President Ram Nath Kovind urges people to perform ‘sacred act’ of voting during Lok Sabha polls

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday gave a clarion call to people to perform the “sacred act” of voting, emphasising this year’s general election should be seen as a “once-in-a-century moment” that will shape the India of the remainder of the 21st century. Mr. Kovind said an election was not just a political exercise. It was a collective call to wisdom and a collective call to action. “The ideas and idealism of our democracy will come into force to elect the 17th Lok Sabha.” In his customary address to the…

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Damascus ‘welcomes’ Kurdish negotiation appeal, talks to start ‘in days’

The head of a Syrian Kurdish group says talks with Damascus will begin “in days” following the government’s “positive” reaction to a negotiation appeal. “There are attempts to carry out negotiations. The Syrian government stance was positive,” Reuters quoted Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) chief Sipan Hemo as saying. “We believe they will start in the coming days.” Syria’s Kurds have been granted some degree of self-rule by the government since the war began in 2011. Last month, they sought to come back under the full Syrian sovereignty after the US announced plans to withdraw troops. People in the Kurdish-populated areas…

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Saudi Arabia building its first ballistic missile factory: Report

Saudi Arabia, already known as the world’s top importer of foreign-made ballistic missiles, has started building its first missile production factory near the central town of Al-Watah, The Washington Post has quoted experts as saying. In a Wednesday report, The Post quoted leading experts as saying that satellite imagery dating back to November appears to show Saudi Arabia’s debut ballistic missile factory located at an existing missile base near Al-Watah. This would reportedly be the first known instance of Saudis manufacturing the weapons indigenously, after importing foreign-made ballistic missiles for years. The photos…

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Berlin set to sell weapons to Doha amid tension with Riyadh

Germany has approved exporting military equipment to Qatar amid deepening tensions with Riyadh, Doha’s rival. According to Press TV, Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers in a letter dated January 23rd that the German government approved selling to Qatar four RAM naval missile systems. Chancellor Angela Merkel said in October that Berlin would stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul earlier that month. Merkel called Khashoggi’s murder an “atrocity” that “had to be clarified,” calling on…

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US, China far away from reaching trade deal: US commerce chief

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the United States and China are still far away from resolving their trade dispute but there is a chance the two countries may reach an agreement. In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Ross tried to lower expectations for a trade deal between the US and China during high-level talks next week in Washington. “There is a very large group coming. There’s been a lot of anticipatory work done but we’re miles and miles from getting a resolution and frankly that shouldn’t be too…

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