FILE PHOTO: Egyptian clients wait at one of the outlets of Qatari-funded beIN Sports channel in Cairo, Egypt June 12, 2018.. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo
June 18, 2019
PARIS (Reuters) – A French court has ruled that pirated sports content belonging to the Qatar-based broadcaster beIN was accessible via a Saudi-based satellite operator, but said it had not found evidence of “clear and illegal disruption”, court documents seen by Reuters showed.
BeIN Media Group filed a complaint in France against Saudi-based Arabsat to try to establish, in what it said was a “credible” court, that Arabsat was carrying pirated broadcasts of global sports events to which beIN held the rights.
Several global sports bodies have threatened legal action against the pirate channel beoutQ over what they say are illegal broadcasts across the Middle East and North Africa. It is unclear who owns or operates beoutQ.
A June 13 ruling by the Paris court, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, found that signals from beoutQ were available on Arabsat frequencies and accessible from French territory, based on findings by a firm retained by beIN.
“These elements are sufficient to establish that Arabsat has a charge to answer,” the ruling said.
But it also said beIN had failed to demonstrate the existence of “clear and illegal disruption or prove that there was immediate risk of commercial damage” that could justify forcing Arabsat to block beoutQ’s satellite signals in France.
BeoutQ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched a political and economic boycott of Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies. The channel is widely available in Saudi Arabia but Riyadh says it is not based there, and that Saudi authorities are committed to fighting piracy.
Soccer governing body FIFA said on Sunday that beoutQ was transmitting the Women’s World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa via Arabsat frequencies and called on the operator to help address the misuse of its intellectual property.
Arabsat, which is owned by Arab League states, has denied that beoutQ uses its satellite frequencies for illegal broadcasts. Reuters has not been able to contact beoutQ for comment.
Arabsat welcomed the French ruling, saying it rejected “all false accusations that Qatar’s beIN Sports group tried to pin on Arabsat”.
BeIN also welcomed the court decision, which a spokesman said would be used to support the company’s filings in separate international investment arbitration cases.
Arabsat has a small presence in France, which enabled beIN to file its complaint in Paris. BeIN was ordered to pay fees of 25,000 euros ($28,000) to Arabsat and 6,000 euros to an Arabsat adviser.
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Luke Baker in Paris, Eric Knecht in Qatar, Alexander Cornwell in Dubai and Stephen Kalin in Saudi Arabia; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Nick Tattersall)
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ALEX JONES IN STUDIO
Source: The War Room
FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini attends a joint news conference following a cabinet meeting in Rome, Italy, June 11, 2019 REUTERS/Remo Casilli
June 18, 2019
By Crispian Balmer
ROME (Reuters) – Italy is the United States’ most reliable ally in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday, keen to present himself as a strong, trustworthy statesman during a flying visit to Washington.
Fresh from his triumph in last month’s European parliamentary election, when his League party came top of the polls in Italy, Salvini went to Washington to burnish his credentials as a dynamic EU leader with a glowing future.
“At a time when European Union institutions are fragile and changing significantly, Italy wants to be the first, most solid, valid, credible and coherent partner for the United States,” he said on his Facebook page.
Salvini held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence and visited Washington landmarks, sending home a flurry of Facebook videos and tweets to chronicle the brief trip.
Salvini, who also serves as interior minister in the government, has no direct say in foreign policy, which is overseen by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero — neither of whom have direct political affiliation with any group.
As head of Italy’s biggest party, Salvini seemed eager to reposition Italian diplomacy during his trip, however, saying he shared a “common vision” with Washington on China, Iran, Venezuela, Libya and the Middle East.
Italy has often adopted cautious lines in key diplomatic areas, seeking to serve as a bridge between various worlds.
Earlier this year, Rome angered the United States when it refused to recognise Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president — a position imposed on the Italian government by the League’s coalition ally, the 5-Star Movement.
Italy further incurred Washington’s displeasure in March when it became the first major Western power to endorse China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure project in an effort to boost its own vital export market.
However, in a news conference posted on his Facebook page, Salvini said the government was considering banning China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd from bidding for infrastructure projects in Italy following warnings from the United States that it could endanger national security in the West.
“When you raise the issue of national security and also have a shared vision and shared values with the United States, then you reach a time when business deals have to stop,” he said.
Salvini was one of the first prominent EU politicians to throw his weight behind Donald Trump in 2016 as he campaigned to become U.S. president and attended one of his election rallies.
He left Washington on Monday singing the praises of the president’s economic policy.
The next Italian budget “will have to be Trumpian” he said, referring to tax cuts introduced by the U.S. administration.
Salvini has pledged to introduce a flat tax in 2020, but the European Union executive has warned that heavily indebted Italy cannot afford such budget largesse and has threatened Rome with disciplinary action unless it gets its accounts in order.
“We will try to convince the EU with numbers and by being polite. But we will cut taxes regardless and they are just going to have to get used to the idea,” he said.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Flight deck of the U.S aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is seen as sailors swip the deck for foreign object and debris (FOD) walk-down on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in Arabian Sea, May 19, 2019. Garrett LaBarge/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
June 17, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is preparing to send additional troops to the Middle East in response to mounting concerns over Iran, which Washington blames for attacks on oil tankers last week, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The officials did not say how many troops would be deployed or detail the timing of the deployment, which has not been previously reported. If confirmed, it would be in addition to the 1,500 troop increase announced last month in response to tanker attacks in May that it also blamed on Iran.
The Pentagon declined comment. It was unclear when a new deployment might be announced.
U.S. concerns about the threat to U.S. forces and interests in the region have increased steadily in recent weeks, particularly after the attacks on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf on Thursday.
The United States last week released a video it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were behind Thursday’s attacks near the Strait of Hormuz on the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, which was set ablaze, and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.
The U.S. military released additional imagery on Monday.
“Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine,” Central Command said in a statement.
Iran strongly denies the accusations.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends a ceremony of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) Line of Credit for Philanthropic Organizations at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
June 17, 2019
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday signed a bill into law allowing foreign airlines to operate domestic flights in Latin America’s largest air market.
Bolsonaro vetoed a section of the bill that would have banned carriers from charging customers certain baggage fees. The proposed measure had been opposed by the airline industry.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Leslie Adler)
A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which is says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter in the Gulf of Oman in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran on June 13, shows mine blast damage to M/T Kokuka Courageous, a Japanese owned commercial motor tanker. Picture taken June 13, 2019. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
June 17, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military on Monday released new images it says showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) removing an unexploded limpet mine from a Japanese-owned tanker that was attacked on June 13 in the Gulf of Oman, as Washington blames Tehran for the attack.
“Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine,” the U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement explaining the still-images.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Migrants from Central America walk on a highway during their journey towards the United States, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Torres
June 17, 2019
By Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.
The plan will likely encounter stiff opposition in Congress.
Lawmakers, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have chafed against the president’s repeated decisions to disregard spending bills passed by Congress, some of which he has signed into law himself.
Lawmakers who opposed the plan said it was cruel to cut off aid to countries grappling with hunger and crime and that the move would be counterproductive because it would more likely increase the number of migrants than decrease it.
“As feared, a presidential tantrum will limit our nation’s ability to actually help address the challenges forcing people to flee to the U.S.,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter.
Trump has made reducing illegal immigration one of his signature policy pledges, both during his presidential campaign and 2-1/2 years in the White House.
Congressional aides said the administration told them it would reallocate $370 million in aid to Central America that lawmakers had approved for fiscal 2018, and suspend an additional $180 million Congress had approved for fiscal 2017.
All of the money for those years has not yet been spent.
The administration said in March it would cut aid to the three countries after Trump expressed unhappiness with the their immigration policies.
No funds will be provided until the administration is satisfied the countries are reducing the number of migrants reaching the U.S. border, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.
“This is consistent with the president’s direction and with the recognition that it is critical that there be sufficient political will in these countries to address the problem at its source,” she said.
Without elaborating, she added: “Working with Congress, we will reprogram those funds to other priorities as appropriate.”
A U.S. official, with knowledge of plans, said the administration would review the funding by April 2020.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)
FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who’s bloc came first, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who’s political bloc came third in a May parliamentary election, in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani
June 17, 2019
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged political blocs on Monday to pressure the prime minister to form a complete cabinet within 10 days, warning that his supporters would take a “new stance” if they failed to do so.
Sadr, who leads a large parliamentary bloc, has rallied his supporters to stage mass protests against previous governments, and has implied this could take place against the current government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
“I call on all political blocs to charge the prime minister with completing the cabinet formation process within 10 days,” Sadr said in a letter released by his office.
“Otherwise we will have another position … and you are aware of our stance.”
Sadr’s Saeroon political bloc came first in a May 2018 general election. He has called for independent candidates to be put forth for several key cabinet positions which remain vacant over disagreement between powerful parties.
Abdul Mahdi began his term in October, but has yet to fill interior and defense posts.
Sadr, who presents himself as a nationalist who opposes the involvement of both the United States and Iran, Iraq’s two mains allies, scored a surprise victory in the May vote by promising to fight corruption and improve services.
The other largest political bloc includes candidates backed by Iran who have tried to push an interior candidate linked to Iran-backed militias.
A wild card in Iraq’s turbulent politics driven largely by sectarian interests, he has frequently mobilized tens of thousands of followers to protest against government policies and corruption.
His militia, previously known as the Mehdi Army, staged two violent uprisings against U.S. occupation forces after the invasion. Iraqi and U.S. officials described him at the time as the biggest security threat in Iraq.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; writing by Raya Jalabi; Editing by John Davison and Lisa Shumaker)
FILE PHOTO: The convoy of a team from the United Nations and the World Food Program crosses from Houthi-controlled areas to a government-controlled areas to reach grain mills in an eastern suburb of Hodeidah, Yemen February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo
June 17, 2019
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations food chief David Beasley warned on Monday that a phased-suspension of food assistance in Yemen was likely to begin later this week over a diversion of aid and lack of independence in Houthi-controlled areas.
Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), called on the Houthis to “simply let us do our job.”
“If we do not receive these assurances then we will begin a phased suspension of food assistance, most likely toward the end of this week. If and when we do initiate suspension we will continue our nutrition program for malnourished children, pregnant women and new mothers,” he told the U.N. Security Council.
Beasley said WFP had been unable to implement agreements with the Houthis on the registration of people in need and the rollout of a biometric system – using iris scanning, fingerprints or facial recognition – to support aid delivery.
“We are now assisting feeding over 10 million people per month but as the head of the World Food Programme I cannot assure you that all the assistance is going to those who need it most,” Beasley said.
“Why? Because we are not allowed to operate independently and because aid is being diverted for profit and or other purposes,” he told the 15-member council.
The Houthis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Beasley’s remarks. However, earlier this month Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, told Reuters the WFP insisted on controlling the biometric data in violation of Yemeni law.
In a statement, the U.N. Security Council “condemned the misappropriation of humanitarian assistance and aid by the Houthis … and reiterated their call for the rapid, safe and unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies and personnel into and across the country.”
A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government that was ousted from power in the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis in 2014.
The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being puppets of Iran and say their revolution is against corruption.
Beasley said that aid diversion was not limited to just Houthi-controlled areas, but “when we face challenges in areas controlled by the government, we have received cooperation to address the issues.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Susan Thomas and Bill Trott)
FILE PHOTO – Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks during a session with senators and lawmakers at the Senate building in Mexico City, Mexico June 14, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
June 17, 2019
By Hugh Bronstein
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will fully deploy National Guard forces on its southern border with Guatemala this week and will crack down on human smugglers after nearly 800 people were found in transport containers headed for the U.S. border, officials said on Monday.
Under a deal signed 10 days ago with Washington, Mexico has promised to send 6,000 National Guard members to control the flow of migrants into the country from Central America. The deal gave Mexico 45 days to palpably cut the number of migrants traveling through its territory to the United States.
If U.S. President Donald Trump is unsatisfied with results at the end of the period, he has said he will renew plans to put punitive tariffs on Mexican goods. The move could batter Mexico’s economy, as the United States is its main trade partner. Trump, a Republican, has made reducing illegal immigration one of the main policies of his presidency.
“The deployment of the National Guard will be completed this week, with support from the Ministry of Defense and the Navy,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said at a news conference.
Mexican police found 785 foreign nationals, many of them children, crammed into eight containers pulled by four trucks in the eastern state of Veracruz on Saturday.
Ebrard said each of the travelers had paid $3,500 or $5,000 in their country of origin to be transported through Mexico, toward the United States.
“We are calling this a rescue because the containers were not designed for human transport. These people could have died of asphyxiation,” Ebrard said, adding that the transportation companies involved in the incident will face charges.
Mexico is home to one of the biggest human smuggling markets in the world, he said. “It will not be tolerated.”
Most of those caught attempting to enter the United States from Mexico are fleeing poverty and rampant gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Some say it would be better to stay in Mexico than return home if Trump clamps down further on migration into the United States.
Trump’s administration announced plans on Monday to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the three countries, after he complained that their governments were not doing enough to curb immigration.
U.S. Lawmakers who oppose the plan said it was cruel to cut aid to countries grappling with hunger and crime, and that the move would more likely increase the number of migrants seeking safety in the north than decrease it.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein, Dave Graham; editing by Bill Trott and Grant McCool)