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A Diary from Re-Education Center in Sog County

A Diary from Re-Education Center in Sog County

The is from the diary of a monk who went to study Buddhism in a Tibetan area outside Tibetan Autonomous Region, presumably in a monastery.

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North Korea blames ‘dishonest’ US for breakdown in nuclear talks

North Korea blames 'dishonest' US for breakdown in nuclear talks

North Korea blames ‘dishonest’ US for breakdown in nuclear talks

Nuclear negotiations with the United States will not resume unless the Trump administration moves away from its demands for disarmament, North Korea has said.

In a statement released by an unnamed spokesman, North Korea’s foreign ministry accused Washington of attempting to shift the blame for the failed summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

“The underlying cause of setback of the DPRK-US summit talks in Hanoi is the arbitrary and dishonest position taken by the United States, insisting on a method which is totally impossible to get through,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

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“The United States would not be able to move us even an inch with the device it is now weighing in its mind, and the further its mistrust and hostile acts towards the DPRK grow, the fiercer our reaction will be,” it added, using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The North’s statement is the latest in a string of criticism of the US since the failed summit between the two nations in Vietnam, which ended abruptly without an agreement.

In recent weeks, North Korea fired short-range missiles, and the US seized a North Korean ship suspected of illicit coal shipments, breaching sanctions.

North Korea has now set a year-end deadline for the US change their position, which the Trump administration has essentially ignored.

The administration does not appear to have responded to North Korea’s latest statement. On Friday, Donald Trump flew to Japan. 

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Copa del Rey final: Barcelona release strong squad against Valencia [Full list]

Barcelona have released a strong squad to tackle Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday night in Spain.

Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde, on Friday released a list of 25 players through the club’s official Twitter page.

Barça head to the game after playing a 2-2 draw with Eibar in their last fixture in the La Liga.

Full list of Barcelona’s squad against Valencia:

Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Rakitic, Sergio, Coutinho, Arthur, Suarez, Messi, Dembele, Rafinha, Cillessen, Malcom, Lenglet, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Prince, Roberto, Alena, Vida, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Abel Ruiz, Inaki Pena and Carles Perez.

The kick-off time for the match is 8pm.

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India’s Christians See Danger in Hindu Nationalist Party’s Victory

India's Christians See Danger in Hindu Nationalist Party's Victory

Jeff King of International Christian Concern talks with CBN News about the church and its future in a changing India.

Christians and other religious minorities in India are on edge after a nationalist Hindu party won a massive landslide victory in national elections this week.

Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a second-term in office following a marathon election in the world’s largest democracy.

Official data also showed Modi’s BJP party winning 303 of the 542 seats in parliament, up from 282 it had won five years ago.

Christians have suffered intense levels of persecution under Modi’s first five years in office and they fear the next five years could bring even more hardships.

“The number one issue in this election for Christians is safety,” Dr. Paul R.T. Maran, National Bishop of the Indian National Apostolic Deices told the human rights group, International Christian Concern, earlier this month. “This election is like a ‘do or die’ situation. If the BJP comes to power, Christians won’t be treated as equal citizens because their aim is to establish a Hindu India.”

ICC cites the Evangelical Fellowship of India, which says violent attacks on the Christian community in India have more than doubled since the BJP came to power. In 2014, there were 147 violent attacks on Christians in India but by 2018 that number had jumped to 325.

The increase is attributed to the BJP’s emphasis on Hindu nationalism and stirring up religious passions that often lead to attacks on minority faiths by Hindu radical groups. 

Christians are concerned the new government will try to rewrite the constitution, changing India from a secular nation that guarantees religious freedom into a Hindu nation that treats other faiths as second class, or worse.

Dr. A.C. Michael, Former Member of the Delhi Minorities Commission tells ICC the church will continue to worship and serve Jesus Christ.

“The does not mean that we Christians will stop practicing our faith as guaranteed by the constitution. I feel, however, that we have to adopt different approaches to win over the confidence of minorities who are otherwise living in fear of the Hindutva agenda,” he said.


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France :Bomb blast in Lyon leaves several injured


Several injured in Bomb blast in France

A package blast on a pedestrian street in the heart of France’s city of Lyon wounded several people Friday, officials said, just two days ahead of the country’s hotly contested European Parliament elections.

President Emmanuel Macron called the blast an “attack” during a live Facebook interview, adding that no deaths had been reported “for the time being”.

The area where the explosion occurred, on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city, was evacuated and cordoned off by police, according to AFP journalists at the scene.

A police source told AFP the package contained “screws or bolts” and had been placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets.

A man apparently in his early 30s who was spotted near the scene shortly before the attack was being sought by police, a source close to the inquiry said.

Police said eight people were wounded but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

– ‘Windows were blown out’ –

Macron, in his Facebook interview, said: “It’s not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no fatalities. There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families.”

“An eight-year-old girl was wounded…. We’re fairly relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries but on the other hand, we are certain it was an explosive device,” said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the city’s Second Arrondissement.

He said the suspect sought by police had been seen on video surveillance cameras.

“There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash,” said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the site of the blast.

“There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out,” he said.

A terrorism probe has been opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country.

France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.

“It’s an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street,” the city’s deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

“These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present,” as were patrols by soldiers deployed in a long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

Lyon is the third-biggest city in France. The population of the city plus its extensive suburbs is 2.3 million.

The most recent package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when an explosion in front of a law office in Paris killed one person and injured another. Police never found who carried out that attack.


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Nigeria election: Court rules in suit challenging Buhari’s nomination as APC candidate

An FCT High Court in Jabi, Abuja on Friday dismissed a suit challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination in the 2019 Presidential Election for lacking in merit. Other respondents in the suit were the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. The suit was filed by Ozuzu Theodora, Udichukwu Obina, Peter Oduba and Zaro […]
Nigeria election: Court rules in suit challenging Buhari’s nomination as APC candidate

E.P.A. Experts Objected to ‘Misleading’ Agency Smog Decision, Emails Show

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WASHINGTON — Newly released emails show that Environmental Protection Agency scientists raised strong objections to a 2018 decision by Scott Pruitt, who was head of the agency at the time, to exempt most of southeastern Wisconsin from federal limits on smog.

The decision by Mr. Pruitt was notable because it came as Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was campaigning for a third term and trying to bring a Foxconn factory, and thousands of new manufacturing jobs, to a part of the state where pollution levels already exceeded federal limits.

Mr. Walker ultimately lost his re-election bid to Tony Evers, a Democrat. And Foxconn, the Taiwanese consumer electronics giant, announced in January that it was reconsidering its plan to build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin, though the company later said it would build a smaller factory in the state.

But, in spring 2018, as the governor’s race was heating up, Mr. Walker championed the Foxconn deal and the 13,000 jobs it promised to create. The factory, however, also threatened to create a new source of pollution in the region.

Mr. Pruitt subsequently decided to significantly reduce the size of areas in Wisconsin required to crack down on the emissions of pollutants that cause smog. That ruling, which reversed the findings of an agency decision under the Obama administration, would have saved Foxconn from having to install expensive and more stringent pollution controls.

Hundreds of emails and internal documents released Friday to two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin, as part of a federal public records request show senior E.P.A. scientists complaining that conclusions in support of the decision, which could not be supported by data, were being demanded by top Trump administration officials.

“I do not see a sound technical basis for the areas we are being directed to finalize in Wisconsin,” Jennifer Liljegren, an E.P.A. physical scientist involved in the decision-making, wrote to colleagues in an email dated April 11, 2018. “I will need the wordsmithing of the legal and policy experts if we are really going to do this — I am still in disbelief.”

One of those colleagues, Lars Perlmutt, an E.P.A. health scientist, replied, “I have a background in air pollution health effects and more specifically on acute exposures, so for me personally, this is hard to digest and support.”

A few days later, the emails show, the same staff members expressed concern about “intentional omissions” in the new analyses, which had the effect of reducing the number of Wisconsin counties in violation of federal smog standards.

“Taking snippets of information out of context and not telling the whole story is inappropriate, misleading to the public and dilutes the clarity of the technical information,” Ms. Liljegren wrote.

Michael Abboud, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said in a statement, “We refer you to our recently filed brief in Clean Wisconsin v. E.P.A.” In that brief, part of a lawsuit against the government over the smog designations, the agency said its actions were proper. “In each holistic analysis, E.P.A. considered the relevant factors,” it asserted.

Janet McCabe, who served as the E.P.A. air quality chief under former President Barack Obama, accused the Trump administration of putting politics above public health.

“These are supposed to be science-based decisions under the Clean Air Act, and yet you see career staff struggling to explain unexplainable decisions,” Ms. McCabe said.

Spokesmen for Foxconn and for Governor Evers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

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Yemen President Slams UN Envoy’s Handling of War in Letter to Secretary-general

Yemen President Slams UN Envoy's Handling of War in Letter to Secretary-general

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi criticized the U.N.’s special envoy to the country in a sharply-worded letter to the U.N. chief, describing him as legitimizing Houthi rebels his Saudi-backed coalition is locked in a four-year war with.

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who ousted Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United Nations-led peace efforts.

The attacks come the same month that U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths appeared to have achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, getting the Iranian-aligned Houthis to agree a unilateral withdrawal of their forces from Hodeidah and two other ports.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE head a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states that back Hadi and intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from power.

FILE PHOTO: United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths speaks during an interview with Reuters in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Oct. 4, 2018.

The five-page letter, addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and dated May 22, outlines a litany of grievances directed at Griffiths, criticizing “his insistence on dealing with the rebels as a de-facto government,” referring to the Houthis.

The letter states that Griffiths has failed to properly oversee an agreement struck last year in Stockholm for a ceasefire and withdrawal plan for the port city of Hodeidah, and has not dealt with issues surrounding detainees and hostages.

“It is clear the envoy has a weak understanding of the nature of Yemen’s ongoing conflict, especially the ideological, intellectual, and political elements of the Houthi militias and their fundamental rejection of the principles of democracy and the peaceful rotation of power,” stated the letter.

A UN spokesman said on Friday that Guterres reiterated his confidence in Griffiths after receiving the letter, and said the special envoy would double down on efforts to support both sides in the conflict and ensure that the Stockholm agreement is fulfilled, a U.N. statement said.

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Four climbers die on Everest as record numbers crowd route to summit

Four climbers die on Everest as record numbers crowd route to summit

Four climbers die on Everest as record numbers crowd route to summit

Three climbers and a guide have died on Mount Everest, taking to eight the number killed in a week as record numbers tackling the world’s highest mountain have caused dangerous crowding.

More than 120 climbers scaled Everest on Thursday, but some were caught in the crowd of people on the slopes, leading to exhaustion, dehydration and death, Nepalese officials said.

The death toll so far this season outstrips the five killed in the whole of last year.

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“Traffic jams” of climbers have formed near the summit this year after about 380 permits to climb were issued. Last year Nepal issued 365 permits for expeditions to Mount Everest; in 2016 it was 289.

Two women and a man from India died of exhaustion while descending from the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) peak.

They were Anjali Sharad Kulkarni, 54, Kalpana Das, 49, and Nihal Ashpak Bagwan, 27.

A tour organiser said Bagwan had been “stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted”.

Others who were killed this week included a 65-year-old Austrian climber, who died on the northern Tibet side, another Indian and an American.

A member of a Swiss team died high up on the Tibetan side on Thursday, according to Everest blogger Alan Arnette, who cited a Swiss operator, Kobler & Partner. The climber’s name has not been released.

An Irish professor, Seamus Lawless, has not been seen since falling on 16 May.

A total of 17 climbers have died or are missing on different Himalayan peaks in Nepal, seven of them Indians, since the start of the climbing season in March.

“The winds have returned, plus the routes are extremely crowded on both sides, due to few summit weather windows this spring,” Mr Arnette said on his blog.

The American who died, Don Cash, 55, had fulfilled his dream of climbing the highest mountain on each continent when he conquered Everest.

“When he was on the top he just fell. The two sherpas who were with him gave CPR and massages. After that he woke up, then near Hillary Step he fell down again in the same manner, which means he got high altitude sickness,” said Pasang Tenje Sherpa, head of Pioneer Adventure, which provided the guides.

Altitude sickness, caused by low oxygen at height, causes headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.

Agencies contributed to this report

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Trump to clear $8bn Saudi weapons sale over Iran tensions

Trump to clear $8bn Saudi weapons sale over Iran tensions

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) said that “Iranian malign activity” required the “immediate sale” of weapons

US President Donald Trump is clearing the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, citing Iranian threats to its arch rival.

Mr Trump evoked a rarely used aspect of federal law to push through the $8bn (£6bn) deal, which would ordinarily need to be approved by Congress.

He did so by declaring that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national emergency.

The move has angered those who fear the weapons may be used against civilians.

Some Democrats have also accused the president of bypassing Congress because the sale of weapons, including precision-guided munitions and other forms of bombs, would have been strongly opposed on Capitol Hill.

Weapons will also reportedly be sold to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress of the administration’s decision to make the sale. In a letter, widely reported in US media, he said that “Iranian malign activity” required the “immediate sale” of weapons.

“[Iran’s] activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad,” he wrote.

He said the transfers “must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East”.

But the move quickly garnered opposition. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, accused Mr Trump of “granting favours to authoritarian countries”.

“[He] has failed once again to prioritise our long term national security interests or stand up for human rights,” he said in a statement.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Paul Adams looks at the recent developments behind the US-Iran tensions

Republican Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Jim Risch, said he had been informed by the Trump administration that it planned to confirm “a number of arms sales”.

“I am reviewing and analysing the legal justification for this action,” he said.

News of the Trump administration’s decision came shortly after it announced it would bolster the US military presence in the Middle East. An additional 1,500 troops, as well as fighter jets and drones, will be deployed to the region in the near future.

Patrick Shanahan, the acting Defence Secretary, says the move was intended to counter “ongoing threats posed by Iranian forces, including the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps] and its proxies”.

Why are there tensions with Iran?

Tensions between the US and Iran began rising this month when Washington ended exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying from Iran. The decision was intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the government its main source of revenue.

Mr Trump reinstated the sanctions last year after abandoning the landmark nuclear deal that Iran has signed with six nations – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Iran has now announced it it will suspend several commitments under the deal.

There has also been a spike in tensions in the Gulf more widely.

Four oil tankers were damaged in what the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said were sabotage attacks while drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels – who are supported by Iran – forced the temporary closure of a pipeline.

Iran denied it was behind the incidents but Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, director of the US Joint Staff, has accused the IRGC of being directly responsible.

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Drones Monitor Whale Health In Australia

Drones Monitor Whale Health In Australia

SYDNEY —  A water-proof drone is being used by Australian scientists to collect the highly-treasured nasal mucus of migrating whales. The snot is rich...