Encouraged by Johnson’s visit, UK officials now hoping rest of EU agrees to work on Brexit solution

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is hoping the rest of the European Union falls in behind France and Germany and agrees to work on solving a deadlock over Brexit, with officials sensing a glimmer of hope after meetings this week, but conscious of the need for a wider consensus in Europe. FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before a meeting on Brexit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo FuentesBritain is on course to leave the EU, its biggest trading partner,…

Hong Kong families form peaceful human chains ahead of airport protest

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Thousands of chanting Hong Kong protesters joined hands to form human chains on Friday in a peaceful protest, with almost three months of anti-government demonstrations showing no sign of let-up across the Chinese-ruled territory. Protesters hold hands to form a human chain during a rally to call for political reforms at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, China, August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas PeterDemonstrators, families young and old, some people masked, some using hand wipes to stay clean, linked hands across different districts as others held…

As EU threatens trade retaliation, Brazil sends army to fight Amazon fires

BRASILIA (Reuters) – European leaders on Friday threatened to tear up a trade deal with South America, reflecting the growing international dismay and anger with Brazil as a record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest intensified the unfolding environmental crisis. Against the global chorus of condemnation, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was mobilizing the army to help combat the blazes, while his administration launched a diplomatic charm offensive to try to mend bridges. The Trump administration said it was “deeply concerned” about the wildfires, which now look set to be…

Wall Street plunges as U.S.-China trade war intensifies

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street tumbled on Friday after the U.S.-China trade war escalated in dramatic fashion, with President Donald Trump demanding that American companies seek alternatives to doing business with China after Beijing announced its own slate of retaliatory measures. All three major U.S. stock indexes ended the session sharply lower, posting their fourth consecutive weekly declines. The latest exchanges in the long-running tariff row triggered a broad-based sell-off that hit shares of companies with high exposure to China the hardest, such as chipmakers and other top technology…

Brazil’s indigenous people swear to fight for Amazon ‘to last drop of blood’

CANUTAMA, Brazil (Reuters) – Members of Brazil’s Mura indigenous tribe painted their bodies with orange-red paint and took up long bows and clubs as they headed into the jungle this week, prepared for battle. Their enemy? The deforestation and destruction of their home, the Amazon rainforest. There are more than 18,000 Mura that live in Amazonas state, the largest and best-preserved state in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, according to data compiled by the non-government organization Instituto Socioambiental. Members of the tribe showed Reuters an area the size of several football fields…

Facing global pressure, Brazil’s Bolsonaro may send army to curb Amazon fires

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Amid growing global condemnation, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday he may mobilize the army to help combat a record number of fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest. The Trump administration said it was “deeply concerned” about the wildfires and European leaders ratcheted up criticism of Brazil’s handling of the crisis, which now looks set to be discussed at a summit of G7 leaders in France this weekend. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office went so far as to accuse Bolsonaro of lying when he downplayed concerns…

China strikes back at U.S. with new tariffs on $75 billion in goods

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Friday it will impose retaliatory tariffs against about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, putting as much as an extra 10% on top of existing rates in the dispute between the world’s top two economies. The latest salvo from China comes after the United States unveiled tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, including consumer electronics, scheduled to go into effect in two stages on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. China will impose additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on a…

Trump presses U.S. companies to close China operations

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in front of a portrait of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln prior to presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Boston Celtics legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday he was ordering U.S. companies to look at ways to close their operations in China and make more of their products in the United States instead, a rhetorical strike at Beijing as trade…

As Amazon burns, Brazil’s Bolsonaro tells rest of world not to interfere

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Amid growing international criticism over the wildfires raging through the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday admitted farmers could be illegally setting the rainforest ablaze but told foreign powers not to interfere. French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres both took to Twitter to express concern about the fires that have reached a record number this year, devastating vast swathes of forest considered a vital bulwark against climate change. Bolsonaro responded angrily to what he regarded as meddling. “These countries that…

EU piles pressure on Brazil over Amazon fires

DUBLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union piled pressure on Friday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon basin, with Ireland and France saying they could block a trade deal and Finland urging a ban on Brazilian beef imports. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of a deforested plot of the Amazon near Humaita, Amazonas State, Brazil August 22, 2019/File PhotoBolsonaro has rejected what he calls foreign interference in domestic affairs in Brazil, where vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest are ablaze in what is known as the…

Japan says South Korea fails to grasp North Korea threat with scrapping of pact

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japanese Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya said on Friday South Korea’s decision to end an intelligence-sharing pact was regrettable and showed it failed to appreciate the growing security threat posed by North Korea. South Korea officially informed Japan on Friday of its decision to scrap the intelligence-sharing agreement, further straining ties amid a dispute over South Koreans pressed into forced labor during Japan’s wartime occupation of Korea. “North Korea’s repeated missile tests threaten national security, and cooperating between Japan and South Korea and with the U.S. is…

Hong Kong airport faces renewed protest turbulence after last week’s fracas

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced for an anti-government protest “stress test” of the airport this weekend, as weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of let-up amid rising tension between China and some Western nations. FILE PHOTO: Officials post a court injunction to stop people from obstructing airport operations at an entrance to Terminal 1 of Hong Kong Airport, China August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas PeterThe airport, reached by a gleaming suspension bridge carrying both rail and road traffic, was forced to close last…

Asian stocks cautious ahead of Powell’s speech; yuan at fresh 11-1/2 year low

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares struggled to make headway on Friday as uncertainty over how much further the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut interest rates added to investors’ worries over slowing global growth. A passerby walks past in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei KatoWith the U.S.-China trade war dragging on, and political tumult in Hong Kong, Italy and Britain adding to the tense backdrop, investors were keenly awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a gathering of central bankers…

Hong Kong protesters target airport week after arrivals hall mayhem

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced for multiple anti-government demonstrations on Friday and a “stress test” of the airport this weekend, as protests in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of let-up and diplomatic tension between China and some Western nations rose. Students attend a rally to call for political reforms outside City Hall in Hong Kong, China, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachThe airport, built on reclaimed land and reached by train or a highway over a series of spectacular interlocking bridges, was forced to close last week and…

‘People were hiding’: Bangladesh bid to repatriate Rohingya stalls as refugees refuse

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) – An attempt to begin repatriating thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in camps in Bangladesh stalled on Thursday after nearly 300 refugee families refused to go back to Myanmar, almost a year after a similar effort failed amid protests. FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugee children look on at the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir HossainLast week, the neighbors said they had agreed Aug. 22 as the start date for the return of 3,450 people cleared by Myanmar, of more than 730,000…

Two years on, a look at the Rohingya crisis

YANGON (Reuters) – This month marks the second anniversary of the fleeing of more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s northwest Rakhine State to Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in response to an attack by Muslim militants on Myanmar police posts. FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees, who crossed the border from Myanmar two days before, walk after they received permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue on to the refugee camps, in Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo Here is a timeline of key events in…

Hong Kong gears up for fresh protests as activists target airport

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong braced on Friday for further demonstrations and a “stress test” of the city’s international airport at the weekend, as nearly three months of anti-government protests showed no sign of abating. General view of the central district of Hong Kong, China, August 22 , 2019. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachMultiple protests are planned for Friday, including a march by accountants to government headquarters and a “Baltic Chain” event where protesters will join hands across different districts in the Chinese territory. In 1989 an estimated two million people joined…

Bernie Sanders proposes $16.3 trillion Green New Deal plan

WASHINGTON, August 22 (Reuters) – Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders unveiled a climate change strategy on Thursday that would mobilize $16.3 trillion to help the U.S. generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and achieve “full decarbonization” by 2050. The plan would “launch a decade of the Green New Deal,” a 10-year federal “mobilization” that would factor climate change into every policy action from immigration to foreign policy while promising to create 20 million jobs in the process. The plan outlines dozens of policies aimed aggressively moving the…

Ukraine, EU oppose Trump’s suggestion of readmitting Russia to G7

KIEV/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine’s president backed leading European powers on Thursday in opposing the readmission of Russia to the Group of Seven advanced economies, saying Moscow still occupied Crimea and was frustrating peace in eastern Ukraine. A G7 Summit patch is seen on a French Gendarme’s uniform as he patrols at a toll station in Anglet ahead of the G7 Summit in the French coastal resort of Biarritz, France, August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Regis DuvignauU.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it would be “appropriate” to have Russia rejoin what used…

Trump’s message to G7 leaders this weekend: Be more like U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will highlight U.S. economic policies under his stewardship at meetings with other G7 leaders this weekend in France and encourage allies to follow the American model to stave off problems with the global economy, officials said. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the AMVETS (American Veterans) National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan WoolstonTrump will attend the G7 summit in France from Saturday to Monday and plans to hold individual meetings with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India and…

Wall St. falls after disappointing data, Fed policymakers dampen rate cut hopes

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks turned lower on Thursday as the first contraction in the manufacturing sector in nearly a decade and uncertainty about future interest rate cuts overshadowed an initial boost from upbeat retail earnings. IHS Markit said its “flash” survey on new orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell to 49.5 in August, over concerns whether the U.S.-China trade war would tip the economy into a recession. In response, yields on the U.S. two-year Treasury notes again moved above those of 10-Year bonds. “Manufacturing has been pretty weak across the…

Cleared for takeoff: Saudi women start exercising their newest right

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s international airports are the scene of the latest “first” for women citizens, who can now leave the country without permission from a male relative as the kingdom chips away at its heavily criticized guardianship system. FILE PHOTO: A Saudi woman walks with her luggage as she arrives at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File PhotoSalma, a 40-year-old mother of three, travels abroad regularly with authorization from her legal guardian – formerly her then-husband and now her father.…

Bangladesh bid to repatriate Rohingya stalls as refugees refuse to return to Myanmar

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) – An attempt to begin repatriating thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in camps in Bangladesh stalled on Thursday after nearly 300 refugee families refused to go back to Myanmar, almost a year after a similar effort failed amid protests. FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees collect drinking water at the Shalbagan refugee camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File PhotoLast week, the neighbors said they had agreed Aug. 22 as the start date for the return of 3,450 people cleared by Myanmar, of more than…

An African American mother and daughter journey to their family’s past in Ghana

CAPE COAST, GHANA (Reuters) – Halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, the plane carrying Tani Sanchez and her daughter Tani Sylvester on a heritage tour to Ghana crossed paths with a powerful storm. A sharp drop in elevation hurled flight attendants to the floor. Passengers started screaming and crying. “‘Oh my God, I brought my mom! What did I do?’” Sylvester, 40, recalled thinking as the plane shook. “It was the scariest thing that has ever happened in my life.” After a few minutes, the pilot pulled the aircraft to safety…

Setting stern tone, France’s Macron to spar with Britain’s Johnson on Brexit

PARIS (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday try to convince France to reopen Brexit negotiations less than a day after President Emmanuel Macron bluntly ruled out any further talks on the divorce deal. FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Fort Bregancon near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, France August 19, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS In his first foreign trip since winning the premiership a month ago, Johnson is warning German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron that they…

Miracle needed to solve Irish border problem: Luxembourg foreign minister

FILE PHOTO – Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Foreign Ministers at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019.      REUTERS/Joshua RobertsBERLIN (Reuters) – A miracle would need to happen for the European Union and Britain to find a solution to the Irish border problem to avoid a no-deal Brexit, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said in remarks published on Thursday. “Miracles should never be ruled out, but I’m skeptical we can simply pluck something out of the air…

Fitbit targets 1 million new users with Singapore government tie-up

(Reuters) – Fitbit Inc (FIT.N) said on Wednesday it signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to one million users. FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past an advertising billboard for Fitbit Ionic watches at the IFA Electronics Show in Berlin, Germany, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio BenschFitbit will supply its trackers free of charge on the condition users spend S$10 ($7.22) each month, for a year, on the company’s premium subscription. “The program’s goal is to ultimately…

South Korea says U.S., North Korea will restart dialogue ‘soon’

SEOUL (Reuters) – The United States and North Korea are expected to reopen denuclearisation talks soon and they will go well, a senior South Korean official said on Thursday, boosting hopes for progress in negotiations after a prolonged stalemate. Residents hold US and North Korean flags while they wait for motorcade of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un en route to the Metropole Hotel for the second US- North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/KhamSouth Korea’s deputy national security adviser, Kim Hyun-chong, gave his upbeat assessment after…

Asia shares sit still, await clarity on Fed policy

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares went flat on Thursday as uncertainty over the outlook for both U.S. interest rates and the chance of global fiscal stimulus sucked the life out of markets. A man is reflected on an electronic board showing a graph analyzing recent change of Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonMoves were miniscule, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.2% in very light volumes. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.1%, as did Shanghai blue chips. E-Mini futures for…

Banks in Hong Kong condemn violence, urge restoration of ‘harmony’

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Some of Hong Kong’s biggest banks published full-page newspaper advertisements on Thursday calling for the preservation of law and order in the Chinese territory and condemning violence, as weeks of pro-democracy protests show no sign of abating. FILE PHOTO: Anti-extradition bill protesters attend a demonstration in Hennessy Road in Wan Chai neighbourhood in Hong Kong, China, August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File PhotoHSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia, which published the advertisements in major newspapers in the Asian financial hub, all urged the restoration of…