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Delays over DR Congo’s election set to fuel tension


Beset by ethnic divisions, political tensions and bloody fighting in its east, Democratic Republic of Congo faces fresh challenges in the coming months over feared delays to eagerly-awaited presidential elections. Concern about the timetable has created “tensions and a climate of uncertainty,” the UN’s envoy to DR Congo, Maman Sidikou, warned the Security Council on Wednesday. “The impact of the deterioration of the security situation ... Read More »

US Withdraws From UNESCO


The United States announced Thursday that it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization, accusing the body of “anti-Israel bias.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency. The United States was angered in 2011 when UNESCO members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally ... Read More »

Spain To Hold Crisis Talks After Catalan Independence ‘Suspended’


Spain’s government prepared to hold crisis talks on Wednesday after Catalan leaders signed a suspended declaration of independence and called for dialogue with Madrid. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will chair an emergency cabinet meeting in response to Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s announcement on Tuesday that he had accepted “the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic” following a banned referendum earlier ... Read More »

US Military Chopper Bursts Into Flames In Japan

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An American military helicopter burst into flames after landing in an empty field in Okinawa Wednesday, the Japanese defence minister said, with no injuries reported. The US military told Japanese authorities that their CH-53 transport helicopter “landed” before the fire erupted in the early evening just outside a training ground on the island, said Itsunori Onodera. National broadcaster NHK showed dramatic footage of firefighters battling ... Read More »

Spain PM Threatens To Suspend Catalonia’s Autonomy


Spain threatened on Wednesday to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy if it follows through on its threat to break away as an independent country. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent Catalan secession following a banned referendum in the region, which remains deeply divided over independence. He held an emergency cabinet meeting after Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont announced on Tuesday that ... Read More »

Turkey-US Row: Erdogan ‘Upset’ By Visa Suspension


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described a US decision to suspend most visa services as “upsetting”. He said Turkish officials had contacted their US counterparts about the move, which was prompted by the detention last week of a Turkish national working at the US consulate in Istanbul. Turkey has also suspended visa services in the US. Prosecutors are seeking another consulate worker for questioning ... Read More »

Trump Administration To Roll Back Obama Clean Power Rule

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has cast doubt on climate change, said the Clean Power Plan was an overreach. President Donald Trump ordered the EPA to rewrite the rule in March. The Clean Power Plan requires states to meet carbon emission reduction targets based on their energy consumption. Mr Pruitt said he would sign the proposed rule to begin withdrawing from the plan on ... Read More »

Theresa May Sets Out Brexit Options Including ‘No Deal’


The UK has set out how it could operate as an “independent trading nation” after Brexit, even if no trade deal is reached with Brussels. Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs “real and tangible progress” had been made in Brexit talks. But the country must be prepared for “every eventuality,” as the government published papers on future trade and customs arrangements. Labour said “no real progress has been ... Read More »

Trump Might ‘Abandon Iran Nuclear Deal’

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US President Donald Trump is planning to abandon the Iran nuclear deal shortly, according to US media reports. If he fails to certify the accord, Congress will decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran. Mr Trump has until 15 October to decide. Opposition to the deal was a major part of his campaign last year. Posing for photographers with military leaders on Thursday, he ... Read More »

Catalonia Referendum: Spain Apologises To Injured Catalans


The Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia has apologised to those injured during police efforts to stop Sunday’s independence referendum. But Enric Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote. Meanwhile the government in Madrid has issued a decree making it easier for companies to move their headquarters away from Catalonia. A Catalan minister told the BBC his government would go ahead with an ... Read More »

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