Jun 15 2019

Six In The Morning Saturday 15 June 2019


Hong Kong extradition protests: Government suspends bill

The Hong Kong government has suspended its highly controversial plan to allow extraditions to mainland China, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced.

She had previously refused to scrap the bill despite mass protests from Hong Kong residents.

“I feel deep sorrow and regret that deficiencies in our work – and various other factors – have stirred up substantial controversies,” she said.

Protesters expressed concern at increased Chinese influence.

Ms Lam said she had heard the calls for her government to “pause and think”.

She also admitted that the “explanation and communication” of the bill had not been adequate.

Corbyn: no ‘credible evidence’ of Iran role in tanker attacks

Labour leader urges UK to ease tensions in Gulf after Foreign Office links blasts to Tehran

Jeremy Corbyn has called for the government to abstain from escalating tensions with Iran without “credible evidence” that Tehran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers.

The Labour leader said Britain risked increasing the threat of war after the Foreign Office (FCO) said it was “almost certain” in its assessment that “a branch of the Iranian military … attacked the two tankers on 13 June”.

The FCO said: “No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible,” and pointed to a “recent precedent for attacks by Iran against oil tankers”.

Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090

Series of ‘anomalously warm summers’ caused ground to thaw, researchers say

Alessio Perrone

Permafrost has begun thawing in the Canadian Arctic more than 70 years early because of climate change, according to new research.

A “series of anomalously warm summers” has dramatically accelerated melting rates at three sites despite average annual ground temperatures remaining low. Ponds and hillocks have formed as a result.

It had been thought that the permafrost – ground that remains frozen for at least two years – would remain until at least 2090.

Sudanese opposition leader calls for international investigation into protest crackdown

Sudan’s veteran opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi called on Friday for an “objective” international investigation into last week’s deadly crackdown on protesters, after the ruling military council rejected such a probe.

Mahdi’s call was backed by top US envoy Tibor Nagy, who urged an “independent and credible” investigation into the June 3 killings in Sudan.

Thousands of protesters who had camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum for weeks were dispersed in an operation which left dozens dead.

The crackdown followed the collapse of talks between protest leaders and generals, following the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir.

Faced with protests, Putin blinks — but don’t expect a Moscow Spring

Updated 0443 GMT (1243 HKT) June 15, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for nearly two decades, but he still has the capacity to surprise: This week, he unexpectedly showed that the Kremlin — on rare occasions — has a reverse gear.

To recap: On Tuesday, Russian authorities dropped a criminal case against a top investigative reporter known for exposing local corruption. The journalist, Ivan Golunov, had been arrested on an attempted drug-distribution charge that he and his colleagues insisted evidence had been planted by police.


June 15 2019

BIT BY BIT, President Donald Trump’s story of winning concessions on immigration enforcement from Mexico is falling apart. Last weekend, Trump announced that the U.S. and Mexico “reached a signed agreement” to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants entering the U.S. through its southern border — the fruits, the administration suggested, of his threats to impose tariffs against the U.S.’s southern neighbor.

That version of events was called into question by the New York Times, which reported that Mexico was already carrying out or had been planning to carry out the actions that the administration claimed were part of a deal. Trump responded by insisting that there were “secret” provisions. On Wednesday, he waved a purported secret deal with Mexico in front of reporters. One photojournalist captured a partially legible backlit image, revealing that the paper described “a regional approach to burden-sharing in relation to the processing of refugee status claims to migrants.”