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Mexico, Canada, US plan new round of NAFTA talks for April

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Mexico City, March 6: Mexico, Canada and the US will hold their eighth round of negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement in early April, and to accelerate the process they will conduct a series of working meetings – involving cabinet officers – before the talks, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday.

At a press conference after the end of the seventh round of talks to update NAFTA, Guajardo said that the new round will take place during the “first part of April,” meaning that authorities in the three-member nations have “five weeks” to consider their options and prepare, Efe reported.

“It’s not that there’s just going to be one meeting, but rather a working group” will hold assorted meetings in Washington, Mexico City, Ottawa and Toronto.

Moreover, negotiators will discuss working agendas regarding “associated issues that are very close to being resolved.”

He also said that during the coming five weeks the ministers tasked with recrafting and updating NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994 and the renegotiation of which US President Donald Trump had demanded, will be in contact with one another and meet to begin “getting an idea about comprehensive solutions” on issues of “great complexity.”

Guajardo said that the site for the eighth negotiation round has yet to be established, but it is expected that it will be in Washington since the sixth round was held in Montreal and the seventh – which lasted from Feb. 25 through March 5 – in the Mexican capital.

He said that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government is ready to negotiate up until the last day of his presidency, Nov. 30.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that the new pact should be concluded “quickly” because of the nearness of the Mexican presidential election – scheduled for July 1 – and the US mid-term elections in November.

Lighthizer said Monday that it was regrettable that negotiators had only managed to conclude discussions on three of the issue areas during the seventh round, although Guajardo was more positive and said that now agreement had been reached on six of the 30 NAFTA issues areas.

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Protests over Putin’s plans to hike retirement age

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Russia protest over pension age

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS) Members and supporters of Russia’s Communist Party took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest unpopular pension reforms planned by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin took measures to soften his proposed hike in retirement age in August by limiting the increase for women to 60 — up from 55 — instead of the initial suggestion of 63, Efe news reported.

But the change of plan has so far failed to quell protests against it. He stood by plans to raise men’s retirement age from 60 to 65.

Protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Putin Lies”. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also spoke at the rally.

The changes have been given a preliminary green-light by the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, but have provoked widespread outrage. An opinion poll showed that about 90 per cent of Russians were against increasing the retirement age.

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Ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Iran: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Sep 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, over a deadly terrorist attack and reaffirmed readiness to intensify counter-terror cooperation, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

“We are outraged by this bloody crime. Hopefully, everyone involved will be held liable,” Putin said in his telegram to Rouhani, which was published by the Kremlin, Xinhua news agency.

At least 24 people were killed in a terror attack in a military parade in the southern Iranian Ahvaz city on Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

This incident is another proof of the need for “uncompromising war on any manifestations of terrorism,” Putin said.

“I would like to confirm our readiness to further enhance cooperation with our Iranian partners in the fight against this evil,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

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Watch Prince Harry stealing samosa at Meghan Markle’s event

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New Delhi, Sep 22: Prince Harry was caught on camera sneaking samosas from her wife’s Meghan Markle’s cookbook event. 

The Duke of Sussex had hosted an event at Kensington Palace to mark the launch her book “Together: Our Community Cookbook” on
Thursday and in the quirkiest way her husband was seen stealing Indian Snack ‘Samosas’.

The British television network, ITV shared a video on the @itvnews Twitter account on September 20.

In the video, Harry can be seen trying to hide the samosa as he caught red-handed. Later, he smiled and casually walked away checking his surroundings.

Meghan’s book features recipes from a group of women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire that claimed more than 70 lives.

As the video went viral, Twitterati’s just can’t stop laughing at the Royal Prince’s cheeky act.

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