Tag Archives: officials

US sanctions Venezuela officials close to 'former President' Maduro

US sanctions Venezuela officials close to 'former President' MaduroThe US Treasury announced Friday it was imposing sanctions on five intelligence and security officials close to crisis-hit Venezuela’s “former” President Nicolas Maduro. Among the five men is Manuel Quevedo, described by the Treasury as the “illegitimate” president of Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, PDVSA.



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The Latest: US announces sanctions against Maduro officials

The Latest: US announces sanctions against Maduro officialsCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):



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Monica Witt: US Air Force officer defects to Iran with information 'seriously damaging' to national security, officials reveal

Monica Witt: US Air Force officer defects to Iran with information 'seriously damaging' to national security, officials revealA US Air Force officer has defected to Iran and shared information that could cause “serious damage” to America’s national security, officials have revealed. The former Air Force intelligence specialist was charged with espionage and was accused of working for Iran, according to an unsealed federal indictment. The announcement arrived after Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and other senior officials held a call with reporters to discuss what they called “a national security related action involving Iran”.



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Gaza officials: Israeli fire kills 2 Palestinian teens

Gaza officials: Israeli fire kills 2 Palestinian teensGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers on Friday as thousands held demonstrations along the perimeter fence separating Gaza and Israel.



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Evidence shows Khashoggi murder planned, carried out by Saudi officials: U.N.

Evidence shows Khashoggi murder planned, carried out by Saudi officials: U.N.Khashoggi’s killing by a team of Saudi operatives on Oct. 2 provoked widespread revulsion and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, previously admired in the West for pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Crown Prince Mohammed ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi, a critic and Washington Post columnist, and say his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown. “Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia,” Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur for extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, said in statement issued in Geneva.



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American and Taliban officials reportedly reach tentative agreement to pull US troops out of Afghanistan

American and Taliban officials reportedly reach tentative agreement to pull US troops out of AfghanistanIn exchange, Taliban agrees to not allow terror groups inside Afghanistan's borders; Col. Rob Maness reacts.



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Foreign troops 'to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal,' Taliban officials say

Foreign troops 'to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal,' Taliban officials sayTaliban officials said U.S. negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal stipulating the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months of the agreement being signed. The details were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the United States' longest war. While neither side released an official statement, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made "significant progress" and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials. "Meetings here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have made significant progress on vital issues," he wrote, adding that numerous issues still needed work. "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire," he said in the tweets. A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined further comment. It was not clear if the draft described by the Taliban sources is acceptable to both sides or when it will be completed and signed. According to the sources, the hardline Islamic group gave assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and its allies - a key early demand of Washington. They said the deal included a ceasefire provision but they had yet to confirm a timeline and would only open talks with Afghan representatives once a truce was implemented. Up until now, the Taliban has repeatedly rejected the Afghan government's offer of holding talks, preferring instead to talk directly to the U.S. side, which it regards as its main enemy. "In 18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action," a Taliban source said, quoting from a portion of the draft. More talks on the draft are expected in February, again in the Qatari capital Doha, the Taliban sources said. They expect their side to be led by new political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the movement's co-founder and a former military commander who was released from prison in Pakistan last year. While they said his appointment had boosted momentum for a deal, it was unclear if he joined the talks. Taliban officials believe the U.S. was keen to get Baradar - who was captured in a joint Pakistani-U.S. intelligence raid in 2010 - to the table so they could be sure of speaking to the movement's most powerful figures. Other clauses in the draft include an agreement over the exchange and release of prisoners, the removal of an international travel ban on several Taliban leaders by Washington and the prospect of an interim Afghan government after the ceasefire is struck, the Taliban sources said. The suggestion to appoint an interim government in Afghanistan comes at a time when top politicians including Ghani have filed their nominations for the presidential polls in July this year. Ghani has repeatedly rejected the offer to agree to the formation of an interim government. News of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continues to stage near-daily attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces. Despite the presence of U.S.-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their Afghan counterparts 17 years after the U.S.-led an invasion to drive them from power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan. Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country's security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014. The United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, known as Resolute Support, as well as a U.S. counter-terrorism mission directed at groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Despite reports in December last year that the United States was considering pulling out almost half of its forces, a White House spokesman said that U.S. President Donald Trump had not issued orders to withdraw the troops. However, the administration has not denied the reports, which have prompted fears of a fresh refugee crisis. The Taliban sources also confirmed provisions in the draft that have broader implications for Afghanistan's ties with its neighbours, particularly Pakistan, India and China. They said the deal included provisions that Baloch separatist militants will not be allowed to use Afghan soil to target Pakistan. Balochistan, a resource-rich yet often-neglected province in south west Pakistan, has been the source of separatist insurgencies for more than 60 years.



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Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officials

Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officialsMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of people who died from a gasoline pipeline explosion in central Mexico last week has risen to 94, government officials said on Tuesday, from 91 reported a day earlier reut.rs/2FGojjO. The explosion last Friday occurred as about 800 people in Hidalgo state's Tlahuelilpan district were collecting gasoline that was gushing from a pipeline leak near a major refinery. …



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Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officials

Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officialsMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of people who died from a gasoline pipeline explosion in central Mexico last week has risen to 94, government officials said on Tuesday, from 91 reported a day earlier reut.rs/2FGojjO. The explosion last Friday occurred as about 800 people in Hidalgo state's Tlahuelilpan district were collecting gasoline that was gushing from a pipeline leak near a major refinery. …



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White House officials tell Fox News President Trump plans to give his State of the Union address as scheduled

White House officials tell Fox News President Trump plans to give his State of the Union address as scheduledSo far, there has been no response from Speaker Pelosi's office on the president's intention to give the speech at the Capitol; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.



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