From Tom Price stepping down as health secretary, to Washington confirming it has direct lines of communication with North Korea, to an anti-Semitic rally in Sweden, and even some post-Kurdish referendum threats from Erdogan, here's all the news you missed during Yom Kippur.
Anti-Semitic rally draws 600 in Sweden; 50 arrested
Police said at least 50 people were detained Saturday during a right-wing demonstration in Sweden's second-largest city that left one police officer and several others injured.
The rally by the Nordic Resistance Movement in Goteborg, 400 kilometers (248 miles) southwest of Stockholm, featured an estimated 600 people marching in formation in all-black outfits. Police had posted flyers before the event warning people not to act in a way reminiscent of German Nazis demonstrations in the 1930s and 1940s.
NMR, which promotes an openly anti-Semitic doctrine, originally sought to pass near a downtown synagogue during the march, which coincided with Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day of the year. But Swedish courts intervened and shortened the route to less than one kilometer (0.6 mile.) (AP) Read full story
U.S. says has direct communication with North Korea
The United States is probing North Korea to see whether it is interested in dialogue and has multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday.
The disclosure came as Tillerson expressed hope for reducing tensions with North Korea, which is fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
On Friday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is prepared to work with North Korea to try to find a peaceful resolution to the missile crisis. (Reuters)
Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds as Tehran, Baghdad plan joint military drills
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Iraqi Kurdish authorities would pay the price for an independence referendum which was widely opposed by foreign powers.
Iraq's Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence in Monday's referendum, defying neighboring countries which fear the vote could fuel Kurdish separatism within their own borders and lead to fresh conflict.
"They are not forming an independent state, they are opening a wound in the region to twist the knife in," Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party.
Also on Saturday, Iran’s state television reported that Iranian and Iraqi government forces will hold joint military exercises near their borders as part of Tehran’s effort to support Baghdad following the referendum.
The announcement comes a day after Iraq's Defence Ministry said that it plans to take control of the borders of the autonomous Kurdistan region in coordination with Iran and Turkey.
The last international flight left Erbil airport on Friday afternoon as the Baghdad government imposed an air ban on Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for the independence vote.
Foreign airlines suspended flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya in the autonomous region, obeying a notice from the government in Baghdad, which controls Iraqi air space.
Later that evening, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington does not recognize the independence referendum and urges an end to “threats of reciprocal actions.” (Reuters)
Trump’s health secretary Tom Price resigns over travel fiasco
U.S. President Donald Trump’s health secretary resigned on Friday, after his costly travel triggered investigations that overshadowed the administration’s agenda and angered his boss. Tom Price’s regrets and partial repayment couldn’t save his job.
The Health and Human Services secretary became the first member of the president’s Cabinet to be pushed out in a turbulent young administration that has seen several high-ranking White House aides ousted. A former GOP congressman from the Atlanta suburbs, Price served less than eight months. (AP)
U.S. pulls Cuba staff over mysterious ‘attacks’ on diplomats
The United States on Friday cut its diplomatic presence in Cuba by more than half and warned U.S. citizens not to visit because of mysterious "attacks" that have caused hearing loss, dizziness and fatigue in U.S. embassy personnel.
The U.S. embassy in Havana will halt regular visa operations for Cubans seeking to visit the United States and offer only emergency services to U.S. citizens, steps that may further erode the U.S.-Cuban rapprochement begun by former President Barack Obama.
The partial evacuation, while depicted as a safety measure, sends a message of U.S. displeasure over Cuba's handling of the matter and delivers another blow to Obama's policies of engagement with Cold War foe Cuba. (Reuters)