Thai police have arrested an alleged kingpin in Asia's illegal trade in endangered species, dealing a blow to a family-run syndicate that smuggles elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts to Chinese and Vietnamese dealers. Boonchai Bach, 40, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship, was arrested on Friday evening over the smuggling of 14 rhino horns worth around $1 million from Africa to Thailand.
CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a former physics student charged with the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China, they told a judge in a Friday filing that also made a new allegation that the 28-year-old suspect once choked and sexually assaulted someone else years ago.
Countering China and Russia is a bigger focus for US national security than defeating terrorism, the American administration announced yesterday. Donald Trump’s new national defence strategy named “inter-state strategic competition” as its primary concern rather than jihadist attacks. It marks a tipping point after almost two decades when the US has focussed on countering terrorism following the September 11 attacks. China, Russia, North Korea and Iran were all mentioned as powers that were threatening the international order. The strategy signals a return of a Cold War-style mentality in American foreign policy that will focus on countering rival great powers. James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense Credit: EPA/WALLACE WOON James Mattis, the US defence secretary, explained the rationale behind the 11-page national defence strategy in a speech on Friday. “We will to continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we’re engaged in today, but great-power competition - not terrorism - is now the primary focus of US national security,” he said. Mr Mattis added: "To those who would threaten America's experiment in democracy: they must know if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day." The document itself included a similar message: “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” It called out threats posed by rival nations. “China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbours while militarising features in the South China Sea,” it read. US President Donald Trump, right, and Russia's President Vladimir Credit: APEC-SUMMIT “Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbours. “As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. "Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability.” John McCain, the Republican senator of Arizona, welcomed the strategy, saying: “It gets the big decisions right, prioritises the threats we face, and offers clear guidance for making tough choices.” Mr Mattis also called on Democrats to agree new funding ahead of a midnight Friday deadline, warning that the military would suffer if they blocked budget proposals. Appealing to Congress, he said: "No strategy can survive without predictable funding. As hard as the last 16 years have been, no enemy has harmed the US military more than defence spending caps and sequestration." Mr Trump cancelled his trip to Florida on Friday in an attempt to help avoid a government shutdown as Republicans piled pressure on their political opponents. The US president was due to fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort but stayed in Washington as scrambled negotiations played out behind the scenes. A fierce blame game erupted in the American capital as political rivals pointed the finger at each other over who was at fault. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, accused Democrats of being unpatriotic by threatening to block a funding extension. “The American people, the citizens who actually elected us, will be watching," he said. "They will see which senators make the patriotic decision, stand up for the American people and vote to continue government funding." Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat in the Senate, noted that Mr Trump once said that America could use “a good shutdown”.
Steve Bannon may have frustrated Congress by offering few answers about the Trump campaign and Russia, but attorneys say he will not be able to avoid questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Representatives fumed after the former White House strategist’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, where Mr Bannon refused to answer questions on a wide variety of topics. White House attorneys instructed Mr Bannon during the hearing on what he could and could not say, the Associated Press reported.
Delta Air Lines is tightening the requirements for passengers travelling with onboard service and emotional support animals, the carrier said on Friday, following a sharp uptick in pet-related safety issues in recent years. Effective March 1, Delta, the second largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said it will require passengers seeking to fly with pets to present additional documents outlining the passenger's need for the animal and proof of its training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to the flight. This comes in response to what the carrier said was a 150 percent increase in service and support animals - pets, often dogs, that accompany people with disabilities - carried onboard since 2015.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking at a new person of interest in connection with the October mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead, the county sheriff said Friday. The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, killed himself after the rampage, which he carried out from his suite in a hotel on the gambling hub's famed Strip. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told a press conference that "the FBI has an ongoing case against an individual of federal interest," but he said he could not elaborate.
Delta Air Lines is tightening the requirements for passengers traveling with onboard service and emotional support animals, the carrier said on Friday, following a sharp uptick in pet-related safety issues in recent years. Effective March 1, Delta, the second largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said it will require passengers seeking to fly with pets to present additional documents outlining the passenger's need for the animal and proof of its training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to the flight. This comes in response to what the carrier said was a 150 percent increase in service and support animals - pets, often dogs, that accompany people with disabilities - carried onboard since 2015.