2019, June, Newsletter

World Newsletter June 18, 2019

GERMANY, U.K. WARN IRAN AGAINST RENEGING ON DEAL

Germany and Britain on Monday warned Tehran not to breach uranium stockpile
limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal, as the EU’s diplomatic chief dismissed
Iranian threats as “political dialectics”.
Iran set a 10-day countdown on Monday to exceed the 300-kg limit set on its
enriched uranium stocks, dealing another blow to the crumbling nuclear
accord signed by Tehran and six international powers.
The EU has battled to save the agreement since U.S. President Donald Trump
withdrew and reimposed sanctions, but Iran said it would step back from
exceeding the 300-kg limit on June 27 only if “other parties live up to
their commitments”.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas rejected the Iranian ultimatum and
insisted Tehran must stick to its commitments under the deal. “We have
already said in the past that we will not accept less for less. It is up to
Iran to stick to its obligations,” Mr. Maas said after talks with EU Foreign
Ministers in Luxembourg.
A spokesman for the British government echoed the call, saying the E3 – the
European signatories to the deal – has “consistently made clear that there
can be no reduction in compliance”.
The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc would not act on
the basis of Iranian rhetoric but wait for reports by the UN’s nuclear
watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

INDIA TO BE WORLD’S MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY, OVERTAKE CHINA IN NEXT 8 YEARS

The world’s population will increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, going up by 2
bn from the earlier 7.7 bn, shows a new United Nations report launched on
Monday. The global population could reach its peak around the end of the
current century, with an estimated population of 11 bn.
India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country in
next 8 years, according to the report.
Nine countries will make up more than half of the projected growth of the
global population between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania,
Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America.
The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050, up 99%.
Regions that may experience lower rates of population growth between 2019
and 2050 include Oceania excluding Australia/New Zealand (56%), Northern
Africa and Western Asia (46%), Australia/New Zealand (28%), Central and
Southern Asia (25%), Latin America and the Caribbean (18%), Eastern and
South Eastern Asia (3%), and Europe and Northern America (2%).
“Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where
population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate
poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition and
strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems to
ensure that no one is left behind,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

GULF OF OMAN: US SENDS MORE TROOPS AMID TANKER TENSION WITH IRAN

The US military will send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East as
tensions build with Iran.
Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the deployment was in
response to what he described as “hostile behaviour” by Iranian forces.
The US Navy also shared new images it says link Iran to recent oil tanker
attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran announced on Monday it would no longer comply with part of the 2015
deal on curbing its nuclear ambitions.
It said it would breach a limit agreed with international powers on its
enriched uranium stockpiles by 27 June.
The US troop deployment to the Middle East was announced by Mr Shanahan late
on Monday.
In his statement, he said the “United States does not seek conflict with
Iran” but the action was taken to “ensure the safety and welfare of our
military personnel working throughout the region to protect our national
interests”.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we
have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups
that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region.”
He said the military would continue to monitor the situation and make
adjustments to troop levels accordingly.

CHINA REAFFIRMS BACKING FOR CARRIE LAM

Beijing won’t let Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, step down even if she
wanted to, a senior city government official close to her said on Monday,
adding that a divisive extradition law she delayed on the weekend was
effectively withdrawn.
Opposition to the proposed law allowing extradition to mainland China has
sparked the city’s biggest and most violent street protests in decades over
the past week.
Beijing-backed Chief Executive Ms. Lam indefinitely delayed the legislation
on Saturday. But her gesture failed to mollify the protesters who have
become increasingly outraged over the prospect of legislation that lawyers
and judges say risks exposing people to the mercy of a mainland justice
system.
A crowd of what organisers said was more than two million protesters, many
dressed in black, swarmed over swathes of Hong Kong island on Sunday,
chanting for Ms. Lam to quit.
But despite the anger, she was unlikely to go, said the government official,
who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter. “It’s not
going to happen,” said the official, who has been involved in meetings on
the political crisis. “She’s appointed by the central government, so for her
to step down requires a very high level of considered discussion and
deliberation at the mainland level,” the official said.

FORMER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MOHAMED MORSY DIES IN COURT, SAYS STATE MEDIA

Ousted former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy died on Monday after he
fainted in court following a hearing, state television reported.
Morsy, a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood who was the first
democratically elected President in Egypt’s modern history, had been in jail
since he was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his
rule.
State television said Morsy, who was 67, was in court for a hearing on
charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian
Islamist group Hamas.
Morsy was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from
the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012 and a life sentence
for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar.

30 KILLED IN NORTHEAST NIGERIA SUICIDE ATTACK

At least 30 people have been killed in a triple suicide attack in northeast
Nigerian State of Borno, state emergency officials said on Monday, in the
biggest mass killing this year by suicide bombers. No group has yet claimed
responsibility.
The Boko Haram group and its Islamic State (IS) splinter group have often
carried out attacks targeting civilians and the military in Borno State.
“Yesterday around 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) it was reported that there was a very
loud explosion in (the village of) Konduga. On reaching the scene of the
incident, we found there was a lot of causalties. In fact, the death toll
was over 30 and the injured over 42,” said an emergency service official.
Earlier, the village head, Bulama Kalli, said three suicide bombers had
taken part in the attack, targeting a place where villagers had gathered to
watch a soccer match on a large screen.
Boko Haram regards soccer as ‘un-Islamic’.
Konduga is located some 25 km from Maiduguri, the State capital of Borno
state.

IRAN SAYS IT WILL BREACH N-DEAL LIMIT IN 10 DAYS, US DENOUNCES ‘BLACKMAIL’

Iran announced on Monday it would breach uranium enrichment limits in 10
days in a move that drew an accusation of “nuclear blackmail” from
Washington, but it added that European nations still had time to save the
nuclear deal that sets those curbs.
In an indication of Western concern at Iran’s initiative, a White House
National Security Council spokesman said the plan amounted to “nuclear
blackmail” and must be met with increased international pressure.
Britain said if Iran breached limits agreed under the deal then London would
look at “all options”. Close US ally Israel, Iran’s arch foe, urged world
powers to step up sanctions against Tehran swiftly should it exceed the
enriched uranium limit.
However European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU
would only react to any breach if the International Atomic Energy Agency
formally identified one.
The announcement by Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic
Energy Organisation, timed for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in
Brussels, puts more pressure on Europe to come up with new terms for Iran’s
2015 nuclear deal.

ISRAEL NAMES GOLAN SETTLEMENT AFTER TRUMP

The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is
the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan
Heights.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet convened in this hamlet
on Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump
in a gesture of appreciation for the US leader’s recognition of Israeli
sovereignty over the territory.
The settlement isn’t exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30
years old and has a population of 10 people. Israel is hoping the rebranded
“Ramat Trump,” Hebrew for “Trump Heights,” will encourage a wave of
residents to vastly expand it.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said US Ambassador David Friedman, who attended
Sunday’s ceremony. Noting that Trump celebrated his birthday on Friday, he
said: “I can’t think of a more appropriate and a more beautiful birthday
present.”
“Few things are more important to the security of the state of Israel than
permanent sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Friedman said. “It is simply
obvious, it is indisputable and beyond any reasonable debate.”
After the Cabinet decision, Netanyahu and Friedman unveiled a sign trimmed
in gold with the name “Trump Heights” and adorned with US and Israeli flags.
Trump retweeted photos Friedman posted of the event and thanked Netanyahu
“and the State of Israel for this great honour!” Addressing the ceremony,
Netanyahu called Trump a “great friend” of Israel and described the Golan,
which overlooks northern Israel, as an important strategic asset.
“The Golan Heights was and will always be an inseparable part of our country
and homeland,” he said.

‘FEWER BUT NEWER’ NUCLEAR ARMS IN THE WORLD, REPORT SAYS

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The overall number of nuclear warheads in the world has
declined in the past year but nations are modernizing their arsenals, a
report published Monday said.
At the start of 2019, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China,
India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea had a total of some 13,865 nuclear
weapons, according to estimates in a new report by the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
That represents a decrease of 600 nuclear weapons compared to the start of
2018.
But at the same time all nuclear weapon-possessing countries are modernising
these arms – and China, India and Pakistan are also increasing the size of
their arsenals.
“The world is seeing fewer but newer weapons,” Shannon Kile, director of the
SIPRI Nuclear Arms Control Programme and one of the report’s authors, told
AFP.

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