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Erdogan sanctions US officials in tit-for-tat row over pastor

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey would impose sanctions on two US officials as retaliation for a similar move by Washington, hitting back in an unprecedented row between the NATO allies. Turkey's holding of pastor Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges for almost two years has sparked one of the most intense crises between Washington and Ankara. But in his first comments on the dispute since Washington imposed the sanctions on Wednesday, Erdogan also appeared keen to ward off any further…

Afghan president launches new ID cards amid row over ethnicity

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani launched new electronic ID cards on Thursday and faced immediate opposition in his own government towards a system that has fuelled bitter rows over ethnic politics only months before parliamentary elections are due. The much delayed “e-tezkera” system, named after the local term for identity cards, is intended to reduce fraud, streamline public administration and give a clearer picture of the population by centralizing data on one digitized card. “E-tezkera will help security in…

Cannes holds out olive branch in row with Netflix

CANNES: The Cannes film festival said Tuesday that it was still in talks with Netflix despite the platform's dramatic withdrawal of its films last week. Director Thierry Fremaux praised the streaming giant's bosses as "people of taste who love cinema", and said he was ready to heal the rancorous split that saw Netflix reportedly pull five films in the running for the world's top festival next month. Fremaux riled Netflix by banning movies that are not first released in French cinemas from the competition after cinema…

EU slams trade ‘bullies’ as Trump tariffs row deepens

BRUSSELS: The EU has said Europe will not waver against trade “bullies” as a row with US President Donald Trump over controversial steel and aluminium tariffs deepened. The jab from Brussels came Monday after the US tycoon singled out Europe in the surging trade row, threatening to tax German cars if the European Union doesn’t lower barriers to US products. Trump’s threat was part of a dispute sparked by his announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, although the “America First” Trump administration has…

Kremlin says no interest in US arms race in ‘invincible weapons’ row

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Friday said Russia will not be part of a new arms race as the United States and NATO voiced concern over Vladimir Putin's boasts of new "invincible" weapons. Putin stunned the West -- and many in Russia -- on Thursday by using his state of the nation address to unveil a new arsenal of hypersonic weapons and submarines less than three weeks before an election is expected to extend his rule until 2024. The revelations came with ties between Russia and the West at post-Cold War lows over the Syria…

BBC name change stirs language row in Afghanistan

KABUL: The BBC is facing an angry reaction in Afghanistan after it changed the name of one of its local language Facebook pages to BBC Dari, the official name of the Afghan version of Persian or Farsi but one rejected by many local Persian speakers. The Facebook page and other social media sites were bombarded by criticisms of the change. Many Persian speakers say the name Dari has been imposed historically by the traditionally dominant Pashto ethnic group as an implicit denial of Afghanistan’s place in the wider…

China scores diplomatic coup in sea row

BEIJING: China on Sunday scored a diplomatic coup in its campaign to weaken regional resistance against its sweeping claims to the South China Sea when Southeast Asian nations issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to Beijing's terms on talks. After two days of tense meetings on the dispute in the Philippine capital, foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a joint communique that diplomats involved said was carefully worded to avoid angering China. The…

American Airlines’ employee suspended after row with passengers

American Airlines has suspended an employee after a video showed an altercation on one of its planes involving crew, several passengers and a crying woman carrying a young child. An American Airlines employee violently took a stroller from the woman, hitting her with it and just missing her child, Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya said in a post accompanying the video he put on the site on Friday. Less than two weeks ago, a 69-year-old doctor, David Dao, was hospitalised after Chicago aviation police dragged him from a…

Mexico president cancels Trump talks in US wall row

MEXICO CITY: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday called off a meeting with Donald Trump as tensions over the US leader's vow to make Mexico fund a new wall on the neighbors' border boiled over. Trump had been scheduled to receive Pena Nieto at the White House next week, for their first meeting since the inauguration. Instead, the Republican president is facing a foreign policy spat during his first week in the Oval Office. But their escalating war of words over who would fund the proposed border wall -- a…