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President Trump has hinted at a potential military response to the drone strikes on oil infrastructure

Tough talk: U.S. President Donald Trump. AFPNICHOLAS KAMM

President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that blamed on Iran, which have sent oil prices soaring.

It is the first time the President has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the U.S. to announce they may tap their strategic reserves.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Mr. Trump said in a tweet late on Sunday.

On Monday, claiming that Iran told “a very big lie” in June when it said it downed a U.S. spy drone because it had violated its airspace, he tweeted: “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

The Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday’s strikes on two plants owned by energy giant Aramco.

But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger squarely at Tehran.

“The U.S. will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” he said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the attacks on Saudi oil facilities were an act of self-defence by Yemeni rebels.

It’s a response: Rouhani

“Yemen is the target of daily bombings... The people of Yemen have been forced to respond, they are only defending themselves,” Mr. Rouhani told reporters in Ankara, alongside the leaders of Russia and Turkey.

Baghdad, caught between its two main allies — Tehran and Washington — denied any link to the attacks amid speculation that the drones were launched from Iraq.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the kingdom is “willing and able” to respond to this “terrorist aggression.”

UN mission urges UNSC to refer the country to International Criminal Court

Living in terror: A Rohingya woman, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, with her children in a camp. APDar Yasin

Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar still face a “serious risk of genocide”, UN investigators said on Monday, warning the repatriation of a million already driven from the country by the army remains “impossible”.

The fact-finding mission to Myanmar, set up by the Human Rights Council, last year branded the army operations in 2017 as “genocide” and called for the prosecution of top generals, including army chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Some 7,40,000 Rohingya fled burning villages, bringing accounts of murder, rape and torture over the border to sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh, where survivors of previous waves of persecution already languished.

But in a damning report, the United Nations team said the 600,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar’s Rakhine State remain in deteriorating and “deplorable” conditions.

“Myanmar continues to harbour genocidal intent and the Rohingya remain under serious risk of genocide,” the investigators said in their final report on Myanmar, due to be presented on Tuesday in Geneva.

The country is “denying wrongdoing, destroying evidence, refusing to conduct effective investigations and clearing, razing, confiscating and building on land from which it displaced Rohingya”, it said.

Rohingya were living in “inhumane” conditions, the report continued, adding more than 40,000 structures had been destroyed in the 2017 crackdown.

The mission reiterated calls for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or to set up a tribunal, like for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Confidential list

It said it had a confidential list of more than 100 names, including officials, suspected of being involved in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in addition to the six generals named publicly last year.

The maligned Muslim community has long been subjected to tight movement restrictions, making it difficult or impossible to access healthcare, work and education.

U.K. yet to offer any ‘legally operational’ solution on border issue

Jean-Claude Juncker, left, with Boris Johnson. AFPFRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held their first face-to-face talks on Monday, without any visible signs of a breakthrough on an elusive Brexit deal.

The European Commission (EC) said after the meeting that Britain had yet to offer any “legally operational” solutions to the issue of the Irish border, the main roadblock to a deal.

“President Juncker underlined the Commission’s continued willingness and openness to examine whether such proposals meet the objectives of the backstop“a border provision rejected by Britain. “Such proposals have not yet been made,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Mr. Johnson said the U.K. will leave the EU on the scheduled October 31 date, with or without a withdrawal agreement. But he insists he can strike a revised divorce deal with the bloc in time for an orderly departure. The agreement made by his predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by Parliament.

Mr. Johnson said in a Daily Telegraph column on Monday that he believes “passionately” that a deal can be agreed and approved at a summit of EU leaders on October 17-18.

While the EU says it is still waiting for firm proposals from the U.K., Mr. Johnson spokesman James Slack said Britain had “put forward workable solutions in a number of areas.”

The Solomon Islands’ government has cut official ties with Taiwan in a new blow to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China.

Taiwan now has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters in Taipei late on Monday that it would immediately close down its embassy in the Solomon Islands.

Mr. Wu said China was aiming to meddle with Taiwan’s elections in January with “dollar diplomacy”.

“The Chinese government attacked Taiwan purposely before our elections, obviously aiming to meddle with the voting,” he said.

Solomon Islands is the sixth country Taiwan will lose as a diplomatic ally since Tsai came to office in 2016 — following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador.

The move came after the Solomon Islands’ months-long review of the pros and cons of a switch to Beijing, which was offering $8.5 million in development fund.

He faces espionage charges in the U.S.

Edward SnowdenUncredited

Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor living in Russia after leaking information about the U.S. government’s mass surveillance programme, has said he would like to return home if he can get a fair trial.

Mr. Snowden, who faces espionage charges, stated his desire to return to the U.S. in an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Monday. “I would like to return to the U.S.,” said Mr. Snowden, whose memoir, Permanent Record, is to go on sale on Tuesday.

“But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial,” he said. “And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defense,” he said.

When one commits wrong actions against the virtuous and holy beings, knowingly or unknowingly, it is known as Sadhu Apachara. This is the main cause of human misery, says the Bhagavata purana and many narratives illustrate the consequences arising from this lapse and also show how to atone for such sins. The righteous Parikshit commits a sin and he undergoes prayaschitta for this by listening to Suka’s narration of the Bhagavata Purana. The tendency to commit wrongs is inbuilt in human nature as all beings are held under the spell of Maya. Maya includes karma, habits, tendencies and actions. These prevent one from nearing God, and realising his own atma swaroopa. It is by working out one’s karma according to the law of one’s nature that one can hope to overcome this spell and proceed towards enlightenment, pointed out Swami Paramasukananda in a discourse. The world is so complex and wonderful and each being is endowed with faculties and senses with which an individual is constantly interacting. Every human birth is occasioned by karma; and it is karma that can help one to nullify its effects. Both good and bad are very much part of life. Just as snake venom extract is used to purge the effect of snake bite, karma becomes the effective path to overcome samsara. This happens when karma is converted into karma yoga. What is the gain one should expect from one’s actions in life? With single pointedness one has to dedicate every moment of one’s life for God’s sake and try to avoid being self-centered and worldly minded. This is the way to attain the long term end which is salvation. The Pandavas always had Krishna as their friend and guide. Andal calls upon people to dedicate everything only for God’s sake. One may be a grihasta or a recluse. But the focus has to be God at all times.

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