Police say bomb find not linked to Christchurch attacks

New Zealand police asked to suppress any further details on the case. (AFP/File)
Updated 01 May 2019
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Police say bomb find not linked to Christchurch attacks

  • Authorities said the suspect had explosives, ammunition and offensive weapons
  • The suspect will remain in custody until May 6

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand police on Wednesday ruled out any link between a bomb found in Christchurch and mosque shootings in March which killed 50 Muslim worshippers.
Police and the military bomb squad swooped on a vacant lot just outside the city center Tuesday finding “a suspected explosive device” and rounds of ammunition.
They said a 33-year-old man appeared in court Wednesday charged with possession of explosives, ammunition and offensive weapons.
“We are not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident,” detective inspector Corrie Parnell said in a statement.
“There are no known links between the 33-year-old man and the Christchurch attacks on March 15.”
Local media named the man as Jay Michael Harding-Reriti and said the charges included possession of a handheld improvised explosive device, powergel explosives and detonator cord.
They said he was remanded in custody until May 6 and further details of the case were suppressed at the request of police.
Christchurch remains on alert after the March attacks in which a self-styled white supremacist shot dead 50 people and injured another 39 in attacks on two mosques.
The gunman allegedly behind the mosque shootings, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, is in a maximum-security prison in Auckland has been ordered to undergo psychiatric tests.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.