In a Syrian Town, People Started Shouting: ‘Chemicals! Chemicals!’

In a Syrian Town, People Started Shouting: ‘Chemicals! Chemicals!’ Photo A picture said to show victims of the chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma. Credit Emad Aldin/EPA, via Shutterstock BEIRUT, Lebanon — For two days and a night, the computer science student had been huddling with his family in the basement of their apartment building as pro-government forces rained bombs down on their rebel-held Syrian town.
After night fell, they heard the whirring of helicopter blades followed by the whistling sounds of objects falling from the sky. Soon, a strange smell wafted down the stairs.
“People started shouting in the streets, ‘Chemicals! Chemicals!’” the student, Mohammed al-Hanash, 25, said by phone from Syria.
The attack in the Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, which witnesses and medical workers said used chemical weapons, has resonated far beyond the war-scarred community’s destroyed buildings, ratcheting up tensions among world powers and threatening to escalate Syria’s m..

E.U. Likes Trump’s Stance on China, but Hates His Methods

E.U. Likes Trump’s Stance on China, but Hates His Methods Photo President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing last year. Their tariff proposals have raised fears of a global trade war — and Europe worries it will be caught in the middle. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times BRUSSELS — Virtually no one in Europe wants President Trump to plunge headlong into a trade war with China. But nearly everyone thinks that it is time to stand up to China’s closed markets and trade manipulation.
The European Union may not like Mr. Trump or the way he is doing things — but that does not mean it dislikes his aims when it comes to trading with China.
But Europe would also like the conflict to go away, fearing the bloc will be caught between the United States, its primary market and second-largest supplier, and China, its primary supplier and second-largest market.
The way to make that happen, it believes, is challenging China through negotiations within the existing trading system, avoi..

British Banks Will Have to Cut Ties to Sanctioned Oligarchs, U.S. Says

British Banks Will Have to Cut Ties to Sanctioned Oligarchs, U.S. Says Photo London has for decades served as a haven for Russia’s wealthiest families. Russian investors own swaths of high-end real estate there. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times LONDON — The United States on Tuesday ratcheted up its efforts to block Kremlin-linked industrialists from doing business in the West, warning that British banks will have to sever their relationships with the tycoons if they want continued access to American financial institutions.
Sigal P. Mandelker, a top American Treasury official in London to meet with her counterparts, said British banks could face “consequences” if they continued to carry out significant transactions on behalf of the 24 influential Russians sanctioned by Washington on Friday. The list includes the industrialists Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, along with Kirill Shamalov, who American officials have identified as President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law.

Memo From Sarajevo: In a New Cold War With Russia, Balkans Become a Testing Ground

In a New Cold War With Russia, Balkans Become a Testing Ground
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Cradle of the First World War, the Balkans have been a flashpoint, a place where empires, ethnicities and religions abut and contest. Now, analysts warn, the region is becoming a battleground in what feels like a new Cold War.
Russia, they say, is expanding its influence and magnifying ethnic tensions in countries that hope to join the European Union. Its involvement has already spurred Brussels to revive dormant aims for enlargement. It is also prompting fresh attention from Washington about security risks to NATO members.
After the concerted Western response to the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy and his daughter, which expelled around 150 Russian diplomats and intelligence officers, “the Balkans become even more important,” said Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.
“Russia is looking for ways to retaliate that are asymme..