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Russia-Japan ‘2+2’ Dialogue focuses on security cooperation

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Moscow, Aug 1: The Russian Foreign and Defence Ministers and their Japanese counterparts have met for the third round of their “2+2” Dialogue and agreed to explore further cooperation on security, Moscow said.

The ministerial consultations took place on Tuesday, according to a transcript of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“We are united in the fact that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is very difficult, as in the world arena as a whole,” Xinhua news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

The Minister confirmed that there will be the focus on combating terrorism, ensuring international information security and combating corruption.

The positive developments on the Korean Peninsula were also welcomed as all parties involved were urged to maintain the fragile peace process with “restraint and flexibility”.

The two sides also discussed issues related to the Middle East and Syria, including facilitating the return of refugees, aid deliveries and restoring infrastructure.

The “2+2” format was first adopted at a Russian-Japanese meeting in Tokyo in November 2013. Following the breakout of the Ukraine crisis in March 2014, Japan suspended the negotiations. It was not resumed until March 2017 when it took place in Tokyo.

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Families affected by Beirut blasts to be given $300 monthly

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The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) announced on Saturday that it will provide $300 for seven months for 10,000 families affected by August 4 Port of Beirut explosions.

“We will also make assessments about the families that are very much in need for this amount after the first month,” Xinhua news agency quoted George Kettaneh, secretary general of the LRC, as saying.

Kettaneh said that LRC will cooperate with other associations and the Lebanese army to make sure that support is distributed fairly among all families, while it will continue to provide medicines for chronic diseases.

Two explosions rocked the port destroying a big part of the capital city.It killed around 190 people and wounding at least 6,000 others.

The explosions, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonating at a warehouse in the port, also led to at least 300,000 people being homeless, while plunging more into poverty.

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Vietnam resumes int’l flights after 5 months

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Vietnam on Saturday resumed international flights after a five-month suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday morning, a Vietnam Airlines carrying 60 passengers on board took off for Tokyo from the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Most of the passengers are Vietnamese students and workers going back to Japan to continue studying and working.

The flight also carried a number of Japanese nationals, according to state-media.Passengers exiting Vietnam must have a certificate of negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result issued within 72 hours before departure.

In September, Vietnam Airlines is expected to carry out three more flights to Japan, while the reverse route from Tokyo to Hnaoi will be arranged later.Vietnam suspended all international flights in late March.

The country has recorded 1,068 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths as of Saturday morning. No local transmission has been recorded nationwide in more than two weeks, according to the Ministry of Health.

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US judge declines to block Commerce Department WeChat order

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NEW YORK : A United States judge in California declined to block the Commerce Department order issued on Friday that will prohibit U.S. app stores from offering Tencent Holding’s WeChat for download starting late Sunday.

Judge Laurel Beeler said the request for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by U.S. WeChat users appeared moot after the Commerce order but said in an written order “the court is available today for a hearing on any emergency motions.” A lawyer for the WeChat users did not immediately comment.

Beeler issued a follow-up order that said lawyers for the WeChat users “will file something by 10:45 a.m. (PDT) about why the motion is not moot.” She tentatively sets a Zoom hearing for 11:00 a.m. (PDT)(1700 GMT).

The Justice Department said Friday in a court filing that Beeler should reject the request, saying President Donald Trump “has invoked his emergency powers to address (the WeChat) threat, and plaintiffs have articulated no legal basis for the Court to take the extraordinary step of enjoining his exercise of that authority.”

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