Tuesday morning news: May 21, 2019

Iran ramps up enrichment of uranium as U.S., Britain issue warnings » Iran has reportedly quadrupled its production of enriched uranium.

That according to two semi-official news agencies in Iran. The reports said the production of enriched uranium has only increased to the roughly 3.7 percent limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal. But it means Iran soon will go beyond the stockpile limits set under that deal.

That news comes as the U.S. positions military assets in the Middle East in response to Iranian threats.

On Sunday, a rocket hit near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In response, President Trump tweeted that “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

But on Monday, he reiterated hopes for peace.

TRUMP: I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies. War kills people, most importantly. 

He said once again that he’s open to renewed talks with Iran. But Iranian officials insist they will not negotiate with the U.S.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also warned Iran on Monday. His message for the Iranian regime: Do not underestimate the resolve of the United States.

HUNT: They are not seeking a conflict. They do not want a war with Iran, but if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate, and that is something that the Iranians need to think about very, very carefully.

Hunt called on Iran to “pull back from destabilizing activities” in the region. He said the British government is very concerned and hopes to see tensions “de-escalate.” He added that “This is a part of the world where things can get triggered accidentally.”

China condemns U.S. Navy operation in South China Sea » China on Monday criticized the United States for allowing a Navy ship to sail near disputed islands in the South China Sea. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed about 10 miles off the coast of Scarborough Shoal. That’s a reef in the South China Sea. Beijing claims nearly the entire sea as its territory and has built numerous artificial islands there.

But many other nations do not recognize Beijing’s territorial claims. And the U.S. Navy maintains what it calls “freedom of navigation operations”—regularly sailing through the disputed territory to challenge those claims.

In a statement, the Chinese government said “We strongly urge the US side to immediately stop such provocative actions so as to not harm China-US relations and the peace and stability of the region.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Trade friction remains with China as Google complies with U.S. ban on Huawei » Meantime, China’s technology sector is beginning to feel the pinch from the Trump administration’s action against Chinese tech giant Huawei.

That after Google announced it will comply with new federal rules that effectively bar U.S. firms from selling components and software to Huawei.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Monday said the rules are necessary.

HASSETT: I think the administration’s position on Huawei and the potential national security threat is, you know, very well know. And I think that we wish more of our allies would pay close attention to this. 

It’s now unclear what Google software and services—such as maps, Gmail or search—Huawei will be able to use. It will likely use its own, stripped-down version of Android.

But analyst Roger Entner called it a “major crisis” for the company. He questioned how competitive a smartphone can be “without the most well-known and popular apps?”

Ford to cut 7,000 jobs » Ford revealed details of its long-awaited restructuring plan Monday, cutting 7,000 jobs. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: Ford announced it will part ways with 7,000 white-collar workers worldwide. That’s about 10 percent of its global, salaried workforce.

In the U.S., Ford is cutting about 2,300 jobs through buyouts and layoffs. About 1,500 workers have left voluntarily. Another 300 have already been laid off.

The major revamp will save about $600 million per year.

But the company also said it is hiring in some critical areas—including those developing software and dealing with self-driving and electric vehicles.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Conservatives celebrate surprise victory in Australian election » Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ruling conservative coalition is still celebrating a big victory.

MORRISON: I have always believed in miracles! (cheers)

His party shocked pollsters in a weekend vote. Polls predicted a win for the opposition Labor Party. Instead, Australia’s Electoral Commission on Monday showed the ruling government was on track to win 78 seats. The Labor Party’s expected to pick up 67.

Parties require 77 seats to form a majority government.

Labor leader Bill Shorten resigned as party head following the defeat.

Last August, Morrison became the country’s sixth prime minister in eight years, replacing Malcolm Turnbull.

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) A man uses two smartphones at once outside a Huawei store in Beijing Monday, May 20, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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