Thai PM sets Sept deadline to decide on role in politics ahead of election

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will announce in September whether he will take part in politics in the run-up to general elections next year, he said on Tuesday. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives for a visit near the Kaeng Krachan Dam at Petchaburi province, Thailand, August 8, 2018. Thailand Government House/Handout via REUTERS May next year is the most recent deadline Prayuth’s junta has set for an election its critics hope will return Thailand to civilian rule after more than four years of the military government,…

China angered at new U.S. defense act, to assess content

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Tuesday condemned measures targeting it in a new U.S. defense act, saying it exaggerated antagonism and that Beijing would take a close look at aspects that beef up the role of a U.S. panel that reviews foreign investment proposals. U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the National Defense Authorization Act after signing it in front of soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, U.S., August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaChina’s complaints about the act come as the world’s two biggest…

Trump signs defense policy bill with watered-down China measures

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Monday that authorizes military spending and includes watered-down controls on U.S. government contracts with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. U.S. President Donald Trump observes a demonstration with U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division troops, an attack helicopter and artillery as he visits Fort Drum, New York, U.S., August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria Trump signed the law at the U.S. Army’s Fort Drum base in upstate New York on his way back…

New Mexico family saw dead boy as guide for future attacks: prosecutors

TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) – A 3-year-old boy found buried at a New Mexico desert compound died in a ritual to “cast out demonic spirits,” but his extended family believed he would “return as Jesus” to identify “corrupt” targets for them to attack, prosecutors said on Monday. Authorities unearthed the boy’s remains at a ramshackle compound north of Taos, three days after an Aug. 3 raid in which investigators found 11 other children alive but malnourished and arrested five adults on charges of abusing them. At least some of the children,…

Musk talking to Saudi fund, others as he seeks Tesla buyout financing

(Reuters) – Elon Musk on Monday explained what he meant by tweeting “funding secured” to take Tesla Inc private: he is confident a deal can be done but has not yet finalized a plan. What exactly Musk had intended by saying “secured” has emerged as a potential legal and regulatory minefield for the Silicon Valley billionaire after his unorthodox disclosure on Twitter last Tuesday that he was looking into taking Tesla out of the public markets for $420 a share. Since then, no investors have stepped forward publicly as being…

Prosecutors rest case against Manafort on trial’s 10th day

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Monday rested their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after 10 days of testimony alleging how he avoided taxes on at least $16 million of income and lied to banks to maintain an extravagant lifestyle once his work for pro-Kremlin politicians in Ukraine dried up. More than two dozen witnesses painted a picture of Manafort, 69, as a lavish spender with little regard for the law. A political consultant in the Ukraine, Manafort stashed his money in 31 undisclosed offshore bank…

Musk still talking to Saudi fund, others as he seeks buyout financing

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday a July 31 meeting with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund convinced him he could secure funding to take the electric car-maker private, but that he was still talking to the fund and other investors as he seeks to nail down financing. Musk’s latest disclosure comes six days after he surprised investors by announcing on Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private at a price of $420 per share and that funding was “secured.” Since then, no investors…

Prosecutors to wrap up Manafort case, may soon go to jury

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Monday plan to wrap up their tax and bank fraud case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, making it likely the case will go to the jury by midweek if the defense decides not to call any witnesses. The trial is in its 10th day in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and is scheduled to resume Monday afternoon. The case arose from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Before completing their case, prosecutors will…

Musk says talking to Saudi fund, others on Tesla buyout

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday he was in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and other potential backers of his plan to take the electric car-maker private, but said financing was not yet nailed down. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk at a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File PhotoMusk’s disclosure, made in a blog post on Tesla’s website, comes six days after the Silicon Valley billionaire shocked investors with a…

Trump says kept Omarosa because she ‘said great things about me’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he kept former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on staff because she praised him even as she failed to do her job, the latest insult in the two former reality television stars’ public battle. FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault attend a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 3 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File PhotoTrump said the former “The Apprentice” contestant had begged for a job in the White House but was hated by others, missed…

Paris residents peeved at very public eco-friendly urinals

PARIS (Reuters) – A new set of eco-friendly but completely exposed urinals deployed on the streets of Paris are provoking uproar from locals. A journalist poses as he stands in front of a bright red, eco-friendly urinal on the Ile Saint-Louis along the Seine River in Paris, France, August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe WojazerOne of the bright red “urinoirs” installed on the Ile Saint-Louis, not far from Notre Dame cathedral and overlooking tourist boats passing on the Seine, has caused particular indignation. Locals have written to the town hall to demand…

Iran’s Khamenei rejects Trump offer of talks, chides government over economy

ANKARA (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader on Monday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of unconditional talks to improve bilateral ties and he also accused the Iranian government of economic mismanagement in the face of reimposed U.S. sanctions. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at the Hussayniyeh of Imam Khomeini in Tehran, Iran, August 13, 2018. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERSWashington reimposed the sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions. Trump…

Merkel, Putin to discuss Syria, Ukraine and energy

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in Syria, the conflict in east Ukraine and a disputed pipeline to bring Russian gas to Germany during talks near Berlin on Saturday, a German government spokesman said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference with Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic (not pictured) at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal HanschkeThe two leaders, who last met in May, will each make statements at 1600 GMT before the start of the talks…

China rejects allegations of detaining 1 million Uighurs in camps in Xinjiang

GENEVA (Reuters) – China rejected on Monday allegations raised by a U.N. panel that 1 million Uighurs may be held in internment camps in the Xinjiang autonomous region. An ethnic Uighur looks at the old town in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said on Friday it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded…

Putin has not yet ordered retaliatory sanctions against United States: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has not yet ordered retaliatory sanctions against the United States because Washington has not yet introduced new restrictions on Moscow and it is unclear what those curbs will be, the Kremlin said on Monday. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor/File PhotoThe State Department announced new sanctions on Wednesday last week, blaming Moscow for the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain in March, something…

North, South Korea agree on third summit to be held in Pyongyang

SEOUL (Reuters) – North and South Korea agreed to hold a summit in Pyongyang in September, the latest step forward in cross-border ties this year after more high-level talks on Monday, the South’s Unification Ministry said. South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, arrive for their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone, North Korea, August 13, 2018. Yonhap via REUTERSNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in…

Koepka holds off Woods to win PGA Championship

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – Brooks Koepka fought off an inspired challenge from Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship on Sunday, giving the big-hitting American his second major title this season. Aug 12, 2018; Saint Louis, MO, USA; Brooks Koepka celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club. John David Mercer-USA TODAY SportsKoepka withstood stifling pressure and sweltering heat to card a four-under 66 good enough for a two-shot victory over Woods, who was chasing his first major title in a decade…

Asian shares, euro trampled as Turkish rout spreads

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asia share markets skidded and the euro hit one-year lows on Monday as a renewed rout in the Turkish lira infected the South African rand and drove demand for safe harbors, including the U.S. dollar, Swiss franc and yen. People walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai The run from risk dragged MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 1.3 percent to a five-week low. Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.6 percent with every…

Empty shipyard and suicides as ‘Hyundai Town’ grapples with grim future

ULSAN, South Korea (Reuters) – When Lee Dong-hee came to Ulsan to work for Hyundai Heavy Industries five years ago, shipyards in the city known as Hyundai Town operated day and night and workers could make triple South Korea’s annual average salary. Giant cranes of Hyundai Heavy Industries are seen in Ulsan, South Korea, May 29, 2018. Picture taken on May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiBut the 52-year-old was laid off in January, joining some 27,000 workers and subcontractors who lost their jobs at Hyundai Heavy (009540.KS) between 2015 and 2017…

Asia shares, euro pressured by Turkish crisis

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asia share markets slipped and the euro hit one-year lows on Monday as a fresh fall in the Turkish lira fueled demand for safe havens, including the U.S. dollar, Swiss franc and yen. People walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.95 percent and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 percent as bourses across the region turned red. EMini futures for the S&P 500 were off 0.15…

Turkey says has action plan to ease market concerns; lira firms from record low

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey has drafted a economic action plan and will start implementing it on Monday morning to ease investor concerns, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sunday, after the lira plunged to a new record low in early Asia Pacific trade. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses businessmen in Trabzon, Turkey August 12, 2018. Murat Kula/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERSIn an interview with Hurriyet newspaper published online, Albayrak described the lira’s weakness as “an attack,” echoing President Tayyip Erdogan – who is his father-in-law – and said the action plan…

Washington white nationalist rally sputters in sea of counterprotesters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A white nationalist rally in the heart of Washington drew around 20 demonstrators and hundreds of chanting counterprotesters on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. A large police presence kept the two sides separated in Lafayette Square, in front of the White House. After roughly two hours and a few speeches, the “Unite the Right 2” rally ended early when it began to rain and two police vans escorted the demonstrators back to Virginia. Sunday’s events, while tense at times, were a…

Washington police out in force for far right rally on Charlottesville anniversary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington was bracing for a white nationalist rally on Sunday organized to coincide with the anniversary of last year’s racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The “Unite the Right 2” event was set to take place at 5:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. Several demonstrations by counterprotesters, who were expected to outnumber the white nationalists, were due to be held nearby. Authorities have promised an enormous police presence to keep both sides apart and avoid the street brawls that…

Turkey’s Erdogan stands by opposition to high interest rates

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stood by his opposition to high interest rates on Sunday despite sharp falls in the currency, saying the lira’s weakness did not reflect the country’s economic realities. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party in Rize, Turkey August 11, 2018. Murat Kula/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS Speaking to supporters in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast, Erdogan dismissed suggestions that Turkey was in a financial crisis like those seen in Asia two decades ago, dampening expectations of a rate rise…

Trump backs boycott of Harley Davidson in steel tariff dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump backed boycotting American motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson Inc (HOG.N) on Sunday, the latest salvo in a dispute between the company and Trump over tariffs on steel. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence leaves after meeting with Harley Davidson executives at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaThe Wisconsin-based motorcycle manufacturer announced a plan earlier this year to move production of motorcycles for the European Union from the United States to its…

Washington braces for far right rally a year after Charlottesville clashes

WASHINGTON/CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Reuters) – Washington was bracing for a white nationalist rally on Sunday organized to coincide with the anniversary of last year’s racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. FILE PHOTO: Counter-protesters chant, a day before a white nationalist-led rally marking the one year anniversary of the 2017 Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ protests, outside the White House in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah MillisThe “Unite the Right 2” event was set to take place at 5:30 p.m. in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. Several demonstrations…

Hundreds take to Charlottesville streets a year after far-right rally

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Reuters) – Hundreds of students and left-wing activists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, as a rally to mark the anniversary of last year’s white nationalist gathering turned largely into an anti-police protest. With chants like, “Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” the protesters’ criticisms of both police and the University of Virginia underscored the resentment that still exists a year after torch-bearing neo-Nazis marched through campus, shouting anti-Semitic messages and beating counterprotesters. Several students said they were angry that the police response was…

NASA launches probe to go deep into Sun’s scorching atmosphere

(Reuters) – NASA launched a space probe early Sunday that will go closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before, the agency announced. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike BrownThe craft will endure extreme heat while zooming through the solar corona to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere that gives rise to the solar winds. Slideshow (2 Images)The Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft the size of a small car, launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida about 3:30 a.m.…

Israel seeks early re-tender of mining rights to shore up Dead Sea

EIN BOKEK, Israel (Reuters) – The Dead Sea is shrinking at the rate of about a meter a year, leaving behind deserted beaches and sinkholes in a slow-motion environmental disaster. A general view shows Dead Sea Works factory at the Dead Sea, Israel July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir CohenThe main culprit is the drying up of the Jordan river, its main tributary, as communities upstream draw on it for farming and drinking. But mineral extraction makes the crisis worse – of the 700-800 million cubic meters of water lost each year,…

Syrian rebels build an army with Turkish help, face challenges

AZAZ, Syria (Reuters) – A “National Army” being set up by Syrian rebels with Turkey’s help could become a long-term obstacle to President Bashar al-Assad’s recovery of the northwest – if they can end factional rivalries that have long blighted the opposition. Fighters of National Army, backed by Turkey, stand at a back of a truck in the city of al-Bab, Syria August 5, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil AshawiThe effort is at the heart of plans by the Turkish-backed opposition to secure and govern a strip of territory that forms part of…