international politics | KUOW News and Information

international politics

KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Last week President Trump signed an executive order that could bring significant changes to the H-1B visa program, which lets companies temporarily hire a limited number of foreign workers. Created in 1990, the program is popular among local tech companies, especially Microsoft.


North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

The tiny Balkan country of Montenegro may be best known for its stunning coastline on the Adriatic sea — and as a setting for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.

But in February, news broke that sounded like a twist right out of a 007 thriller.

Montenegro's special prosecutor, Milivoje Katnic, announced that "Russian state bodies" had backed a plot to overthrow the government and kill the prime minister during elections last October.

Flickr Photo/Andreas Eldh (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks to Kate Starbird about her research on how "false flag" rumors are spread on Twitter after a crisis and how they connect with "alternative" media sources, including Russian-funded media.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the missile strike President Trump ordered against Syria on Thursday "an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext."

President Trump's updated executive order, the one restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, is blocked for now.

But administrators at Northeastern University in Boston aren't taking any chances.

"We're in a state of limbo," says Mike Armini, who oversees government relations. "We don't quite know what's going to happen next, so we've advised them to stay here," he says, talking about the 250 Northeastern students from those six countries.

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Poisonous chemicals are suspected of augmenting an aerial bombardment of a rebel-held town in Syria's Idlib province Tuesday, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying at least 20 children were among those who died. The group says the initial death toll of 58 has risen to 72, and that all the victims were civilians.

The attack was reportedly carried out in Khan Shaykhun, a town in northwest Syria that sits about halfway between Homs and Aleppo on the country's main north-south highway.

R
Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

Going into Sunday, no one really knew how many people would show up for the “anti-corruption” rallies across Russia. But show up they did.

Independent estimates say some 60,000 Russians defied strict government, anti-assembly laws in more than 90 cities across Russia — the largest turnout against the Kremlin since mass street protests in 2011. Then as now, hundreds of people were arrested for protesting without permission.

But Sunday’s rally also proved a test of the power of the internet.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner is going to talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his meetings with Russian officials, Senate sources tell NPR.

The committee is looking into Russia's attempt to meddle in last year's presidential election, as well as possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

A man in his late teens has been arrested in Israel as the "primary suspect" behind a string of phoned-in bomb threats to Jewish community centers across the U.S. and elsewhere.

The arrest was the result of an investigation by Israeli police and the FBI, a police spokesman says.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Thursday

British authorities have made eight arrests in their investigation into Wednesday's attack in London, police said Thursday morning.

Mark Rowley, the national lead for counterterrorism policing, told reporters that there were four dead, including the attacker, and 29 people have been treated in hospitals. Seven people are in critical condition, he said.

Police had earlier said there were five dead including the attacker.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. doesn't want to take military action against North Korea, but "all of the options are on the table" if a serious threat arises. Tillerson made his frank remarks in a visit to South Korea on Friday, a day after saying diplomatic efforts "have failed" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Tillerson's Asia tour began in Japan and will end in China. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.

"Gender equality benefits all of us," Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said on International Women's Day, as his government works on a law to require companies to show they pay men and women the same salary for the same work.

Benediktsson discussed the plan in New York, where he attended an International Women's Day summit and other meetings this week.

The U.S. is producing less air pollution, but smog levels are still rising in the western U.S. because of pollutants released in Asian countries that then drift over the Pacific Ocean. Researchers say their findings show the importance of a global approach to preserving air quality.

"Scientists found Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65 percent of an increase in Western ozone in recent years," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai. "China and India, where many consumer products are manufactured, are the worst offenders."

The nerve agent smeared onto the face of Kim Jong Nam, estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jon Un, was administered in such a high dose it killed him within 20 minutes, according Malaysia's health minister.

Malaysian investigators want to talk with a senior North Korean diplomat in connection to the poisoning death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The development comes as the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lampur insists no poison was used.

It's a chilly midmorning in a clinic in the working-class neighborhood of Sweileh in Amman, Jordan. Children wearing winter coats donated by charity organizations sit on plastic chairs, waiting to see doctors and dentists.

Pamphlets in the clinic, published by the Muslim Brotherhood, offer advice on being a good Muslim and instruction on how to pray. But it's not really religion that brings people here.

Canada flag American flag
Flickr Photo/Bruno Casonato (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/c1MdB

Bill Radke talks to Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about the meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump. 

The image that won the 2017 World Press Photo of the Year award was described by one jury member as the "face of hatred."

It shows a shouting, suit-clad gunman standing in an art gallery in Turkey's capital, one hand holding a weapon, the other pointing to the sky. On the ground next to him is the crumpled body of his victim, Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov.

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be spending their weekend getting to know each other at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla.

And that's really the purpose of the Trump-owned, for-profit club: to allow people to socialize at a spectacular estate built nearly a century ago by a wealthy heiress.

If President Trump wants to keep his promise to send new detainees to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, there's plenty of room.

"We haven't received any orders to take additional detainees in," says Navy Capt. John Filostrat. "But if given the order, we could go ahead and comply."

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The U.S. Treasury Department announced additional sanctions on Iran on Friday, less than a week after a ballistic missile test prompted the Trump administration to accuse Iran of violating an international a weapons agreement.

As the Trump administration is expected to overhaul America's immigration system, some policymakers suggest looking north to Canada.

That's because Canadians see immigration as critical to their economic success. The nation has invited in so many immigrants that today, one-fifth of the population is foreign-born.

Yet Canadians don't seem to wrestle with anti-immigrant nativism that has erupted in the U.S. and Europe.

Mexicans have reacted angrily to President Trump's executive order, which among many things directed the U.S. government to begin immediate construction of a border wall.

Mexican lawmakers are urging President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel his scheduled visit to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 31.

Peña Nieto has not said whether he will cancel the meeting.

The U.K.'s exit from the European Union must be triggered by Parliament, not by the prime minister, the nation's Supreme Court says. In an 8-3 ruling, the court ruled that Theresa May doesn't have legal standing to carry out Brexit, the plan to leave the EU that voters embraced in a close referendum last June.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia won't be expelling U.S. diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. sanctions, as his foreign minister had suggested earlier Friday.

Instead, he says he will decide how to move forward depending on the actions of President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Trump took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to praise Putin's decision, calling it a "great move."

Fidel Castro, the controversial ruler who took power during the Cuban revolution in 1959 and led his country for nearly half a century, died in Havana, Cuba, at age 90.

Castro lived through 10 U.S. presidents who were determined to overthrow him, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reported, in addition to surviving the collapse of the communist alliance that bolstered his success.

C
Emma Jacobs

It has been an eventful political week in France, which has its presidential election scheduled for the spring of 2017. Voting began last Sunday in the two-round primary for the center-right parties. But this year, the French political left has been paying extra attention — and in some cases, participating.

With incumbent socialist President Francois Hollande very unpopular, some left-wing voters believe they will eventually be casting final ballots this spring for the right’s candidate, against the far-right’s Marine Le Pen.

Pages