Tag Archives: ease

India returns key diplomat to Pakistan as tensions ease

India returns key diplomat to Pakistan as tensions easeNEW DELHI (AP) — India said Saturday that it was returning a key diplomat to Pakistan's capital amid an easing of tensions between the nuclear neighbors, but also demanded that its archrival take concrete steps against terrorists operating from its territory.



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Pakistan-India train service resumes as border tensions ease

Pakistan-India train service resumes as border tensions easeLAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A key train service with neighboring India resumed and schools in Pakistani Kashmir opened Monday in another sign of easing tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals since a major escalation last week over the disputed Kashmir region.



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US and South Korea scrap major military exercises to ease tensions with North

US and South Korea scrap major military exercises to ease tensions with NorthThe US and South Korea announced on Sunday an end to their annual large-scale military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. The decision comes days after the conclusion of US President Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, which ended without a formal agreement but with both sides suggesting they would keep talking. There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, and their annual drills with tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers have been a perennial target of North Korean fury – with Pyongyang condemning the manoeuvres as provocative rehearsals for invasion. While Mr Trump has ruled out withdrawing the troops, he has repeatedly complained about the cost of the exercises, describing them at a press conference in Hanoi as "very, very expensive". During a Saturday phone call between South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his US counterpart Patrick Shanahan, "both sides decided to conclude the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle series of exercises", according to a Pentagon statement. Foal Eagle is the biggest of the regular joint exercises held by the allies. In the past, it has involved 200,000 South Korean forces and some 30,000 US soldiers. It is accompanied by Key Resolve, a computer-simulated war game conducted by military commanders which usually begins in March and runs for about 10 days. The two allies will instead carry out "adjusted outside manoeuvre trainings and united command exercises to continue firm military readiness", Seoul’s defence ministry said Sunday. The decision was reached to support ongoing diplomatic efforts for North Korea’s denuclearisation and ease military tensions with the North, it added. South Korea’s foreign ministry said that Lee Do-hoon, Seoul’s chief nuclear envoy, will leave for Washington to hold talks with his US counterpart Stephen Biegun. "Lee will fly sometime this week," ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told AFP. Lee and Biegun are expected to discuss the Hanoi summit, which failed to build on the vaguely-worded commitment to denuclearise the Korean peninsula signed by Kim and Trump during their meeting in Singapore last year. Opponents of scrapping the drills have warned that it could impact the combat readiness of the combined US and South Korean forces and hand the North a strategic advantage on the divided peninsula, but most analysts said such concerns were exaggerated. "Suspending or downgrading the US-South Korean drills may hurt the readiness of the two militaries, but I don’t think it’s going to be a serious security threat to South Korea," Ahn Chan-il, the president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, told AFP. U.S. Army's Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters fly during a combined arms live-fire exercise during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle Credit: AP "The South’s conventional forces outclass the North’s, and given the current situation (with the US and the existing sanctions), it’s highly unlikely that Pyongyang will do anything with its nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future," he added. Retired General Vincent Brooks, a former commander of US forces in South Korea who helped organise Trump’s first meeting with Kim in Singapore, said last year that any end to joint training would not hinder the Pentagon’s combat-readiness on the peninsula. "Perhaps we’ve been told for now to put our sword back into its sheath, but we have not been told to forget how to use it," he said. Washington has sought to end long-running tensions on the peninsula and encourage North Korea to scrap its nuclear programme. Since the Singapore summit, the US and Seoul have scaled back or scrapped several joint military drills, and US bombers are no longer flying over South Korea. "Not downgrading or suspending the drills at this point … would mean the involved countries are not serious" about reaching a denuclearisation accord, said University of North Korean Studies professor Yang Moo-jin.



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Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledges

Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledgesPakistan will release a captured Indian pilot on Friday, Pakistan's prime minister told a joint session of parliament Thursday, in an overture towards New Delhi after soaring tensions fuelled fears of conflict between the nuclear-armed rivals. "As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow," Imran Khan said, a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down in a rare aerial engagement between the South Asian neighbours over the disputed region of Kashmir. The adversaries on Wednesday night and Thursday morning continued to trade fire over their disputed Kashmir frontier while Delhi demanded the return of its airman. In contrast to world leaders, who continued to call for the nuclear armed neighbours to show restraint, members of India's ruling party have called for more military action against Pakistan. The US said the risks from either of the adversaries taking more military action were “unacceptably high”. Delhi demanded the “immediate and safe return” of Wg Cdr Varthaman who was captured after his aircraft was lost during a dogfight with Pakistani jets on Wednesday. India called for the immediate and safe return of Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman Indian anger over the suicide bombing of a security convoy that killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Kashmir earlier this month has prompted the most severe showdown between the neighbours in nearly two decades. India blames the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group for the attack this week launched air strikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan responded with its own strikes and the said it had shot down two Indian jets, capturing Wg Cdr Abhinandan. Pakistani police say troops deployed in the disputed region of Kashmir continued trading fire with India overnight, forcing villagers living near the contested frontier to flee to safety. Police official Mohammad Tahir says cross-border fire continued into Thursday but there were no casualties. Pulwama suicide attack – Map Meanwhile Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, told a rally of supporters that his country's enemies were conspiring to create instability through terror attacks He didn't mention arch rival Pakistan but said a united India would "fight, live, work and win." The prospect of runaway escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed countries has sent alarm around the world. "The potential risks associated with further military action by either side are unacceptably high for both countries, their neighbours, and the international community," said a White House National Security Council told Bloomberg. Donald Trump, the US president, was more upbeat, saying America had been involved in attempts to persuade the neighbours to climb down. “We have, I think, reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” he said while in Hanoi. “They’ve been going at it, and we’ve been involved in trying to have them stop.”



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Saudi King Approves $3.1 Billion Plan to Ease Expat Fee Costs

Saudi King Approves $  3.1 Billion Plan to Ease Expat Fee CostsAuthorities will exempt some companies from paying the 2018 fees or reimburse those that have already paid, according to the official-Saudi Press Agency. To qualify for the aid, businesses need to have made strides in hiring more Saudi nationals. The fees were introduced in 2018 as part of a drive to increase non-oil government revenue — a key goal of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic transformation plan — but have drawn fire from business owners in a country accustomed to cheap foreign labor.



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Brazil's Search for Survivors Resumes After New Fears Ease

Brazil's Search for Survivors Resumes After New Fears EaseBrumadinho city center and other nearby neighborhoods were evacuated early Sunday after alarms were raised due to rising waters in another dam at the Corrego do Feijao iron ore mining complex in the region. The death toll from Friday’s accident stood at 58 on Sunday, Civil Defense spokesman Flavio Godinho said. The incident on Friday at the Feijao mine is the second deadly dam accident in just more than three years involving the world’s biggest iron ore producer.



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Treasury poised to ease sanctions tied to Russian oligarch

Treasury poised to ease sanctions tied to Russian oligarchWASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department appears set to lift sanctions on three companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska despite concerns from lawmakers in both parties who say the Trump administration should be tougher on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.



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Bereaved Guatemalan mother recalls hopes son would ease U.S. entry

Bereaved Guatemalan mother recalls hopes son would ease U.S. entryDetained on the U.S. border, Felipe Gomez Alonzo died late on Christmas Eve in a New Mexico hospital a few weeks after setting off with his father, becoming the second Guatemalan child to die this month while in U.S. custody. The two deaths have led to increased criticism of the Trump administration’s hardline stance on illegal immigration, as well as fresh scrutiny of why some migrants from Central America travel with children on the long, dangerous road north. Speaking at her home in a mountainous region of western Guatemala, Catarina Alonzo said neighbors had told the family that taking a child would provide her husband with a way in.



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2-Year-Old Gets Through Pool Safety Gate With Ease to Highlight Importance of Child Supervision

2-Year-Old Gets Through Pool Safety Gate With Ease to Highlight Importance of Child SupervisionThe Wyman family posted the video to Facebook to show the importance of keeping a close eye on your children around the pool.



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West Bank Palestinians urge Abbas to ease sanctions on Gaza Strip

West Bank Palestinians urge Abbas to ease sanctions on Gaza StripBy Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi RAMALLAH/GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian security forces on Wednesday used tear gas and batons against protesters calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to end financial sanctions on their fellow Palestinians in Gaza. Hundreds of protesters in the West Bank city of Ramallah faced down forces loyal to Abbas, who had banned such rallies earlier in the day. Abbas’s Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) has sought to use financial measures to isolate its chief rival Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls Gaza.



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