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Denmark court finds 3 men guilty for buying drones for IS

A Copenhagen court has found three men guilty of helping a terror organization by buying drones and components on behalf of the Islamic State group. The items were meant to be used in combat actions in Syria and Iraq. The Copenhagen City Court said T…

Houthi prisoners land in Yemen after release

The International Committee of the Red Cross says over a hundred rebel prisoners released by the Saudi-led coalition have returned to Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, a step toward a long-anticipated prisoner swap between the warring parties. The…

Turkey calls on NATO to support its security concerns

Turkey’s foreign minister has called on NATO to support Ankara’s security concerns, accusing allies of backing Baltic countries’ security concerns but dismissing threats to Turkey from Syrian Kurdish fighters. Mevlut Cavusoglu made the comments Thursd…

Iraq announces ‘crisis cells’ to crack down on protests after Iran consulate burned down

Iraq announces 'crisis cells' to crack down on protests after Iran consulate burned downIraq has declared it is setting up “crisis cells” in order to contain spiralling unrest in the country, after protesters burned down an Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf. The Iraqi military command said it was forming an emergency unit jointly led by military leaders and civilian governors in Iraq’s southern provinces, as Tehran called for a “strong and effective” response. The torching of the consulate in Najaf, the southern holy city, on Wednesday night escalated violence in Iraq after weeks of mass demonstrations that aim to bring down a government seen as corrupt and backed by the Islamic Republic. Video showed crowds outside the consulate shouting “Out, out Iran!” and waving Iraqi flags as the building burned. The Iranian staff managed to escape out the back door before the building was set on fire. Mourners carry the coffin of a demonstrator who was killed at an anti-government protest, during a funeral at a cemetery in Najaf Credit: Reuters According to police in Najaf, 35 protesters and 32 members of the Iraqi security forces were wounded. Many were reportedly choked on tear gas that had been fired into the crowd. A curfew was imposed on the city on Thursday. Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the torching of the consulate, which was the strongest expression yet of the anti-Iranian sentiment in the country, saying that the purpose had been to harm bilateral relations between the countries. Violence across southern Iraq continued throughout the night, with security forces killing 16 protesters and wounding 90 in the last 24 hours. Most were demonstrators who had been blocking the Nasr Bridge in the oil-rich province of Nassiriya. Security forces moved in late Wednesday to open the main thoroughfare and fired live ammunition into the group to disperse them. Nasriyah (southern Iraq) IraqIraqProtestspic.twitter.com/FwxAuWsRY1— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) November 28, 2019 Anti-government protests have gripped Iraq since October 1, when thousands took to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shia south. The largely leaderless movement accuses the government of being hopelessly corrupt, and has also decried Iran’s growing influence in Iraqi state affairs. At least 350 people have been killed so far by security forces, which have routinely used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds, sometimes shooting protesters directly with gas canisters, causing several fatalities. Fanar Haddad, senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, told Reuters the government might use the burning of the Iranian consulate as a pretext for an even more heavy-handed crackdown. “The downside from the protesters’ point of view is this might reinforce the government’s narrative that protesters are infiltrators, saboteurs and up to no good,” he said. “It sends a message to Iran but also works to the advantage of people like Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (commander of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force militia) giving a pretext to clamp down and framing what happened as a threat against Sistani.”

The Latest: Official: 4 protesters killed on Baghdad bridge

Iraqi officials say four protesters were shot dead by security forces and 22 were wounded, amid ongoing clashes on a strategic Baghdad bridge. Security and medical officials say security forces fired live rounds when protesters attempted to climb over…

U.S. Backs Hong Kong Protesters After Pro-Democracy Candidates Win Election

President Trump has signed into law a bill that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. How’s this being viewed in mainland China? NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to David Rennie of The Economist.

Kremlin: Macron says he is ready for dialogue on Putin’s missile proposal

The Kremlin said on Thursday that French President Emmanuel Macron had told Moscow he was ready to discuss a Russian proposal to impose a moratorium on the deployment of missiles in Europe, Interfax news agency reported. Russia has proposed a moratori…

North Korea test fires two missiles month before deadline for US to respond on talks

North Korea test fires two missiles month before deadline for US to respond on talksNorth Korea fired two “unidentified projectiles” on Thursday, Seoul said, as nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked. The projectiles were fired eastwards from South Hamgyong province and came down in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. They added that the launch, the latest in a series by Pyongyang, was carried out at 16:59 pm local time – or the early hours on the east coast of the United States, during Thanksgiving, one of the country’s biggest annual holidays. It was also one day short of the two-year anniversary of the North’s first test of its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts say is capable of reaching the entire US mainland. Pyongyang is banned from firing ballistic missiles under UN Security Council resolutions, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Thursday’s launch was the latest in a series of violations.  “North Korea’s repeated launches of ballistic missiles are a serious defiance to not only our country but also the international community,” he told reporters in Tokyo. Thursday’s launch came after Pyongyang fired what it called a “super-large multiple rocket launcher” system last month, and the JCS said the latest devices were presumed to be of a similar type. They flew 380 kilometres (236 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 97 kilometres, the JCS added. Nuclear negotiations between the US and the North have been at a standstill since the Hanoi summit between Donald Trump, the US president, and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, broke up in February. Pyongyang has since demanded Washington change its approach by the end of the year. “North Korea is growing anxious as its deadline approaches,” said Shin Beom-chul of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. “That’s why it’s carrying out these provocations, which is the typical North Korean playbook to get more concessions from the US.”

Odds Tilt Toward Johnson in U.K. Election Bet

(Bloomberg) — Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Boris Johnson’s biggest gamble may be paying off. According to a major poll of…

Lebanon pays back $1.5 billion Eurobond amid economic crisis

Lebanon paid back a Eurobond worth $1.5 billion that was scheduled to mature Thursday, a Finance Ministry official said, pacifying concerns of a first-ever default on its debt amid the worst financial crisis in three decades. Prime Minister Saad Harir…

Johnson’s Poll Lead Piles on Misery for Corbyn: U.K. Votes

Johnson’s Poll Lead Piles on Misery for Corbyn: U.K. Votes(Bloomberg) — Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson is heading for a 68-seat majority in the House of Commons, a mandate not seen since the height of the Margaret Thatcher years, according to the most hotly-anticipated poll of the election campaign. A margin that size would allow him to ratify his Brexit deal ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline, and potentially give him some breathing space to compromise in subsequent trade negotiations with the European Union.The poll was bleak for Labour, whose campaign has been undermined by yet another row over antisemitism. But pollster YouGov pointed to 30 seats it sees swinging to the Tories where the current margin is still less than 5%. Jeremy Corbyn has two weeks to shift the momentum in those areas, which voted to leave the EU and where he’s losing votes to Johnson’s pro-Brexit message.Must Read: U.K. Election: The Key Party PromisesFor more on the election visit ELEC.Key Developments:YouGov: Conservatives on course for 43% (359 seats), Labour 32% (211 seats), Liberal Democrats 14% (13 seats), SNP 3% (43 seats), Brexit Party 3% (0 seats)Pound rises as much as 0.2% in London before paring gainsAhead of the YouGov poll, Johnson’s top Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings warned of a very real risk of another hung parliamentThe Institute for Fiscal Studies says neither Conservatives nor Labour have credible spending plansCorbyn, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and other party leaders debate climate change on Channel 4 at 7 p.m. The broadcaster has threatened to empty-chair Johnson if he doesn’t show upJavid Says He’s ‘Confident’ on Policy Costings (12 p.m.)Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said he’s “confident” about the costings and funding for the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledges, after the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank accused both Labour and the Tories (see 10 a.m.) of lacking credibility on their spending plans.“We have been very clear with our spending commitments in this election,” Javid told reporters during a campaign visit to Darlington, according to the Press Association. “We have a very detailed costings document — the most detailed I would say that any party has published in any British election — so I’m very confident about that.”Javid also attacked Labour’s plans, saying they would trigger a loss of confidence in the U.K. economy.IFS Says Tory, Labour Spending Plans Not Credible (10 a.m.)The Institute for Fiscal Studies offered a damning analysis of both the Conservatives’ and Labour’s election pledges, and warned voters to expect higher taxes than either party has outlined.Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour have outlined vastly different offerings for voters. While Corbyn is promising a generational shift in public spending along with sweeping nationalization plans, the ruling party is presenting a more fiscally conservative approach, offering themselves up as the responsible alternative to Labour’s radical ideas.But according to the IFS, neither party has a “properly credible prospectus.” In its assessment, the Tories will end up spending more than planned, and so will have to raise taxes or borrow more, and Labour won’t be able to deliver on the investment plans on the scale it imagines. In the longer term, Labour would also need to raise more funding, and the IFS says it would have to hike income taxes on more than just the top 5% of earners.Read more: Think Tank Criticizes Fiscal Plans of Both Major PartiesLabour’s ‘Red Wall’ Problem (9:30 a.m.)Wednesday night’s YouGov poll showed Labour winning no new seats and watching the crumbling of its so-called red wall of districts in the north of England — examples include Bishop Auckland, Great Grimsby and Bolsover — which are traditionally Labour, but also strongly in favor of Brexit and now forecast to fall to the Tories.So far, Corbyn’s party has focused on trying to ensure it doesn’t lose votes to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats, and its policy to hold a second referendum on Brexit reflects that. But the YouGov poll shows Labour must now find a way to win support back from the Tories among voters committed to leaving the bloc. It’s likely that the party will shift its message in the coming days.But there’s plenty of uncertainty in the YouGov forecast. Of the predicted Conservative gains, 30 were by less than 5%. And the poll itself could change behavior. By offering a seat-by-seat prediction, it could enable voters who oppose Brexit or the Conservatives to see how best to vote against Johnson.Read more: Key Poll Predicts Big Majority for Johnson to Deliver BrexitHancock: Patents, Drugs Off Table in U.S. Talks (Earlier)Health Secretary Matt Hancock used his broadcast round to hit back at Labour’s accusations (see Labour’s Gardiner earlier) that a Conservative government would allow the National Health Service to be used as a negotiating chip in U.S. trade talks.“We do want a trade deal with the U.S. and we have been absolutely clear that the NHS will not be part of it,” Hancock told BBC radio. “We are crystal clear that it isn’t an area on which we’re prepared to give ground.”He also said drug pricing will not be on the table during the negotiations, and ruled out discussions on changes to drug-patent rules.“Why would we give the Americans more money for drugs when I spend my time battling to get drugs onto the NHS at a price the NHS can afford?” he said. “The point of trade deals is to get prices down, not to have prices up.”Labour Keeps Up NHS Attack Line (Earlier)Labour’s trade spokesman Barry Gardiner warned that Boris Johnson’s approach to a U.S. trade deal would lead to further privatization on the National Health Service. His comments continued Labour’s attack lines from Wednesday, when the opposition party published government accounts of meetings between British and American trade officials.Gardiner told BBC radio that the documents showed officials discussed longer patents to protect drug makers and, he said, illustrated how U.S. companies might get full market access to the U.K. health service.“The potential cost of that to the NHS would just pull the guts out of the services that we were able to provide for people and force further privatization,” he said. “This is how you destroy the health service from within. You force people to go private by not being able any longer to provide a full comprehensive range of services.”Parties Likely to Break New Fiscal Rules (Earlier)U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid and his opposition rival John McDonnell are on course to break the fiscal rules they announced less than a month ago, according to research claims by the Resolution Foundation.Even a tiny downgrade to the economic outlook could force a Tory government to raise taxes, return to austerity or abandon its new rules, the London-based think tank said. A Labour government would find itself in a similar position and have to row back on several big manifesto commitments.Earlier:Key Poll Predicts Big Majority for Johnson to Deliver BrexitU.K. Election: The Key Party PromisesU.K. Parties Given Little Chance of Achieving New Fiscal RulesIs Corbyn an Anti-Semite? It No Longer Matters: Therese Raphael\–With assistance from Jessica Shankleman, Robert Hutton and Fergal O’Brien.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at [email protected];Andrew Atkinson in London at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Stuart Biggs, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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