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Taliban rejects Afghan ceasefire, and Mexico football fans trigger a quake

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Taliban rejects a ceasefire extension and Chinese tariff policies could hurt USA’s economy. 

Afghanistan extends Ramzan ceasefire, Taliban rejects it

“Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Saturday ordered the extension of a first-time ceasefire with Taliban insurgents, offered to provide medical treatment to injured Taliban fighters, and announced that 46 prisoners of the terrorist group had been released Friday as a sign of official goodwill,” Washington Post reported.

In a solemn speech from his palace, the President said that Afganistan was ready for comprehensive peace talks with the Taliban over various demands and issues. In a tweet Saturday, he said Afghan officials and members of the Taliban had offered Eid prayers together, which was a positive sign towards negotiations.

However, the Taliban has reportedly rejected the extension. “After two days of rising hopes across the country, Taliban leaders on Sunday brusquely rejected the government’s proposal to extend a three-day ceasefire and said they were ordering all insurgent fighters to resume operations against ‘the foreign invaders and their internal supporters’,” the paper reported.

Spain takes in migrants Italy rejects

About 630 migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle-East, arrived in Spain Sunday, a week after they were not allowed to enter Italy.

The migrants, whose experience has once again brought Europe’s differences over managing refugees to light, descended from the rescue ship Aquarius, which was accompanied by two Italian Navy vessels.

“The landing in Spain opens a new chapter in a saga that began last Sunday, when Italy’s new populist government followed through on anti-immigration campaign promises by refusing to let the Aquarius dock at an Italian port,” reports The New York Times.

Spain, which has let the refugees land in the country on humanitarian grounds, will review the cases of all the migrants and decide on giving them asylum. Those rejected will be deported.

Mexico football fans trigger quake after victory over Germany

Mexico beat World Cup defenders Germany by 1-0 Sunday, after Hirving Lozano scored a goal in the first half of the game.

In another surprise, an artificial earthquake was created as Mexicans reportedly jumped together to celebrate the goal. “The Mexico’s seismic monitoring network, Simmsa, said the vibrations were picked up by at least two sensors when Lozano scored,” ABC News reported.

Earthquake app Sismologia Chile said on Facebook that the coordinated shaking might have created tremors, the news agency reported.

For many, the victory gave Mexicans something to celebrate in a tensed period of increasingly toxic political campaigns. The country goes to elections on 1 July at the local, state and federal levels including the presidency for more than 3400 posts, the New York Times reported.

Thailand’s king formally inherits his family’s $30 billion wealth

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has formally inherited his family’s extensive wealth, worth about $30 billion. The assets will now be managed as part of his personal wealth.

Vajriralongkorn, who became king after his father died in 2016, had already assumed control of the Crown Property Bureau, which controls the royal family’s wealth. The king has made a conscious effort to manage his wealth through newly appointed officials, replacing trusted aides of his father.

“The Crown Property Bureau’s most notable assets are real estate in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, the Siam Commercial Bank and the Siam Cement Group, a major building materials conglomerate,” The Guardian reported.

China’s new tariffs may hurt US hard

China Friday said it would levy the first round of tariffs on $34 billion worth of US agriculture products, as well as cars, starting 6 July, while another $16 billion in goods, including coal and oil, will be subject to tariffs later, reported the South China Morning Post.

Beijing’s announcement came less than 12 hours after the US released its list of Chinese products, totalling $50 billion, subject to tariffs. “The escalating dispute sent the prices of everything from soybeans to copper lower and hit the shares of US coal producers while boosting the prospects for alternative suppliers like Brazil,” the paper added.

China has been imposing tariffs in response to US tariffs on Chinese products.

Chinese decision to impose tariffs on major items like coal, crude oil, natural gas as well as cars and whiskey strikes the US at crucial points where Beijing’s demand used to drive the American economy.

China’s fresh bid for ‘international prestige’

China has developed a ‘Greater Bay Area’ scheme that will link seven of its cities with Hong Kong and Macau to develop a “world renowned innovation, economic and information hub”.

“It is meant to be an engine for China’s future economic growth with fairly free flows of cargo, people and even information, overcoming infrastructure bottlenecks and administrative silos,” reports South China Morning Post.

In total the cities had a collective GDP of $1.56 trillion last year and a population of 68 million. The plan is to integrate them to compete on an international level with other bay areas such as Tokyo and San Francisco.

“Their combined container throughput topped the world at about 4.5 times that of the New York Bay, San Francisco Bay and Tokyo Bay combined. The area is expected to see a threefold increase in GDP by 2030, reaching some $4.6 trillion to take the top spot among all bay areas in the world,” the paper reported.

Trump is separating families as part of his immigration policy

US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy separates children from their parents if they are found to be illegally crossing into the country. Such parents often face criminal prosecution and separation from their minor children who end up in makeshift shelters.

But the policy has invited a lot of criticism from all sides of the spectrum, with Trump himself trying to blame Democrats for it.

However, it was John F. Kelly, the homeland security secretary in 2017, who had said that the policy is instrumental to deter illegal immigrants and continues to strongly advocate it.

“It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law,” Kelly reportedly said in a recent interview.

But critics of the policy have called it a ‘zero humanity policy’ and argued that deterrence is not a long-term solution, reports The New York Times.

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