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World Politics Commentary

LEBANON POLITICS: Changes to Proposed US Anti-Hezbollah Sanctions Allay Lebanon’s Fears

LEBANON POLITICS: Changes to Proposed US Anti-Hezbollah Sanctions Allay Lebanon’s Fears

Lebanon’s government, central bank and private banks have lobbied U.S. politicians and banks hard this year – and continue to do so – to persuade Washington to balance its tough anti-Hezbollah stance with the need to preserve stability.

Their main message has been that the last thing needed by the United States, which backs the Lebanese army in its fight against Islamic State and other militants spilling over from Syria, is another failed state in the Middle East.

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UK POLITICS: Britain, EU Divisions Show as Brexit Talks Resume

UK POLITICS: Britain, EU Divisions Show as Brexit Talks Resume

Time is short in the negotiations, which started in June and should conclude before the expected Brexit date in late March 2019. Otherwise Britain risks leaving the EU with little clarity over what happens next.

“There are no major expectations as regards next week’s round. The documents published by Britain (this week) refer more to the future relationship than the things to settle in the first place,” an EU diplomat said.

“Many matters, including the financial aspect most importantly, remain unclear from the British side. So the EU expects no big progress, which makes any ’significant progress’ less likely in October.”

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WORLD POLITICS: North Korea, US Clash at UN Forum Over Nuclear Weapons

WORLD POLITICS: North Korea, US Clash at UN Forum Over Nuclear Weapons

North Korea’s envoy told the same forum the North’s nuclear deterrent would never be up for negotiation, echoing Pyongyang’s regular denunciation of U.S. “aggression”.

“The measures taken by the DPRK to strengthen its nuclear deterrence and develop inter-continental rockets is justifiable and a legitimate option for self-defence in the face of such apparent and real threats,” diplomat Ju Yong Chol told the forum, referring to “constant nuclear threats” by the United States.

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UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

Bernard Jenkin, a member of parliament for Theresa May’s Conservative party, who backed Brexit in last year’s referendum, said he opposed continued EU oversight of UK borders.

“There is no need for an EU institution to police our customs, and we should not accept this,” he said in a statement.

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UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

Van Den Hende said, “In theory you can design that, but in practice neither the UK nor the EU would want that because you would be replicating institutions which already exist. It would be a huge amount of money and effort. This is in one of the fundamental problems about Brexit. The UK wants to retain deep integration but the UK doesn’t like the institutions that administer all this stuff.”

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USA POLITICS: Boston Free Speech Rally: Here’s Update

USA POLITICS: Boston Free Speech Rally: Here’s Update

“I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!” Trump tweeted. “Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!”

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USA POLITICS: Steve Bannon Departure Tips Trade Scales in Favour of White House ‘Globalists’

USA POLITICS: Steve Bannon Departure Tips Trade Scales in Favour of White House ‘Globalists’

With Steve Bannon gone, “there’s not a replacement for that voice in internal debates,” said a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

“Without Steve constantly pushing back on every policy idea coming from the so called “globalists,” it’s easy to see how they could have a chance to start winning more policy battles,” the official said.

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USA POLITICS: America Under Attack from Within: Rush Limbaugh

USA POLITICS: America Under Attack from Within: Rush Limbaugh

“That’s what we are in the midst of here: An ongoing effort to erase America by discrediting the entire premise of our culture, our history, our founding. The objective is to create in as many American minds as possible that America as founded is not worth defending. Serious times. This is a very, very serious effort that is underway. Sadly, it has a lot of allies. It has a lot of people helping it that ought to be opposing it, but they are choosing what they think is the path of least resistance, which is defined by the media. You’ve got several Republicans who I believe are unwittingly participating in the effort to cast America as indefensible, particularly with Donald Trump as president.” – Rush Limbaugh

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GERMANY POLITICS: Germans Watching Charlottesville Sense Echoes of their Own History

GERMANY POLITICS: Germans Watching Charlottesville Sense Echoes of their Own History

By honouring those who died doing forced labour for Adolf Hitler’s regime and learning their stories, pupils gain a clearer, more visceral understanding of their country’s crimes 75 years ago.

“It is very important for us to bring our pupils closer to what happened to make sure it never happens again,” said Annemarie Sardisong, the school’s head teacher. “Especially now when the world seems to be coming out of joint.”

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USA POLITICS: US Military Will Remain in Northern Syria Long After Jihadists Defeated

USA POLITICS: US Military Will Remain in Northern Syria Long After Jihadists Defeated

“They have a strategy policy for decades to come. There will be military, economic and political agreements in the long term between the leadership of the northern areas (of Syria) … and the U.S. administration,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Silo said.

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USA POLITICS: Obama’s Tweet on Charlottesville Violence Wins Twitter ‘Most Liked of All-Time’

USA POLITICS: Obama’s Tweet on Charlottesville Violence Wins Twitter ‘Most Liked of All-Time’

Barack Obama took to Twitter to share a message of hope and tolerance. He quoted in a series of three posts:

… For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’ – Nelson Mandela”

“’People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love'”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”

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SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: Mohammed bin Salman Wants End of War in Yemen

SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: Mohammed bin Salman Wants End of War in Yemen

Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, confessed to two former US officials he “wants out” of the brutal two-year war he started in Yemen. More than 10,000 people have been killed and 40,000 injured in the war in Yemen, since bin Salman launched his Decisive Storm campaign to regain the country from Houthi control. Yemen is being ravaged by an outbreak of cholera that has infected 500,000 people.

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UK POLITICS: Voters Sense Betrayal in Britain’s Brexit Heartlands

UK POLITICS: Voters Sense Betrayal in Britain’s Brexit Heartlands

Throw in a visceral distrust of the London political classes, and for many voters it all points to one thing: a plot to water down, or even stop, Brexit.

“We voted to come out, so why didn’t they do it straight away? Why have we got to wait?” asked 64-year-old Chris Murdoch, in the small English town of Chatham, 50 km (30 miles) east of London. “We won’t come out completely because it’s not in their favour.”

Her husband Peter, a retired construction worker, added: “They’re all in it for themselves. They’re all two-faced … We don’t trust any of them.”

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NORTH KOREA POLITICS: Will Kim Jong Un Pull the Trigger? Possible Signs to Watch

NORTH KOREA POLITICS: Will Kim Jong Un Pull the Trigger? Possible Signs to Watch

This could be the biggest trigger. North Korea says it was compelled to put the Guam plan together because it feels threatened by a squadron of B-1B bombers on the island that the U.S. has increasingly sent to fly in Korean airspace in symbolic shows of force during times of particular tension. But that may be only a pretense. North Korea is certainly sensitive to the bombers, which could cause a lot of devastation if a war did start.

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Trump’s Talks of Military Intervention in Venezuela Risks Alienating Latin American

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Trump’s Talks of Military Intervention in Venezuela Risks Alienating Latin American

“For years he’s been saying the U.S. is preparing an invasion, and everyone laughed. But now the claim has been validated,” said Mark Feierstein, who served as President Barack Obama’s top national security adviser on Latin America. “It’s hard to imagine a more damaging thing for Trump to say.”

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USA POLITICS: 3 Deaths in Virginia Because of KKK

USA POLITICS: 3 Deaths in Virginia Because of KKK

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said several hundred counterprotesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.” A silver Dodge Challenger smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through “a sea of people.” The impact hurled people into the air. Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety in different directions.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted, “We are in a very dangerous place right now.”

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Trump Threatens Military Intervention in Venezuela

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Trump Threatens Military Intervention in Venezuela

“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters in an impromptu question and answer session.

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CHINA POLITICS: Beijing Seethes on Sidelines Amid New North Korea Crisis

CHINA POLITICS: Beijing Seethes on Sidelines Amid New North Korea Crisis

“China is not too worried that the United States might suddenly attack North Korea. It is worried about THAAD,” said Sun Zhe, co-director of the China Initiative of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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ISRAEL POLITICS: Corruption Scandal: Netanyahu Household Under Scrutiny

ISRAEL POLITICS: Corruption Scandal: Netanyahu Household Under Scrutiny

Court filings revealed Netanyahu was now officially a suspect in bribery, breach of trust, and fraud cases. It’s not just the prime minister — his whole household is under scrutiny: The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Monday that his wife, Sara Netanyahu, will likely be indicted soon for misuse of government funds.

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SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: Amnesty Over, ‘Illegal Expatriates’ Await Saudi Crackdown

SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: Amnesty Over, ‘Illegal Expatriates’ Await Saudi Crackdown

Saudi authorities estimate more than 600,000 people took the amnesty, which allowed any foreigner in breach of residency laws in the world’s top oil exporter to leave without penalty. “We don’t know what will happen to us,” said Atif Alam, 28, an Indian worker at a desolate labor camp in eastern Riyadh who fears a police raid. He rarely leaves the camp, wary of being seized at police checkpoints on roads throughout Riyadh.

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