19 Jul 2019

Today's world news: All you need to know

7:58 pm on 19 July 2019

The United States says one of its Navy ships has "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel.

Hormuz Island in the Hormuz straight, south Iran.

Hormuz Island in the Hormuz straight, south Iran. Photo: 123RF

In the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf, President Donald Trump told an event at the White House that the drone had flown to within 1000 metres of the USS Boxer and had ignored "multiple calls to stand down".

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests," Mr Trump said.

"The drone was immediately destroyed."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the United Nations: "We have no information about losing a drone today."

- Reuters

Japanese Police probe deadly arson.

A man suspected of torching an animation studio in western Japan shouted that he had been plagiarised after the blaze killed 33 people in the country's worst mass killing in two decades.

Fire burning at Kyoto Animation in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City.

Photo: AFP / The Yomiuri Shimbun

The 41-year-old man "seemed to be discontented, he seemed to get angry, shouting something about how he had been plagiarized", a woman who saw the suspect being detained told reporters.

The unidentified man shouted "die!" before dousing the entrance to Kyoto Animation headquarters with what appeared to be petrol and setting it ablaze.

It killed 33 people and another 10 people were in critical condition, in what is Japan's worst mass killing since a suspected arson attack in Tokyo killed 44 people in 2001.

Two petrol cans, a backpack and a trolley were found near the site, and television footage showed what appeared to be five long knives laid out by police as possible evidence on the ground outside the three-storey building.

The suspect had no connection with Kyoto Animation and his driver's license listed an address in Saitama, a northern suburb of Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK said.

Little else was known about the man, who is under police supervision with serious burns to the face and legs.

Kyoto Animation is located in a quiet suburb about 20 minutes by train from the centre of Japan's ancient capital and produces popular "anime" series.

- Reuters

Trump backs away from the 'Send Her Back" chant at North Carolina rally

Donald Trump has disavowed the "send her back" chants directed at Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar by his supporters at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

Ms Omar is a US citizen who emigrated from Somalia with her family after fleeing the country's civil war.

The chants, which came after Mr Trump criticised Ms Omar and three other congresswomen, were widely condemned, including by some Republicans.

"I was not happy with it. I disagree with it," Mr Trump said of the chant.

He did not elaborate on with what he disagreed, and video of the incident shows the president remaining silent for nearly 15 seconds, while the chant grew in the crowd.

"It was quite a chant and I felt a little bit badly about it," Mr Trump told reporters.

"I started speaking very quickly but it started up rather fast, as you probably noticed."

Mr Trump was cheered on by the crowd of thousands as he again accused Ms Omar and her fellow congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashia Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley - known as The Squad - of hating America.

Critics say it echoed the "lock her up" phrase adopted by his supporters against Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.


Dutton dismisses concerns from NZ PM over deportations

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stepped up her criticism of Australia's policy to deport New Zealand criminals as "wrong" and "unjust", saying she will continue to push for change.

Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Morrison and Clarke Gayford.

Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Morrison and Clarke Gayford. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Ms Ardern met with her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, in Melbourne in their first face-to-face talks since the Coalition won the May election.

Top of the agenda for Ms Ardern was the ongoing concern about Australia deporting New Zealanders convicted of criminal offences, some of whom had spent most of their lives in Australia.

However, speaking ahead of the meeting between Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton insisted the policy would not change.

"We need to stand up for Australians," Mr Dutton told Channel Nine.

"And the New Zealand Prime Minister is rightly doing that for her people.


Epstein stays behind bars ahead of trial on sex trafficking charges.

US financier Jeffrey Epstein must remain in jail while awaiting his child sex trafficking trial, a federal judge in New York has ruled.

Jeffrey Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: AFP

Judge Richard Berman rejected Epstein's request to be under house arrest, saying he posed a flight risk.

His defence team had proposed a multimillion dollar bail package.

The financier has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. He once counted Bill Clinton and Donald Trump among his friends.

Epstein was arrested on 6 July and later charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy.

According to an indictment, the financier paid girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

Prosecutors also accuse him of paying large amounts of money to two people who could be potential witnesses during the forthcoming trial.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in prison.


Australian murderer goes to prison for life, with non-release order

A 25-year-old Perth man who murdered five members of his family, including his three young daughters, has become the first person in Western Australia to be jailed for life with an order he never be released from prison.

Anthony Harvey killed his family in a Perth home with knives and blunt instruments, and stayed in the house with the bodies for five days after the attacks, before turning himself in to police.

The Supreme Court heard that Harvey had planned the crimes for days.

Justice Stephen Hall today sentenced Harvey to life, saying "there is no other case that is truly comparable".


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