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Putin is outplaying Trump in the Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Syria on Monday as part of a whirlwind Middle Eastern tour. Putin, who also stopped in Egypt and Turkey, met leaders, posed for photo-ops, inked a huge energy deal and, all in all, played the part of an influential international statesman. While President Trump has sparked outrage across the region, …

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21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces

The use of rape by Myanmar’s armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, The Associated Press found in interviews with 29 Rohingya Muslim women and girls now in Bangladesh. They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in …

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Vladimir Putin says he’ll run for reelection. Nobody is surprised.

Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, he of the perennial 80 percent approval ratings, declared his intention Wednesday to run for reelection, essentially guaranteeing a new six-year term for the Kremlin leader. “I will nominate my candidacy for the post of the president of the Russian Federation,” Putin said at a rally and a concert at …

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British volunteer fighter Oliver Hall dies in Syria

A 24-year-old British man has been killed in Syria, the BBC understands. Oliver Hall, from the Portsmouth area, joined Kurdish armed groups to fight against so-called Islamic State. Another British fighter described him as a “lovely lad” who was “excited to be there”. Kurdish sources say Mr Hall was killed …

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Pope Francis avoids the term Rohingya in Burma speech following meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi

Perhaps as important as what Pope Francis said during his key speech in Burma on Tuesday was what he didn’t say. Speculation had mainly circled around the question of whether the pope would use the term “Rohingya” to describe the country’s Muslim minority, which has been the target of a brutal military “clearance operation.” Rohingya Muslims are not officially recognized as …

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North Korea and Syria are growing closer: That’s bad news for the US

Closer ties between two of the world’s most acute political powder kegs — North Korea and Syria — are fanning fears of deeper cooperation on missile technology and chemical weapons. The longstanding bilateral relationship, which stretches back to the late 1960s, has prospered this year even as both countries face international sanctions. Syrian minister …

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Mugabe was relieved after quitting, Zimbabwean mediator says

Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe knew it was “the end of the road” days before he quit, and appeared relieved when he signed his resignation letter after 37 years in power, a Catholic priest who mediated talks leading to his ouster said Sunday. Fidelis Mukonori, who has known Mugabe for decades, said …

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Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic push in Middle East seals both Syria’s fate and diminishing role of the US in the region

Exactly one year ago, Syrian President Bashar al Assad, with Russia’s help, was laying waste to the last rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo. Cluster bombs and bunker-busters fell out of the sky “like rain”, one resident said at the time. Children mistook the bright lights of phosphorous munitions for fireworks. The …

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Iran leader: Talks to help stabilize Syria

The Latest on Syria talks (all times local): 6:25 p.m. Turkey’s president says trilateral talks with the leaders of Russia and Iran have critical importance for bringing peace to Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking after Wednesday’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Russian Black Sea resort of …

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