Six In The Morning Friday 2 August 2019

South Korea accuses Japan of waging ‘economic war’

Updated 0758 GMT (1558 HKT) August 2, 2019

Japan dropped South Korea as a preferred trading partner on Friday, escalating a dispute that threatens the global supply chain for smartphones and electronic devices.

The decision to remove South Korea from a so-called white list means that Japanese exports to South Korea now require additional screening to make sure they are not used for weapons and military applications. The new restrictions go into effect August 28.

South Korea was the only Asian country on the white list. Revoking its preferred status means the country will receive the same treatment as other Asian countries and territories, including Taiwan, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.

Hong Kong police arrest pro-independence figure amid further protests

Founder of the banned Hong Kong National party among eight arrests by police as public servants prepare to march

Hong Kong police have arrested eight people, including a prominent pro-independence activist, on suspicion of having offensive weapons and explosives, ahead of a weekend of mass protests.

On Thursday night riot police raided an industrial building in Sha Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories. A statement said they found petrol bombs and weapons.

The police said seven men and one woman, between the ages of 24 and 31 were arrested. They included Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National party, which was banned last year. Dozens of protesters surrounded local police stations from Thursday night into Friday morning, chanting “Free the martyrs!” according to footage from Hong Kong media.

World’s deepest lake under threat of ecological disaster from toxic mudflows

Pollution from waste facility chemicals ‘would be truly catastrophic,’ warns environmental expert

Adam Forrest @adamtomforrest

The world’s deepest lake is under threat from toxic mudflows following widespread flooding in Siberia, according to environmentalists.

Alongside wildfires that continue to consume its forests, the remote region in eastern Russia has been hit by severe floods in recent weeks – leaving Lake Baikal at risk of an ecological “catastrophe”.

An overflowing river in Baikal has affected a former pulp and paper mill close to the lake, prompting fears toxic chemicals could be swept into the pristine freshwaters, The Siberian Times reported.

Saudi Arabia to let adult women travel without permission from male guardian: state media

Saudi Arabia has allowed adult women to travel without permission and granted them more control over family matters, further eroding a heavily criticised male guardianship system at a time of heightened scrutiny over its human rights record.

The decisions issued in a series of cabinet decrees published by the official gazette on Friday stipulate that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen that applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.

The amendments to regulations also grant women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.

INF nuclear treaty: US pulls out of Cold War-era pact with Russia

The US is set to formally withdraw from a nuclear treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

It banned missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (310-3,400 miles).

But earlier this year the US and Nato accused Russia of violating the pact by deploying a new type of cruise missile, which Moscow has denied.

The Americans said they had evidence that Russia had deployed a number of 9M729 missiles – known to Nato as SSC-8. This accusation was then put to Washington’s Nato allies, which all backed the US claim.

Sudan detains nine RSF members over killing of protesters

Statement by spokesman of ruling Transitional Military Council comes as generals resume talks with protest leaders.

A spokesman for Sudan‘s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has said nine members of a paramilitary group have been dismissed and detained over the recent killing of protesters in the cities of Omdurman and El-Obeid.

Speaking to reporters on Friday after a night of negotiations between Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi said those arrested belonged to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a feared group blamed by pro-democracy demonstrators for a bloody crackdown in June at a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum.

The spokesman added that the governor of North Kordofan state and its security council will be held accountable for the killing of six people, including four school children in the state capital, El-Obeid, on Monday.