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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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Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

AFP :Panic over the spread of the coronavirus sparked a prison riot in Colombia that killed 23 inmates on Sunday, as Chile became the latest Latin American country to announce

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

AFP :The Afghan government and the Taliban on Sunday held their first discussion on arranging prisoner exchanges, a key step in a broader push for peace, the US special envoy

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

AFP  :US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, a pool report said, amid an ongoing political crisis, a raging Taliban insurgency and rising

Queen Elizabeth II moves out of palace as aide tests virus positive

NDTV :The 93-year-old monarch shifted out of the palace to Windsor Castle indefinitely on Thursday as a "precaution" and reports are that she is healthy.The aide is believed to have

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Al Jazeera News :Denpasar, Indonesia - Authorities in Bali will allow tens of thousands of people to attend Hindu ceremonies for the island's new year, or Nyepi, celebrations this week

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

AFP :North Korea has said it has released almost all the foreigners it quarantined as a precaution.With international focus on the coronavirus, North Korea has doubled down on its missile

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

AP, Dubai :Iran's supreme leader Sunday refused U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

AP, Seoul :President Donald Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the viral pandemic, Kim's

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

AP, Jerusalem :Israel's prime minister Saturday said he is ready to step down next year as part of a proposed power-sharing agreement with his chief rival meant to steer the

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

AP, Jefferson City :First, Oklahoma lawmakers excluded the public from the Capitol because of coronavirus concerns.Then with the public gone, lawmakers made an emergency change to the state's open-meetings law