Over 70 injured during clashes at protest in Georgia
Robie de Guzman • June 21, 2019 • 2321
At least 70 people were injured after protesters rallying against the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia’s parliament building on Thursday (June 20) night, Georgian Ministry of Health said.
Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon after protesters pushed against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets.
The scenes in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, flared up suddenly after public anger over the visit and speech of a member of the Russian lower house of parliament triggered big street protests.
After hours of confrontation between protesters and the police dozens had been taken to hospitals with injuries from rubber bullets or stones, thrown by protesters, as well as tear gas poisoning.
The majority of protesters left the area outside the parliament, but dozens of them remained at adjoining streets, while police continued to use tear gas to disperse them.
Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject. The small country, a U.S. ally, fought and lost a short war against Moscow in 2008. (REUTERS)
Malaysia carried out cloud seeding on Monday (September 16) to tame haze and control air pollution in its administrative capital Putrajaya.
Parts of Malaysia, including Putrajaya, have been reeling under an impact of heavy haze with air quality dropping to a “very unhealthy” 203 benchmark, on the Air Pollutant Index the country uses to calculate, as forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia continue to affect the air.
Malaysia carried out cloud seeding in the hope of inducing rain and also closed hundreds of schools and sent half a million face masks to Sarawak, on Borneo island, this week, as fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan provinces continued to burn.
Indonesia’s neighbours have regularly complained about smog caused by its forest blazes – often started by farmers trying to clear land for palm oil and pulp plantations – though Jakarta has denied the accusation, saying forest fires had also started in other countries across the region. (Reuters)
Oil shed some of its massive gains on Tuesday (September 17) as the United States flagged the possible release of crude reserves, but the threat of military action over the attacks on Saudi oil facilities kept prices elevated and stocks under pressure.
While equity market losses have not been large, shaky investor confidence continued to support safe-haven assets, with gold edging higher on Tuesday and Treasury prices rising.
Investors otherwise broadly remained on the sidelines ahead of an expected interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday (September 18) and the next round of U.S.-China trade talks on Thursday.
The benchmark Nikkei average added 0.2% to 22,021.86 in mid-morning trade to mark its highest level since May 7, as soaring oil prices triggered by attacks on Saudi oil facilities boosted oil and gas-related companies.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.6%. Chinese shares fell 0.85%, while Australian shares were down 0.27%.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 1.78% to $67.79 per barrel in Asia on Tuesday. On Monday Brent surged by 14.6% for its biggest one-day percentage gain since at least 1988.
Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities has halved the kingdom’s oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in absolute terms since the overthrow of the Iranian Shah in 1979, International Energy Agency data show.
In South Korea, stocks opened slightly lower with the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) down 3.14 points or 0.15 percent to 2,059.08 points as of 0200 GMT.
China stocks fell on Tuesday as Beijing kept a key money rate unchanged even as recent readings pointed to further downward pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.
In Hong Kong, stocks extended falls after credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the island city’s outlook.
The Hang Seng index dropped 1.0%, to 26,849.72, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1.0%, to 10,520.42. (Reuters)
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U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday (September 16) said it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia at the weekend that raised fears of a fresh Middle East conflict, but added that he did not want war with anyone.
Asked by a reporter if he can trust Saudi Arabia, Trump said: “Oh I think so, they want to find out also, and I think they probably feel they know but we are going to know very quickly. We have pretty much all the material we need, we’ll know very quickly.”
Iran has rejected U.S. charges it was to blame for the attacks which damaged the world’s biggest crude processing plant in Saudi Arabia and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.
Several U.S. Cabinet officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have blamed Tehran for the strikes. Trump told reporters that he agrees with Pompeo on Iran responsibility for Saudi attacks.
The attacks cut 5% of world crude oil production and sent oil prices soaring. Trump said that the oil attack won’t affect the United States. (Reuters)
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