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Iraqi foreign minister looks to boost ties in Ankara

in ECONOMY/MIDLE EAST by

During a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufenkegi expressed on Saturday (May 5) expressed his country’s desire to expand the Ibrahim al-Khalil crossing with Iraq and to open an additional gate in Feshkhabur in northwestern Iraq. “The unity, stability, and well-being of Iraq are the stability of Turkey. Iraq is a strong economic partner of Turkey and Turkish companies account for a large percentage of foreign companies in its southern neighbor,” he said. “Turkey is hosting a forum for the reconstruction of Iraq and providing investment support. [We are also convening] meetings of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce and the Turkish Foreign Trade Relations Commission and meetings between Iraqi banks and Turkish banks, to increase the volume of cooperation,” he said.

Baghdad took control of the Ibrahim Khalil and Feshkhabur border crossings with Turkey following law enforcement and security operations carried out in the disputed areas with the Kurdistan region in October. The 18th session of the Iraqi-Turkish Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation was held in Ankara on Saturday, during which the minutes of the meetings were signed, including the activation of the comprehensive economic partnership agreements signed in 2009, the promotion and protection of mutual investments. Additionally, they discussed the issues of water, energy, industry, agriculture, health, environment, culture, tourism, education, science, and technology, “according to Jaafari.

France slams Trump for remarks on guns and Paris attacks

in EUROPE/POLITICS by

France has condemn Donald Trump’s comment that armed civilians could have stopped the 2015 armed attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people. In a statement, the French governement declared that Paris is calling for “respect for the memory of the victims” after Donald Trump used the 2015 attacks in Paris to defend the right to carry a weapon. François Hollande,  president at the time of the attacks, strongly denounced Donald Trump’s “shameful” remarks. Furthermore, the National Federation of the victims of attacks and collective accidents (FENVAC) called the French diplomacy to “react”.

China calls for innovation in Asian Development Bank

in ASIA/ECONOMY by

China proposed four steps that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) could take to further promote inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region.  “Looking to the future, I hope that based on the development experience of the past 50 years, ADB can keep pace with times and engage in innovation, and actively support the promotion of inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Yu Weiping, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Finance. Yu represented Minister of China’s Ministry of Finance Liu Kun at the business session of the 51st annual meeting of the ADB Board of Governors. ADB can “innovate development strategies to promote high-quality development” in the region. Poverty reduction is one of the key goals of ADB, but it should not be the only one, said Yu.

“With more and more developing members entering the ranks of middle-income countries, ADB should strengthen its cooperation with middle-income countries to help them achieve high quality development while supporting low-income countries, small island countries, and vulnerable countries.” Yu said ADB can also “deepen regional cooperation and promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind.”

20 Islamic State members, planning to target parliamentary elections, arrested in Nineveh

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

Police troops have arrested 20 Islamic State militants as they were planning to carry out terrorist operations during the parliamentary elections in Nineveh, a security source said on Thursday. “Information from the intelligence helped in arresting 20 terrorists who were planning to carry out terrorist operations during elections in Mosul city and its vicinity,” the police source told Alghad Press. The troops, according to the source, “managed to arrest the terrorists in several regions in al-Shuhadaa al-Thaniya district in Mosul.” Moreover, the Nineveh Police Command announced arresting an IS member in an operation in west of Mosul. Maj. Gen. Hamad Namis al-Jabouri, the commander, said troops arrested “IS member, known as Khaled al-Loweizi, in the market of Sumar district in west of Mosul.” Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against security troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Zarif: U.S. must accept consequences if nuclear deal is ditched

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Thursday that Iran reserves the right to respond should the US, as a party to the 2015 nuclear deal, withdraw from the landmark agreement. Zarif compared Tehran’s full commitment to its side of the bargain to Washington’s breach of the deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Press TV reported. On 11 occasions, he said, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has implemented all its obligations under the JCPOA, but “the US has consistently violated the agreement especially by bullying others from doing business with Iran.” Zarif also slammed the European countries’ appeasement to US President Donald Trump as a deadline looms for Washington to announce whether it will continue suspending anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear accord.

“In the last year or so, we’ve been told that President Trump is unhappy with the deal and it now appears that the response from some Europeans has been to offer the United States more concessions from our pocket,” he said. “This appeasement entails promises of a new deal that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including Iran’s defensive capabilities and regional influence. But please understand on both issues, it is Iran, not the West, that has serious grievances and much to demand,” he added.

No regrets: Xi Jinping says Marxism still ‘totally correct’ for China

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The decision of China’s ruling Communist Party to stick with the political theories of Karl Marx remains “totally correct”, President Xi Jinping said. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi, widely seen as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has said the party must not forget its socialist roots as it works to attain the”great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. At the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday (May 4), Xi said, “Writing Marxism onto the flag of the Chinese Communist Party was totally correct… Unceasingly promoting the sinification and modernisation of Marxism is totally correct.” Xi also instructed all party members to adopt the reading of Marxist works and the understanding of Marxist theories as a”way of life” and a “spiritual pursuit”.

Xi’s speech came near the end of a week-long propaganda blitz by state media, with chat shows saying “Marx was Right”and cartoons of his wild youth aiming to show his theories remain relevant to modern China and the next generation. Today, China, the largest self-identified socialist country, outwardly displays all the trappings of a modern capitalist society, from rampant consumption to a massive gap between the urban elite and rural poor.The apparent contradiction between party rhetoric and appearance has prompted many analysts to suggest the party is no longer really motivated by Marxism but puts practical and economic concerns above all else.

UN agency says 68 Iraqis killed and 122 injured in April clashes

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

A total of 68 Iraqis were killed and another 122 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in April, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Of the overall figures, the number of civilians killed, excluding police, was 64, while the number of injured was 122, the UN agency said in its monthly statement released on Wednesday. Anbar was the worst affected Governorate, with 53 civilian casualties (24 killed, 29 injured), followed by Baghdad with 8 killed and 30 injured, and Kirkuk with 10 killed and 21 injured. “The casualty figures reported continue steadily to decline after the military defeat of Dae’sh (Islamic State) last year. This is good news, but the best news will be when Iraq is completely free of the threat of terrorism and is at peace,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un tells China he is committed to denuclearization

in ASIA/DEFENCE by

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a visiting Chinese diplomat on Thursday that he is committed to denuclearization, China’s foreign ministry said, as diplomatic efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula gather pace. China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite its anger at North Korea’ repeated nuclear and missile tests, and its support for strong UN sanctions against the North. China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is visiting North Korea following last week’s historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un, when both pledged to improve ties.

The North surprised the world several days before the summit by declaring it would dismantle its nuclear test site to “transparently guarantee” its dramatic commitment to stop all nuclear and missile tests. Wang told Kim that North Korea had seized the day and made a decisive decision, bringing positive changes. China supported an end to the state of war on the peninsula, North Korea’s shift to economic development and the resolution of North Korea’s legitimate security concerns during the denuclearization process, he said.

Albanian Prime Minister, “Public accountability comes as a necessity”

in EUROPE/POLITICS by

Public accountability comes as a necessity, as we do not rule in front of an opposition that brings alternatives, ideas and a program to protect the interests of citizens. So stated in Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Edi Rama, arguing the necessity of developing a public accountability campaign. In a country where democracy works, he said, we should have a majority ruling and an opposition that demands accountability to the Assembly. “We are not required to account but simply throwing stones, clay balls and all sorts of llozhrash collected in the entire space of the despair of this opposition,” said Rama. He assured that “the campaign of accountability will be a lasting constancy of each year of this mandate, because we have undertaken to govern with people and for people”.

“We have asked for a mandate to work in the country’s leadership without being accompanied by anyone and to govern in a coalition with people. The accountability campaign is also important for the fact that we should be as direct and eye-to-eye communicating with people without allowing this communication to be owned by agents of misery, all those with political mandate or media channels in available make the deformation, distortion and manipulation of our truths “, – said Rama.

South Korea considers financing of possible inter-Korea projects: finance minister

in ASIA/POLITICS by

South Korea’s finance minister said on Wednesday (May 2) the government was discussing how to finance possible economic projects with North Korea, although any projects with Pyongyang must first be approved by the international community. “We’re internally carrying out preparations, in terms of what to prepare, and how to co-operate with the international community, and how to finance (possible inter-Korea projects),” Kim Dong Yeon told reporters in Sejong. But we need support from the international community and need to watch the (upcoming) summit between the United States and North Korea,” Kim said, without elaborating on specifics of any government financing.

Kim’s comments come after South Korean President Moon Jae In and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un agreed last Friday on a common goal of a “nuclear-free” peninsula, and to “adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads”. Many speculate that the two Koreas will start joint infrastructure projects as soon as international sanctions on North Korea are lifted. South Korea’s newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that President Moon gave the North Korean leader a USB drive during last week’s summit. According to a senior Blue House official who briefed local reporters on Monday, the USB contained an e-book and a short presentation illustrating Moon’s so-called “New Economic Map” initiative, which was initially made public last July in a speech in Berlin.South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, says the initiative aims at a “single market” for the two Koreas in order to “lay the foundation for unification” job creation and higher economic growth for both countries, reported JoongAng Ilbo.

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