U.S., Russia clash at U.N. over chemical weapons attacks in Syria

UNITED NATIONS/BEIRUT,  (Reuters) – Russia and the United States tangled yesterday at the United Nations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at President Bashar al-Assad’s forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

Brazil’s Workers Party clings to Lula candidacy

BRASILIA,  (Reuters) – The jailing of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has hardened convictions in his Workers Party that he should be nominated to run for president, its senior members said, a plan that may leave the broader left fragmented as elections approach.

Honduran coca raid signals shift to cocaine production, authorities say

TEGUCIGALPA,  (Reuters) – The second seizure of a coca plantation in Honduras within a year shows drug gangs are seeking to cut costs and turn the small Central American state into a producer rather than a transit hub for U.S.-bound cocaine, authorities said yesterday.

As Trump fumes over FBI raid, White House lawyers urge restraint

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – White House lawyers are trying to dissuade U.S. President Donald Trump from seeking to get rid of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as Trump weighs options after the FBI raided his personal attorney’s office and home, two U.S.

With Syria in focus, Trump cancels trip to Latin America

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to cancel his first official trip to Latin America this week in order to focus on responding to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House said on Tuesday.

Trump says “big price to pay” for Syria chemical attack

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump warned yesterday there would be a “big price to pay” after aid groups said dozens of people were killed by poison gas in a besieged rebel-held town in Syria, an attack the opposition blamed on Syrian government forces.

Hungary’s strongman Viktor Orban wins third term in power

BUDAPEST, Hungary,  (Reuters) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a third straight term in power in Sunday elections after his anti-immigration campaign message secured a strong majority for his party in parliament, granting him two-thirds of seats based on preliminary results.

Man drives van into restaurant in Germany, killing two plus himself

MUENSTER, Germany (Reuters) – A German man drove a van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the old city centre of Muenster in western Germany on Saturday, killing two of them before shooting himself dead, police and state officials said.

Deadly gas attack reported on Syrian rebel enclave, Damascus denies

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian rebel group accused government forces on Saturday of launching a deadly chemical attack on civilians in a rebel-held town in eastern Ghouta, and a medical relief organisation said 35 people had been killed in chemical attacks on the area.

Vatican arrests former diplomat after child pornography probe

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican said on Saturday its police had arrested a monsignor who worked as a diplomat at its embassy in Washington and is suspected of possessing child pornography in the United States and Canada.

Brazil’s Lula defies prison order, creating standoff

SAO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, Brazil, (Reuters) – Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defied a judge’s order to turn himself in to police on Friday and start serving a 12-year prison sentence for bribery that would likely end his hopes of regaining the presidency.

South Africa’s Zuma proclaims innocence after court appearance

DURBAN, South Africa,  (Reuters) – Former South African president Jacob Zuma appeared in court today to face corruption charges relating to a $2.5 billion arms deal, later telling a crowd he would be proven innocent in the long-running case that resurfaced after his fall from power.

U.S., China rivalry poses risks, benefits for Latin America

MENDOZA, Argentina,  (Reuters) – As the trade dispute between the United States and China was gaining steam last month, a half-dozen Chinese dancers and a person in a panda bear suit paraded across a stage inside a hotel lobby in the heart of Argentina’s wine country.

Trade fight mounts as Trump threatens $100 bln more in China tariffs

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said yesterday he had instructed U.S. trade officials to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China, upping the ante in an already high-stakes trade confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies.

Tullow Oil deals signed by disgraced Peru ex-president under fire

LIMA,  (Reuters) – Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s critics call it his last act. Hours before the former Wall Street banker resigned Peru’s presidency in scandal last month, Kuczynski signed five oil contracts granting London-based Tullow Oil exploration and drilling rights off Peru’s northern coast.

Brazil’s top court rules that ex-president Lula can be jailed

BRASILIA,  (Reuters) – Brazil’s Supreme Court early today rejected former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s plea to avoid prison while he appeals a corruption conviction, in a vote that likely ends his political career and deepens divisions in the country.

U.S. escalates China trade showdown with tariffs on $50 billion in imports

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The Trump administration yesterday raised the stakes in a growing trade showdown with China, targeting 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 industrial technology, transport and medical products to try to force changes in Beijing’s intellectual property practices.

National Guard part of Trump’s Mexico border strategy -White House

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s strategy for the U.S.-Mexico border includes mobilizing the National Guard, the White House said on Tuesday, after Trump had earlier spoken publicly to reporters about “guarding our border with the military” to stop illegal immigrants.

Venezuela detains 17 over attack on opposition candidate’s campaign

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said yesterday that 17 people had been detained for an attack on a rival presidential candidate’s campaign, but the leftist leader rejected accusations that pro-government thugs were to blame for the unrest ahead of the May vote.

U.S. EPA to relax fuel efficiency standards for autos

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The Trump administration yesterday rejected an Obama-era plan to make automobiles more fuel efficient, opening up a long process to weaken current standards and putting California and the federal government on a collision course over vehicle emissions.

White House probing environment chief Pruitt after condo report -WSJ

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The White House is reviewing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s activities after reports he paid below the market rate to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist who deals with issues overseen by the agency, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unnamed White House official.