Cambridge, Sept 29 (AP/UNB — France's leaders are proposing a new international coalition to revive global cooperation that they say is being threatened by countries like the United States and Russia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the plan Friday while speaking at Harvard University, calling for an alliance of "goodwill powers" that believe in cooperation and share democratic values.
Any nation could join, but the minister says he hopes it would include countries like India, Australia and Japan, along with others in Europe. He says it would go on with or without the U.S.
His speech came days after U.S. President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that he rejects "the ideology of globalism."
French President Emmanuel Macron countered with calls for greater cooperation and said "nationalism always leads to defeat."
Gaza City, Sept 29 (AP/UNB — Israeli troops killed six Palestinians, two of them children, and wounded dozens more in the deadliest day in recent weeks as Gaza's Hamas rulers stepped up protests along the border fence on Friday.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered at five locations along Gaza Strip's frontier with Israel in response to calls by Hamas, the militant group that has controlled Gaza since seizing it from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
Two of the dead were children, aged 12 and 14, the Gaza Health Ministry said, adding that all six sustained gunshot wounds to their upper torso. At least 90 other protesters were wounded by live fire.
Hamas has led weekly protests since March, but accelerated them in recent weeks to near daily events, pressing in large part for an end to a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza in 2007. Hamas ousted forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an armed coup.
At the fence, protesters burned dozens of tires, using the thick black smoke as a screen to throw rocks and explosives toward Israeli troops stationed on the opposite side of the fence. The soldiers responded with tear gas and gunfire.
The Israeli military said in a statement that in response to "grenades and explosive devices" hurled at troops during the protests, Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes on Hamas militant positions in the Gaza Strip. There were no Israeli casualties reported in Friday's clashes.
Hamas has led and organized the protests, but turnout has also been driven by growing despair over blockade-linked hardship, including lengthy power cuts and soaring unemployment.
Israeli troops have killed at least 143 Palestinians since protests began in late March, and a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier in August.
Israel argues it's defending its border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as a screen for attempts to breach the border fence to attack civilians and soldiers. Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of excessive and unlawful use of force against unarmed protesters.
Hamas and Israel came to the brink of serious conflict this summer as violence escalated along the border. The two sides attempted to reach an agreement through indirect talks mediated by the United Nations and Egypt to ease tensions in exchange for lifting some restrictions on the economically crippled enclave. But those negotiations have stalled in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, a Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the movement would escalate its border protests after the talks failed. He accused Abbas, who governs parts of the West Bank, of disrupting the negotiations.
Hamas vowed to continue the marches until the blockade is lifted. It also promised to accelerate protests after Abbas, speaking at the U.N. on Thursday, threatened more measures to force Hamas into surrendering power.
Abbas slashed funding to Gaza and cut salaries of Palestinian Authority employees there to pressure Hamas, making it increasingly difficult for it to govern. Hamas fears Abbas may further reduce funding to health care and other services for Gazans provided by the Palestinian Authority.
Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in anti-Abbas protests late Thursday, burning his posters after his speech at the U.N.
United Nations, Sept 28 (AP/UNB) — The U.N.'s deputy humanitarian chief says Myanmar hasn't "substantively and concretely" addressed the issues that led more than 725,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee, and therefore conditions aren't right for their repatriation from Bangladesh.
Ursula Mueller told a high-level event at the U.N. General Assembly's ministerial meeting Thursday that the government "must take real steps forward, clearly demonstrating a commitment to immediate change on the ground."
In her speech, circulated Friday, Mueller said the Rohingya are now "the world's largest stateless population." She urged donors to respond to the refugee crisis, stressing that the appeal for Bangladesh is only 38 percent funded.
Mueller also urged Myanmar's government to dismantle segregated facilities for the roughly 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Myanmar and end the marginalization and "deplorable conditions" many are forced to live in.
China's foreign minister says "now is a crucial time" for the implementation of a deal with Iran to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Wang Yi told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that the 2015 deal was endorsed at the time by the global body's powerful Security Council.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has since yanked its support for the deal and is re-imposing sanctions on Tehran.
The agreement is still supported by China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, and Wang says it "serves the common interests of all parties concerned and the international community at large."
He warns that if the deal isn't implemented, "the international nuclear non-proliferation regime will be undermined" and the authority of the Security Council will be challenged.
Wang is calling for talks to resolve the issue "through dialogue and consultation."
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country encourages North Korea "to continue moving along the right direction toward denuclearization."
Wang said Friday the issue on the Korean peninsula "has seen a major turnaround thanks to the efforts of all parties concerned."
He told the U.N. Security Council that China has worked to contribute its part to improve relations between North Korea and South Korea, as well as efforts to facilitate dialogue between Pyongyang and the United States.
Wang said and "effective settlement of the issue requires complete denuclearization as well the establishment of a peace mechanism."
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi says relations between nations should be "based on credibility, not on willful revocation of commitment" as his country and the United State remain locked in a dispute over trade.
Wang told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that China spent more than a decade negotiating its membership of the global trading system and has "fulfilled its promises and integrated itself into the world financial system."
He stressed Beijing's commitment to multilateralism, adding that "unilateral moves will bring damage to all", a reference to resolving disputes within the framework of the World Trade Organization.
Wang criticized the imposition of tariffs and insisted that "China will not be blackmailed or yield to pressure."
Two of Macedonia's closest neighbors are welcoming the country's upcoming referendum on changing its name.
Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that the agreement between Greece and Macedonia to resolve their long-standing dispute over the name is an example of a "new spirit" between countries in the region.
Greece objects to Macedonia's current name, saying it implies a claim to territory in the Greek province with that name and to the heritage of the birthplace of revered ancient warrior Alexander the Great.
Albania's President Ilir Meta likewise welcomed the agreement in his speech to world leaders Friday, contrasting with Macedonia's own president, who told the assembly a day earlier that voters should abstain from Sunday's referendum on renaming the country "North Macedonia."
Civil war-torn South Sudan is calling on the international community, "including those who are skeptical, to give peace a chance" as the latest agreement to end the conflict moves forward.
First Vice President Taban Deng Gai told the U.N. gathering of world leaders Friday that the East African country is on schedule to hold "free and fair" general elections after a 36-month transition period under the new agreement.
The United States and others are wary of this latest deal, which returns rebel leader Riek Machar as President Salva Kiir's deputy. Fighting between their supporters sparked the civil war in late 2013.
A new report this week gave a striking new estimate of the conflict's toll: 382,900 deaths, with roughly half blamed on violence and many others on disease.
"As brothers and sisters we have hurt each other," the first vice president told the U.N.
Moscow is expected to use its address to world leaders to enshrine Russia as a counterweight to U.S. influence in areas from the Mideast to Venezuela and the Korean peninsula.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has held a flurry of bilateral meetings at the United Nations this week and has loudly defended Russia's strategies in meetings at the Security Council.
Syria has been Russia's running theme, as Moscow seeks to manage the end of the civil war and ensure a long-term foothold in the region.
Russia is Syrian President Bashar Assad's longtime patron and wants Western financing for Syria's reconstruction while maintaining the upper hand in discussions on Syria's political future.
The two countries that the United States has accused of interfering with its elections are taking take their turns at the podium at the United Nations' annual gathering of world leaders.
Major powers China and Russia — neither of which sent their most senior leader to the U.N. General Assembly — will put forth their foreign ministers to tell their stories.
The accusations against China came this week from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he has evidence but so far has not released any. In contrast, Russia has been the focus of a special counsel investigation, which Trump has lambasted as a political "witch hunt."
Jakarta, Sept 28 (AP/UNB) — Powerful earthquakes jolted the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, destroying houses and killing at least one person. An official said widespread damage was expected and urged people to stay outdoors because of the danger of strong aftershocks.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the strongest quake had a magnitude of 7.5 and was centered at a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers) about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of the central Sulawesi town of Donggala. It briefly triggered a tsunami warning.
An official with the local disaster agency, Akris, said "many houses have collapsed."
"It happened while we still have difficulties in collecting data from nine villages affected by the first quake," he told The Associated Press. "People ran out in panic."
Television footage showed people running into the streets. Woman and children wailed hysterically in a video distributed by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, which also released a photo showing a heavily damaged department store.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said communications with the region are disrupted.
He said in a statement there is "much damage" in the Donggala area, which is home to about 300,000 people.
A swarm of strong aftershocks including one of magnitude 6.7 shook the region.
"People are encouraged to remain vigilant," Sutopo said. "It is better not to be in a house or building because the potential for aftershocks can be dangerous. People are encouraged to gather in safe areas. Avoid the slopes of hills."
The airport in Central Sulawesi province's capital, Palu, halted operations for 24 hours due to damage, according to a notice from AirNav, which oversees airline traffic in Indonesia.
Donggala was hit earlier Friday by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that based on preliminary information killed one person, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses.
"All the things in my house were swaying and the quake left a small crack on my wall," Donggala resident Mohammad Fikri said by telephone.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
Moscow, Sept 28 (AP/UNB) — The Kremlin said Friday it expects Britain to say what it knows about the identity of the two suspects in the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy so that Russian officials can launch an investigation.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the allegations made by British-based investigative group Bellingcat and others can't serve as a basis for such an inquiry, adding that Russia expects Britain to produce official information.
Britain charged Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with trying to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok. The Skripals survived the March 4 attack in Salisbury, but a resident of a nearby England town later died after apparently having contact with the poison.
Britain has said the attack received approval "at a senior level of the Russian state," an accusation Moscow has fiercely denied.
Bellingcat said the man identified as Boshirov is in fact Col. Anatoly Chepiga of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU who was awarded Russia's highest medal in 2014. But beyond a photo from Chepiga's 2003 passport file resembling Boshirov, the report didn't contain further proof that Boshirov and Chepiga are the same person.
On Thursday, Russian business daily Kommersant reported that some residents in Beryozovka, a small village in Russia's far east near the border with China where Chepiga's family once lived, confirmed that they recognized Chepiga as the man identified as Boshirov. The newspaper said they spoke on condition of anonymity fearing official reprisals.
Peskov scoffed at the claim that in a passport file found by Bellingcat, Chepiga closely resembles Boshirov, pointing at lookalikes of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin hunting for tourists eager to pay for a shot on Red Square.
"We have 10 Stalins and 15 Lenins on Red Square, and all of them closely resemble the real ones," he snapped.
Asked if the Kremlin could confirm that Chepiga received the Hero of Russia medal, Peskov responded that he has checked and found no information about such a person receiving the award.
He said in a conference call with reporters that the Kremlin gave little credibility to investigative reports and media articles on the case, adding that "we don't know how reliable and well-founded they are."
"We can't have media as our vis-a-vis in such a sensitive case," Peskov said. "Such materials should only come from competent sources. From the very start, Russia has offered to conduct a joint investigation but faced British refusals."