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Russian, US to hold Venezuela talks this week
Reuters, Moscow
United States Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov are due to meet in Rome this week to discuss the situation in Venezuela, diplomats from the two countries said. Venezuela, a close ally of Moscow, is in political turmoil.
The United States and many other Western countries back Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, while Russia says President Nicolas Maduro remains the country's only legitimate leader.

NZ mosque gunman visited Israel in 2016
Reuters, Jerusalem
The main suspect in New Zealand's mosque attacks made a brief visit to Israel in late 2016, Israeli officials said on Sunday.
Brenton Tarrant, an Australian national, entered Israel in October 2016 on a three-month tourist visa and stayed for nine days, an official with Israel's Population and Immigration Authority told Reuters. Tarrant is the suspected gunman in Friday's attacks in the city of Christchurch in which 50 people were killed in New Zealand's worst peacetime mass shooting.

Two Iraqi soldiers killed in clashes with PKK
Reuters, Baghdad
Clashes between the Iraqi army and Kurdish PKK militia killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded five of the militants on Sunday, the Iraqi military said in a statement.
The clashes took place in Sinjar in northwestern Iraq after the PKK fighters were denied passage through an army checkpoint, the statement said, adding that the militants drove a vehicle into one soldier and attacked the checkpoint.

Putin to mark five years of annexation in Crimea
AFP, Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Crimea on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, condemned by the West but celebrated by most Russians.
A Kremlin statement on Sunday said Putin would visit the peninsula and its largest city Sevastopol to attend celebrations marking five years since Crimea "rejoined" Russia.

Taliban captures 50 Afghan
border police
Reuters, Kabul
At least 50 members of the Afghan security forces have surrendered to the Taliban in a fight for control of Afghanistan's western province of Badghis that has created heavy casualties, officials said.
Fighting in Afghanistan has intensified even as Taliban and U.S. officials finished the latest round of peace talks on Tuesday, with both sides citing progress.Afghanistan usually sees a marked increase in violence in spring.

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Pelosi assails ‘weakness’ of Trump and Netanyahu

Pelosi assails ‘weakness’ of Trump and Netanyahu

AP, Washington :House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the U.S.-Israel relationship can withstand the "weakness" of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who shook diplomatic norms this week

Empty rice cookers create bomb scare in New York

Empty rice cookers create bomb scare in New York

AP, New York :New York went on alert for two hours Friday during the morning rush hour because of three suspicious objects that turned out to be empty rice cookers.Police

US govt to go ahead with $8b sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, angering China

US govt to go ahead with $8b sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, angering China

Agencies, Washington :The Trump administration is pushing ahead with a US$8 billion sale of 66 F-16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan, according to two influential senators, a move expected to add

Hundreds defy restrictions, join protests in Kashmir

Hundreds defy restrictions, join protests in Kashmir

AP, New Delhi :Hundreds of people protested an unprecedented security crackdown and clashed with police Friday in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as India's government said it was constantly reviewing the situation in

Discussions on Afghan peace deal go ‘very well’, says Trump's spokesman

Discussions on Afghan peace deal go ‘very well’, says Trump's spokesman

The White House says President Donald Trump's talks with his national security advisers to discuss Afghan peace talks went "very well" and that negotiations with the Taliban "are proceeding."Officials on

News In Brief

Johnson to meet Macron, Merkel next weekReuters, LondonBritish leader Boris Johnson will travel to meet his French and German counterparts on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, in his first foreign

Gibraltar orders Iranian tanker release despite US detention bid

Gibraltar orders Iranian tanker release despite US detention bid

AFP, Gibraltar :Gibraltar's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favour of releasing an Iranian supertanker seized on suspicion of shipping oil to war-torn Syria in breach of international sanctions,

Malaysia to question Zakir Naik for comments against Malaysian Hindus

Malaysia to question Zakir Naik for comments against Malaysian Hindus

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur :Malaysian authorities will summon controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for questioning after he allegedly made racially sensitive remarks in the multi-ethnic nation, the government said on

Now Trump wants US to buy Greenland, reports Wall Street Journal

Now Trump wants US to buy Greenland, reports Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post :President Donald Trump has pushed top aides to investigate whether the U.S. government can purchase the giant, ice-smothered island of Greenland, two people with direct knowledge

N Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South

N Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South

AP, Seoul :North Korea on Friday bluntly criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the U.S. and over his rosy comments on inter-Korean