World briefs

A CHINESE dissident who intended to apply for political asylum in Taiwan voluntarily returned to the mainland with his tour group, ending a short-lived saga that had threatened to turn into a diplomatic episode. Political activist Zhang Xiangzhong met with immigration officials and decided his “best solution” was to return to China.

CHINA-EU China and the European Union were set to hold their first high-level talks since President Donald Trump took office, with both sides eager to push a message of free trade and open engagement in contrast to the new U.S. administration’s skepticism about such arrangements.

NORTH KOREA-US From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military, promising it would make an “overwhelming and effective” response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons.

INDIA India’s top court says several senior leaders of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party will stand trial for their role in a criminal conspiracy to destroy a 16th century mosque in 1992. 

NEW ZEALAND is introducing tougher requirements for skilled overseas workers as it tries to control immigration numbers that have reached an all-time high. Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse (pictured) said that the government was unapologetic that industries relying on overseas workers are finding it harder to recruit people from abroad.

AUSTRALIA-IRAQ Australian troops provided help after the Islamic State group attacked Iraqi government troops with some type of gas in western Mosul, Australia’s prime minister Turnbull said yesterday. Joint Operation Command in Iraq told AP that six soldiers suffered breathing problems from the attack on Sunday and were treated in a nearby field clinic.

UK British Prime Minister Theresa May takes her case for a June 8 election to Parliament. Today the House of Commons will vote May’s surprise proposal for an early election. 

USA The Trump administration vowed to crack down on MS-13, a notoriously brutal Central American street gang blamed for a recent series of killings in suburban New York, and accused Obama-era border policies of allowing its ranks to flourish. 

US-IRAN Washington says Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by Obama, and stresses the U.S. has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program.  

TURKEY’s electoral board rejected petitions by opposition parties to annul the outcome of a recent referendum on expanding presidential powers because of voting irregularities. The request was rejected in a 10-1 vote. Two other opposition parties’ requests were also rejected.

Categories World