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French farmers damage more offices of Macron MPs over trade deals

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French farmers angered by EU trade deals with Canada and Mercosur have protested by damaging offices belonging to lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s party, as public discontent against the government shows no sign of abating.

Farmers targeted politicians’ offices overnight in Poitiers, Loudun and Chatellerault in western France, a regional branch of Macron’s LREM party said on Twitter on Thursday.

A local farmers’ association said it carried out the protest, which entailed blocking access to the offices with impromptu brick walls on which they sprayed slogans against the treaty between the EU and Canada, known as CETA.

“I am appalled by the wall and the graffiti that was put up last night in front of my office by the farmers,” tweeted Sacha Houlie, who represents the LREM party in Poitiers.

Anti-government protests picked up after the French parliament approved the EU-Canada trade deal in July.

Opponents say it will undermine the EU’s social and environmental regulations by allowing imports of products made under conditions that would not be allowed in Europe.

As the CETA agreement comes under scrutiny, there is also anger among French farmers over the potential hit to their livelihoods under a provisional trade deal struck in June by the EU.

And also the Mercosur bloc of South American countries, which includes major agricultural exporters Brazil and Argentina.

French farmers have a long tradition of staging disruptive protests.

The current unrest comes on top of the ongoing “Yellow Vests” anti-government demonstrations, and there were also violent clashes in Nantes last weekend at an anti-police demonstration. (Reuters/NAN)

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Foreign

Landslide claims 7 lives in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir

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Landslide

Assistant Commissioner of Rawalakot city told local media that two bodies have so far been retrieved from the debris of the houses and rescuers were trying to recover the remaining bodies, adding that the landslide took place due to heavy rain in the city.

The official said intermittent downpour has been obstructing the rescue work in the area, and more incidents of landslide are feared.

Earlier in July, at least 28 people were killed and dozens of others went missing after a cloudburst-triggered flash floods swept away mosques and houses in Neelum Valley of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The country has been witnessing heavy rainfall due to monsoon season which generally lasts between July and September, causing loss of human life, damage to buildings and infrastructure, and loss of crops and livestock.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Security forces arrest 2 drug traffickers in N. Afghanistan – Official

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Drugs

Provincial government spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hejri made this known to Xinhua.

He said that personnel of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s primary intelligence agency, arrested the suspects while they were driving a vehicle on a main roadway in Rustaq district.

He added that the personnel made the arrest after they received a report that the men were transporting a batch of drugs from neighboring Badakhshan province.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Riots as Mexico City protesters march against alleged police rapes

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Riots

The demonstrations came after two young women had separately claimed to have been raped by police in Mexico City over the past two weeks.

Fires broke out in several locations, including a police station and a monument to Mexican independence.

Masked women also destroyed a bus stop and damaged several police cars.

Several people were sprayed with paint.

A man punched a television reporter during a live broadcast.

Seventeen people were injured, including 14 police and two journalists, according to media reports.

The demonstrators were demanding justice for two teens, who were reportedly victims of sexual assault.

On the evening of Aug. 3, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by several police officers when she was on her way home.

In the second case, a 16-year-old said a police officer raped her in a museum where she worked as an intern.

The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, said six policemen had been suspended.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Yemeni Houthis claim attack on Saudi oilfield; no Saudi confirmation

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Attack

Dubai, Aug. 17, 2019 Yemen’s Houthi movement launched drone attacks on oil facilities in a remote area of Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said on Saturday, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities or state oil giant Aramco.

A Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis to try to restore Yemen’s government, which was ousted from power in the capital Sanaa by the group in late 2014.

The war has been in military stalemate for years.

The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.

“Ten drones targeted Aramco’s Shaybah oilfield and refinery in the first Operation: Balance of Deterrence in the east of the kingdom,’’ the Al-Masirah channel reported, citing a Houthi military spokesman.

It did not say when the attack took place.

Saudi Aramco declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The Houthi spokesman described the attack on Shaybah, close to the United Arab Emirates border, as the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015.

“We promise the Saudi regime and the powers of aggression bigger and wider operations if the aggression continues,’’ the Houthi spokesman said.

In May the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom that caused a small fire but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products.

The coalition has responded to the drone attacks with airstrikes on Houthi targets in Sanaa and other areas held by the group, which controls most large urban centres in Yemen.

The violence is complicating UN-led peace efforts to ease tensions between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia in order to pave the way for political talks to end the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim Iran.

Riyadh has accused Tehran of supplying the Houthis with the missiles and drones used in attacks on Saudi cities, a charge both Iran and the group reject.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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South African police arrest 18 suspects after foreign shops looting

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Arrests

According to the police, the situation is now calm in Soweto townships following the looting spree.

On Wednesday night, several shops belonging to foreigners were looted.

Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubele told Xinhua that the situation is calm and they are monitoring the situation.

“The situation is calm and we are monitoring the affected areas.

“We have arrested 18 suspects who will be charged with public violence. They will appear in court soon,” said Makhubele.

He condemned the looting of shops on what he blamed on opportunistic criminals.

The chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), Vusumuzi Sibanda, said that some shops are still closed due to fear.

“The situation is a bit calm with police patrolling but some shops are still closed. Some ran away to seek shelter at police stations while some went to live with friends. Some shop owners are still afraid to open shops,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda said the government is not doing enough to protect foreigners who are always attacked and their property confiscated by locals.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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