Articles by "World News"


Yemeni militia loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, hold a position in the in the southwestern Yemeni city of Ta'izz during clashes with forces of Houthi Ansarullah movement on June 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US forces have been involved in interrogation of hundreds of inmates in clandestine prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in war-torn Yemen, with reports of brutal torture and abuses at the facilities.
The Associated Press documented at least 18 secret jails across southern Yemen run by the UAE or by Yemeni militia loyal to the former Yemeni government, where prisoners face extreme abuse and torture on a routine basis.
On Wednesday, senior US defense officials confirmed that the American forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights violations.
Several torturing methods are being used at the jails, including the “grill” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spins in a circle of fire, according to the report.
Former inmates released from one main detention facility at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla, said they were crammed into shipping containers covered with feces and blindfolded for weeks. They said they were beaten, trussed up on the “grill,” and sexually abused.
“The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber,” said a former detainee held for six months at Riyan airport.
So far, over 400 men have disappeared after being swept up in Mukalla.
The UAE secret jail network in Yemen was established during former US president Barack Obama’s administration and still continues its operations, according to the report.
In another report on Thursday, Human Rights Watch said the UAE runs two “informal detention facilities” in southern Yemen and has “moved high-profile detainees outside the country,” including to a base in Eritrea.
The New York-based rights group said it had documented 49 cases, including those of four children, who had been “arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared,” most of them by UAE-backed forces.
In a statement to the AP, the UAE’s government denied the allegations, saying, “There are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations.”
However, lawyers and families say nearly 2,000 men have disappeared into the clandestine prisons across Yemen. The issue has triggered days of protests by families seeking information about missing sons, brothers and fathers.
Several US defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP that American forces participate in interrogations of detainees in Yemen, provide questions for interrogators and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati forces.
They said senior US military leaders have looked into the allegations of torture at the clandestine prisons in Yemen, but were satisfied that there was no case of abuse when the US forces were present.
However, a member of the Hadramawt Elite, a Yemeni security force set up by the UAE, told AP that American forces were sometimes only yards away from the scene of torture.
According to international law experts, obtaining intelligence that may have been extracted by torture inflicted by another party is considered as violation of the International Convention Against Torture and constitutes an instance of war crime.
The UAE has served as an ally of Saudi Arabia in the latter’s US-backed campaign in Yemen to restore the impoverished country’s former Riyadh-allied government. The Elite Forces have been fighting in Yemen since the same year to assist the Saudi-led campaign.
According to various reports, Abu Dhabi holds notable sway in southern Yemen and looks to be trying to expand its leverage there by lending its support to southern separatists.
The separatists are led by two pro-Emirati officials of Yemen’s former president Hadi, who have been sacked by him over suspicions of serving the Emirates.
In March 2015, the Saudi regime and its allies began the campaign against Yemen to reinstall its former government. The war has killed over 12,000 civilians. The invasion has been compounded by a Saudi blockade of the country.

Outgoing council chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council Nicholas Holgate (Photo by AFP)
Council chief of Kensington and Chelsea Nicholas Holgate has stepped down after coming under fire for the borough’s handling of the last week blaze that killed 79 people at the Grenfell Tower.
In a statement on Wednesday, Holgate said the deadly fire was "heart-breaking" but he had to resign to avoid causing a "distraction."
"Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” said Holgate, who took on the job in 2014.
Holgate blamed his resignation on the government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, a claim that was denied.
Demonstrators hold a banner in support of Grenfell Tower victims in London, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Noting that he communities and local government secretary had on Tuesday "required the leader of the council to seek my resignation," Holgate said Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid had forced him to give up his position.
The claim was dismissed by a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who said, "The appointment of chief executives is entirely the responsibility of the local authority."
Holgate hoped that the ongoing investigations would reveal “the truth of the causes of this tragedy.”
Labour welcomes the decision
Shadow housing secretary John Healey welcomed Holgate’s resignation, saying he was “right to go.”
“His council went awol in the days after this terrible fire - at a time when the victims, survivors, those families still looking for their family members who were missing, needed help on the ground and, above all, someone to reassure them and coordinate the relief and help efforts,” he told BBC.
The government and the council have come under heavy fire for their response to the fire.
May and members of the local council stirred outrage when they walked back earlier pledges to re-house the survivors of the fire in the same neighborhood.
The burned-out shell of the Grenfell Tower block. (Photo by AFP)
May also faced overwhelming pressure after it was revealed that the former Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister who was recently appointed as the prime minister’s adviser, had failed to OK a fire safety review request he had received.
The council has been accused of using a banned cladding material during that £8.6m refurbishment of the tower. The material has been blamed for the fire’s quick spread to all floors.
May has ordered these and all other allegations to be included in a full public inquiry into the fire.

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.

At least 29 people have been killed and over 50 others wounded after a powerful blast hit a bank in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand.
The Thursday blast targeted the New Kabul Bank branch, where members of Afghan security forces had gathered to collect their pay.
Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the fatalities include members of the police and army, civilians and staff of the bank.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a similar incident last month, at least three people lost their lives and more than 30 others sustained injuries in the eastern city of Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province.
Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
During the past 16 years, the Taliban militants have been conducting attacks across the country, killing, wounding, and displacing civilians.
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has also more recently managed to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. Daesh militants are now launching attacks of their own on Afghan soil.

Chilean police have fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of students demonstrating for free education in the Latin American country.
Some 5,000 students took to the streets of Chile’s capital, Santiago, on Wednesday to protest the high costs of university education that have left many with crippling debts.
Violence broke out after the demonstrators started pelting objects at police and tried to block the capital's main avenue with fences.
Students clash with riot police during a protest against the slowness in the progress of the education reform in Santiago, on June 21,2017. (Photo by AFP)
The leaders of the Confederation of Chilean Students (Confech) in Santiago had earlier called on the protesters to pressure the government from the streets to improve education quality and provide access to university education.
“We call all Chileans to protest and express themselves, because this is the opportunity we have to rectify and dispute education in Chile,” said Daniel Andrade, president of the Federation of Students of University of Chile.
President Michelle Bachelet’s principal campaign pledge was educational reform before she came to power in 2014, but due to the fall in international copper prices, Chile’s main export, she failed to fulfill her promise.
Students protest against the slowness in the progress of the education reform in Santiago, on June 21,2017. (Photo by AFP)
In 2015, however, she approved a long-awaited reform plan to provide free university education, which was strongly rejected by Confech saying it covered only 14 percent of tuition costs, and not all of it.
Since then, Chile has been the scene of a number of mass student protests, not only in the capital but also in other major cities.
Chile will hold presidential elections in November and the current front-runner, conservative Sebastian Pinera, has promised to roll back recent educational reforms if elected, preferring a system of scholarships to free tertiary education for poorer students.

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.

Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov, who has been appointed as the first head of new UN Counterterrorism Office (file photo)
The United Nations (UN)’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a veteran Russian diplomat, Vladimir Voronkov, as the first head of the world body’s newly established Counterterrorism Office.
Voronkov “will provide strategic leadership to UN counterterrorism efforts, participate in the decision-making process of the UN and ensure that the cross-cutting origins and impact of terrorism are reflected in [its] work,” Guterres’ deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said while announcing the appointment on Wednesday.
The appointment came a week after the 193-member UN General Assembly agreed to establish the new office with an objective to boost counterterrorism efforts, which had previously been distributed among several UN agencies and departments.
On Tuesday, Guterres said at a press conference that the world body had “a problem of coordination of the 38 entities that within the UN deal with counterterrorism. So it makes full sense to have a dedicated office.”
Voronkov, 64, who henceforth has the high-level rank of undersecretary-general, has over 30 years of experience with the Russian foreign service, working primarily within the UN. He had served as Russia’s representative to UN organizations in Vienna, Austria, since 2011, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which deals with counterterrorism.
Voronkov has also served as Russia’s deputy ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), from 2005 to 2008, and on the board of governors of the UN’s global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“The secretary-general considers counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism to be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations to address a growing threat to international peace and security,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric also said on the necessity of creating the new office.

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.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in the framework of the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico, June 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has stepped down from her post to run for a seat in the controversial new Constituent Assembly.
Rodriguez tendered her resignation on Wednesday. She had been foreign minister of Venezuela since December 2014.
President Nicolas Maduro was quick to offer words of praise for his close ally.
Rodriguez “truly deserves the recognition of the entire country because she has defended Venezuelan sovereignty, peace and independence like a tiger,” Maduro said. “Congratulations comrade! Job well done.”
The Venezuelan president, in a speech on state television, named the country’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), historian Samuel Moncada, as the new foreign minister.
The development came as Maduro strives to send more of his allies to the Constituent Assembly, whose election is set for July 30. First lady Cilia Flores has already announced her own bid to run for a seat in the assembly.
Maduro, whose government has faced massive protests in recent months, says the new assembly, a body with powers to rewrite the constitution and override other institutions, is a must to bring back peace to the country. The opposition, however, has already boycotted the vote, arguing that the voting procedures heavily favor the government and are aimed at keeping the ruling Socialist Party in power despite its current unpopularity.
Meanwhile, a meeting held by the 34-member OAS wound up empty-handed on issuing a formal condemnation of Caracas for its handling of the political and economic crisis in Venezuela. Another meeting, held two days earlier, had also failed to agree on a joint response to the situation in Venezuela, with a US-proposed draft resolution falling short of the three votes out of the required 23. The failure is speculated to be partly due to the Caribbean countries’ support for Caracas. Those countries are reportedly benefiting from discounted Venezuelan oil imports.
Opposition activists clash with riot police during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro along a highway in Caracas, June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Venezuela has been the scene of nearly three months of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces. It started when the Supreme Court stripped the opposition-controlled parliament of its powers in March.
The decision was later revoked, but protesters continued to take to the streets across the country against Maduro’s government. The clashes have already left at least 75 people dead and over 1,300 wounded.
Critics denounce Maduro as a “dictator,” demanding elections, the freedom of jailed activists, permits for the entry of foreign aid, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
The left-wing government says the protests are incited by the Unites Stated and has accused the opposition of hiring armed gangs. The opposition, too, has said the government has been using armed groups to intimidate opponents.

This US Navy photo shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet launching from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 20, 2016. (Via AFP)
Australia has resumed aerial missions over Syria two days after it suspended them amid rising tensions between a US-led coalition and the Russian military in the Arab country.
Australia’s Defense Ministry made the announcement on Thursday, saying the suspension had been “a precautionary measure to allow the coalition to assess the operational risk,” adding that, “The suspension has since been lifted.”
Australian Defense Force Chief Mark Binskin said a day earlier that the flights had been temporarily halted while officials examined what he described as a “complex piece of airspace” over Syria.
On June 18, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Sukhoi SU-22 aircraft, which was conducting an operation against Daesh on the outskirts of Syria’s northern city of Raqqah.
The downing of the Syrian warplane triggered Russia to threaten that it would treat all coalition flights west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential “targets” and track them with missile systems. Russia also suspended a military hotline that had been set up to avoid accidental military confrontations between Russia and the coalition forces.
Australia suspended its airstrikes as part of the US-led coalition as those tensions mounted.
There are six Australian aircraft serving with the coalition, which has been leading dozens of US allies in Syria since 2014 in a declared mission to hit Daesh.
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 been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.
Russia has been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign in Syria on a request from Damascus.

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.

The UN warns against the extremely horrible conditions of Iraqi children as Daesh terrorists resort to more brutal tactics to save their last foothold in the country, saying children, particularly those in Mosul, are dying and suffering amid one of the “most brutal wars in history.”
“Across Iraq, children continue to witness sheer horror and unimaginable violence,” the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said in a Thursday statement.
“They have been killed, injured, abducted and forced to shoot and kill in one of the most brutal wars in recent history,” it added.
The statement, prepared by UNICEF’s representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins, noted that Daesh terrorists deliberately target and kill children in Mosul to punish families and deter them from fleeing.
“They are using children as a weapon of war to prevent people from fleeing,” the statement said. “This just highlights how indiscriminate and catastrophic this war is.”
According to the report, 1,075 Iraqi children have been killed and 1,130 wounded or maimed since Daesh occupied nearly a third of Iraq in 2014. Over the past six months alone, 152 children were killed and 255 others injured, it added.
Meanwhile, over 4,650 children have become separated from their families.
Iraqi children have also been forced to take part in violence as Daesh and other armed groups have recruited at least 231 children under the age of 18, the report added.
Iraqis flee from their homes in the Old City of Mosul on June 21, 2017, during fighting between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)
UNICEF’s report said that over one million children have had their educations put on hold as a result of either militant rule or displacement.
“The country’s future security and economic strength is determined by what is happening to its children today,” the report said.
Last October, Iraqi army forces launched a massive operation to liberate Mosul and they are currently close to recapture the entire city, which served as their de facto capital of Daesh in Iraq.
The battle is estimated to have killed and injured thousands of civilians and displaced over 850,000 people. On the city’s west, entire blocks have been flattened by clashes and airstrikes.
Taking back the Old City of Mosul, a densely populated warren of narrow alleyways on the western side of Mosul, is crucial to recapturing the whole of the northern city.
The United Nations says over 100,000 civilians are trapped in the neighborhood, with Daesh militants using them as human shields.

A handout picture shows Peruvian Economy Minister Alfredo Thorne appearing before the opposition-controlled Congress in Lima, Peru, on June 16, 2017. (Via AFP)
Peru's Congress has dismissed the finance minister following revelations that he allegedly asked the comptroller to green light a controversial project, a fresh blow to centrist President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his efforts to jumpstart the faltering economy.
The single-chamber Congress voted 88-11 against embattled Finance Minister Alfredo Thorne, who had asked for a vote of confidence amid threats of censure and resigned within hours of the outcome.
"I thank Thorne for his outstanding work in the Finance Ministry and lament the decision taken by Congress," Kuczynski said on Twitter.
The vote ended the crisis over one of Kuczynski's closest cabinet members, but the dispute further strained relations between the opposition-dominated Congress and the executive.
Lawmakers railed against Thorne for refusing to accept wrongdoing after an audio recording surfaced in which he appeared to ask the comptroller to approve a modification to a $520-million airport contract in exchange for a bigger budget.
Thorne, whom Kuczynski has defended, denied using funding for the comptroller's office to try to secure a favorable review of the contract modification, which the government had promised to rescind on the comptroller's recommendation.
The vote marked the first time in decades that Congress has rejected a finance minister — an embarrassing rebuke for Kuczynski after he campaigned on promises to strengthen the economy and clean up government as a former Wall Street banker and World Bank economist.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski addresses the Latin America and Caribbean International economic forum, at the Economy Ministry in Paris, France, June 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Thorne "decided not to step down and the government decided to prolong" the controversy, said Luis Galarreta with the right-wing party Popular Force, which has a majority of congressional seats. "This parliament must withdraw the confidence to a minister who doesn't want to join us in making the country better."
Kuczynski's party has 17 congressional seats out of 130 and his year-old government has been dogged by clashes with Popular Force, led by his rival in last year's election, Keiko Fujimori.
In a sign of growing political tensions, shortly after the vote on Thorne, opposition lawmakers began questioning the interior minister in a process that could lead to a censure motion.
Three ministers have already left Kuczynski's original cabinet amid controversy, including his transportation minister, who, like Thorne, was a friend and former campaign adviser.
Prime Minister Fernando Zavala said a plan for the ministry would be announced in the coming days.
It was not clear who would replace Thorne, but Kuczynski is widely expected to appoint another business-friendly minister to try to revive slumping investments following a graft scandal and heavy flooding that knocked growth prospects.
The central bank now expects a 2.8 percent economic expansion this year, down from 3.9 percent in 2016.

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."


A handout picture provided by the Palestinian Authority’s press office on June 21, 2017, shows Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas (R) the US president’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner (L) in Ramallah. (Via AFP)

US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law has held separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a trip to the Israeli-occupied territories to help resume the so-called peace process between the two sides.
The White House said in a statement Jared Kushner along with Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt held “productive” talks with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday in an attempt to broker a deal to revive the Israeli-Palestinian talks that stalled backin 2014.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also took part at the meeting with Netanyahu.
“The three United States officials discussed Israel’s priorities and potential next steps with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” the White House said in a statement.
Greenblatt and Kushner had accompanied Trump in his first visit as president to the occupied Palestinian territories in May.
The two US officials, along with US Consul General Donald Blome, also met Mahmud Abbas and his senior advisors in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“Kushner and Greenblatt discussed with President Abbas priorities for the Palestinians and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy,” the statement said.

In this photo released by Israeli media on June 21, 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives the US president’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner. 

According to a White House official, Greenblatt and Kushner are expected to visit the region multiple times in the coming months as part of the US bid to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
The visit came just after Israel started building its first new settlement in the West Bank in 25 years in defiance of the international law and the latest UN Security Council resolution against the illegal move.
Since 1992, Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied territories has involved expansion of the existing outposts, increasing the number of illegal Israeli settlers from 20,000 to 700,000.
The expansion of illegal settlements has been a major hurdle in the way of the so-called peace talks, which opened between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accord in 1993.
The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
According to data released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday, expansion of the illegal settlements in the West Bank soared by 70 percent between April 2016 and March 2017.
Since Trump’s inauguration in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land.
In his last month’s visit to the occupied territories, Trump reportedly urged Netanyahu to hold back on such controversial projects, which could further cloud chances of Trump’s “ultimate deal” for a so-called two-state solution.

Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian government forces in downtown Srinagar, Kashmir, June 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Indian forces have killed three militants and an anti-government Kashmiri protester in separate incidents in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region, officials say.
According to army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia, Indian troops engaged in a nightlong gun battle with the three gunmen, who had been holed up in a house in the cordoned-off southern Kakpora Village, on Thursday.
The army soldiers reportedly also used explosives to target the house and set it ablaze, as hundreds of residents, in defiance of a security lockdown enforced around the village, gathered in the area and clashed with troops in an unsuccessful bid to help the trapped militants escape.
After security forces recovered the charred bodies of the trio and the news of the development spread in the area, thousands of people convened in Kakpora to say funeral prayers for the three.
Furthermore, thousands of other protesters, who had also heard the news, filled the streets in the neighboring town of Awantipora, where they blocked a major highway linking the volatile Kashmir Valley with India, while shouting “Go India, go back!” and “We want freedom.”
Security forces then engaged in violent clashes with the stone-throwing protesters in Awantipora, killing a man and wounding at least five others.
S. P. Vaid, the director general of police for the territory, confirmed the killing.
The development came just a day after Indian troops shot dead two suspected militants in a gun battle in northern Sopore area of Kashmir.
Tensions are high in the Indian-administrated Kashmir region, where the Muslim-majority population stages regular protests against Indian rule and demands autonomy from New Delhi.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks on Indian forces. Pakistan strongly denies the allegations.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two partitioned and gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory. Despite a ceasefire agreement that was reached in November 2003, sporadic skirmishes continue in Kashmir.
New Delhi has deployed some 500,000 soldiers to the disputed region to further boost the security of the borderline and enforce a crackdown on pro-independence demonstrations in its share of Kashmir, where anti-India sentiments are high.

This file photo taken on September 02, 2016 shows Turkish soldiers driving back to Turkey from the Syrian-Turkish border town of Jarablus. (Photos by AFP)
Turkey has deployed military reinforcements, including soldiers, vehicles, and equipment to northern Syria, says a UK-based monitoring group.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that the Turkish reinforcements had entered Syrian soil over the last 24 hours and headed in the direction of the town of A'zaz, which has been seized by Ankara-backed militants.
The regions to the south of the town are currently in the hands of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
The observatory said the fresh Turkish deployments are aimed at bolstering Turkish forces who plan to launch an offensive against the YPG which Ankara deems as the Syrian branch of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been battling to establish an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
"Turkish forces are now inside Syria... the forces are huge reinforcements that have been entering since last night,” said a member of one the militant groups backed by Turkey.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, walk in a neighborhood on the eastern front of Daesh’s Syrian bastion of Raqqah after seizing the area from the terrorists on June 14, 2017. 
The YPG is currently the dominant force behind the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently engaged in operations aimed at liberating Raqqah – Daesh’s remaining stronghold in Syria.
In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border. Ankara claimed that its military campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh from Turkey's border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh.
Turkey officially ended its military campaign in northern Syria in March 2017 but did not rule out the possibility of yet another act of military intervention inside Syria, which has been gripped by deadly foreign-sponsored militancy since 2011.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a dinner organised by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) to break the fast of Ramadan, in Paris, on June 20, 2017. (Photos by AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron said his country no longer deems the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a precondition for resolving the conflict in the Arab country.
On Wednesday, the newly-elected president made the announcement which was in stark contrast to the stance of the previous French administration and closer to Russia's pro-Assad position.
"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad's departure is a precondition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," said Macron in an interview published in several European newspapers.
"My lines are clear, firstly, a complete fight against all the terrorist groups [is required], they are our enemies," he said, adding that his second priority was safeguarding Syria’s stability and sovereignty.  
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attending a cabinet meeting during which he launched administrative reforms, in the capital Damascus, on June 20, 2017.
While noting that global cooperation is required to solve the crisis in Syria, Macron stressed that Russia's cooperation is “especially needed” to eradicate Daesh.
“My deep conviction is that there needs to be a diplomatic and political roadmap. We will not resolve this solely militarily," he added.
Syria has been gripped by unrest since 2011, when militancy first began in the country. Foreign states opposed to President Assad have since then been funding and providing weapons to anti-Assad militants, among them thousands of paid foreign terrorists dispatched to help force Assad out of power.
The Syrian government, however, has been fighting that militancy back, aided in that battle by advisory military support from Iran and Russia. Moscow has also been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorist positions in the Arab country on a request by Damascus.

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