(MAIDUGURI, Nigeria.) LATEST: Action Against Hunger Statement: Six people are missing following Thursdays attack on an aid convoy in northeast, the international aid organization said on Friday with sources stating that it was carried out by Islamist insurgents who abducted survivors #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.21: Action Against Hunger in a statement said one staff member, two drivers and three other health workers are missing after Thursday’s attack on a convoy near the town of Damasak in the northeastern state of Borno in which one driver was killed: The nationality and other details of those kidnapped was not immediately clear.

The case raises concerns about the targeting of humanitarian staff in the region’s decade-long insurgency, triggered by Boko Haram militants: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these colleagues are dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families,” Action Against Hunger said of the attack.

The latest attack comes nine months after Islamic State’s West Africa branch executed a Red Cross aid worker who was kidnapped from another town in northeastern Nigeria in March 2018: Around 30,000 people have been killed in the insurgency, during which militant group Boko Haram has sought to create an Islamic caliphate. And more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, said he was “deeply disturbed by reports of an incident involving aid workers” and was concerned about their safety: “These acts of violence affect the very individuals, families, and communities that we support, and deprive vulnerable people of vital services,” he said: Kallon said 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance as a result of the insurgency.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium until early 2015 but was pushed out of it by troops from Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon: Since then the group has continued to carry out attacks – primarily in the form of suicide bombings, gun raids and kidnapping for ransom: Islamic State West Africa Province, a splinter faction which split from Boko Haram in 2016, has carried out a series of attacks on military bases over the last year.

#AceNewsDesk reports ………..Published: July.21: 2019: Reuters: Reporting by Maiduguri and Paul Carsten in Abuja; additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos; Editing by Toby Chopra

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(HONG KONG) JUST IN: An unknown assailant stabbed actor Simon Yam on Saturday during a promotional event in mainland China but Yam’s injuries were not life-threatening, Chinese state media reported #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.20: Hong Kong actor and film producer Simon Yam has been stabbed while speaking on stage at a promotional event in China: The star, who has appeared in numerous award-winning films, was in the city of Zhongshan when the incident happened: Video shared on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, shows a man approach the stage and lunge at the actor before a violent scuffle ensues: Mr Yam’s manager said his client’s injuries were not life-threatening and he had been taken to hospital: “He was stabbed in his stomach and slashed on his arm, but was conscious the entire time,” Lester Mo Gee-man told the South China Morning Post.

Actor Simon YamGetty Images

Simon Yam starred in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life

He added: “A preliminary investigation showed his injuries were not critical but the doctors are still deciding whether to operate on him”……..The 64-year-old actor was appearing at the opening of a new shop in Zhongshan in the southern province of Guangdong on Saturday: Video shows a man rush onto the stage and remove a weapon from his pocket: He can then be seen lashing out at Mr Yam, who tries desperately to move away while clutching his stomach: Security guards then rush to intervene and, according to police, the attacker was detained at the scene.

Presentational grey lineIn a second video that has also circulated on social media: Mr Yam can be seen holding his stomach in the aftermath of the attack while asking to be taken to hospital: The actor started his career as a model before starring in a number of critically acclaimed Chinese-language films: He made his Hollywood debut in the 2003 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life in which he played a crime lord.

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: July.20: 2019:

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(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Latest: Police have said they have arrested a man reportedly a member of a pro-independence group with the largest haul of TATP explosives ever made on Friday: As they investigate wether he is linked to the extradition protestors or just another blind alley provided by Chinas ruling elite trying to prove a point #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.20: Hong Kong police are investigating whether a haul of explosives found there is linked to ongoing protests: The police said it was the biggest seizure of the explosive TATP they had ever made: Other weapons and protest leaflets were also found on Friday: The find came ahead of a weekend of mass protests by both pro- and anti- China demonstrators in Hong Kong: A 27-year-old man was arrested and was reportedly a member of a pro-independence group.

Officers discovered the haul when they entered an industrial building in the Tsuen Wan district at about 22:30 local time (14:30 GMT) on Friday evening: They said they found 2kg (4.4lb) of the highly volatile TATP, as well as 10 petrol bombs, acidic substances, weapons including knives and metal rods, and gas masks and goggles, the South China Morning Post reported.

Police in Hong KongGetty ImagesPolice resources have been stretched by the extent of the protests: The Post quoted Superintendent Alick McWhirter of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit as saying: “TATP is well known, unstable and dangerous. I think without a doubt this is the largest seizure we have ever come across in Hong Kong.”…………..He said it was taking officers time to handle the TATP as it was in “different stages of its manufacture”, creating a “constant challenge”…………TATP can be easily made from readily available materials and was used in such attacks as the 2005 London bombings and the 2015 Paris attacks: Also found in Tsuen Wan were banners and leaflets opposing the extradition bill and a T-shirt bearing the logo of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Front group.

He has not been named officially: He is apparently still being questioned and has not yet been charged: The Hong Kong National Front said in a post distributed on the Telegram app that the man was a member of the group, but that the group knew nothing of the explosives.

The BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonell, in Hong Kong, said the arrest would be interpreted by some as a sign that the democracy movement includes those turning to more violent means.

They were sparked by the proposed extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to China for trial: Critics said it would undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence and could be used to target those who spoke out against the Chinese government.

After weeks of regular mass protests the Hong Kong government suspended the bill, but this has not halted the demonstrations, which now reflect broader demands for democratic reform and concerns that Hong Kong’s freedoms are being eroded: Tens of thousands came out on to the streets last Sunday, leading to some violent clashes.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, is part of China but run under a “one country, two systems” arrangement that guarantees it a level of autonomy: It has its own judiciary, and a separate legal system, compared to mainland China.

Pro-Beijing protesters are also planning to gather this weekend to show their support for the Hong Kong government and the police force.

#AceNewsDesk reports ………………Published: July.20: 2019:

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(TEHRAN, Iran.) JUST IN: Iran has taken a British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero seized in the Strait of Ho rmuz on Friday night and taken to a nearby port, where the vessel and its crew will remain while an accident with a fishing boat it was involved in is investigated, Iran’s Fars news agency said on Saturday #A ceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.20: The Stena Impero was in collision with an Iranian fishing boat whose distress call it ignored, the agency quoted the head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour, as saying: With the seizure inflaming already fraught relations between Iran and the West, Britain’s foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he was worried that Tehran’s action had put it on a “dangerous path” ……Afifipour said the vessel had been taken under the guidance of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards to Bander Abbas port, situated on Iran’s southern coast and facing the strait.

GRAPHIC: Map of tanker’s route – tmsnrt.rs/2O646ZX

“All its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over,” he was quoted as saying: They comprised 18 Indians and five others of other nationalities, he said: Operator Stena Bulk said on Friday the tanker had been “in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations”, but was no longer under the crew’s control and could not be contacted. It had no further comment early on Saturday.

Hunt said on Saturday that Britain would ensure the safety of its shipping, and that there were signs that Iran “may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilizing behavior after Gibraltar’s legal detention of oil bound for Syria.” Hunt reiterated that the response to the Stena Impero’s seizure would be “considered but robust”. He had said on Friday that Britain was however “not looking at military options. We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation.”

The vessel had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would talk to Britain about Friday’s seizure, which drove oil prices up above $62 a barrel: The United States has blamed Iran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran rejects the allegations.

The Stena Impero was seized on Friday by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard: The tanker was surrounded by four vessels and a helicopter before heading into Iranian waters, Mr Hunt said.He described the seizures as “completely unacceptable” and said “freedom of navigation must be maintained”.”We are not looking at military options,” he added. “We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation.”Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the tanker was seized after it collided with a fishing boat and failed to respond to calls from the smaller craft: The vessel’s owners said it was fully complying with regulations and was in international waters when it was approached: It said there no reported injuries among the 23 crew members, who are Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino: A UK government spokeswoman told the BBC: “We have advised UK shipping to stay out of the area for an interim period.”

The latest developments come amid a deterioration in relations between Iran and the UK and US: Tensions between the US and Iran have risen sharply since April, when the US tightened sanctions it had reimposed on Iran after unilaterally withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal: The US blamed Iran for attacks on tankers in the world’s key shipping area since May. Tehran denies all the accusations: On Friday, the US claimed to have destroyed an Iranian drone in the Gulf: Unlike the US, the UK government remains committed to the landmark nuclear deal, which curbs Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions tensions: However, the UK infuriated Iran after its Royal Marines helped seize an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar earlier this month: On Friday, Gibraltar granted a 30-day extension to allow authorities to continue detaining the tanker, which was suspected of carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

In retaliation for the seizure of Grace 1, Iran threatened to seize a British oil tanker:

A White House National Security Council spokesman said the latest incident was the second time in just over a week the UK had been “the target of escalatory violence” by Iran: US President Donald Trump has responded to the developments by saying he would talk to the UK.

Map showing the two tankers' routes through the Strait of HormuzPresentational white space

And US Central Command said it was developing a multinational maritime effort in response to the situation: The US military said it wanted to promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Oman.

#AceNewsDesk reports ……………Published: July.20: 2019: BBC News & Reuters

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(NWS, Australia.) JUST IN: Latest: Son of NSW Police Chief Inspector Lucas Fowler was found dead on a Canadian highway alongside his American girlfriend on Monday in what police are treating as suspicious circumstances: A blue minivan with Alberta registration plates was at the scene, and authorities are looking to speak with anyone travelling the area between Sunday, July 14 at 4pm and Monday, July 15, at 8am, who may have dashcam footage #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.20: Lucas Fowler was found dead on the Alaska Highway on Monday alongside his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese: In a statement released on Friday night: We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend, in the most terrible of circumstances: To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating: “To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel. All our love and best wishes go to Chynna’s family and friends: “We are all now travelling to Canada to be with our boy and to bring him home: “Our deepest thanks for all your love and care: At this stage we can only move forward a minute at a time, and those minutes are moving so slowly.

“Please share this with all those who may have crossed paths anywhere in the world with these beautiful young people.”

Key points:

  • Lucas Fowler was travelling in Canada with his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese
  • Their bodies were found alongside a highway on Monday in what police say are suspicious circumstances
  • The Fowler family are now travelling to Canada to bring Lucas home

Two young people on a boat with caught fish.Photo: Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese had been travelling the world. (Supplied: NSW Police)

In a statement on Facebook, Ms Deese’s brother Kennedy Deese paid tribute to his sister and Mr Fowler: “It is with overwhelming sadness that I share my sister Chynna and her beloved boyfriend Lucas were recently found deceased, homicide victims along a remote stretch of Canada while on a road trip,” he said.

“They were bright and beautiful souls. We are all still in shock and heartbroken.”

According to Lucas Fowler’s Facebook, he was from Hornsby on Sydney’s upper north shore and went to Ku-ring-gai High School: The bodes were found by Northern Rockies officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at an area 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia, the largest natural hot springs in Canada.

A blue minivan with Alberta registration plates was at the scene, and authorities are looking to speak with anyone travelling the area between Sunday, July 14 at 4pm and Monday, July 15, at 8am, who may have dashcam footage: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is providing assistance to Mr Fowler’s family.

NSW Police said it had deployed two detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad to liaise with the family and Canadian authorities: “The man is the son of a serving officer and as such we are providing support to him and his family……………”Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“The investigation into this incident is being led by the Canadian authorities and as such, they will be the appropriate source of information as it comes to hand,” police said.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: July.19: 2019: at 11:43AM: ABCNews.Com/ By Sarah Thomas

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(THE HAGUE, Netherlands.) JUST IN: Latest: Supreme Court: Earlier ruling upheld on Friday that found the Dutch State Party liable for deaths in 1995 of 350-Bosnian Muslim men who were expelled from a U.N. Base and peacekeeping forces should have kept them safe #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.19: The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld on Friday an earlier ruling that found the Dutch state partly liable for the deaths in 1995 of 350 Bosnian Muslim men who were expelled from a U.N. base and executed at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces Reuters reported.

The court ruled that Dutch peacekeeping forces could have allowed the Muslim men to remain at the “safe haven” base and that, by handing them over, they had subjected them to possible abuse or death at the hands of the Bosnian Serb troops.

“Dutchbat (troops) acted unlawfully in the evacuation of 350 men,” the court found: “They took away the chance of the men to stay out of the hands of the Bosnian Serbs.”

#AceNewsDesk report …………….Reuters.Com/ Published: July.19: 2019: Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Catherine Evans

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(SYDNEY, Australia.) JUST IN: Latest: Writer and Political Commentator Yang Hengjun held in China for six-months and being investigated for endangering state security has been moved to a criminal detention centre ahead of the deadline to charge or release him #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.19: Sydney-based writer and political commentator Yang Hengjun is now in a criminal detention centre after being moved from a surveillance centre just ahead of the deadline for authorities to either charge or release him: The Federal Government has issued its strongest statement yet on the case of Australian citizen Yang Hengjun, declaring it is “deeply disappointed” the academic has been transferred to criminal detention in China.
Yang Hengjun wears red shorts, a dark t shirt and black blazer as he stands on a deck with trees and cloudy skies in background.Photo: Yang Hengjun has been detained for six months. (Twitter: Yang Hengjun)

Key points:

  • The deadline for authorities to either charge or release Yang Hengjun is approaching
  • If found guilty, he could be sentenced to three years in jail
  • Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister said the Government has expressed concern about his welfare and the conditions he is living in

Sydney-based writer and political commentator Yang Hengjun has been detained for six months in a residential surveillance centre in southern Beijing: He has now been moved from a state security prison, officially dubbed “residential surveillance at a designated location” to a criminal detention centre, just ahead of a deadline for authorities to either charge or release him.

Authorities said he was being investigated for endangering state security, but declined to comment on details of the case.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the Government had received formal notification from Chinese authorities that the 54-year-old had been moved on Friday: “The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Australian citizen and academic Dr Yang Hengjun has been transferred to criminal detention in China: The Government has expressed concern about Dr Yang’s welfare and the conditions under which he is held and we have asked for clarification regarding the reasons for Dr Yang’s detention,” she said: “If he is being detained for his political views, then he should be released.”

This week, China’s Foreign Ministry said Dr Yang was in good health and was being dealt with according to Chinese law: His case is being handled by the Beijing branch of China’s state security department.

His lawyer, Shang Baojun, told AM it could be weeks before Dr Yang was formally charged: “It’s not certain they’ll announce charges: “The criminal detention order he’s now under is still part of an ongoing National Security investigation: “After this detention is finished, which could be at least two weeks, then it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to charge him: If found guilty, Dr Yang could be sentenced to at least three years in prison.

Yang Hengjun once worked for China’s government, either within the Foreign Ministry or possibly for a branch of the State security ministry: He later moved to Australia, where he started writing online and became a voice critical of China’s government: But in more recent years, he has been seen as a moderate, even appearing at a state media function in Beijing.

The lack of answers on what he has alleged to have done has baffled friends and family: Even his lawyer, Shang Baojun, does not know: “Because he’s accused of ‘endangering national security’, it’s impossible for his family members to visit him: “His lawyers can apply to meet him, but that’s decided by the relevant authority.”

Dr Yang had been living with his family in New York, where he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University since 2017: In January this year, he flew to the Chinese city of Guangzhou with his wife and child: His family were allowed to board their connecting flight to Shanghai, but Dr Yang was escorted from the airport by authorities.

Later that month, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrest, saying Dr Yang was suspected of “engaging in criminal acts that endangered China’s national security” His wife, who was born in China but is an Australian permanent resident, has been prevented from leaving the country.

Earlier this month, Ms Yuan was detained and questioned by the Ministry of State Security for two hours after she tried to fly out of China.

#AceNewsDesk report ……………..Published: July 19, 2019 at 09:56AM: ABC.Net/ By political reporter Stephanie Dalzell and China correspondent Bill Birtles
about an hour ago: YouTube: Four Corners: China’s covert political influence campaign in Australia

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