Briefing:- 26/8/17

Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 26th of August, 2017 :-

1. Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas :-

Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast late Friday, unleashing torrents of rain and packing powerful winds, the first major storm to hit the US mainland in 12 years.

The storm made landfall in the small town of Rockport — near Corpus Christi, a major US oil industry hub. It was packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour), a Category Four hurricane on the five-level storm scale.

A few hours later the storm made a second landfall just north of Rockport as a Category Three hurricane, with winds of 125 miles (205 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported at 0600 GMT Saturday.

President Donald Trump granted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s request to declare a “major disaster” zone in the state to speed federal aid to the millions in harm’s way.

The White House said that the president would head to the affected region early next week.

“We can obviously tell already at this stage this is going to be a very major disaster,” a somber Abbott said, as more than 1,000 National Guardsmen were activated to help with evacuation and recovery.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of likely “catastrophic flooding” due to the massive rainfall forecast and the huge storm surge, which could reach 13 feet (nearly four meters) in some places.

Meteorologists warned that tornadoes were possible through Saturday from Texas into Louisiana, which is also expected to take a major hit.

The powerful storm has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and crippled oil production in the Gulf.

Rockport Mayor Patrick Rios had blunt words for those determined to stay, telling them to “mark their arm with a Sharpie pen, put their social security number” — to identify them if they were found dead.

Before the storm hit, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepositioned emergency supplies and authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders in many areas.

As he headed to the Camp David presidential retreat for the weekend with his family, Trump said: “Good luck to everybody.”

2. Police arrest Buckingham Palace knife attacker :-

A man with a “large knife” who assaulted two police officers outside Buckingham Palace on Friday night has been arrested, British police said.

The officers suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment. The man, who is in his mid-twenties according to the police, was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assault on police near Queen Elizabeth’s London residence.

No members of the royal family were present in the palace at the time. A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said she was unable to comment at this stage on the motivation for the incident.

Britain has been hit this year by four militant attacks in which 36 people were killed, and the country’s threat level is at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

A Reuters witness near the scene said police had cordoned off a large area for security, including The Mall, a wide avenue leading up to the palace. Footage on Sky News showed emergency vehicles lining the street outside the palace.

“The man was stopped this evening, Friday 25 August at approximately 20:35 hours (1935 GMT) by officers at the Mall outside Buckingham Palace in possession of (a) knife,” the police said in a statement.

“During the course of detaining him, two male police officers suffered minor injuries to their arm.”

The suspect was taken to a London hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the police statement added. There were no other reported injuries.

The police said the suspect will be questioned by detectives and that it is too early to speculate further.

3. Kabul: Suicide blast in mosque, at least 14 people killed :-

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Kabul.

Kabul police spokesman Abdul Basir Mujahid told AFP a suicide bomber “detonated himself inside the mosque”. The interior ministry confirmed a “terrorist attack” had taken place.

At least 14 civilians have been killed, Afghanistan’s interior ministry said.

Police officials told Reuters a suicide bomber detonated himself at the gate.

Witnesses reported a blast followed by gunfire, according to a Kabul police official, Reuters reported.

The area has been cordoned off by the police.

4. Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan: PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi :-

Reacting to President Trump’s Afganistan strategy, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said today his country would like to “see effective and immediate US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring terrorists on Afghan soil”.

This is the first time the Pakistan Prime Minister has reacted after US President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that his administration could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe haven”.

“We would like to see effective and immediate US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring terrorists and miscreants on Afghan soil, including those responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement.

“The Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan,” the Prime Minister’s office added.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry had earlier said it wanted “peace and stability in Afganistan”. The ministry said Pakistan continued to desire to work with the International Community to “eliminate the menace of terrorism”.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif had said that the US should not use Pakistan as a “scapegoat” for its failures in America’s long war in Afghanistan.

After Trump’s new Afganistan policy, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to rule out the use of military action, involving air strikes, on terror groups in Pakistan. He also indicated cutting off Pakistan’s status as a privileged military ally if Islamabad doesn’t crack down on the Taliban and other extremist groups.

5. Air strikes on terror groups in Pakistan on table: U.S. Secretary of State :-

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has refused to rule out the use of military action, involving air strikes, on terror groups in Pakistan and cutting off its status as a privileged military ally if Islamabad doesn’t crack down on the Taliban and other extremist groups.

“We are going to attack terrorists wherever they live, and we have put people on notice that if you are harboring or providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned, be forewarned,” Washington Examiner quoted Tillerson as saying.

“All those things… are on the table for discussion, if, in fact, they are unwilling to change their posture or change their approach to how they’re dealing with the numerous terrorist organisations that find safe haven in Pakistan,” he added.

“Pakistan must adopt a different approach, and we are ready to work with them to help them protect themselves against these terrorist organisations. We are going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area.”

“We have some leverage in terms of aid, their status as a non-NATO alliance partner — all of that can be put on the table,” he further said.

Reinforcing US President Donald Trump’s warning issued to Pakistan over its alleged support to extremist groups in the region, the US Secretary of State said, “There’s been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organisations being given safe haven inside of Pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against US servicemen, US officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, US National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Michael Anton has warned that President Donald Trump is planning to impose sanctions on terrorists including the Haqqani network having links to the Pakistan Governemnt and has outrightly dismissed its allegations against India’s encirclement through Afghanistan.

While announcing US policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, President Trump has vowed to win the war in Afghanistan by committing more US troops as he called on Nato allies such as Britain to increase troop numbers “in line with our own”.

“We will ask our Nato allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line without own – we are confident they will,” Trump said.




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