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Iraq will continue to receive electricity supply from Iran for one more year

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE by

Iraq will continue to receive from Iran electricity supply for one more year, the Iraqi electricity ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The agreement came during recent meetings in Baghdad between Iraqi electricity minister Qassem al-Fahdawi and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Shariatmadari. Both parties agreed to extend the supply contract for one more year through the current four active supply lines. Iraq currently imports 1000 megawatts from Iran. Iran is supplying parts of Iraq electricity for past several years and this caused electricity crisis to be reduced in some cities, specially the neighboring cities of Iran.

Peru and other 10 countries to sign revamped TPP trade deal in Chile

in AMERICAS/ECONOMY/PRESS RELEASE by

Peru’s Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros will head to Chile, where he will sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Thursday, March 8. Countries under CPTPP —a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement— include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam. In addition to the signing ceremony, Ferreyros will attend a series of high-level bilateral meetings in the Chilean capital of Santiago. An agreement among Peru and the 10 countries making up the CPTPP will grant the Andean nation access to a market whose GDP accounts for 13% of the world’s total GDP.

China unhappy with US aircraft carrier’s visit to Vietnam, state media says

in ASIA/DEFENCE/FAR EAST/PRESS RELEASE by
The Global Times said Beijing is “unhappy” with the visit of a US aircraft carrier to a Vietnamese port and is monitoring developments. But the USS Carl Vinson’s visit is unlikely to alter the balance of power in the South China Sea, which China claims in its entirety and has been fortifying with military structures on man-made islands; the visit “will not generate any special tools to pressure China”, while the US sending warships to the South China Sea will “only waste money”, Global Times  said.
 Vice-Admiral Phillip Sawyer, commander of the US 7th Fleet, said the port call was a sign of the United States’ commitment to the region and US-Vietnam ties. The visit by the USS Carl Vinson with more than 5,000 crew marks the largest US military presence in Vietnam since the Southeast Asian nation was unified under Communist leadership after the war ended in 1975.

24 killed, 20 others feared missing in fresh Benue attacks

in AFRICA/PRESS RELEASE by

OKPOKWU – Twenty-four residents were killed and 20 others feared missing after suspected herdsmen struck again in Benue State Monday afternoon. Residents of Omusu and two nearby communities in Okpokwu Local Government Area told tuesday night that the attackers entered their villages around 4:00 p.m. Monday and carried out a two-hour deadly assault. Emergency officials described the attacks as “very brutal” and said three villages were affected, with more than 2,000 displaced persons now desperate for relief materials.

“They killed people to their satisfaction before they left,” said Attah Alexander, a resident of Omosu community. “It was deliberate and there were no policemen around to stop them.” The attackers struck despite the presence of Nigerian troops in the ongoing peace-keeping exercise named ‘Ayem Akpatuma’ or ‘Cat Race’.

BalkanInsight: “Serbs flocked to help Russian ‘brothers'”

in PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Belgrade-based sleuth journalist from Serbia’s Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) Marija Ristic has probed into the reasons why mercenaries from Serbia have been taking part in the war waged by Russia against Ukraine in Donbas. “The most prominent case was against Radomir Pocuca, a former special police spokesperson, who over several months of fighting in Ukraine posted almost daily videos, photos and other entries related to his time in Donetsk. Pocuca also claimed that he went to help Serbia’s ‘Russian brothers’ for patriotic reasons, mainly as payback for Russia’s support for Serbia in the dispute over the former province of Kosovo [which declared independence in 2008 – which Serbia has vowed never to recognize]”, she wrote in the article titled “Facebook Reveals Serbian Fighters’ Role in Ukraine War”, posted by BalkanInsight on December 27. Serbs are said to remember that Russian fighters volunteered for the Serbian side in the 1992-5 war in Bosnia, which pitched Serbs against a combination of Croats and Bosniaks [Bosnian Muslims].

 

 

Central Bank of Tunisia:the trade deficit widens to historical highest level

in AFRICA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

The trade deficit widened, at the end of the 11 months of 2017, to reach a historical highest level, 14,362MDT against 11,628MDT, a year before, said the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT), Thursday, in a note of economic conjuncture. Total imports increased at a faster pace than exports, at 19.2% and 17.3%, respectively, resulting in a deterioration in the coverage rate (68.3 percentage points against 69.4 percentage points) by the end of November 2016).”The record trade deficit bears the mark, essentially, the maintenance of deficits in the energy balance and that of the food balance at high levels. The BCT reported, in this context, a good performance of exports of the sector of mechanical and electrical industries which seems to benefit from the recovery of demand of Euro zone, Tunisia’s main trading partner. On the other hand, the underperformance of the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector continued with sales falling by 3% at the end of November 2017 against a technical rebound (+ 42.3%) over the same period of 2016, and despite the resumption of production in the mining basin.

L’Algérie a exporté plus de 73.000 tonnes de GNL au Japon en novembre

in AFRICA/ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Algeria exported 73,264 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan in November 2017, the US news agency Platts reported on Wednesday.The LNG exported by Algeria to Japan represents an increase of 20.7% compared to the same period of the previous year, when 60,714 tons were exported in November 2016. The Algerian LNG arrived in Japan on November 7th at shipboard The Oak Spirit. These volumes place Algeria in eleventh place in the countries from which Japan imported LNG this November, behind the United States (125,171 tons) or Papua New Guinea (188,473 tons). Algeria also remains far behind the leaders of Australia (2.23 million tonnes exported in November) and Malaysia (1.16 million tonnes).In total, Japan imported 6.41 million tonnes of LNG during the month of November 2017, down 15% compared to the same period last year.

Iran Condemns Deadly Terror Attack in Kabul

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

In a statement on Thursday evening, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi offered condolences to the Afghan government, nation and families of victims of suicide terrorist attack targeting the cultural center of Tebyan in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul. He strongly condemned the attack and stressed the fact that attacking the cultural and media centers or the intellectuals that discredit extremist and violent ideologies revealed the depth of aversion that masterminds and perpetrators of terrorist activities have to freedom of speech, knowledge, wisdom and unity in Afghanistan. Qassemi also added that the Afghan government and nation’s vigilance, unity among all groups and ethnicities, and regional cooperation are key to tackling the problems and hostile acts by terrorists. The Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in which at least 41 people died and dozens of others were injured in the bombing at Tebyan center in Pule Sokhtia area of Kabul. Officials believe that that more than one assailant, maybe three suicide bombers, have carried out the attack that also involved the use of grenades.

Maybe Russia will completely change in 2018 (Op-ed)

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

How will historians look back on the final years of this decade in Russia? They might do well to look at the closing years of earlier decades to guide their way. The ‘20s: The final curtailing of economic freedoms and political factionalism, a “great turning point” towards totalitarianism and the absolute authority of the Leader. The ‘30s: A time of political terror and preparations for war. The ‘40s: The height of the Cold War, nuclear blackmail, the fight against cosmopolitanism, the growth of nationalistic and anti-Semitic propaganda. The ‘50s: An ideological “thaw” and the flowering of culture, breakthroughs in science and technology. The ‘60s: A post-thaw “tightening of the screws,” the fight against dissidents, the establishment of what would later be called a regime of stagnation. The ‘70s: The agonies of stagnation, the downward slide into a bloody war in Afghanistan, an economic crisis and empty stores. The ‘80s: Large-scale political and economic reforms known as “perestroika,” the rapid democratization of society. The ‘90s: A national hangover following a binge of democracy, a deepening war in Chechnya, a financial crisis and a loss of confidence in the authorities. The 2000s: Oil and gas wealth, increased corruption, peace and friendship with the West despite the first symptoms of superpower aggression in Georgia.

Kurdish leader: meetings between officials in Baghdad and Erbil to reach a solution of pending disputes

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

On Wednesday, Mulla Bakhtiar, a senior leader at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in statements that a series of secret meetings between officials in Baghdad and Erbil have been held to reach a solution of pending disputes. Talks in Baghdad between the central government and the Kurdistan Region government signed a “detente” in the crisis. Mulla Bakhtiar added in later statements on social media that the meetings have shown that “Baghdad is pretty prepared for dialogue, while the Kurdistan government is working on setting the suitable atmosphere to that end”. “Officially, there will be no clash between Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) Peshmerga troops” Bakhtiar stated, adding “The issue of land and air ports, as well as customs, are currently being handled thoroughly, and after those are resolved, an action plan will start to resolve the budget, payments and disputed territories’ issues”. Bakhtiar also urged the Kurdish government to hold a meeting with parliamentary blocs to agree on points of negotiations with Baghdad to ensure “an inclusive solution”.

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