Around the Globe

Around the Globe

Chemical weapons watchdog investigates Ghouta attacks

The world’s chemical weapons watchdog is investigating recent attacks in the besieged, rebel-held Syrian region of eastern Ghouta to determine whether banned munitions were used, sources told Reuters.

The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) opened an investigation on Sunday into reports of the repeated use of chlorine bombs this month in the district near the Syrian capital, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

China pushes back against criticism of plan for Xi to stay in power

China’s plan for President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely has sparked social media

opposition, drawing comparisons to North Korea’s ruling dynasty and charges of creating a dictator by a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist.

The social media reaction late on Sunday quickly saw China swing into a concerted propaganda push by Monday, blocking some articles and publishing pieces praising the party.

China sets stage for Xi to stay in office indefinitely

China’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday set the stage for President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely, with a proposal to remove a constitutional clause limiting presidential service to just two terms in office. Xi, 64, is currently required by the country’s constitution to step down as President after two five-year terms. Nearing the end of his first term, he will be formally elected to a second at the annual meeting of China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament opening on March 5.

Trump hears stories from school shootings in White House meeting

President Donald Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims used a remarkable White House meeting to pour out their frustration.

“I lost a best friend, practically a brother. I’m here to use my voice because I know he can’t,” said Samuel Zeif, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which was attacked on February 14. Seventeen people were killed.

Mueller Gets Plea, No Cooperation, as Skadden Lawyer Admits Lies

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday extracted another guilty plea as prosecutors bear down on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates.

Alex van der Zwaan, a former associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, admitted in court in Washington that he misled investigators about the last time he talked with Gates, who was indicted in October with Manafort over their consulting work in Ukraine. Gates is reportedly considering cooperating with Mueller.

UK Has a Secret Plan to Hold Brexit Cash

Prime Minister Theresa May’s team is eyeing up a contingency plan to hold back billions of pounds in Brexit payments, if the European Union refuses to give the UK the trade deal it wants.

Senior British officials have privately discussed the idea as a fall-back option that could be triggered if negotiations go wrong, three people familiar with the matter said.

The plan is not the UK’s preferred outcome, but some in May’s administration believe it could be necessary in case the EU tries to renege on a future commitment to a free- trade deal.

‘Bad guy’ Russia emerges as central player in Western diplomacy

European and US officials divided over US President Donald Trump’s

foreign policy found common cause this weekend in decrying what they say is Russia’s covert campaign to undermine Western democracies.

But despite the transatlantic show of anger at Russia during the Munich Security Conference, Western officials and diplomats also acknowledged an uncomfortable truth: that Russia is critical to resolving many of the world’s worst conflicts.

India needs more 'clean coal' investors: global coal body

India needs to do more to attract foreign investment in technologies that can cut emissions from burning coal, a global coal trade association said on Friday, given that the fuel will be a main source of electricity in the country for decades.

India, the world’s second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has set ambitious targets to raise the contribution of solar and wind power to its energy mix, though it has also said coal will maintain its dominance for at least the next 30 years due to its abundance and cost advantage.

South African police issue arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta

South African police today said they have obtained an arrest warrant for absconding Ajay Gupta, the India-born close aide of scandal-hit former president Jacob Zuma, media reports said.

The Hawks – the police's elite high-priority crimes unit – on Wednesday arrested three people as they raided the posh home of India-born Guptas, a controversial business family linked to Zuma, who resigned on Thursday.

Ajay the patriarch of the embattled Gupta family is "on the run" and surrounded by a team of heavily armed bodyguards, Times Live reported quoting police officials.

China angered as Narendra Modi visits Arunachal Pradesh

China on Thursday expressed anger over a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Arunachal Pradesh, which China also claims, and said India should stop any action that might complicate the dispute.

China claims the region in the eastern Himalayas as “South Tibet”, and it has denounced Indian leaders’ visits there as attempts to bolster India’s claims.

“China’s position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.