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After drawing a red line for Japan in the South China Sea last June, China is now telling Japan to stay off its second continent, Africa.
The Japanese government said on Wednesday it is ready to provide Vietnam with new patrol ships, in its latest step to boost the maritime law-enforcement capabilities of countries locked in territorial rows with China. On Tuesday, Japan agreed to provide two large patrol ships and lend up to five used surveillance aircraft to the Philippines, another country at odds with China over sovereignty issues in the South China Sea.
As President Barack Obama makes his final tour of Asia, much of the focus has been on the United States’ pivot or re-balance of its economic, diplomatic and military interests to the region. The United States, however, is not the only country that is pivoting to Southeast Asia and trying to build influence. Japan and Russia are taking big steps to up their presence in the region.
The European Union extended on Wednesday part of its sanctions against Russia over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and its role in the crisis in Ukraine, diplomats said. The EU's travel bans and asset freezes, which were due to expire on Sept. 15, were extended for six months and cover some 150 people and 37 entities involved in the turmoil in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
THE MIDDLE EAST
More than 11,000 teachers in Turkey have been suspended for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a week before children go back to school. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had said he thought as many as 14,000 teachers were associated with terror activities. Turkey, alongside Western countries, regards the PKK as terrorists.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have tentatively agreed to conduct talks in Moscow aimed at ending their decades-old stalemate in the Middle East, Russian officials said Thursday. Experts see little chance for a breakthrough even if a face-to-face meeting takes place.
President Barack Obama has nominated a Washington lawyer to the US District Court bench who would become the country's first Muslim-American federal judge if he is confirmed. Obama nominated Abid Riaz Qureshi on Wednesday to serve on the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday warned Russia against interfering with Western "democratic processes" and accused Moscow of aggressive behaviour aimed at eroding the international order. Carter's remarks follow hacking attacks on Democratic Party organisations in the run-up to the U.S. election on Nov. 8, some of which U.S. officials and cyber security experts have blamed on hackers working for the Russian government.
Some See Anti-Women Backlash in Ouster of Brazil’s President
Cuba's Communist government is filtering mobile phone text messages for key words such as "democracy" and "human rights" and then blocking them, dissidents said on Monday. An investigative report by blogger Yoani Sanchez and journalist Reinaldo Escobar concluded that text messages failed to reach their destinations if they contained Spanish words for democracy, human rights or hunger strike, among others, as well as the names of some dissidents.