World News May 31
TRUMP ANNOUNCES NEW MEXICAN TARIFFS IN RESPONSE TO MIGRANTS
US President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on all goods coming from
Mexico in a bid to curb illegal immigration.
In a tweet, Mr Trump said that from 10 June a 5% tariff would be imposed and
would slowly rise “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied”.
President Trump has declared a national emergency to tackle what he claims
is a crisis at the US southern border.
Border agents say they are overwhelmed, but critics say they are mishandling
and mistreating migrants.
Jesus Seade, Mexico’s top diplomat for North America, said the the tariffs
would be “disastrous”.
“If this is put in place, we must respond vigorously,” he told reporters.
During his election campaign and throughout his time in office, President
Trump has sought funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
He declared a national emergency in February in an attempt to divert federal
funds for a barrier wall, but a judge blocked his efforts in May.
The White House said on Thursday that the president would use the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement the new tariffs on
The announcement came the same day that the White House told Congress it
planned to pursue a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
FRESH CALLS FOR TRUMP IMPEACHMENT AFTER MUELLER’S STATEMENT
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s first – and possibly last – public
statement on the Russia investigation is fueling fresh calls on Capitol Hill
to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a step that
Democratic leaders have so far resisted.
Surprising Washington with brief remarks on Wednesday, Mueller indicated
it’s up to Congress to decide what to do with his findings. The special
counsel reiterated that, bound by Justice Department policy, charging a
sitting President with a crime was “not an option.”
But he also stressed he could not exonerate Trump. Instead, he cited that
same policy to say, “The Constitution requires a process other than the
criminal justice system.” With Mueller closing his office and not expected
to comment further, it all amounted, for some, to an open invitation for
Congress to launch impeachment proceedings.
“He’s asking us to do what he wasn’t allowed to – hold the President
accountable,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the House Judiciary
Committee, the panel with impeachment power.
“We have one remaining path to ensure justice is served,” said Sen. Cory
Booker of New Jersey, a Democratic presidential candidate.
But top Democrats, with almost no support from Republicans, are hesitant to
go it alone on an impeachment inquiry that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has
warned would be divisive for the nation.
WHITE HOUSE ASKED NAVY TO HIDE WARSHIP JOHN MCCAIN: REPORT
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was unaware of any
effort to move the USS John S. McCain that was stationed near the site of
his recent speech in Japan.
A U.S. official confirmed to Reuters that an initial request had been made
to keep the John McCain out of sight during Mr. Trump’s speech but was
scrapped by senior Navy officials.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said the White House
wanted the Navy to move the ship, named for the late Arizona Senator, “out
The email to Navy and Air Force officials had a number of directives,
including: one telling officials that “USS John McCain needs to be out of
Speaking with reporters en route to Singapore, acting U.S. Defense Secretary
Patrick Shanahan said he had not approved any movement of the ship, but
would ask his Chief of Staff to look into the details of what happened.
OVER 7,50,000 EU NATIONALS SEEK UK RESIDENCE FOR BREXIT
Britain has received 7,50,000 applications from EU citizens seeking to
settle in the UK in the first four months of 2019, with Poles leading the
way, official data showed on Thursday.
The government’s scheme for offering an estimated 3.8 million EU nationals
the right to live permanently in Britain after Brexit has been riddled with
Responding to a public outcry, Prime Minister Theresa May in January
scrapped a 65 (USD 82, 74-euro) fee that would have been imposed had a
so-called “no-deal Brexit” gone into effect.
The programme’s status has been weighed further by uncertainties over
when-or even if-Britain pulls out of the EU.
The UK interior ministry said 10,30,000 Polish citizens had applied for
permanent residence in the first four months of the year.
Romanians filed 90,000 applications and Italians 71,000, the figures showed.
Portugal and Spain rounded out the top five.
The scheme is being overseen by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is one of 11
declared candidates in the race to succeed May as government chief in July.
“EU citizens are our friends, neighbours and colleagues who contribute so
much to this country. Whatever the outcome of Brexit we want them to stay,”
Javid said in a statement.
JULIAN ASSANGE MISSES COURT HEARING; WIKILEAKS EXPRESSES ‘GRAVE CONCERNS’
ABOUT HIS HEALTH
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange missed a court session on May 30,
apparently due to health problems. He had been expected to appear from
prison via video link at a brief extradition hearing at Westminster
Lawyer Gareth Peirce told the court Mr. Assange was “not very well”.
Mr. Assange, 47, is in Belmarsh Prison serving a 50-week sentence for
jumping bail in Britain while fighting extradition to the United States,
which accuses him of violating the Espionage Act by publishing secret
documents containing the names of confidential military and diplomatic
Sweden also seeks him for questioning about an alleged rape, which Mr.
Assange has denied.
It is not clear which claim would take precedence. The decision would likely
be made by Britain’s Home Secretary.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said a more substantive extradition hearing
set for June 12 may be moved to a court next to Belmarsh Prison for
Roughly two dozen supporters chanted “Free Assange” outside the courthouse.
His case has attracted fresh support from free press advocates in the week
since the U.S. filed serious espionage charges against him.
Wikileaks said in a statement it has “grave concerns” about Mr. Assange’s
health. The anti-secrecy group says he has been moved to the prison health
BLAST NEAR AFGHAN MILITARY TRAINING CENTRE KILLS AT LEAST SIX: OFFICIALS
At least six people were killed and 16 more wounded in a suicide blast
outside a military academy in the Afghan capital on Thursday, an official
The attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, targeted
students leaving the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in western
Kabl police spokesman Firdaws Faramarz said the suicide bomber had been on
foot. He blew himself up when a soldier challenged him near the entrance to
the war college. “In the blast, 16 people were wounded and six were
martyred,” Mr. Faramarz said.
The attacker “detonated himself before reaching his target”, he added. The
Afghan IS affiliate said it had carried out the attack and claimed to have
killed “50 military trainees”.
Opened in 2005 and named after former Vice- President Mohammed Fahim, the
Marshal Fahim academy is modelled after U.S. and British war colleges and
trains cadets destined to become officers in Afghanistan’s Army.
ABORTION LAW IN GEORGIA MAY DRIVE AWAY DISNEY, NETFLIX
Walt Disney Company’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has said Georgia’s new
strict abortion law would make it “very difficult” for them to keep filming
in the state, the media reported.
This comes soon after Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said he
would “rethink” the whole investment in Georgia if a recently signed
abortion law goes into effect.
Most of the industry uproar is currently focused on Georgia, where a large
number of Hollywood movies and TV shows are filmed, courtesy of the highly
favourable state tax incentive.
“This comes as the stars of two Netflix shows — Jason Bateman of ‘Ozark’
and Alyssa Milano of ‘Insatiable’ — have said they would stop filming in
the state if the law takes effect,” Tech Crunch reported late on Wednesday.
Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp had signed the abortion legislation
earlier this month.
“The law bans abortion once cardiac activity can be detected — which can be
as early as six weeks, before many women even realise they are pregnant.
“The law is due to take effect on 1 January, if it survives court
challenges,” the Guardian reported on Thursday.
The industry is now responsible for more than 92,000 jobs in Georgia,
according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and some 455
productions were shot in Georgia in 2018, according to the state, the report
HONG KONG GOVERNMENT DEFENDS GAY MARRIAGE BAN IN COURT
HONG KONG, China – Hong Kong’s government is defending the city’s ban on
same-sex unions at a landmark court challenge days after neighboring Taiwan
legalized gay marriage in an unprecedented first for Asia.
Despite growing public support for gay marriage in the international
financial hub, campaigners have made little headway against staunch
opposition from the city’s successive pro-Beijing governments and religious
A Hong Kong woman, known only as MK, is suing the government for denying her
right to enter into a civil partnership with her female partner, arguing the
ban is unconstitutional.
The case is currently being heard by the Court of First Instance.
Defending the current ban, government lawyer Stewart Wong told the court
Wednesday that marriage would be “diluted and diminished” and “no longer
special” if that right was granted to same-sex couples.
Not all differences in treatment are unlawful. You are not supposed to treat
unequal cases alike,” Wong said, adding that Hong Kong’s definition of
marriage was already defined by law and “cannot be trumped”.
He also argued against same-sex civil unions.
“To recognise an alternative form of same-sex relationships which we say is
tantamount to a (marriage) is to undermine the traditional institution of
marriage and the family constituted by such a marriage,” Wong said.