BEIJING – China has closed off an area of the South China Sea this week for military training.
The China Maritime Safety Administration says drills are being held all day Sunday and half a day Tuesday in an area near China’s holdings in the Paracel island group.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea as its own territory and strongly objects to naval activity in the area by other nations.
Another five governments exercise overlapping claims, particularly in the Spratly islands to the east.
The waterway rich in fishing grounds through which passes an estimated $5 trillion in global commerce annually has become a global security hotspot, largely due to growing Chinese assertiveness in pressing its claims.
China has built man-made islands to expand its footprint.
BLAJ, Romania – Pope Francis is paying homage to Catholics who were persecuted, tortured and killed during Romania’s communist regime as he beatifies seven bishop martyrs on his third and final day in the country.
Francis is to preside over the beatification ceremony Sunday in Blaj, a stronghold of the Greek-Catholic church that was outlawed during communism. The seven bishops had been arrested and imprisoned between 1950 and 1970 for adhering to their faith.
Francis is expected to hold them up as models for the Romanian faithful today.
The Mass is being celebrated on the symbolic “Field of Liberty,” a huge expanse east of Blaj that was the site of an important nationalist rally in 1848. A century later, communist leaders marking the anniversary at the field demanded that Greek-Catholics join the Orthodox church.
In this May 1, 2019, photo, World War II and D-Day veteran Charles Norman Shay, from Indian Island, Maine, poses on a dune at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. Shay was a medic who on June 6, 1944, landed on Omaha Beach, where he helped drag wounded soldiers out of the rising tide, saving them from drowning. For his courage, he was awarded the Silver Star. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
In this undated photo provided by the Charles Shay Family Archive, Charles Norman Shay, front center, poses with members of his family in Indian Island, Maine. Shay, a D-Day veteran, was a medic who on June 6, 1944, landed on Omaha Beach, where he helped drag wounded soldiers out of the rising tide, saving them from drowning. (Charles Shay Family Archive via AP)
OMAHA BEACH, France – A dwindling number of D-Day veterans will be on hand in Normandy this year when international leaders gather to honor them on the invasion’s 75th anniversary.
They include American Charles Shay, who on June 6, 1944, landed on Omaha Beach, where he helped drag wounded soldiers out of the rising tide, saving them from drowning. For his courage, he was awarded the Silver Star.
At the time, Shay could not yet fathom what D-Day would mean. He was more concerned with the bleeding troops, body parts and corpses strewn around him, and the machine-gun fire and shells that filled the air.
Shay, now 94, knows another war can never be discounted. Some men, he says, cannot get enough of power, and the pattern continues today.
Associated Press photographer Virginia Mayo and video journalist Mark Carlson contributed to this report.
BEIJING – Authorities say five workers are confirmed dead after the collapse of a subway tunnel under construction in the northeastern Chinese city of Qingdao.
The body of the last worker listed as missing was recovered Saturday, five days after the tunnel crumbled with the workers inside. The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.
China has been rapidly building and expanding mass rapid transit systems to accommodate growing urban populations and keep the slowing economy growing through government fiscal stimulus and infrastructure projects.
Partly as a result, China has suffered a steady stream of industrial accidents this year, including building and worksite collapses. In March, 78 people were killed in a blast at a chemical plant in the country’s east.
KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan officials say there have been three explosions in the capital, Kabul, including a sticky bomb attached to a bus carrying university students that killed at least one person.
Ferdus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, has confirmed that two other blasts were later heard from the same area, but couldn’t provide more details.
He says ten people were also wounded in Sunday’s attack, which took place in western part of the city.
Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the public health ministry, says at least four women are among the wounded from the bus attack and have been taken to hospitals.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, but both Taliban and Islamic State militants are active in the capital and have staged attacks in Kabul.
Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe salutes attendees ahead of the fourth plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Sunday, June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
SINGAPORE – China’s defense minister is warning its military will “resolutely take action” to defend Beijing’s claims over self-ruled Taiwan and disputed South China Sea waters.
Speaking at an annual security conference in Singapore on Sunday, Wei Fenghe says: “Should anybody risk crossing the bottom line, the PLA will resolutely take action and defeat all enemies.”
The PLA stands for the People’s Liberation Army.
He defended China’s right to build “limited defense facilities” in the contested South China Sea, where its sweeping claims are challenged by several smaller neighbors.
On Saturday, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the same gathering that China’s efforts to militarize man-made outposts in the South China Sea are a “toolkit of coercion,” saying activities by Beijing the U.S. perceives as hostile must end.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Youthful businessman Nayib Bukele has assumed the presidency of El Salvador, ending more than a quarter century of two-party dominance in the crime-plagued Central America nation.
Dressed in a blue suit with no tie and accompanied by his wife Gabriela, the 37-year-old former mayor of San Salvador put his left hand on the Bible and swore to fulfill and enforce the laws of the country during his five-year term.
Thousands of Salvadorans in the Gerardo Barrios Plaza in the capital shouted: “Yes, it’s possible! Yes, it’s possible! Nayib president!”
El Salvador “has suffered greatly. It is a country that has had to rebuild; it has had earthquakes and corrupt governments and yet we continue move forward,” Bukele said in his inaugural speech.