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Sun08202017

Last updateSun, 20 Aug 2017 6pm

World News

Macron seeks to cut number of France MPs by a third.

French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a radical overhaul of the country's government. Speaking at the historic Palace of Versailles, he said he planned to cut the number of lawmakers by a third. Doing so would produce a more efficient government and put France on a "radically new path", said Mr Macron.

The French president says he has a broad mandate after sweeping wins in presidential and parliamentary elections this year. If his proposed changes were not passed by parliament within a year, he said he would take the decision to a referendum.

South China Sea: China calls USS Stethem warship 'a provocation'


Bijing has called the presence of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea "a serious political and military provocation". The USS Stethem sailed close to Triton Island, part of the Paracel Islands archipelago, claimed by China and others. China responded by sending military vessels and fighter jets to the area. It happened hours before US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke on the phone. During the call, Mr Xi told Mr Trump that "negative factors" were affecting US-China relations, according to a read-out of the call carried on Chinese state TV.

US-backed forces 'surround IS in Raqqa'.


US-backed forces say they have fully encircled Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, say they have now sealed off escape routes to the south. IS seized Raqqa in early 2014 and established its headquarters there. The SDF have been gradually advancing on the city since November and launched an offensive to take it on 6 June.

Trump travel ban injunction partly lifted by top US court.

US President Donald Trump has welcomed a Supreme Court ruling allowing his travel ban to be partly reinstated as a "victory for our national security". America's highest court also granted a White House request allowing part of its refugee ban to go into effect. The justices said they would consider in October whether the president's policy should be upheld or struck down. Mr Trump seeks to place a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations and a 120-day ban on refugees.

Brexit: EU citizens offered 'UK settled status' by PM May.

EU citizens legally resident in the UK should have the same rights as British citizens after Brexit, the UK prime minister has told EU leaders. "No-one will face a cliff edge," Theresa May said at a Brussels summit. A new "UK settled status" will grant those who have spent five years in the UK equal rights on healthcare, education, benefits and pensions. Guaranteeing EU citizens' rights is the top priority for the EU delegation negotiating Brexit. Before Mrs May's offer, the EU proposed that EU citizens in the UK and the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries should continue enjoying the same rights, enforceable by the European Court of Justice.

Russian Defence minister's plane 'buzzed' by Nato jet

A Nato fighter jet has approached a Russian plane carrying the defence minister but was chased away by a Russian escort jet, Russian media say.They say the incident happened in international airspace over the Baltic when Sergei Shoigu was flying to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.Nato says it tracked three Russian jets as they did not identify themselves. It says the Nato jet was not chased away.

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Suspected suicide bomber shot at Brussels railway station

Belgian soldiers have shot a man suspected of being a would-be suicide bomber at Brussels Central Station, officials say. He was shot after reportedly setting off a small explosion and no-one else is believed to have been injured.

Prosecutors later said the man had died. They are treating the incident as a terrorist attack. In March 2016, 32 people were killed in attacks on Brussels claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.(BBC)

Cuban foreign minister slams Trump policy shift


Cuba's foreign minister has criticized US President Donald Trump for his decision to reinstate travel and trade restrictions on the country.Bruno Rodriguez spoke during a visit to Austria on Monday. He is the first Cuban official to respond publicly to Trump's policy shift, announced last Friday.Rodriguez said the new policy would worsen bilateral relations and hurt the Cuban people.He called Trump's speech announcing the policy a "grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold War."

Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet.

Russia has warned the US-led coalition fighting in Syria that it will view its aircraft as targets, after the US shot down a Syrian military plane on Sunday

. The coalition said the Syrian Su-22 had bombed US-backed fighters battling so-called Islamic State in Raqqa province. Russia, the Syrian government's main ally, also said it was halting communications with the US aimed at preventing such incidents. The White House says it retains the right to self-defence in Syria. Spokesman Sean Spicer said it was important to keep lines of communication open with Russia.

Theresa May condemns Finsbury Park attack

Prime Minister Theresa May says the terror attack near a north London mosque is "every bit as sickening" as recent attacks to hit the UK. She was speaking after a man died and 10 people were injured when a man drove a van into worshippers near a north London mosque. Eight people were taken to hospital after the attack outside the Muslim Welfare House.

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