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World

World

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

Iranian foreign minister Javad Sarif meets with Assad in Damascus, declares rebels must be "cleaned out" of Idlib province and country reunified, Iranian military advisers to remain in Syria after war under new security pact

Nearly 1 in 18 North African migrants die in transit of Mediterranean to Europe, UNHCR report states less migrants have made the trip this year than last when fatality rate was 1 in 42

US government declares end to financial support of UNRWA program for Palestinians, cites flawed business model and growing list of beneficiaries, Palestinian Authority and Hamas claim US is no longer part of a solution to Israel-Palestine conflict

Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) defends curtsy after waltz with Vladimir Putin at her wedding, says "I submit to no one", Russian president brought a group of cossack singers to serenade the couple

John Bolton declares US sanctions against Russia will remain in place until "required change in Russian behavior", reaffirms that the US does not recognize Russian annexation of Crimea as legal, takes additional steps to pull Ukraine into NATO including finding substitutes for Russian natural gas in US liquefied natural gas

President Trump instructs Secretary of State Pompeo to investigate land seizures and murders of white farmers in South Africa, the South African government claims the US president is misinformed and does not want him meddling in internal affairs, post-Apartheid South Africa has a land redistribution scheme in place which purchases land from white farmers to give to blacks

German government announces temporary halt to deportations of Uighur Muslims to China, a recent UN report raised concerns about human rights abuses against Uighurs in China, ongoing security situation in Xinjiang pits Uighur minority against Han Chinese amid fears of terrorism

Turkish government fears arrival of 250,000 potential Syrian refugees due to fighting in Idlib, the Assad regime is planning a final military push after mopping up resistance in the rest of the country

Russian government donates two MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia as part of ongoing arms trade agreement, the country is considering reinstituting compulsory military service as it plans a military parade in which Putin will attend, the country is engaged in an arms race with neighbor and NATO-member Croatia which recently purchased F-16s from Israel

Russia announces it will supply Turkey with S-400 missile system ahead of schedule in 2019, the surface-to-air missles are incompatible with NATO arms systems and have a purported target range of 400km

Vienna named as the world's most livable city by Economist magazine, the Austrian city and former capital of Austro-Hungarian empire displaces Australia's Melbourne, it is the first time a European city tops the list that evaluates political and social stability, crime, education and access to medical care, nearly half of the cities surveyed saw their liveability index rise over the past year

UAE plans building oil pipeline between Eritrea's port city of Assab and Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, seen as latest sign of Gulf state's increasing involvement in the Horn of Africa motivated by investment opportunities in fast-growing Ethiopia as well as fear that rivals such as Iran or Qatar could gain foothold

US government announces new trade sanctions against Russia following poisoning of former Russian agent, US official cites up to hundreds of millions USD of affected trade at stake, US government aims to apply pressure on Russian government to give up chemical weapons programs and accept international inspections

Twitter-verified Saudi non-profit account posts image of Canadian airliner flying into Toronto skyline with warning about recent Canadian meddling in Saudi internal affairs, the image was later removed and reuploaded without the airliner after uproar, the Canadian government has protested recent arrests and prosecution of Saudi bloggers leading to diplomatic retaliation

Freak meteorite explosion releases 2 kiloton force above US nuclear strike early-warning radar site, US military strangely silent about natural occurrence which could've startled country's 2,000-strong nuclear warhead command into mistaken counter-strike against Russia

Pope Francis officially changes Catholic teaching to oppose death penalty in all cases, says Vatican will work with determination to end capital punishment in every single country, cites "inviolability and dignity of the person" despite historical use by the former Papal States

43-year-old English former soldier James Matthews who fought with Kurdish YPG against IS terrorists in Rojava has terror charges dropped, was believed to be first case of being charged with terrorism for joining group that received funding from own government

Sexual abuse of vulnerable women and girls by international aid workers "endemic" and has been happening for years, abuse ranging from unwanted sexual comments to rape targeting both locals and staff members, according to House of Commons International Development Committee report which also warns found cases likely just "tip of the iceberg"

Libya refuses to host EU asylum centres and says it won't agree on any EU deals to take in illegal migrants, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj says EU leaders should instead put pressure on migrants' origin countries to stop the journeys in the first place

Helsinki possible location when Trump and Putin meet in a not too distant future, believed to happen after Nato summit in Brussels July 11-12 in which Trump is expected to participate

49-year-old Dorjee Gyantsan sentenced to 22 months in prison for spying on Tibetan refugees in Sweden between 2015 and 2017 when he was arrested, man who posed as Tibetan independence supporter pleaded innocent and will appeal verdict

UN accuses six Libyans closely associated with country's EU-funded coastguard or with deal with Italy of people trafficking and places them under sanctions, witnesses say militia groups treat migrants violently and sink boats while at same time smuggling tens of thousands of people per year

Donald Trump wants Russia to regain membership in G7 group, country was expelled in 2014 after annexation of Crimea

Putin expresses hope for deescalation, wants to avoid third world war and end of civilization, according to Russian president in yearly interview with questions from public

Canada on track to legalize cannabis for recreational use, would become first G7 country to fully legalize drug in whole country

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demands China make full public account of Tianamen Square massacre of 1989

Summit between Trump and Putin prepared by Moscow ambassador Jon Huntsman according to Fox News sources, would be third meeting between presidents

Syria recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia and sets up embassy level diplomatic ties – Georgia hits back by severing official ties with Syria, blaming Russia for orchestrating the diplomatic stunt

Donald Trump cancels meeting with Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, claims Pyongyang has shown open hostility in recent statement, decision comes after North Korea as promised blew up tunnels at Punggye-ri nuclear test site

Polio could be eradicated by end of this year or next according to WHO, number of cases have plummeted from 350,000 in 1988 to 22 in 2017 and disease is now present only in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria

Iranian Quds Force fired 20 missiles towards Israeli military bases in Golan Heights from Syria without hitting targets, dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria destroyed in response with unknown number of casualties according to Israel

Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron declare that they together with Russia and China will uphold Iran deal, urge Trump administration not to obstruct implementation

Pyongyang criticizes alleged misleading claims that Donald Trump's policy of political pressure and sanctions drove North Korea to negotiating table, claims Kim Jong-un is driver of current situation

Chinese Civil Aviation Administration sends letter to 36 foreign air carriers telling them to remove references on websites and in other material that suggests Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are independent from China, Orwellian nonsense according to Trump administration

Dominican Republic establishes diplomatic relations with China and breaks with Taiwan, Beijing seeks to increase pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to accept one China principle

North Korea and South Korea sign declaration to completely abolish nuclear weapons during summit between leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in

Donald Trump to meet Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari in Washington on April 30, will discuss counterterrorism and economic cooperation, wants to build on Nigeria's role as democratic leader in region

US will not pull troops from Syria intil it has accomplished goal to ward off threats to American interests from chemical weapons attacks, IS terrorists and Iran according to UN ambassador Nikki Haley