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China says conflict with Taiwan ‘more probable’ after US agrees to help Taipei build submarines

China says conflict with Taiwan ‘more probable’ after US agrees to help Taipei build submarinesA conflict between China and Taiwan is becoming "more probable" after Donald Trump agreed to help Taipei build its own submarines, Chinese media said. The US gave the go ahead for defence contractors to help Taiwan build an indigenous fleet after repeated appeals from Taiwan for help to bolster its defences against an increasingly assertive China. The decision has prompted Chinese officials to warn the US against playing the 'Taiwan card' amid an escalating trade war between the two countries. Taiwan first sought help from the US to build submarines in 1969, but Washington and European nations were reluctant to assist Taiwan in building a 12-boat fleet because of Chinese objections.  George W Bush's administration said it would help Taiwan acquire diesel electric submarines, but after little progress, Taipei launched a plan to manufacture its own submarines last year. The office of Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen thanked the US for its recent decision, while the defence ministry described the go ahead as a “breakthrough.” Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) get ready for the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base  Credit: Reuters However, media and officials in China – which considers Taiwan a renegade province which will be reunited with the mainland – expressed anger at US interference in Taiwan. The nationalist Global Times newspaper said: "The mainland needs to continue to prepare for a possible military clash across the Straits.  "A military showdown with Taiwan is becoming more probable and may take place sooner rather than later." Liu Jieyi, the director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said "some Americans indeed intend to play the Taiwan card". "This will not only harm the entire Chinese people, but harm rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots," he said, according to Xiamen TV. At a glance | The One China policy Taiwan's former defence minister, Andrew Yang, told The Telegraph the ruling was “a very important first step” in a process that could take at least ten years. He said there was little surprise in Taipei over China’s negative reaction. “Beijing is always protesting US support for Taiwan in terms of providing defensive articles, particularly with regards to submarines. Submarines are more sensitive,” he said. Michael Tsai, another former defence minister, said: “China is expanding its very aggressive military activity around the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.  "Taiwan needs to strengthen its self defence capability, including submarines, to deter China from taking further aggressive military action in this area." Members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy stand on the Liaoning aircraft carrier as it sails into Hong Kong, china, on Friday, July 7, 2017.  Credit: Bloomberg However, the decision has not been universally welcomed in Taiwan, where there are concerns that it could provoke Beijing amid its worsening trade spat with the US. “This is the right decision at the wrong time,” said Dr Ching Chang, a former naval officer and now a research fellow at the Society for Strategic Studies. “Given the present awful situation in cross-Strait relation and US-Sino interactions regarding commercial disputes it is very hard for us to see it as a blessing and not a curse,” he said. US-China Relations | What US presidents have said on Taiwan Jason Hsu, a leading member of the Kuomintang opposition party said the decision was further sign of the US “flexing its muscles to China” amid growing tensions over trade. “This is a double-edged sword," he said.  "We do need the technology. However, at this particular time I think it would be like swallowing an unknown medicine without knowing its consequences or side-effects."   Additional reporting by Christine Wei



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South Korea says North agrees to hold summit preparation talks on March 29

South Korea says North agrees to hold summit preparation talks on March 29By Cynthia Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has agreed to hold high-level talks with South Korea on March 29 at the border truce village of Panmunjom to prepare for a summit of their leaders planned for April, the South said on Saturday. A team of three officials will be led by Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of North Korea’s committee for the peaceful reunification of the country, the North told its neighbor early on Saturday, the South’s Unification Ministry said. “This morning, North Korea sent a message through a communication channel in Panmunjom agreeing to our suggestion made on the 22nd to hold high-level inter-Korea talks,” the ministry said in a statement.



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DeVos Finally Agrees Federal Dollars Shouldn't Fund LGBTQ Discrimination In Schools

DeVos Finally Agrees Federal Dollars Shouldn't Fund LGBTQ Discrimination In SchoolsQuestioned by a persistent lawmaker on Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy



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SABC reporter says South Africa's Zuma agrees to go, spokesman denies

SABC reporter says South Africa's Zuma agrees to go, spokesman deniesBy James Macharia JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A presidential correspondent of South Africa’s SABC state broadcaster reported on Monday that Jacob Zuma had agreed to resign as head of state citing sources, although the embattled leader’s spokesman quickly dismissed it as “fake news”. The rand , which had gained as much as 1 percent on expectations Zuma was on his way out, surrendered some of its gains after the rebuttal from Bongani Ngqulunga, but remained 0.4 percent stronger on the day at 11.95 to the dollar. Standing outside a meeting of the top leadership of the ruling ANC, SABC correspondent Tshepo Ikaneng cited sources inside the Presidency as saying 75-year-old Zuma had agreed to stand aside after weeks of mounting pressure for him to quit.



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North Korea agrees to talks after U.S., South Korea postpone military drills

North Korea agrees to talks after U.S., South Korea postpone military drillsBy Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with South Korea next week, the first in more than two years, hours after Washington and Seoul delayed a military exercise amid a standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs. South Korea said the North had sent its consent for the talks to be held on Tuesday. The meeting will take place at the border truce village of Panmunjom where officials from both sides are expected to discuss the Winter Olympics, to be held in the South next month, and inter-Korean relations, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters.



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US agrees to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, angering Russia

US agrees to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, angering RussiaWASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, a long-awaited move that deepens America's involvement in the military conflict and may further strain relations with Russia. Moscow responded angrily on Saturday.



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Mugabe agrees to stand down as Zimbabwe president: source

Mugabe agrees to stand down as Zimbabwe president: sourceRobert Mugabe agreed on Sunday to resign as Zimbabwe's president hours after the ruling ZANU-PF party fired him as its leader following 37 years in charge, a source familiar with the negotiations said.



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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Big Gerrymandering Case Ahead Of 2018 Election

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Big Gerrymandering Case Ahead Of 2018 ElectionThe Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear an expedited argument in a case challenging the state’s congressional map, setting the stage for a potential decision on the constitutionality of the map ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.



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Former Chicago professor accused of murder agrees to Illinois transfer

Former Chicago professor accused of murder agrees to Illinois transferA former Northwestern University professor who led police on a week-long manhunt after he was accused of stabbing to death a Chicago-area man agreed on Monday to be transferred from California to Illinois to face a murder charge. The manhunt for Wyndam Lathem, 42, and Andrew Warren, a second suspect who worked at Britain’s Oxford University, attracted international attention. Chicago authorities, who are seeking to extradite both men, have described the crime as domestic in nature, without offering a motive.



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U.S. appeals court agrees to reconsider 'Making a Murderer' conviction

U.S. appeals court agrees to reconsider 'Making a Murderer' convictionA federal magistrate, William Duffin, threw out the guilty verdict against Brendan Dassey last August, ruling the conviction was based on a coerced confession that the defendant, now 27, gave as a 16-year-old youth with a learning disability. The 7th Circuit on Friday granted that request, vacating the earlier decision of its three-judge panel and setting a new round of oral arguments to be heard on Sept. 26.



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