The government in civil war-torn South Sudan has taken delivery of new Chinese arms including anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers and assault rifles, the country's defence minister confirmed Wednesday. The minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said the deal with China North Industries Corp (Norinco) was concluded in 2012, before the outbreak of fighting in December last year between rival troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar. He confirmed a report by the Bloomberg news agency that the delivery, valued at $14.5 million, included 100 anti-tank missiles, 1,200 rockets, 9,000 assault rifles and hundreds of grenade launchers. South Sudan is the world's youngest nation, born of decades-long independence war with Khartoum.
China on Wednesday accused London of interfering in its internal affairs after British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg met two leading Hong Kong pro-democracy activists urging greater freedoms from Beijing. China "lodged solemn protests" with Britain over Tuesday's meetings with Martin Lee, founder of Hong Kong's opposition Democratic Party, and Anson Chan, the former number two in the city's government, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The United States is doing "everything in our power" to end the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday, as he kept up contacts with regional leaders. "And we're doing everything in our power," said Kerry, adding that he has been speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Arab officials. The militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza and has fired more than 1,200 rockets into Israel, rejected the proposal on the grounds that it was not included in talks. The State Department said that Kerry in the past day has spoken to the foreign ministers of Egypt as well as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are seen as holding influence with Hamas, and to Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi.
The United States said Wednesday that Iran's adherence to an interim nuclear deal had been "surprisingly favorable," as it contemplated a likely extension to talks on framing a final agreement. US Secretary of State John Kerry was briefing President Barack Obama on the talks between world powers and the Islamic republic in Vienna, amid clear signs the process will go on after a Sunday deadline. Kerry returned to Washington from the talks in Vienna late Tuesday, and is likely also to discuss any possible US mediation efforts in the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. Kerry said before leaving Vienna that he would discuss with Obama "the prospects for a comprehensive agreement, as well as a path forward if we do not achieve one by the 20th of July, including the question of whether or not more time is warranted."
Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas said Wednesday his detention by US border agents in Texas was just an example of the risks that undocumented immigrants face every day in America. Vargas, 33, a Philippines-born prize-winning journalist, was handcuffed and questioned by Border Patrol officers Tuesday as he prepared to board a domestic flight to Los Angeles in the border city of McAllen. "I've been travelling around the country for the past three years" without incident using a Philippine passport that lacks a US visa, said Vargas, who came out as an undocumented immigrant in a widely-read 2011 essay. "When you fly through JFK... there's no Border Patrol agent checking your passport when you go through," explained Vargas, referring to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The Bamako government and armed groups from northern Mali launched tough talks in Algiers on Wednesday for an elusive peace deal, with parts of the country still mired in conflict. Instead, the three groups that signed the "Algiers Declaration" in June, demanding inclusive peace negotiations, held a succession of brief meetings with the government delegation, with three other groups then holding talks. Speaking beforehand, Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, who heads the government negotiating team, said Bamako was prepared to go "as far as possible" within its "red lines" to strike a peace deal with the mainly Tuareg rebels and "forge an understanding between Malians." "The government is ready to go as far as possible within the red lines that have been drawn," Diop said on Wednesday morning in Algiers.
A US Navy nurse has refused to take part in force-feeding Guantanamo inmates on hunger strike, the first time a medical officer has openly objected to the practice, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The male nurse, whose name has not been disclosed, was part of a medical team at the US-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that feeds detainees by inserting a tube up their nose, down the throat and into the stomach. "This nurse did not want to take part in the enteral feeding and has since been assigned to other duties," spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters. Pentagon officials said another medical officer previously had declined to participate in an unspecified procedure but that case did not involve tube feedings.
Turkey will take "drastic measures" to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into its biggest city Istanbul, including forcibly sending them to camps in the southeast, the city's top official said Wednesday. Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said there were now 67,000 Syrian refugees in the city and legislation would now be adopted that could see them effectively expelled from the city of 15 million to refugee camps closer to Syria. Mutlu said authorities would take "drastic measures" to contain the negative consequences of Syrian refugees in Istanbul, including sending those begging in the streets back to the refugee camps "without their consent".
By Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators on Wednesday unveiled a bill prompted by the General Motors Co recalls over defective ignition switches that would make it a crime for corporate officers to conceal dangers posed by their products. Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said their proposal calls for up to five years in prison and fines for officers who know their products could cause death or injury to consumers or workers and hide that information. "Corporate concealment can kill, and corporate officers who engage in concealment must be held accountable," Blumenthal said at a news conference. Federal prosecutors are building a criminal fraud case based on whether GM made misleading statements about a flawed ignition switch in some of its vehicles, which has been linked to at least 16 deaths and 61 crashes.
CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, fighting to hold onto his seat and his reputation as a reformer who's cleaned up state government, is facing questions about a now-defunct anti-violence program he started in the run-up to his 2010 election after a state audit found funds were misused.
It is crucial to the United States that China be brought up to world standards for how it regulates and manages its economy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday. Lew said that, despite tensions between the countries, the U.S. will remain closely engaged with China to try to further economic reform in the country -- now the world's second largest economy behind the United States. "Realistically, the global economy depends on a good U.S.-China relationship," he said, speaking at a business conference hosted by the CNBC television network. Lew also said that in recent talks with Chinese officials he has made clear U.S. demands that China stop managing its currency, which is pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.