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Khashoggi’s WhatsApp messages offer new clues and US, China declare pause in new tariffs

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French President Emmanuel Macron moves to end violent protests and G-20 ‘family’ picture sees fewest female leaders. 

Jamal Khashoggi’s private messages show sharp criticism for Saudi Crown Prince

In more than 400 WhatsApp messages that he sent to a fellow Saudi Arabia exile in the year before he was killed in Istanbul in October, slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi described Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a “beast” and a “pac-man” who would devour all in his path, even his supporters, reports CNN.

“The more victims he eats, the more he wants,” he said in one message sent in May, just after a group of Saudi activists had been rounded up.

“I will not be surprised if the oppression will reach even those who are cheering him on,” read the message.

The messages shared by Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz, which include voice recordings, photos and videos, depict Khashoggi as a man deeply troubled by his kingdom’s powerful young prince.

Abdulaziz Sunday filed a lawsuit against an Israeli company that invented the software he believes was used to hack his phone.

“The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say,” Abdelaziz told CNN.

“The guilt is killing me,” he added.

At G20 meet, US and China declare 90-day halt to new tariffs

China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs as both sides look to solve differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching an agreement within 90 days, reports Reuters.

A White House statement Saturday said US President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping at G20 that he would not boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent on 1 January as previously announced.

Both the countries would also launch fresh trade talks to address issues including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber theft and agriculture, the White House said.

The statement also said that if a deal isn’t reached within 90 days, both the sides agreed that the 10 per cent tariffs will be raised to 25 per cent.

Trump hailed his agreement with Xi saying, “It’s an incredible deal. What I’d be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs.”

Emmanuel Macron holds urgent meeting to control violent protests

French President Emmanuel Macron held an urgent security meeting Sunday following a day of protests by thousands of anti-government protesters, reports BBC.

The report says imposition of a state of emergency wasn’t discussed at the meeting.

The violent protests started more than two weeks ago. On Sunday, protests resulted in the death of three people, while over 100 people were injured in the city, including 23 members of the security forces, and nearly 400 people were arrested, said the police.

In a statement, Macron paid tribute to law enforcement and rescue teams who “showed unrelenting bravery throughout the day and evening”.

Speaking on France’s Europe 1 radio, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the government is thinking about steps to prevent serious outbursts of violence, including introducing a state of emergency.

The protesters are complaining at a sharp increase in diesel taxes.

Missing women at G20 meeting in Buenos Aires

The G20 summit in Argentina held Friday saw fewer female government heads of posing for the “family picture” than in any of the previous gatherings, reports CNN.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not arrive on time for the picture. However, even if she had been there, there would only have been two female nation leaders — Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May — and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. This was the lowest number since 2010.

The most leaders present was five, which happened in 2012 and 2013.

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