Philippine captain vows to return to sea after Houthi attack

Philippine captain vows to return to sea after Houthi attack
Christian Domarique, captain of the MV Tutor, was one of the 22 Filipino crews of the coal carrier ship that was attacked by the Houthis near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on June 12. (AFP)
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Updated 17 June 2024
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Philippine captain vows to return to sea after Houthi attack

Philippine captain vows to return to sea after Houthi attack
  • Tutor’s captain Christian Domarique: ‘We first need to rest because of the trauma’
  • Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile strike on the Liberia flagged, Greek-owned coal carrier Tutor

MANILA: The Philippine crew of a vessel attacked by Yemen’s Houthi militants was repatriated to the Philippines from Bahrain on Monday, with the ship’s captain vowing to return to the seas after the crew had recovered from the experience.
Iran-aligned Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile strike on the Liberia flagged, Greek-owned, coal carrier Tutor near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on June 12. The ship was carrying 22 crew from the Philippines and one is still missing in the flooded engine room.
“We first need to rest because of the trauma,” the Tutor’s Captain Christian Domarique told a press conference at Manila airport. “We will recover for a few months before returning.”
Houthi attacks have struck three vessels crewed by Filipino seafarers since last year, killing two sailors, with 17 still being held captive by militants, government data showed.
A tearful Domarique thanked God, his company, and government agencies for assisting him and his fellow seafarers to get back to the Philippines.
The government has pledged financial and psychological assistance for the 21 crew members.
“The captain has good working years ahead of him so with the crew that is relatively young, they will still have more seafaring years ahead of them,” Hans Leo Cacdac, the Philippines’ migrant workers minister, told a press conference.
The vessel’s owner pledged to continue the search for the missing sailor alongside a salvaging operation to tow the stranded ship, Cacdac said, which on Friday was adrift in the Red Sea.
The Houthis, who have said their attacks are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, have disrupted global shipping, causing delays and costs to cascade through supply chains.
At least 65 countries and major energy and shipping companies — including Shell, BP, Maersk and Cosco — have been affected, according to a report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency.


Rescuers in Nepal recover 7 bodies after a landslide swept 2 buses of people into a river

Rescuers in Nepal recover 7 bodies after a landslide swept 2 buses of people into a river
Updated 6 sec ago
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Rescuers in Nepal recover 7 bodies after a landslide swept 2 buses of people into a river

Rescuers in Nepal recover 7 bodies after a landslide swept 2 buses of people into a river
  • Rescuers were able to find the bodies in different locations on the riverbanks
  • The buses swept away Friday morning near Simaltal, about 120 kilometers west of Katmandu
KATMANDU: Rescuers have recovered a total of seven bodies from the river that two buses full of people were swept into by a landslide, officials said Monday.
Rescuers were able to find the bodies in different locations on the riverbanks as the search continues for the missing buses and people on board.
Government administrator Khima Nanda Bhusal said the bodies were identified and relatives contacted. Three of the dead are Indians and the remaining four are Nepali nationals.
The buses were on the key highway connecting Nepal’s capital to southern parts of the country when they were swept away Friday morning near Simaltal, about 120 kilometers west of Katmandu.
The first body was recovered Sunday some 50 kilometers from where the buses fell.
Weather conditions improved Saturday and search teams were able to cover more ground in the hunt for the missing buses and passengers. Heavy equipment had cleared much of the landslides from the highway, making it easier to reach the area as rescuers expanded their scope toward the southern region from where the first body was found, Bhusal said.
The government has imposed a ban on passenger buses traveling at night in the areas where weather warnings are posted, according to the Home Ministry.

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants
Updated 22 min 23 sec ago
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Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants
  • Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947
  • New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of stoking militancy and espionage to undermine each other

NEW DELHI: Soldiers in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir have killed three suspected militants, the army said, the latest incident in an uptick of attacks in the disputed northern territory.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947.
The Indian army’s Chinar Corps said late Sunday that three people were killed in an “anti-infiltration operation” in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, with “weapons and other war-like stores” seized.
India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in full and have fought three wars for control of the Himalayan region.
New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of stoking militancy and espionage to undermine each other.
Rebel groups have waged an insurgency since 1989, demanding independence for the territory or its merger with Pakistan.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels.
Earlier this month, gunmen ambushed an army convoy killing five soldiers, and two other soldiers and six suspected militants were killed in separate incidents.
In June, nine Indian Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens wounded when a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying them from a shrine in the southern Reasi area.
It was one of the deadliest attacks in years and the first on Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir since 2017, when gunmen killed seven people in another ambush on a bus.


Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’
Updated 15 July 2024
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Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’
  • Assassination attempt targeting former US president left one attendee dead and critically injured two others
  • Secret Service said it killed suspected shooter who attacked from an elevated position outside rally value

Global leaders expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former US President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others.

Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after being whisked off the stage though the shooting pierced the upper part of his right ear.

The Secret Service said it killed the suspected shooter who attacked from an elevated position outside the rally venue.

US authorities are still investigating the shooting.
Argentina
Argentina’s President Javier Milei said Trump was the “victim of a cowardly assassination attempt that put his life and that of hundreds of people at risk.”

In a post on X, Milei also said the apparent assassination attempt highlighted the “desperation of the international left” and its “willingness to destabilize democracies and promote violence to screw itself into power.”

Australia
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the “inexcusable attack” on the United States and Australia’s shared democratic values.

“In Australia, as in the United States, the essence and the purpose of our democracies is that we can express our views, debate our disagreements and resolve our differences peacefully,” Albanese told reporters in the Australian Parliament House.

Brazil
Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called the incident unacceptable on X and said the attack must be “strongly repudiated” by all democracy defenders.

His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who is a close Trump ally, relayed his solidarity with “the world’s greatest leader of the moment.” Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen at a campaign event ahead of the 2018 presidential election, which he went on to win.

Trump, he told reporters, was saved by a matter of a few centimeters. “This — to understand — is something that comes from above,” he added.

Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with former President Trump on Sunday.

“The Prime Minister condemned yesterday’s appalling assassination attempt and reiterated there’s no place for political violence,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister wished the former President well and offered condolences to the shooting victims and to the family of Corey Comperatore.”

China

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China is concerned about the attack and President Xi Jinping has already extended his sympathies to Trump.

Egypt

Egyptian President Abdelfattah El El-Sisi stressed his country’s condemnation of the attack in a statement and wished for the US election campaigns to resume peacefully.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron sent his wishes to Trump for a prompt recovery. “It is a drama for our democracies. France shares the indignation of the American people,” he posted on X.

Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz posted on X saying the attack was “despicable” and such violent acts threaten democracy. “My compassionate thoughts are also with the other people who were hurt in the attack,” he said.
Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his thoughts and prayers were with Trump “in these dark hours” on X.

India

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said he was deeply concerned by “the attack on my friend.”

“Strongly condemn the incident. Violence has no place in politics and democracies,” he wrote on X.
Iraq

Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” saying on X his thoughts are with the victims of “this senseless act of terrorism.”

Israel

At the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he watched “in horror,” adding that the attack was also an “assassination attempt on American democracy.”

He said everyone in Israel was sending Trump wishes for “a quick recovery and return to full strength.”

Italy

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said in a statement the attack was a cause for serious alarm and “a disconcerting symptom of the deterioration of the civil fabric and of the dangerous refusal of confrontation, dialogue and respect for democratic life.”

Meanwhile, Premier Giorgia Meloni wished Trump a quick recovery.

Japan

“We must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on X.

Mexico

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denounced the attack on X and said “violence is irrational and inhumane.”

Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called the shooting a “shocking development.” He said he condemned all violence in politics and wished the former president a swift recovery and good health.

And imprisoned Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Imran Khan, who was shot and injured at a rally in November 2022, wished Trump a full recovery. “Political violence is a tool of cowards and has no place in a democracy,” he said on X.

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has no plans at present to call Trump, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“We do not at all think or believe that the attempt to eliminate presidential candidate Trump was organized by the current government, but the atmosphere that this administration created during the political struggle, the atmosphere around candidate Trump provoked what America is faced with today,” he added.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said earlier Sunday on her Telegram channel that American lawmakers should employ the money they use to supply weapons to Ukraine “to finance the American police and other services which should ensure law and order within the United States.”

South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on X that the attempted assassination of Trump “is a stark reminder of the dangers of political extremism and intolerance.”

Ramaphosa also voiced his hope that “the citizens and leaders of America will have the fortitude and sagacity to reject violence and seek peaceful solutions.”

Slovakia

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who survived an assassination attempt in May, condemned the shooting in a Facebook post. He drew direct parallels between the two incidents, suggesting the attack on Trump was the result of a campaign by his political opponents.

Taiwan

Taiwan’s president, Lai Ching-te, said on X his thoughts and prayers are with Trump, adding that political violence of any form is never acceptable “in our democracies.”

Turkiye

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the shooting on X, offering his good wishes to Trump, his family and supporters.

He said he believed “the investigation into the attack will be conducted effectively” so as not to undermine the US elections.

The European Commission

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on X she was deeply shocked by the shooting, adding that political violence has no place in democracy.

Ukraine

Also on X, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was appalled to learn about the shooting, saying such violence has no justification. He added he was relieved to learn that Trump is safe.

Zelensky extended his wishes for strength to everyone who was horrified by the event.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack on Trump, describing it as “a criminal and extremist act.”

United Kingdom

UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on X that he was appalled by the “shocking scenes,” and sent his best wishes to Trump and his family.

“Political violence in any form has no place in our societies,” he said.

British lawmaker Nigel Farage, a friend of Trump’s, sought to pin much of the blame on the “mainstream media” that he claimed opposed the former president. He told the BBC that it was a “horrendous” incident but somehow he was not shocked by it.

Vatican

In a statement, the Vatican expressed its concern over “last night’s episode of violence, which hurts people and democracy, causing suffering and death.” Pope Francis didn’t mention the apparent assassination attempt in his weekly prayers earlier.

Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro condemned the attack during a campaign event in the town of Guacara. “We have been adversaries, but I wish President Trump health and long life, and I repudiate the attack,” Maduro added.


China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week
Updated 15 July 2024
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China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week
  • Under Xi, the Communist Party has decided that the party needs to be at the center of efforts to take China to the next level of development.
  • China is now the world’s second largest economy, but with a population of 1.4 million people, it is also still a middle-income country

BEIJING: China’s ruling Communist Party is starting a four-day meeting Monday that is expected to lay out a strategy for self-sufficient economic growth in an era of heightened national security concerns and restrictions on access to American technology.
While the meeting typically focuses on such long-term issues, business owners and investors will also be watching to see if the party announces any immediate measures to try to counter a prolonged real estate downturn and persistent malaise that has suppressed China’s post-COVID-19 recovery.
“There’s a lot of unclarity of policy direction in China,” which is weighing on consumer and investor confidence, said Bert Hofman, the former World Bank country director for China and a professor at the National University of Singapore. “This is a point in time where China needs to show its cards.”
The outcome of the meeting will send a message to local government officials and others about the future direction of policy. The general expectation is that it will confirm a path laid out by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, though some hope for some fine-tuning to address concerns that increasing government control over business and society is stifling economic growth.
What is the “third plenum” and why does it matter?
The Communist Party’s 205-member Central Committee is holding its third plenum, or the third plenary session of a five-year term that started in 2022. This year’s meeting was expected to be held last year, but was delayed.
Historically, this third meeting has emerged as one at which major economic and policy decisions have been set, though not every time. Analysts say the plenum often sets longer-term directions impacting the economy.
1. In 1978, the meeting endorsed the “reform and opening up” of former leader Deng Xiaoping, the transformation from a planned economy to a more market-based economy that propelled China’s growth in the ensuing decades.
2. In 1993, it endorsed a “socialist market economy” that sealed the victory of reformers battling against conservatives warning about the dangers of economic liberalization.
3. In 2013, in another endorsement of reform, it said that the market would become the decisive force in the allocation of resources.
The last pronouncement, made a year after Xi became leader, didn’t come to be. Within a couple of years, the party began backtracking before setting off in a new direction in 2017, Hofman said.
What issues are at stake?
Under Xi, the Communist Party has decided that the party needs to be at the center of efforts to take China to the next level of development. China is now the world’s second largest economy, but with a population of 1.4 million people, it is also still a middle-income country.
The government has reined in China’s high-flying tech giants, such as Alibaba, the fintech and e-commerce giant. As the United States became more adversarial, Xi pushed Chinese companies and universities to try to develop the high-end semiconductors and other technology that is being blocked by US restrictions on exports to China.
Free-market advocates are concerned this government-led approach is discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit. Another worry is that the rising importance of national security will take a toll on economic growth. The government has investigated companies that transferred economic data overseas in what appears to be a widening definition of what constitutes a breach of the law.
A major change in direction is not expected and would be momentous if it were to happen. Instead, the degree to which the meeting acknowledges concerns about the business environment and national security could signal whether there will be some policy adjustments.
What policy shifts might happen?
Further support for high-tech industries that are considered vital for national security and future growth is all but certain, along with related industrial policies.
But the party faces demands on other fronts. Alexander Davey, an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, said they are watching how the government will balance two major prerogatives: economic growth and social equity.
Local governments are heavily in debt, with multiple cities suspending transit services because they could not afford to keep running them. In February last year, the city of Shangqiu, home to more than 7 million people, temporarily shut down bus lines.
“There may be a bit of a shift, does the central government issue more debt to local government so they can run their services?” Davey said. The trade off will be between vast resources poured into science and tech development, areas deemed vital to national security, and social services.
Investors will be on the lookout for indications that the government, having increased its control over the economy, will take any steps to create a more favorable environment for private companies.
Then, there is the real estate market. In April, the government announced policies that signaled a shift in its approach by funding direct purchases of unsold homes.
“A notable first-half shift in China’s property stance,” said Yifan Hu, chief investment officer for greater China at UBS bank, in a statement. “This ongoing pressure underscores the need for additional easing, which we think will be forthcoming given the supportive policy tone.”
 


Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive
Updated 15 July 2024
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Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive
  • The FBI said they were investigating it as a potential act of domestic terrorism
  • Student at Bethel Park High School says Crooks was bullied and mocked for the clothes he wore

WASHINGTON: The 20-year-old man who tried to assassinate former President Donald Trump first came to law enforcement’s attention at Saturday’s rally when spectators noticed him acting strangely outside the campaign event. The tip sparked a frantic search but officers were unable to find him before he managed to get on a roof, where he opened fire.
In the wake of the shooting that killed one spectator, investigators were hunting for any clues about what may have drove Thomas Matthew Crooks, of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, to carry out the shocking attack. The FBI said they were investigating it as a potential act of domestic terrorism, but the absence of a clear ideological motive by the man shot dead by Secret Service led conspiracy theories to flourish.
“I urge everyone — everyone, please, don’t make assumptions about his motives or his affiliations,” President Joe Biden said in remarks Sunday from the White House. “Let the FBI do their job, and their partner agencies do their job. I’ve instructed that this investigation be thorough and swift.”
The FBI said it believes Crooks, who had bomb-making materials in the car he drove to the rally, acted alone. Investigators have found no threatening comments on social media accounts or ideological positions that could help explain what led him to target Trump before Secret Service rushed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee off the stage, his face smeared with blood.
Trump said on social media the upper part of his right ear was pierced in the shooting, but advisers said he was “great spirits” ahead of his arrival Sunday in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention. Two spectators were critically injured, while a former fire chief from the area, Corey Comperatore was killed. Pennsylvania’s governor said Comperatore, 50, died a hero by diving onto his family to protect them.
Relatives of Crooks didn’t respond to numerous messages from The Associated Press. His father, Matthew Crooks, told CNN late Saturday that he was trying to figure out “what the hell is going on” but wouldn’t speak about his son until after he talked to law enforcement. An FBI official told reporters that Crooks’ family is cooperating with investigators.
Several rallygoers reported to local officers that Crooks was acting suspiciously and pacing near the magnetometers, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. Officers were then told Crooks was climbing a ladder, the official said. Officers searched for him but were unable to find him before he made it to the roof, the official added.
Butler County Sheriff Michael Slupe told the AP that a local officer climbed to the roof and encountered Crooks, who saw the officer and turned toward him just before the officer dropped down to safety. Slupe said the officer couldn’t have wielded his own gun under the circumstances. The officer retreated down the ladder, and Crooks quickly took a shot toward Trump, and that’s when Secret Service snipers shot him, according to two officials who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

FBI officials said Sunday that they were combing Crooks’ background and social media activities while working to get access to his phone. The chatting app Discord, a social media platform popular with people playing online games, said Crooks appears to have had an account but used it rarely and not in the last several months. There’s no evidence he used his account to promote violence or discuss his political views, a Discord spokesperson said.
Crooks’ political leanings were not immediately clear. Records show Crooks was registered as a Republican voter in Pennsylvania, but federal campaign finance reports also show he gave $15 to a progressive political action committee on Jan. 20, 2021, the day Biden was sworn into office.
Crooks graduated from Bethel Park High School in 2022. In a video of the school’s graduation ceremony posted online, Crooks can be seen crossing the stage to receive his diploma, appearing slight of build and wearing glasses. The school district said it will cooperate fully with investigators. His senior year, Crooks was among several students given an award for math and science, according to a Tribune-Review story at the time.
Crooks tried out for the school’s rifle team but was turned away because he was a bad shooter, said Frederick Mach, a current captain of the team who was a few years behind Crooks at the school.
Jason Kohler, who said he attended the same high school but did not share any classes with Crooks, said Crooks was bullied at school and sat alone at lunch time. Other students mocked him for the clothes he wore, which included hunting outfits, Kohler said.
“He was bullied almost every day,” Kohler told reporters. “He was just a outcast, and you know how kids are nowadays.”
Crooks worked at a nursing home as a dietary aide, a job that generally involves food preparation. Marcie Grimm, the administrator of Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, said in a statement she was “shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement.” Grimm added that Crooks had a clean background check when he was hired.

Police block roads around the home of Thomas Matthew Crooks as the FBI continues its investigation into the attempted assassination of former US President Donald Trump in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, on July 14, 2024. (AFP)

A blockade had been set up Sunday preventing traffic near Crooks’ house, which is in an enclave of modest brick houses in the hills outside Pittsburgh and about an hour’s drive from the site of the Trump rally. Police cars were stationed at an intersection near the house and officers were seen walking through the neighborhood.
Crooks used an AR-style rifle, which authorities said they believe was purchased by his father. Kevin Rojek, FBI special agent in charge in Pittsburgh, said that investigators do not yet know if he took the gun without his father’s permission.
A video posted to social media and geolocated by AP shows Crooks wearing a gray t-shirt with a black American flag on the right arm lying motionless on the roof of a manufacturing plant just north of the Butler Farm Show grounds where Trump’s rally was held.
The roof where Crooks lay was less than 150 meters (164 yards) from where Trump was speaking, a distance from which a decent marksman could reasonably hit a human-sized target. That is a distance at which US Army recruits must hit a scaled human-sized silhouette to qualify with the M-16 rifle.
Images of Crooks’ body reviewed by AP show he appears to have been wearing a T-shirt from Demolition Ranch, a popular YouTube channel that regularly posts videos of its creator firing off handguns and assault rifles at targets that include human mannequins.
Matt Carriker, the Texas-based creator of Demolition Ranch, did not respond to a phone message or email on Sunday, but posted a photo of Crooks’ bloody corpse wearing his brand’s T-shirt on social media with the comment “What the hell.”