Facebook Twitter Google LinkedIn
Community Benefits Group, Inc. Solutions that empower business success

International News

Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to TurkeyAn Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the U.S. amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey after Greece said it wouldn't risk its relations with America by aiding it. The crew of the oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, on Saturday updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country's south and home to an oil terminal.

Date : Sun, 25 Aug 2019 00:21:33 -0400

Read More

UK Hong Kong consulate worker Simon Cheng freed after detention in mainland China

UK Hong Kong consulate worker Simon Cheng freed after detention in mainland ChinaA British consulate employee in Hong Kong has been freed by China after being detained for 15 days on the mainland amid rising tensions between the former British colony and Beijing. Simon Cheng, 28, a trade and investment officer at the Hong Kong consulate’s Scottish Development International section, went missing on August 8 on his way back from a work trip in Shenzhen, a neighbouring Chinese city.  It was not until after the UK expressed “extreme concern” about his disappearance that China’s foreign ministry broke its silence, confirming Mr Cheng had been detained without releasing further details.  On Saturday, his family announced that he had come back. "Simon has returned to Hong Kong; thanks you everyone for your support! Simon and his family wish to have some time to rest and recover, and will not take any interview,” they said in a statement.   An activist holds an illustration of Simon Cheng during a gathering outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong  Credit: AFP Chinese police in Shenzhen confirmed that Mr Cheng had been detained for violating public security management regulations, and was released after that period on Saturday.  Police also said he had “confessed to the facts of his illegal activity,” without saying what those activities were. Mr Cheng was not formally charged or tried in court, and his family rejected allegations in Chinese state media that he had been detained for visiting prostitutes.  On Friday the UK issued a warning to all travellers to Hong Kong about increased scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings. The warning added that mobile phones and electronic devices were being checked by border patrol. Mr Cheng’s mysterious disappearance highlights China’s murky legal and judicial system – something that help kicked off mass protests early June in Hong Kong. Many fear freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, guaranteed for at least 50 years under an agreement that became effective when the former British colony was returned to Beijing, are fast-disappearing under China’s ruling Communist Party.  Hong Kong crisis | Comment and analysis Millions first took to the streets against a now-suspended extradition proposal that would have sent people to face trial in mainland China, where Communist Party control of the courts contributes to a 99.9 per cent conviction rate. Forced confessions are also common with suspects paraded on state television. “What happened to Simong Cheng – this is a common tactic used by the central government to put pressure on people,” said Kammy Yang, 50, an office clerk at a protest on Saturday. “Many Chinese activists were accused of prostitution or tax scams; this is their strategy in China, trying to suppress freedom.” Thousands of protesters on Saturday engaged in a series of skirmishes, throwing projectiles from bricks to petrol bombs at police who responded with sprays of tear gas and rubber bullets. It was the first time tear gas had been deployed in 10 days, a period of relative calm as protesters recalibrated their approach in an otherwise tumultuous, violent summer.  Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Central district of Hong Kong, China, on Friday Credit: Bloomberg “The reasons why protesters are building roadblocks, surrounding police stations, and throwing bricks – it’s because the government doesn’t respond to us,” said Vaso Chan, 28, an office clerk. “It’s not fun for any of us to come out during summer break.” Protesters spray painted slogans like “Give me liberty or death,” Chinazi,” and “HK popo Gestapo,” on sidewalks and highways. As the political movement has grown, so have protesters’ demands, who are now calling for an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests, the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, and direct leadership elections.  City leaders however have made no concessions, instead thrusting the police to the front lines to handle the situation, further angering protesters.  Demonstrations are occurring nearly every day now in the financial hub, disrupting traffic and public transportation. On Saturday, several stations closed along a planned march route. But despite growing unrest, public support for the protesters has stayed strong, with marches and strikes planned through September. “No matter whether those protesters are peaceful protesters or protesters that are standing in the ‘front lines’, no matter what they do, we will support them,” said Mr Chan.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:15:04 -0400

Read More

South Korea begins annual war games to defend against Japan

South Korea begins annual war games to defend against JapanSouth Korea Sunday began two days of war games to practise defending disputed islands off its east coast against an unlikely attack from Japan, further stoking tensions between the Asian neighbours. The annual drills come just days after Seoul terminated a military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo, with the countries at loggerheads over Japan's use of forced labour during World War II. The two-day exercise will involve warships and aircraft, the South Korean navy said in a text message without providing more detail.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 22:16:47 -0400

Read More

Former police officer charged with murder for botched Houston raid

Former police officer charged with murder for botched Houston raidProsecutors are reviewing 14,000 criminal cases involving the drug squad that conducted the raid for evidence of improprieties, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told a news conference. In January, then police officer Gerald Goines wrote in an affidavit to obtain a search warrant that an informant had bought heroin at the house, Ogg said. On Jan. 28, Goines and his Houston narcotics squad entered the house without knocking, as allowed under the warrant.

Date : Fri, 23 Aug 2019 19:15:07 -0400

Read More

Felix Sater: Trump wanted to reveal my secret CIA, FBI work during the campaign

Felix Sater: Trump wanted to reveal my secret CIA, FBI work during the campaignDuring the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump wanted to reveal years of secret work that his one-time real estate adviser Felix Sater did for the CIA and FBI, Sater tells the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 15:00:21 -0400

Read More

Revered as a saint by online extremists, how Christchurch shooter inspired copycat terrorists around the world

Revered as a saint by online extremists, how Christchurch shooter inspired copycat terrorists around the world“Brenton Tarrant was a catalyst for me personally. He showed me that it could be done. And that it needed to be done.”Those were the words written by John Timothy Earnest shortly before he stormed a synagogue in Poway, California, and opened fire on the Jewish congregation.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 16:22:59 -0400

Read More

Doubling down on racist comments, council candidate says she opposes interracial marriage

Doubling down on racist comments, council candidate says she opposes interracial marriageMarysville, Michigan mayor Dan Damman has called for city council candidate Jean Cramer to withdraw. She says she doesn't plan to.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 17:33:27 -0400

Read More

Iceland Held Talks With U.S. Ambassador Over Pence Visit

Iceland Held Talks With U.S. Ambassador Over Pence Visit(Bloomberg) -- Iceland’ prime minister is open to a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence during his trip to the Nordic island, should the visit be extended.The option was discussed during a pre-scheduled meeting on Friday between Katrin Jakobsdottir and ambassador Jeffrey Gunter, a government spokesman told Bloomberg.Jakobsdottir, a left-of-center feminist and LGBT advocate, is due to attend a conference by Nordic trade union leaders in Sweden on Sept. 4. That’s the same day in which Pence is due to arrive.Jakobsdottir’s decision to not change her schedule to accommodate the vice president’s visit has been criticized at home.Olaf­ur Hardar­son, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, told local media Morgunbladid it would be “unusual” for the prime minister not to greet the American vice president.According to her spokeswoman, a final decision on whether the meeting can take place has not yet been made.The White House said Pence planned to discuss trade opportunities, the Arctic and NATO efforts to counter Russian aggression in the region.The scheduling snafu is the latest episode in a series of exchanges involving Donald Trump and the Nordics.Pence’s visit would take place in the wake of a very public spat between the U.S. president and Denmark over its refusal to sell Greenland.Trump said Saturday he had held a “nice” conversation with Mette Frederiksen, with the exchange coming just days after labeling the Danish prime minister as “nasty.”In 2017, Sweden reacted forcibly to Trump’s portrayal of the Nordic nation as being in a state of chaos and overrun by crime after an influx of refugees.(Adds quote in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at [email protected], Nick Rigillo, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Date : Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:27:24 -0400

Read More

Prince Andrew took flight on Epstein private jet with Russian model

Prince Andrew took flight on Epstein private  jet with Russian modelIn 1999, prince and Anna Malova were among nine people on previously undisclosed flight from the US Virgin Islands to FloridaPrince Andrew in 2013. Photograph: Koji Sasahara/APPrince Andrew took a previously undisclosed flight on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet with a group that included a Russian model.Andrew and Anna Malova, then 27, were among nine people on Epstein’s plane for a trip from the US Virgin Islands to Florida in February 1999, according to flight logs.Malova was later jailed in the US for failing to comply with a court-ordered programme relating to her use of prescription painkillers.The discovery of the flight added to pressure on Andrew over his friendship with Epstein, who this month was found dead at 66 in his New York jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking. The city medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.Andrew has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He said in a statement on Saturday that he did not “see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort” that led to Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting sex from an underage girl. The prince said it was a mistake to have continued seeing Epstein after that.The February 1999 flight, first reported by the Sunday Times, was recorded in logs kept by Epstein’s pilots that were filed to a US court by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged she was used as a sex slave by Epstein.The flight log was among almost 2,000 pages of records released by a federal judge in New York this month. It was missing from the notorious 73 pages of previously released Epstein flight logs, some of which also named Andrew as a passenger.The group flew from St Thomas, the airport closest to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, to Palm Beach in Florida, where Epstein had a mansion. The disgraced money manager is accused of abusing underage girls at both properties and other sites.There is no suggestion Malova or Andrew were involved in any wrongdoing during the trip.They and Epstein were joined on the flight by others including Epstein’s close friend Ghislaine Maxwell, a daughter of the late financier Robert Maxwell who has been accused by several victims of assisting Epstein’s abuse of girls. Maxwell denies this.Also present was Gwendolyn Beck, a former financial industry executive and friend of Epstein, who made a failed run for Congress in Virginia in 2014. Epstein donated more than $12,000 to Beck’s campaign.Malova did not respond to an email. A former Miss Russia, she moved to the US and made it to the final of the 1998 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which was then owned by Donald Trump – another former friend of Epstein.In 2010 she was accused of forging a prescription for Vicodin from a stolen doctor’s pad. She was jailed in May 2011 after repeatedly arriving late for a court-mandated drug programme. She denied all the charges against her.Last week it was alleged that Andrew was once seen receiving a foot massage from “two young well-dressed Russian women” at Epstein’s home in Manhattan. The claim was made in an email by the literary agent John Brockman, another former Epstein associate.Last week also saw the release of video of Andrew at Epstein's New York City home in 2010.

Date : Sun, 25 Aug 2019 12:39:00 -0400

Read More

G7 leaders vow to help Brazil fight fires, repair damage

G7 leaders vow to help Brazil fight fires, repair damageLeaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they are preparing to help Brazil battle fires burning across the Amazon region and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers got ready to join the fight against blazes that have caused global alarm. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country and others will talk with Brazil about reforestation in the Amazon once fires there have been extinguished. "Of course (this is) Brazilian territory, but we have a question here of the rainforests that is really a global question," she said.

Date : Sun, 25 Aug 2019 18:00:19 -0400

Read More