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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: EU Seeks Australia Trade Deals By 2019: Juncker President European Commission

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: EU Seeks Australia Trade Deals By 2019: Juncker President European Commission

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said there were “good chances” that the EU would agree the main elements of a new free trade with the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and of an updated trade partnership with Mexico by the end of this year.

“And today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand,” Juncker told EU lawmakers.

“I want all of these agreements to be finalised by the end of this mandate. And I want them negotiated in the fullest transparency,” he added.

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Supreme Court Staged Effective Coup: ICJ

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Supreme Court Staged Effective Coup: ICJ

Supreme Court of Justice “effectively claimed legislative powers for itself, depriving the National Assembly of its Constitutional powers and granting sweeping arbitrary powers to the executive,” it said.

“These decisions amount to a coup d’état against the Constitutional order and have ushered in a new reign of arbitrary rule,” Sam Zarifi, ICJ Secretary General, said in a statement.

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NORTH KOREA POLITICS: DPRK Warns US of ‘Greatest Pain’, Rejects Sanctions

NORTH KOREA POLITICS: DPRK Warns US of ‘Greatest Pain’, Rejects Sanctions

North Korea was condemned globally for its latest nuclear test on Sept. 3, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is “ready to use a form of ultimate means”, Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae Song said without elaborating.

“The forthcoming measures by DPRK will make the U.S. suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history,” he said.

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Possible ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ in Venezuela: UN Rights Boss

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Possible ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ in Venezuela: UN Rights Boss

“There is a very real danger that tensions will further escalate, with the government crushing democratic institutions and critical voices,” Zeid Ra‘ad al Hussein told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“My investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation,” Zeid said.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Forces Used Chemical Weapons More than Two Dozen Times: UN

SYRIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Forces Used Chemical Weapons More than Two Dozen Times: UN

“Government forces continued the pattern of using chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas. In the gravest incident, the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, killing dozens, the majority of whom were women and children,” the U.N. report said, declaring the attack a war crime.

The Assad government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons. It said its strikes in Khan Sheikhoun hit a weapons depot belonging to rebel forces, a claim dismissed by the U.N. investigators.

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YEMEN POLITICS: UN Official to Saudis: ‘Stop War in Yemen, Fund 100% of Humanitarian Aid’

YEMEN POLITICS: UN Official to Saudis: ‘Stop War in Yemen, Fund 100% of Humanitarian Aid’

“Saudi Arabia should fund 100 percent of the needs of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme told Reuters, during a visit to Ethiopia. “Either stop the war or fund the crisis. Option three is, do both of them.”

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UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

A snag though is that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is bound by his 27 national masters not even to discuss any post-Brexit arrangements until “significant progress” is made on agreeing a divorce.

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MYANMAR POLITICS: Break ‘Worsening Cycle of Violence’ in Rakhine: United Nations Expert

MYANMAR POLITICS: Break ‘Worsening Cycle of Violence’ in Rakhine: United Nations Expert

“I am saddened to receive reports that, while the authorities are helping Rakhine and other communities living in affected townships evacuate to safer locations, this assistance is not being extended to the Rohingya Muslims,” Special Rapporteur said.

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SYRIA POLITICS: ‘Unacceptable Price for Civilians’: UN Says US-Led Coalition Airstrikes May Breach International Law

SYRIA POLITICS: ‘Unacceptable Price for Civilians’: UN Says US-Led Coalition Airstrikes May Breach International Law

“Given the extremely high number of reports of civilian casualties this month and the intensity of the air strikes on Raqqa, coupled with ISIL’s use of civilians as human shields, I am deeply concerned that civilians – who should be protected at all times – are paying an unacceptable price and that forces involved in battling ISIL are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle,” Zeid said in a statement on Thursday.

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MEXICO POLITICS: NAFTA Nations Plan Talks Progress Under Barrage of Trump Treats

MEXICO POLITICS: NAFTA Nations Plan Talks Progress Under Barrage of Trump Treats

“We want to see positive signs of progress at the negotiating tables,” said Moises Kalach, head of the international negotiating arm of Mexico’s CCE business lobby, which is leading the private sector in the talks. “Hopefully we’ll get it, even if it doesn’t have to be stated publicly. Hopefully we’ll start getting closure on some issues.”

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UK POLITICS: Theresa May to Appeal to EU Leaders as Brexit Talks Deadlock

UK POLITICS: Theresa May to Appeal to EU Leaders as Brexit Talks Deadlock

But there are no signs Britain is prepared to change its negotiating strategy. Speaking Thursday during a visit to Japan, Theresa May said, “I think a good trade deal is not just about the UK, it is about what is good for businesses in what will be the 27 remaining states of the EU as well.”

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USA POLITICS: Trump Inciting ‘Violence’ Against Journalists: UN High Commissioner

USA POLITICS: Trump Inciting ‘Violence’ Against Journalists: UN High Commissioner

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said, “It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the US Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from President Trump.”

“It’s sort of a stunning turnaround. And ultimately the sequence is a dangerous one,” Zeid added.

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NORTH KOREA POLITICS: United Nations Condemns North Korea Missile Launch, Pyongyang Remains Defiant

NORTH KOREA POLITICS: United Nations Condemns North Korea Missile Launch, Pyongyang Remains Defiant

China’s and Russia’s ambassadors to the United Nations said they opposed any unilateral sanctions on North Korea and reiterated calls to halt deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

“I certainly hope that we’ll be able to have a strong resolution following up this … statement,” Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Koro Bessho, told reporters after the meeting.

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CANADA POLITICS: US Will ‘Probably’ End NAFTA: Donald Trump

CANADA POLITICS: US Will ‘Probably’ End NAFTA: Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump has already threatened earlier this year to end NAFTA. At the time Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office said “heated rhetoric” is common in trade negotiations, her officials had little to add in response to Trump’s Sunday tweet.

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UK POLITICS: Labour Party to Offer Alternative Policy Ahead of New Brexit Talks in Brussels

UK POLITICS: Labour Party to Offer Alternative Policy Ahead of New Brexit Talks in Brussels

A Labour spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Guardian report that Labour agreed to back “continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019” in an attempt to offer a clear alternative to the Brexit currently proposed by Theresa May’s Conservative government.

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USA POLITICS: Nikki Haley Presses IAEA to Request Inspections of Iranian Military Sites

USA POLITICS: Nikki Haley Presses IAEA to Request Inspections of Iranian Military Sites

“We are encouraging the IAEA to use all the authorities they have and to pursue every angle possible with the JCPOA, and we will continue to support the IAEA in that process,” US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley said, using an acronym to refer to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known.

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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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UK POLITICS: Job Opportunities Diminishing Because of Brexit: British Employers

UK POLITICS: Job Opportunities Diminishing Because of Brexit: British Employers

The opening rounds of Brexit talks with the EU, which began in June, have made little progress. REC chief executive Kevin Green said the drop in confidence should raise a “red flag” and push London to clarify its Brexit approach.

“The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity,” Green said. “The jobs market is in a good place but employers will only continue to hire and invest if they feel assured about the future.”

“The UK has made little attempt to progress separation issues, while its ideas for transition could require yet more negotiation and risk eroding the benefits of transitional arrangements for business,” said Andrew Goodwin, a researcher at Oxford Economics.

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MEXICO POLITICS: Mexico, Canada Dismiss Trump Threats to Scrap NAFTA Trade Pact

MEXICO POLITICS: Mexico, Canada Dismiss Trump Threats to Scrap NAFTA Trade Pact

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray sought to brush off Trump’s threat, saying his remarks were simply a tactic and Mexico would keep negotiating. The comments were not a surprise, nor would they scare Mexico, he added.

“He’s negotiating in his own particular style,” he told local television.

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FRANCE POLITICS: ‘Posted Worker’ Rules Betray EU Spirit: Macron Says

FRANCE POLITICS: ‘Posted Worker’ Rules Betray EU Spirit: Macron Says

“The single European market and the free movement of workers is not meant to create a race to the bottom in terms of social regulations,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters after meeting Kern.

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