Around the Globe

Around the Globe

North Korea diplomat in Italy missing: South Korea

North Korea's top diplomat in Italy and his wife have gone into hiding, according to a South Korean lawmaker, raising the possibility of a rare defection of a senior North Korean official.

The news came from South Korea's spy agency, which briefed lawmakers in Seoul on Thursday on the status of North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil. It said he went into hiding with his wife in November before his posting to Italy ended late that month.

Xi threatens Taiwan with force but also seeks peaceful 'reunification'

China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the self-ruled island that has a bright future under any future Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive issue and is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory. Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016.

Tsai rejected Xi’s call and instead urged China to embrace democracy.

Democrat Warren to challenge Trump in 2020

US Senator Elizabeth Warren (in pic), a liberal firebrand who has taken on Wall Street and traded barbs with Donald Trump, on Monday became the most prominent Democrat to announce a challenge to the Republican president in 2020.

Warren said she had formed an exploratory committee, which will allow her to begin raising money to compete in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary field before the November 2020 presidential election.

She said on Twitter she would announce her decision on whether to run early in 2019.

Sheikh Hasina wins disputed Bangla vote

Bangladesh's ruling alliance won virtually every parliamentary seat in the country's general election, according to official results released Monday, giving Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third straight term despite allegations of intimidation and the opposition disputing the outcome.

The coalition led by Hasina's Awami League party won 288 out of 300 seats — 96 per cent — in Sunday's polls, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said. The opposition alliance led by prominent lawyer Kamal Hossain won only seven seats.

Trump says 'big progress' on possible China trade deal

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he had a “long and very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well.

As a partial shutdown of the US government entered its eighth day, with no quick end in sight, the Republican president was in Washington, sending out tweets attacking Democrats and talking up possibly improved relations with China.

Trump declares end to US ‘policeman’ role on Iraq visit

President Donald Trump used a lightning visit to Iraq — his first with US troops in a conflict zone since being elected — to defend the withdrawal from Syria and to declare an end to America's role as the global policeman.

Trump landed at 7:16 pm local time at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq, accompanied by his wife Mel-ania, following what he described as a stressful, secrecy shrouded flight on a “pi-tch black” Air Force One.

Trump voices confidence in Mnuchin & Fed, eases market alarms

Donald Trump expressed confidence in the treasury secretary, Federal Reserve and US economy on Tuesday, moving to calm financial markets further roiled after the report that the president had discussed firing the central bank’s chairman over raising interest rates.

Trump, asked if he has confidence in treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, said, “Yes I do, very talented guy, very smart person.” Asked about Fed chairman Jerome Powell, Trump said the central bank is “raising interest rates too fast” but he has “confidence” that the Fed will “get it pretty soon.”

Trump, Democrats spar over shutdown with no deal in sight

President Donald Trump and top Democrats in Congress sparred over the partial shutdown of the US government on Monday, with no sign of tangible efforts to reopen agencies closed by a political impasse over Trump’s demand for border wall funds.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, accused Trump of being under the sway of conservative House Republicans and blasted the White House for saying “different things about what the president would accept or not accept.”

Pakistan's former PM sentenced to 7 years for corruption

An anti-graft tribunal sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison for corruption on Monday, drawing criticism from his party, which said the decision was a "black spot" on the justice system.

The verdict came after Sharif was removed from power last year over corruption allegations. Sharif, who was serving his third stint as prime minister, has denied any wrongdoing.

Tsunami from erupting Krakatau kills at least 222 in Indonesia

A tsunami killed at least 222 people and injured hundreds on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following an underwater landslide believed caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, officials and media said on Sunday.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings were “heavily damaged” when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda Strait late on Saturday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said.

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