Somalia clans secure peace with death sentences and hefty fines

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Two rival Somali clans have signed up to a groundbreaking peace deal which aims to end the cycle of revenge killings. Will Ross BBC Following three weeks of mediation, the rival Sa’ad Yoonis and Ba’iido clans in the disputed Sanaag region reached an agreement on harsh new rules. Now, anyone found guilty of carrying out a revenge killing or vendetta will face a death sentence. The family of the perpetrator will also have to pay fine a $100,000 (£72,000). There ... Read More »

Hero’s welcome for East Timor border negotiator Xanana Gusmao

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Dili: Thousands of East Timorese have lined the road to the capital’s international airport to cheer independence hero Xanana Gusmao after he led negotiations that settled the sea border with Australia. Oki Raimundos The Canberra Times Gusmao, whose party lost power in parliamentary elections last year, was greeted at Dili’s tiny airport on Sunday with cries of “Viva Xanana Gusmao”. He’d been abroad for the previous eight months leading the final stretch of maritime border talks. Australia and East Timor, one of ... Read More »

Trump tariffs: EU wants clarity on exemption

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The EU’s trade commissioner says there is “no immediate clarity” from the US on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump. BBC Cecilia Malmstrom met with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels. She said discussions would continue next week. Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute. The EU says that its exports should be excluded from the… Trump tariffs: ... Read More »

Asia-Pacific trade deal signed by 11 nations

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Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed the trade pact formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tim McDonald BBC Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago. Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal “against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade”. The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the ... Read More »

‘Give Scotland seat at Brexit talks or risk indyref2’

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Calls have been made for Scotland to get a seat at the table in post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union and other countries to avoid “awkward” legal disputes over implementation of agreements. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman David Martin, a Scottish Labour MEP who sits on the European Parliament international trade committee, warned that deals touching on devolved responsibilities would have “room for interpretation” and should have devolved… And a Canadian trade expert who was involved in the CETA deal ... Read More »

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report

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The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. ICG The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it. What’s the issue? The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is as successful as it remains fragile. President Trump has warned he will ... Read More »

UK minister expects closer defense ties with Cyprus military

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain’s defense minister says authorities want to ensure that British armed forces “work closer and more supportively” with Cyprus’ military in tackling common challenges. The Associated Press Herald-Whig Britain has two military bases on Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960. It continues to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean island nation. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides on ... Read More »

For richer or poorer: 4 economists ponder what 2018 has in store

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Editor’s note: We asked four economists to offer their thoughts and insights on what they expect to be a key theme or issue in 2018. Greg Wright, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Merced Patricia Smith, professor of economics, University of Michigan Christos Makridis, Ph.D. candidate in labor and public economics, Stanford University William Hauk, associate professor of economics, University of South Carolina The Conversation Income and wealth inequality are currently at levels last seen during the Gilded Age ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »

Libya commander Khalifa Haftar signals start of race for power

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Head of Libyan National Army declares UN political solution a failure and says his forces will answer to no one but Libyan people Associated Press and Agence France-Presse The National Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on Sunday declared that the mandate of the UN-backed unity government had expired and hinted at his willingness to stand for president as the country entered a “dangerous” period. A UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

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The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

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Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement yesterday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a “final” accord. Hurriyet Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Dec. 1, according to a statement from Egypt’s intelligence agency, which oversaw the talks. Abbas welcomed the deal in comments to Agence France-Presse and said he considered it a ... Read More »

Mexico warns that abandoning Nafta could end broader cooperation with US

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Mexico’s foreign minister has warned that terminating Nafta could bring relations with the US to a breaking point, raising the prospect that bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking and illegal migration could be adversely affected by Donald Trump’s bellicose trade rhetoric. David Agren in Mexico City The Guardian The threat from the foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, came as Donald Trump once again threatened to tear up the three-country trade treaty between the US, Canada and Mexico ahead of a fourth round ... Read More »