The Journal Gazette
Friday, November 01, 2019 1:00 am


Britain's Labour Party pushes non-Brexit issues

Associated Press

LONDON – The opposition Labour Party kicked off its campaign for Britain's December general election with one overriding message Thursday: It's not just about Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn put the emphasis firmly on economic and social issues, calling the Dec. 12 vote a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the country.

Then President Donald Trump threw a curve ball into the campaign, popping up on a U.K. talk radio show Thursday to slam Corbyn and urge Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join forces with arch-Brexiteer and political rival, Nigel Farage.

Tossing aside the convention that foreign leaders shouldn't intervene in other countries' domestic politics, Trump told Farage on the British politician's own radio show that Corbyn would “be so bad for your country ... he'd take you into such bad places.”

18 Syrian soldiers held by Turkey

Turkish military forces captured 18 Syrian government soldiers in northeastern Syria, Turkey's defense minister said Thursday, in one of the most dramatic examples of an increasingly muddled battleground following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the soldiers were captured during Turkish reconnaissance operations southeast of Ras al-Ayn but didn't say when. Ankara was already in talks with Russia to hand over the Syrian soldiers, he added.

A Syrian Kurdish official said the soldiers were captured Tuesday during an intense battle between Syrian government forces and Turkey-backed fighters. Kurdish fighters were fighting alongside the Syrian troops.

Iraqi leader gives win to protesters

Iraq's president Thursday called for the drafting of a new election law and said he would approve early elections once it is enacted, bowing to anti-government protesters while insisting that the sweeping changes they are demanding be carried out in a constitutional way.

Iraq has seen two waves of mass protests this month, with at least 250 killed as security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas in Baghdad and across the Shiite-majority south. The protesters have demanded the resignation of the government and the overhaul of the political system put in place after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion

100,000 Yemenis killed in civil war

Yemen's civil war has killed more than 100,000 people since 2015, a database project that tracks violence said Thursday.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, said in a new report its death toll includes more than 12,000 civilians killed in attacks targeting civilians directly.

The conflict in the Arab world's poorest nation began with the 2014 takeover of northern and central Yemen by Iran-aligned rebels, driving out the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa. Months later, in March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched its air campaign to prevent the rebels, known as Houthis, from overrunning the country's south.

Fire damages Japanese castle

A fire broke out early Thursday and spread quickly through historic Shuri Castle on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, nearly destroying the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Firefighters battled the blaze for about 12 hours before bringing it under control in the afternoon. An annual weeklong castle festival that began Sunday was to run for a week, but the remaining events were canceled.

The castle is a symbol of Okinawa's cultural heritage, as well as of its efforts to recover from World War II. It burned down in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa near the war's end but was largely restored in 1992 as a national park. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the central government will do its utmost to reconstruct the castle.

North Korea fires pair of projectiles

North Korea on Thursday fired two projectiles into its eastern sea, an apparent resumption of weapons tests aimed at ramping up pressure on the United States about a stalemate in nuclear negotiations, according to officials in South Korea and Japan.

The launches followed statements of displeasure by top North Korean officials about the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States and demands the Trump administration ease crippling sanctions and pressure on their country.

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