Mon Jul 17, 2017 05:35PM
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri
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Here is a brief look at Press TV newsroom's headlines from 09:00 GMT to 17:00 GMT, July 17, 2017.

 

Iran reaction to US threats

A top Iranian commander has taken a swipe at recent remarks and threats against Tehran by some US officials. Chairman of the Armed Forces’ General Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri lashed out at US military authorities for speaking of the need for regime change in Iran and their blatant interference in the country’s internal affairs. He said the Iranian nation is standing firm in defending the country and will not allow others to interfere with its security and meddle in determining its destiny. He also said Iran’s missile power is geared to defending the nation, and is non-negotiable. General Baqeri further said regional countries have what it takes to settle their differences and do not need the intervention of trans-regional powers. He also said the issue of holding a referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region could trigger new problems and challenges in that region.

Brexit talks

A fresh round of Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union has kicked off in Brussels. The bloc is calling on British Prime Minister Theresa May to set out her withdrawal strategy as quickly as possible. Britain’s Brexit Minister David Davis has met the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for the second round of talks. Officials say the negotiations are expected to take four days and Barnier has repeatedly warned that there will be difficulties. Meanwhile, Davis said that sensitive issues such as citizens’ rights will be discussed. Last month, both sides agreed on a potential timetable for negotiations toward a future trade relationship, which Britain would like to start as soon as possible.

Venezuela symbolic referendum

More than seven million Venezuelans have voted in a symbolic election in Caracas organized by the opposition against President Nicolas Maduro and his plan to rewrite the constitution. With 95 percent of ballots counted, some 7.2 million people turned out to vote. This comes as around 20 million people were expected to cast their ballots. The opposition has hailed its symbolic referendum as a clear message and a blow to Maduro. Meanwhile, a woman was gunned down and four others were wounded by paramilitary gunmen during the voting. The Venezuelan government has described the opposition-organized plebiscite as an “act of disobedience.” The Latin American country has been struggling with food shortages and a staggering inflation. The opposition blames Maduro for the economic crisis, but the president accuses his opponents of seeking to stage a US-backed coup.

Turkey arrests

Turkish authorities have detained dozens more people on the suspicion of ties with last year’s coup plotters. The state media says 115 of the suspects including businessmen, midwives and journalists were detained in the northwestern province of Tekir-dag. Police have been looking for a dozen more people in the area. The suspects are accused of using an encrypted messaging app that authorities say was used by the network of US-based opposition figure Fethullah Gulen. The latest purge comes a day after Turkey marked the first anniversary of the coup, with President Recep Teyyip Erdogan pledging to bring perpetrators and their backers to book. Since July last year, some 50,000 people have been arrested and over 100,000 others fired or suspended from their jobs. Turkey blames the failed putsch on Gulen, a charge he denies.

Rohingya famine alert

The United Nations has warned that children of Rohingya Muslims are “wasting” due to the acute malnutrition in Myanmar’s Muslim-majority areas.

The report published by World Food Program shows over 80,000 children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition. According to the report, all children under the age of two suffer from inadequate diet requirements. The report indicates one-third of homes in Maungdaw are experiencing extreme food deprivation. The UN report is based on an assessment of villages in western Rakhine state. Myanmar’s army crackdown has forced some 75,000 Rohingya to flee the state, and those who remain are confronted by food crisis. Myanmar has long faced criticism for its treatment of the more than one million Rohingya who live in Rakhine state.

Afghan war deaths

The civilian deaths in Afghanistan have hit a new high in the first half of 2017. According to the United Nations, some 1,600 were killed and over 3,500 injured with Kabul accounting for nearly 20 percent of the toll. Women and children in particular have been also victimized as 174 were women killed and 462 injured. Attacks by anti-government forces and the ground offensives by Afghan security forces were presented as leading causes of the human cost. The world body calls for immediate halt to the continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal improvised explosive devices. Nearly 27,000 civilians have died and around 50,000 injured by the armed conflict in Afghanistan since January 2009.

Qatar-UAE row

Qatar says it believes an American report which points the finger of blame at the United Arab Emirates for alleged hacking of Qatar’s state news agency. Doha said the UAE’s hack of Qatar’s state news agency is a crime and violation of international law. UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Qarqash has said the report is not true. Abu Dhabi’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, also rejected the article, saying Qatar’s funding for terrorist groups forced the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt to cut diplomatic ties and impose an embargo on Doha. On Sunday, the Washington Post cited officials as saying that newly-analyzed information by US intelligence agencies confirm senior UAE officials discussed the hacking plan and its implementation. According to the American officials, it’s unclear if the UAE carried out the hacking attack itself or contracted it.

Pakistani premier’s court hearing

Pakistan's Supreme Court has begun hearings that could end up in the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Opposition parties have called on the Supreme Court to remove Sharif from office after an investigation found that he and his family possess wealth exceeding their known sources of income. The Supreme Court could put Sharif on trial on corruption charges or disqualify him from office. But few expect the judges to dismiss the case after an investigation team submitted a 254-page report into his family’s wealth last week. Sharif has denied any wrongdoing. Sharif’s children, including his daughter and presumed heir Maryam, are accused of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of their apartments in London.

Nigeria blast

At least eight people have been killed in a bomb blast that hit Nigeria’s restive northeastern Borno state. A female bomber detonated her explosives at a mosque in the city of Maiduguri. Fifteen worshippers were also wounded in the attack. Maiduguri has been the scene of violence by Takfiri Boko Haram terrorists for over eight years. Nigerian security forces meanwhile killed two other female bombers in another part of the city and a third attacker exploded herself in the suburb of Simari. There has been no report of casualties in those incidents. Boko Haram has increased using young women and girls as bombers amid the Nigerian army’s counter-offensive which forced the terrorist group out of territories under its control.