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Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss Syria in Istanbul

Reuters, Ankara

Turkey and Russia agreed on Wednesday that their next three-way summit with Iran to discuss the conflict in Syria will be held in Istanbul, a Turkish presidential source said.
The source said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's President Vladimir Putin also agreed in a telephone call to speed up the establishment of military observation posts in Syria's Idlib region, and discussed the humanitarian situation in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

Dy PM's affair with staffer grips Australia

AFP, Sydney

An affair between Australia's married deputy prime minister and a younger member of his staff, who is now pregnant, gripped the country Thursday, reigniting questions over MPs' private lives.
Barnaby Joyce, leader of the National Party which rules in a coalition with the Liberals, is best known internationally for threatening to euthanise Hollywood star Johnny Depp's two dogs when they were brought into Australia illegally.

Macron's govt to boost military spending

AP, Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron's government is unveiling a bill to boost military spending, notably amid demands by NATO and U.S. President Donald Trump for European countries to pitch in more for their own defense.
The bill being presented Thursday at a Cabinet meeting foresees 295 billion euros ($364 billion) in overall defense spending from 2019 to 2025. That includes 1.7 billion euros in additional spending each year through 2022, particularly to modernize equipment, improve cyberdefenses and intelligence.

US names 3 Pakistanis as "terrorist facilitators"

AFP, Washington

The United States named three Pakistanis on Wednesday as key "terrorist facilitators", saying they worked closely with a well-known backer of Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban known as Shaykh Aminullah.
The US Treasury placed Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan, and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan on its blacklist of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," in an effort to disrupt the group's ability to obtain and distribute financing.

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Pak Provincial Assembly Speaker arrested AP, Islamabad  Pakistan's anti-corruption body says it has arrested the speaker of a provincial assembly and member of an opposition party headed by former President

Flynn pushed to share nuclear tech with Saudis: Congressional report

AP, Washington :Senior White House officials pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia despite the objections of ethics and national security officials, according to a

Palestinian President rejects tax money from Israel

Palestinian President rejects tax money from Israel

Reuters, Ramallah, West Bank :The Palestinian Authority (PA) will no longer accept tax revenues collected on its behalf by Israel following its decision to trim the sum over the

Putin promises Russians better living conditions 'within this year'

Putin promises Russians better living conditions 'within this year'

AFP, Moscow  :President Vladimir Putin promised Russians rapid improvements in their living conditions as he delivered his annual state of the nation address Wednesday under pressure from falling approval

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Reuters, Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in its investigation of a deadly bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

AFP, Tokyo :The health ministry approved Monday the world's first clinical test in which artificially derived stem cells will be used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries.A team

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

AFP, Baghouz (Syria) :Islamic State group jihadists were defending the last pocket of their "caliphate" in Syria on Monday, as EU foreign ministers meet to discuss the crisis after

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

AFP, Sydney :Australia on Monday said a "sophisticated state actor" had hacked the country's main political parties and parliament, just weeks before a closely fought election.Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

AFP, Moscow :As the end nears for the IS enclave in Syria and the fate of jihadists' family members becomes a prescient issue, Russia can be seen as a

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

AP, Washington :Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head