U.S. allies in the Middle East have held back from a full-throated endorsement of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claim that it is “unmistakable” Iran perpetrated a June 13 attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Despite a grainy video that purports to show Iranian military personnel removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of one of the two ships attacked, allies in the region and elsewhere remain unconvinced by U.S. claims of Iranian culpability. The prospect of military confrontation appears to have risen again after Iran, which denies responsibility for the tanker attack, announced on Monday that it would breach the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium set under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that the U.S. pulled out of last year—despite U.N. inspectors determining Iran had been abiding by its terms.
A strong earthquake that hit Sichuan province in southern China late Monday night killed 11 people and injured 122, the local government said. The Yibin city government posted the casualty toll on its social media accounts Tuesday morning. Xinhua news agency said rescue efforts were underway in the stricken area.
US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto kept lists of around 600 key pro- and anti-pesticides figures in Germany and France alone, its German parent company Bayer said Monday amid a widening probe. Bayer has admitted the lists covered politicians, journalists and others across seven European countries and in Brussels. "Update on Monsanto stakeholder lists: until the end of last week, the firm hired by Bayer contacted all the people on the German and French lists," Bayer's press department tweeted.
In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, Kyle Kashuv was an outspoken defender of the Second Amendment. In a letter Kashuv posted to Twitter, Harvard's dean of admissions asserted the university's right to withdraw its offer of admission. The dean, William Fitzsimmons, wrote that the university had become aware of "media reports discussing offensive statements allegedly authored by you" and requested a record of the statements Kashuv made.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said he can't understand why Jon Stewart is angry over the handling of health care funding for 9/11 victims. Appearing at a hearing of a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee last week, Stewart made an impassioned plea for lawmakers to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which is set to expire next year amid mounting claims from first responders, construction workers and others involved in operations at Ground Zero up through May 30, 2002.
Mexico will fully deploy National Guard forces on its southern border with Guatemala this week and will crack down on human smugglers after nearly 800 people were found in transport containers headed for the U.S. border, officials said on Monday. Under a deal signed 10 days ago with Washington, Mexico has promised to send 6,000 National Guard members to control the flow of migrants into the country from Central America. The deal gave Mexico 45 days to palpably cut the number of migrants traveling through its territory to the United States.
There's a rumor that General Motors is considering bringing back the Hummer brand, this time as a future electric SUV. GM first acquired Hummer from AM General in 1998 but dropped the brand in 2010. With the continued rise of the SUV market and the remarkable success of brands like Jeep, it's almost surprising that General Motors hasn't yet dipped back into its rugged Hummer brand, which it killed off in 2010.
Facebook on Tuesday announced the Bitcoin rival it has been developing for the better part of a year: Libra. From the start, Facebook insisted on how secure Libra would be, and on the fact that a subsidiary called Calibra will be in charge of Libra, and that a Libra Association would oversee the Libra blockchain. It's as if Facebook wanted to ensure everyone ahead of Libra's 2020 launch that the coin won't be another way for the company to make money off of its customers by collecting even more personal data from them.
A Connecticut judge could impose penalties on InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Tuesday, after Jones aired a show where he punched a picture of an attorney representing Sandy Hook families and called the lawyer a “pimp. In a motion filed Monday in Connecticut, attorneys for the Sandy Hook families asked the court to review Friday's episode of InfoWars. In that show, Jones raged at attorney Chris Mattei, who's representing Sandy Hook families suing Jones for saying the 2012 elementary school massacre never happened.
Compounding concerns in the region, the Iran nuclear agreement is in danger of collapsing by the end of the month after Iran said it would breach the agreement on June 27 unless Europe finds a way to get around US sanctions and bolster Iran's faltering economy. One year after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, Iran said on Monday that in ten days it will blow past the limits on enriched uranium that it consented to in the 2015 agreement. The ultimatum from Tehran is likely to trigger a diplomatic scramble by European powers to save the unravelling nuclear deal and force Britain, France, and Germany to consider whether they will sanction Iran if it openly breaks the accord.
Authorities say they've found the body of a woman and her 9-year-old twin daughters after she intentionally drove a car carrying them into a southwestern Michigan river. (June 18)
The Latest on the allegations of groping made against Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill (all times local): 3:45 p.m. The Indiana attorney general's office says it will vigorously defend him against a federal lawsuit by four women who say he drunkenly groped them during a party last year. The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges sexual harassment by Republican state Attorney General Curtis Hill on a state lawmaker and three legislative staffers in March 2018 at an Indianapolis bar.
A far-right university student who called Prince Harry a race traitor and created an image of him with a pistol to his head was on Tuesday jailed in Britain for more than four years. Michal Szewczuk, 19, posted the image, which also featured a blood-splattered swastika, on microblogging platform Gab in August last year, months after the prince married mixed-race actress Meghan Markle. Szewczuk, who was jailed for four years and three months, pleaded guilty to two counts of encouraging terrorism and five counts of possession of terrorist material, including the White Resistance Manual and an Al-Qaeda manual.
As the United States faces the longest period in its history without a confirmed secretary of defense, and tensions build over American allegations that Iran is responsible for recent attacks on civilian ships in the Persian Gulf, the man slated to head the Pentagon is facing a protracted FBI investigation that has delayed his Senate hearing until at least next month. Despite announcing more than a month ago acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan as his pick to get the Pentagon job on a permanent basis, President Trump has yet to formally nominate Shanahan, forcing the Senate Armed Services Committee to postpone a confirmation hearing it had tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, June 18.
Boeing's grounded 737 MAX jet received a boost on Tuesday after British Airways-owner IAG signed a letter of intent to order 200 of the planes and said it was confident that it would return to service in the coming months. Boeing said the deal had a value of more than $24 billion at list prices. IAG said the mix of 737-8 and 737-10 aircraft, to be delivered between 2023 and 2027, would be powered by CFM Leap engines and used across a number of its airlines including British Airways, Vueling and Level.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been orbiting the space rock known as Bennu since the start of the year. It caught up with the asteroid in late December of 2018 and successfully inserted itself into orbit around the object around New Year's day. There have been several “firsts” along the way, but its latest maneuver is the most daring yet, and it allowed the spacecraft to break yet another record.
Millions of people in Argentina and Uruguay woke up Sunday morning without electrical power after what an Argentinian national energy supplier called “a massive failure of the grid. While sporadic, small-scale blackouts are not unheard of in that part of the world, the sheer scale of the outage was “unprecedented,” as Argentinian President Mauricio Macri said. The outage delayed local elections in some provinces of Argentina and disrupted daily life for millions.
The spate of alleged Iranian attacks on oil ships in the Gulf of Oman has raised global fears of a return to the “Tanker Wars” of the 1980s, when oil tankers were regularly targeted and US warships fought cat-and-mouse battles with Iranian forces. Shipping analysts said that this week's attack on two oil tanker had sent tensions in the Gulf to their highest point since 1987, when Iraq and Iran began destroying each other's oil infrastructure, and sent maritime insurance prices spiraling. The Tanker Wars ended only after the US deployed its largest naval convoy since the Second World War to protect Kuwaiti oil vessels and after American forces engaged in direct combat with Iranian ships.
If he wins in 2020, Pete Buttigieg is pretty sure he won't be the first gay president. Speaking to Axios on HBO, the South Bend mayor was asked how he's going to respond to people who attack him during the campaign for being too young, too liberal, or too gay to be the American president. We have had excellent presidents who have been young,” he said.
Dominican authorities on Monday identified the man they believe paid hit men to try and kill David Ortiz, adding that they were closing in on the mastermind and motive behind the shooting of the famous slugger who is recovering at a hospital in Boston. The man was identified as Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota, whom authorities say is a fugitive. The announcement was made as a judge held a hearing closed to the public for another suspect nicknamed "Bone." Officials did not release details, but according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, the man, whose real name is Gabriel Alexánder Pérez Vizcaíno, is accused of being the liaison between the alleged hit men and the person who paid them.
The U.S. trade war with China is chilling tourism from that country, dampening a major revenue stream for hotels, restaurants and retailers just as the summer season gets in full swing. Last year, when the trade war began, the number of visitors to the U.S. from China fell 5.7% to 3 million, the first decline in 15 years, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. “Based on current trends, we expect no growth from China in 2019 if the trade war is resolved soon," says Adams Sacks, president of Tourism Economics.
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck off northwestern Japan, triggering a tsunami warning.
US Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort sets out this week to the Caribbean and Latin America as part of a mission to help Venezuelan migrants, Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday. Pence and Admiral Craig Fuller, head of US Southern Command, joined a group of Venezuelans at a Miami pier where the ship is docked to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. "We are with you," Pence said in Spanish, to shouts of "Amen!" from the Venezuelans.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock is making a flurry of appearances on television and the campaign trail after getting locked out of next week's Democratic Party presidential debate, a move aimed at turning the bad news into a boost for his candidacy. While 20 of his rivals meet over two nights on the debate stage in Florida, Bullock will be in Iowa and New Hampshire - the first states to have presidential nominating contests - holding televised town halls. A new ad being released on Tuesday and seen by Reuters complains that Bullock was "ousted" from the debate and urges supporters to donate to his campaign.