Six In The Morning Sunday 28 January 2024


First on CNN: Three US troops killed in drone attack in Jordan, at least two dozen injured

Three US Army soldiers were killed and at least two dozen service members were injured in a drone attack overnight on a small US outpost in Jordan, US officials told CNN, marking the first time US troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the beginning of the Gaza war.

The killing of three Americans at Tower 22 in Jordan near the border with Syria is a significant escalation of an already-precarious situation in the Middle East. Officials said the drone was fired by Iran-backed militants and appeared to come from Syria.

US Central Command confirmed in a statement on Sunday that three service members were killed and 25 injured in a one-way drone attack that “impacted at a base in northeast Jordan.”

Chinese courts to rule on Hong Kong commercial disputes under new law

Legislation will further erode differences between legal systems of Hong Kong and mainland

A new law giving Chinese courts the authority to enforce rulings in commercial disputes in Hong Kong comes into effect on Monday, further reducing the barriers between the Hong Kong and Chinese legal systems.

The law puts into effect an agreement signed between China’s supreme people’s court and the government of Hong Kong in 2019 and is designed to reduce the need for re-litigation in civil and commercial disputes, in cases where there is a connection to mainland China.

However, concerns have been raised that the law will tarnish Hong Kong’s reputation as a global business hub. International companies have traditionally chosen to base themselves in Hong Kong in part because the territory provides access to mainland China while ensuring robust rule of law protection in commercial disputes as a result of Hong Kong’s independent legal system, which is based on English common law.

Spiral of VengeanceThe Gathering Storm Clouds in the Middle East

Israeli strikes in Lebanon, Houthi attacks on the Red Sea and Iranian missiles fired on Iraq: The risk of escalation in the Middle East is growing.

By Christoph Reuter und Monika Bolliger

The villa belonging to the Kurdish construction magnate Peshraw Dizayee was a splendid estate, as big as a palace and surrounded by a verdant park. Since Monday night, though, all that remains of it is a concrete skeleton surrounded by rubble, some remaining bits of wall and buckled palm trees.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have claimed responsibility for the missile strikes on Dizayee’s estate in the northern Iraqi city Erbil, which killed the businessman, his infant daughter and several civilians. Tehran claims the attack targeted an Israeli “spy headquarters” – and it likely came in response to Israel’s killing of one of their commanders several weeks previously.

French government mounts defence as agricultural unions prepare Paris ‘siege’

France’s government said Sunday it was making plans to avoid any blockage of routes around the French capital as agricultural unions prepared to mount a “siege” of Paris, part of efforts to pressure the government to meet their demands on pay, taxes and regulations.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Sunday tasked law enforcement officials with putting in place “an extensive defensive system” to prevent farmers from blocking Paris area airports, the Rungis market and “to prohibit any entry into Paris”.

The leaders of two of France‘s largest farming unions said Saturday that members from the regions around Paris “will begin an indefinite siege of the capital” on Monday.

“All the major roads leading to the capital will be occupied by farmers,” they said, adding that they intend to blockade the massive Rungis wholesale food market south of the capital.

Key UN Gaza aid agency UNRWA runs into diplomatic storm

By Mark Lowen, in Jerusalem

BBC News

In Gaza, a strip of land fast becoming a wasteland, few international aid bodies can still operate. The United Nations is one of them.

Its Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, was founded in 1949, working in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, caring for the 700,000 Palestinians who were forced or fled from their homes with the creation of the state of Israel.

Now, says the agency’s head, the lifesaving assistance on which two million Gazans rely could be about to end, as several Western governments suspend their funding over allegations that some UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attacks on Israel.

Central Tokyo condo average price tops ¥100 mil for 1st time

The average price of new condominiums released last year in central Tokyo topped 100 million yen for the first time, driven by luxury properties and soaring construction material prices, according to data from the Real Estate Economic Institute.

The price shot up 39.4 percent from the previous year to 114.83 million yen per unit in the capital’s 23 wards, the institute said.

The average price of new condos in the capital and the three surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama also climbed sharply, rising 28.8 percent to 81.01 million yen for the fifth straight year of increase.