Syria threatens WMD use on foreign attack
DAMASCUS, Syria, July 24 (UPI) — Syria threatened to use chemical and biological weapons if it faces a foreign attack, admitting for the first time it possessed weapons of mass destruction.
“Any stocks of WMD or any unconventional weapons that the Syrian Arab Republic possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, no matter how the crisis should evolve,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said in a statement at a news conference broadcast on Syrian state TV.
“These weapons are made to be used strictly and only in the event of external aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” he said.
Makdissi said the Assad regime’s lethal chemical agents and munitions were carefully monitored by the Syrian army. He said their use would be decided by Syrian generals.
U.S. officials have said Syria has perhaps the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the Middle East, including lethal mustard gas and nerve agents. Washington believes Syria has placed some of these agents on Soviet-type Scud tactical ballistic missiles and artillery shells, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. More…
Typhoon Vicente hit late on Monday, bringing winds of more than 140 km/h (87 mph) and heavy downpours.
The storm warning was briefly raised to the highest level of 10 for the first time in 13 years but downgraded on Tuesday as the storm passed.
Trading on the stock exchange was temporarily delayed on Tuesday morning.
The stock exchange was expected to resume trading in the afternoon.
Although the typhoon was forecast to move away from Hong Kong across western Guangdong, the Hong Kong Observatory warned that gale force winds were still prevailing on Tuesday morning.
Authorities warned that flight disruptions could continue.
More than 100 people aged between four and 86 sought treatment at public hospitals and at least 72 were hospitalised, officials said.
Flooding has also been reported in some areas and hundreds of trees were felled overnight. More…
As the rich exploit legal loopholes to stash billions overseas, we examine the hole they leave in the global economy.
A couple of weeks ago traders in Barclays Bank were reported as having deliberately lied about fixing Libor interest rates to maximise their own profits on currency dealings.
One week later HSBC, one of the world’s biggest banks, apologised for allowing drug gangs to launder billions of dollars.
A new report has now revealed that some of the world’s richest people have more than $30 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens.
A global elite group of super-rich has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary amount of wealth offshore.
Research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network says the value is as much as the gross domestic products of the US and Japan combined.
James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in that report. More…