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President Trump meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican
Publish Time: 2017-05-24 11:38:00
US President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday. The two met for a private one-on-one meeting, and also exchanged gifts in front of reporters and the president's visiting delegation, which included First Lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House advisers and the president's son-in-law and daughter, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.The president gave the Pope a case of books by Martin Luther King, while the Pope gave Trump a medal by a Roman artist inscribed with an olive branch. Francis explained that the branch is a symbol of peace, and Trump replied: "We can use peace."The Pope also presented Trump with three books he said he sends to all Catholics: one on family, one on the gospel and one on "care of our common home, the environment." "Well, I'll be reading them," Trump said, as reported by ABC News. The visit to the Vatican was the third stop of Trump's tour of sites representing three major religions. Over the weekend he stopped in Saudi Arabia, where he delivered an address to Muslim leaders, and Monday through Tuesday he visited Israel and the West Bank and met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.    
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Nato hit by Turkish veto on Austria partnership
Publish Time: 2017-05-24 10:01:00
Turkey has vetoed Nato's co-operation with Austria, a move which had blocked the alliance's partnership activities with 41 countries.As a result, Nato members recently agreed to change its procedures, allowing partnerships to go ahead on a country-by-country basis.Austria is not in Nato, but co-operates closely with it and has more than 400 troops serving in Kosovo.Turkey is angry with Austria for trying to block its bid to join the EU. It has the second-largest military in Nato, after the United States. Austria has condemned the Turkish action, calling it "irresponsible".A well-informed source told the BBC that heightened tensions between Turkey and Austria had essentially blocked Nato co-operation with the government in Vienna for the past year.The veto originally affected all the Western alliance's partnership activities, which include several ex-Soviet states, BBC reports.But a Nato official, who asked not to be named, later said that the 28 Nato nations had agreed on Monday to change the system to work around the diplomatic spat. "This will substantially reduce the risk of blockages to cooperation with partners across the board," the official said.The procedural reform was already planned before Turkey's blocking manoeuvre, and was pushed through in time to allow co-operation with other countries to continue. But Turkey is expected to maintain its veto on Austria's involvement in operations.A Nato meeting is planned for Thursday, at the 28-nation alliance's Brussels headquarters. Officials said the main topics would be the fight against terrorism, and fairer burden-sharing.US President Donald Trump has criticised Nato members who fail to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence. Besides the US and UK only Poland, Greece and Estonia currently meet that target.     
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Suicide attack at Ariana Grande concert in Britain kills 22 people
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 20:05:00
Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and 59 were wounded in a suicide bomber during a concert given by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.Victims told how an improvised explosive device carried by the attacker caused them to be thrown by the blast, which scattered nuts and bolts across the floor of the foyer area, as reported by The Telegraph.Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack, making it the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 2005. Queen Elizabeth expressed her deepest sympathy on Tuesday to all those affected by the suicide bomb attack in Manchester.  She said the whole country was shocked. The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the Manchester suicide bombing. The suicide bomber is liquidated. Law enforcers are looking for other possible compliances of the attack. It is the worst terror attack to hit Britain since the July 7, 2005 suicide bomb attacks in central London in which 52 people were killed and came four years to the day Lee Rigby was murdered by Islamist extremists.
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Queen Elizabeth says whole country shocked by Manchester attack
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 16:09:00
Queen Elizabeth expressed her deepest sympathy on Tuesday to all those affected by the suicide bomb attack in Manchester.  At least 22 people, including some children, were killed and 59 wounded when a suicide bomber struck as thousands of fans streamed out of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.
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Hugo Chavez's childhood home burned by protesters in Venezuela
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 13:07:00
Protesters set fire to late President Hugo Chavez's childhood home in western Venezuela on Monday, an opposition lawmaker said, as protests against the South American nation's socialist government grew increasingly hostile.While demonstrators are decrying current President Nicolas Maduro for the country's triple-digit inflation, rising crime and shortages of food and medicine, they have also destroyed at least five statues commemorating Chavez, Maduro's mentor and the founder of Venezuela's "Bolivarian revolution."Demonstrators lit the house in the city of Barinas where Chavez spent his early years aflame Monday afternoon along with several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council, said Pedro Luis Castillo, a legislator who represents the area.The burnings capped a violent day in Barinas — known as the cradle of Chavez's revolution — during which protesters clashed with national guardsmen, businesses were shuttered and roads were blocked with fire-filled barricades, Chicago Tribune reports.Nineteen-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed during a protest, according to the nation's chief prosecutor. His death brings to at least 49 the number killed in nearly two months of anti-government protests demanding new elections. "It is pretty symbolic that the citizens are venting their frustrations on the author of the Bolivarian revolution," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas.The street clashes engulfing Venezuela appear to be turning increasingly violent, with both security forces and youth protesters looking more unruly.
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Israeli Police Kill Knife-Wielding Attacker Near Jerusalem
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 12:53:00
Israeli police said a Palestinian attacker was killed after he tried to stab officers near Jerusalem as President Donald Trump visited the city on Monday, while clashes erupted in the West Bank as Palestinians declared a strike in solidarity with hundreds of hunger striking prisoners held in Israeli jails.Police spokesman said the attempted stabbing occurred near Abu Dis, a Palestinian town on the outskirts of Jerusalem. She said the assailant was running at police officers with a knife when he was shot. Trump was visiting Jerusalem's Old City, just a few miles (kilometers) away, at the time.Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli troops, and Palestinian shopkeepers shuttered their stores across the West Bank and east Jerusalem on Monday in solidarity with hundreds of hunger striking prisoners held in Israeli jails, The Associated Press reported. The strike coincided with the arrival of Trump for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Although the protests were not directly aimed against the president, organizers hoped to draw attention to their cause.The heaviest violence occurred at the Qalandia checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where dozens of Palestinian youths set tires and garbage on fire and hurled bottles and stones at Israeli troops.The army said troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The Palestinian Health Ministry said three people were wounded by live fire, a claim denied by the military.Protesters blocked roads elsewhere in the West Bank as the hunger strike entered its 36th day. Stores and government offices closed down, public transportation ground to a halt and main thoroughfares in Palestinian cities were empty of people and cars. Shop owners in east Jerusalem also closed their stores in solidarity.Hundreds of prisoners have joined the strike, which they say is aimed at improving their conditions, particularly allowing more family visits. Israel says the strike leader, Marwan Barghouti, is orchestrating the strike to raise his political profile.A Palestinian advocacy group says several of the hundreds of hunger striking prisoners have been hospitalized. The Palestinian prisoners' affairs committee called for a "day of rage" on Tuesday, when Trump visits the West Bank town Bethlehem, for "the voice of the prisoners to be heard by the presi
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Donald Trump hails 'rare opportunity' for peace in Middle East as he arrives in Israel
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 12:50:00
US President Donald Trump said there is "a rare opportunity" to bring peace to the war-torn Middle East as he landed in Israel for a visit that he hopes will jumpstart moribund peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. He also became the first US president to visit Western Wall amid controversy between the two countries over sovereignty at the site. Speaking on the runway of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, Mr Trump said that his meetings with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia had given him "new reasons for hope" that peace could be achieved. “We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people," he said. "But we can only get there working together, there is no other way."  
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Children among 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert by suicide bomb explosion
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 10:10:00
A suicide bomber has killed 22 people - including children - in an explosion that tore through fans leaving an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester.At least 59 people were also injured when the blast caused by an improvised explosive device carried by the attacker detonated at the Manchester Arena after the performance on Monday night.Victims described being thrown by the blast, which scattered nuts and bolts across the floor and told of seeing smoke and smelling burning in the foyer area.It is the worst terror attack to hit Britain since the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in central London in which 52 people were killed and came four years to the day Lee Rigby was murdered by Islamist extremists.Police were called to reports of an explosion at 10.33pm, shortly after Grande, the US singer, had finished her performance as thousands of people streamed out of the Arena.More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area and more than 400 police officers deployed as part of the operation, The Telegraph reported.
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Georgian PM expresses sorrow over Manchester attack
Publish Time: 2017-05-23 09:50:00
Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili expressed condolences to the Government of Great Britain and the British people over the tragedy that took place in Manchester last night.“I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attack in Manchester, England that claimed the lives of at least 19 people and left many injured.On behalf of the Government and the people of Georgia I offer my sincere sympathies to the Government of Great Britain and the British people. We wholeheartedly share your sorrow in this challenging time.I believe that the civilized world will launch even more vigorous efforts against terrorism and as a united force we will achieve peace across the world”, - says PM’s statement.At least 22 people, including some children, were killed and 59 wounded when a suicide bomber struck as thousands of fans streamed out of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.
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Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia in first foreign trip
Publish Time: 2017-05-20 13:42:00
US President Donald Trump has arrived in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of his first foreign trip since taking office, in a crucial test abroad as political scandals mount at home. In a red-carpet airport welcome, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud greeted Trump, his wife Melania and his entourage shortly after they landed in the capital, Riyadh, around 06:50 GMT on Saturday.Trump will hold a series of meetings with the king and other Arab and Muslim leaders on Saturday and Sunday, before jetting off to Israel, the occupied Palestinian Territories, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy in a nine-day tour across the Middle East and Europe.During the two-day visit to the kingdom, Trump is expected to sign a major weapons deal, give a speech on Islam and discuss the battle against "terrorism" with more than 50 leaders.It is the first time a US president has chosen Saudi Arabia as the first stop on a maiden trip, Al Jazeera reports. Trump's visit is seen as highly symbolic, as he looks to repair Washington's ties with its closest Arab ally.During the final years of Barack Obama's US presidency, "relations had undergone a period of difference of opinion", according to Saudi officials. These differences were largely centred around the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the Obama administration's cautions to the kingdom about the civilian toll of the war in Yemen. 
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11 killed in Baghdad car bomb blasts
Publish Time: 2017-05-20 13:37:00
Two car bombs in Baghdad have killed 11 people, including four police officers, and wounded at least 20, Iraqi police said, The Independent reports. The first attack targeted a police checkpoint on Friday night. Moments later, the second blast hit a nearby street crowded with civilians.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group.The bombings come as Iraqi forces are slowly moving in on the last neighbourhoods held by the Islamic State group in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
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Hassan Rouhani wins second term as president in Iran
Publish Time: 2017-05-20 13:09:00
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has won a second term in office, state television says, as reported by BBC. Out of some 40 million votes cast, he received more than half of those counted, with some areas still to declare, officials said on TV.Mr Rouhani, a moderate who agreed a deal with world powers to limit Iran's nuclear programme, would thus avoid a second-round run-off.His main challenger has complained about alleged voting irregularities. Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric, accused supporters of Mr Rouhani of hundreds of acts of propaganda at voting booths, which are banned under electoral law.Results from urban areas - much more likely to support Mr Rouhani - have not yet come in. State TV congratulated Mr Rouhani on his victory. Near-complete results showed he had gained 58.6% of the vote, compared with Mr Raisi's 39.8%.
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Iranians demanding change deliver emphatic victory for Rouhani
Update Time: 2017-05-20 12:16:00
Iranians yearning for more freedom at home and less isolation abroad have emphatically re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, throwing down a challenge to the conservative clergy that still holds ultimate sway.State television congratulated Rouhani on his victory. The architect of Iran's still-fragile detente with the West, he led with 58.6 percent of the vote, compared with 39.8 percent for his main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, according to near-complete results broadcast on Saturday.Although the powers of the elected president are limited by those of unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who outranks him, the scale of Rouhani's victory gives the pro-reform camp a strong mandate.Rouhani's opponent Raisi was a protege of Khamenei, tipped in Iranian media as a potential successor for the 77-year-old supreme leader who has been in power since 1989.The re-election is likely to safeguard the nuclear agreement Rouhani's government reached with global powers in 2015, under which most international sanctions have been lifted in return for Iran curbing its nuclear program, Reuters reports. 
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Georgian PM visiting Kingdom of Jordan
Publish Time: 2017-05-20 12:05:00
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili is visiting Kingdom of Jordan where World Economic Forum is being held on May 19-21 at the Dead Sea. About 1000 delegates from 50 countries are discussing economic development in Middle East and North Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Georgian PM will hold bilateral meetings including with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. 
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Macron cabinet: Women are half of France's new ministers
Publish Time: 2017-05-17 18:32:00
French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 new ministerial posts taken by women.Sylvie Goulard is defence minister while Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel is sports minister. Bruno Le Maire is economy minister, Gerard Collomb is interior minister and François Bayrou is justice minister.Mr Macron's decision to pluck figures from across the political spectrum has set the right into disarray. Mr Le Maire is a conservative moderate, Mr Collomb is the Socialist mayor of Lyon and Mr Bayrou is a veteran centrist.Some 170 elected officials from the right were earlier criticised by hundreds of other lawmakers after they signed a statement backing Mr Macron. One accused Mr Macron of "blowing up" the political landscape.Other ministerial appointees include Jean-Yves Le Drian, in charge of defence under President François Hollande, who will become foreign minister, and Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, who becomes ecology minister.Longtime Macron supporter and campaign manager Richard Ferrand is rewarded with the territorial cohesion portfolio.Other ministerial appointees include: Agnès Buzyn - health Murielle Pénicaud - labour Mounir Mahjoubi - junior minister for digital affairs Françoise Nyssen - culture Jean-Michel Blanquer - national education Jacques Mézard - agriculture and foodThe announcement was delayed after candidates were backg
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Trump Praises Erdogan as Ally in Terrorism Fight, Brushing Aside Tensions
Publish Time: 2017-05-17 18:28:00
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as a stalwart ally in the battle against Islamic extremism, ignoring Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown on his own people and brushing aside recent tensions between the United States and Turkey over how to wage the military campaign against the Islamic State.Welcoming Mr. Erdogan to the White House, Mr. Trump said, “Today, we face a new enemy in the fight against terrorism, and again we seek to face this threat together.”Mr. Trump said the United States supported Turkey’s battle against both the Islamic State and the P.K.K., a Kurdish militant group carrying out an insurgency inside Turkey. The Trump administration has decided to supply weapons to the Y.P.G., a Syrian Kurdish militia fighting alongside Syrian Arab forces against the Islamic State. That has caused tensions with Turkey, which says the Syrian Kurds are allied with the Turkish Kurds, New York Times reported.
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Ukrainian citizens to travel visa-free to Europe starting June 11
Publish Time: 2017-05-17 18:27:00
The Council of the European Union has announced its decision to adopt a regulation on visa liberalization for Ukrainian citizens travelling to the EU. The Council of the European Parliament signed the adopted regulation. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attended the signing ceremony today. Visa-free regime will take effect starting June 11, 2017.This will affect holders of Ukrainian biometric passports travelling to the EU for a period of 90 days in any 180-day period. They will no longer need a visa to travel to the EU for business, tourism or family purposes up to 90 days. However, these measures will not apply to those travelling to Ireland or the United Kingdom.The Commission found Ukraine eligible for the exemption of the visa requirement in December 2015 and published the proposal for visa liberalization for Ukrainian citizens on April 20, 2016. The Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the proposal on February 28, 2017.
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Greek anti-austerity strike slams government's international creditors deal
Publish Time: 2017-05-17 12:28:00
Greek trade unions on Tuesday began a series of large-scale industrial actions to protest the government's recent agreement with international creditors and its implementation of a further package of austerity measures.At midnight, the Greek sailors' union began a 48-hour strike, forcing the cancellation of all ferry routes connecting islands with the mainland.The journalists' union POESY, which backed a 24-hour strike on Tuesday, said that it opposed the new measures, which "affect all Greeks and in particular its media workers, with a further liberalization of redundancies, more pension cuts and tax hikes for both workers and pensioners."The nationwide industrial actions include a five-hour strike by Athenian public transport buses from 11 am (08:00 GMT).Medical and nursing staff from public hospitals, bank employees and commerce sector workers are to take part in another 24-hour strike, scheduled for Wednesday by the private sector trade union GSEE and the public sector trade union ADEDY.Public hospital doctors are to prolong their strike until midnight on Thursday. Also backing the call to strike were the pensioner and self-employed workers' unions, along with private health clinics, engineers and lawyers.Air traffic controllers are to join Wednesday's action with a four-hour strike, between 11 am and 3 pm. Notaries announced they are to strike from Wednesday to Friday. "The government refuses to see the disastrous consequences of the third memorandum of understanding it signed and applied and now is ready for a fourth bail-out program, thus jeopardizing what remains of our workers' rights," said the GSEE in its statement.The bail-out agreement reached between the Greek government and its international financial creditors _ what the opposition parties and trade unions describe as the "Fourth memorandum," as it includes additional measures scheduled for after the bail-out _ is to be debated by Parliament on Wednesday and is expected to be approved by Thursday night.The agreed measures include increased fiscal pressure on the lowest incomes, lightening fiscal pressure on high-earners and corporations and cutting pensions by up to 18 percent.
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Ukraine blocks access to Russian websites
Publish Time: 2017-05-17 12:23:00
Ukraine on Tuesday announced a ban on access to several widely popular Russian websites in an expansion of sweeping measures against Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in the country’s east. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, published a decree banning the internet group and its social networks VK and Odnoklassniki, as well as search group Yandex. Mr Poroshenko, who hitherto had maintained his own pages on both social networks, announced he would shut them down and urged Ukrainians to do the same. “The challenges of hybrid war demand adequate responses,” Mr Poroshenko wrote on his VK page. “Massive Russian cyber attacks across the world — particularly the interference in the French election campaign — show it is time to act differently and more decisively.” The ban deepens Kiev’s sweeping sanctions against Russian citizens and businesses, which now cover more than 1,200 individuals and almost 470 entities including banks, airlines and the media. Ukraine also maintains a separate blacklist for people who visit Crimea, Financial Times reported.
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Trump revealed highly classified information to Lavrov – Washington Post
Publish Time: 2017-05-16 03:14:00
US President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State, - The Washington Post reports.The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
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