Friday, May 12, 2017

World News Briefs -- May 12, 2017



AFP: Battle for Raqqa begins this summer: US-backed alliance will assault Islamic State's Syrian bastion in June

* A US-backed alliance will launch their final assault on Raqqa in June
* They will get 'special weapons and armoured vehicles' to enter city after Donald Trump allowed arms deliveries to Kurdish as well as Arab SDF fighters

A US-backed alliance will launch their final assault on ISIS's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa in June, two commanders from the force have said.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Rojda Felat said: 'The attack on Raqqa will take place in the beginning of the summer.'

She later specified that it would likely start in June based on 'military and tactical considerations.'

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

More than 1,200 'quit Damascus rebel zones' under deal.

SDF: Final push on ISIL's Raqqa 'likely next month'. Kurdish-led forces say they will push on to IS capital.

Coalition: Capture of IS-held town undermines militant group.

As summer heat looms, post-IS Mosul faces water crisis.

Iran candidates exchange barbs in fiery final debate.

Yemeni government rejects southern autonomous council.

Israel plans for President Trump's visit.

ASIA

US intelligence: Afghanistan will 'almost certainly' deteriorate.

North Korea denounces U.S. sanctions bill.

Trump, South Korea's Moon agree to cooperate on North Korea.

Pakistan blast targets senator's convoy, killing 25. Bomb attack kills at least 25 in Pakistan's Balochistan.

Philippines-China tensions simmer over underwater plateau.

Myanmar army chief compares Rohingya crackdown to Northern Ireland.

New Zealand population surges most since world turmoil of 1974.

AFRICA

South Sudan's ousted army chief 'in a fighting mood', says president. President seeks to assert South Sudan authority after sacking army chief.

Somalia signs security pact with backers at London talks.

258 Nigerians deported from Libya return home, some in pain.

In Senegal, Iran and Saudi Arabia vie for religious influence.

Torture victim images spur brutality accusations against Uganda's police.

Gunfire as I.Coast troops resume protest despite 'apology'. Ivory Coast soldiers revolt over bonus pay dispute.

Democratic Republic of the Congo hit by Ebola outbreak.

EUROPE

Kremlin says may retaliate against USA over expulsion of Russian diplomats.

America's 'emotional obsession' with Russia will end soon, Kremlin says.

'U.S. supports Ukraine' against Russia, Trump tells foreign minister.

Macron to visit Merkel in Berlin on Monday.

IMF, eurozone still at loggerheads over Greece.

UK Labour leader accuses Theresa May of ‘pandering’ to Trump.

Anxiety mounts as Italy moves to get more migrants out.

AMERICAS

Trump warns sacked FBI chief over media leaks.

Trump wrote a letter to Lindsey Graham about Russia investments.

US Treasury chief to brief key allies on Trump policies.

Venezuela protests: Young demonstrators fling faeces at soldiers as unrest claims more lives.

Attorney: At least 65 Venezuelan military members detained.

Venezuelans face severe food shortage.

Brazil ends state of emergency over Zika virus.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Defense Secretary Mattis to hold 'major' ISIS press conference next week: Trump.

EU alarmed by US laptop plans. US & EU in urgent talks over Washington plan to expand laptop ban on flights from Europe.

American al Qaeda member turned informant avoids long sentence.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Another record in reach of tech stocks as big 5 add $500 billion.

Sierra Leone: 709-carat diamond fails to attract buyers.

US and China sign trade agreement. China to import poultry, beef in new U.S. trade deal.

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