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Shinzo Abe 'will offer to mediate with Iran' as Donald Trump sends 1,500 troops to Middle EastShinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, is set to offer himself as a mediator amid the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. Mr Trump landed in Tokyo on Saturday for a four-day visit during which Mr Abe will discuss the proposal with him, and seek his consent. The Japanese leader is considering a visit to Tehran net month to mediate with President Hassan Rouhani, according to media reports in Japan, and a final decision may depend on the results of his talks with Mr Trump. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, visited Japan earlier this month. Shortly before his Japan trip Mr Trump ordered 1,500 extra US troops, along with fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft, and missile defence batteries to the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon called it a ?defensive? deployment intended to protect US troops in the region from Iran. Mr Zarif said the new US deployment ?threatens international peace?. The US has been building up its forces in the region Credit: AFP PHOTO /US NAVY For the first time the US also publicly accused Iran of carrying out a sabotage attack against oil tankers off the coast of the UAE, and said it had evidence Iran planned to load cruise missiles onto small ships, and use Shia militias to attack US forces in Iraq. As tensions escalated Mr Trump also used national emergency powers to sweep aside objections in Congress and push through 6.3 billion in arms sales to US allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan. Both Democrats and Republicans had been holding up the arms sales because of concerns over the civilian death toll caused by Saudi and UAE airstrikes in Yemen, as well as the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said the threat from Iran justified the use of emergency powers and sidelining Congress. He said: "These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran." Chris Murphy, a Democrat senator, said: "President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove. "There is no new 'emergency' reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there." Japan has longstanding ties with Iran and opposed Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Before US sanctions on Iran, Japan was a major importer of Iranian oil. Mr Abe first visited Iran in a personal capacity in 1983 and has continued links with the country's leadership. Reacting to the idea of him mediating Akihisa Nagashima, a former Japanese defence minister, said: "This is what we call quiet diplomacy." Iran's foreign minister called the US deployment a threat to international peace Credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images It was unclear how Mr Trump would react to the offer, and Mr Abe would have to overcome the hurdle that no Japanese prime minister has visited Tehran officially since before the Islamic Revolution. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Mr Rouhani had invited Mr Abe ?a while ago" but suggested such a visit was unlikely in the near future. On Monday Mr Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito since he ascended to the Japanese throne this month. During his largely ceremonial visit to Japan he will also attend a sumo competition, play golf with Mr Abe, and discuss trade issues. Hours after arriving Mr Trump warned Japan over its "substantial edge" in trade and joked: "Maybe that's why you like me so much." How Iran has stoked tensions in Gulf The two countries are locked in trade talks and the visit is part of Mr Abe's ongoing charm offensive aimed at fending off US tariffs. Mr Trump has been threatening potentially devastating tariffs on Japanese cars unless he wins concessions, including for US farmers. Speaking to Japanese business leaders, including executives from Toyota, Nissan and Honda, Mr Trump warned it was time to "address the trade imbalance". He also called on Japan to buy more US military equipment because "the world is changing".

Police hunt suspect after explosion in French city of LyonLYON, France (AP) ? French police on Saturday hunted a suspect believed to have deposited a paper bag containing a device that exploded Friday, wounding 13 people on a busy pedestrian street in the city of Lyon.

51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us," the attorneys general wrote.

Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999Violence and disruption against abortion clinics in the US increased to its highest levels since the 1990s last year, a report by the National Abortion Federation has found.The increase in violence was attributed, at least in part, to president Donald Trump and his administration?s rhetoric.The report noted a significant increase in obstruction, vandalism, and trespassing, with 1,135 incidents of trespassing recorded in 2018 - the most since the NAF began tracking the crime in 1999.There were also 3,038 instances of obstruction, a 78 per cent increase compared to the previous year, and nearly 100,000 instances of picketing.?Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of president Trump, vice president Pence, and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services,? said Dr Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who serves as interim president and CEO of NAF.She added: ?Demonising health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians. Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are. It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end.?Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity.?The study did note a decrease in stalking, burglary, assault, and battery against abortion providers.It comes during a fresh wave of anti-abortion legislation such as the Alabama abortion ban, which is currently being contested in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and ?heartbeat bills? which ban elective abortion after a foetal heartbeat is detectable.As a foetal heartbeat is first detectable at six weeks - a point where many pregnant people may not even know they are pregnant - these initiatives are seen as a back-door abortion ban and are also being contested in court. Politicians in support of banning abortion hope these cases will rise to the Supreme Court of the United States and lead to an overturning of Roe V Wade, which set the precedent for elective abortion until the end of the second trimester in the US.

Former deputy assistant attorney general: The attorney general also investigates the conduct of his own departmentBob Driscoll says Trump's permission to declassify materials related to the Russia investigation is a step toward transparency.

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Movie News

Film honours ?evolved? younger generation, says Olivia Wilde
The actress has made her directorial debut with Booksmart.
Patricia Arquette calls for renewed fight for women?s rights
The Oscar-winner spoke to The Big Issue.
Charlize Theron on being single: 'I need a man to grow a pair and step up?
The South African born actress, who has not dated since splitting from Sean Penn, is on the lookout for someone with a good beard who can make her laugh
Elton John: I couldn?t tone down sex and drugs to make Rocketman PG-13
The music star said he wanted to keep the fantasy element in the film too.
Jon Voight says Donald Trump is greatest President since Abraham Lincoln
Jon Voight has taken to Twitter to staunchly defend Donald Trump, calling him the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln.
South Korean film Parasite claims Palme d?Or glory at Cannes
Jury president Alejandro Inarritu said the choice had been unanimous.
Moby issues apology to Natalie Portman over relationship disagreement
The Hollywood actress denied ever dating the dance musician earlier this week, after he made claims that they did.
Werner Herzog only joined ?Star Wars? series ?The Mandalorian? to fund his new film
Werner Herzog has openly admitted that he only had a vague idea of what Star Wars was before signing on for The Mandalorian, and he only did so to fund his new movie.
Arnold Schwarzenegger schools sexist ?Terminator? fan
Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken a sexist Terminator fan to task, reminding them of the franchise's proud history of strong, female characters.
Sylvester Stallone wants new ?Rocky? film to tackle immigration
Sylvester Stallone has opened up about his plans for a new Rocky film, teasing that he wants it to tackle immigration.
Renee Zellweger feels 'like a kid' at 50
The 'Bridget Jones' star reveals that life has got far more exciting since her birthday this year
Petition to make Danny DeVito the next Wolverine breaks 30,000 mark
But his has a rival for the role, with another petition also gathering signatures
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