Archives
  • iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Masked gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt on Friday, killing at least 28 people and wounding another 25 people, according to BBC.No group immediately claimed responsibility. Coptic Christians make up just 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.Last month, ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks on Coptic churches on Palm Sunday in which 49 people were killed.President Donald Trump condemned the attacks on Friday and said the U.S. stands in solidarity with Egypt."Terrorists are engaged in a war against civilization, and it is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil," Trump said. "This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls. Wherever innocent blood is spilled, a wound is inflicted upon humanity."Trump said the attack "steels our resolve to bring nations together for the righteous purpose of crushing the evil organization of terror, and exposing their depraved, twisted and thuggish ideology." Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Meranda Keller/Released(NEW YORK) — Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets came within several hundred feet of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion over the South China Sea on Thursday local time, U.S. officials said.The fighters flew 200 yards in front of the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft with an altitude separation of 100 feet, an encounter the commander of the U.S. aircraft determined as "unsafe and unprofessional," U.S. officials said.According to a U.S. official, the Chinese jets were weaving ahead of the American plane, an action that concerned the U.S. pilot.The activity occurred 150 miles southeast of Hainan Island in the northern part of the South China Sea.A U.S. official said the U.S. plans to address the incident with China through diplomatic and military channels.This encounter appears to have occurred the same day that the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Dewey sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, conducting a Freedom of Navigation Operation by the artificial island claimed by China.The U.S. military conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations worldwide to challenge what the U.S. sees as excessive maritime claims and to ensure free and open waterways under international law.The Dewey's trip was the first such operation near a South China Sea island claimed by China since October and the first under the Trump administration.Mischief Reef is one of the manmade islands that China has built up in the Spratly Islands chain and turned into airstrips and facilities that could be used by China's military.Last week, the Chinese conducted a barrel roll over a U.S. Air Force WC-135 radiation “sniffer” aircraft, known as Constant Phoenix, flying in international airspace in the Yellow Sea west of the Korean peninsula.That incident was also characterized as "unprofessional," a U.S. official said.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(TOARMINA, Italy) — President Donald Trump is in Taormina, Italy, where he will attend his first of the Group of Seven (G7) summit.The meeting comes a day after the U.S. president faced other world leaders at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he called out NATO leaders for "chronic underpayments" to the security alliance. Whether points of contention loom for Trump at the G7 summit is unclear, but among possible areas of discussion will be whether the U.S. will withdraw the from the Paris climate accord signed between by nearly 200 nations during the Obama administration. Trump has publicly blasted the agreement in the past.But coordinating and discussing international politics and economics is why the group of advanced industrialized countries exists. The group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S., and it has been meeting regularly since its founding in 1975. While not a country, the European Union is also represented at G7 meetings.The consultative diplomatic grouping was founded by six of the countries to discuss international economic policies following a period of global economic stagnation caused by the 1970's oil crisis. Canada was added the following year, and in the 1980s the group expanded its purview to discuss foreign and security policy issues.For nearly two decades beginning in the mid-1990s, the addition of Russia made the G7 the G8. But after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the other member countries disallowed Russia from attending the summit "as a result of Russia's violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," according to the G7 organizers from the following year.The G7's meetings are hosted by one of the member countries in different cities every year. This year's summit will span Friday and Saturday, with scheduled sessions covering foreign policy about cybersecurity, terrorism, trade, climate and migration.There will also be a closed meeting on Saturday with no agenda for the seven leaders to discuss.National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who is expected to attend some portions of the summit with Trump, told reporters Thursday that in addition to other topics, there will be a "fairly robust discussion" about climate but that the president will "ultimately make a decision on Paris and climate when he gets back" to the U.S. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Trump is in Italy for the G7 summit with uncertainty over the U.S.'s commitment to the Paris accord. During his campaign, Trump said he would “cancel” the Paris agreement but has yet to take action since entering office. Experts are anticipating that some European parties at the G7 will try to get the U.S. to affirm its commitment to the deal at the summit. Here’s what you should know ahead of the meeting.What is the Paris Climate Agreement?The Paris Agreement is an accord sponsored by the U.N. to help slow global climate change. The 145 parties who ratified the convention set a goal to ensure global temperatures do not increase more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It also aims to limit temperature increases by only 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.After the conference, each country set their own "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs) and agreed to report their progress regularly on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. To remain in the deal, the U.S. must cut its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.Learn more about the specifics of the agreements here.Where does the Trump administration stand on the agreement?Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Trump said he would roll back environmental protections and regulations. He threatened to "cancel" the deal, but since taking office has said he's studying it. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said the Paris Agreement is bad for America because it’s bad for jobs. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon, said he supports staying in the deal. White House adviser Ivanka Trump set up a review process to make sure her father received information from experts in both the public and private sector before making a decision on the agreement. President Trump and Ivanka Trump have both postponed meetings with consultants about the agreement.Are the Paris accords binding?The U.S. can decide to withdraw from the agreement but stipulations outlined in the deal would require the U.S. to remain in the pact until November 2020. However, the Trump administration can adjust the U.S.'s Nationally Determined Contributions very simply.“The Paris agreement was designed to be flexible so that parties could respond to changing domestic circumstances,” Andrew Light, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute told ABC News.The agreement was signed on the U.S.’s behalf by former Secretary of State John Kerry, with his granddaughter on his lap on Earth Day April 22, 2016. President Obama signed it into law via executive action, bypassing the then Republican-controlled Senate.What are the consequences of withdrawing?Light said that the Trump administration could face a fallout if it withdraws from the agreement.“It could potentially harm U.S. businesses who are trying to compete with businesses from other countries in the exploding global market in renewable energy,” Light told ABC News. He went on to explain that withdrawal could look like “Trump is turning his back on the world” by walking away from the spirit of global cooperation that the Paris agreement created.For example, the Pope gave Trump copies of his published works on climate change as a parting gift following their meeting on May 24, 2017. Some are inferring the Pope was trying to convince Trump to support the Paris agreement.If Trump manages to avoid taking a stance at the G7 meeting this weekend, his team will most likely try to settle the issue ahead of the G20 meeting in July. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Trump said Thursday that his first trip overseas has given him “renewed hope that nations of many faiths can unite to defeat terrorism, a common threat to all of humanity.” But his time in the Middle East may have done more to deepen one of the region's main religious divides and alienate a key ally in that fight, experts told ABC News.The president chose Saudi Arabia for the first stop on his first overseas trip as president and praised King Salman for his stance against extremism -- particularly with respect to Iran. But a weekend spent blasting Iran -- a predominantly Shiite country -- from the halls of its longtime Sunni adversary could risk alienating America’s most important ally in the fight against ISIS: Iraq, Middle East experts said.As President Trump and leaders from dozens of Muslim countries gathered in the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Saudi Arabia Sunday, there was one critical Middle Eastern leader missing from their family photo -- because he wasn’t invited -- sources tell ABC News.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi was home in Baghdad, where his administration is leading that fight against the terror group ISIS that has upended their country.Instead of Abadi, who is a Shiite Muslim, Saudi Arabia invited Fuad Masum, Iraq’s Sunni Kurdish president, largely a ceremonial position. That kind of snub for Abadi, seemingly along sectarian lines, was just one of a handful of perceived slights for Iraq at a summit that was meant to bring Muslims together against terrorism, experts say.Critics say that the summit's targeting of Iran as a source of extremism and its sidelining of a prominent Shiite leader could drive the Iraqi government further into Iran’s arms at a time when the U.S. needs a strong partner there.“It was another example of Saudi dismissal of Iraq as a potential ally,” said James Jeffrey, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq. “Saudi Arabia writes off Iraq as a Iranian vassal ... and this undercuts U.S. efforts.”“Having Iraq's leadership snubbed by the Saudis and not having Abadi there is truly unfortunate. It's a real missed opportunity,” said Ilan Goldenberg, Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and a former State Department and Pentagon official.It also reveals a new U.S. administration that is either inexperienced or missed the nuances of a complicated region, according to some experts.“This whole incident shows what happens with a new inexperienced team with much of the State Department mid-ranks empty,” added Jeffrey. “Those people are supposed to foresee such problems and counter it. Didn't happen.”The cold shoulder for Abadi was not the only insult perceived by the Iraqis. When President Masud arrived, he was greeted at the airport not by any high-ranking Saudi officials, but the vice emir of the local province Riyadh. It was a humiliating reception, according to Iraqi press.The summit also appeared to downplay Iraq’s role in the campaign against ISIS. King Salman did not mention Iraq once in his speech and Trump did not praise the Iraqi army’s efforts on the front lines, only giving a nod to the “American troops [who] are supporting Kurds, Sunnis and Shias fighting together for their homeland.”President Masum wasn’t given a speaking slot at all, although his office posted the text of a speech he had ready on their website.“ISIS have killed the Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Yazidis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Shabaks and others without any discrimination, and its ugly crimes included all the Iraqi components,” he would have told the summit, had he been able to.A senior administration official praised the summit, saying, “Donald Trump united the entire Muslim world in a way that it really hasn’t been in many years.”But by trying to make Iran the common enemy
    Read more...