By Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - Cyber theft of trade secrets by China is a threat to U.S. national security, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus said on Wednesday in the first major public address of his tenure, warning that Washington would continue to pressure Beijing. Baucus' remarks come as commercial ties between the world's two largest economies have been strained over cyber espionage charges and revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden of U.S. spying. In May, Washington indicted five Chinese military officers for hacking U.S. companies, prompting Beijing to suspend a Sino-U.S. working group on cyber issues.
The Israeli air force carried out 12 raids on the Gaza Strip overnight after militants fired more rockets at southern Israel, Palestinian security sources said Wednesday. The attacks struck training grounds used by Palestinian militants, leaving two people lightly injured, they told AFP. The raids took place after militants fired five rockets at southern Israel, one of which hit an open area. Two were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system while the other two landed inside Gaza, the statement said.
By Edith Honan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Congressman Charles Rangel of New York declared victory in his Democratic primary election on Tuesday, after facing one of the most serious challenges of a four-decade career as he tried to win a 23rd term in Congress in November. Rangel's Democratic challenger, state Senator Adriano Espaillat, has not conceded defeat, and the New York Times and other news outlets said the race was too close to call. In this liberal bastion of New York City, where blacks and Latinos form the majority, the winner of the Democratic primary is all but guaranteed to win the mid-term general election in November.
When Kiab turned 16, her brother promised to take her to a party in a tourist town in northern Vietnam. Instead, he sold her to a Chinese family as a bride. The ethnic Hmong teenager spent nearly a month in China until she was able to escape her new husband, seek help from local police and return to Vietnam. "My brother is no longer a human being in my eyes -- he sold his own sister to China," Kiab, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told AFP at a shelter for trafficking victims in the Vietnamese border town Lao Cai.
A passenger train derailed in eastern India on Wednesday, killing four people after a suspected explosion on the tracks, officials said. Some 12 carriages of the Rajdhani Express, which was travelling from the capital New Delhi to the northeastern state of Assam, toppled over at around 2:00 am (2030 GMT) in Bihar state's Saran district. "Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage," Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency. Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said there was no confirmation about what caused the derailment.
Former vice-president Dick Cheney, an architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on Tuesday defended his choices at the time, and slammed the current US course as opening the door to insurgents. The primary task of the advisers was to evaluate the state of Iraqi forces and not to turn the tide against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which have swept across western and northern Iraq, the Pentagon's press secretary said. Referring to an op-ed article he wrote with his daughter Liz Cheney, the former vice president and ex defense chief said: “We don't mean to be disrespectful to the president (Barack Obama), but I have got -- and as did my co-author ... we feel very, very strongly that we're headed in the wrong direction. He believes Obama never meant to leave troops in Iraq – and that his decision to withdraw led to the current instability.
Veteran Mississippi incumbent Thad Cochran bounced back to win a nationally-watched Republican runoff for his US Senate seat, US media projected, edging out a conservative challenger who nearly upended the party establishment. Veering from the modern-day Republican playbook, Cochran resorted to running on his decades of Washington experience and a history of funnelling hundreds of millions of federal dollars back to his impoverished southern state. Republicans are widely expected to retain control of the House of Representatives, and with President Barack Obama's Democrats struggling to hold the Senate, the GOP is pouring efforts into this year's campaigns in hopes of winning both chambers of Congress.
International efforts to save Ukraine's fragile ceasefire are set to intensify Wednesday as Kiev threatens to scrap the truce after pro-Russian rebels downed an army helicopter. Nine servicemen were killed when the Mi-8 helicopter was brought down Tuesday, underscoring the limited control both Russia and senior rebel leaders seem to have over some militia units that are apparently operating according to their own rules in Ukraine's heavily Russified rustbelt. It also threatens to quash budding hopes that Ukraine's Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko -- having ordered a one-week unilateral ceasefire on Friday that the rebels accepted on Monday -- will be able to negotiate an end to 11 weeks of violence that have claimed 435 lives, according to UN figures and an AFP count. Poroshenko said he hoped to discuss the latest incident with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a teleconference Wednesday that would also be joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend key NATO discussions on Iraq on Wednesday, the day after US military advisers began moving into Baghdad as Iraqi forces battle Sunni militants. Iraqi government troops held off Sunni insurgent attacks on a key town and an oil refinery Tuesday as Kerry pushed for unity in a conflict the UN says has killed nearly 1,100. The onslaught has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, alarmed world leaders and put Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki under pressure at home and abroad.