World briefing

UN: electricity cuts could kill

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.’s Mideast envoy warned on Friday that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will face a “humanitarian crisis” if their already meager electricity supply is cut further as a result of political infighting.

Israel as well as the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas movement that governs Gaza “all have obligations for the welfare of Gaza’s residents,” Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the region, told the U.N. Security Council.

He spoke from Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been saying for weeks that it would slash its payments to Israel for Gaza’s electricity, and Israel announced Thursday that it would reduce the power supply, which already is down to about four hours a day. No date was set.

“The U.N. has warned that without addressing the structural problems of Gaza’s electricity supply we would face a humanitarian crisis,” Mladenov said.

“How long do you think they can survive if this is further reduced to two hours of electricity per day?” he added. “Who will pay the price of the ensuing violence and escalation?”

Electricity-driven drinking water is available for a few hours every two to four days, the envoy said. Hospitals are barely functioning without power, postponing surgeries and reducing cleaning and sterilization. And for lack of irrigation, food prices are soaring.

Trump criticizes German trade

TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — President Donald Trump has criticized Germany’s trade surplus with the United States, drawing attention to a contentious issue at a summit of world leaders where trade is already a sticking point.

As the leaders of seven wealthy democracies gathered for difficult talks on trade and climate change, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that Trump had told EU leaders the day before that the Germans were “bad, very bad” when it came to trade.

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said the president’s comments focused on the surplus and not the country: “He said they’re very bad on trade, but he doesn’t have a problem with Germany.”

Cohn noted that “his dad is from Germany” and that he had said: “‘I don’t have a problem with Germany. I have a problem with German trade.”

The president of the European Union’s executive commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Trump was “not aggressive” in his comments about the surplus and called the report “exaggerated.”

G7 leaders pressure tech firms

TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies on Friday put pressure on internet companies and social media sites to do more to stop the spread of “hateful ideology,” appealing to their sense of social responsibility to more swiftly identify and remove terror propaganda.

The measure signed by the seven nations’ leaders was a show of solidarity with Britain following Monday’s suicide bombing in Manchester, England that killed 22 outside a pop music concert. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, although authorities are working to establish the bombing suspect’s ties to extremist organizations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the leaders agreed that the threat posed by the Islamic State group “is evolving rather than disappearing.”

“As they lose ground in Iraq and Syria, foreign fighters are returning, and the group’s hateful ideology is spreading online,” May said. “Make no mistake, the fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet.”

She said terror propaganda is “warping young minds” and that she thinks technology companies both could do more and have the responsibility to act.

In their declaration, the leaders said they were targeting “propaganda supporting terrorism and violent extremism, online recruitment by extremists, radicalization and incitement to violence.”