Croatian Border Police Fire at Van of Illegal Migrants; 9 Hurt

Nine people were hurt, including two children, when Croatian border police fired at a van full of illegal migrants that refused to stop.

Police said they discovered 29 people inside the van after it crossed the border from Bosnia.

The driver fled into the woods, and police were searching for him. 

The two wounded children were recovering in a hospital, and officials said their lives were not in danger.

“We are sorry about the children being injured in this incident,” Zadar town police chief Anton Drazina said. “Our priority is the fight against organized crime and protection of the state border and not against the migrants, but against the criminals who are unfortunately endangering the lives of the migrants by their smuggling activities.”

Police said most of the people in the van were from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants used the so-called Balkan route to cross into the European Union before the route was shut down. But a number of people still slip through.

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Croatian Border Police Fire at Van of Illegal Migrants; 9 Hurt

Nine people were hurt, including two children, when Croatian border police fired at a van full of illegal migrants that refused to stop.

Police said they discovered 29 people inside the van after it crossed the border from Bosnia.

The driver fled into the woods, and police were searching for him. 

The two wounded children were recovering in a hospital, and officials said their lives were not in danger.

“We are sorry about the children being injured in this incident,” Zadar town police chief Anton Drazina said. “Our priority is the fight against organized crime and protection of the state border and not against the migrants, but against the criminals who are unfortunately endangering the lives of the migrants by their smuggling activities.”

Police said most of the people in the van were from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants used the so-called Balkan route to cross into the European Union before the route was shut down. But a number of people still slip through.

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UN Threatens South Sudan With Sanctions   

The U.N. Security Council is giving South Sudan one month to stop fighting and sign a peace deal or face an arms embargo and sanctions.

The council passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution Thursday with the minimum nine votes needed for approval. Six members abstained.

The resolution calls on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report back to the council on June 30. 

If there is still fighting and no “viable political agreement,” the council will consider an arms embargo and sanctions against six top South Sudanese officials.

Ethnic fighting has raged in South Sudan since 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing his former vice president, Riek Machar.

Tens of thousands have been killed and more than a million civilians have fled their homes.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has called Kiir an “unfit partner” for peace.

The relief group Doctors Without Borders reported Thursday on what it says is an increase in attacks on civilians in Leer and Mayendit counties over the past month. They include gang rapes, mass murders and villages looted.

The group says people are fleeing for their lives into the brush and swamps without food, clean water, proper shelter or medical care. 

Doctors Without Borders says all sides must stop violence against civilians.

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UN Threatens South Sudan With Sanctions   

The U.N. Security Council is giving South Sudan one month to stop fighting and sign a peace deal or face an arms embargo and sanctions.

The council passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution Thursday with the minimum nine votes needed for approval. Six members abstained.

The resolution calls on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report back to the council on June 30. 

If there is still fighting and no “viable political agreement,” the council will consider an arms embargo and sanctions against six top South Sudanese officials.

Ethnic fighting has raged in South Sudan since 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing his former vice president, Riek Machar.

Tens of thousands have been killed and more than a million civilians have fled their homes.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has called Kiir an “unfit partner” for peace.

The relief group Doctors Without Borders reported Thursday on what it says is an increase in attacks on civilians in Leer and Mayendit counties over the past month. They include gang rapes, mass murders and villages looted.

The group says people are fleeing for their lives into the brush and swamps without food, clean water, proper shelter or medical care. 

Doctors Without Borders says all sides must stop violence against civilians.

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Pope Vows ‘Never Again’ to Sex Abuse in Chile, Reopens Probe

Pope Francis on Thursday promised Chilean Catholics scarred by a culture of clergy sexual abuse that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country, where a widespread scandal has devastated its credibility.

The pope issued the comments in a letter to all Chilean Catholics as the Vatican announced that Francis was sending his two top sexual abuse investigators back to the country to gather more information about the crisis there.

The Vatican’s most experienced sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, and Father Jordi Bertomeu, a Spaniard, had visited Chile earlier this year.

In the letter released by Chilean bishops, Francis also praised the victims of sexual abuse in the country for persevering in bringing the truth to light despite attempts by Church officials to discredit them.

“The ‘never again’ to a culture of abuse, and the system of cover-up that allowed it to perpetuate, calls on all of us to work towards a culture of carefulness in our relationships,” he said in the eight-page letter.

He described the Chilean scandal as a “painful open wound.” Hours before the letter was released in Chile, the Vatican said Scicluna and Bertomeu would concentrate on the diocese of Osorno in southern Chile, seat of a bishop who has been most caught up in the scandal.

A Vatican statement said the purpose of the trip, due to start in the next few days, was to “move forward in the process of reparation, and healing for victims of abuse.”

The two prepared a 2,300-page report for the pope after speaking to victims, witnesses and other Church members earlier this year.

On May 18, all of Chile’s 34 bishops offered to resign en masse after attending a crisis meeting with the pope in the Vatican about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the south American nation.

Francis has not yet said which resignations he will accept, if any. In his letter, the pope said the renewal of the Church hierarchy on its own would not bring the transformation needed in Chile, calling for unity in a time of crisis and a deepening of faith.

The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.

Victims accused Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros, who was one of those who offered to stand down, has denied the allegations.

During a visit to Chile in January, Francis staunchly defended Barros, denouncing accusations against him as “slander.”

But days after returning to Rome, the pope, citing new information, dispatched Scicluna and Bertomeu to Chile. Some of their findings were included in a damning 10-page document that was presented to the bishops when they came to Rome.

In April, the pope hosted three non-clerical victims who said they were abused by Karadima, and this weekend he will be meeting with priests who said they were abused by Karadima when they were young.

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Pope Vows ‘Never Again’ to Sex Abuse in Chile, Reopens Probe

Pope Francis on Thursday promised Chilean Catholics scarred by a culture of clergy sexual abuse that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country, where a widespread scandal has devastated its credibility.

The pope issued the comments in a letter to all Chilean Catholics as the Vatican announced that Francis was sending his two top sexual abuse investigators back to the country to gather more information about the crisis there.

The Vatican’s most experienced sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, and Father Jordi Bertomeu, a Spaniard, had visited Chile earlier this year.

In the letter released by Chilean bishops, Francis also praised the victims of sexual abuse in the country for persevering in bringing the truth to light despite attempts by Church officials to discredit them.

“The ‘never again’ to a culture of abuse, and the system of cover-up that allowed it to perpetuate, calls on all of us to work towards a culture of carefulness in our relationships,” he said in the eight-page letter.

He described the Chilean scandal as a “painful open wound.” Hours before the letter was released in Chile, the Vatican said Scicluna and Bertomeu would concentrate on the diocese of Osorno in southern Chile, seat of a bishop who has been most caught up in the scandal.

A Vatican statement said the purpose of the trip, due to start in the next few days, was to “move forward in the process of reparation, and healing for victims of abuse.”

The two prepared a 2,300-page report for the pope after speaking to victims, witnesses and other Church members earlier this year.

On May 18, all of Chile’s 34 bishops offered to resign en masse after attending a crisis meeting with the pope in the Vatican about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the south American nation.

Francis has not yet said which resignations he will accept, if any. In his letter, the pope said the renewal of the Church hierarchy on its own would not bring the transformation needed in Chile, calling for unity in a time of crisis and a deepening of faith.

The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.

Victims accused Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros, who was one of those who offered to stand down, has denied the allegations.

During a visit to Chile in January, Francis staunchly defended Barros, denouncing accusations against him as “slander.”

But days after returning to Rome, the pope, citing new information, dispatched Scicluna and Bertomeu to Chile. Some of their findings were included in a damning 10-page document that was presented to the bishops when they came to Rome.

In April, the pope hosted three non-clerical victims who said they were abused by Karadima, and this weekend he will be meeting with priests who said they were abused by Karadima when they were young.

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Europe Responds Swiftly to US Tariffs, Threatens Retaliation

Reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from American trading partners — including the European Union — came fast and furious, with threats of retaliation and warnings they risk sparking a trans-Atlantic trade war.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the European bloc would respond by imposing penalties of its own on American exports.

“Today is a bad day for world trade,” said Cecilia Malmström, the European trade commissioner. EU officials previously informed the World Trade Organization of the bloc’s plan to levy duties on $7.2 billion worth of U.S. exports if the Trump administration proceeded with threats to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

Canadian and Mexican officials also threatened retaliatory responses but have as yet not indicated which U.S. products they will target. Both countries had hoped that the White House would continue to exempt them from the tariffs. 

National security cited

Europe, along with Canada and Mexico, had been granted a temporary reprieve from the U.S. tariffs after they were unveiled in March by Trump, who said the levies were needed to stem the flood of cheap steel and aluminum into the U.S. and that to impose them was a national security priority.

In Europe, there was disappointment, but less surprise. 

Juncker called the U.S. action “unjustified” and said Europeans had no alternative but to respond with tariffs of their own and to lodge a case against Washington with the World Trade Organization in Geneva. “We will defend the union’s interests, in full compliance with international trade law,” he said.

The EU had already publicly announced that in the event tariffs did go ahead, it would impose levies on Levi-made jeans, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey.

British officials appeared the most alarmed. The government of Theresa May had pinned post-Brexit hopes on securing a trade deal with the U.S., and the imposition of tariffs on steel is adding to fears that negotiating a quick trade liberalization agreement with Trump looks increasingly unlikely.

“We are deeply disappointed that the U.S. has decided to apply tariffs to steel and aluminum imports from the EU on national security grounds,” a government spokesman said. “The U.K. and other European Union countries are close allies of the U.S. and should be permanently and fully exempted.”

Discussion at summit

He said the British prime minister planned to raise the tariffs with the U.S. president personally in Canada at a scheduled G-7 summit of the seven largest advanced economies. That summit is likely to be a frosty affair, much like last year’s in Taormina, Sicily. 

With a week to go before the June 7-8 summit, there’s still no final agreement on the agenda, British and Italian officials said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earmarked climate change, women’s rights and economic growth as key issues, but there has been pushback from Washington. Thursday’s tariff announcement by the White House will further complicate agreeing on a G-7 agenda.

German reaction to the announcement of the tariffs was among the fiercest. Chancellor Angela Merkel dubbed them “illegal.” Manfred Weber, a key ally of the German chancellor and leader of the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, accused the Trump administration of treating American allies as enemies.

“If President Trump decides to treat Europe as an enemy, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, European jobs, European interests,” he said. “Europe does not want a trade conflict. We believe in a fair trade regime from which everybody benefits.” 

Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary, who’s in Europe and has been pressing the EU to make concessions to avert the tariffs, dismissed threats of a trade war, saying retaliation would have no impact on the U.S. economy. He held out hope that the tariffs could be eliminated, saying, “There’s potential flexibility going forward. The fact that we took a tariff action does not mean there cannot be a negotiation.” 

Business leaders cautious

Some European business leaders have urged their national leaders to be restrained in response, fearing a tit-for-tat spiral could be triggered quickly. Britain’s Confederation of British Industry warned against overreaction, saying no one would win on either side of the Atlantic if a major trade war erupted.

The director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said he feared there was clear potential for a damaging trade war.

“Since President Trump stated his plans to impose blanket tariffs on steel imports almost three months ago, the U.K. steel sector had hoped for the best, but still feared the worst. With the expiration of the EU exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow [June 1], unfortunately, our pessimism was justified, and we will now see damage not only to the U.K. steel sector but also the U.S. economy.” 

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Europe Responds Swiftly to US Tariffs, Threatens Retaliation

Reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from American trading partners — including the European Union — came fast and furious, with threats of retaliation and warnings they risk sparking a trans-Atlantic trade war.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the European bloc would respond by imposing penalties of its own on American exports.

“Today is a bad day for world trade,” said Cecilia Malmström, the European trade commissioner. EU officials previously informed the World Trade Organization of the bloc’s plan to levy duties on $7.2 billion worth of U.S. exports if the Trump administration proceeded with threats to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

Canadian and Mexican officials also threatened retaliatory responses but have as yet not indicated which U.S. products they will target. Both countries had hoped that the White House would continue to exempt them from the tariffs. 

National security cited

Europe, along with Canada and Mexico, had been granted a temporary reprieve from the U.S. tariffs after they were unveiled in March by Trump, who said the levies were needed to stem the flood of cheap steel and aluminum into the U.S. and that to impose them was a national security priority.

In Europe, there was disappointment, but less surprise. 

Juncker called the U.S. action “unjustified” and said Europeans had no alternative but to respond with tariffs of their own and to lodge a case against Washington with the World Trade Organization in Geneva. “We will defend the union’s interests, in full compliance with international trade law,” he said.

The EU had already publicly announced that in the event tariffs did go ahead, it would impose levies on Levi-made jeans, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey.

British officials appeared the most alarmed. The government of Theresa May had pinned post-Brexit hopes on securing a trade deal with the U.S., and the imposition of tariffs on steel is adding to fears that negotiating a quick trade liberalization agreement with Trump looks increasingly unlikely.

“We are deeply disappointed that the U.S. has decided to apply tariffs to steel and aluminum imports from the EU on national security grounds,” a government spokesman said. “The U.K. and other European Union countries are close allies of the U.S. and should be permanently and fully exempted.”

Discussion at summit

He said the British prime minister planned to raise the tariffs with the U.S. president personally in Canada at a scheduled G-7 summit of the seven largest advanced economies. That summit is likely to be a frosty affair, much like last year’s in Taormina, Sicily. 

With a week to go before the June 7-8 summit, there’s still no final agreement on the agenda, British and Italian officials said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earmarked climate change, women’s rights and economic growth as key issues, but there has been pushback from Washington. Thursday’s tariff announcement by the White House will further complicate agreeing on a G-7 agenda.

German reaction to the announcement of the tariffs was among the fiercest. Chancellor Angela Merkel dubbed them “illegal.” Manfred Weber, a key ally of the German chancellor and leader of the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, accused the Trump administration of treating American allies as enemies.

“If President Trump decides to treat Europe as an enemy, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, European jobs, European interests,” he said. “Europe does not want a trade conflict. We believe in a fair trade regime from which everybody benefits.” 

Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary, who’s in Europe and has been pressing the EU to make concessions to avert the tariffs, dismissed threats of a trade war, saying retaliation would have no impact on the U.S. economy. He held out hope that the tariffs could be eliminated, saying, “There’s potential flexibility going forward. The fact that we took a tariff action does not mean there cannot be a negotiation.” 

Business leaders cautious

Some European business leaders have urged their national leaders to be restrained in response, fearing a tit-for-tat spiral could be triggered quickly. Britain’s Confederation of British Industry warned against overreaction, saying no one would win on either side of the Atlantic if a major trade war erupted.

The director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said he feared there was clear potential for a damaging trade war.

“Since President Trump stated his plans to impose blanket tariffs on steel imports almost three months ago, the U.K. steel sector had hoped for the best, but still feared the worst. With the expiration of the EU exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow [June 1], unfortunately, our pessimism was justified, and we will now see damage not only to the U.K. steel sector but also the U.S. economy.” 

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