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Amid bodyguard crisis, mixed bag for Macron in poll ratings

PARIS ( ) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity slid to a fresh low following a scandal surrounding his former senior bodyguard, according to a wide-ranging survey on Sunday, countering a less damaging picture painted by other polls.

Macron, who came to power just over a year ago on an economic reform platform, has been mired in a furor involving his former senior bodyguard, who was caught on camera assaulting a May Day protestor while off duty and wearing police gear.

Alexandre Benalla, the former head of Macron’s security detail, was fired last week but opposition leaders criticized the government’s reaction as too slow and took aim at Macron’s refusal to comment on the incident for several days.

An Ifop survey of nearly 2,000 people, published in the French weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, found Macron’s popularity had slipped one percentage point from a month earlier to a new low of 39 percent in July.

The poll showed a clear shift in opinion before and after the Benalla footage came to light on July 19, with the president’s ratings falling later in the month when they had previously appeared to improve.

Yet another survey on Saturday was more favorable to the 40-year-old former investment banker, whose popularity had taken a knock in recent months as critics described him as out of touch over policies seen as favoring the rich.

That Harris Interactive poll showed Macron’s ratings improving,上海夜生活Caris, slightly in Jul,上海夜生活论坛Ola,y, a month that was also marked by France’s World Cup soccer victory.

The Benalla scandal is set to get another airing this week in parliament, after the opposition conservative party presented a motion of no-confidence in the government.

It is very unlikely to succeed, as lawmakers from Macron’s party have a solid爱上海419 majority in the lower house.

Written by shyw on July 30, 2019 Categories: amsinzbbvo Tags: , ,

China’s premier says Tibet inseparable part of country’s ‘sacred’…

BEIJING ( ) – Tibet is an inseparable part of China’s “sacred” territory, and religious figures should promote national unity and ethnic harmony, Chinese Premier Li Keqian爱上海g said during a rare visit to a region that is a focus for international rights concerns.

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 in what China officially terms a peaceful liberation, and has ruled it with an iron fist even since.

It is one of Beijing’s most sensitive territorial issues, and has been hit by repeated anti-Chinese protests, although the region has fairly been quiet since the last large-scale demonstrations in 2008.

China routinely denies charges from rights groups and exiles of repression and says its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region, and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.

Li, who visited Tibet from July 25 to July 27, went to two major sites connected to Tibetan Buddhism, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday.

At the Jokhang Temple, which was damaged by a fire in February, Li inspected a monument dating back to the eighth century which marks an alliance between Tibet and the Tang Dynasty, Xinhua said.

“Since ancient times Tibet has been an inseparable part of the sacred territory of the motherland,” the report cited Li as saying in front of the monument.

Li said he hoped religious figures can protect national unity and make contributions to ethnic harmony, he added.

The report made no mention of the fire.

Li also went to the Potala Palace, like the Jokhang Temple a ,上海夜生活Babette,UNESCO World Heritage Site, once home to the Dalai Lama.

The current Dalai Lama, the highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, fled into exile to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China accuses him of being a dangerous separatist, though he says he only seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet. He remains widely revered in all Tibetan parts of China.

Li said he hoped Tibet can safeguard national unity and maintain lasting peace and stability, Xinhua added.

Senior state leaders only rarely visit Tibet, due to security and climatic considerations, as Tibet sits high above sea level and has thin air.

Rights groups says the situation for ethnic Tibetans inside what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region remains extremely difficult.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Tibet’s people “have been brutally repressed by ,上海夜网Odessa,the Chinese government”.

In June, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said conditions were “fast deteriorating” in Tibet.

Australia’s government loses by-elections, denting re-election…

SYDNEY ( ) – Australia’s conservative government failed to win any of five by-elections held over the weekend, defeats widely seen as an indication Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces an uphill battle to be re-elected in a national poll due by May 2019.

“We will look very seriously and thoughtfully and humbly at the way in which the voters have responded,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

In what was coined “Super Saturday”, voters in five seats went to the polls after a handful of mainly Labor opposition lawmakers were forced from office after falling foul of the country’s constitution that bans politicians from elected office if they are dual citizens.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on爱上海 Sunday said four seats were retained by Labor and a fifth by the small Centre Alliance party, dealing a blow to Turnbull, who is under pressure to demonstrate ,上海夜生活Jasper,a viable pathway for re-election with his coalition badly trailing Labor in opinion polls.

Political analysts say Turnbull must win marginal seats in the state of Queensland, traditionally a conservative heartland, if he is to be re-elected.

But his government failed to win a key by-election seat in Queensland, despite support from Australia’s right-wing One Nation party.

Labor retained the Queensland seat of Longman with a bigger major,上海夜生活论坛Jacqueline,ity than it had secured in 2016.

Failure to win at least one seat at the by-elections means Turnbull will continue to struggle to pass legislation with only a one-seat majority.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who was targeted by the government over his poor personal approval ratings, said the results reflected the party’s focus on core issues such as health and education.

“It renews my conviction to double down in fighting for fairness and challenging growing inequality,” he told reporters in Queensland.

Japan picks $1.2 billion Lockheed radar for Aegis Ashore batteries

TOKYO ( ) – Japan said on Monday it had picked Lockheed Martin Corp to build a powerful new $1.2 billion radar for two ground-based Aegis ballistic missile defense stations meant to guard爱上海 against North Korean missile strikes.

“By using this new radar we will increase our ability to cope with missiles on lofted trajectories raising the level of ballistic missile defense,” Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters.

The decision is the latest sign that Japan is forging ahead with plans to reinforce its defenses despite a North Korean pledge to denuclearize. The purchase could ,上海夜网Queenie,also help Tokyo ease trade friction with Washington as its key ally threatens to impose tariffs on Japanese auto imports.

The two radars will cost around 130 billion yen ($1.17 billion) each, with maintenance and other operational costs putting the estimated budget at the two sites over 30 years at 466 billion yen, according to a Ministry of Defence news release.

Other outlays, including for missile launchers, interceptors, buildings and defenses for the two sites, will add to the final tally.

The radar decision means Aegis Ashore can be added to a defense budget proposal slated for release next month ahead of any meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in September, when Abe is expected to attend the United Nations in New York.

Trump has cranked up pressure on Tokyo,上海夜生活论坛Larissa, with tariffs on steel and threats of levies on car imports, although during a visit to Tokyo in November he welcomed Japan’s procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters and urged Japan to buy more U.S. weapons and “billions and billions of dollars of additional products of all kinds”.

The Aegis Ashore radar choice was between Raytheon Co’s Spy-6 radar, designed to upgrade the U.S. Navy’s fleet of Aegis warships, and a version of Lockheed Martin Corp’s Long Range Discrimination Radar, which will be deployed in the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense anti-ballistic missile system in Alaska around 2020.

Both radars have far greater ranges than current Aegis radars operated by Japan or the U.S.

Japan needs more powerful detection in order for its new longer-range interceptor missiles to provide more effective defense against North Korean launches and any potential threat from China.

Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian…

WASHINGTON ( ) – Light arms supplied by the United States are flowing to “moderate” Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according U.S. and European security officials.

The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets.

The deliveries do not爱上海 include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.

The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.

The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.

Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels’ efforts to oust President Bashar Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.

A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.

Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.

Some additional budget tweaks may be necessary to ensure that all the approved funding is fully available for disbursement during the current fis,上海夜生活论坛Pauline,cal year.

Yet, officials who support providing U,上海夜生活桑拿会所Eli,.S. arms to the rebels acknowledge that this has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.

“The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies… are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

Both U.S. and European officials said that “moderate” rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.

Another recent development favorable to more moderate factions is that Kurdish groups that had been providing weapons and other aid financed by donors in the Gulf state of Qatar indiscriminately to both moderate and religious extremist rebel factions had greatly reduced their involvement in the arms traffic, one of the officials said.

A White House spokeswoman had no comment. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.

As for “non-lethal” aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

“We hope to be able to resume assistance to the SMC shortly, pending security and logistics considerations,” said the official, referring to the Supreme Military Council moderate rebel group. “But we have no announcements at this time,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

Bipartisan flood Insurance bill clears Senate hurdle

WASHINGTON ( ) – A bipartisan bill to delay dramatic increases in federal flood insurance premiums for millions of American homeowners and small businesses cleared a Republican procedural roadblock in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

On a vote of 86-13, the Senate agreed to advance the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which would postpone for four years rate hikes of up to 10 fold and more.

A vote on Senate passage of the bill could come later this week after consideration of a number of possible amendments offered by members on both sides of the political aisle.

Republicans could still end up blocking the measure if they feel that they were not given an adequate chan爱上海ce to amend it, a senior aide said.

Backers of the legislation say big increases in premiums could force many Americans to give up their homes, which, in turn could drive down property values and hurt the economy.

“This issue isn’t just about insurance rate tables and actuarial risk rates – fundamentally it’s all about people,” said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a chief sponsor of the bill.

Conservative opponents of the measure argue that a delay in the premium hikes would force taxpayers to continue help cover the cost of insurance in high-risk flood areas.

Nearly a third of the Senate’s 100 members are sponsors of the legislation. There are 181 sponsors of a similar measure in the 435-member House of Representatives.

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which began raising rates in last October.

The increased premiums are designed to make property owners pay for the true risk of living in high flood hazard areas, including coastal areas of Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Louisiana, and inland states prone to river flooding.

The 2012 bill was passed with strong bipartisan support to try to end a $24 billion deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program, which had mounting losses largely from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Shortly after passage of the bill, Superstorm Sandy hammered much of the United States’ northeastern coast, generating a mountain of new insurance claims.

The Senate bill would delay premium hikes for four years to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency time to finish an affordability study and,上海夜生活桑拿会所Faith, re-evaluate the accuracy of its new maps of flood areas.

During this delay, Congress would consider possible changes in the insurance program to protect homeowners as well as taxpayers.

The,上海夜网Sailor, Senate bill is backed by a number of groups, including the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Association of Realtors, and the American Bankers Association.

U.S. moves forward with attack helicopter sale to Iraq

WASHINGTON ( ) – The Obama administration notified Congress on Monday of plans to sell 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, par,上海夜生活论坛Lance,t of an effort to bolster the military against al Qaeda-linked militants, after addressing lawmakers’ concerns that held up the sale for months.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on its website that it had informed Congress of the possible helicopter sale to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is in a standoff with Islamist militants in the western province of Anbar two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The administration also notified Congress of plans to lease Iraq up to six Apaches, which a U.S. defense official said would be used for training purposes until the purchased Apaches were delivered. The cost of the purchased Apaches, and the equipment and support that accompanies them, is worth about $4.8 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

On Sunday, Iraqi forces intensified air strikes and artillery fire on the city of Falluja. The conflict in Anbar has focused Washington’s atten上海419论坛tion in Iraq as fears grow about spillover from the war in neighboring Syria.

The Obama administration is also seeking to expedite delivery of fighter jets, missiles, surveillance drones and other weaponry to Iraq. ,上海夜生活Balthazar,

But the Apache sale was held up for months by concerns from lawmakers about how the helicopters would be used.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, withheld support for those plans due to concerns around how Washington could ensure that security forces under Maliki, a Shi’ite increasingly at odds with minority Sunnis, use the helicopters prudently.

A Senate aide said that the committee had signed off on the lease and sale of the helicopters after the State Department “engaged with us extensively this month.”

“Based upon these discussions, the committee has signed off on the lease and sale of the Apaches,” the aide said.

Menendez had also voiced concern about whether officials were keeping Congress sufficiently informed about efforts to ensure Iraq does not permit Iran to carry weapons to Syria across Iraqi airspace.

Many in Washington view Maliki with suspicion because of his close ties with Iran and his strained relations with Iraq’s minorities. But Maliki has been a U.S. ally on security, and could win a third term in elections in April.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Maliki on Sunday, and praised steps his government has made to draw Sunni tribesmen into Iraqi security forces.

The administration also notified Congress last week of plans to sell 500 Hellfire missiles to Iraq, part of a package of ‘replenishment’ supplies that Maliki requested this month.

Britons see Brexit turning sour, half want chance to vote again – poll

LONDON ( ) – Two-thirds of Britons now think the government will end up with a bad deal when Britain leaves the European Union early next year, and half want the chance to vote on what happens next, Sky News reported on Monday, citing its own poll.

With less than eight months until Britain is due to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to find a proposal to maintain economic ties with the bloc that pleases both sides of her divided party and is acceptable to negotiators in Brussels.

The Sky poll said 65 percent of British voters thought the government would end up with a bad deal – an increase of 15 points from March – and half support a referendum to choose between leaving with a deal, leaving without a deal or staying in the EU. The poll indicated 40 percent opposed such a vote, while 10 percent did not know.

When asked to choose between three options – May’s deal, a no deal or staying in the EU – 48 percent said they would prefer to stay in the EU, 27 percent wanted to leave 上海419论坛with no deal and 13 percent would opt for the government’s deal.

Sky Data interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,466 Sky customers online between July 20 and 23. Data are weighted to the profile of the population.

The shift in public opinion comes as May has stepped up planning for a so called “no-deal” Brexit that would see the world’s fifth largest economy crash out of the EU on March 29, 2019 without a trade agreement.

A separate poll on Friday suggested that the proportion of voters who favour a referendum on the final terms of any Brexit deal had overtaken those who do not for the first time.

May has repeatedly ruled out holding another public vote on Brexit, saying the public spoke at a June 23, 2016, referendum, in which 51.9 percent of the votes cast backed leaving the EU while 48.1 percent backed staying.

Her main opponents in parliament, the Labour Party, are also not advocating a second referendum, meaning that, despite growing support and a vocal campaign for another vote, there is no obvious path for one to take place.

However, the potential for major political upheaval remains, with May’s minority government facing a series of make-or-break moments in the Brexit process over coming months.

She m,上海夜网Lark,ust find a way to strike a deal with the EU, which has already rejected her preferred plan on trade, then sell that deal to her deeply divided Conservative Party, before putting it to a vote in parliament. Failure at any of those three hurdles could cost her her job.

BAD JOB

The Sky poll found 78 percent of voters thought May’s government was doing a bad job of negotiating Brexit, up 23 percentage points from March. Just 10 percent thought the government was doing a good job.

Earlier this month, the government set out in detail for the first time what kind of trading arrangement it wants with the EU after leaving the bloc, triggering a political crisis in which two senior ministers resigned in protest, saying May was watering down Brexit.

Since March, the proportion of those satisfied with May’s performance has fallen to 24 percent, down 17 percentage points, the Sky poll showed.

Vote,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jacob,rs were split on whether Brexit would be good or bad for the country: 40 percent said it would be good and 51 percent said it would be bad.

Syrian army fights IS despite hostage threat

BEIRUT ( ) – Pro-Syrian government forces advanced in an Islamic State pocket in southwest Syria on Sunday, a military media unit run by D爱上海amascus’ ally Hezbollah reported, despite a threat to hostages the jihadists seized last week.

Syrian state television broadcast footage from near the scene of the fighting showing military vehicles moving along a road.

Islamic State holds only a small area of Deraa province near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, after army advances last week that forced it to retreat.

The group staged a sudden coordinated attack on Wednesday on the city of Sweida and nearby villages from a separate pocket about 65 km (40 miles) from Deraa, killing more than 200 people including many civilians, and seizing some women as hostages. ,上海夜生活Eldrid,

A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the army had bombarded the remaining Islamic State territory in Deraa province. The Hezbollah media unit said the Syrian army had advanced towards the town of al-Shajara.

A non-Syrian source close to Damascus said the army had paused its offensive early on Sunday,,上海夜网Olive, but that this was for logistical reasons rather than because of the hostages.

An informal communications channel had been opened with Islamic State to try to release the hostages, the source said.

The Observatory reported air strikes against Islamic State positions east of Sweida, the city the jihadists attacked last week.

Chinese police apply to arrest 18 at scandal-hit vaccine firm

BEIJING ( ) – Police in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun said on Sunday they had asked pr,上海夜网Quigley,osecutors to approve the arrest of 18 people at Changsheng Bio-technology Co Ltd, a vaccine maker at the center of a safety scandal.

China has launched sweeping spot checks on vaccine makers after Changsheng was found to have falsified data and sold ineffective vaccines for children, a case that has ignited public anger.

China’s drug regulator has accused Changsheng of fabricating production and inspection records related to a rabies vaccine regularly given to infants.

In a brief statement, Changchun city police said that their investigation had already “basically” found that criminality was involved in the company’s vaccine production.

The 18 people they have applied to arrest include its chairwoman Gao Junfang, on suspicion of producing and selling substandard drugs, police said, adding their probe was continuing.

Changsheng said last week that Gao, three senior executives and two mid-level employees had been taken in for questioning by local police.

Calls to the company seeking comment went unanswered. It is unclear if Gao has been allowed to retain legal representation.

Prosecutors are unlikely to reject the arrest request.

The company has its main production base in Changchun.

China’s cabinet investigation group has found that Changsheng broke the law in manufacturi上海419论坛ng rabies vaccines, the state news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

The investigation group said the company had systematically falsified production and testing records to avoid regulatory scrutiny, according to Xinhua.

President Xi Jinping has ordered all relevant departments to investigate the scandal, which has triggered public outrage in what is the latest case of tainted medical products.

China’s pharmaceutical industry has also been dealing with another case, the recall by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical of common blood and heart drug valsartan after an impurity linked to cancer was detected.

In a statement on,上海夜生活论坛Rain, Sunday, China’s drug regulator said that Huahai had completed the withdrawal in China of the raw materials used to produce the drug.

The drug has already been withdrawn in the United States and Europe.

Turkey will stand up to U.S. in face of sanctions threat over…

ISTANBUL ( ) – President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will stand its ground after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap sanctions on Ankara if it does not fr,上海夜生活桑拿会所Dakota,ee an American pastor, broadcaster Haberturk reported on Sunday.

Relations between the United States and Turkey are on the line in the dispute over pastor Andrew Brunson, Erdogan was quoted as saying by TRT Haber and other media.

Trump on Thursday threatened to impose “large sanctions” on Turkey unless it freed Brunson, who has worked in Turkey for more than 20 years and has been accused of helping the group Ankara says was behind a failed military coup in 2016.

The pastor, who has denied the charges, is now under house arrest and faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

“We will not step back when faced with sanctions,” Erdogan was quoted as saying. “They should not forget that they will lose a sincere partner.”

Brunson, who is from North Carolina, was transferred上海龙凤419 to house arrest last week after 21 months of detention in a Turkish prison.

Diplomats have been working to settle the tense dispute and on Saturday U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo discussed the status of the pastor with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the State Department said.

Brunson’s detention has deepened a rift between Washington and Ankara, which are also at odds over the Syrian war and Turkey’s plan to buy missile defenses from Russia.

It was not clear what would be the nature of sanctions threatened by Trump but Washington was already working on bills related to Turkey due to other issues of concern.

The U.S. Senate has demanded a block on sales of F-35 jets to Turkey unless Trump certifies that Turkey is not threatening NATO, purchasing defense eq,上海夜网Lauren,uipment from Russia or detaining U.S. citizens.

Also, a U.S. Senate bill to restrict loans to Turkey from international financial institutions passed through a committee, an important early step for the bill to become legislation.

Erdogan said that Turkey would resort to international arbitration if the United States does not deliver an agreed sale of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara, broadcaster Haberturk reported.

“(If the U.S. blocks F-35 jets) We said we would go to international arbitration. If it comes to that point, there are other alternatives,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

Israel confirmed on Friday that Trump had requested Israel to release a Turkish woman it accused of ties to Hamas.

Israel deported Ebru Ozkan on July 15 and media reported that Washington was hoping that Turkey would release Brunson in exchange.

China says New York Times reporter broke visa rules, will leave

BEIJING ( ) – China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that a China-based reporter for the New York Times broke rules on residence visas and would be leaving the country before the end of the week, in a case which could sour Beijing’s relations with Washington.

The issue of media freedom for foreign reporters in China h,上海夜生活论坛Genevieve,as attracted high-level concern in the United States, especially over worries that the government is denying visas for organizations that carry negative stories about China.

Last month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern, while on a visit to Beijing, over China’s efforts to restrict the activities of foreign news organizations.

Neither the New York Times Co nor Bloomberg News has been given new journalist visas for more than a year after they published stories about the wealth of family members of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and current President Xi Jinping, respectively.

The New York Times applied for a journalist accreditation in China for U.S. national Austin Ramzy in the middle of last year, after he left Time magazine.

Ramzy remained in the country on the visa that he had received while working for Time, which was valid until the end of 2013. Chinese authorities then issued him a 30-day visa, valid until January 30, ostensibly to give him enough time to prepare to l,上海夜生活桑拿会所Katherine,eave the country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Ramzy informed them in May that he was no longer working for Time magazine and he handed back his government-issued press card, which foreign reporters are required to have to report legally in the country.

“But Austin Ramzy did not, in accordance with Chinese regulations, apply to other Chinese departments to change his visa type and his residence permit type, which previously was for Time,” Qin told a daily news briefing.

“Regretfully, Austin Ramzy did not do this, and he continued to use his existing residence permit to come and go from China. So his actions were in contravention of China’s rules,” he added.

Residence permits in China are contingent upon employment, and foreign nationals are supposed to leave the country when they no longer work for the organization which sponsored their residence permit, or else convert to another visa type.

Ramzy declined to comment when reached by , and the New York Times did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

“The NY Times, following rules, handed Foreign Ministry a visa application for Austin Ramzy last June. They have not approved it,” Edward Wong, acting Beijing bureau chief for the Times, said on Twitter.

Qin said that both the New York Times and Ramzy had admitted to the Foreign Ministry to contravening China’s rules, and that the ministry had granted Ramzy a visa valid until the end of January to give him time to sort out personal affairs.

Qin added that the Foreign Ministry was currently handling the New York Times’ request for accreditation for Ramzy, but that it would not be completed before January 31, implying that he would have to leave when his visa expires on January 30.

If that happens, Ramzy’s case will be the secon爱上海419d time in 13 months that a New York Times reporter has had to leave China. Chris Buckley, a former journalist, had to leave Beijing in December 2012 after the government did not approve his accreditation for the New York Times.

Buckley has not yet received approval to return to China as a resident journalist. He works from Hong Kong.

The newspaper has another outstanding China visa application, for Philip Pan, its Beijing bureau chief in waiting.

Asked whether China would grant journalist visas to either Buckley or Pan, Qin said it was China’s sovereign right to decide to whom it granted journalist accreditations and visas.

Foreign reporters working in China face numerous difficulties, including interference, or even violence, when covering sensitive issues such as protests and dissidents’ trials. China says foreign media are granted wide-ranging freedoms.

In November, the Chinese government rejected a visa application by Paul Mooney, an American journalist to whom Thomson had extended an offer to work in China. The government gave no reason for the rejection.

Hairdressing school gives Syrian refugees in Lebanon dream of…

BAR ELIAS, Lebanon ( ) – As a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, Nour knows life can be tough.

So the 15-year-old leapt at the chance to train as a hairdresser with L’Oreal, hoping one day to open her own salon in whichever country she ends up.

“Sometimes life can knock you down, so you need to be able to stand on your own feet,” she said, keeping water out of the eyes of a training mannequin having its hair washed in a classroom in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.

Around 20 Syrian and Lebanese girls and women will study hairdressing for six months under the L’Oreal Foundation’s Beauty for a Better Life program, earning an internationally recognized certificate if they are successful.

“The certificate will support us. We don’t know what could happen to us, especially me. Maybe I won’t be able to continue my education,” said Nour, who grew up in Syria’s Idlib before war forced her out. She declined to give her full name for safety reasons.

Lebanon has the world’s highest share of refugees compared with its population, with around one in four people a refugee.

Syria’s war has killed an estimated half a million people, driven some 5.6 million people out ,上海夜生活Paydon,of the country and displaced around 6.6 million within it.

Many Syrians moved to the Lebanese town of Bar Elias where the training salon is located, just 10 km (6 miles) from the Syrian border, doubling its population and putting pressure on services and squeezing job opportunities.

The United Nations classifies Bar E上海419论坛lias as one of the areas in Lebanon with the most vulnerable refugee and host communities and aid has been directed there to help Syrians and Lebanese.

The salon sits within an all-girls school built by the Kayany Foundation, a Lebanese educational charity.

“The (L’Oreal) academy gives them the chance to be able to take their lives back in their hands and build a better future anywhere in the world, especially if one day they manage to return to Syria,” Nora Jumblatt, head of the Kayany Foundation, told .

As the Syrian army, backed by Iran and Russia, has recovered more territory, some Lebanese officials have stepped up calls for refugees to return to parts of Syria where violence died down.

However, U.N. officials and foreign donor states to Lebanon have said conditions for returns are not yet right, and many refugees say they are,上海夜生活桑拿会所Maddalena, too scared to go home.

But it is difficult for Syrians to find legal, secure work in Lebanon, with many scraping by on aid and low-paid jobs in sectors such as agriculture and construction.

Manal, 30, who lost her husband to Syria’s war and fled to Lebanon with her children, is determined to get her certificate from the beauty academy and do the best for her family.

“I’m not educated and that’s the biggest blow for me … I can’t work as anything,” she said, using a false name to protect her identity.

Obama to lay out go-it-alone approach in State of Union speech

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Barack Obama will lay out his strategy for getting around a divided Congress starting with a wage hike for federal contract workers in a State of the Union speech on Tuesday that reflects scaled-back legislative ambitions after a tough year.

Obama will make clear in his 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday) address that he is willing to bypass U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions aimed at boosting the middle class, many that do not require congressional approval.

Obama will tell Congress he is eager to work with lawmakers, “but America does not stand still – and neither will I.”

“So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,” Obama will say, according to speech excerpts released by the White House.

The White House said Obama would announce that he is issuing an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers with new contracts.

In his address, Obama will also call on Congress to pass a bill to increase the federal minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 and index that to inflati,上海夜生活Odessia,on.

The executive order raising the level for federal contract workers, which applies to new contracts or existing contracts in which terms are being changed, will take effect at the beginning of next year, with janitors and construction workers among the beneficiaries.

Issuing the order allows the Democratic president to bypass Congress, where Republicans oppose a broad increase in the minimum wage. But liberals felt Obama’s move did not go far enough, arguing that he should have extended the wage hike to existing federal contracts.

Myanmar appoints panel to probe Rohingya abuses

YANGON ( ) – Myanmar has established a commission of inquiry to probe allegations of human rights abuses in conflict-torn Rakhine state, authorities said on Monday, as the country faces growing calls for accountability over accusations of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

The four-person commission will be comprised of two local and two international members – Filipino diplomat Rosario Manalo and Kenzo Oshima, Japan’s former ambassador to the U.N – the Myanmar President’s Office said in a statement. Manalo, 82, a former undersecretary of foreign affairs, wil,上海夜生活论坛Nikki,l chair the commission.

The two local members are lawyer Mya Thein and Aung Tun Thet, an economist and former UN official. Aung Tun Thet was last year appointed by de fa,上海夜网Harper,cto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a key role in Myanmar’s response to the Rakhine crisis, and in April told a Bangladesh newspaper that Myanmar had “no intention of ethnic cleansing”.

“The Independent Commission will investigate the allegations of human rights violatio上海龙凤419ns and related issues, following the terrorist attacks by ARSA,” the office of President Win Myint said, referring to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingya armed group.

More than 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s western Rakhine state after a military crackdown that started in August last year in response to attacks by ARSA on security posts. Myanmar has rejected accusations of ethnic cleansing and dismissed most accounts of atrocities, blaming Rohingya “terrorists”.

The statement on Monday called the panel “part of its national initiative to address reconciliation, peace, stability and development in Rakhine.”

The commission is one of several formed in recent months to address the situation in Rakhine state, which the UN has termed a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Vietnam jails 15 more over economic zone protests

HANOI ( ) – A court in Vietnam has handed,上海夜生活论坛Garth, out prison sentences to 15 protesters arrested during mass demonstrations last month against proposed special economic zones in the Southeast Asian country, state media reported on Tuesday.

Despite sweeping reforms, communist-ruled Vietnam tolerates little dissent. The country’s constitution allows freedom of assembly, but protests are often broken up by police.

At least 31 people have been jailed for taking part in the nationwide demonstrations, triggered by fears that inv,上海夜生活Mallory,estors from China would dominate the 99-year land leases up for development in the zones.

In a trial which ended late on Monday, the People爱上海’s Court of Bien Hoa City, in the south of the country, sentenced the protesters to between eight to 18 months in prison.

Five others were given 12- to 14-months probation on charges of “causing public disorder”, Voice of Vietnam Radio said.

They were arrested when taking to the streets on June 10 and “caused traffic jams”, the report cited the indictment as saying.

Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this month, 16 people were jailed under identical charges in Binh Thuan province. June’s protests had turned violent in the province, with protesters hurling bricks and petrol bombs at police.

Monday’s trial came less than two weeks after a court in Ho Chi Minh City ordered the release and deportation of William Anh Nguyen, 32, an American man of Vietnamese descent who was also arrested for “causing public disorder” during the protests.

“They have done nothing wrong,” Nguyen wrote on his twitter account after Monday’s sentencing. “The fight for justice and democracy continues”.

U.S. detects new activity at North Korea factory that built ICBMs:…

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. spy satellites have detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, a senior U.S. official said on Monday, in the midst of talks to compel Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms. 上海419论坛

Photos and infrared imaging indicate vehicles moving in and out of the facility at Sanumdong, but do not show how advanced any missile construction might be, the official told on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at the large research facility on the outskirts of Pyongyang, citing unidentified officials familiar with intelligence reporting.

According to the U.S. official who spoke to , one photo showed a truck and covered trailer similar to those the North has used to move its ICBMs. Since the trailer was covered, it was not possible to know what, if anything, it was carrying.

The White House said it did not comment on intelligence. A senior official at South Korea’s presidential office said U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies are closely looking ,上海夜生活论坛Thea,into various North Korean movements, declining specific comment.

The evidence obtained this month is the latest to suggest ongoing activity in North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities despite talks with the United States and a June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump declared soon afterward that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work toward denuclearization, but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about that and subsequent talks have not gone smoothly.

It was not the first time U.S. intelligence clashed with the president’s optimism.

In late June, U.S. officials told U.S. media outlets that intelligence agencies believed North Korea had increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons and that it did not intend to fully give up its nuclear arsenal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs despite its pledge to denuclearize. But he insisted the Trump administration was still making progress in its talks with Py,上海夜网Penelope,ongyang.

Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator and founder of 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project, said it was unrealistic to expect North Korea to stop its programs “until the ink is dry on an agreement.”

That was the case with U.S. negotiations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and more recently with Iran, “which continued to build more centrifuges capable of producing nuclear material even as it negotiated with the United States to limit those capabilities,” Wit said.

The Sanumdong factory produced two Hwasong-15 ICBMs, North Korea’s longest-range missiles, but the U.S. official noted that Pyongyang still had not tested a reliable re-entry vehicle capable of surviving a high-velocity trip through the Earth’s atmosphere and delivering a nuclear warhead.

It is possible, the official said, that any new missiles the North is building may be for further testing of such vehicles and of more accurate guidance systems.

“They seem to have figured out the engines, but not all the higher-tech stuff, and that might be what this is about,” the official said.

“What’s more, a liquid-fueled ICBM doesn’t pose nearly the threat that a solid-fueled one would because they take so long to fuel, and that’s something we almost certainly could see in time to abort a launch, given our assets in the vicinity.”

Syrian army gains full control of Yarmouk Basin from Islamic State:…

AMMAN ( ) – The Syrian army and its allies has taken full control of the Yarmouk Basin in southwestern Syria after routing Islamic State (IS) militants, the Hezbollah group’s al-Manar TV said on Tuesday.

The basin borders Israel and Jordan and had been the last embattled pocket of the southwest after a sustained advance by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces into the longtime rebel stronghold.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah has fought alongside Assad’s forces as he has turned the tide of the civil war against rebels and milita爱上海419nts with the help of Russian air power since 2015.

The army seized Islamic State’s main redoubt in the town of Shajara on Monday, which left just a few villages in the hands of an IS-affiliated faction, the Khalid Ibn al-Walid army, that had controlled the Yarmouk Basin.

The rural area has been the last wedge of southwestern Syria with continued fighting, with the army having,上海夜生活论坛Bentley, taken control of the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and most of Deraa province to the east.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 IS insurgents who had been holding their ground in the area yielded under intensive Russian bombing from the air,上海夜网Olivier,, a regional intelligence source said.

Hundreds of air strikes also prompted thousands of civilians to flee and caused untold civilian casualties, according to another Western intelligence source.

Assad is in his strongest position since the early days of the seven-year war that has killed half a million people. Completing his recovery of the southwest would leave rebels largely confined to a stretch of territory in the northwest.

Cambodia’s Hun Sen takes selfies in first appearance since…

PHNOM PENH ( ) – Cambodia’s long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, 65, whose party claimed victory in a general election that many have said was neither free nor fair, met with supporters for the first time since the vote on Wednesday.

The former Khmer Rouge commander, who has ruled Cambodia for nearly 33 years, took ‘selfies’ with supporters and enjoyed a boat ride following Sunday’s election in which his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said it had won all 125 parliamentary seats, prompting condemnation from rights groups and some Western nations.

Authorities launched a sweeping crackdown in the lead up to the vote targeting the opposition National Cambodia Rescue Party (CNRP), non-government organizations, rights groups activists and independent media.

As part of the crackdown, the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court last year and 118 members were banned from politics for five years.

Its leader, Kem Sokha, was jailed on treason charges in September and remains in pre-trial detention at a prison near the country’s border with Vietnam.

Mark Field, the UK’s Minister for Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement on Tuesday that the election was “undermined by the authorities well before campaigning started and resulted in an election that was neither fair ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Lassie,nor credible.”

Germany, which suspended preferential visas for private travel by members of Hun Sen’s government, urged Cambodia to return to democratic principles.

“The German government has noted that the parliamentary elections in Cambodia were conducted peacefully. However, that alone is not enough to lend the election results legitimacy,” the country’s Federal Foreign Office said in a statement.

Opposition members had urged voters to boycott the election. Invalid and spoiled ballots accounted for 8.4 percent of the 7.64 million cast, represen上海419论坛ting a protest against the election, the opposition and an analyst have said.

Hun Sen did not make a lengthy speech on Wednesday, as is normally his habit. Instead, he took a boat ride to Kandal province after inaugurating a boat terminal in the capital Phnom Penh. The appearance was broadcast live on national television accompanied by music praising Hun Sen’s achievements.

The White House said it would consider steps, such as an expansion of visa restrictions placed on some government members, in response to the “flawed” elections.

The United States has imposed visa curbs on some Cambodian officials over the crackdown and levied sanctions in June o,上海夜网Dana,n a high-ranking official close to Hun Sen.

Kem Sokha’s daughter, Kem Monovithya, said she believes further steps against Hun Sen’s regime are on the horizon.

“I believe more actions are coming,” she told in an interview.

Philippine anti-graft official sacked for revealing Duterte probe…

MANILA ( ) – The office of the Philippine president has sacked a deputy ombudsman for revealing information about an inquiry into alleged unexplained wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying that his intent was to discredit him.

Arthur Carandang is liable for graft and betrayal of public trust for publicizing evidence he had on the alleged undeclared wealth of Duterte and his family, according to a 10-page decision issued by executive secretary, Salvador Medialdea.

The investigation into Duterte by the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent agency, followed a complaint by a prominent senator that Duterte had amassed as much as 2.2 billion pesos ($41.5 million) when he was a city mayor. Duterte denies that.

The investigation, which was terminated in November last year, led to repeated angry outbursts by Duterte about the Ombudsman.

Carandang was sacked because of “guilty of manifest partiality” toward Senator Antonio Trillanes, a staunch critic of Duterte, with the intent to broadcast information “adverse to the president”, according to Medialdea’s decision.

C,上海夜生活桑拿会所Raymond,iting a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Medialdea also said the figures Carandang presented were “false and misleading”.

Carandang had no immediate comment about his dismissal.

Carandang joins a growing list of people that include politicians, activists, a judge, a nun and two United Nations rapporteurs who have taken on Duterte and found themselves investigated, sacked, detained or humiliated, often after being lambasted in public by the president.

Duterte’s office had previously ordered Carandang suspended for 90 days, but then Ombudsman Conchita爱上海419 Carpio-Morales refused to heed that, arguing the president had no jurisdiction.

Carandang’s dismissal order was issued on Monday, just a few days after Morales retired and was replaced by a former jud,上海夜生活Laticia,ge appointed by Duterte.

Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, issued a statement confirming Carandang’s dismissal and said that his case was given due consideration.