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August 2019 - International News

  • The G7 leaders have vowed to help Brazil fight Amazon forest fires and repair damage in the region. The summit leaders are nearing an agreement on how to support Brazil. The agreement will involve both technical and financial mechanisms so that G7 nations can help them in the most effective way possible. The G7 leaders will talk with Brazil about reforestation in the Amazon once fires there are extinguished.

    Amazon forest fires are a global question and G7 countries must find common solutions. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted that he has talked by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel will send a specialized plane to help in the firefighting operation.

  • Modi, Johnson agree to step up bilateral cooperation.  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a good meeting with his British counterpart Boris Johnson they discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas like trade, investment, defence and education. Mr. Modi met Mr. Johnson on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

    The Prime Minister arrived in Biarritz from Manama, the capital of Bahrain after concluding the first-ever prime ministerial visit to the Gulf nation. Discussions focused on strengthening our bilateral ties going forward, inter alia, in trade & investment, defence & security, S & T and education sectors.

  • Abdalla Hamdok appointed as PM of Sudan.  He was appointed as the country embarks on a three-year transition to civilian rule. 

  • Nepal: Cabinet meeting held through video conferencing for first time. In Nepal, for the first time, a cabinet meeting was held through video conferencing. Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli took part in the meeting from Singapore through video conferencing on 26 August, 2019. He is currently in Singapore for his treatment.

    First time it became possible to participate in a cabinet meeting through telepresence. Prime Minister Oli thanked his all cabinet colleagues, officials and staff of Prime Minister's Office and technology and technicians for making it possible.

  • Democratic Republic of Congo announces new government. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition government was announced on 26 August, 2019, seven months after the inauguration of new President Felix Tshisekedi. The President has signed the decree and the government will begin work soon. He was talking to reporters before the members of the new government were announced by the Presidency's Spokesman.

    The power-sharing agreement will see 23 members of the executive drawn from Tshisekedi's Direction For Change and the remaining 42 from former President Joseph Kabila's Common Front for Congo. Kabila presided over sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for nearly two decades and still commands widespread support.

  • Sudan urged United Nations Security Council(UNSC) to lift its suspension of troop withdrawals and ensure all peace keepers leave Darfur by June 2020. Sudan's UN Ambassador, Omer Mohamed Siddig told the council that it's time to shift from peace keeping to peace building in Darfur and to end restrictions on the government's movement of arms and troops in and out of the region.

    In June, the Security Council voted unanimously to put the brakes on the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force from Darfur as the country dealt with a political crisis. Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) said, overall security in the vast western region remains volatile. AU commissioner for peace and security, Smail Chergui, told the security council that Darfur still faces intermittent armed clashes between government forces and rebels.

  • French government moves bill to shrink country's parliament by 25 %.  In France, President Emmanuel Macron's government moves a bill to shrink the country's parliament by 25 per cent as part of an overhaul of country's institutions. The government introduced a draft law on 28 August, 2019 that would reduce the number of seats in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, from 577 to 433. The Senate would go from 348 to 261 members.

    The bill also allows for 20 per cent of seats to be based on party lists instead of individual candidates. Both moves were promised by Macron during the 2017 presidential campaign, which was marred by corruption scandals around parliamentary spending involving rival candidates.

  • Italy's Five Star reaches deal with Democratic Party to form new government. In Italy, anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party clinched a deal on 28 August, 2019 to form a new government and stave off elections. The coalition would be led by outgoing prime minister Giuseppe Conte, who had resigned following the collapse of the government earlier this month.

    M5S head, Luigi Di Maio has warned however that any deal with the Democratic Party would still have to be approved by party members in an online vote. The deal between two historic rivalries is set to bring to an end political crisis in the eurozone's third largest economy.

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be undertaking an official visit to the Maldives on an invitation from President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to chair the Indian Ocean Conference. During the two-day visit, the two leaders will also review the existing bilateral ties and explore new areas for cooperation including global matters of mutual importance.

    Mr. Wickremsinghe will also address Maldives Parliament during his visit. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will also be chairing the two-day Indian Ocean Conference, scheduled to take place from 3rd of September at Paradise resort. The conference is organized by India Foundation in association with the Government of Maldives and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.

    One of the four agreements scheduled to be signed between the two nations is an agreement on the facilitation of visa arrangements between the two neighbours. The two governments will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on matters in higher education and water supply sectors and another MoU on vocational training and youth development.

  • North Korea says it won’t give up arms modernisation.  North Korea accused the United Kingdom, France and Germany on 29 August, 2019 of meddling in its self-defensive measures for arms modernisation, saying the West will make no greater mistake than thinking Pyongyang will give up its right to have weapons that it says are needed to ensure peace.

    The North’s official Korean Central News Agency circulated a statement from Kim Son Gyong, an adviser at the Korea-Europe Association, in response to a joint statement on 27 August, 2019 from the three important U.S. allies condemning Pyongyang’s repeated provocative launches of ballistic missiles.

    The Europeans accused North Korea of violating U.N. sanctions and urged leader Kim Jong Un to engage with the United States and make progress on denuclearization, which they said is the only way to guarantee security and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

  • Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces on 18 August, 2019 after violent inter communal clashes left dozens dead. The President's office in N' Djamena said that the state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers.

  • Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for women. Saudi Arabia has begun allowing adult women to travel without permission, following a flurry of royal decrees approving the changes.
    Riyadh has long faced international criticism over the status of Saudi women. Rights groups say women are often treated as second-class citizens under rules requiring them to get the consent of a male guardian for important decisions throughout their entire lives, regardless of age.

    The authorities have steadily chipped away at those restrictions in recent years, including ending a ban on women driving cars last year (2018). A series of royal decrees published earlier this month further eroded that system as the kingdom comes under increased scrutiny over its human rights record.

  • IMF executive board recommends scrapping age limit for Kristalina Georgieva. The International Monetary Fund's board recommended a rule change that would scrap the age limit for its leader.
    This move considers as clearing the path to the top job for Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva.

    The IMF steering committee representing the 189 member countries will have to vote on the recommendation, but it is expected to pass. Georgieva, the European Union's candidate to serve as IMF managing director, turned 66 which makes her too old for the job by just a few days, under the rules in place since 1951 stipulating that candidates be 65 or younger.

    If appointed, Georgieva would become the IMF's second female managing director after Christine Lagarde. The global crisis lender plans to select a new leader to replace Lagarde by October 4. The change, which needs a simple majority of the governors, would bring IMF rules in line with the World Bank, whose president is not subject to an age limit.

  • US approves possible 8 billion Dollar sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. The U.S. State Department on 21 August, 2019 approved a possible 8 billion Dollar sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency the potential deal is for 66 aircraft, 75 General Electric Co engines, as well as other systems.

  • Dubai Airports celebrated arrival of inaugural flight of full service Indian carrier Vistara. 
    Dubai Airports celebrated the arrival of the inaugural flight of full service Indian carrier Vistara from Mumbai at a ceremony at Dubai International airport on 21 August, 2019.

    Vistara’s daily non-stop service between Mumbai and Dubai will offer an additional choice to the tens of thousands of passengers who travel between the two cities daily. With the launch of Vistara’s flights, Dubai is now served by six Indian carriers operating some 370 weekly flights to 21 destinations across India.

    India was the single largest destination country for Dubai International in 2018 with 12.3 million passengers, of which Mumbai contributed 2.5 million making it Dubai’s second busiest destination city by traffic volume.

  • Iran unveils domestically built long-range missile defence system.  Iranian government displayed a domestically-built long-range, mobile surface-to-air missile system.

    The system's unveiling came on Iran's National Defense Industry Day and at a time of rising tension between Iran and the United States. Iran developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes barring it from importing many weapons.

  • Pakistan blacklisted by Asia-Pacific Group of FATF for its failure to comply with terror funding standards. The Asia-Pacific Group of the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering has put Pakistan in the Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist) for its failure to meet its standards.

    The Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has also found that Pakistan was non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering. FATF APG meeting was held in Canberra, Australia and the discussions lasted over seven hours over two days.

  • Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh issued identity documents by the UNHCR. The bio-metric, fraud-proof cards are being issued jointly by Bangladeshi authorities and UNHCR to all verified refugees over the age of 12. These cards will help in establishing and safeguarding the right of Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Myanmar. The current registration exercise began in June 2018 and it is scheduled to be completed during the last quarter of the current year.

    UNHCR’s Bio-metric Identity Management System (BIMS) captures bio-metric data, including fingerprints and iris scans which secure each refugee’s unique identity as well as other important information such as family links.

    UNHCR, Bangladesh more than 9 lakh Rohingya refugees out of which close to 7 lakh 50 thousand refugees arrived after August 2017 fleeing Rakhine province of Myanmar amid violence and military crackdown. Bangladesh claims to have 11 lakh Rohingya refugees in the country.

  • International Youth Day: 12 August
    The International Youth Day 2019 is observed across the world on 12 August.
    The theme for 2019 is Transforming education.
    International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • Donald Trump threatens to pull US from WTO 'if we have to'.  President Donald Trump threatened on 13 August, 2019 to pull the United States out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if conditions are not improved. “We will leave if we have to,” Mr. Trump told a cheering audience of workers at a Shell chemical plant in Pennsylvania. We know that they have been screwing us for years and it's not going to happen again,

    Mr. Donald Trump has made the WTO the target of many previous attacks, and threatened before to withdraw, claiming unfair treatment toward the US and saying Washington does not have to abide by WTO rulings. He is especially critical about the terms granted to China when it joined the organization, given US complaints about Chinese theft of American technology. But the United States in fact has a successful track record of winning disputes mediated by the global trading body.

  • India, China no longer 'developing nations'.
    US President Donald Trump has said that India and China are no longer developing nations and both are taking advantage of developing nations tag from the World Trade Organization. India and China, the two economic giants from Asia, are no longer developing nations and they cannot take benefits from WTO.

  • South Korea's President calls for talks to end trade row with Japan
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in struck a conciliatory tone towards Japan. He offered to join hands if Tokyo chooses dialogue as relations between the two countries have deteriorated. Moon said his country was willing to work with Japan to secure what he called fair trade and cooperation in the region.

    The two neighbours have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat trade war that saw them remove each other from their lists of trusted trading partners this month. The step raised concerns over global supply chains. Tokyo imposed restrictions on exports crucial to tech giants such as Samsung last month. This followed a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for wartime labour.

  • North Korea has fired more projectiles into sea- South Korea
    South Korea’s military said North Korea fired more projectiles into the sea to extend a recent streak of weapons tests believed to be aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear diplomacy. South Korea’s projectiles were twice launched from an area on the North’s eastern coast, but didn’t immediately say what the weapons were, how many were launched or how far they flew.

    It was North Korea’s sixth round of weapons launches since late July when it began stepping up its weapons demonstrations while expressing frustration over stalemated nuclear negotiations with the United States and continuance of U.S.-South Korea joint military drills that the North sees as an invasion rehearsal.

  • Iranian tanker seized by Gibraltar preparing to set sail after being released. The seizure of ship on July 4, with the help of British Royal Marines, triggered a sharp deterioration in relations between Tehran and London and the tit-for-tat detention by Iran of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero.

    The Grace 1 will be renamed and switch to the Iranian flag for its onward journey. Gibraltar's Supreme Court ordered the tanker released it had received assurances from Iran that the Grace 1 would not head to any country subject to European Union sanctions.

  • UN says 2nd attempt to return Rohingya to Myanmar planned.  Myanmar and Bangladesh are making a second attempt to start repatriating Rohingya muslims after more than seven lakh of them fled a security crackdown in Myanmar almost two years ago.

    The Bangladesh government has asked for its help in verifying the 3,450 people on a new list of returnees are going back to Myanmar voluntarily. The list was whittled from 22,000 names that Bangladesh had sent to Myanmar for verification.

  • A 2-day Commanders Conclave of the Eastern Air Command (EAC) was inaugurated by Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on 16 August 2019 at HQ EAC in Upper Shillong. He discussed the prevailing security scenario and emphasised on the need for all air warriors to remain ever vigilant. He also conveyed appreciation on successful completion of various exercises conducted by HQ EAC.

  • Nigeria became the fourth African country to join the Global Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators on 25 July 2019. Ethiopia was the first African nation to join the coalition in 2017.
    The organisation was formed to follow up on the findings of IPBES Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which found that many of the world’s pollinator species are on the decline.

  • US President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States, in the latest move against President Nicolas Maduro. The order affects all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States. These assets are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

  • United States designates China a "currency manipulator". 
    The United States has designated China a "currency manipulator", a move that could escalate the tense trade relations between the two nations. During the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump had promised to label China as a currency manipulator, but the Department of Treasury kept the country on its watchlist, declining to take the step.

    Treasury Department announced that Secretary Steven Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has determined that China is a 'Currency Manipulator'. Mnuchin, after this decision, will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China's latest actions.

  • Hiroshima Mayor urges Japan to sign UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.  The mayor of Hiroshima urged Japan to sign a landmark UN treaty banning nuclear weapons as the city marked 74 years since being targeted in the world's first atomic attack.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led commemorations at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima as residents offered silent prayers, lit candles and placed wreathes to remember those killed in the August 6, 1945 bombing.

    Mayor Kazumi Matsui used the occasion to push the Abe administration to sign the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, approved by more than 120 nations, but rejected by the US and other nuclear armed countries.

  • UN calls for boycott of Myanmar companies with military links.  UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission has urged foreign businesses and governments to sever ties with more than 140 companies owned or controlled by the Myanmar military Tatmadaw.

    These companies help the Myanmar army to avoid public scrutiny and carry out human rights violations with impunity. It also called for the immediate imposition of targeted sanctions against companies run by the military.

  • India participated in 8th RCEP Meeting. The Commerce Secretary Dr. Anup Wadhawan led a delegation to the 8th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial meeting held in Beijing on 2-3 August 2019.
    He highlighted India’s contribution in shaping the RCEP negotiations till date.

    India’s concerns regarding market access and other issues leading to imbalanced trade between some of the partner countries was specifically flagged during the meeting.

  • Bangladesh on 06 August, 2019 signed a deal with Russia for the supply of uranium for its 2,400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).
    Under the deal, Russia will supply the nuclear fuel needed for the plant during its entire life cycle. The deal was signed in Dhaka between the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Russian Nuclear Fuel Supply Company (TVEL).

    Work on the two units of the plants, each producing 1200 MW of electricity is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and 2024 respectively. The two countries have also signed 'spent fuel sent back’ agreement in 2017 for management of the nuclear waste of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

  • US ends visa-free entry for visitors to North Korea.  The United States has revoked visa-free entry rights to the country, for foreigners who have visited North Korea in the past eight years.
    This move may deal a new blow to the isolated country's nascent tourism industry.

    The US allows citizens of 38 countries - including South Korea, Japan and France - to enter for up to 90 days without a visa under a waiver programme. But visitors who have travelled to eight countries including North Korea since March 1, 2011, are "no longer eligible". As per details posted on the US Customs and Border Protection website, they will have to apply for tourist or business visas.
    The other seven countries - most of them in the Middle East - were already on the exclusion list.

  • US approves sale of helicopters to South Korea. The US government has approved the sale of 12 multi-mission Seahawk helicopters to South Korea worth 800 million US dollar.
    The announcement came hours after US President Donald Trump announced that South Korea had agreed to pay more for US military presence in their country. The helicopters bolster anti-surface and anti-submarine missions and can handle secondary missions like replenishment, search and rescue and communications relay.

    The two countries have been in a security alliance since the 1950-53 Korean war which ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, with more than 28,000 US troops stationed in the South to guard against threats from North Korea.

  • US formalizes ban on government contracts to China's Huawei. 
    The United States on 07 August, 2019 unveiled rules formally banning technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts. The move is a part of the escalating trade war between the two countries. The interim rule will preclude any US federal agency from purchasing telecom or technology equipment from the firms as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology as part of any system.

    The new rules are part of a sweeping effort by President Donald Trump's administration to restrict Huawei, which officials claim is linked to Chinese intelligence.

  • U.N. chief invokes Shimla Agreement, calls for ‘maximum restraint’ on Kashmir.
    U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on August 9 urged India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” and refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir, as he highlighted the Shimla Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue.

    The Secretary-General’s remarks came after India on August 5 revoked Article 370 to withdraw the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Pakistan termed the Indian action as “unilateral and illegal”, and said it will take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

  • IAF got 1st batch of 4 Apache attack. US aerospace major Boeing handed over the first four of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force on 27 July 2019. The AH-64E Apache, also flown by the US army, is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters. This will be the Indian army's first fleet of attack choppers.

  • The United States (US) has asserted that the Millennium Challenge Corporation's 480 million US dollar aid to Sri Lanka was a gift from the people of the US and not a loan.
    US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena the agreement is transparent and is designed to foster the prosperity, the President seeks to deliver to the people of Sri Lanka. The ambassador noted that the agreement has a five-year term and will not establish any permanent institution or agency. The development agreement consists of projects focused transportation and land management.

    However, opposition parties have alleged that the government under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is conspiring to lease overland to foreign parties which has been denied by the government. President Sirisena is opposed to such deals while terms of the deal are still under discussion.

  • US Federal Reserve on 31 July, 2019 night cut the benchmark lending rate for the first time in more than a decade, moving to stimulate the economy.
    The target for the federal funds rate is now 2.0. It was 2.25 per cent earlier. The central bank vowed to act as appropriate to sustain the expansion. However, two officials on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee opposed the move to provide more stimulus to the economy and dissented in the vote.

  • Foreign Ministers from South East Asia are attending the 52nd ASEAN summit in Bangkok. The annual meeting opened with a call from the host Thailand for deeper integration to expand trade and bolster prosperity in the region amid rising global challenges. The meeting takes place in the shadow of rising security tension on the Korean Peninsula, China's aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and the US-China trade war.

    ASEAN, seeking to boost its own voice as a global player, also plays host to a series of foreign ministers from key strategic and dialogue partners, including US, China and Russia. ASEAN leaders at their summit meeting in June adopted an Indo-Pacific engagement framework that sought to find a middle ground and keep on the good side of both Washington and Beijing.

  • The Netherlands banned face-covering clothing, such as a burqa or niqab, in public buildings and on transport as a contentious law on the garment came into force. Between 100 and 400 women are estimated to wear a burqa or niqab in the European country of 17 million people. The legislation - which was passed in June last year after more than a decade of political debate on the subject - also applies to other face coverings such as full-face helmets, balaclavas or ski mask.

  • Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has reached the Guinea capital, Conakry on the last leg of his three West African nation visit to Benin, Gambia and Guinea.
    President Ramnath Kovind will hold delegation-level talks with Guinea President Alpha Conde. Various MoUs and agreements will be signed between the two countries following talks. During the visit, president conferred with the national order of merit, it is the highest award of guinea by the president Alpha Conde. He will also attend an Indian community event before concluding the visit.

  • Saudi women can now travel without male guardian's approval. Saudi Arabia will allow women to obtain passports and travel abroad without approval from a male "guardian", ending a longstanding restriction. A passport will be granted to any Saudi national who submits an application, a government ruling published in the official gazette Umm Al Qura.

    The regulation will be applicable to women over the age of 21, the local media reported, citing senior authorities.Women's rights activists have campaigned for decades against the guardianship system. The decision comes amid a wide-ranging liberalisation drive spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

  • In US, prominent Indian-American lawyer Kashyap Pramod Patel, an ardent supporter of US President Donald Trump, has been appointed to a key counter-terrorism position in the White House.
    The Daily Beast reported that Patel, 38, who previously served as Senior Counsel for Counterterrorism at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence till early this year, has now been appointed as Senior Director of Counterterrorism Directorate of the National Security Council (NSC) in the White House.

    The White House refused to comment on the news report. After leaving the Capitol Hill, Patel, popularly known as Kash Patel, had joined the NSC's Directorate of International Organizations and Alliances. New York-born Patel has his roots in Gujarat.

  • US poised to formally abandon INF missile treaty.  The United States will officially withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty , clearing the way for a new arms race with Russia — and throwing China into the mix.

    The treaty — concluded in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — limited the Cold War powers’ medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the demise of the treaty a dangerous step thatwill likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles.

    When it expires tomorrow, the world will lose an invaluable brake on nuclear war. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says the treaty is effectively dead already because of Russian violations — a charge Russia denies.

    The White House launched the six-month procedure for leaving the treaty on February 1.

  • US President Donald Trump wants a new nuclear pact to be signed by both Russia and China.
    Mr. Trump spoken to the two countries about the idea, and both of them are agreeable. His comments came after the US withdrew from a key nuclear treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race. The US withdrawal followed accusations by Washington that Russia had violated the pact by deploying a new type of cruise missile. Moscow has, however, denied this. The Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km.

  • Landmark US-Russia arms control treaty is dead.  The United States and Russia both walked away from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty on 02 August, 2019 putting an end to a landmark arms control treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed three decades ago.

    If both US and Russia choose not to extend or replace the larger New START treaty when it expires in early 2021, there will be no legally binding limits on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly a half-century.

    The US blames Russia for the demise of the treaty, for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe. President Donald Trump hasn't committed to extending or replacing New START, which imposed limits starting in 2018 on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.

  • Former Maldives Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb deported. 
    Former Maldives Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb was deported to his country late on August 2.
    Sources in the Bureau of Immigration said tugboat Virgo 9 will be handing over Mr. Adeeb at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) to Maldivian authorities.

    The tugboat, which also has eight Indonesian nationals and one Indian, may return to India, an official said. Those aboard the tugboat were given a medical check-up and food rations for their journey.
    The Superintendent of Police and officials from the Coast Guard and Bureau of Immigration oversaw the operation.

  • China no longer top trading partner of U.S. As a result of their ongoing trade war, China is no longer the top trading partner of the United States and has been replaced by America’s neighbours Mexico and Canada, according to a media report. In the first half of the year, Mexico was the top trading partner of the United States followed by Canada, the latest official data reveals.

    As a result of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, imports from China to the U.S. dropped by 12 % and America’s export to China fell by 19 %,After coming to power, Mr. Trump has imposed 25 % import tariff on chinese products worth $250 billion. Another 10 % tarrif on products worth $300 billion will come into effect on September 1. Mr. Trump has so far maintained that China has been unfair to the US. China has also taken several retaliatory steps.



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