North America

World-renowned Spoleto arts festival opens in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston is opening 17 days of operas, plays, chamber music and jazz Friday as the world-renowned Spoleto Festival USA returns.

The 43rd season of the arts festival kicks off Friday at noon with the opening ceremony from Charleston City Hall. It will run through June 9.

The spotlighted performance is the opera “Salome.” Spoleto plans a contemporary retelling of the 1905 Richard Strauss opera. It is based on an Oscar Wilde play of the same name about the Biblical story of the woman who asked for the head of John the Baptist.

Kuwait envoy: No peace until Israel ends occupation

24 May 2019; MEMO: Kuwait Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, said that peace will not be achieved while Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land by force, stressing that settlements are still the biggest obstacle to achieving a just and comprehensive peace.

US charges Julian Assange with violating Espionage Act

24 May 2019; AFP: The Justice Department on Thursday charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a journalist.

The department unveiled 17 new charges against Assange, accusing him of directing and abetting intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in stealing secret US files, and also recklessly exposing confidential sources in the Middle East and China who were named in the files.

Trump says US-China trade deal could include Huawei

Washington, May 23 (AFP) President Donald Trump on Thursday for the first time linked a dispute over telecom giant Huawei, which he views as a threat to American security, with a deal to resolve the US-China trade war.

"Huawei is something that is very dangerous," Trump told reporters at the White House. "You look at what they've done from a security standpoint, a military standpoint. Very dangerous."

India stopped purchasing Iranian oil after US waivers expired

Washington, May 24 (PTI) India has stopped importing oil from Iran after American waivers granted to eight buyers expired early this month, New Delhi's envoy here has said, becoming the latest country to comply with the US sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran's crude oil export to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.

USA: File says Smollett couldn’t contact brothers after arrest

CHICAGO (AP) — One of Jussie Smollett’s conditions after posting $10,000 bail amid charges he lied about being the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack was that he have no contact with two brothers police say he paid to help stage the incident, according to a case file unsealed Thursday in Chicago.

Besides that detail, the “Empire” actor’s criminal case file appears to contain little new information. The bulk of the more-than-250-page file centers on the legal battle between media organizations that wanted access to the file and Smollett’s attorneys who wanted it kept sealed.

Mario Batali to face assault charge on groping accusation

BOSTON (AP) — Celebrity chef Mario Batali is set to appear in court on a criminal charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

Batali is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on a charge of indecent assault and battery.

The woman filed a civil lawsuit in August alleging that Batali offered to take a selfie with her and then groped and kissed her repeatedly without her consent.

Batali’s attorney says the chef denies the allegations.

Bank CEO pleads not guilty in bid to get Trump post

NEW YORK (AP) — A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to a financial institution bribery charge as his lawyer said he’s done nothing wrong.

Stephen M. Calk, 54, was released on $5 million bail after making a brief appearance in Manhattan federal court.

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