IRAN BURIES SLAIN NUCLEAR SCIENTIST, PROMISES RETALIATION

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By Donnelly McCleland Iran has laid to rest assassinated nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in the capital Tehran as authorities blamed Israel for the killing and repeated vows to avenge it. Fakhrizadeh, a top figure in Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, was killed outside Tehran on Friday [27 November] after assailants targeted his car. (Al Jazeera)…

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CEASEFIRE BETWEEN MOROCCO AND WESTERN SAHARA’S POLISARIO FRONT COLLAPSES

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Analysts have expressed concern that renewed fighting in Western Sahara between the Polisario Front and Morocco after a 29-year ceasefire threatens regional stability and renews fears for the security and future of Sahrawi refugees – most of whom have been displaced since 1975. The Sahrawi refugee situation is among the most protracted ones worldwide. Occupied…

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ASIA-PACIFIC COUNTRIES FORM WORLD’S LARGEST TRADING BLOC

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On 15 November, 15 Asia-Pacific countries formed the world’s largest free-trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The agreement includes the 10 nations that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The agreement excludes the United States, as tensions between China…

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CONFLICT ESCALATES IN ETHIOPIA’S RESTIVE TIGRAY REGION

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On Wednesday 4 November, Ethiopia’s federal government cut off communications in the heavily armed northern Tigray region and ordered troops to respond to an alleged deadly attack on a military base there. Clashes have escalated and there have been casualties reported on both sides. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has since issued several statements seeking…

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GEOPOLITICAL WRANGLING IN THE STRATEGIC KASHMIR REGION OF GILGIT-BALTISTAN

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On 15 November, the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan will go to the polls for their legislative assembly, which currently has minimal powers and is largely governed directly by Pakistan.  However, on 1 November, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a “Provisional Status of the Province” during a visit to the scenic northern region of…

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CHINA HOLDS MILITARY INVASION DRILL AMID TENSIONS WITH TAIWAN

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China held a simulated military attack on Saturday 10 October that included drones, special forces, and airborne troops, in the latest in a series of military exercises aimed at Taiwan. The exercise – the first to be fully disclosed by Chinese state media – took place on Taiwan’s National Day. The Chinese report mentioned the…

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ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN CLASH OVER DISPUTED NAGORNO-KARABAKH REGION

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By Alex Pollock Fighting has erupted once more between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet Union republics in the Caucasus region. At the heart of the decades-old conflict is the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It is recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but it is controlled by ethnic Armenians. The countries fought a bloody war over the region…

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IRAQ AND IRAN AGREE TO BOOST TIES IN HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS

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Iraq and Iran have agreed to strive for improved bilateral relations as Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met with several Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, to discuss security, trade, and the role of the United States in the region. The summit was the first meeting between the two nations since July. The July meeting…

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US UNVEILS NEW IRAN SANCTIONS TARGETING ARMS SALES

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By Donnelly McCleland and Dr Daniel Shayesteh The US has imposed new sanctions on Iran after other powers rejected its demand to reinstate UN measures that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order that opens up foreign governments and companies to economic penalties if they sell weapons…

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AUSTRALIA AND CHINA’S STANDOFF INTENSIFIES

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Australia’s media is without representation in China for the first time in nearly 50 years as the diplomatic standoff between the two countries continues. The conflict shifted its focus towards media personnel when two Australian journalists, Bill Birtles for ABC and Mike Smith for the Australian Financial Review, were detained as “persons of interest” in…

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