Sun, Sep 22, 2019 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

PHILIPPINES

Government halts aid talks

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has ordered the suspension of all loan and grant talks with foreign governments that backed a UN resolution to review human rights abuses during his signature anti-drug war. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Aug. 27 issued a memorandum which he signed “by order of the president” to cut off all official development aid talks with the countries that voted for the resolution, according to the document. The memorandum was issued to the heads of all government agencies and was posted on the official Web site of the Bureau of Customs, but was taken down yesterday. “All concerned officials are DIRECTED to suspend negotiations for and signing of all loan and grant agreements with the governments of the countries that co-sponsored and/or voted in favor of the aforesaid resolution,” it said. However, asked late on Friday whether Duterte’s office had issued the document, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said it was “not true.”

IRAQ

Bus bomb kills 12

A bomb exploded on a minibus packed with passengers outside the Shiite holy city of Karbala on Friday night, killing 12 people and wounding five others, Iraqi security officials and the state news agency said. This was one of the biggest attacks targeting civilians since the Islamic State group was declared defeated inside Iraq in 2017. The group’s sleeper cells continue to wage an insurgency and carry out sporadic attacks across the country The explosion occurred as the bus was passing through an Iraqi army checkpoint, about 10km south of Karbala in the direction of the town of al-Hilla. One official told reporters that before the blast, a passenger exited the minibus, but left a bag containing explosives under one of the seats. The device was then detonated remotely at the checkpoint. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

UNITED STATES

Biden decries Trump reports

Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday decried reports that President Donald Trump urged Ukrainan President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into his son’s business dealings there. Biden said in a statement that if the reports are true, “then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.” The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said that Trump should release the transcript of his July phone conversation with Zelenskiy “so that the American people can judge for themselves.” Biden released the statement after news organizations reported that Trump had urged Zelenskiy to probe the activities of Biden’s son Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.

UNITED STATES

People trapped in flood

Emergency workers on Friday used boats to rescue about 60 residents of a Houston-area community still trapped in their homes by floodwaters following one of the wettest tropical cyclones in US history. At least four deaths have been linked to the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda, which deluged parts of Texas and Louisiana. Almost 5m of standing water was reported in Huffman, northeast of Houston, when a nearby bayou overflowed. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office deployed its marine unit to evacuate the residents. Officials in Harris County, which includes Houston, said there had been a combination of at least 1,700 high-water rescues following Thursday’s torrential rainfall.

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