Jerusalem, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — An Israeli businessman says he received calls and messages from senior Israeli and foreign military officials after he was assigned the former phone number of Israel's military chief of staff.
A report Monday by Israeli Army Radio identified the man only as Yossi. He said that when he began receiving messages, "a red light went on...if it got in the hands of another citizen I don't know what would happen."
It wasn't entirely clear how Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot's number was passed on to a private citizen.
The report said military phone numbers are often reassigned for security reasons.
It said the military returned the number to the mobile provider about a year ago. The provider said the number was not classified and was reassigned to another customer.
Yangon, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) —Britain's ambassador says the verdict against two Reuters journalists has undermined media freedom in Myanmar.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted Monday of violating a colonial-era secrecy law and sentenced to seven years in prison. They were arrested while reporting on Myanmar's brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
British Ambassador Dan Chugg, who was in court for Monday's verdict, said the case has "struck a hammer-blow to the rule of law in Myanmar."
He said diplomats who attended the trial believe the judges ignored evidence and Myanmar's laws. The journalists testified they did not solicit or knowingly possess any secret documents, and a police officer who testified his commander had ordered documents be planted on the journalists was subsequently jailed for a year.
Chugg called for the journalists' release.
The U.S. says the conviction of two Reuters reporters in Myanmar is "deeply troubling for all who support press freedom and the transition toward democracy."
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were found guilty Monday of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act while reporting on government abuses against the country's Rohingya Muslims.
In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon said "the clear flaws in this case raise serious concerns about rule of law and judicial independence in Myanmar, and the reporters' conviction is a major setback to the Government of Myanmar's stated goal of expanding democratic freedoms."
It called for their immediate release.
A court in Myanmar has sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison for illegal possession of official documents, a ruling that comes as international criticism mounts over the military's alleged human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had pleaded not guilty to violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. They contended they were framed by police.
Monday's verdict was postponed from a week ago.
The two journalists had been reporting last year on Myanmar's brutal crackdown against the Rohingya in the country's western state of Rakhine.
Investigators working for the U.N.'s top human rights body said last week that genocide charges should be brought against senior Myanmar military officers over the crackdown.
Benghazi, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — Libya's police say some 400 prisoners have escaped from a jail in the capital amid fighting between rival militias.
Police said in a statement posted on Facebook late Sunday that the inmates forced open the doors of the Ain Zara prison, south of Tripoli, and that guards were unable to stop them.
The fighting erupted last week between armed groups from Tripoli and rivals from a town to the south. The Health Ministry says at least 47 people, including civilians, have been killed, and another 130 have been wounded.
The U.N.-backed government has announced a state of emergency in and around Tripoli.
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that overthrew and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, and today is largely ruled by a patchwork of local militias.
Sao Paulo, Sep 01 (AP/UNB) — Brazilians are reacting with a mixture of satisfaction, sadness and resignation to a decision by the country's top electoral court barring former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from October's presidential election.
Early Saturday morning the court voted 6-1 against the once hugely popular president who is now imprisoned on a corruption conviction. His left-leaning Workers' Party says it will file an appeal against the ruling.
"We have another reason to celebrate," said Virginia Toledo, a 37-year-old housewife. "First he was jailed and now his chances of returning to power have been eliminated."
Da Silva is expected to be replaced by running mate and former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.
Washington, Sep 01 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump warned Canada on Saturday that it "will be out" of a revised North American trade agreement unless it's "fair" to the United States, and he threatened to scrap the current deal should Congress "interfere" with the negotiations.
"There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal," Trump said in one of a series of tweets as he visited his Virginia golf club while three former presidents and a range of political dignitaries attended a Washington memorial for John McCain. Trump wasn't invited.
But it's not clear whether the Trump administration has the authority to strike a deal with just Mexico, as it announced Monday, and exclude Canada. Also, Congress must approve any rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement , signed under President Bill Clinton, and might refuse to endorse a deal that leaves longtime ally Canada on the sidelines.
Talks to keep Canada in the trade bloc are to resume this coming week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.
"As we've said all week, we're working toward a modernized NAFTA that is good for the middle class and people working hard to join it," said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. "With good will and flexibility on all sides, a win-win-win outcome is achievable. Canada, of course, will only sign a deal which is good for Canada."
Trump notified Congress on Friday that he plans to sign an agreement in 90 days with Mexico to replace NAFTA and hopes Canada can brought on board, too. Congress would have to approve any agreement.
"There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out," Trump tweeted. "Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off..."
Earlier, he said he loved Canada, but says "they've taken advantage of our Country for many years!"
A U.S.-Mexico deal sealed on Monday excluded Canada. Freeland then hurried to Washington for talks aimed at preserving Canada's membership in the regional trade agreement.
But Freeland couldn't break an impasse in four days of negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. American and Canadian negotiators will return to negotiations Wednesday.
The talks had taken an odd turn for the worse Friday over news that Trump had told Bloomberg News that he wasn't willing to make any concessions to Canada.
The 24-year-old NAFTA tore down most trade barriers dividing the United States, Mexico and Canada. Trade between the three countries surged. But many manufacturers responded to the agreement by moving factories south of the border to take advantage of low Mexican wages, then shipping goods north to the United States and Canada.
Trump has charged that the deal wiped out American factory jobs. He has pledged to negotiate a better deal or withdraw from NAFTA altogether. Talks on a new trade deal started a year ago but bogged down over U.S. demands, including some meant to return manufacturing to the United States.
A few weeks ago, the United States began negotiating with Mexico, leaving Canada on the sidelines. Outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wanted to sign a deal before he left office Dec. 1. The deal announced Monday would, among many other things, require that 40 percent to 45 percent of a car be made in a North American country where auto workers made at least $16 an hour — that is, not in Mexico — before qualifying for duty-free status.
Canada doesn't have much of an objection to the auto provisions of the U.S.-Mexican deal, which would benefit Canadian workers too. Ottawa does have other complaints. Neither U.S. nor Canadian negotiators are talking publicly about the issues that divide them.
Experts have said the flashpoints include trade barriers that protect Canadian dairy farmers and Ottawa's insistence on keeping NAFTA provisions for resolving disputes.
Also nettlesome is a provision in the U.S.-Mexico deal that shields U.S. makers of biologics — ultra-expensive drugs produced in living cells — from generic competition for 10 years instead of the eight Canada is willing to live with: The Canadians fear the protection will drive up drug prices and make their government health care system more costly.
The Trump administration had insisted that it wanted a deal by Friday, beginning a 90-day countdown that would let Mexico's Nieto sign the pact before leaving office.
But under U.S. trade rules, the U.S. team doesn't have to make public the text of the revamped agreement for 30 additional days, buying more time to reach a deal with the Canadians.