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Report: Lebanon Defends Oil Rights, Turns to UNCLOS

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Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry is taking steps to refute Israel’s claim about Block 9 oil field reaching to the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday. by Naharnet Newsdesk “The ministry has issued a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in March, 2017 announcing that Block 9 is located within Lebanese territorial waters and that Lebanon affirms its right to launch the process of contracting, exploration and ... Read More »

Erdoğan hits the bottle

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As the ruling Islamists put up taxes on booze, some Turks turn to home brew. By Zia Weise Politico ISTANBUL — Kerem lives within walking distance of Turkey’s oldest beer factory, but he refuses to drink a drop of domestic bestsellers Efes and Bomonti. Instead, the 29-year-old sales manager has turned his flat into a micro-brewery — joining a growing number of Turks who make their own booze to avoid soaring alcohol taxes imposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s conservative government. ... Read More »

The U.K. Is Down Since Brexit. Guess Who’s Up.

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Greece is growing faster than the U.K. and is outperforming it in financial markets Matthew A. Winkler Bloomberg When British voters decided in June 2016 to exit the European Union, investors who had anticipated the opposite result stampeded out of sterling and the currency plummeted a record 8.05 percent to a 31-year low. Almost 20 months later, the pound has mostly recovered, providing some satisfaction to commentators who’d predicted that Brexit would prove more distressing to the… So much for wishful thinking. ... Read More »

Panel: Navy and Coast Guard Operating More in a Maritime ‘Grey Zone’

GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 19, 2011) A visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) approaches a suspected pirate vessel after the Motor Vessel Nordic Apollo reported being under attack and fired upon by pirates.  Pinckney is assigned to Combined Task Force 151, a multinational, mission-based task force working under Combined Maritime Forces to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Between war and peace is the grey zone – a legal status where the rules of engagement aren’t always clear for the Navy and Coast Guard forces increasingly operating there, according to top commanders from the services. By: Ben Werner USNI News The Navy and Coast Guard are tasked with protecting the trade and sovereign interests of both the U.S. friends and allies. But, without a clearly identified mission and clearly articulated and supporting rules of ... Read More »

Averting Disaster in Syria’s Idlib Province

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An imminent military showdown in Idlib with disastrous human costs can be avoided only if Turkey strikes a deal between Russia, on one hand, and militants, on the other, and deploys its forces along the front lines to deter an escalation. ICG What happened? The de-escalation zone in north-western Syria is on the brink of collapse. Boosted by Russian air support, Syrian regime troops are advancing toward the Idlib region. Amid obstruction by the Syrian regime and Iran-backed militias, Turkish ... Read More »

Winter Olympics 2018: Who is winning the propaganda battle?

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Two unusual guests marked the beginning of the Winter Olympics in South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister and the father of a US student who died after being jailed in North Korea. BBC Kim Yo-jong and Fred Warmbier are the faces of their respective countries’ propaganda efforts amid tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. On a day that was supposed to be about sport, their presence was one of many diplomatic subtexts. Pence skips dinner US ... Read More »

Macron’s opening European gambit

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French president’s race to reform the EU starts with Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade By MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico Emmanuel Macron’s point man in his campaign to conquer Brussels is a former European parliamentary assistant who looks like he’s barely out of high school. Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade has been tasked with laying the groundwork for the French president’s next big political test: The European Union’s 2019 changing of the political guard — which starts with the election for European Parliament and culminates with ... Read More »

Worried About the Stock Market? This Is Just the Beginning.

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The U.S. financial markets will become increasingly volatile as interest rates rise and credit spreads return to something approximating normal Christopher Whalen The National Interest Watching the financial markets gyrate over the past week, it is tempting to wonder if the global economy will ever return to an era when the decisions of private investors are more important than the policies of governments. Since 2008 and even before, central banks have been buying public and private debt and even private ... Read More »

Rohingyan refugee pleads for Australia’s permission to speak to EU

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Habiburahman asked to address European parliament about persecution, but cannot leave Australia Ben Doherty The Guardian A Rohingyan refugee living in Australia is pleading with the Australian government to grant him a travel document allowing him to speak at the European parliament about the persecution of his people. Habiburahman – who goes by only one name – arrived in Australia from Myanmar, which was then known as Burma, by boat in 2009. But he has spent 18 years as a ... Read More »

The Quiet Diplomacy to Save the Olympics in a Nuclear Standoff

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BEIJING — In late December, a group of teenagers from North Korea traveled to the Chinese city of Kunming to play in an obscure under-15 soccer tournament. By JANE PERLEZ, CHOE SANG-HUN and REBECCA R. RUIZ The New York Times On the field, under a wintry sun, they faced teams from China and South Korea. Off the field, there was an unusual spectator: Choi Moon-soon, the governor of the province in South Korea hosting the Winter Olympics. Mr. Choi had flown more than 1,000 ... Read More »

China Reveals Its New Russian Jets Flying Over Secret Military Bases in Pacific

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China has for the first time revealed that its new fleet of advanced, Russia-built jets has flown over the South China Sea, where the U.S. has contested Beijing’s vast territorial claims and construction of artificial, militarized islands. By Tom O’Connor Newsweek The Chinese air force said in a statement Wednesday that it recently deployed Sukhoi Su-35s to carry out a joint patrol over the South China Sea. While the release did not include the size, date or location of the patrol, ... Read More »

ICC to probe alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela

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The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched initial probes on Feb. 7 into alleged crimes against humanity during the “war on drugs” in the Philippines and political upheaval in Venezuela. THE HAGUE Hurriyet “Since 2016, I have closely followed the situations” in both the Philippines and Venezuela, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement. After “a careful, independent and impartial review… I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation.” In the Philippines, her office would ... Read More »

Sports Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula

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The opening of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games represents an opportunity for diplomacy to help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula Christopher Green ICG North Korea’s decision to dispatch Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yo-jong to South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK) as part of a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has opened up the possibility for the past month of sports diplomacy to garner something more substantive and… With all parties to the Korean peninsula conflict sending senior delegations ... Read More »

Arrest rates soar as WA ‘bucks trend’

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WA recorded the biggest increase in the number of people caught breaking the law in Australia last financial year, with the rise being driven by assaults. Shane Wright The West Australian The number of alleged offenders aged 10 and over arrested by police rose 5 per cent, to 41,678, with 16 per cent of them juveniles — the highest proportion of youth offenders nationally —according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Since 2013-14, when the number ... Read More »