Venezuela.

Study finds Venezuela criminal enterprise is blunting effects of U.S. sanctions.

Mexico City declares pollution alert over smoke from wildfires.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

U.S.-backed forces crack down on Islamic State fighters in Syria’s Deir al Zor.

US abstains from global pledge to curb online violence.

Saudi Arabia says oil facility attacks target world supplies.

Tech giants vow to step up fight against online extremism.

Christchurch Call: Jacinda Ardern takes online extremism battle to EU after mosque massacre.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US stocks extend gains after recovering from early slide.

Global stocks subdued as trade dispute remains in focus.

Donald Trump expected to sign executive order this week paving way for US telecoms ban on Huawei.

Pilots ‘raised Boeing safety fears’ months before Ethiopia crash.

WhatsApp security breach likely a government surveillance attack, company says.

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