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'Lone wolf' was behind shooting of Slovakia's Fico, says minister

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Bratislava, May 16 (IANS/DPA) A man described as a “lone wolf” has been charged with the attempted murder of Slovakian Prime Minister Rober Fico, Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said.

Estok said the 71-year-old suspect was motivated by political grievances to try and assassinate Fico.

He described the man as a “lone wolf” who is “not a member of a radicalised political group, either right-wing or left-wing”.

Prime Minister Fico was shot four times on Wednesday and remains in hospital in a serious condition.

–IANS/dpa

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Hamas fighters in West Bank attack Israeli border village

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Tel Aviv, May 29 (IANS/DPA) Hamas fighters have fired on an Israeli border community from the West Bank.

A video released by Hamas on Wednesday showed three men with automatic rifles firing several rounds on an Israeli border community from the West Bank.

Israel’s Army Radio reported there were no casualties in Bat Hefer, a village located near the barrier that separates Israel and the West Bank, but there was damage to property.

The attackers, who are seen wearing Hamas headbands, came from a refugee neighbourhood in the Palestinian city of Tulkarm in the West Bank.

The Israeli army has repeatedly carried out raids in Tulkarm and other Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank.

Since the start of the Gaza war following the Hamas massacre on October 7, the situation in the West Bank has grown more tense.

According to the Ministry of Health in the West Bank, around 500 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations, confrontations, or their own attacks since then.

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–IANS/DPA

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Tariffs on China must do more good than harm: German Economy Minister

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Berlin, May 29 (IANS/DPA) European tariffs imposed on Chinese products must be carefully crafted so that they do not backfire on Germany, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said, as debate grows in Berlin over how to respond to Beijing’s trade practices.

“Of course, you have to make sure that measures benefit you more than they harm you,” Habeck told Wednesday’s edition of the Rheinische Post newspaper. “A targeted approach is important.”

“We have reassessed our relationship with China in this legislative period,” said Habeck, a member of the Greens.

He said China had long been perceived as the world’s factory, churning out cheap products for global consumption, then as a huge sales market for Western firms.

But he said the trade relationship has become more complex, and Europe needs to think about policies that will be beneficial “in the medium and long term.”

Tensions over Chinese exports on foreign markets are flaring, with Washington and Europe accusing Beijing of supporting sectors like green technologies with massive state subsidies.

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They allege China is knowingly creating this “overcapacity” and then dumping the goods in their markets at artificially low prices to the detriment of their home-grown businesses.

This month, the US said it was raising tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles to 100 per cent.

The EU is also currently investigating the extent to which China is distorting the market for electric cars, for instance. A decision as to whether it will impose punitive tariffs is still pending.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, of the business-oriented Free Democrats, has insisted on a moderate approach, saying China’s unfair trade tactics must be responded to in order to support domestic sectors without weakening the pillars of free trade.

–IANS/DPA

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US: F-35 crashes in New Mexico, pilot seriously injured

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San Francisco, May 29 (IANS) A new F-35 aircraft crashed near the airfield at the Albuquerque International Sunport in the US state of New Mexico, according to reports.

According to the airport officials and Albuquerque Fire Rescue, the crash occurred on Tuesday. The pilot was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital with serious injuries, reports Xinhua news agency.

As of Tuesday evening, the pilot was in stable condition, said a press release from Kirtland Air Force Base.

The aircraft was a new F-35, which was being transferred from a Lockheed Martin factory to be handed over to the service at the time of the crash, officials said.

Lockheed Martin said the F-35B was en route from Fort Worth, Texas, to Edwards Air Force Base in California when it crashed after refuelling at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

–IANS

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US says Houthi-fired missiles hit Greek-owned ship in Red Sea

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Washington, May 29 (IANS/DPA) Houthi rebels have attacked a Greek carrier ship in the Red Sea, the US military said on Tuesday.

Houthi militants launched five missiles, with the Greek-owned MV Laax reporting it had been struck by three of the missiles, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on social media platform X.

The ship was able to continue its voyage, and there were no injuries reported, CENTCOM said.

CENTCOM forces destroyed five uncrewed aerial systems launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen, it added.

“It was determined the systems presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels in the region. These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US, coalition, and merchant vessels.”

The Islamist militia has vowed to attack ships in the Red Sea linked to Israel. However, many of the vessels that have come under fire have no connection to the country.

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The Houthis say they want to force an end to the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, which followed the unprecedented massacre by the Hamas in Israel on October 7.

Because of the continuing Houthi attacks, major shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe and sailing around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope instead.

–IANS/DPA

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Pakistan grants India consular access to two alleged spies

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Islamabad, May 29 (IANS) Pakistan has granted India consular access to two Indian nationals who were arrested from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and charged with espionage in 2020.

The meeting between Indian diplomats and the Indian nationals took place on Monday, sources said.

Though no statement was issued by the Pakistan foreign office, the sources confirmed the development.

Two Indian nationals, identified as Feroze Ahmad Lone and Noor Muhammad Wani, belong to the Gurez area in Kashmir, sources said.

Both Indian nationals were recently moved from the Gilgit-Baltistan prison to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

Sharing details of the meeting, the sources confirmed that a three-member delegation of the Indian High Commission (IHC) in Islamabad met the two prisoners in Adiala jail, adding that officials of the Interior Ministry were also present during the meeting.

On the other hand, Indian media reports maintain that both Indian nationals had mistakenly crossed the border in November 2018.

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The issue of consular access has a brief history of its own in terms of the Indo-Pak relations.

Kulbushan Jadhav, an Indian national, arrested by Pakistan in 2016 and sentenced to death by a military court on charges of espionage and terrorist activities; was denied consular access despite repeated requests by India.

Later, India took the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which directed Islamabad to grant consular access to Kulbushan Jadhav, voided his death sentence, and directed Pakistan to put Jadhav on trial in a civil court.

After the ICJ’s order, Indian officials were allowed to meet Jadhav under tight security on the premises of the Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad.

–IANS

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