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Saudi Arabia to purchase 400 laser-guided missiles from Spain

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Madrid, Sep 13 Spain’s Socialist government on Thursday said it would go ahead with the sale of 400 laser-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, backtracking on an earlier announcement that the deal could be nixed following the fatal bombing of a school bus in Yemen.

Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told Spanish radio the government saw no reason not to go ahead with the planned sale of the projectiles, Efe news reported.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence had announced on August 16 that it would review the arms sale to the Sunni kingdom after Saudi-led Arab forces struck a school bus in Yemen, killing 15 children.

It said it was prepared to refund the 9.2 million euros ($10.7 million) that Riyadh had already put towards the deal.

The decision alarmed Spanish arms manufacturer Navantia, which feared its contract to build five warships for Saudi Arabia would be cancelled as a retaliatory measure.

The Spanish government said the decision was never officially adopted.

Saudi Arabia and its military allies in the Gulf intervened in the Yemeni civil war against Houthi rebels in 2015.

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Iraq confirms 2,312 new Covid-19 cases; 102 more deaths

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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Baghdad, July 4 : Iraqi Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 2,312 new Covid-19 cases, as the total number of infections climbed to 56,020.

The ministry also confirmed 102 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 2,262 in the country, Xinhua reported.

It also said that 1,688 people recovered during the day, bringing the total recoveries from the disease to 29,600.

The new cases were recorded after 12,176 testing kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 579,861 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the ministry”s statement.

The ministry frequently attributed the recent increase of COVID-19 infections to the lack of compliance of the citizens to the health instructions, as well as to the increase in the testing capacity due to the increase of labs in Baghdad and the other Iraqi provinces.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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UK Covid-19 deaths rise to 44,131

As of Friday morning, there have been 10,120,276 tests of the novel coronavirus in the country, with 205,673 tests on Thursday, said the department.

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London, July 4 : Another 137 Covid-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 44,131, the British Department of Health and Social Care said on Friday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua reported.

As of Friday morning, 284,276 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 544, according to the department.

As of Friday morning, there have been 10,120,276 tests of the novel coronavirus in the country, with 205,673 tests on Thursday, said the department.

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Pakistan reiterates support to ”One China Policy”

Modi did not mention China in his speech to the troops, but his gestures and words were loud and clear, cautioning Beijing over its desire of “expansionism”.

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Islamabad, July 3 : At a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Ladakh, amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese forces, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reaffirmed Islamabad”s extended support to China”s “One China Policy”, along with a complete alliance against India.

Qureshi held a brief telephonic conversation with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, immediately after Modi concluded his visit to Ladakh.

As per an official press release, “bilateral, regional, and international issues were discussed” with Islamabad underscoring that the two countries are “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partners”, who are facing “common challenges”.

Beijing”s ”One China Policy” has its core interests in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, while the multi-billion dollar Silk Route, part of which is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), making Pakistan”s support and the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Ladakh sensitively important.

Pakistan”s open support to Beijing is certainly in line with the concerns New Delhi and Washington have raised over the increasing presence of China in the region along the CPEC belt, stretched from Gwadar Port to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Islamabad has been open in siding with China when it comes to countering the threat it faces from mutual rival India, a point Qureshi re-asserted during his telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that regional security situation was deteriorating and underlined that India”s belligerent posture and expansionist policies were imperilling peace in the region,” read a press release from Pakistan Foreign Office.

“Apart from committing egregious violations of human rights in IOJ&K, India was seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory. The Foreign Minister also briefed about the repeated violations committed by India across the LOC as well as targeted killing of the civilians. In the face of Indian provocations, Pakistan was exercising restraint,” Qureshi maintained.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Prime Minister was on a visit to Ladakh, his first visit after the India-China standoff.

Modi did not mention China in his speech to the troops, but his gestures and words were loud and clear, cautioning Beijing over its desire of “expansionism”.

“Age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” Modi said in his address to troops in Ladakh.

While Modi”s message to China is a cautious intimation, Pakistan is keeping a very close eye on the developments in the region. China”s presence in Ladakh will need Islamabad”s support to sustain and Islamabad is extending every support to ensure New Delhi remains challenged.

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