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US-led strikes on Syria justified: Israeli official

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Retaliatory airstrikes led by the US on Syria are justified because of the “murderous actions” said an Israeli official of the Damascus government today.

The official who denied disclosing his identity said, “ Last year (US) President Donald Trump said that the use of chemical weapons would violate a red line. This night, under America’s guidance, the United States, France and Britain acted accordingly (because) Syria continues to carry out its murderous actions”.

He further added, “Syria also serves as a base to carry out such action, namely on behalf of Iran, endangering its territory, its forces and its leadership”.

The public radio stated that Israel had been earlier apprised quite ahead of time of the air strikes that were today done by the United States, Britain and France.

Tensions seem to have been intense between Israel and Iran that is a chief backer of the Syrian regime that provides military advisors and “volunteer” ground forces to Damascus.

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China’s delivery of 8 submarines to Pakistan expected to shift the balance of power in Indian Ocean

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China will soon be delivering eight submarines, the deal which had been struck earlier, to Pakistan. The delivery is expected to tilt the balance of power in the Indian Ocean.

Reports in the Chinese state media and the military’s official website quoted China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation chairman Hu Wenming as confirming the submarine deal, which had been in the pipeline for long.

India currently has 16 submarines, Pakistan has 10. With the additional eight submarines, Pakistan will have more submarines in its waters than India.

Earlier it was reported that the deal came at a time when military cooperation between Pakistan and the US has taken a nosedive. US lawmakers had blocked a move to subsidise the sale of eight F-16 jets because of concerns that Pakistan was not doing enough to combat terrorism.

Along with the submarines, China will also be giving Pakistan anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters, missile boats, corvettes, surface-to-air missiles, and combat aerial drones. The ASW helicopters are able to detect and hunt down enemy submarines hidden underwater.

China, which is Pakistan’s largest supplier of military hardware, is expected to provide a long-term loan at a low-interest rate for the submarine deal worth between $4 billion and $5 billion.

China is also building Pakistan a forward operating base at Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan. And setting up a VLF (very low frequency) communication station at Karachi port. The VLF station is expected to help Pakistan communicate with its submarines.

India is currently building six Scorpene-class submarines.

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No time, speed limit on North Korea denuclearisation: Donald Trump

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday there is no hurry to denuclearise North Korea under his accord with Kim Jong-un — a shift in tone from when the US leader said the process would start very soon.

Last month, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held historic talks and pledged to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. The accord did not have a timetable for the process or plan to carry it out. Since the meeting between Trump and Kim on June 12, there has been little-reported progress towards denuclearisation.

“Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well,” Trump told reporters. “We have no time limit. We have no speed limit.” Trump said he discussed North Korea with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday at their summit in Helsinki.

Last week, North Korea accused the US of making “gangster-like” demands for the process, and branded the US attitude at high-level talks as “extremely troubling”.

The White House has hailed the summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore as a major breakthrough toward disarming the isolated, nuclear-armed North in exchange for easing of sanctions and other help with economic development.

But since then, Trump has suggested that dismantling North Korea’s nuclear arsenal could be some way off. Speaking at a press conference in the UK last week, the US President said negotiations with Pyongyang would be “probably a longer process than anybody would like”.

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“I Believe In Mahatma Gandhi’s Vision”: Obama In Nelson Mandela Tribute

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Former US President Barack Obama, who has often spoken about the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on his life, today invoked him during a major speech in honour of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, while articulating his vision of equality, justice and freedom.

Obama, who scripted history by becoming the first black President of the United States in 2009, has long shown a fascination with Mahatma Gandhi. He has a picture of him on the wall of his Senate office and even cited him during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

In an address in honour of Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Former US President Barack Obama, who has often spoken about the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on his life, today invoked him during a major speech, while articulating his vision of equality, justice and freedom.

“Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision, I believe in a vision shared by (Mahatma) Gandhi and (Martin Luther) King, and Abraham Lincoln, I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy built on a pretense that all people are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.

“And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuits of a common good. That’s what I believe,” Obama said.

He said that there was a choice between two visions of humanity’s future that the world must choose between.

“How should we respond? Should we see that wave of hope that we felt with Madiba’s release from prison? From the Berlin Wall coming down? Should we see that hope that we had as naive and misguided?” he asked.

Obama’s speech, the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture, in one of his highest-profile appearances and his first return to Africa since he left office in 2017, CNN reported.

His lecture, titled “Renewing the Mandela legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world,” tracked the transformation of the world, particularly in terms of race relations and human rights, over the past 100 years.

“It is a plain fact that racial discrimination still exists in both the United States and South Africa,” he said.

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