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World

US blames Iran for attacks two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, Tehran bluntly denies allegation, US video allegedly shows Iranian patrol boat removing unexploded limpet mine from Japanese-owned M/T Kokuka Courageous

Trump administration stops embassies from flying rainbow flag on official flagpoles during ongoing LGBTQ Pride Month, embassies in Israel, Germany and Brazil among those who have requested permission and been denied

International Space Station to host space tourists, Nasa plans charging visitors USD 35,000 per night and allow stays for up to 30 days, cost of travelling to orbit not included, Trump administration wants to stop government funding of the station by 2025

Xi Jinping expresses concern over extreme pressure by US on Iran, wants multinational nuclear deal between Iran and world powers for regional peace and stability, comments made to Russian media before visit to the country, China and Iran have close energy ties

George Nader, key witness in the Mueller investigation, charged with transporting child pornography after 12 sexually explicit videos with boys approximately aged between 2 to 14 years was found on his phone in January 2018, Nader has previously been charged and convicted for child pornography related crimes on multiple occasions

Mike Pompeo prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions over nuclear programme, but needs the country behaving like "a normal nation" – President Hassan Rouhani says Iran willing to hold talks if US shows it respect, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi declares Iran does not "pay attention to word-play and expression of hidden agenda in new forms"

Donald Trump shows off new hair style, slicked back hair replaces president's iconic bouffant at Virginia church service

Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job, is respected all over Europe and has kept Hungary safe, Donald Trump declares during Orbán’s White House visit

Four commercial ships targets of sabotage attack off United Arab Emirates, two Saudi oil tankers sustained significant damage, US has deployed warships to the region in recent days citing indications of threats from Iran, who's foreign ministry calls for a full investigation

Donald Trump vows to raise tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent as China backtracks on almost all aspects of trade deal negotiations, after 20 years of having their way with US, China still miscalculates the Trump administration, source says

Iran suspends parts of international nuclear deal, will keep enriched uranium stocks and threatens to resume production of more-highly-enriched uranium in 60 days if other signatories do not act to protect Iran from US sanctions

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó won't rule out US military intervention in Venezuala, says move to push out Maduro and call for free elections needs more military support, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo don't rule out military action, Maduro urges soldiers to out traitors and show loyalty to the Fatherland and its legitimate commander-in-chief

Trump administration to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, follows request by Egyptian President during White House visit in April, will bring economic and travel sanctions against Egypt's oldest Islamist movement

Pope Francis accused of committing heresy in open letter, states Pope has publicly denied truths of the faith and his words and actions amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins, many prominent clergymen and scholars among the signatories

ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears on video for first time in five years, praises terror attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka and comments on defeat in Baghouz

Donald Trump to make a state visit to the UK in June, plans to attend ceremony in Portsmouth to mark 75 years since D-Day landings, campaigners Stop Trump coalition and Stand Up To Trump vows to mobilise "huge numbers" once again in response to visit

Kim Jong-un expected to meet Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok in April, seen as symbolic Russian gesture to the Trump administration and South Korea, North Korea believed to be asking for free money in form of aid

More than 120 climate change activists arrested as Extinction Rebellion camps overnight at Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus, causing serious disruption to Londoners who wish to go about their daily business, protesters demand government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025

Julian Assange arrested at Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has taken refuge since 2012, Westminster Magistrates' Court finds him guilty of failing to surrender to the court, UK to decide whether to extradite Assange to the US where he faces federal conspiracy charges

James Thompson: New version of World’s IQ shows global score of 82, data quality varies between countries, but gives you a rule of thumb as to what countries, on average, are capable of doing

Former Communist-era intelligence chief in Bulgaria criticise his country's security services for not better monitoring Brenton Tarrant during a six-day tour of the country in 2018, Tarrant stayed at Kachaka Guesthouse in Pleven north of Sofia, owner Yordan Kacharmazov says only feature that stood out was his passport with a "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan" stamp

Donald Trump ends aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras over claims they set up caravans of migrants exporting them into US, Trump says "we were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we're not paying them anymore because they haven't done a thing for us"

North Korea calls raid on its Madrid embassy "grave terrorist attack", just days before the Hanoi summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump a group of armed men burst into the embassy and stole documents and computers, North Korea suggests possible involvement of FBI and anti-DPRK body and calls on Spanish authorities to bring "terrorists and their wire-pullers to justice"

Chairman Ahmed Bhamji of New Zealand's biggest mosque Masjid E Umar says Mossad funded Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant during speech at rally organised by Love New Zealand Hate Racism, Israel's embassy condemned remarks as absurd and anti-Semitic

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claims a financial link between Brenton Tarrant and the Identitarian Movement, head of the Identitarians Martin Sellner received a donation of EUR 1,500 in 2018 involving an email address that matched the name of Tarrant, Sellner denies any connection with Tarrent and says police have raided his house, Kurz says Austria is looking into dissolving the movement

Attackers behind assault on North Korean embassy in Madrid fled to US via Portugal, ten individuals broke into the embassy on February 22, assaulting personnel and taking computers and cellphones with them, seven of the assailants have been identified, including their alleged leader Adrian Hong Chang

Two Russian air force planes lands at Venezuela's main airport, the Ilyushin IL-62 jet and Antonov AN-124 cargo plane carried nearly 100 troops and 35 tonnes of material, according to media reports, Kremlin did not reply to request for comment

Turkish justice minister Abdulhamit Gül says Turkey visits of Brenton Tarrant in 2016 was beyond touristic travel, expects a transparent investigation process and is ready to cooperate with New Zealand authorities

Photo of police officer Michelle Evans wearing Calvin Klein scarf over her head while guarding the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch gets shared widely – photographer Alden Williams says mix of scarf, red rose on her chest and Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle caught his eye

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls for global fight to root out racist right-wing ideology, rejected the idea that a rise in immigration is fuelling racism

40 dead in attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, arrested perpetrator 28 year old Australian man who states in online text that motive for attack was resistance against immigration of non-Europeans

Investigators from Spanish police links two of the men who took part in an attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid to the CIA, on February 22 ten masked assailants broke into the embassy, beating and interrogating the diplomatic staff, CIA denies any involvement but Spanish government sources say their response was "unconvincing"

First next person on the Moon and the first person on Mars are likely to be women, Nasa says, who will have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, women currently comprise 34 per cent of its active astronauts

Huawei sues US over ban signed by Donald Trump on government agencies buying its equipment or services, claims the company is not owned, controlled or influenced by the Chinese government and have been declared guilty of a crime without trial

Privately-funded Israeli moon lander Beresheet experiences strange computer malfunction, moments before a critical maneuver the navigation computer reset and cancelled the commands, the spacecraft is attempting to jump between Earth and moon orbits to conserve power

Australian Cardinal George Pell convicted of child sex crimes, found guilty of one count of sexual abuse and four counts of indecent assault of two boys at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s

Iranian Foreign Minister responsible for 2015 nuclear deal with foreign governments submits resignation, Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation on Instagram which is one of the few social media platforms not blocked in the country, Iran watchers speculate the move is a prelude to regime change efforts in the country

Britain to classify entire Hezbollah as terrorist organization due to the group's destabilizing Middle East influence, Interior Minister Sajid Javid says impossible to distinguish between the already banned military wing and the political party

Trump administration targets decriminalization of homosexuality in 70 remaining countries, effort led by openly-gay US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the initiative comes in response to reported hanging of gay man in Iran

Poland withdraws from Visegrad group talks with Israel over caustic Israeli rhetoric, acting foreign minister Israel Katz accused Poland of Nazi collaboration, quoted former Israeli PM in saying Poles "sucked anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk"

Ikea omits New Zealand on world map product BJÖRKSTA, the company apologized after the error was spotted by a Reddit-using shopper, missing-New Zealand phenomenon so common it has spawned a sub-Reddit called /r/MapsWithoutNZ

Department of Homeland Security arrests 129 Indian students enrolling in fake university, claims the students, who face possible deportation, knew University of Farmington was illegal and used it to extend their visa, Indian government protests and says students could have been tricked

USD 840 million in Venezuelan gold bars prepared for loading onto Russian jet, lawmaker says, represents 20% of the country's holding of the metal, finance minister Simon Zerpa denies the claim, Russia is reportedly owed billions by the Latin American nation

Bank of England holds USD 1.2 billion in Venezuelan gold hostage despite repeated redemption requests, Turkey has become a prime conduit for Maduro regime's gold mining output, coordinated effort between US and UK to divert funds to opposition under Juan Guaidó

European Commission includes Saudi Arabia on list of countries linked to terrorist financing, mostly based on criteria from the international Financial Action Task Force, Saudi Arabia is attempting a critical economic overhaul which is threatened by inclusion that restricts foreign investors

Pressure increases on Venezuelan President Maduro to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as winner of recent election, German and Spanish governments threaten to push EU proceedings to recognize Guaidó as interim president unless fresh elections are held immediately, fall short of declaring him rightful president

US recognizes Venezuela opposition leader as rightful president, diplomatic ties to be cut according to Maduro, protests intensify, Russia warns US against intervention

Turkish President Erdogan says Turkey ready to invade Syria to protect its interests, the country is set to take over security in Manbij from US forces, warns of continued threats from ISIS and Kurdish paramilitaries YPG and PKK

Taliban claims US representatives moving the goal posts in peace negotiations, the militant organization seeks Qatar as a venue over Saudi Arabia to deny participation of Afghan government, declares USA is its sole true adversary which it claims is engaged in "unlawful pressures" during negotiations

US arrests Iranian news reporter Marzieh Hashemi in St Louis while she visits family, the woman was born Melanie Franklin and changed her name following her convertion to Islam after marrying an Iranian, she claims she is being held in poor conditions and denied food and clothing necessary to observing her faith

Growing trend of Saudi students accused of crimes in Oregon escaping justice with help from Saudi consulate, the university students have been charged with crimes ranging from rape to murder, 1,000 of 44,000 Saudi students in US were in Oregon during 2017–2018 school year

President Trump tweets threat to "devastate Turkey economically" if they attack Syrian Kurds, renews calls for US pullout and says "Stop the ENDLESS WARS!"

Canadian convicted of drug smuggling in China faces death penalty sentence after retrial, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg originally arrested in 2014 and was given 15-year prison term, critics allege the new sentencing is retaliation for detention of Huawei executive in Canada

Polish security services arrest Chinese national and former Polish security official on spying charges, the Chinese man worked for Huawei Technologies, but authorities deny this case is connected to the company

NYPD using China's "Skynet" facial recognition technology in NYC on large scale, the program designed by Chinese firm Hikvision has been deployed in River Park government housing project since 2014, the system is identical to mainland China system which enables government to identify any individual within 3 seconds

World Bank president announces abrupt departure with 3 years remaining in his tenure, Jim Yong Kim to step down to follow private initiatives, new president likely to be a Trump appointee

Pope Francis compares nationalist politics to breakdown of League of Nations in "state of the world" speech, claims closed-door policies turning the clock back to the dangerous period between the world wars, disclaims possibility of "partial solutions"

Thai government agrees to provide temporary sanctuary to Saudi woman seeking asylum, 18 year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun used social media to call for help while hiding in Bangkok airport hotel, seeks refugee status in Australia and claims she is being pursued by Saudi officials

Sounds causing ear pain and dizziness to US diplomats on Cuba did not come from sonic weapon but from cricket Anurogryllus celerinictus, according to researcher at University of California, Berkeley

North Korean ambassador to Italy Jo Song-gil disappears in Rome, South Korean intelligence claims he has sought asylum from undisclosed Western country, has family ties to prominent North Koreans and his defection follows that of the deputy ambassador in London

Donald Trump congratulates new Brazilian president on Twitter, the two leaders exchanged pleasantries as Bolsonaro claimed they were "under God's protection"

Family of former Marine Paul Whelan who's detained in Russia on spy charges proclaims innocence, Whelan works as director of global security at auto supplier BorgWarner since 2017, discharged from USMC in 2008 for "bad conduct related to larceny", speculation incarceration Russian payback for U.S. arresting Russian national Maria Butina on spy charges

Former Blackwater mercenary convicted of murder in US court for 2007 massacre of 14 civilians in Baghdad, Nicholas Slatten was one of four originally found guilty in 2014

UN envoy to Somalia Nicholas Haysom declared "persona non grata" after arrest of former spokesman of al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, Haysom had questioned the legal basis of employing Ethiopian troops from African Union in capture, Mukhtar Robow had run for regional presidency before being imprisoned in Mogadishu

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior II scrapped for iron on Bangladeshi beach after 61-year career, the organization has previously campaigned against scrapping on environmental grounds, the ship was donated to another non-profit in 2011 after being deemed unseaworthy

Donald Trump makes unannounced trip to Iraq on Christmas night, his first visit to U.S. troops in a war zone since becoming president, Trump defended his decision to withdraw American soldiers from Syria and said he has no plans to remove U.S. troops from Iraq

Swedish state broadcaster claims bestial murder of two Scandinavian girls in Morocco "had nothing to do with Islam" and reports the decapitation as "neck wounds", puts emphasis on the fact that sharing the video of the killing is illegal

Russia successfully tests the hypersonic glide vehicle Avangard, the nuclear-capable device reportedly can achieve speeds of Mach 20 in the upper atmosphere, Vladimir Putin claims there is no deterrent available and it gives Russia unique strategic position

13 men arrested in the murder of two female Scandinavian tourists in Morocco, four of the suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS before the killings, authorities said

The US plans to withdraw 7,000 of about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, according to a defence official, President Trump has long criticised the 17-year-old war, the longest military conflict in US history which has cost 2,300 American lives

Japan set to leave IWC and resume commercial whaling for first time in 30 years, claims its own research shows sufficient levels of whales to support resumed hunting, has failed to sway other IWC nations

Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, will move embassy when city’s final status has been determined, but trade and defense offices will open there, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says, confirming Australia’s support for two-state solution with Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

Virgin Galactic's Unity achieves spaceflight at altitude of 83 km, making the pilots company's first astronauts, eclipses Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin space flight program

Canadian businessman Michael Spavor detained in China days after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was apprehended in Beijing, both being investigated on suspicion of harming China’s security, diplomatic experts says no doubt case linked with arrest of Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver

EU parliament approves "world's largest free trade agreement" with Japan, removes duties on almost all agriculture and industrial products, expected to go into force in February 2019

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou granted bail by Canadian court, faces U.S. claims she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, arrest puts further dampener on Chinese relations with the United States and Canada

Chilean government backs out of UN-sponsored migration pact conference, states "Countries have a right to determine the entry requirements for foreign citizens"

Congolese army Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni arrested in connection with the killing of the U.N. sanctions monitors Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in March 2017, prosecutors presents an audio recording of allegedly the colonel introducing the U.N. monitors to a translator two days before their deaths, which Mambweni last month denied having done

US Navy ships transit Taiwan Strait ahead of G-20 Summit, China reiterates commitment to "resolutely protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity"

President Trump cancels planned meeting with Putin at G-20 Summit, cites security concerns in ongoing Ukraine-Russia naval dispute

Ukrainian president requests NATO intervention in Sea of Azov, calls for German and other naval forces despite non-membership in NATO alliance

Xi Jingping and Mike Pence battle for economic hearts and minds at APEC regional summit, Xi claimed tariffs are "doomed to failure" while US VP warned that US "doesn't drown its partners in a sea of debt"

South Korean former police chief Kim Jong-yang defeats Russian Alexander Propchuk in Interpol presidency vote, Russia cited "unprecedented pressure and interference" in the election process at annual Dubai meeting

Sealed criminal charges in US against Wikileaks founder accidentally leaked, Julian Assange faces an ongoing investigation as US government seeks to prosecute him for intelligence leaks

Sweden Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom says Jordan Peterson should "crawl back under the rock he came from", the remarks were given at a "pro-women" council in the Swedish capital

Turkish government claims body double used to imitate slain Jamal Khashoggi after consulate disappearance, the member of the hit team wore the victim's clothes and was seen on surveillance video walking around Istanbul before changing

Donald Trump vows to exit 1987 nuclear arms treaty with Russia following claimed violation, the Reagan-Gorbachev brokered deal may unravel after US insists Russia has installed ground-based European nuclear launch system

Julian Assange plans to sue Ecuadorian government for violating his "fundamental rights and freedoms", claims Ecuadorian government has refused him visits by human rights attorneys and violated his privacy

Julian Assange partly regains internet access six months after his statements on social media were considered damaging for Ecuador’s diplomatic relations which led to the suspension of his communications

Turkey frees the American pastor Andrew Brunson who has been imprisoned for two years because of the time he served, was convicted of terror-related charges, thanks President Trump, is being flown to the United States in military plane

Japan's government considering to stop issuing visas to foreigners who's nations don't accept or support repatriations, part of a new bill which would allow foreigners to work up to five years in Japan

French police launch investigation for missing Interpol president Meng Hongwei, the Chinese national and deputy minister of public security in China was not heard from by his family after visiting China on September 29

2018 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict", Dr. Mukwege operates a clinic for sexual abuse survivors in Democratic Republic of Congo, Murad is a survivor of sex slavery perpretrated by ISIS against Yazidi population in Iraq

Apple and Amazon deny media report of covert Chinese intelligence microchips in their devices, Bloomberg claimed vendor Supermicro had been compromised by Chinese spies in "supply chain attack" affecting 30 US companies and government agencies

US ambassador to NATO threatens preemptive strike on Russian cruise missile capability, Kay Hutchison claims the US possesses evidence of weapons program development that violates 1987 treaty

Saudi ambassador to South Korea declares importance of strategic relationship to Vision 2030 policy, trade flows between Saudi Arabia and South Korea amounted to USD 26 billion in 2017 largely due to crude oil shipments

Syrian foreign minister announces the country is ready for voluntary return of refugees, advises it is seeking reconstruction help from countries without conditions or a policy of supporting terrorism

Jean-Claude Juncker says in state of the union speech that EU must turn into a major sovereign power on the global stage, should be militarily and economically independent from US as well as challenge China's attempts to become the ascendant influence in Africa

Belgium commits EUR 30 million to South Africa's land reform process, foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders emphasizes need for balance in country's process of amending Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation

US government cancels USD 300 million in military support for Pakistan, Pakistan claims the funds were not assistance but monies due under Coalition Support Fund agreement, US and Afghan governments claim Pakistan harbors Taliban leadership and militants