Trump asked Japan PM to buy farm products: Kyodo
US President Donald Trump has directly asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy farm products worth a ‘huge amount’, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified Japanese and US government sources.
Japan and the United States have agreed to target a broad deal on bilateral trade by September, seeking to bridge differences of opinion over tariffs on beef and the automobile sector, the Nikkei business daily reported earlier this month.
Trump had requested that Japan buy specific products such as soybeans and wheat, Kyodo reported, adding that the request was separate from the framework of current trade talks between Washington and Tokyo, Reuters reported.
Kyodo said the Japanese government would consider its response and one proposal floated was to purchase the farm products as food support for African countries.
The purchase would be worth several hundred million dollars including transport costs, Kyodo said.
China gets tougher on Trump
According to AP, facing another US tariff hike, Chinese President Xi Jinping is getting tougher with Washington instead of backing down.
Beijing fired what economists called a “warning shot” at Washington by letting its currency weaken in response to Trump’s latest threat of more punitive import duties on Sept. 1. Chinese buyers canceled multibillion-dollar purchases of US soybeans. Regulators are threatening to place American companies on an “unreliable entities” list that might face curbs on their operations.
Both sides have incentives to settle a trade war that is battering exporters on either side of the Pacific and threatening to tip the global economy into recession. But Xi’s government is lashing out and might be, in a revival of traditional Chinese strategy, settling in for prolonged wrangling in response to what it deems American bullying and attempts to handicap China’s economic development.
Negotiators are to meet in September in Washington, but China’s political calendar makes progress unlikely. The ruling Communist Party is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary in power on Oct. 1 — a nationalism-drenched milestone that puts pressure on Xi, the party leader, to look tough.
UK court to hear bid to stop no-deal Brexit next month
A British judge has set a hearing for next month for an attempt by opposition lawmakers to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
More than 70 parliamentarians argue that sending lawmakers home before the scheduled Oct. 31 Brexit date would be “unlawful and unconstitutional,” AP reported.
On Tuesday, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Judge Raymond Doherty said a substantive hearing should take place Sept. 6.
Johnson says Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. Britain’s Parliament has rejected the existing agreement and the EU refuses to renegotiate, so a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely, despite fears it could cause economic turmoil.
Lawmakers are expected to try to block a no-deal departure this fall.
London climate change protesters daub Brazilian Embassy blood red
Climate change protesters threw red paint onto the Brazilian Embassy in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous peoples living there.
Two activists from the Extinction Rebellion group climbed onto a glass awning above the entrance of the embassy, and two others glued themselves to the windows, Reuters reported.
Red hand prints and streaks of red paint could be seen all over the facade, as well as slogans such as “No More Indigenous Blood” and “For The Wild”.
Extinction Rebellion, which caused widespread disruption in central London for several weeks earlier this year, said the protest aimed to challenge the Brazilian government over “state-sanctioned human rights abuses and ecocide”.
The group said the protest was timed to coincide with a march by indigenous women in Brasilia on Tuesday, and that similar actions were taking place at Brazilian embassies in Chile, Portugal, France, Switzerland and Spain.
The Brazilian Embassy in London could not immediately be reached for comment.
Forty dead in Bangladesh’s worst-ever dengue outbreak
At least 40 people have died in Bangladesh’s worst-ever outbreak of dengue, officials said Tuesday, as overburdened hospitals struggled to treat thousands of patients.
Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne viral infection, which causes flu-like symptoms but can be deadly if it develops into a hemorrhagic fever, usually occur in the South Asian nation during the monsoon season between June and September – but this year the disease has reached epidemic proportions, AFP reported.
More than 44,000 people have been admitted to hospitals with the illness since January, including some 2,100 on Monday alone, said Health Ministry official Ayesha Akhter.
“We have confirmed 40 dengue-related casualties so far to Monday,” she told AFP.
Local media put the number much higher, reporting that the death toll passed 100 last week.
The week-long holiday marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha has seen hundreds of thousands of people leaving Bangladeshi cities to return to their family homes in the countryside, raising concerns that the disease will spread further.
The country’s health minister said the outbreak was “gradually reducing” while inaugurating an emergency dengue ward at a public hospital in Dhaka this week.
For the first time on record, holidays for all public health workers have been cancelled to help respond to the crisis, said health ministry director general Abul Kalam Azad.
Kyrgyz ex-president arrested, accused of coup plan
The head of Kyrgyzstan’s security forces accused ex-president Almazbek Atambayev on Tuesday of planning to stage a coup, state news agency Kabar said, following a deadly clash last week with police sent to his house to arrest him.
Atambayev surrendered on Thursday when police raided his home and detained him for questioning over a corruption case, laying bare a power struggle with his successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov that is pushing the Central Asian nation to the brink of political crisis, Reuters reported.
Atambayev’s supporters had repulsed a similar raid the previous day in which a deputy commander of an elite Special Forces unit was killed.
In an indictment related to the botched raid, prosecutors on Tuesday charged him with murder, hostage-taking and causing mass unrest, Kabar said.
Atambayev has dismissed criminal investigations against him as politically motivated and illegal.
National Security Chief Orozbek Opumbayev on Tuesday accused the former president of seeking bloodshed. “Then, blaming it on the authorities, he would have been able to stage a coup,” Kabar quoted Opumbayev as saying.
Opumbayev said Atambayev shot at security officers with his sniper rifle, fatally wounding one of them. Atambayev, whose lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment, said last week he had fired off several shots, but most were warning ones directed into the air.
Atambayev, who served as president of the former Soviet republic between 2011 and 2017, backed his then-ally Jeenbekov’s presidential bid, hoping to retain political influence.
But Jeenbekov purged Atambayev loyalists from his cabinet last year, prompting a falling-out between the two which was followed by several criminal probes targeting Atambayev and his close associates.
Kyrgyzstan has been a close ally of Moscow and hosts a Russian military airbase. Atambayev met Vladimir Putin last month but the Russian president subsequently endorsed Jeenbekov in public.
A former Communist apparatchik and businessman, Atambayev took part in revolts in 2005 and 2010 that deposed two consecutive presidents, earning Kyrgyzstan a reputation as Central Asia’s most politically volatile nation.
Japan says South Korea failed to justify trade restriction
Japan hit back at South Korea on Tuesday for removing Tokyo’s fast-track trade status, with the industry minister saying Seoul had failed to explain its reason for the latest move in an escalating trade row.
South Korea signaled plans on Monday to remove Japan from a list of countries with fast-track trade status from September, citing problems with export control measures, Reuters reported.
Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said Seoul had failed to show how Japan had purportedly fallen short of international export control measures.
“From the start, it is totally unclear under what basis South Korea can say that Japan’s export control measures don’t meet the export control regime,” Seko said on Twitter.
The tighter trade regulations, including potential lengthy permit application processes, will apply to South Korean exports to Japan.
Japan announced earlier this month that it was removing South Korea from its own “white list” of countries that have enjoyed minimum trade restrictions, citing an erosion of trust.
“The Japanese government made a decision to exclude South Korea from white-listed countries, following export restrictions,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday, without mentioning South Korea’s own measures.
“It is disappointing and regrettable in light of the two countries’ shared efforts for friendship and cooperation,” Moon said at a lunch for activists who fought for independence during the 1910-1945 Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula.
South Korea would continue trying to resolve the issue diplomatically, he said.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since a ruling by South Korea’s Supreme Court last year that Japanese companies should compensate South Koreans who were conscripted as forced laborers during World War Two.
The 507 rescued migrants on board rescue vessels Ocean Viking and Open Arms remain stranded at sea on Tuesday as no EU member state has asked the European Union to coordinate their disembarking, Press TV reported.