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SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SDF spokesman Talal Silo has said the group would hand over the control of the city to what he called “the Raqqah Civil Council,” likely a Kurdish body. Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar reacted by saying that Raqqah’s future could only be discussed “as part of the final political structure of the Syrian state.”

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has, meanwhile, said that the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqah have killed civilians and damaged infrastructure in the city.

“When you’re killing around 1,200 civilians — nearly half of them women and children — and destroying 80 percent of the city, that’s not liberating Raqqah,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told Arab News daily.

The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Citizenship Bill Dead

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Citizenship Bill Dead

The proposal would have required applicants to live in Australia for four years on permanent residency visas and demonstrate “competence” in English. Mr Dutton had sought to apply the changes to all people who applied from April 20, but he could not secure support from the Senate.

NXT senator Stirling Griff rejected Mr Dutton’s 11th-hour attempt at compromise, “The Government did not need legislation to impose the freeze on citizenship applications and it most certainly does not need legislation to lift it.”

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SPAIN POLITICS: Spanish Government Will Take Control of Catalonia If Carles Puigdemont Replies Ambiguously to Madrid’s Question

SPAIN POLITICS: Spanish Government Will Take Control of Catalonia If Carles Puigdemont Replies Ambiguously to Madrid’s Question

“The answer must be without any ambiguity. He must say ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido told Cope radio.

“If he answers ambiguously, it means he doesn’t want dialogue and thus the Spanish government will have to take action,” he also said.

Puigdemont, who is holding consultations with local parties to prepare his answer, faces a tough dilemma.

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VENEZUELA POLITICS: Government vs Opposition Battle for Votes

VENEZUELA POLITICS: Government vs Opposition Battle for Votes

Opposition leaders want their demoralized supporters to turn out en masse at the gubernatorial polls to overturn Maduro’s majority in 20 of Venezuela’s 23 states.

“In Barinas, defeating the government means defeating the Chavez family who have wielded power at whim for 18 years,” counters opposition rival Freddy Superlano, 41, wearing a shirt with the image of his arrested party leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Maduro supporters say the opposition, backed by Venezuela’s elite and the U.S. government, is intent on taking power by force to seize control of the nation’s oil riches.

“They want war for Venezuela. We want peace,” said 65-year-old retiree Ramon Alvarran, proudly wearing a red T-shirt depicting the eyes of Hugo Chavez at a rally for his brother.

“Look at our ‘dictatorship’ then: an election where most candidates are from the opposition!” Chavez ironically told Reuters, as red-shirted supporters danced around him at a rally.

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Property Developers Will Be Banned from Donating to State, Local Government

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Property Developers Will Be Banned from Donating to State, Local Government

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she fully supported two of the report’s 31 recommendations – a ban on developer donations and better means to deal with perceived conflicts of interest for councillors.

“I will ensure that developed donations are banned. I will not make rules for local councils that I am not prepared to follow myself, so any changes we make will apply to state as well as local government.”

Ms Palaszczuk said she was also concerned about councillors voting on developer applications when there was a clear conflict of interest.

“We will look at fixing that matter up as a matter of priority,” she said.

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SCOTLAND POLITICS: ‘No’ to Fracking: Scottish Government Says

SCOTLAND POLITICS: ‘No’ to Fracking: Scottish Government Says

“The decision taken today means fracking can not and will not take place in Scotland,” Paul Wheelhouse told the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.

“Taking account of available evidence and the strength of public opinion, my judgment is that Scotland should say ‘no’ to fracking.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Opposes Kurdistan’s Secession, Urges Iraqi Government to Preserve Rights of Kurds

IRAQ POLITICS: Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Opposes Kurdistan’s Secession, Urges Iraqi Government to Preserve Rights of Kurds

The Kurdish vote “is an attempt to divide Iraq and take its northern part by setting up an independent state,” said his message, adding that all parties should respect the Iraqi constitution.

The “unilateral steps” toward dividing Iraq will lead to internal and external reactions that will have consequences on our “dear Kurdish citizens and could have more dangerous repercussions,” said Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

The cleric also called on the Iraqi government and parliament to preserve the rights of Kurds.

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NIGERIA POLITICS: IPOB is a Terrorist Group: Federal Government Explains Why

NIGERIA POLITICS: IPOB is a Terrorist Group: Federal Government Explains Why

Information Minister, Lai Mohammed says, “We know this as a fact. Again, there are a few knotty diplomatic issues which you need to skip. For instance, who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK, all the damage it has done; but they don’t see it that way. For them, it is about freedom of expression.

If we have a person in Nigeria openly soliciting arms to come and fight the UK, what would you think of it? Would you consider that freedom of expression? And this is a country that also has had a history; what did the Irish Republican Army (IRA) do to be labelled a terrorist organisation? They were planting bombs, they were fighting the British army.”

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UK POLITICS: London Government Minister Slams ‘Blanket Ban’ on Uber

UK POLITICS: London Government Minister Slams ‘Blanket Ban’ on Uber

“At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded,” Greg Hands, the government minister for London, wrote on Twitter late on Friday.

“But blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, showing that the mayor is closed to business & innovation,” Hands tweeted. “Once again the actions of Labour leave ordinary working people (to) pay the price for it.”

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PALESTINE POLITICS: Hamas Says Ready to Hand Gaza to Palestinian Unity Government

PALESTINE POLITICS: Hamas Says Ready to Hand Gaza to Palestinian Unity Government

“All parties must seize this opportunity to restore unity and open a new page for the Palestinian people,” U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement, adding that the U.N. was ready to assist the talks in order to alleviate hardship in Gaza.

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UK POLITICS: Britain’s Government Says it Would Raise Police and Prison Guard Wages

UK POLITICS: Britain’s Government Says it Would Raise Police and Prison Guard Wages

A police staff representative said officers would be angry that the pay award was less than the permanent 2 percent increase recommended by an official pay review body. A senior officer who speaks for police chiefs, Francis Habgood, said forces had no money for pay rises.

“Without better real-terms funding protection from government, an award above 1 percent will inevitably impact on our ability to deliver policing services and maintain staffing levels,” Habgood said.

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CANADA POLITICS: Hundreds of Migrants Deported to War-Torn Countries: Government Data

CANADA POLITICS: Hundreds of Migrants Deported to War-Torn Countries: Government Data

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government has maintained consistency on the issue of asylum-seekers.

“Canada welcomes immigrants… that said, there are laws and processes in place for people seeking asylum and our government is sending a clear message,” the spokesman said last month.

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NIGERIA POLITICS: Revealed! N7.51tn Borrowed By Buhari Government in Two Years

NIGERIA POLITICS: Revealed! N7.51tn Borrowed By Buhari Government in Two Years

President Muhammadu Buhari government and the 36 states of the federation as well as the Federal Capital Territory have borrowed N7.51tn in the last two years, statistics have revealed. As of June 30, 2015, just a month after the present crop of leaders took over the leadership of the country, Nigeria’s total debt stood at N12.12tn. However, as of June 2017, the nation’s total debt had climbed to N19.63tn, according to the latest debt statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office.

The DMO said in a statement posted on its portal on Sunday, “The domestic debt stock of the Federal Government and sub-nationals accounted for 76.56 per cent of the total public debt stock, while their external debt stock accounted for 23.44 per cent. “Furthermore, the total public debt stock increased by 2.5 per cent from N19.16tn (about $62.54bn) to N19.64tn (about $64.19bn), during the period under review.

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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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UK POLITICS: Britain Rejects Irish Call for Role in Northern Ireland Rule

UK POLITICS: Britain Rejects Irish Call for Role in Northern Ireland Rule

DUP lawmaker Jeffrey Donaldson, whose party Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government depends on to survive, warned that his party would not accept any concessions to Dublin.

“Even if we have a temporary period of direct rule, the Irish Government must be clear that it must not interfere with the internal affairs of Northern Ireland and to do so would be a fundamental breach of faith,” Donaldson told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper in comments published on Wednesday.

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USA POLITICS: Republicans Rebuke Trump Over Government Shutdown Threat

USA POLITICS: Republicans Rebuke Trump Over Government Shutdown Threat

Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the Republican chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee, said Trump’s threatened move could backfire on the party.

“When you control the presidency, the Senate and the House, you’re shutting down the government that you’re running. I don’t think it’s smart politically and I don’t think it would succeed practically.”

“Trump saying he would be willing to shut down the government over the wall obviously doesn’t really inspire much confidence in anyone,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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UK POLITICS: Corbyn Back on Campaign Trail, Betting Theresa May’s Minority Government Will Soon Collapse

UK POLITICS: Corbyn Back on Campaign Trail, Betting Theresa May’s Minority Government Will Soon Collapse

“This government thinks it is there for some time to come,” Corbyn, 68, told hundreds of people at a rally this month in Pool, a village outside Redruth, a former mining town in a deprived area of southwestern England.

“I’ve got news for them: we are touring the whole country this summer,” he said at the site of a former mine.

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Turnbull Slams Shorten of New Zealand Labour Party Conspiracy to Undermine the Government

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Turnbull Slams Shorten of New Zealand Labour Party Conspiracy to Undermine the Government

‘We have learned this morning the Australian Labor Party has been conspiring with the NZ Labour Party to undermine the position of the deputy prime minister and the government of Australia,’ Malcolm Turnbull said.

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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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YEMEN POLITICS: Houthis Will Not Keep Hodeidah: Yemeni Government Says

YEMEN POLITICS: Houthis Will Not Keep Hodeidah: Yemeni Government Says

The government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi accuses the Houthis of using the port to smuggle in weapons and of collecting custom duties on goods, which they use to finance the war. The Houthis deny this.

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