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World breaking news today (September 1): Wildfire rages in southern Spain forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate

09:13 | 01/09/2020

World breaking news today (September 1): A massive wildfire raging in southern Spain forces 3,000 residents to evacuate. Meanwhile, U.S. increases support for Taiwan, China threatens retaliation after Czech delegation visit to Taiwan and oil price also make headlines today.

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world breaking news today september 1 wildfire rages in southern spain forcing over 3000 people to evacuate
A massive wildfire is raging in Spain's southern Andalusia region, which has forced more than 3,100 people to evacuate their homes (Photo: Euro News)

Wildfire rages in southern Spain forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate

A massive wildfire is raging in Spain's southern Andalusia region, which has forced more than 3,100 people to evacuate their homes, authorities said.

Firefighters and emergency workers are battling the blaze, which broke our on Thursday in the mountains near the town of Almonaster la Real, 120 kilometres northwest of the city of Seville.

It has already scorched 100 square kilometres, Euro News reported.

Sixteen helicopters and eight planes are helping more than 500 workers tackle the fire.

“It is very difficult to say when the wildfire will be under control,” said Juan Sanchez of the Andalusia Forest Fire Department, as weather conditions are playing a key role.

Authorities expect the fire will be fuelled by strong winds later on Sunday. Crews were also struggling to reach all affected areas because of the rugged terrain, officials said.

A further 70 people were evacuated Saturday because of a wildfire in Mula, a small town in Spain’s southeastern region of Murcia. Firefighters are also trying to extinguish two wildfires in the western region of Extremadura.

U.S. increases support for Taiwan, says to counter rising China pressure

The United States said on Monday it was establishing a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan, an initiative it said was aimed at strengthening ties with Taipei and supporting it in the face of increasing pressure from Beijing, as reported by Reuters.

Washington also said it had declassified six Reagan-era security assurances given to Taiwan, a move analysts said appeared intended to show further support for Taipei.

The announcements come at a time of increasing Chinese threats towards Taiwan, and when relations between Washington and Beijing have sunk to their lowest level in decades. U.S. President Donald Trump is campaigning for re-election in November with a tough approach to China among his key foreign policy platforms.

world breaking news today september 1 wildfire rages in southern spain forcing over 3000 people to evacuate
The United States said on Monday it was establishing a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan (Photo: Nasdaq)

The State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell, told a virtual forum hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation the latest U.S. moves were not a policy shift, but part of a set of “significant adjustments” within Washington’s longstanding “one-China” policy.

Washington felt compelled to make these given the “increasing threat posed by Beijing to peace and stability” in a vitally important region and Beijing’s attempts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically while subjecting it to military threats.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed thanks for the show of support at a time when it said China was using military intimidation to damage peace and stability near Taiwan, and said it would continue to strengthen its defence capabilities.

My guess at this time is that Stilwell and the administration want to look tough ... So they are walking close to China’s red lines, but remain unwilling to cross them”, Douglas Paal, a former U.S. representative to Taiwan, said.

China threatens retaliation after Czech delegation visit to Taiwan

According to Euro News, the Czech Foreign Ministry will summon the Chinese ambassador to Prague after threatening statements were made against a Czech politician visiting Taiwan.

A delegation led by Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil arrived in Taipei on Sunday, angering Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the visit as "provocation" and said Vystrcil should "pay a high price for his shortsighted behaviour".

Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian added that Beijing would not "sit idly by and let go of the public provocation of the Czech Senate speaker and the anti-China forces behind him".

China regards Taiwan as one of its provinces and an integral part of its territory while condemning any official contact between the island and foreign officials.

But Czech diplomat Tomas Petricek told journalists in Prague that he expects China to explain their statements.

"This trip has of course an impact on our relations with China, but I think that these words go too far," Petricek said on Monday.

world breaking news today september 1 wildfire rages in southern spain forcing over 3000 people to evacuate
The Czech Foreign Ministry will summon the Chinese ambassador to Prague after threatening statements were made against a Czech politician visiting Taiwan (Photo: Daily Herald)

Venezuela moves from oil to gold

As Venezuela’s near-nothing oil industry slinks further into nothingness, a new commodity is taking shape in the crisis-stricken Latin American country sitting atop the world’s largest oil reserves: gold, Oil Price reported.

According to a new study, land in Venezuela is increasingly being used for mining. In fact, according to non-profit Wataniba cited by Bloomberg, land use for mining has tripled over the last 17 months in Venezuela, and that usage is set to increase after in April, the Maduro-led government pegged six rivers in Bolivar that could be used for more gold extraction.

Venezuela has, until recently, counted on its oil revenues to keep the country afloat, but a mismanaged oil industry, crippling oil sanctions, and the pandemic have rendered its once-lucrative industry nearly obsolete.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the private jet of Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, had flown to Venezuela to pick up some of this illegal gold for the purposes of trading it for coveted and hard-to-get U.S. dollars, highlighting the likely desperation involved with any industry that could potentially take over for lost oil revenues.

world breaking news today september 1 wildfire rages in southern spain forcing over 3000 people to evacuate
(Photo: Venezuela Analysis)
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