Articles by "United States"

People hold up signs during a vigil in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, for Nabra Hassanen.
Thousands of American Muslims have attended the funeral of Nabra Hassanen, who was murdered on Sunday morning in what her father calls a hate crime.  
Hassanen, 17, was kidnapped from near a mosque in northern Virginia and was beaten to death by a man named Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, with a baseball bat.
Police said the killing was being investigated as a road rage incident. But Nabra's father has rejected the police theory and said his daughter was attacked because she was Muslim. According to some reports, the teenager might have been raped before she was murdered.  
More than 5,000 people participated in the funeral of Hassanen in Sterling, Virginia, on Wednesday. The killing of the Muslim girl has sparked both sorrow and outrage, as most of the American Muslims view the incident as a hate crime that could have happened to other Muslim teenagers.
Mourners walk into Sterling Cemetery where Nabra Hassanen, who was killed Sunday, will be laid to rest in Sterling, Virginia, on June 21, 2017. (Photo by Getty Images) 
“There is nothing like losing a child, especially in the way that we lost Nabra,” said Imam Mohamed Magid, the religious leader of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society.
"My daughter is 17 years old and she didn't know Nabra, but another friend knew her. And I think my daughter is in the same situation. She is wearing hijab and goes to another mosque," one Muslim resident told CNN.

According to reports, Hassanen was walking with other Muslim friends after Ramadan services when she was attacked and bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat. Her body was later found in Sterling area outside Washington with signs of beating. Torres has been charged with the killing.
Nabra Hassanen
In a phone interview with The Guardian on Monday afternoon, Nabra’s father, Mohmoud Hassanen, said, “He killed my daughter because she is Muslim. That’s what I believe. That’s what I told him.”
Struggling to keep his emotions in check, the 60-year-old father recounted the version of events they were given. “My daughter fell down. When she fell down, the guy hit her with a baseball stick. He went and drove his car and came back, and picked her up and threw her in a lake a mile from the mosque.”
“He followed the girls, and all of them had head cloths, meaning they are Muslim, and he had a baseball stick,” said Egyptian-born Hassanen who moved to the US in 1987.  

Social media have been flooded with shock and resentment, with Muslims calling on authorities to investigate the murder as a hate crime, not as a road rage incident.

A US Air Force F-16 fighter jet lays on the grass at an airport in Houston, Texas, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AV8PIX)
A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft has crashed during takeoff from an airbase in the state of Texas.
The incident took place on Wednesday morning, when the jet from the 138th Fighter Wing caught fire and covered the runway at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base with a big cloud of smoke.
The pilot safely ejected from the burning plane and was taken to a hospital to receive care for his possible injuries.
“The aircraft, under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), was conducting a training flight,” the North American Aerospace Command said in a statement.
A large number of firefighters reported to the scene and began their work after cordoning off a one-mile evacuation zone.
"The Houston Fire Department is responding to a military jet which has caught fire on the north side of Ellington Field in southeast Houston," Houston's Office of Emergency Management said in a statement, warning locals that there would be increased traffic in the area.
After the crash, the F-16’s engine continued to run until it ran out of fuel and allowed the authorities to reduce the danger area.
According to Major Anthony Scott with Air Defense Command, the aircraft was on a training mission and had “air-to-air missiles on board.”
NORAD refused to elaborate on the crash and the possible reasons that led to the fire.
"From what we understand, he was on takeoff roll when something happened that we haven't determined yet," Master Sergeant Sean Cowher, of the 147th Attack Wing of the Texas Air National Guard, told the media.
An interim safety board comprised of several agencies had already started its investigations into the crash.
The Air Force lost another F-16 fighter jet during a training flight over Maryland in early April. The pilot survived the incident.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (L) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conduct a two question press conference after meeting with Chinese officials, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Pentagon chief James Mattis have tried to clarify President Donald Trump’s criticism of China over its failure to rein in North Korea.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump wrote in a tweet Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with top Chinese officials, however, Tillerson and Mattis said Wednesday that Washington and Beijing were pushing ahead with their cooperation on a number of issues despite Trump’s dissatisfaction.
 “China continues to work these issues,” Mattis told reporters, noting that Trump’s outrage with China “represents the American people’s view of North Korea right now.”
“This has been a unique opportunity for our nations to engage in philosophical level discussions about how we discuss these issues and discuss the way ahead,” said Mattis. “While competition between our nations is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable.”
President Donald Trump arrives for a rally on June 21, 2017 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by AFP)
He was referring to the Monday death of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old US student who was detained in North Korea in January 2016, and was returned to his parents in Cincinnati last week while comatose.
“What you’re seeing, I think, is the American people’s frustration with a regime that provokes and provokes and provokes and basically plays outside the rules, plays fast and loose with the truth,” Mattis said.
Echoing the same stance was Tillerson, who said Washington and Beijing had agreed on the current strategy and were going to stop trade with Pyongyang under UN sanctions.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to implement in full all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. For example, we both agree that our companies should not do business with any U.N.-designated North Korean entities,” said the top US diplomat.
The two secretaries also had a “frank exchange of views” on the disputed South China Sea, said Tillerson, adding that the Chinese promised to fix the issue peacefully.
The US has long been challenging China’s sovereignty claims over most of the sea by sending warships and spy planes near China’s islands there.
Mattis said the operations were going to continue under what the US calls freedom of navigation.
Meanwhile, Tillerson made it clear that the Trump White House was also going to discus human rights issues with China as well.
“We will not be shy about raising our concerns about China’s human rights record, and I was direct and candid in our meetings today,” he said.

Body-camera video showed Dominique Heaggan-Brown shooting Sylville Smith as he appeared to be throwing the gun over a fence. (Photo by AP)
A court in the US city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin state has acquitted a former police officer in the fatal shooting of an African-American man, with the father of the victim saying there is no justice in the United States. 
Dominique Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in the killing of 23-year-old Sylville Smith in August last year. Members of Smith's family cried in court as the verdict was read. 
Outside court, Smith's father said the verdict was "disrespectful."
"Why are they trained to kill when they're supposed to protect and serve us?" Patrick Smith said of police officers. "There is no justice here."
"I want the community to calm down and come together," he added. 
The fatal shooting of Smith sparked days of protests and unrest in Milwaukee, with protesters throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at police officers.
Following the unrest, the city mayor decided to impose a 10:00 pm-curfew for in an attempt to quell the violence and restore calm. Dozens of protesters had been arrested and a handful of officers injured.
According to reports, Smith was fleeing a traffic stop on foot and had allegedly turned with a gun in hand toward the pursuing officer.
Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun away. And less than two seconds later, the footage shows the officer firing the second shot in the chest of the victim who’s lying on the ground.

Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless at the time of the second shot because he had thrown the weapon over the fence
The ex-cop’s attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense.
The ruling follows Friday's acquittal of a police officer in the state of Minnesota over the shooting death of a black man, triggering local protests and fueling debate over the use of force by law enforcement against minorities.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez was accused of killing 32-year-old student Philando Castile, a cafeteria worker, inside his car as he tried to reach for his driver’s license during a traffic stop near St. Paul in July last year.
A jury said after five days of deliberation that Yanez had acted reasonably and was not guilty. He was also cleared of two lesser charges regarding the case.
The rulings are the latest examples of police officers escaping unharmed after killing African Americans over the past few years.
Similar rulings were issued by grand juries in the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, all of them controversial cases that prompted a national debate about race relations and the use of force by law enforcement.

Acting Director of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division Sam Liles (L) and Homeland Security Undersecretary Jeanette Manfra (R) testify during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee June 21, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photos by AFP)
An official with the US Homeland Security says Russian hackers targeted 21 election systems in different US states during the 2016 race, which yielded President Donald Trump.
Testifying before a congressional panel on Wednesday, Jeanette Manfra, the Homeland Security Department's acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security, disclosed the number publicly for the first time.
"As of right now, we have evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted," Manfra (pictured below) told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Both Trump and Russia have denied allegations of meddling in the 2016 election and collusion between his associates and the Kremlin while the issue is being investigated.
Manfra, however, refused to reveal which states were targeted. Last year, Arizona and Illinois confirmed that their voter registration systems had been targeted.
Access Hollywood tape a distraction
Jeh Johnson, who led the Homeland Security Department until the end of the Obama administration, also told a separate panel -- the House Intelligence Committee -- that the department’s warnings at the time went unnoticed due to the emergence of a 2005 tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in an open hearing in the US Capitol Visitors Center June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
The embarrassing video was recorded while Trump was on a bus with former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush.
Trump’s late-night apology for the remarks failed to quell the unprecedented controversy over his comments, which include explicit language and boasting sexual harassment of women.
Asked why the Homeland Security did not do more to warn the public, Johnson said, "We were very concerned that we would not be perceived as taking sides in the election, injecting ourselves into a very heated campaign."

Migrants queue to receive food distributed by associations on June 21, 2017 in Calais, northern France. (Photo by AFP)
Prolonged conflicts and droughts have left an unprecedented 81 million people needing food aid in 2017, a specialist US-based agency said on Wednesday, revising up its earlier estimates.
People in 45 countries are unable to feed themselves, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which issues alarms about food shortages to the US government.
Furthermore, it said there is still a risk of famine looming over Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, and South Sudan, despite the international community committing about $2.2 billion to address the various crises since January.
"Additional contributions to emergency appeals, particularly in these four countries, are urgently needed to prevent large-scale loss of life," FEWS NET said in a statement.
The United Nations says it has so far received only a quarter of the $23.5 billion needed for humanitarian assistance programs worldwide this year.
"However, famine risk will not fully recede until substantive efforts are made to resolve ongoing conflict and improve access," FEWS NET added. The agency said it had increased the number of people it expects to need emergency food aid over the course of 2017.
Its estimate rose to 81 million from the 70 million it predicted in January, due to a series of factors, including below average rainfall in the Horn of Africa. The new estimate was up 20 percent on last year and 70 percent on 2015, it said.
Other causes included access to new data, continuing wars and outbreaks of cholera in Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan.
This file photo taken on March 14, 2017 shows internally displaced families gathering in and outside a hut at a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Baidoa, in the southwestern Bay region of Somalia. (Photo by AFP)
Separately on Wednesday, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the situation in the three countries was "rapidly escalating downwards and out of control". "Without treatment for malnutrition, more people will fall ill.
Earlier, a UN-backed report said conflict-ridden South Sudan was no longer classified as being in famine although the situation remained critical. In Yemen, war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 3 million others and ruined much of the impoverished country's infrastructure, pushing nearly half its provinces on the verge of famine, according to the UN.
In Nigeria, some 1.5 million people are on the brink of starvation in the northeast regions, hit by an eight-year insurgency by Boko Haram extremists.
In Somalia, more than 3 million people do not have enough to eat as the country suffers the effects of repeated rain failures and decades of conflict.

US President Donald Trump looks on as he meets with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 20, 2017. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump has ordered increased military operations in Syria and delegated more authority to his generals despite lacking a comprehensive strategy, an approach that may spark a confrontation with Syria, Iran and Russia, according to US officials and analysts.
The United States has taken a series of military actions over the past three months against Syrian government forces and its allies, including the shoot-down of a Syrian jet on Sunday.
In April, Trump ordered cruise missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which Washington said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched.
Analysts say these incidents are tactical and not part of any military strategy in Syria.
"There isn't an over-arching US strategy driving this," said Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute.
"This is just the result of tactical decisions by a commander on the ground whose only focus is a specific theater in Syria. He is acting to protect his assets ... This is purely a series of tactical decisions that are creating a series of very serious strategic consequences."
Russia and Iran are both assisting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria.
The larger problem, the officials and analysts said, is that Trump and his national security team have not advanced a long-term political strategy for Syria's future.
"We have never had a coherent Syrian strategy," said one US official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We oppose Assad, but our main enemy is ISIS, which also opposes Assad. Our most capable allies are the (Kurdish) peshmerga, but Turkey, who is a NATO ally and host to an airbase that is central to our efforts, considers the Kurds enemies."
US General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday the US is working to restore a communications line with Russia intended to avoid mid-air collisions over Syria, after Moscow cut it off following the US downing of the Syrian military jet on Sunday.
The deconfliction arrangement was first established with Russia in 2015 to avoid unnecessary conflict and miscommunication in the military movements of US-led coalition and Russian forces in Syria.
The Russian military involvement in Syria began in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government for military assistance against terrorist groups.
Different foreign-backed terrorist groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria since 2011. Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.

A rally has been held outside the White House in Washington, DC, to mark World Refugee Day and condemn the administration of President Donald Trump for its immigration policy amid the largest refugee crisis in history.
Dozens of immigrants, activists, and allies gathered on Wednesday, chanting slogans such as “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here”.
Amnesty International and more than 60 other organizations co-sponsored the event.
The activists called for the Trump administration to commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees in 2018, although the president has capped refugee admittance at 50,000.
The speakers at the rally included refugees from Somalia, Congo, Pakistan, Syria and Liberia as well as faith leaders and representatives of around a dozen organizations that organized the rally.
Immigration activists rally in front of Trump World Tower to mark World Refugee Day, June 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by AFP)
World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness about the situation of refugees throughout the world.
Tens of thousands of protesters across the United States have taken to the streets since Trump's inauguration to express their resentment against his controversial immigration and refugee policies.
Wednesday's rally comes on the heels of news that Trump’s proposed travel ban was struck down for a third time in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 
The executive order would have temporarily halted the refugee program and banned most travel from 6 Muslim majority countries, including some that produce the highest numbers of refugees, such as Syria.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) waves to the press as he walks with US President Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump says China has failed to persuade North Korea to rein in its nuclear program, ratcheting up the rhetoric after an American student detained by Pyongyang died days after his release.
Trump has been seeking greater cooperation from China to put pressure on its ally North Korea.
Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had a high-profile summit in Florida in April, where Trump said he hoped Xi would help resolve the North Korean standoff.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump wrote in a tweet.
It was unclear whether Trump's remark represented a shift in US policy toward China or he was simply expressing frustration with North Korea.
"I think the president is signaling some frustration," former US ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill told MSNBC. "He’s signaling to others that he understands this isn’t working, and he’s trying to defend himself, or justify himself, by saying that at least they tried as opposed to others who didn’t even try."
A US official said Tuesday that US spy satellites had picked up movements at North Korea's nuclear test site near a tunnel entrance.
It was not known if the movements were preparations for a new nuclear test - perhaps to coincide with high-level talks between US and Chinese officials in Washington on Wednesday.
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis will meet with China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and General Fang Fenghui, chief of joint staff of the People’s Liberation Army, for diplomatic and security dialogue.
Officials and experts have warned for months that Pyongyang could carry out a sixth nuclear test at any time.
North Korea says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
On Tuesday, the US State Department urged North Korea to release “as soon as possible” three Americans who are still detained by Pyongyang, following the death of Otto Warmbier.
Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 29, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
"We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment," department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a news briefing.
Warmbier was released on June 13 in a state of coma after Joseph Yun, the State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, paid a visit to Pyongyang and demanded his release.
Trump called Warmbier’s death a "total disgrace," adding that the college student might have been alive if he had been brought home sooner.

Students hold rallies on the steps of Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, June 21, 2017. (Photo via king5.com)
Dozens of students have held rallies to protest police brutality against African Americans after the shooting death of a black pregnant woman by a police officer.
Protesters rallied on the steps of Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday to demand justice for Charleena Lyles, who was fatally shot by a police officer on Sunday.
The group were chanting; “Black lives matter,” before they headed back inside to finish out the school day.
Lyles, 30, called police to report a burglary at her apartment, but the officers who arrived at the scene killed her because of her allegedly violent behavior.
According to a statement by Seattle police, the mother-of-four was "armed with a knife" and "confronted" two officers who were investigating her phone call.
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Teachers wearing Black Lives Matter shirts were also protesting on Tuesday to encourage a conversation about race, inequality and safety.
Israel Presley, a Garfield Sophomore, said, “Just because we might not know her personally doesn’t mean we can’t relate.”
“We need to talk about it in class; we cannot just talk about it on social media. There’s a difference between typing something and actually doing something,” Chardonnay Beaver, who is also a sophomore, said.
Darrin Hoop, a Spanish teacher at Cleveland STEM High School, wore a Black Lives Matter shirt in his classroom. The union representing Seattle Public Schools teachers encouraged others to do the same.
Flowers, photos, and other items are placed at a memorial for Charleena Lyles at the apartment building in which she was killed on June 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by AFP)
Seattle police have admitted that they could have opted for “less lethal force options” at the time.
According to a four-minute audio recording of the black woman’s encounter with the cops, the officers had even briefly discussed Lyles’ mental issues before reaching her home.
Darrin Hoop, a Spanish teacher at Cleveland STEM High School, said, “I think it’s important to draw attention to the fact that this is not an isolated situation.”
Lyles’ death comes as there have been national debates about police’ excessive use of force against black people.
It happened days after a police officer in Minnesota was cleared of all charges in the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile, an African American man who was killed in his car.

Republican Karen Handel speaks following a congressional race in Georgia, on June 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Republican Karen Handel has won a hotly contested congressional race in the US state of Georgia, fending off a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff in the heavily Republican House district.
With almost all votes counted on Tuesday night, Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, had 53% of the vote with Ossoff wining 47%.
Ossoff, a political newcomer, sought to gain control of a suburban Atlanta district that has elected Republicans to Congress since the 1970s.
Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff delivers a concession speech in Georgia on June 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Tuesday’s contest, which drew national interest, was the most expensive House race ever costing both sides more than $50 million, nearly twice the previous record.
The race was good news for Donald Trump because Democrats had prompted it as a referendum on the Republican president, who had earlier congratulated Handel in a tweet.
"Congratulations to Karen Handel on her big win in Georgia 6th. Fantastic job, we are all very proud of you!" tweeted Trump.
However, the election will not significantly change the balance of power in Washington, it could give GOP lawmakers a boost of confidence as they struggle to move forward with health and tax legislation.
The measures have been blocked by political infighting and an investigation into alleged Trump's collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
In her victory speech, Handel offered “a special thanks to the President of United States of America.”
"We need to finish the drill on health care," she said, drawing cheers from the crowd who began chanting Trump’s name.
Andrew Goren (C) reacts as vote results show Ossoff losing during his election night party being held at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by AFP)
Once the outcome became clear, Ossoff told the crowds, "As darkness has crept across this planet, (you) have provided a beacon of hope for people here in Georgia and people around the world.”
"We showed the world that in places where no one thought it was even possible to fight, we could fight,” he added.
Also in South Carolina, Democrat Archie Parnell lost to Republican Ralph Norman on Tuesday and could not win the seat that became open when Representative Mick Mulvaney was tapped by Trump to head the Office of Management and Budget.
Democrats, who steadily lost seats in Congress and at the state level in recent years, also fell short in other congressional elections earlier this year in Kansas and Montana.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 20, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) visiting a newly-built dental sanitary goods factory at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS)
The United States has called on North Korea to release “as soon as possible,” three Americans who are still detained by Pyongyang, following the death of the college student, Otto Warmbier.
"We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a news briefing on Tuesday. "We want to see three other Americans who were unjustly detained brought home as soon as possible.”
Two of the detainees were teachers at a Pyongyang university funded by overseas Christian groups, and the third was a Korean-American pastor accused of espionage for the South.
Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 29, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
Warmbier was released on June 13 in a state of coma after Joseph Yun, the State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, paid a visit to Pyongyang and demanded his release.
North Korean media, however, said the 22-year-old student’s release had been based on a court decision and “on humanitarian grounds.”
While suffering from severe brain damage, Warmbier, died at a Cincinnati Medical Center on Monday. The American college student had spent 17 months in detention, acknowledging that he had tried to steal a banner containing a political slogan from the hotel where he had been staying.
'A disgrace for US'
US President Donald Trump has, meanwhile, called Warmbier’s death a "total disgrace," adding that the college student might have been alive if he had been brought home sooner.
“It’s a disgrace what happened to Otto. It’s a total disgrace what happened to Otto,” Trump said during an event in the Oval Office. “It should never, ever be allowed to happen, and, frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the result would have been a lot different... He should have been brought home that same day. The result would have been a lot different.”
Trump also issued a statement offering his “deepest condolences” to the Warmbier family and further denounced “the brutality of the North Korean regime.”
Warmbier’s death unfortunate: China
China, North Korea’s main ally, expressed sorrow over the death of the US student and called on Washington and Pyongyang to resolve tensions through dialogue.
“I think this is an unfortunate thing,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing. “We hope that North Korea and the US can handle it appropriately.”
Geng Shuang, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman
Trump also thanked China for trying to resolve tensions with North Korea but declared that Beijing's "efforts" had failed.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" the US president said.
North Korea accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government.
Over the past weeks, Washington and Pyongyang have traded a barrage of military threats. The US says it is concerned by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
Pyongyang has defied sanctions and international pressure, saying it will continue to strengthen its military capability to protect itself from the threat posed by the presence of US forces in the region.

Senator Chris Murphy speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
A US senator has warned against the United States' measures in Syria, which is pushing Washington "closer and closer" to a military conflict with Iran and Russia, describing the move as “another mistake on the scope of the Iraq War."
Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy made the comments in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
"I think we're getting closer and closer to open conflict with Iran and Russia, and the American public needs to know that we're moving very fast toward what could be another war inside the Middle East," Murphy said. "Something by the way that Donald Trump promised he wouldn't do when he ran for office."
The remarks came two days after a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Sukhoi SU-22 aircraft, which was conducting an operation against Daesh terrorists on the outskirts of Syria’s northern city of Raqqah.

The Sunday downing of the Syrian warplane prompted Russia to issue a threat against American airborne assets over Syrian airspace and track all coalition flights west of the Euphrates River.
The Democratic Senator also said that the US president had no authority to act on his own to engage in a war in Syria and that he must gain permission from Congress.
"There's no authorization for military force that Congress has passed that gives the president the ability to take military action against the Syrian regime," Murphy said.
"And we have to understand what we're getting involved in, right. You are not just fighting Bashar al-Assad," he noted. "If you're going to ramp up military activity against Assad, you are also going in against Iran and Russia."
Raising concerns over what he called "a dangerous escalation," the Connecticut senator said it was not in the US interest to get involved in the Syrian war. "That would be another mistake on the scope of the Iraq War.”
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Meanwhile, US General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a day earlier that Washington was working to restore a “deconfliction” line with Moscow intended to avoid mid-air collisions over Syria.
Dunford said the US has "worked through a number of issues" with Russia and that the deconfliction link set up by both sides "has worked very well over the past eight months."
The deconfliction arrangement was first established with Russia in 2015 but was suspended by Russia in April after the United States launched a missile strike on a Syrian military airfield. The line was re-established in May.
Smoke billows from buildings in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah on June 18, 2017, during an offensive by US-backed militants to retake the Daesh bastion.  (Photo by AFP)
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.
On the other hand, Russia, along with Iran, has been assisting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011. Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.

US House of Representatives at work (file photo)
A bill aimed at imposing new sanctions on Iran and Russia has hit a roadblock in the US House of Representatives.
A procedural problem in the lower chamber of the United States Congress could halt a quick vote for the legislation that passed the Senate nearly unanimously last week, US lawmakers said Tuesday.
Last week, senators voted 98-2 to pass the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act, to which anti-Russia sanctions were also attached.
Before it is signed into law by US President Donald Trump, the measure has to pass the House.
Lawmakers are now arguing that the legislation violates the US constitution.
The so-called "blue slip" violation occurs thanks to a constitutional requirement, which stipulates that any bill raising revenue for the government must originate in the House not the Senate.
"The final bill, and final language, violated the origination clause in the Constitution," Representative Kevin Brady, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters.
According to Reuters, Democrats are suggesting that the delay is intentionally engineered by the Republicans out of loyalty for Trump, who opposes imposing extra sanctions on Russia.
"This is nothing but a delay tactic and the public shouldn't be fooled by complex-sounding parliamentary procedure," said Representative Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Identical versions of the Senate legislation have previously passed the House with no objection.

The United States questions the Saudi and Emirati governments’ true motive in regard to war on terrorism, saying it is “mystified” by their failure to present details about the diplomatic crisis involving Qatar.
"The more the time goes by, the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
Nauert (pictured below) made the comments over two weeks after Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies imposed an embargo on Qatar, citing its support for terrorism.
"Now that it has been more than two weeks since the embargo started we are mystified that the Gulf states have not released to the Qataris nor to the public the details about the claims they are making toward Qatar," she said.
"At this point we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support for terrorism? Or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the (P)GCC [Persian Gulf Cooperation Council] countries?"
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is scheduled to visit the US next week to discuss the blockade imposed on Qatar’s economy as well as Doha’s fight against terrorism.
At a press conference in the capital earlier in the day, Sheikh Mohammed (pictured above) said Qatar was ready to engage in a dialogue after the blockade is lifted, highlighting Kuwait’s mediation.
Qatar's state TV, meanwhile, showed Turkish troops, who arrived in the capital Sunday in a show of support for the Qatari government in the wake of Saudi efforts to isolate it.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut their diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar earlier this month, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation rejected by the Qatari government.
Trump recently signed an arms deal worth $110 billion with the Saudis, despite warnings he could be accused of being complicit in the regime’s war crimes in neighboring Yemen and its support for terrorism.
Nauert's comments run counter to the president's rash expression of support for Riyadh in the aftermath of cutting ties with Doha.


The system, called KOI-961, hosts the three smallest exoplanets known so far. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA revealed Monday 10 new rocky, Earth-sized planets that could potentially have liquid water and support life.
The Kepler mission team released a survey of 219 potential exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- that had been detected by the space observatory launched in 2009 to scan the Milky Way galaxy.
Ten of the new discoveries were orbiting their suns at a distance similar to Earth's orbit around the sun, the so-called habitable zone that could potentially have liquid water and sustain life.
Kepler has already discovered 4,034 potential exoplanets, 2,335 of which have been confirmed by other telescopes as actual planets.
The 10 new Earth-size planets bring the total to 50 that exist in habitable zones around the galaxy.
"This carefully-measured catalog is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy's most compelling questions -- how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?" said Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist and lead author of the latest study.
The latest findings were released at the Fourth Kepler and K2 science conference being held this week at NASA's Ames research center in California.
The Kepler telescope detects the presence of planets by registering minuscule drops in a star's brightness that occurs when a planet crosses in front of it, a movement known as a transit.
The findings were compiled from data gathered during the first four years of the mission, which scientists processed to determine the size and composition of the planets observed.
The scientists found that the newly discovered planets tended to fall into two distinct categories -- smaller, rocky planets that are usually around 75 percent bigger than Earth, and much larger, gaseous planets similar in size to Neptune.
NASA said the latest catalog is the most complete and detailed survey of potential exoplanets yet compiled. The telescope has studied some 150,000 stars in the Cygnus constellation, a survey which NASA said is now complete.

A handout artist impression released by the European Southern Observatory on April 19, 2017 shows a planet located in the liquid water habitable zone surrounding its host star, a small, faint red star named LHS 1140 and depicted in blue is the atmosphere the planet may have retained. (Photo by AFP)

"The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogs -- planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth," said Mario Perez of NASA's Astrophysics Division. "Understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of future NASA missions to directly image another Earth."
As of next year, NASA will continue its scan of the galaxy using Kepler's successor, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, which will spend two years observing the 200,000 brightest nearby stars for Earth-like worlds.
Scientists also hope the James Webb Space telescope, which will replace the Hubble telescope in 2018, will be able to detect the molecular make-up of atmospheres of exoplanets, including the possibility of finding signatures of potential life forms.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, on June 19, 2017. (Getty Images)
The top American general says the US is working to restore a communications line with Russia intended to avoid mid-air collisions over Syria, after Moscow cut it off following the US downing of a Syrian military jet on Sunday.
"We'll work diplomatically and militarily in the coming hours to re-establish deconfliction," US General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday at an event sponsored by the National Press Club in Washington.
Dunford said there was still communications between a US air operations center in Qatar and Russian forces in Syria.
"We have an effective link between our operations center in Qatar and the Russian Federation on the ground in Syria. That link is still ongoing here this morning," he said.
Dunford said the US has "worked through a number of issues" with Russia and that the deconfliction link set up by both sides "has worked very well over the past eight months."
The deconfliction arrangement was first established with Russia in 2015 to avoid unnecessary conflict and miscommunication in the military movements of US-led coalition and Russian forces in Syria.
Moscow suspended the arrangement after a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian fighter jet in Raqqah on Sunday.
The deconfliction line between the two countries had first been suspended by Russia in April after the United States launched a missile strike on a Syrian military airfield. The line was re-established in May.
Russia also warned on Monday that it would treat US-led coalition jets in Syria that fly west of the Euphrates River as targets.
The Russian military involvement in Syria began in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government for military assistance against terrorist groups.
Different foreign-backed terrorist groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria since 2011. Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.

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