British consulate worker who was detained in China has been freed

A member of staff at the British Consulate in Hong Kong who was detained in China has been released.

Simon Cheng had been reported missing after he was stopped in China's border city of Shenzhen and failed to return to work on August 8.

Cheng was detained for 15 days for 'violating public security management regulations', police in Shenzhen's Luohu district said this morning on their Twitter-like Weibo account.

Police said Cheng was released as scheduled on Saturday and that his legal rights and interests had been observed.

They also said Cheng had confessed to the accusations against him.

Officials from the UK government said earlier this week they were "extremely concerned" for Mr Cheng's wellbeing.

In a social media post this morning, his family issued a brief statement confirming he was back home.

They said: "Simon has returned to Hong Kong; thank you everyone for your support!

"Simon and his family wish to have some time to rest and recover, and will not take any interview for the moment.

"We would ask media and friends to give them some time and space, and we will explain more later."

Mr Cheng told his girlfriend on August 8 that he had deleted messages on his phone before reaching the border from the mainland.


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North Korea fired 2 projectiles off east coast, South Korea says

North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles off its east coast on Saturday, South Korea‘s military said, a day after the North threatened to remain America’s biggest threat in protest of U.S.-led sanctions on the country.

It was the first such launch by North Korea in about a week. North Korea said last Saturday it had test-fired an unspecified new weapon in its sixth round of missile and other weapons tests in a response to regular U.S.-South Korean military drills.

The North had been expected to halt weapons tests because the 10-day U.S.-South Korean drills, which it views as an invasion rehearsal, ended earlier this week.

Saturday’s launches were made from the North’s northeastern South Hamgyong province, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It said South Korea’s military is monitoring possible additional launches by North Korea, but gave no further details such as exactly what type of projectiles North Korea launched.

The Japanese government said North Korea appears to have fired missiles, but they caused no damage and did not land in Japanese territorial waters.

South Korea’s presidential office said it’ll hold an unscheduled meeting to discuss the North Korean launches.

North Korea’s foreign minister said Friday his country will try to remain “America’s biggest threat” if the United States continues to confront the North with sanctions. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho also called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “poisonous plant of American diplomacy” and vowed to “shutter the absurd dream” that sanctions will force a change in Pyongyang.

Ri’s blistering rhetoric and the projectile launches may dim the prospect for an early resumption of nuclear negotiations between the countries. The top U.S. envoy on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said Wednesday that Washington was ready to restart the talks.

North Korea’s latest rhetoric over the U.S.-South Korean military drills had focused on South Korea, not the United States. The North Korean weapons tested during the drills were mostly short-range missiles and rockets. Some of the weapons revealed developments of a new rocket artillery system and two different short-range mobile ballistic missile systems that experts say would expand its ability to strike targets throughout South Korea.

U.S.-led diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear weapons collapsed after President Donald Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s demand for widespread sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament steps during their second summit in Vietnam in February. Trump and Kim met again at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume the talks, but there has been no public meeting between the countries.

 

 

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Woman killed in highway crash involving semi truck near Rocky Mountain House

A woman was killed on Friday when the pickup truck she was driving collided with a semi-truck in central Alberta, RCMP say.

Police were called to Highway 11 west of Rocky Mountain House, about halfway to Nordegg, at about 6:30 a.m. for reports of a collision.

Investigators believe the pickup truck, which was travelling east, collided into the semi, which was travelling west.

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The 42-year-old woman was the lone occupant of the truck. She was declared dead at the scene, police said. The driver of the semi wasn’t injured.

Traffic was reduced to one-lane for several hours as investigators examined the scene, but the RCMP said it was reopened as of 6:10 p.m.

RCMP said the cause of the crash is still under investigation and a collision analyst would be conducting a scene examination.


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The Latest: Wounded Illinois trooper dies from injuries

The Latest on the shooting of an Illinois State Police trooper in East St. Louis (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

An Illinois State Police trooper has died from gunshot wounds suffered while executing a search warrant in East St. Louis.

Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly says 33-year-old Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, a 10-year veteran, died in St. Louis University Hospital.

Hopkins of Waterloo was wounded early Friday during an exchange of gunfire while serving the warrant at an East St. Louis home. After the shooting, police surrounded the home and arrested at least two people. Authorities say efforts to apprehend another suspect continues.

Police didn’t say if anyone else was shot, nor have they revealed the issues addressed in the search warrant.

Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith says Hopkins was married and the father of four-year-old twins and an infant daughter.

In a statement following the shooting, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted state troopers display unbelievable courage and “put their lives on the line for us every single day.”

———

6:45 p.m.

Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly is asking for prayers for a trooper who suffered life-threatening injuries while executing a search warrant.

Kelly says the 33-year-old trooper, who is a 10-year veteran, was wounded early Friday during an exchange of gunfire while serving the warrant at an East St. Louis home. After the shooting, police surrounded the home and arrested at least two people. Authorities haven’s said if anyone else was shot, nor have they revealed the issues addressed in the search warrant.

The trooper, who wasn’t identified, is being treated at St. Louis University Hospital. The extent of the trooper’s injuries hasn’t been disclosed.

Kelly asks that the public be respectful of the trooper’s family “in this trying time” and pray for all involved in the incident.

3:30 p.m.

An Illinois State Police trooper is hospitalized in a St. Louis hospital after suffering life-threatening injuries while executing a search warrant.

Authorities say the 33-year-old trooper, who is a 10-year veteran, was wounded early Friday during an exchange of gunfire while serving the warrant at an East St. Louis home. After the shooting, police surrounded the home and arrested two people.

Police didn’t say if anyone else was shot, nor have they revealed the issues addressed in the search warrant.

The trooper, who wasn’t identified, is being treated at St. Louis University Hospital. The extent of the trooper’s injuries hasn’t been disclosed.

In a statement following the shooting, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted state troopers display unbelievable courage and “put their lives on the line for us every single day.”

———

11:54 a.m.

Illinois State Police say a trooper has received life-threatening injuries after being shot while executing a search warrant at a home in East St. Louis.

Police say there was an exchange of gunfire at the home at 5:26 a.m. Friday and the trooper was struck. It says the trooper, who was transported to a hospital, is 33 years old and a 10-year state police veteran.

They released no further information.

TV stations showed a large police presence in the area.

The Bellville News-Democrat reports several suspects were taken into custody but one remained inside the home and police were communicating with him with a bullhorn.

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9:07 a.m.

Illinois State Police say a trooper has been shot while executing a search warrant in East St. Louis.

State police reported the shooting on Twitter Friday morning but didn’t immediately disclose the trooper’s condition. TV stations showed a large police presence in the area.

The Bellville News-Democrat reports the trooper was transported to a hospital. It says several suspects have been taken into custody but one suspect remained inside a home and police were communicating with him with a bullhorn.

Terrence Hargrove Sr., who resides with his family about six houses down from where the trooper was shot, told the News-Democrat he heard police detonating stun grenades about 5:30 a.m. When he stepped outside to investigate, he saw his street lined with police vehicles.

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North Korea ‘fires two unidentified projectiles into Sea of Japan’

North Korea has reportedly fired two unidentified projectiles into the Sea of Japan.

Japan's coastguard said it had detected ballistic missile launches from North Korea on Saturday and warned shipping to stay to stay clear of any debris.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said the projectiles were fired from around Sondok, the site of a North Korean military airfield.

The South's presidential office is holding a National Security Council meeting about the launch, the office said in a statement.

Leader Kim Jong Un has fired a number of missiles into the sea in recent weeks amid stalled talks with the US.

Kim has been on a quest to build a warhead small enough to be mounted on a ballistic missile capable of flying across the Pacific and hitting the US mainland.

The dictator has met three times with US President Donald Trump – at summits in Singapore and Vietnam, and at the North Korea-South Korea border after talks stalled.

After the second meeting collapsed without an agreement on denuclearisation or sanctions, North Korea resumed missile tests and has issued threats against the US.

It comes as new satellite photos emerged suggesting North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme is leaking highly toxic water into the sea.


Almost half a million North Koreans could be consuming the poisoned water straight from a polluted river or through crops which are irrigated by it.


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Yemen's separatists declare ceasefire in clash with government forces in Shabwa

ADEN (Reuters) – Yemen’s southern separatists declared a ceasefire in their clashes with government forces in the oil-producing province of Shabwa after two days of fighting.

“The Southern Transitional Council (STC) calls upon all parties in the Shabwa governorate to exercise restraint and abide by the ceasefire called for by the Arab coalition,” the council said in a statement early Saturday.

The council also called on its forces to remain in their positions and maintain control over the institutions and property they overtook.

However, it warned against any attacks on the Saudi-led coalition forces.

The United Arab Emirates-backed separatists earlier this month took over the southern port city of Aden, the interim seat of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, and last week extended their control to neighboring Abyan.

Both sides are part of a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Iran-aligned Houthi group that ousted the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

But the STC, who seek self-rule in the south, turned on the government after accusing a party allied to Hadi of being complicit in a Houthi attack on southern forces.

Saudi Arabia has called for a summit to end the standoff, which has complicated U.N. efforts to end the war in Yemen. But Hadi’s government said it would not participate until the separatists cede control of sites they have seized.

The standoff has exposed differences between regional allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which in June scaled down its presence in Yemen while still backing thousands of southern separatist fighters.

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‘I get to choose the bag I like’: Oshawa students pick up backpacks ahead of school year

Excitement for the first day of school is starting to build but with that comes the added stress of spending money on new supplies and clothing.

A program in Oshawa that provides children with backpacks full of school supplies is helping to relieve some of that stress.

Sadisha Cousins is gearing up for Grade 8. She’s heading into her final year at Village Union Public School and she’s at Simcoe Hall Settlement House to pick up the supplies she needs to succeed in the classroom.

“It’s kind of fun — I get to choose the stuff that I want and my mom doesn’t just get to choose a bag whether I like it or not. I get to choose the bag I like,” said Sadisha.

This is the third year Sadisha and her family have used the backpack program in Oshawa.

“It was actually quite stressful because I always had to check to see how much the backpacks were, the shoes were, the school supplies, never mind where I could get them at a reasonable price,” said Kathleen Geldart, Sadisha’s mom, describing what back-to-school was like before the program.

“It lets me know that all the stuff that I need is in the bag and normally I have trouble fitting everything into one bag,” said Sadisha.

The Simcoe Hall Settlement House gave out more than 1,000 backpacks last year. Leading up to this school year, they expect to give out more than 1,100, the most since the program began.

“Getting your children back to school is an expensive venture at any point,” said backpack program co-ordinator Pat Savage. “So we have asked the community over the past 10-12 years to help us out to aid these children so that they can start the new school year fully equipped with everything that they need.”

Savage has been helping out with the program for the past 11 years. In that time, she says the community has stepped up contributions significantly.

“The first year I distributed 67 filled backpacks. We had to turn a lot of children in the community away because we just didn’t have the donations,” she said. “Each year it’s grown and the last four years we haven’t had to say no to any child — we’ve been able to meet the needs of the community.”

Thanks to a helping hand from the program, students can concentrate on class and feel confident on the first day back.

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2 injured after failing to stop for police in Hunstville, SIU investigating: OPP

Two people have been injured after they failed to stop for police at a RIDE check in Huntsville in the early morning hours of Friday, OPP say.

Officers were conducting a RIDE program on Main Street shortly before 2 a.m. when a vehicle drove straight through it, police say.

According to officers, the suspect vehicle was subsequently found abandoned after it was involved in a collision with a parked car.

The occupants of the vehicle fled the scene but were found a short distance away and transported to a local hospital with serious injuries, police say.

The driver, 32-year-old Tyler Shakespeare from Bracebridge, was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm, refusal to supply a blood sample, failure to stop at the scene of a collision, flight from police, possession of an opioid for the purpose of trafficking and numerous other Highway Traffic Act offences, police say.

According to officers, the passenger, a 24-year-old woman from Huntsville, is in the hospital with serious injuries.

The OPP say they’ve notified the province’s Special Investigations Unit – an agency that investigates incidents involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or sexual assault – and that it’s invoked its mandate and is investigating.

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France, Britain aim to show unity on Iran as G7 looms

BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) – France and Britain aimed on Friday to present a united front on how to deal with Iran, where they have been at odds with the United States, as world powers prepare to discuss tensions on the issue during the G7 leaders’ summit.

European states have been scrambling to save a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord last year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran that have crippled its economy.

Trump is due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the G7 in southwest France, as Britain’s exit from the European Union nears and London’s European allies watch to see how the Trump-Johnson dynamic plays out.

They are also looking to see if there is any change of course from Britain, notably on Iran.

“We are strong supporters of the JCPOA (Iran deal),” said a British diplomatic source in Biarritz. “We think that it is very important that Iran doesn’t get the nuclear weapons … It is important that it continues and I don’t think you will find any change in the British government position.”

The source said it was critical that Iran complies fully with the accord, but that while Johnson would listen to the U.S. position there would not be a radical change in approach.

“If the U.S. president has other ideas on how we can achieve that (Iran not getting nuclear weapons), we are very happy to talk about it,” the source said.

European powers party to the deal – France, Britain and Germany, known as the E3 – have remained united despite pressure from Washington, with Paris leading efforts to defuse tensions as Iran gradually reduces some of its commitments to the accord.

“Great Britain is sticking to its classic European choices … be it in climate, biodiversity, Iran or defense,” said a French official in Biarritz. “It’s important to keep the E3 together on Iran.”

French President Emmanuel Macron met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday in a closed-door session with the aim of discussing proposals that could ease the crisis, including the idea of reducing some U.S. sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism.

Zarif said the talks had been productive.

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“France presented some suggestions and we presented some suggestions about how to carry out (the nuclear deal) and the steps that both sides need to take,” Zarif was quoted as saying by ILNA news agency.

“Of course it depends on how the European Union can carry out the commitments within (the nuclear deal) and also the commitments that they made after (the nuclear deal) and America’s exit,” Zarif said.

Macron is due to discuss his proposals with Trump at the weekend.

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Greenpeace: G7 leaders cannot use Amazon fires to distract from own climate plans

Greenpeace officials in Canada and abroad say G7 leaders wanting to help stop the Amazon rainforest from burning need to look at their own backyards as the place to start.

A record number of fires burning in the rainforest in Brazil this month is raising serious concerns about the planet’s health.

About one-fifth of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest, which is also home to more than half of Earth’s 10 million species of plants, insects and animals, and one-fifth of its fresh water.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to France for the G7 leaders’ summit where he is joining French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in calling for an emergency discussion about the fires.

Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan says the leaders can’t use the Amazon fires to distract from their own failures to do enough to reduce climate change at home.

A report card issued this week by Climate Action Network International said the G7 countries are all lagging on acting to cut their own emissions.


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