Daily News Roundup

June 3, 2019

MONDAY JUNE 3

Donald Trump is up to his old tricks of dumping on someone in an interview only to deny it when he is challenged.

Only this time he picked the wrong subject of his attack – Meghan the Duchess of Sussex – and the interviewer had an audio recording of the offending words.

The US President said a newspaper report that he called Meghan “nasty” was “fake news” and demanded an apology from media outlets.

The audio recording published by The Sun newspaper revealed Mr Trump said “she was nasty”

The president was discussing Meghan in a recent interview with Britain’s The Sun newspaper in the run-up to his state visit to the UK on Monday.

“I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty.’ Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!” Mr Trump tweeted.

Mr Trump, in fact, did use the word “nasty” to describe Meghan when asked about her comments about him during the 2016 campaign.

In audio of the interview posted on the newspaper’s website, Mr Trump discusses the upcoming state visit, his second meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and the Trump family members who are tagging along on the trip.

The reporter then asks about Meghan, who isn’t joining other royals to meet Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, due to the recent birth of her first child, Archie, in May.

Asked if he was sorry to miss out on meeting the American-born Meghan and told that she “wasn’t so nice about you” during the campaign, Mr Trump said: “I didn’t know that. No, I hope she’s OK. I did not know that.”

When told that Meghan once said she might move to Canada if Mr Trump was elected, Mr Trump responded: “No, I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

Meghan Markle supported Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, in 2016, calling Mr Trump “divisive” and “misogynistic”.

The former actor also said she might move to Canada.

She married Prince Harry in 2018 and moved to Britain.

In the Sun interview, Trump also spoke positively about Meghan when asked whether it was good for an American to be a member of the British royal family.

“I think it’s nice. I’m sure she will do excellently. She’ll be very good,” Mr Trump said.

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Tourists and dock workers had to run to safety when a giant cruise ship lost control while docking in Venice, smashing into a wharf and hitting a small tourist boat injuring four women, including at least one Australian, according to media reports.

The collision occurred about 8:30am Sunday (local time) on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to Saint Mark’s Square.

In vision posted to social media, the vessel — the MSC Opera — is seen ploughing into the dockside at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal before hitting the moored River Countess boat, which had 110 people onboard.

MSC Cruises said the 2679-passenger Opera, a 54-metre high and 275-metre long liner was approaching a passenger terminal on the Giudecca canal when it suffered a technical problem.

Footage of the incident showed passengers who had been waiting at a wharf in San Basilio-Zattere fleeing for safety as the huge ship, its horns blaring, crashed into the wharf and tourist boat.

Local media said the four injured were female tourists from the Australia, New Zealand and the United States, aged between 67 and 72.

The accident rekindled a heated row in Italy over the risks to the fragile ecosystem and monuments of Venice posed by cruise ships that routinely sail very close to the shore.

The safety of big ships in European cities has been highlighted by the crash last week of a cruise liner with a pleasure boat on the Danube in Budapest. Twenty-eight people were presumed killed, nearly all South Korean tourists.

Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said on Twitter the Venice incident was proof that big ships should not travel on the Giudecca, a major thoroughfare that leads to St Mark’s Square.

“After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a definitive solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism,” he said.

Ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes were banned from the Giudecca canal in 2013, while the number of smaller ships using the waterway was limited to five a day, but that legislation was overturned at the end of 2015.

The Italian government decided in 2017 that the largest ships weighing more than 100,000 tonnes would have to take a less glamorous route to the industrial port of Marghera, far from the Giudecca and Grand canals.

However, those plans were expected to take four years to come into force.

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A top Chinese general has warned China will “fight to the end” to protect its interests.

As China and the US again clashed on trade and security, accusing each other of destabilising Asia and potentially the world, China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe warned the US not to meddle in security disputes over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

General Wei was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s premier defence summit,

But Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the US would no longer “tiptoe” around Chinese behaviour in Asia.

“Perhaps the greatest long-term threat to the vital interests of states across this region comes from actors who seek to undermine, rather than uphold, the rules-based international order,” Mr Shanahan said.

It was the latest heated exchange between the two sides as their ties come under increasing strain due to a bitter trade war, US support for Taiwan and China’s muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the US also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

China has been particularly incensed by recent moves by President Donald Trump’s administration to increase support for self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, including US Navy sailings through the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from China.

In an address attended by Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, General Wei, dressed in his People’s Liberation Army uniform, said China would “fight to the end” if anyone tried to interfere in its relationship with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a sacred territory to be taken by force if necessary.

“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs … the US is indivisible, and so is China. China must be, and will be, reunified.”

He however said both sides realised that any war between the two “would bring disaster to both countries and the world”.

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