17 Jun 2019

Monday's world news: What's making the headlines

8:14 pm on 17 June 2019

Hong Kong on edge as protests continue

Activist Joshua Wong, who has become the face of Hong Kong's push for full democracy, walked free from prison earlier today, and vowed to join a mass protest movement demanding that the city's Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, steps down.

The 22-year-old's release comes as a political crisis in the Chinese-ruled city enters its second week, amid growing uncertainty over the fate of Ms Lam and a controversial extradition bill she postponed at the weekend.

"I will join to fight against this evil law," said Mr Wong, who was one of the leaders of the 2014 "Umbrella" pro-democracy protests that blocked major roads in Hong Kong for 79 days.

Protest organisers said almost 2 million people turned out to demand that Ms Lam resign, in what is becoming the most significant challenge to China's relationship with the territory since it was handed back by Britain 22 years ago.

The mass rally forced Ms Lam to apologise late on Sunday over her plans to push through the extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial.

- Reuters

Read more:

  • Hong Kong protest: 'Nearly two million' join demonstration
  • Massive power outage across South America

    Power has returned to much of Argentina and two neighbouring countries following a massive blackout that left tens of millions in the dark, but Argentine President Mauricio Macri said the cause of the "unprecedented" outage was still unclear.

    Argentina's grid "collapsed" about 11pm Sunday NZT, leaving the entire country without power.

    The outage also cut electricity to much of neighbouring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay.

    Officials say the blackout appears to have started with a failure in Argentina's "interconnection system," known as SADI, but said the root cause of the outage remained unknown, and that results of a full investigation would not be available for at least 10 days.

    - Reuters

    Read more:

  • Electrical failure cuts power to all of Argentina and Uruguay, supplier says
  • Pompeo denies US wants war with Iran as tanker investigation continues

    The United States does not want to go to war with Iran but will take every action necessary, including diplomacy, to guarantee safe navigation through vital shipping lanes in the Middle East, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    US-Iran tensions are high following accusations by the Trump administration that Tehran carried out attacks last week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital oil shipping route.

    Iran continues to deny having any role in the incident.

    "We don't want war. We've done what we can to deter this," Mr Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: "The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behaviour."

    Mr Pompeo, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, also defended the administration's conclusion that Iran was behind the attack, saying there was "other evidence" beyond video footage already released.

    - Reuters

    Conservative hopefuls square off in TV debate

    Contenders to replace Theresa May as Conservative leader have clashed over delivering Brexit during a TV debate.

    The MPs argued over whether a new deal could be renegotiated with the EU, and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

    Leadership hopefuls appeared before a studio audience at a debate hosted by Channel 4 in east London.

    Boris Johnson came under fire for not taking part. He had defended his non-appearance, saying debates with many guests "can be slightly cacophonous".

    - BBC

    India defeats Pakistan at WCC

    India continued their World Cup dominance over rivals Pakistan with a rain-affected 89-run victory as a highly anticipated match came to a strange end at Old Trafford in Manchester.

    Pakistan, chasing 337, collapsed to 166-6 before a rain delay saw their target revised to another 136 runs required from 30 balls - a near-impossible task.

    India, who have never lost a World Cup match to Pakistan, earlier posted an impressive 336-5, led by Rohit Sharma's fine 140 and 77 from Virat Kohli.

    Only Mohammad Amir (3-47) impressed with the ball for Pakistan and their run-chase crumbled in front of a vociferous crowd, before the rain delay added further confusion.

    - BBC

    Read more:

  • India cruise past Pakistan at World Cup
  • Israeli Prime Minister unveils "Trump Heights"

    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights, named after US President Donald Trump.

    At a naming ceremony, Mr Netanyahu said "Trump Heights" honoured Mr Trump for his decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

    Building work has yet to begin, but a sign bearing Mr Trump's name and US and Israeli flags was unveiled.

    Critics called the move a publicity stunt with no legal authority.

    Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

    In March, the US became the first country to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the area since Israel effectively annexed it in 1981.

    Syria wants to secure the return of the Golan Heights as part of any peace deal. In late 2003, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was ready to revive peace talks with Israel.

    In Israel, the principle of returning the territory in return for peace is already established. During US-brokered peace talks in 1999, then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak had offered to return most of the Golan to Syria.

    Syria wants a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 border.

    However this would give Damascus control of the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee - Israel's main source of fresh water.

    Read more:

  • Golan Heights: Israel unveils 'Trump Heights' settlement
  • - BBC