World Briefs: Finland stabbing suspect named

Finland stabbing suspect named

HELSINKI • Court documents yesterday identified the suspect in last week's stabbing spree in the Finnish city of Turku as Abderrahman Mechkah, an 18-year-old asylum seeker from Morocco. According to a tip-off to the country's intelligence agency earlier this year, he had allegedly been radicalised.

Police will today ask the court to remand him in custody on suspicion of two murders and eight attempted murders "with terrorist intent", as well as seeking the detention of four other Moroccan citizens believed to have been involved.


Countries pledge to speed up Nafta talks

WASHINGTON • The United States, Canada and Mexico on Sunday wrapped up their first round of talks to revamp the Nafta trade pact, vowing to keep up a blistering pace of negotiations in the hope of a deal by early next year, ahead of Mexican elections.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap Nafta without major changes to reduce US trade deficits with its North American neighbours.

But sources said the US did not reveal its proposed targets for boosting North American and US content for the automotive sector - the biggest source of US trade deficits.


Charter clarifies role of French First Lady

PARIS • President Emmanuel Macron yesterday published a "charter of transparency" to clarify the role of the head of state spouse after dropping a controversial plan to write the position into French law.

Ms Brigitte Macron will represent France alongside the French President during summits and international meetings, oversee events at Elysee palace and support cultural or social activities - but without pay or her own aides.


Political outcry over Big Ben's last bongs

LONDON • London landmark Big Ben fell silent for four years from yesterday, as a political outcry mounted over renovations that will rob Britain of a cherished symbol at a time of national uncertainty.

The 12 bongs from the famous clock's bell rang out for midday in front of a crowd in Parliament Square before it turned silent to protect workers renovating the tower interior.

Prime Minister Theresa May is among those who have raised concern, saying it can't be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe