Explainer – How did Libya Fall Apart?

Explainer – How did Libya Fall Apart?

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Libya's worst fighting for two years suddenly hit the capital, Tripoli, on Saturday. This explains what led to the violence, why it matters, and how things may play out. HOW DID LIBYA FALL APART? Libya's fault lines surfaced as local groups took different positions in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. An attempted democratic transition slid out of control as armed groups built local power bases and coalesced round rival political factions, seizing control of economic assets. After a battle for Tripoli in 2014, one faction including most parliament members moved east and recognised Khalifa Haftar…
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EXPLAINER-What’s driving the power struggle in Iraq?

EXPLAINER-What’s driving the power struggle in Iraq?

BAGHDAD, July 31 (Reuters) - A power struggle in Iraq between the influential Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr and Iran-backed Shi'ite rivals has escalated with his supporters breaking into parliament and beginning an open-ended sit-in protest.  The tussle over who gets to form the next government has deepened a fissure in the Shi'ite community that has dominated Iraqi politics since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. What is the background to the rivalry, why has it escalated, what does this mean for Iraq and what are the risks of violence? WHO ARE SADR AND HIS RIVALS? Heir to…
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The ‘Big Package’: How Russia was driven to default

The ‘Big Package’: How Russia was driven to default

LONDON – Russia’s first major international debt default in over a century, which Washington said became a fact on Monday, follows months of co-ordinated Western sanctions that left Moscow with cash but no access to the international financial network. Below is a summary of the key moments that have led up to this point. THE “BIGPACKAGE“ At around 11.30 p.m. (2230 GMT) on Feb. 25, the day after Russian troops entered Ukraine, European Union’s experts in Brussels said a set of sanctions they had worked on for days, or the “Big Package” as they called it, was ready. Just before midnight, the European…
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FACTBOX – How could UK PM Boris Johnson be ousted by unhappy lawmakers?

FACTBOX – How could UK PM Boris Johnson be ousted by unhappy lawmakers?

June 5 (Reuters) - A growing number of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative lawmakers have withdrawn their support for the British leader after a damning official report detailed a series of illegal parties at his Downing Street office during COVID-19 lockdowns. Johnson, who helped the Conservatives win a large majority in a 2019 election, has apologised but said he will not resign. According to the Sunday Times, officials in Johnson's ruling Conservative Party expect a challenge to his leadership this week and have pencilled in a confidence vote for Wednesday.  More than 25 lawmakers have gone public with their letters so far…
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FACTBOX-EU’s 6th sanctions package against Russia, including oil

FACTBOX-EU’s 6th sanctions package against Russia, including oil

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU countries have reached agreement on their sixth package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including a complete import ban on all Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products in six to eight months.  Below are the main elements of the package: OIL EMBARGO The EU will stop buying all Russian crude oil delivered by sea - or 2/3 of all EU imports of Russian crude - from early December, and will ban all Russian refined products two months later. Deliveries of Russian crude via the Druzhba pipeline, which runs through Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and…
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NEWSMAKER-Australia’s Albanese: a pragmatist who promises unity

NEWSMAKER-Australia’s Albanese: a pragmatist who promises unity

SYDNEY, May 21 (Reuters) - Anthony Albanese, who is set to be Australia's next prime minister, is a pragmatic leader from a working-class background who has pledged to end divisions in the country. "I want to unite the country," the Labor Party leader said after conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat following an election on Saturday.  "I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that." Labor's election…
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NATO chief says Finland, Sweden welcome to apply to join

NATO chief says Finland, Sweden welcome to apply to join

NATO would quickly welcome Finland and Sweden into its ranks with open arms if they decided to apply, the military alliance’s top civilian official said Wednesday, as Russia’s war on Ukraine spurs public support in the two Nordic countries for membership. The military organization might also be ready to provide security guarantees to the countries if any potential membership bid angers Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. A poll last month by Finnish broadcaster YLE showed that, for the first time, more than 50% of Finns support joining the Western military alliance. In neighboring Sweden, a similar poll showed that…
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Why did Russia invade Ukraine? FAQs about the conflict that has shocked the world

Why did Russia invade Ukraine? FAQs about the conflict that has shocked the world

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has put the world on edge. The military move by Russian President Vladimir Putin has left many people looking for information on how and why the conflict started. Here are answers to some key questions. Putin nurses a deep sense of grievance over the loss of Russia’s power and influence since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukraine was formerly part of the Soviet Union but declared its independence in 1991. Having a prosperous, modern, independent and democratic European state bordering Russia was perceived as posing a threat to Russia’s autocratic regime.…
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ANALYSIS-Italy’s Draghi seen facing tough year after presidential wrangling

ANALYSIS-Italy’s Draghi seen facing tough year after presidential wrangling

ROME, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is likely to have a hard time controlling his coalition, politicians and analysts warn, after relations within and among the ruling parties worsened over this week's election of a new head of state. Outgoing 80-year-old President Sergio Mattarella was re-elected for a second term on Saturday, with party chiefs asking him to carry on after seven rounds of fruitless, often fraught voting in parliament to choose a successor. With elections in the euro zone's third largest economy little over a year away, Draghi now has to lead his bruised government…
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Ukrainian reservists gear up in case of conflict with Russia

Ukrainian reservists gear up in case of conflict with Russia

KYIV, Jan 29 (Reuters) - From Monday to Friday, Mykhaylo is a lawyer, Alexander is an IT programmer and Konstantin freelances in online advertising. On Saturday, the three came together in an abandoned construction site on the outskirts of Kyiv to train as Ukrainian army reservists, ready to be called up in the event of any war breaking out with neighbouring Russia. Nervous over the threat of some 120,000 Russian troops massed near the border with Ukraine, Kyiv has launched a new Territorial Defence force this year, which it wants to build up into a corps of up to 130,000…
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Autocracies outdo democracies on public trust – survey

Autocracies outdo democracies on public trust – survey

Public trust in governments running the world's democracies has fallen to new lows over their handling of the pandemic and amid a widespread sense of economic pessimism, a global survey has found. The Edelman Trust Barometer, which for two decades has polled thousands of people on trust in their governments, media, business and NGOs, conversely showed rising scores in several autocratic states, notably China. It also highlighted that business, thanks to its role developing vaccines and adapting workplace and retail practices, had retained strong levels of trust globally, albeit with reservations about its commitment to social fairness. "We really have a collapse…
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EXPLAINER-How bad is the crisis in Lebanon?

EXPLAINER-How bad is the crisis in Lebanon?

BEIRUT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Lebanon's financial meltdown has swiftly worsened in the last month, with much of the country crippled by fuel shortages that have ignited country-wide security incidents. Exacerbated by political deadlock, Lebanon's rapid deterioration has prompted Western concern https://www.reuters.com/world/lebanon-free-fall-must-not-become-horror-story-us-senator-warns-2021-09-01. Some senior Lebanese officials have sounded the alarm https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/lebanese-security-chief-warns-crisis-could-be-prolonged-2021-08-27 about a country that has spent 30 years slowly recovering from a 1975-90 civil war. On Friday, Prime Minister Najib Mikati agreed a new cabinet https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/lebanons-pm-designate-mikati-visiting-president-about-cabinet-source-2021-09-10 with President Michel Aoun, raising hopes the state may finally take measures to arrest the collapse and to re-engage in talks with the…
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Factbox: What to watch for as the Taliban inch closer to Kabul

Factbox: What to watch for as the Taliban inch closer to Kabul

Aug 14 (Reuters) - The insurgent Taliban have captured Afghanistan's second- and third-largest cities, and a town just south of Kabul, and now have their sights set on the capital. Here are some facts about the city and previous assaults: CURRENT SITUATION - U.S. officials have said the insurgents could make a move within days on the city, whose population of 5 million people has been swollen with thousands fleeing other parts of the country. Thousands of troops from the United States and Britain are flying in to secure the airport and their embassies as foreign missions start evacuating personnel.…
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Caught between China and the U.S., Asian countries stockpile powerful new missiles

Caught between China and the U.S., Asian countries stockpile powerful new missiles

Asia is sliding into a dangerous arms race as smaller nations that once stayed on the sidelines build arsenals of advanced long-range missiles, following in the footsteps of powerhouses China and the United States, analysts say. China is mass producing its DF-26 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-anniversary-military-idUSKBN1WG342 - a multipurpose weapon with a range of up to 4,000 kilometres - while the United States is developing new weapons aimed at countering Beijing in the Pacific. Other countries in the region are buying or developing their own new missiles, driven by security concerns over China and a desire to reduce their reliance on the United States. Before the decade is…
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“Diplomacy remains the best tool for resolving conflicts” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

“Diplomacy remains the best tool for resolving conflicts” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

"A lot of issues today can't be solved by one country alone whoever the country is. So, whether we like it or not, we are condemned to working together." Malta's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, was speaking to Turkish News Agency Anadolu, prior to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on the Eastern Mediterranean.  The Antalya Diplomacy Forum has seen a high turnout from the leaders and foreign ministers of different countries. Mentioning "the need for a conference of the Eastern Mediterranean," Bartolo said the countries in the region can discuss economic development, issues of security and energy as…
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Israel is set for a change of government. Who? When? Why?

Israel is set for a change of government. Who? When? Why?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is on the verge of being toppled from power after more than a decade in office. The 71-year-old right-winger looks set to be ousted by an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist and other parties who clinched a deal to form a government that would break a period of unprecedented political deadlock that saw four elections in two years. WHO ARE THE NEW GUARD? NAFTALI BENNETT, 49, heads the ultra-nationalist party Yamina - "Rightwards". The religious, pro-settler, party won only seven of the Knesset's 120 seats in the March 23 election but he emerged first…
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What is going on between Israel and the Palestinians?

What is going on between Israel and the Palestinians?

Weeks of violent clashes in East Jerusalem have ignited the heaviest fighting in years between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. At the core of the violence that has left dozens dead are tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over Jerusalem, which contains sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. As both sides appear to be digging in for more prolonged fighting, here are some of the factors that triggered the escalation. RAMADAN PROTESTS, JERUSALEM EVICTIONS Since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in mid-April, Palestinians have faced off nightly with Israeli police in East Jerusalem,…
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Disputes and divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean are not on maps but in the hearts and minds of all of us involved, our histories and traditions – Evarist Bartolo

Disputes and divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean are not on maps but in the hearts and minds of all of us involved, our histories and traditions – Evarist Bartolo

The following is a speech delivered by Malta's Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo on Friday 14th May, which CDEIU is carrying as it presents a timely invitation to 'dare to dream' at a very sensitive moment in the Middle East. "Existing disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean will not be solved by force. They require more than ever dialogue and negotiations. In recent months we have seen hopeful signs to a return to open dialogue. The Bible exhorts us to “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” We know how difficult this is, even among neighbours within the same block of apartments, let alone…
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Israel’s Netanyahu in court for corruption trial

Israel’s Netanyahu in court for corruption trial

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal and political troubles will play out simultaneously on Monday, at his corruption trial and in the president's residence. Judges ordered Netanyahu to be in court for the prosecution's opening argument on three cases involving charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin will begin talks over who should lead the next government after a fourth inconclusive election on March 23. A man wearing a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a protest outside the district court in Salah El-Din, East Jerusalem, 05 April 2021. Netanyahu is facing trial…
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Twenty years on, EU turns cold on Mercosur trade deal

Twenty years on, EU turns cold on Mercosur trade deal

As the European Union looks forward to a fresh start with the United States under a new president, it is riddled with doubts over another transatlantic relationship. A trade pact struck in 2019 with the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay after two decades of talks promised to be the EU's largest deal, with the removal of 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of import tariffs on its products. But two years later, it is unclear when - or whether - it will enter force due to Europe's concerns over Amazon deforestation and scepticism about Brazil's commitment to tackling…
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EU charts third way in ties with US and China

EU charts third way in ties with US and China

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first videoconference with European Union foreign ministers last month was so good humoured that some diplomats in Europe described it as a “love fest”. But two senior envoys who attended said there was no direct response from the ministers gathered in Brussels when Blinken said: “We must push back on China together and show strength in unity.” Their reticence is partly due to an unwillingness to commit to anything until Washington spells out more fully its China policy under President Joe Biden. But the ministers were also cautious because the EU is looking for…
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Ten years of Syria conflict, from protest to war to economic decline

Ten years of Syria conflict, from protest to war to economic decline

Ten years into Syria’s conflict, President Bashar al-Assad has survived the bloody insurgency which started out with peaceful protests in March 2011. He holds sway over many parts of the country, helped by Russia’s military presence and Iran’s Shi’ite militias. Hostile Turkey still controls swathes of territory in the northwest and the U.S. has a presence in the northeast, a major oil and wheat producing area. But Assad’s biggest challenge now is the economy. Post-war discontent with corruption, spiralling food prices, a collapsed currency, worsening power cuts and gasoline shortages have aggravated hardships for many families who have lost loved…
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Yemen’s Houthis attack Saudi oil heartland with drones, missiles

Yemen’s Houthis attack Saudi oil heartland with drones, missiles

Yemen's Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry on Sunday, including a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura vital to petroleum exports, in what Riyadh called a failed assault on global energy security. The Saudi energy ministry said there were no casualties or loss of property from the attacks. The defence ministry said it intercepted an armed drone coming from the sea prior to hitting its target at an oil storage yard at Ras Tanura, site of a refinery and the world's biggest offshore oil loading facility. Shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell…
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Love, adultery and betrayal: A look at big British royal TV interviews

Love, adultery and betrayal: A look at big British royal TV interviews

Prince Harry and Meghan, Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are due to appear in an in-depth TV interview with U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Sunday. Here are details of previous major television interviews given by senior members of the British royal family, some of which went badly for the monarchy. QUEEN ELIZABETH The 94-year-old British monarch has never given a formal interview, although she has appeared in TV documentaries about her family and discussed issues relating to specific aspects of royal life. PRINCE CHARLES/PRINCESS DIANA - 1981 Shortly after announcing their engagement to the world, heir-to-the-throne Prince…
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ANALYSIS-Biden faces calls to jumpstart North Korea talks with more pragmatic goals

ANALYSIS-Biden faces calls to jumpstart North Korea talks with more pragmatic goals

With U.S. policy toward North Korea in limbo as the new administration in Washington conducts a months-long policy review, former officials and experts are sparring over whether to shift focus from seeking the North's full denuclearisation. The administration of President Joe Biden says its review of North Korea policy will be finished in coming months, before announcing its plans for handling a rolling crisis that has bedevilled generations of U.S. presidents. In his first major speech outlining Biden's top foreign policy priorities, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday focused on China, only mentioning North Korea as one of several…
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The month since Myanmar’s military coup

The month since Myanmar’s military coup

Here is a timeline of events since Myanmar’s military took power in a coup on Monday, Feb. 1. Feb 1: Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior figures from the National League for Democracy (NLD) are detained in an early morning raid. The military declares a state of emergency for a year, and says it carried out the detentions in response to alleged election fraud, handing power to army chief Min Aung Hlaing. The junta removes 24 ministers and deputies, naming 11 replacements. Feb 3: Staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments across Myanmar stop work to…
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What’s the deal? The nuts and bolts of the new post-Brexit agreement

What’s the deal? The nuts and bolts of the new post-Brexit agreement

CDE / DPA / Reuters -The post-Brexit trade deal reached by the United Kingdom and the European Union goes beyond the EU's so-called "Canada-style" trade accord, the BBC said on Friday, citing what it said was a full copy of the accord. The 1,246-page document includes about 800 pages of annexes and footnotes, the BBC said, adding that the pages of legal text will determine every aspect of trade between the UK and the EU. Despite enormous disagreements over the past years, the European Union and Britain breathed a collective sigh of relief on Thursday after finally managing to find…
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A Brexit trade deal at last – so what?

A Brexit trade deal at last – so what?

LONDON/BRUSSELS, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Nearly five years since the Brexit crisis began, the United Kingdom and the European Union have clinched a trade deal that defines their relationship after Dec. 31. Why does it matter after all the twists and turns of Britain's exit from the EU? 1) ATMOSPHERE - Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31 but has been in a status quo transition period since then. The deal struck on Thursday avoids an acrimonious and economically tumultuous end to that phase on New Year's Eve, after which the EU will deem the UK a 'third country'.…
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Insights – Libya’s rival forces have stopped shooting, but they’re not pulling back

Insights – Libya’s rival forces have stopped shooting, but they’re not pulling back

SIRTE, Libya/TUNIS (Reuters) - In Libya's frontline city of Sirte, parts of which still lie in ruins, the commission set up to oversee warring rivals' recent ceasefire has put its name on a large downtown conference centre - an outward sign of its commitment to peace. So far the ceasefire is holding, and some elements of the truce have been implemented: flights between rival cities Tripoli and Benghazi have resumed and foreign fighters have left oil facilities - the keys to Libya's economy. But meetings of the Joint Military Commission in northern Libya, attended by five officers each from the…
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Western Sahara, an old conflict on the verge of explosion

Western Sahara, an old conflict on the verge of explosion

A dispute over Western Sahara threatens to result in a new round of conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement. Here are some facts about the territory, the dispute and the main players. THE TERRITORY The size of Britain, Western Sahara is sparsely populated with phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds. Morocco staked a claim to the territory while it was under Spanish colonial rule. At the same time, Sahrawi people living there formed the Polisario Front to push for independence. When Spain left, Morocco annexed Western Sahara and encouraged thousands of Moroccans to settle there. THE DISPUTE…
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Analysis – OPEC would miss ‘friend Trump’, wary of strains under Biden, sources say

Analysis – OPEC would miss ‘friend Trump’, wary of strains under Biden, sources say

Key members of OPEC are wary that strains in the OPEC+ alliance could reemerge with Joe Biden as U.S. President, sources close to the organisation said, and would miss President Donald Trump who went from criticising the group to helping bring about a record oil output cut. Biden could modify U.S. diplomatic relations with three members of OPEC - de facto leader Saudi Arabia, and sanctioned countries Iran and Venezuela, as well as with key non-OPEC producer Russia. Russia is the leader of oil producers allied with OPEC, a group known as OPEC+. Strict enforcement of U.S. sanctions on Iran…
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Global uncertainty could risk World War Three -UK military chief

Global uncertainty could risk World War Three -UK military chief

Current global uncertainty and anxiety amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic could risk another world war, the head of Britain's armed forces has warned. In an interview aired to coincide with Remembrance Sunday, the annual commemorations for those who have been killed and wounded in conflict, Nick Carter, Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff, said an escalation in regional tensions and errors of judgement could ultimately lead to widespread conflict. "I think we are living at a moment in time where the world is a very uncertain and anxious place and of course, the dynamic of global…
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Analysis – Will Trumpism outlast Trump?

Analysis – Will Trumpism outlast Trump?

As he closed his campaign with a series of boisterous rallies, President Donald Trump told his cheering crowds they would prove all the experts wrong again - just as they had when he improbably won the U.S. presidency in 2016. “A great red wave is coming,” Trump said at an Oct. 31 rally in Pennsylvania, predicting a surge of Republican support would carry him to re-election. “There’s not a thing they can do about it.” Trump lost the White House, according to media outlets that called the tight race on Saturday morning for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, the former…
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Analysis – A longtime fixture in U.S. politics, Biden finally wins elusive prize

Analysis – A longtime fixture in U.S. politics, Biden finally wins elusive prize

Joe Biden, a fixture in U.S. politics for a half century as a senator and vice president, completed a long climb to the political summit that included two previous failed presidential bids by defeating President Donald Trump. When he enters the White House on Jan. 20, Biden, at the age of 78, will be the oldest person ever to assume the office. The Democrat from Delaware played up his political experience during a bitter and divisive campaign, casting himself as a tested leader capable of healing a nation battered by the coronavirus pandemic and providing steadiness after the turbulence of…
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Analysis – Kamala Harris breaks barriers as America’s next vice president

Analysis – Kamala Harris breaks barriers as America’s next vice president

Kamala Harris made history on Saturday with her election as Joe Biden’s vice president, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to win the second highest U.S. office. Harris, 56, is widely seen as an obvious candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in 2024 should Biden, who will be 78 at their inauguration on Jan. 20, decide not to seek a second term. She hasn’t weighed in publicly on such speculation. Edison Research and the major U.S. television networks on Saturday projected their victory, based on unofficial final results, even though the incumbent president, Republican Donald…
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Analysis – Biden’s winning strategy

Analysis – Biden’s winning strategy

Three days before Election Day, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was leaving nothing to chance. Polls showed him with a steady, but small, lead in the battleground state of Michigan, a must-win to take the White House.  At a socially distanced, drive-in rally on Belle Isle Park, near downtown Detroit, Motown legend Stevie Wonder performed. Then came the ultimate star power: Barack Obama, the nation's first Black president, urged voters in the 78% African American city to cast their ballots for Biden, his former vice president. Michigan was part of a troika of Rust Belt states that Republican Donald Trump…
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Can Trump call in troops to quell Election Day unrest?

Can Trump call in troops to quell Election Day unrest?

There have been pockets of unrest in battleground states ahead of the showdown between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in Tuesday's election. On Saturday, peaceful participants at a rally in North Carolina to turn out the vote were pepper-sprayed by law enforcement officials. The Biden campaign canceled two events after a caravan of vehicles with Trump campaign flags swarmed a bus carrying campaign workers in Texas on Friday. Trump, who previously declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he decides Tuesday's election results are fraudulent, could bring in the military or federal agents…
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Did Donald Trump make America great again?

Did Donald Trump make America great again?

Saying he knew best what ailed America and often governing by executive order, President Donald Trump dismantled or disrupted multilateral pacts, overhauled tax and immigration systems and, with the help of Senate Republicans, reshaped the judiciary. Trump's actions may be undone in many areas over time, but win or lose, his legacy will endure in the federal courts where his conservative lifetime appointees will influence every aspect of American life for decades. His record will be put to the test on Tuesday, Election Day, when Democrat Joe Biden challenges him for the White House. THE JUDICIARY Working in lockstep with…
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U.S. opinion poll experts say there are good reasons to trust this year’s election polls

U.S. opinion poll experts say there are good reasons to trust this year’s election polls

Whenever President Donald Trump is confronted with polls he does not like, especially the torrent of national data showing him trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in public support, the president's response is usually the same: Fake news. If the polls were always right, his thinking goes, Hillary Clinton should be running for re-election, not him. The former Democratic presidential candidate consistently led Trump in state and national polls in 2016 before he won the White House, just like Biden does now. But opinion poll experts say there are good reasons to trust this year's polls more than those of 2016.…
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British companies dreading a Brexit border breakdown

British companies dreading a Brexit border breakdown

Deal or no deal, British companies will have to confront a wall of bureaucracy that threatens chaos at the border if they want to sell into the world's biggest trading bloc when life after Brexit begins on January 1. When Britain casts off from the European Union, firms that drive nearly $1 trillion in annual trade will have to navigate myriad new rules and red tape that will increase costs just as COVID-19 bleeds the economies of the West. Outside the EU single market where trade flows freely, Britain's exporters will have to complete a raft of paperwork including customs…
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The 10 ‘Organising Principles’ underpinning relaunched UK-EU talks

The 10 ‘Organising Principles’ underpinning relaunched UK-EU talks

Britain and the European Union have agreed to resume talks on reaching a trade deal to govern their future relations, setting out a new set of “organising principles” for intensified talks to begin on Thursday. The principles, as set out in a British government statement, are: 1. The parties have agreed to intensify negotiations. Talks will take place across all negotiating tables concurrently. Negotiations will take place daily including weekends, unless both sides agree otherwise. 2. This next and final phase of the negotiations will in principle be on the basis of each side’s legal texts while a common approach…
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What’s behind Thailand’s protests?

What’s behind Thailand’s protests?

Thailand’s government banned gatherings of more than five people on Thursday in the face of three months of escalating demonstrations that have targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. HOW DID THE PROTESTS START? Anti-government protests emerged last year after courts banned the most vocal party opposing the government of former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha. After a pause during measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, protests resumed in mid-July - pushing for Prayuth’s removal, a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists. Some protesters went further with a list of…
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Female vote key but policies lacking in New Zealand election

Female vote key but policies lacking in New Zealand election

New Zealand’s upcoming general election has the rare distinction of providing a choice of two female candidates as the country’s next leader in a poll that could be decided by the female vote. Yet there is growing criticism that neither incumbent Jacinda Ardern nor challenger Judith Collins have policies to address the fact that women - who make up half the 5 million population - have been disproportionately negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “There has been a frightening silence, to be honest,” said Lisa Lawrence, President for the National Council of Women. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is…
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What happens to the U.S. presidential election if a candidate dies or becomes incapacitated?

What happens to the U.S. presidential election if a candidate dies or becomes incapacitated?

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday tested positive for COVID-19 and was taken to hospital. Trump has mild symptoms, according to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. But the diagnosis, less than five weeks before the Nov. 3 election, has raised questions about what happens if a presidential candidate or the president-elect dies or becomes incapacitated. Here’s how U.S. law and party rules address those scenarios: - Can the Nov. 3 election be postponed? Yes, but that is very unlikely to happen. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the election date. Under U.S. law, the election…
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How Mike Pence could temporarily assume control if Trump becomes incapacitated

How Mike Pence could temporarily assume control if Trump becomes incapacitated

Like two U.S. presidents before him, Donald Trump could temporarily hand over power to his vice president should he become incapacitated, for example while undergoing a medical procedure as treatment for the coronavirus. Trump said on Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was going into quarantine to begin the recovery process immediately. Under Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967 following the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy, Trump could declare in writing his inability to discharge his duties. Vice President Mike Pence would become acting president, although Trump would remain in office.…
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UPDATED: Azerbaijan declares partial military mobilisation amid reports of Syrian fighters involvement

UPDATED: Azerbaijan declares partial military mobilisation amid reports of Syrian fighters involvement

Azerbaijan declared a partial military mobilisation on Monday following clashes with Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. See also: Armenia Accuses Turkey Of Direct Military Support For Azerbaijan Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on mobilisation on the second day of clashes which the two sides, which fought a war over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s, blame on each other and in which both have reported fatalities. Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians, declared martial law and mobilised their male populations on Sunday.  Earlier, Armenian Defence Ministry said it was checking…
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Why Thai protesters are challenging the monarchy

Why Thai protesters are challenging the monarchy

Since a longstanding taboo on criticising Thailand's monarchy was broken by protesters in early August, their rallies in Bangkok have got increasingly bold in criticising King Maha Vajiralongkorn and demanding change. HOW DID THE PROTESTS START? Anti-government protests emerged last year after courts banned the most vocal party opposing the government of former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha. After a pause during measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, protests resumed in mid-July - pushing for Prayuth's removal, a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists. Some protesters went further with a list of 10 demands to…
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OPEC turns 60

OPEC turns 60

In 1973, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries brought the U.S. economy to its knees. Now, the cartel created 60 years ago is more likely to do Washington's bidding. Since Saudi Arabia and other Arab OPEC members imposed their famous oil embargo as retribution for U.S. support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War, shifts in global politics and a surge in America's oil production have tamed the group. OPEC's most hawkish members, Iran and Venezuela, have been sidelined by U.S. sanctions while its kingpin, Saudi Arabia, has shown it would rather appease Washington than risk losing…
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Supporters who helped Trump win presidency lagging in motivation this year

Supporters who helped Trump win presidency lagging in motivation this year

With less than two months to go until the U.S. election, President Donald Trump is having trouble energizing his core supporters, especially white voters without college degrees who were key to his victory in 2016, a Reuters polling analysis shows. The analysis, based on Reuters/Ipsos national opinion polling from May to August and 2016 exit poll data, found that Trump has lost support among non-college educated whites, who made up 44% of the U.S. electorate four years ago and heavily favored the Republican over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump is still more popular with this group than Democratic presidential nominee Joe…
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Brexit back in crisis as UK threatens to undermine divorce pact

Brexit back in crisis as UK threatens to undermine divorce pact

. Brexit trade talks plunged into fresh crisis on Monday after Britain warned the European Union that it could undercut the divorce deal it signed unless the bloc agrees to a free trade deal by Oct. 15. In one of the most startling turns of the four-year Brexit saga, Britain is reportedly planning new legislation to override parts of January's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, potentially jeopardising the treaty and creating frictions in Northern Ireland. Sections of the internal market bill are expected to "eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement" in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland…
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On This Day…

On This Day…

301 - San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, founded by Saint Marinus  1783 - Treaty of Paris signed in Paris ends the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and United States of America  1894 - Labor Day was celebrated as a legal holiday in the United States for the first time.  1900 - With a proclamation by General Lord Roberts, Britain annexes the Boer Republic of South Africa  1939 - World War II: Britain declares war on Germany after invasion of Poland. France follows 6 hours later quickly joined…
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After port blast, rudderless Lebanon drifts towards the rocks

After port blast, rudderless Lebanon drifts towards the rocks

Three weeks after the catastrophic explosion at Beirut port, Lebanon is drifting towards even more trouble as its politicians fail to agree a new government that can arrest a financial meltdown. As Lebanon grapples with the aftermath of the blast that killed 180 people, its politicians have been locked in fruitless talks to agree on a new prime minister who might be able to restart International Monetary Fund talks and enact reforms. Even before the Aug. 4 port explosion, caused by unsafely stored chemicals, the financial collapse had devastated lives across Lebanon, fuelling hyperinflation and poverty and demolishing the value…
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What’s next after Japan PM Abe resigned? Potential successors?

What’s next after Japan PM Abe resigned? Potential successors?

The abrupt news that Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe resign over a worsening health condition, set off a flurry of attention on Friday over the path ahead for the world's third-biggest economy. His resignation announcement will trigger an election in his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to replace him as its president, followed by a vote in parliament to elect a new prime minister. Abe and his cabinet would continue to run the government until a new premier is elected but could not adopt new policies. The winner of the party election would then hold the post until the end…
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Three years on, Rohingya refugees remain in Bangladesh camps

Three years on, Rohingya refugees remain in Bangladesh camps

August 25 marked the third anniversary of attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents that triggered military retaliation and led to the exodus from Buddhist-majority Myanmar over following days and weeks of about 730,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh. The insurgents raided 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine State. At least 12 members of the security forces were killed, the army and government said at the time. The Myanmar military responded immediately with a sweeping crackdown in Rohingya areas that forced the 730,000 villagers to flee to Bangladesh where they remain in camps. A general view of a Rohingya refugees' makeshift…
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Who is Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny?

Who is Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny?

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is in Germany from Siberia for treatment. He is in a coma after drinking what his supporters suspect was poisoned tea; they accuse the authorities of trying to conceal a crime. Here are some key details about Navalny: OVERVIEW A leading anti-corruption campaigner, Navalny was one of the first protest leaders arrested when demonstrations against Russian President Vladimir Putin took off in December 2011. He soon became established as one of the leaders of the Russian opposition, though internal squabbling and policy differences among different factions have often divided the movement. He has been barred…
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In convention speech, Biden emerges from shadow and into ‘the light’

In convention speech, Biden emerges from shadow and into ‘the light’

Joe Biden finally got his moment. After a 2020 presidential campaign dominated by President Donald Trump's words and actions, Biden on Thursday rose to the level of a true adversary as he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for the November election. Accused by the Republican Trump of hiding in his basement throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Biden turned his opponent's narrative to his advantage on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, delivering an austere address in a quiet room that some commentators, both left and right, likened to a speech from the Oval Office, not a convention floor. Biden,…
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What is the purpose of the U.S. presidential nominating conventions?

What is the purpose of the U.S. presidential nominating conventions?

The United States has held presidential nominating conventions for almost 200 years, and they have served in recent decades as an important televised introduction to each party's candidate in the final months before the election. Here is a look at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions, which kick off on Monday and run back-to-back weeks. The presidential election is Nov. 3. PICKING A NOMINEE U.S. political conventions were once a place where presidential nominees were decided, often after multiple ballots and long fights, often among party elders in "smoke-filled rooms." But that has not happened in decades. The last…
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UAE’s Israel deal met with Arab dismay but quiet welcome in Gulf

UAE’s Israel deal met with Arab dismay but quiet welcome in Gulf

From cries of "betrayal" to fears about "falling dominoes", the deal making the United Arab Emirates the third Arab state to forge ties with Israel stirred anger and dismay around the Middle East, but a cautious welcome from the UAE's Gulf allies. The mixed response highlighted new fault lines in a region where fear and distrust of Iran - shared by Israel and some Arab states - has challenged a decades-old allegiance to the Palestinian issue as a major driver of Arab policy. Palestinians, who want to establish a state on West Bank territory captured by Israel in 1967, denounced…
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