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Khamenei calls US officials 'first-class idiots'
AP, Tehran
Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday called U.S. officials "first-class idiots," mocking American leaders as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured the Mideast to promote the White House's tough stance on Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments were unusually harsh, reflecting the broader tension between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Pompeo meets Sisi amid concern over US ME policy
AFP, Cairo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Thursday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, part of a tour to address concerns of American allies in the Middle East.
The visit by Washington's top diplomat comes amid confusion in the region over a surprise plan by President Donald Trump's administration to pull US troops out of Syria.

Mexico finds 20 bodies near US border
Reuters, Mexico City
Mexican authorities discovered 20 bodies on Wednesday, 17 of them burned, near the city of Nuevo Laredo, close to the U.S. border, a security official said.
Five burned vehicles were also found near the bodies in the town of Miguel Aleman, across the Rio Grande from Texas in the northern state of Tamaulipas, the official said in a statement, without providing details.

Three protesters  killed in Sudan
AFP, Khartoum
Three protesters died after police broke up an anti-government demonstration in Sudan, police said Thursday, as thousands chanted support for President Omar al-Bashir at a rival rally in Khartoum.
Wednesday's competing rallies in the Sudanese capital followed a month of angry street protests over a government decision to triple the price of bread at a time when the country faces an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation.

Los Angeles teachers postpone strike
Reuters, Los Angeles
A union representing more than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers on Wednesday postponed until next week a threatened strike over lingering contract negotiations with the country's largest school district, citing a last-minute legal snag.
United Teachers Los Angeles had called a strike for its members in the city's 900 public schools for Thursday if an agreement was not reached before then over such issues as pay, staffing, and class sizes.

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Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats

Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats

AP, Hsinchu :Taiwan held live-fire exercises along its east coast Thursday amid renewed threats from China to bring the island under its control by force if deemed necessary.Artillery and assault

'Stupid' to suggest Trump a Russian agent: Putin's top aide

'Stupid' to suggest Trump a Russian agent: Putin's top aide

AFP, Moscow :A top Kremlin aide on Wednesday dismissed as ridiculous claims that US President Donald Trump has acted as an agent for Russia amid mounting controversy over his alleged

Vietnam prepares for Kim Jong Un visit amid talks of second summit with Trump

Vietnam prepares for Kim Jong Un visit amid talks of second summit with Trump

Reuters, Hanoi  :Hanoi is preparing to receive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a state visit, two sources told Reuters, while officials and diplomats said Vietnam is keen to

Sudan protests rumble on as Bashir remains defiant

Sudan protests rumble on as Bashir remains defiant

AFP, Khartoum :One month after protests erupted across Sudan against rising bread prices, anti-government demonstrations have turned into daily rallies against a defiant President Omar al-Bashir who has rejected calls

Putin to receive a rock star welcome in Belgrade

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AFP, Belgrade :With T-shirts, mugs and murals bearing his face, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to receive a rock star welcome on Thursday when he lands in Serbia, Moscow's

News In Brief

German justice minister backs second Brexit referendumReuters, Berlin A second referendum on Britain's exit from the European Union would make sense, German Justice Minister Katarina Barley told a German broadcaster

US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

Reuters, Washington  :The United States is closely watching Chinese intentions toward Taiwan, concerned that Beijing's growing military prowess may increase the risk it could one day consider bringing the self-ruled

Brexit deadline could be pushed back on UK request: French minister

Brexit deadline could be pushed back on UK request: French minister

AFP, Paris :The European Union could push back the looming March 29 Brexit deadline if London made such a request, France's Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Wednesday."At the time

Democratic Senator Gillibrand to launch 2020 White House bid

Democratic Senator Gillibrand to launch 2020 White House bid

Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an outspoken Donald Trump critic and champion of women's issues including the #MeToo movement, announced Tuesday she was jumping into the 2020 presidential race.Nearly 22

Top Saudi aide fired over Khashoggi murder still wields influence: Report

Top Saudi aide fired over Khashoggi murder still wields influence: Report

Reuters, London :A Saudi royal advisor fired over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues to wield influence in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, according to Western, Arab