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“Pak Can Choose To Stoop Low, We Will Soar High”: India

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Syed Akbaruddin United Nations

UNITED NATIONS: India will soar high if Pakistan “stoops low” by raising the Kashmir issue at a high-level UN General Assembly session next week, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin has said.

Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to UN said, ” It’s their call, if they want to do that. Poison pens don’t work for too long. We are confident that we will soar. We have given you examples of how we will not stoop. We will soar when they stoop low. .”

“There may be some who stoop low.Our response to them is we soar high.They may stoop low, we soar high. What they want to do is their call. We’ve seen them mainstream terrorism in the past. And what you’re now telling me is they may want to mainstream hate speech ,” he said.

“What you’re telling me is that it will be more of the same, much more of the same from the side of one country. If that is so what is our response? So let me put it this way. That it is for every country to determine its trajectory of how it wants to approach global platforms. There may be some who stoop low. Our response to them is we soar high. They may stoop low, we soar high,” he said.

Middle East

Kurdish forces leave Syria border area

The ceasefire, which ends at 10.00 pm local time (7.00 p.m. GMT), was agreed on 17 October between the Turkey and United States Vice President Mike Pence.

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Kurdish forces
Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, assemble outside the town of Bashiqah, some 30 km northeast of Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 7, 2016.

Beirut, Oct 23 : Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria have withdrawn from the Turkish border area in line with a ceasefire pact drawn up between Turkey and the United States, which is due to expire in a matter of hours.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces have withdrawn from the areas around Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad,” Mervan Qamishli, a spokesperson for the SDF, told Efe news on Tuesday.

It comes as news emerges from a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi that both nations had agreed to create a so-called safe zone in northern Syria.

From 23 October, Russian military police and Syrian regime border guards would begin to clear the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the 30-kilometer deep buffer zone sought by Ankara within a period of 150 hours.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols would then begin in the area, apart from in the city of Qamishli, according to a memorandum released after the meeting.

Gains made by Turkish-backed Syrian militias in the border cities of Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad would also be preserved.

The YPG would be evicted from Manbij and Tal Rifat.

The SDF, predominantly comprised of the YPG, a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State terror organization in the region, had been facing a Turkish military offensive since American forces withdrew from the area around two weeks ago.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a terror group indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a guerrilla group widely listed as a terror organization that has fought the Turkish state in the country’s predominantly Kurdish east for decades.

Ras Al Ain and Tal Abyad had been two of the key objectives for the Turkish military operation into northern Syria, led on the ground by Ankara-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Putin is one of the main international backerd of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, while Turkey backs rebel groups located in Syria’s northern regions. Both countries, along with Iran, form part of the so-called Astana trio, which aims to find a solution to the Syrian Civil War.

The Turkish government earlier warned it would ramp up its military operation in northern Syria the minute the ceasefire expires if the YPG or the Democratic Union Party (PYD) continued to have a presence in the area.

Ankara wants to carve out a 30-kilometer deep “safe zone” along its border, stretching from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border, partly to create a buffer between it and Kurdish forces but also to settle some of the four million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The ceasefire, which ends at 10.00 pm local time (7.00 p.m. GMT), was agreed on 17 October between the Turkey and United States Vice President Mike Pence.

Kurdish forces in the region said, however, that Turkish-backed Syrian militias had continued military action despite the agreement.

Following the US withdrawal, Kurdish forces turned to the Damascus regime for help.

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill passes Parliament but lawmakers reject timetable

The Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

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Boris Johnson

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 308 to 322 to turn down his rapid timetable for Brexit bill. As a result, Johnson has paused the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Xinhua news agency reported.

French Foreign Minister questions need for Brexit extension

France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, questioned the need for a Brexit extension in a statement Tuesday night, demanding: “what for? And why?”

“An extension has been asked for: what for? And why? We know that time alone won’t find a solution. Instead a political decision is what is needed. We cannot prolong this situation indefinitely,” Le Drian said.

EU Brexit Coordinator jokes “another three weeks” of Nigel Farage

European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has reacted to Tuesday night’s news out of Britain with a jibe about Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

“You’re all thinking: another extension,” Verhofstadt tweeted, along with a GIF of the politician, his mouth agape. “I am thinking: another three weeks listening to Farage.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen… in no circumstances can the government continue with this,” he said. “With great regret I will have to say the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”

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British PM’s Brexit timetable rejected by parliament

Johnson said that if the lawmakers back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill then “we can get Brexit done and move our country on.”

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Boris Johnson

London, Oct 23 : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was defeated in a vote on his Brexit timetable, meaning his government could push for a general election.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 308 to 322 to turn down his proposed rapid timetable for Brexit bill. As a result, Johnson has to pause the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Xinhua news agency reported.

After the vote, the Prime Minister said: “I must express my disappointment that the House has again voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK would have been in a position to leave the EU (European Union) on Oct. 31 with a deal.”

“We now face further uncertainty and the EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay,” he said.

“The first consequence is the government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome,” said Johnson. “Our policy remains that we should not delay, that we should leave the EU on Oct. 31 and that is what I will say to the EU.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen… in no circumstances can the government continue with this,” he said. “With great regret, I will have to say the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”

Johnson said that if the lawmakers back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill then “we can get Brexit done and move our country on.”

The Prime Minister was seeking to win two crucial votes — the first asking lawmakers to back him on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, and the second to support his bid to fast-track it through the lower House in three days.

Just minutes before the vote on the timetable motion, the government’s Brexit bill was backed by a vote of 329 to 299 in the second reading in parliament, clearing its first hurdle. However, the timetable motion was rejected.

London and Brussels reached a Brexit deal, known as the Withdrawal Agreement, last week. It needs to be approved by the British parliament to become legally binding before Britain leaves the European Union.

If the British government can force its Brexit bill through parliament in time, the UK could in theory still leave the EU by the October 31 deadline.

Given the latest defeat in parliament, Johnson has little chance of getting Brexit done on October 31. He had vowed to take his country out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

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