World News Briefs — May 15, 2019

CBS: Iran news: U.S. pulls most personnel from Iraq as U.S. officials say Iranian military likely behind tanker attacks

* U.S. officials are pointing the finger at elite Iranian military forces for the sabotage attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.
* A week after claiming Iranian “preparations for possible attack” on U.S. forces in the region, the U.S. has ordered most State Department personnel out of neighboring Iraq.
* U.S. and Iranian officials insist nobody wants a war, and President Trump has denied plans to send 120,000 troops to the region.
* The U.S. military has refuted a senior British commander’s assessment that there has been “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.”

U.S. officials have said they believe Iranian combat divers were behind the attacks on four oil tankers near the Persian Gulf over the weekend, and they tell CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin there’s still no sign Iran is backing off purported plans to attack Americans in the region.

Read more ….

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

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: 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

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.

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

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

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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