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Greece wants emergency EU ministers' meeting on Turkey tensions

Greece wants emergency EU ministers' meeting on Turkey tensions

United States ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will request an emergency meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers over Turkey’s decision to dispatch a seismic research vessel in a disputed area in the eastern Mediterranean, the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday. The two NATO allies, who hold fundamentally different views on where their continental shelves begin and end, are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region. Tensions escalated on Monday after Turkey’s navy issued an advisory known as a Navtex saying that the Oruc Reis vessel would operate in an area of...

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Johnson blocks plan to invite Scottish First Minister to cabinet meetings - FT

Johnson blocks plan to invite Scottish First Minister to cabinet meetings - FT

United Kingdom (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has blocked a plan to invite Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to cabinet meetings, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Tuesday. The proposal was made by Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, as a means to contain increasing public support in Scotland for independence by giving the Scottish National Party leader a direct say in policy meetings impacting the whole of UK, the newspaper reported. “He (Johnson) doesn’t like the idea of Sturgeon being seen as on the same political level as him”, the report quoted a...

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Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit

Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit

United States MOSCOW (Reuters) - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Tuesday that Russia was trying to use a political crisis in Belarus to draw Minsk closer into its orbit by pressuring it to agree to closer integration. President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he wanted neighbouring Belarus to reactivate stalled plans for more integration with Russia after a contested election win left Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, an on-off Russian ally, on the defensive. Linkevicius, speaking to Reuters in a video call, called Russia’s actions another “vector of instability”...

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World Food Programme to send 50,000 T of wheat flour to Lebanon: U.N

World Food Programme to send 50,000 T of wheat flour to Lebanon: U.N

United States DUBAI (Reuters) - A report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released on Tuesday said the World Food Programme would be sending 50,000 tonnes of wheat flour to Beirut to stabilise Lebanon’s wheat supply. A Reuters report on Friday revealed Lebanon’s government held no strategic stockpile of grain before last week’s blast at the port and all privately held stocks at the country’s only grain silo were destroyed in the explosion. The flour will be sent “to stabilise the national supply and ensure there is no food shortage in the country,” the...

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Trump says he is inclined to host G7 meeting after the November 3 election

Trump says he is inclined to host G7 meeting after the November 3 election

United States WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he is interested in hosting a Group of Seven summit following the Nov. 3 presidential elections, adding that invitations to leaders have not yet been sent. In May, Trump postponed a G7 summit he had hoped to hold in June until September or later and said he hoped to expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India. Reporting by Jeff Mason and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chris Reese

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Russia fines Google for not blocking banned content: Ifax

Russia fines Google for not blocking banned content: Ifax

United States MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Monday fined Google 1.5 million roubles ($20,350) after finding it guilty of failing to block content banned in Russia, the Interfax news agency reported. Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Jason Neely

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Trump escorted from briefing after shooting outside White House

Trump escorted from briefing after shooting outside White House

United Kingdom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted from the White House briefing room on Monday shortly after a shooting outside the fence surrounding the complex. Trump returned to the media room after several minutes and said a person had been shot by law enforcement and to the hospital. He said he understood the suspect had been armed. “It was a shooting outside of the White House,” Trump said. “It seems to be very well under control. ... But there was an actual shooting, and somebody has been taken to the hospital. I don’t know the condition of the...

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China imposes sanctions on Republican U.S. lawmakers over Hong Kong

China imposes sanctions on Republican U.S. lawmakers over Hong Kong

United States BEIJING (Reuters) - China imposed sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens including lawmakers from President Donald Trump Republican Party on Monday in response to Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials accused of curtailing political freedoms in the former British colony. Those targeted were six Republican lawmakers - Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith - as well as individuals at non-profit and rights groups. “In response to that wrong U.S. behaviour, China has decided to impose...

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Belarus election was not free and fair, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo says

Belarus election was not free and fair, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo says

United States WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is deeply concerned about the conduct of the presidential election in Belarus “which was not free and fair,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday. “We strongly condemn ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, as well as the use of internet shutdowns to hinder the ability of the Belarusian people to share information about the election and the demonstrations,” Pompeo added in a statement. Reporting by Eric Beech and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sandra Maler

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France helps hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger

France helps hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger

United States NIAMEY (Reuters) - Soldiers from France and Niger combed a giraffe reserve and surrounding areas on Monday for signs of the gunmen who killed six French aid workers along with their local guide and driver, a French military source said. Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group on Sunday while driving through the reserve, a popular destination for expatriates 65 km (40 miles) from Niger’s capital Niamey in an area considered safe by the government. Former colonial power France and other countries have warned people against travelling to parts of Niger where militants...

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Indonesia volcano spews huge ash cloud in second eruption in three days

Indonesia volcano spews huge ash cloud in second eruption in three days

United States JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian volcano spewed a giant ash cloud 5 km (3.1 miles) into the sky on Monday in its second eruption in three days, emitting a thunderous noise and turning the sky dark, authorities and witnesses said. The eruption of Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra comes after more than a year of inactivity and was the second since Saturday, as authorities warned residents and tourists about possible lava flows. Dramatic footage of the morning eruption captured by residents showed a giant cloud of thick ash rising from the peak of the 2,460-metre...

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Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow arrested, says fellow activist

Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow arrested, says fellow activist

United States LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow has been arrested under National Security Law, fellow activist Nathan Law said on Monday. “Agnes Chow is arrested under National Security Law and we are still acquiring information about the content of the arrests,” Law said on Twitter. “Horrible day.” (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William James)

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China's Sinopharm starts Phase III trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Bahrain

China's Sinopharm starts Phase III trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Bahrain

United States DUBAI (Reuters) - Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has begun Phase III clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in Bahrain, after launching similar trials in the United Arab Emirates last month, Bahrain’s health ministry said on Monday. The human trial, which launched in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi in mid-July, is a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42). G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said expanding the trial to the small island state of Bahrain...

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Johnson fears loss of UK's power and magic if Scotland breaks away

Johnson fears loss of UK's power and magic if Scotland breaks away

United States LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Monday that Britain would be weaker if the union that binds its four nations were broken - his latest rejection of a growing push for Scottish independence. Disagreements between Britain’s constituent nations - Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England - over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic have damaged relations already badly strained by Brexit. That is particularly the case in Scotland, which voted against leaving the European Union and where opinion polls show support for independence narrowly outweighs...

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China imposes sanctions on U.S. lawmakers over Hong Kong

China imposes sanctions on U.S. lawmakers over Hong Kong

United States BEIJING (Reuters) - China imposed sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens including legislators on Monday in response to the U.S. imposition of sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials accused of curtailing political freedoms in the former British colony. Among those targeted were Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith, as well as individuals at non-profit and rights groups. “In response to that wrong U.S. behaviour, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related...

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Algerian court jails journalist three years

Algerian court jails journalist three years

United States ALGIERS (Reuters) - An Algerian court on Monday sentenced a journalist and activist to three years in prison on charges of harming national unity, a rights group that defends detainees said. The court in the capital, Algiers, also handed a four-month jail sentence to two other activists for the same charges, according to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees. Justice Ministry officials could not be reached for comment. The sentences against jounalist Khaled Drareni and activists Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche are linked to protests that toppled President...

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Polish rate-setter Gatnar says central bank should consider raising interest rates

Polish rate-setter Gatnar says central bank should consider raising interest rates

United States WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s interest rates are too low and the Monetary Policy Council (MPC), the central bank’s rate-setting panel, should consider increasing them, rate-setter Eugeniusz Gatnar was quoted as saying by Parkiet daily on Monday. The central bank has cut rates three times this year to a record low of 0.1% and launched large-scale bond purchases to help the economy weather the coronavirus crisis. “In my opinion the main interest rate is too low...One should consider an increase because it is difficult to find any positive outcome of maintaining it on this...

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Fire breaks out near Lebanese parliament amid clashes with protesters: tv

Fire breaks out near Lebanese parliament amid clashes with protesters: tv

United States BEIRUT (Reuters) - A fire broke out at an entrances to parliament square in central Beirut as hundreds of angry anti-government protesters tried to break into the cordoned-off area, Lebanese TV channels showed. The live broadcasts also showed police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators. Protesters broke into the housing and transport ministry offices. Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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China targeting U.S. election infrastructure with cyberattacks, says O'Brien

China targeting U.S. election infrastructure with cyberattacks, says O'Brien

United States WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chinese government-linked hackers have been targeting U.S. election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 presidential election, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday, indicating a more active level of alleged Chinese interference. O’Brien’s comments appeared to go beyond a statement released on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which said China “has been expanding its influence efforts,” and that Russia was already trying to undercut Democratic candidate Joe Biden. But did not specifically accuse...

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Grounded Mauritius ship operator apologises for oil leak

Grounded Mauritius ship operator apologises for oil leak

United States TOKYO (Reuters) - The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean apologised on Sunday for a major oil spill which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. Fuel started leaking from the cracked vessel on Thursday. “We apologise profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Akihiko Ono, executive vice president of Mitsui OSK Lines said at a new conference in Tokyo. He added that the...

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Macron's office confirms French nationals killed in Niger

Macron's office confirms French nationals killed in Niger

United States PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron’s office confirmed on Sunday that French nationals had been killed in Niger, West Africa. It said Macron spoke on the phone with Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, but provided no further details. Gunmen on motorcycles killed six French citizens and their Nigerien guide and driver in a wildlife park in Niger on Sunday, a senior official and a security source said. Reporting by Michel Rose,; Writing by Bate Felix, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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Donors pledge more than 250 million euros in immediate aid for Lebanon, France says

Donors pledge more than 250 million euros in immediate aid for Lebanon, France says

United States PARIS (Reuters) - An emergency donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said. Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough and Angus MacSwan

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China targeting U.S. election infrastructure with cyberattacks, says O'Brien

China targeting U.S. election infrastructure with cyberattacks, says O'Brien

United States WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chinese government-linked hackers have been targeting U.S. election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 presidential election, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday, indicating a more active level of alleged Chinese interference. O’Brien’s comments appeared to go beyond a statement released on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which said China “has been expanding its influence efforts,” and that Russia was already trying to undercut Democratic candidate Joe Biden. But did not specifically accuse...

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Esper: U.S. will cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 'less than 5,000'

Esper: U.S. will cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 'less than 5,000'

United States WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, adding detail to drawdown plans U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier this week. The United States currently has about 8,600 troops in Afghanistan. Trump said in an interview released Monday by Axios that the United States planned to lower that number to about 4,000. Esper announced the lower troop levels in a Fox News interview. Reporting by Brad Heath;...

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U.S. health chief arrives in Taiwan on trip condemned by China

U.S. health chief arrives in Taiwan on trip condemned by China

United States TAIPEI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday as the highest-level U.S. official to visit in four decades, a trip condemned by China which claims the island as its own, further irritating Sino-U.S. relations. Washington broke off official ties with Taipei in 1979 in favour of Beijing. The Trump administration has made strengthening its support for the democratic island a priority, and boosted arms sales. Beijing, already arguing with Washington over everything from human rights and trade to the handling of the coronavirus...

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