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U.S. starts withdrawing troops from Syria amid policy confusion

A U.S. military vehicle is seen in northern Syria in April 2018. (Photo: Hussein Malla, AP) The U.S. military began the process of withdrawing its troops from Syria following a drawdown ordered by President Donald Trump, a military official said Friday. Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S.-coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, declined…

Angela Merkel’s mixed legacy: Open-door policy, rise of far right

It has been described by German media as the "decision of her life". When Angela Merkel let more than 800,000 refugees into the country in the summer of 2015, few could have predicted the fallout from that. Over the past three years, her government has been embroiled in bitter political infighting and the surge in…

Stocks pare sharp losses after report that Fed may take wait-and-see...

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson US stocks clawed higher after falling sharply early Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported the Federal Reserve might adopt a wait-and-see approach to future policy decisions.  On Tuesday, Wall Street suffered its worst day since October. Watch the major US indexes trade in real time here. Wall Street closed mixed Thursday as concerns…

Manus and the deepening despair of Australia’s endless detention policy

Manus Island, Papua New Guinea - Aziz Abdul Muhamat had agreed to meet me for an interview near the East Lorengau refugee transit centre at eight in the morning. The 25-year-old Sudanese man is a nominee for a global human rights prize - the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Award - for his advocacy work on behalf…

Malaysia death penalty abolition opens door to drug policy review

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Drugs have long attracted the harshest penalties here. Under the Dangerous Drugs Act, anyone found with 200 grams of cannabis, 40 grams of cocaine, and 15 grams of heroin or morphine risks being charged with drug trafficking - a crime that carries the death penalty. The burden of proof doesn't even…

Why Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is failing

The brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and the spectacular mismanagement of the crisis that ensued show how reckless and ill-advised the kingdom's foreign policy has become under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is the latest in a series of foreign policy blunders Saudi…

Australia under growing pressure over remote detention policy

Canberra, Australia - Opposition to Australia's policy of confining people on remote Pacific islands if they try to get to the country by boat is coming under increasing pressure as evidence grows of the toll it has taken on the health of those detained. Outrage in Australia at reports of vulnerable asylum seeker children suffering…

Will Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy lead to isolation?

US President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations was at sharp odds with other world leaders. From Iran to Palestine, from trade wars to the price of oil, Trump's campaign-style address on Tuesday pitched for an independent rather than inclusive approach to the challenges facing the world. But will his "America first" policy disrupt Washington's global…

Is the far-right shaping the EU’s migration policy?

It's an issue that has divided Europe for years - illegal migration. Almost two million people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea since 2014. This movement towards Europe continues to take a devastating toll on human life. Thousands die during their desperate journeys. Several policies on border control and restrictions have seen a…

Trump, Pompeo accuse Kerry of ‘undermining’ US policy on Iran

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused Obama-era official John Kerry of "actively undermining" US policy on Iran after he admitted meeting Iran's foreign minister "three or four times" since leaving office. "John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime which can only serve to undercut our…
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