Iran

Britain sends destroyer to Gulf amid threats

TEHRAN — Iran on Friday demanded the British navy release an Iranian oil tanker seized last week off Gibraltar, accusing London of playing a “dangerous game” and threatening retribution, while London announced it was sending a destroyer to the Persian Gulf.

The comments from Iran’s Foreign Ministry came the day after police in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain, said they arrested the captain and chief officer of the supertanker suspected of breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told Iranian state news agency IRNA that “the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid … the release of the tanker is in all countries’ interest.”

Afghanistan

Child suicide bomber kills five at wedding

KABUL — A 13-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding early Friday in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, killing five people and injuring 11 others, police officials said.

Among those killed was Malik Toor, a commander of a pro-government militia who had organized the wedding, police official Fayz Mohammad Babarkhil said.

Officials said Toor was the likely target of the attack, which took place in Pachirwa Agham district of Nangarhar province.

China

Imports from US down 31% amid tariff war

BEIJING — China’s trade with the United States plunged last month as a tariff war battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Data out Friday showed that the hostilities are taking a toll.

Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4% from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, and exports to the American market declined 7.8% to $39.3 billion, according to Chinese customs data. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened by 3% to $29.9 billion.

China: US should not host Taiwan leader

BEIJING — China said Friday that the U.S. should not allow an ongoing visit by Taiwan’s president to New York and that it would impose sanctions on American companies that sell arms to the self-governing island as part of an expected $2.2 billion deal.

President Tsai Ing-wen is in New York on a two-night “transit” stop en route to an official visit to four Caribbean nations.

China displeased by US dealing with Taiwan

The United States should not “play with fire” regarding Taiwan after Washington announced its intention to sell $2.2 billion in weapons to the island state, China’s foreign minister said Friday in Budapest, Hungary.

Taiwan doesn’t have diplomatic ties with the U.S., though Washington provides Taiwan, which split from China in a 1949 civil war, with military and other support. China objects to such support as interference in what it considers its internal affairs and is seeking to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control.

Albania

22 ancient amphoras discovered off coast

TIRANA — A joint Albanian-American underwater archaeology project says it has found amphoras that are at least 2,500 years old in the Ionian Sea off the Albanian coast, which might yield an ancient shipwreck.

The research vessel Hercules of the RPM Nautical Foundation said Friday they had found 22 amphoras — a two-handled jar with a narrow neck used for wine or oil — 40-60 yards deep scattered around the seabed close to a rocky shores near the Karaburun peninsula.

Archaeologist Mateusz Polakowski said they believe the Corinthian A type amphoras date to between the 7th and the 5th century B.C.

“If the remains of a wreck can be found, it will put this discovery as the earliest ship ever to be sailing along the Albanian coast,” said Polakowski.

France

Chess player caught cheating with phone

STRASBOURG — The International Chess Federation says it has suspended a player at a tournament in France after the man was “caught red-handed using his phone during a game.”

The organization said Friday on Twitter that all the evidence in the case of Igors Rausis, 58, had been sent to its ethics committee and that it was “determined to fight cheating in chess.”

Wire reports