From Around the World

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - WORLD -

➊ No talks: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei said Fri­day that his coun­try will not ne­go­ti­ate with the United States be­cause Amer­ica would only use talks for pro­pa­ganda pur­poses. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has said that it is will­ing to talk with Iran “with no pre­con­di­tions,” but that the U.S. will con­tinue its cam­paign of pres­sure against the Is­lamic Repub­lic. In a tele­vised speech mark­ing the Eid al­Adha hol­i­day, Khamenei said Pres­i­dent Trump would ben­e­fit from talks, say­ing Trump wants to “use ne­go­ti­a­tions with us for pro­pa­ganda like ne­go­ti­a­tions with North Korea.” Khamenei was re­fer­ring to talks be­tween Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

➋ Bor­der vi­o­lence: Pak­istan fired a bar­rage of rock­ets across its south­west­ern bor­der, killing nine peo­ple and wound­ing 50 in an Afghan fron­tier town, Afghan of­fi­cials said Fri­day. Pak­istan said Afghan bor­der guards fired first and blamed them for the pre­vi­ous night’s ex­change. The shoot­ing that led to the ca­su­al­ties in the town of Spin­boldak was the lat­est cross­bor­der ex­change be­tween the two coun­tries.

➌ Jailed Amer­i­cans: Two Amer­i­can oil ex­ec­u­tives jailed in Venezuela have been re­leased and granted house ar­rest, for­mer New Mex­ico Gov. Bill Richard­son said this week. Richard­son re­cently vis­ited Cara­cas on a hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sion and met with Pres­i­dent Ni­colás Maduro to press for their re­lease. The two are among six Citgo ex­ec­u­tives de­tained more than two years ago while on a busi­ness trip to Cara­cas. The two men re­leased to house ar­rest are Gus­tavo Car­de­nas and Jorge Toledo, the gov­er­nor said. Venezue­lan author­i­ties ac­cuse the men of cor­rup­tion stem­ming from an al­leged plan to re­fi­nance some $4 bil­lion in Citgo bonds by of­fer­ing a 50% stake in the com­pany as col­lat­eral. Prose­cu­tors ac­cuse the men of ma­neu­ver­ing to per­son­ally ben­e­fit from the pro­posed deal. All of the six men had been re­leased to house ar­rest late last year be­fore be­ing taken back into cus­tody two months later. Richard­son heads a cen­ter that works to free jailed U.S. cit­i­zens around the world.

➍ U.S. with­drawal: Ger­man De­fense Min­is­ter An­negret Kramp­Kar­ren­bauer de­scribes the planned with­drawal of some 12,000 U.S. troops from her coun­try as “re­gret­table,” while sug­gest­ing it un­der­lines the need for Europe to do more for its own se­cu­rity. Amer­i­can de­fense lead­ers said this week that the U.S. will bring about 6,400 troops home and shift about 5,600 to other coun­tries in Europe. The de­ci­sion ful­fills Pres­i­dent Trump’s an­nounced de­sire to with­draw troops from Ger­many, largely be­cause of what he con­sid­ers its fail­ure to spend enough on de­fense. The plan would leave about 24,000 U.S. troops in Ger­many. Ger­many’s re­ac­tion so far has been re­strained. Rolf Muet­zenich, a se­nior fig­ure in the gov­ern­ing coali­tion, sug­gested that “ar­ma­ments co­op­er­a­tions will have to be eval­u­ated in a new light.”

➎ Tainted al­co­hol: In­dian po­lice said Fri­day that at least 21 peo­ple have died in a north­ern state over the past three days af­ter drink­ing tainted al­co­hol. The po­lice chief for Pun­jab state, Dinkar Gupta, said the first five deaths were re­ported this week in two vil­lages in Am­rit­sar dis­trict. Over the past two days, an­other 16 deaths were re­ported in Am­rit­sar as well as two other dis­tricts, he said. A state gov­ern­ment state­ment said the deaths were due to “spu­ri­ous” liquor and a crack­down on il­le­gal al­co­hol man­u­fac­tur­ing in the state was or­dered. Deaths from il­le­gally brewed al­co­hol are com­mon in In­dia, where the poor can­not af­ford li­censed brands from gov­ern­ment­run shops. Il­licit liquor is cheap and of­ten spiked with methanol to in­crease po­tency.

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