Turkish Ministers’ Sons Charged

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The sons of two Turkish government ministers have been charged in connection with a huge corruption investigation. The head of the state-owned bank and at least a dozen other people also face charges. The suspects are accused of abusing their power by taking or facilitating bribes. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the investigation as a “dirty operation” against his governm...

Mediators Try to Avert Civil War in South Sudan

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African mediators said they held “productive” talks on Friday with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, trying to prevent an almost week-long conflict plunging the world’s newest nation into an ethnic civil war. In a sign of the nervousness among South Sudan’s neighbors, Ugandan soldiers flew in to help evacuate their citizens. Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic group, has accused...

China Denounces Japanese Military Strategy

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China has denounced Japan’s new national security strategy, accusing it of military expansion. Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement that the move would increase regional tensions, state news agency Xinhua reported. Earlier this week, Japan said it would buy advanced equipment including drones and amphibious vehicles. It comes as Tokyo is embroiled in a bitter row...

Thai Army Chief Warns of ‘Civil War’

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The head of the Thai army has warned the current political crisis in the country could “trigger a civil war”. General Prayuth Chan-ocha has proposed a “people’s assembly”, made up of civilians from all sides, not the leaders, to heal the divisions. Thailand is facing its most serious political turmoil since 2010. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called snap elections for F...

Mexico President Signs Energy Law

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has signed a law that allows foreign companies to drill for oil for the first time since the sector was nationalised in 1938. The legislation was passed by Congress on 13 December and ratified by a majority of Mexican states. President Pena Nieto says the reform will help Mexico attract the investment needed to boost its falling oil output. The oppositio...

India Transfers Diplomat to UN

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India said on Saturday that it had transferred the diplomat at the center of a row with the United States to its UN delegation, a move that it hopes will give her protection from prosecution for visa fraud and underpaying a maid. Whether the accreditation of Devyani Khobragade as a member of India’s UN mission leads to a way out of the dispute could depend on the US State Department approving h...

Japan Sets Out New Defense Strategy

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Japan’s cabinet has approved a new national security strategy and increased defense spending in a move widely seen as aimed at China. Over the next five years, Japan will buy hardware including drones, aircraft and amphibious vehicles. The military will also build a new marine unit, an amphibious force capable of retaking islands. The move comes with Tokyo embroiled in a bitter row with B...

Merkel Confirmed for New Term

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Angela Merkel has been confirmed as German chancellor for a third term, at the head of a grand coalition, by a vote in parliament. Her centre-right CDU/CSU bloc fell short of an overall majority in September’s polls and will share power with the Social Democrats (SDP). Merkel received 462 votes out of 621 in the Bundestag (parliament) on Tuesday. The SPD’s membership voted on Sunday to back...

UN Seeks $6.5 Billion for Syria Crisis in 2014

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The United Nations appealed for a record $6.5 billion for Syria and its neighbors on Monday to help 16 million people, many of them hungry or homeless victims of a conflict that has lasted 33 months with no end in sight. The Syrian appeal accounted for half of an overall funding plan of $12.9 billion for 2014 to help 52 million people in 17 countries, announced by UN emergency relief coordinator ...

NSA Data Grab ‘Against Constitution’

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A US judge has ruled the National Security Agency’s mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional. Federal District Judge Richard Leon said the electronic spy agency’s practice was an “arbitrary invasion”. The agency’s collection of “metadata” including telephone numbers and times and dates of calls was exposed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In his ruling in a Was...