Sunday, March 17, 2019

News In Brief

French yellow vests clash with police in Paris
AP, Paris
 French yellow vest protesters have clashed with riot police near the Arc de Triomphe on the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.
Protesters threw smoke bombs and other objects at officers, and started pounding on the windows of a police van. Riot police then retreated, as did a water cannon, with protesters kicking the side of the large truck.

US eliminates coveted 5-year tourist visa
for Cubans
AP, Havana
The U.S. State Department said Friday that it is eliminating a coveted five-year tourist visa for Cubans, dealing a heavy blow to entrepreneurs and Cuban members of divided families, who used the visas to see relatives in the United States and buy precious supplies for their businesses on the island.
The elimination of the visa cuts a vital link between the U.S. and Cuba by forcing Cubans to make a costly and complicated trip to a third country like Mexico or Panama every single time they want to visit the U.S. That's because the U.S. withdrew most of its non-essential diplomatic staff from Havana in September 2017 and stopped issuing visas of almost any type in Cuba.

Cyclone batters Zimbabwe, 24 dead
Reuters, Harare
At least 24 people have died in south eastern Zimbabwe as homes and bridges were swept away by a tropical storm, the country's information ministry said on Saturday.
Cyclone Idai, which brought floodwater and destruction to areas of Mozambique and Malawi, hit Zimbabwe on Friday, cutting off power and communications.

IS clings on in face of Kurd-led assault in Syria
AFP, Baghouz
US-backed forces battled Islamic State group fighters overnight as the jihadists Saturday clung onto their crumbling bastion in eastern Syria.
"Clashes broke out again last night and have continued since," said Adnane Afrine, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). "There have so far been no surrenders (today) and there's no sign they are giving up," he told AFP.

Russian oligarch Deripaska sues US over sanctions
AFP, Washington
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska filed suit against the US Treasury Friday, accusing it of illegally targeting him for sanctions and victimizing him as part of the Russia meddling investigation.
The suit, which named the US Treasury, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Andrea Gacki, the head of the Treasury's sanctions unit, said Deripaska had seen his net worth drop by $7.5 billion after sanctions were imposed on him and six other Russian oligarchs on April 6, 2018.