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UN to kick off talks on global nuclear weapons ban

UNITED NATIONS: More than 100 countries are set to launch the first UN talks on a global nuclear weapons ban on Monday over objections from the major nuclear powers. Some 123 UN members announced in October that they would launch the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding nuclear ban treaty, even as most of the world's declared and undeclared nuclear powers voted against the talks. Britain, France, Israel, Russia and the United States voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained. Even Japan -- the only…

Trump’s message: Stay strong Israel, January 20 fast approaching

WASHINGTON: As the US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said Israel's building of settlements on occupied land was jeopardising Middle East peace, voicing unusually frank frustration with America's longtime ally weeks before leaving the office, Donald Trump said Israel could not be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. In his reactionary tweets the US President-elect Donald Trump said: We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend…

US set to announce response to ‘Russian election hacking’: sources

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for hacking into US political institutions and individuals and leaking information in an effort to help President-elect Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, two US officials said on Wednesday. Both officials declined to specify what actions President Barack Obama has approved but said targeted economic sanctions, indictments, leaking information to embarrass Russian officials or oligarchs, and…

US seeks to reassure Beijing after Trump call with Taiwan leader

WASHINGTON/BEIJING: The White House said on Monday it had sought to reassure China after President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwan's leader last week, which the Obama administration warned could undermine progress in relations with Beijing. The statement from a spokesman for US President Barack Obama highlighted concerns about the potential fallout from Trump's unusual call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday, which prompted a diplomatic protest from Beijing on Saturday. White House spokesman Josh…

US aid to Pakistan shrinks amid mounting frustration over militants

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials and outside experts claimed Pakistan's alleged support for resurgent militant groups hostile to the United States, coupled with warming US military and business relations with India, is sharply diminishing Islamabad’s strategic importance as an ally to Washington.

Armed U.S. aircrafts now flying over Iraq – defense officials

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is flying armed aircrafts over Iraq, defense officials said on Friday, adding that the flights were aimed at gathering intelligence and ensuring the safety of U.S. personnel on the ground rather than conducting strikes. "What I would tell you is that we continue to fly both manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq at the ... Iraqi government's request, predominantly for reconnaissance purposes. Some of those aircraft are armed," Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told…

US senate commission approves $960 million for Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The US Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved around $960 million in assistance allocation for Pakistan in the 2015 fiscal year, ARY News has learnt. The approved amount of $959.7 million, however, is less than the Obama Administration's request of $1.03 billion. But the powerful panel also acknowledged improved relations between two countries since last year's elections and urged sustained commitment to common goals. In its measure for the State Department expenditures, the Senate Appropriations…