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Sri Lanka presidential hopeful says won't honor deal with UN -

Sri Lanka presidential hopeful says won't honor deal with UNA former Sri Lankan defense chief who is a front-runner in next month's presidential election said Tuesday that if he wins, he won't recognize an agreement the government made with the U.N. human rights council to investigate alleged war crimes during the nation's civil war. If Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins the Nov. 16 election and follows through with his comments, it would be a severe setback to Sri Lanka's post-war reconciliation process. "We will always work with the United Nations, but I can't recognize what they have signed" with past Sri Lankan governments, Rajapaksa said at a news conference.

Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:46:19 -0400

Hundreds of police officers have been labeled liars. Some still help send people to prison. -

Hundreds of police officers have been labeled liars. Some still help send people to prison.Across the USA, prosecutors aren't tracking officer misconduct, skirting Supreme Court "Brady" rules and sometimes leading to wrongful convictions.

Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:10:12 -0400

Court Ruling Extends Vote Protest of Philippine Marcos’ Son -

Court Ruling Extends Vote Protest of Philippine Marcos’ Son(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines’ top court on Tuesday decided to release the initial results of the vice-presidential vote recount, which the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son said will delay his chance to assume the post.Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he is “frustrated” by the court’s decision not to resolve his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo victory in the 2016 polls. Robredo is already halfway through her six-year term.The court instead decided to make public the result of the recount covering three provinces that will serve as basis for any further action on Marcos’ challenge. It also asked the two camps to comment on Marcos’ plea to nullify votes in three other provinces due to supposed irregularities in the 2016 elections.“The proper vice president -- myself -- is being robbed of years of service,” Marcos said in a televised interview. President Rodrigo Duterte, who has faced questions on his health, has repeatedly said Marcos is his preferred successor if he had to leave office before his single term expires in 2022.Robredo, leader of the opposition party, said she welcomes the court decision, as she urged the court to already junk Marcos’ protest. “The mere fact that this has been dragging on for so long only provides Marcos a platform for his lies,” she said in a separate televised briefing.(Updates with comments from Marcos and Robredo from fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Tue, 15 Oct 2019 05:50:20 -0400

India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed -

India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killedText messaging services were blocked in Indian-administered Kashmir just hours after being restored when a truck driver was killed by suspected militants and his vehicle set ablaze, authorities said Tuesday. Security sources said the decision to cut text services was taken to reduce the ability of militants to communicate. Indian authorities had only restored call and text services for mobile phones on Monday, following a 72-day blackout in the restive northern territory imposed after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status.

Tue, 15 Oct 2019 05:12:05 -0400

Putin’s Syria Gambit Delivers Again as Trump Sidelines U.S. -

Putin’s Syria Gambit Delivers Again as Trump Sidelines U.S.(Bloomberg) -- The Turkish troops who poured into Syria to battle Kurdish fighters abandoned by the U.S. may have inadvertently handed Russian President Vladimir Putin a strategic victory in the Middle East.Less than a week after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the intervention, Russia has maneuvered to get Syrian government forces into territory held by the Kurds for seven years during the war with U.S. support, until President Donald Trump ordered a troop withdrawal. It’s a major step in Putin’s efforts to restore Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control over all of the country after Russia’s military intervention tipped the war in his favor.“Putin has forced his allies and rivals to accept that he has essentially become the architect of the political and military balances in the Syrian conflict,” Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North East research at Eurasia Group, said by email. “Attempting to manage conflicting Israeli, Iranian, Saudi and Turkish interests in Syria is far from an easy mission but Putin’s power and prestige in the region has grown.”The U.S. sought to regain the initiative Monday by demanding “an immediate cease-fire” from Erdogan and imposing sanctions that fell short of what some lawmakers in Congress were seeking. That came a day after the Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria had announced that it had struck a deal with Damascus and Moscow for the Syrian army to protect the northern border with Turkey after the U.S. decision to pull out its remaining 1,000 troops in the area.While Assad’s forces are no match for NATO member Turkey’s military, which has already penetrated 30 kilometers (18 miles) into Syria, their push toward the Turkish border signals Russia’s intention to curtail the scope of Erdogan’s ambitions.Shaping SyriaIt also gives the Kremlin undisputed leadership in shaping Syria’s future, bolstering Putin’s image in the Middle East, where he’s already forged a partnership with Iran, created an oil alliance with Saudi Arabia and built close ties with Egypt’s strongman President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Putin has also wooed Erdogan, who defied U.S. opposition to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 air-defense system, and they have coordinated efforts to try to resolve the Syrian war despite tensions over the Kurds.The Russian leader arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after traveling from Saudi Arabia, where he made his first visit since 2007, reinforcing the Kremlin’s efforts to exploit waning U.S. influence in the Middle East under Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama.Russian officials said they’re working to balance the often-conflicting interests of Moscow’s partners in Syria. “We’re holding contacts to establish a way forward in line with international law and respecting the interests of all sides involved in this process,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.Trump on Monday held phone talks with Kurdish military commander Mazloum Abdi and Erdogan in the presence of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has pushed for “crippling” sanctions on Turkey. The U.S. president assured Abdi he would do “everything possible” to stop the Turkish incursion, Graham said on Twitter.The Kurds face “painful compromises” in working with Moscow and Assad, Abdi said in an op-ed in Foreign Policy on Sunday. “But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life.”Russia wants Erdogan to comply with a 2006 security accord that allows for Turkish operations against Syrian Kurdish YPG militia near the border “but does not allow for a long-term presence,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat and foreign policy analyst in Moscow. “This is about establishing territorial limits on the Turkish operation, and for the Kurds it’s about establishing a no-fly zone for Turkish planes.”The Kremlin and Damascus appear to be counting on the Kurds to ensure control of the territory and limit any revival of Islamist terrorism there. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said the autonomous administration remains responsible for political leadership and internal security, while the deployment of Assad’s forces was limited to halting the Turkish advance.Ankara says the offensive, which has provoked a wave of international condemnation. is necessary to push back Kurdish fighters it describes as terrorists linked to separatists inside Turkey.But Putin on Friday warned that the operation risked triggering a resurgent threat from Islamic State, with thousands of jihadists detained by the Kurds potentially able to escape. “This is a real threat to all of us,” he told regional counterparts in Turkmenistan. The Kurds said Sunday that nearly 800 inmates affiliated with Islamic State had escaped from a detention center after Turkish shelling.Putin stepped up his message at the weekend, calling for all forces “deployed illegitimately” in Syria to leave. “Right now, we are discussing this openly with all our partners, including Iran and Turkey,” Putin said in an interview with Arabic-language channels released Sunday.The Turkish attack and U.S. pullback presented a perfect opportunity to achieve Russian goals in Syria and restore central control over the oil-rich northeast, according to Elena Suponina, a Moscow-based Middle East expert.“Russia has always wanted the government to recover control of as much territory as possible,” she said.(Updates with Russian deputy foreign minister in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Selcan Hacaoglu and Andrey Biryukov.To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at;Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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