Tuesday, March 14, 2017

World News Briefs -- March 14, 2017

Bashar al-Jaafari (L), Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, shakes hands with UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, prior a round of negotiation, during the Intra Syria talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Salvatore Di Nolfi/Pool

Reuters: Russian-backed Syria talks derailed as rebels boycott

Russian-led peace talks on Syria were derailed on Tuesday as rebels backed by Turkey boycotted a third round of meetings in Kazakhstan and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over the process.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, said the rebels' reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision came as a surprise. Describing the rebels as Turkish proxies, the Syrian government envoy said Ankara had broken "its commitments" to the Astana process.

The rebels said they would not attend the talks, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, because of what they called Russia's unwillingness to end air strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia to abide by a ceasefire.

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MIDDLE EAST

In Mosul, a heavy but not crushing blow to Islamic State.

Iraq forces hit stiff resistance in Mosul's Old City.

Iraq forces retake Mosul train station, once a major rail hub.

Over 80,000 Iraqis displaced in west Mosul fighting: IOM.

Syria conflict: Jets deliberately bombed Damascus spring - UN.

Syrian opposition pulls out ahead of Astana peace talks. New round of Syria peace talks opens without rebels.

As Syria peace talks sputter on, tentative efforts to rebuild continue.

Trump envoy meets Abbas as White House wades into Mideast conflict.

Diplomatic row between Europe and Turkey escalates further. Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan: 'We know Dutch from Srebrenica massacre'. Turkey suspends high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands.

ASIA

US to deploy missile-capable drones across border from North Korea.

China warns United States after Gray Eagle drone deployment.

U.S. carrier joins South Korea drills, North Korea warns of 'merciless' strikes. USS Carl Vinson to be deployed in warning to North Korea.

Report: North Korea developing anti-ship ballistic missiles.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un orders army to prepare for combat.

Defector: North Korea's next nuclear test could lead to collapse.

Malaysia to deport 50 North Koreans despite travel ban over Kim Jong-Nam assassination.

Chinese Communist Party officials harden rhetoric on Islam.

AFRICA

Exclusive: Russia appears to deploy forces in Egypt, eyes on Libya role - sources.

Libya's Khalifa Haftar 'retakes oil ports from Islamist militia'.

Pirates hijack oil tanker off Somalia's coast.

Boko Haram splinter group head charged with kidnappings, murders.

Mozambique cholera outbreak infects over 1,200.

Niger politician jailed over baby-trafficking.

Death toll from Ethiopia landslide reaches 72.

EUROPE

Scottish Government seeks quick EU deal if second independence attempt succeeds.

Hungary's president re-elected, beating back challenge by 'Soros candidate'.

Francois Fillon placed under formal investigation.

Dutch to head to polls amid row with Turkey.

Employers can ban Muslim headscarf, European court rules.

Russia says it's implementing U.N. North Korea sanctions.

Polish MEP punished for saying women are less intelligent than men.

AMERICAS

Storm clobbers the Northeast after weeks of mild weather.

Republicans on defense after report shows millions would lose insurance.

Deadly floods continue to devastate Peru.

Decapitated bodies found in mass grave at Venezuelan prison.

Child welfare officials arrested over Guatemala shelter fire that killed 40 girls.

Trudeau in New York for Broadway play about Canada on 9/11.

Canadian Girl Guides cancel US travel ahead of ban.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump gives CIA power to launch drone strikes: report.

EU taskforce highlights security failings that facilitated terror attacks.

Carlos the Jackal denounces latest France terror trial.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US Fed begins meet with rate hike on the cards.

Toshiba pushes sale of nuclear unit Westinghouse as crisis deepens.

Artificial intelligence will create world’s first trillionaire - Mark Cuban.

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