Macron approves space command

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he had approved the creation of a space command within the French air force to improve the country’s defense capabilities.

Addressing military personnel a day before the annual Bastille Day parade, Macron said the new military doctrine setting up a space command would strengthen protection of French satellites. French Defense Minister Florence Parly said last year that she was committed to giving France strategic space autonomy in the face of growing threats from other powers amid a race in space militarization.

President Trump announced a plan last year to create a new U.S. space force as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.

NATO aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats told Reuters last month.

— Reuters

Hong Kong protesters, police clash: Protesters clashed with police in a town near the boundary with mainland China where thousands rallied against the presence of Chinese traders, seizing on another grievance following major unrest over an extradition bill. The demonstration in the Hong Kong territorial town of Sheung Shui, not far from the Chinese city of Shenzhen, began peacefully but devolved into skirmishes and shouting. Protesters threw umbrellas and hard hats at police, who retaliated by swinging batons and firing pepper spray.

Taliban militants storm hotel building in west Afghanistan: Insurgents stormed a commercial building housing a hotel in western Afghanistan, killing three security officials and injuring 10, officials said, the latest in a surge of attacks despite reported progress in peace talks. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack by three militants and said its fighters had positioned themselves in a building and were firing at the police headquarters.

Thousands demonstrate in Sudan: Tens of thousands demonstrated in cities across Sudan, marking 40 days since security forces killed dozens when they stormed a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum. The demonstrations were the first since the ruling military council and civilian opposition agreed in principle to a power-sharing arrangement ahead of elections. A meeting between the two sides planned for Saturday was postponed to Sunday.

— From news services