Ex-lawyer for Clinton campaign law firm pleads not guilty to charge in Trump-Russia probe

WASHINGTON – A former lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign law firm pleaded not guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI, a charge by a U.S. special counsel investigating the origins of a FBI probe of potential ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Sean Berkowitz, a lawyer for Michael Sussmann, 57, a cybersecurity specialist who worked for the Perkins, Coie law firm, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui that he was…

"Ex-lawyer for Clinton campaign law firm pleads not guilty to charge in Trump-Russia probe"

Somalia’s president berates Djibouti for detaining his security adviser

MOGADISHU -Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Friday accused neighbouring Djibouti of illegally detaining his national security adviser, a criticism which appeared linked to a destabilising row between the president and his prime minister. Djiboutian authorities held the adviser, Fahad Yasin, preventing him from travelling to Mogadishu by air, the director of communications in the presidency Abdirashid Hashi said, without providing more details. “Such acts will not help to strengthen our ties between our governments,”…

"Somalia’s president berates Djibouti for detaining his security adviser"

U.S. willing to delay Ethiopia sanctions if violence ends -Blinken

WASHINGTON – The United States would delay sanctions over the Ethiopia conflict if the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation front “cease ongoing hostilities and enter into ceasefire negotiations immediately and without preconditions,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. “If the parties take immediate steps in this regard, the United States is prepared to delay imposition of sanctions and focus on supporting a negotiated process,” Blinken said in a statement.

"U.S. willing to delay Ethiopia sanctions if violence ends -Blinken"

Regional powers at summit demand U.S. fund Afghan aid

MOSCOW – Russia, China, Pakistan and other regional states called on the United States on Friday to engage with the Taliban and fund aid to Afghanistan, though they also urged the former insurgents to yield power to a more inclusive government. The fate of Afghanistan dominated a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, formed 20 years ago as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet central Asian states, but which has lately expanded into…

"Regional powers at summit demand U.S. fund Afghan aid"

Hong Kong teachers exit under shadow of security law, schools scramble to fill gaps

HONG KONG – For his last class in Hong Kong in July, liberal studies teacher Fong showed his students calligraphy by the territory’s late democratic activist Szeto Wah: “Choose the right path and stick to it.” He emigrated to Britain days later. Fong is one of many teachers that left Hong Kong before the school year began in September, some saying they felt disillusioned and threatened by the authoritarian turn the city has taken since…

"Hong Kong teachers exit under shadow of security law, schools scramble to fill gaps"

Australia agrees on increased U.S. air deployments in Australia

WASHINGTON – Australia and the United States have reached new force posture agreements that will see greater air cooperation through rotational deployments of all types of U.S. military aircraft to Australia, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Thursday. Speaking at a joint news conference after meetings between the U.S. and Australian foreign and defense ministers in Washington, Dutton said the two sides would be “significantly enhancing our force posture cooperation, increasing interoperability and deepening…

"Australia agrees on increased U.S. air deployments in Australia"

Indonesia increase patrols after foreign vessels detected near Natuna

JAKARTA – Indonesian navy has increased patrols around its Natuna islands in the South China Sea after Chinese and U.S. vessels were detected nearby in international waters, despite saying there were no disturbance from the vessels, a navy official said on Thursday. Five navy vessels, assisted by an air patrol, have been deployed in North Natuna Sea to secure the area, Indonesian Navy western fleet commander Arsyad Abdullah told reporters. “The Navy’s position on the…

"Indonesia increase patrols after foreign vessels detected near Natuna"

Tunisian president says border with Libya to reopen

TUNIS – Tunisia’s President Kais Saied on Thursday ordered the border with Libya, which had been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to reopen on Friday after meetings between health teams from the two countries, his office said on Twitter. The decision to reopen the border follows a visit last week by Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh to Tunis after growing friction over the border and other issues.

"Tunisian president says border with Libya to reopen"

Factbox-EU priorities in Indo-Pacific shift to counter China

BRUSSELS – The European Union set out a formal strategy on Thursday to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific and counter China’s rising power, although Australia’s decision to cancel an arms contract with France may complicate cooperation. [L1N2QI0R7] Here are the main focus areas of the EU’s strategy: – TRADE: The EU will work to finalise trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, seek a deal with India and strengthen stronger ties with countries where…

"Factbox-EU priorities in Indo-Pacific shift to counter China"

After Australia arms deal flop, EU to launch Indo-Pacific plan

BRUSSELS – The European Union will set out a formal strategy on Thursday to boost its presence in the Indo-Pacific and counter China’s rising power, although Australia’s decision to cancel an arms contract with France may complicate cooperation. Led by France, Germany and the Netherlands, which first set out ways to deepen ties with countries such as India, Japan and Australia, the 27-member bloc wants to use the plan to show Beijing that it is…

"After Australia arms deal flop, EU to launch Indo-Pacific plan"