U.K. ambassador resigns — Kim Darroch resigned Wednesday as Britain’s ambassador to the United States after the leak of his candid observations on the Trump administration, a ferocious response from President Donald Trump and the failure of the likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson, to support the British envoy. Darroch submitted his resignation in a letter that said the situation was making it impossible for him to carry out his role. On Monday, Trump said the White House would no longer deal with Darroch after the leak of confidential emails that had described the Trump administration as “clumsy and inept.”
Australia to hold referendum on indigenous recognition — Australia will hold a national referendum within the next three years on the question of formally recognizing indigenous Australians in the constitution, a government minister said Wednesday. It is a significant step for a marginalized population that has long sought to be recognized and given a formal representative role in the government. Ken Wyatt, the minister for indigenous Australians, said the Conservative government would commit more than $100 million to holding the referendum.
U.S. accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’ — The United States on Wednesday accused Iran of “nuclear extortion” and threatened further sanctions against Tehran, which has begun stockpiling and enriching uranium beyond limits set in the 2015 accord that President Donald Trump abandoned. The United States called an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Wednesday in response to the Iranian moves, while a senior French envoy was in Tehran exploring ways to reopen negotiations on compliance with the deal. Both Iran and the United States insist that they are open to further negotiations, but both have put different conditions on new talks.
China rebuked by 22 nations — A group of 22 countries has issued a statement urging China to stop the mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in its western Xinjiang region, the first concerted international challenge to a policy China has vigorously defended at the United Nations. In a letter to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the states told China to uphold its own laws and international obligations, and stop arbitrary incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslim and minority communities, and permit freedom of religion.
Acosta defends plea deal — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday defended his handling of the sex crimes prosecution of the financier Jeffrey Epstein in Florida more than a decade ago, bucking a growing chorus of Democratic resignation calls while effectively making the case to President Donald Trump to keep his job. At a televised news conference watched intently in the White House, Acosta offered a clinical explanation of the 2008 plea deal, arguing he overrode state authorities to ensure Epstein would face jail time and that holding out for a stiffer sentence by going to trial would have been “a roll of the dice.”
Appeals court blocks an emoluments lawsuit — In a legal victory for President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court panel on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that he had violated the Constitution by collecting profits from government guests at his hotel in the nation’s capital. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, found that the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia had no legal standing to sue Trump. The lawsuit, which alleges violations of the Constitution’s anti-corruption, or “emoluments,” clauses, was about to enter the evidence-gathering phase.
Ex-officials in Puerto Rico tied to corruption inquiry — Federal authorities in Puerto Rico unveiled a sprawling corruption investigation into high levels of the island’s government Wednesday, announcing arrests and criminal charges against six people, including two former agency directors. The Justice Department accused Julia Keleher, the former education secretary, and Ángela Ávila Marrero, the former executive director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration, of unlawfully steering about $15.5 million in federal contracts to politically connected consultants.
10 killed in train crash in Pakistan — A passenger train rammed into a freight train in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 64 others, an official said. The freight train was stationary when the speeding passenger train hit it at Walhar Railway Station in Rahim Yar Khan, a main city in eastern Punjab province.
UK: Iranian vessels tried to block vessel — Britain said Thursday that three Iranian vessels tried to impede the passage of a British commercial vessel through the Strait of Hormuz, signaling a further escalation of tensions over a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The Iranian vessels only turned away after receiving “verbal warnings” from a U.K. navy vessel accompanying the commercial vessel British Heritage, the U.K. government said in a statement. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard denied the allegations, saying if it had received orders to seize any ships it would have executed them immediately.