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Vietnam, Philippines criticise Chinese military drills in South China Sea

The Philippines said China’s exercises near the Paracel Islands were ‘highly provocative’ while Vietnam said they violate its sovereignty

Hanoi and Manila warned of growing insecurity in Southeast Asia at an Asean summit last week, amid concerns that China is advancing its territorial claims

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic note to China to oppose exercises that “seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty”


Vietnam and the Philippines on Thursday criticised China’s holding of military drills in a disputed part of the South China Sea, warning it could create tension in the region and affect Beijing’s relationship with its neighbours.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said China’s exercises in the waters near the Paracel Islands were “highly provocative”, while Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry called them a violation of sovereignty that could be “detrimental” to Beijing’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

China scheduled five days of drills from Wednesday near the Paracels according to a June 27 announcement by the Hainan’s Maritime Safety Administration. Vietnam has overlapping claims with China over the Paracels.

Vietnam and the Philippines have been the most vocal regional opponents to what they see as Chinese overreach in the South China Sea and its disregard for boundaries outlined in international maritime law.

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Jean Castex named French Prime Minister by Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex, who coordinated France's virus reopening strategy, as the country's new Prime Minister, after the former prime minister resigned.  Jean Castex

Paris, July 3.– Mr Castex, replaces Edouard Philippe, who was a part of the Macron Government since 2017 and resigned on Friday.

Mr Castex, 55, hails from the centre-right of French politics and served for two years as the second-highest-ranking official in the Elysee Palace during Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency.

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ISRAEL: As annexation start date comes and goes, nothing happens ... yet

  • Prime Minister Netanyahu calls meeting with top security officials, plans more discussions in coming days on extension of sovereignty to parts of West Bank.

Jerusalem, Jul.1.– Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to discuss a possible annexation of parts of the West Bank with the US administration, his office said in a statement Wednesday, the target day the premier had set to begin the contentious process.

At the same time, Netanyahu convened top Israeli security brass, including National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat on Wednesday, to discuss the issue, the statement said. “In the coming days there will be additional discussions,” it added.

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Conference on the Future of Europe rescheduled to start on May 2021

The movement CITIZENS TAKEOVER OF EUROPE emerged in the spring 2020 to promote a forward-looking and citizens-centered European participatory democracy within a successful Conference on the Future of Europe, that puts citizens at the heart of the process."

This international conference was scheduled to start on Europe Day last May 9, 2020, for a two-years long discussion on how to proceed with European unification.

The idea of ​​the conference began in a public letter that the French President Emmanuel Macron addressed to the "citizens of Europe" a few weeks before the 2019 European elections, suggesting to "organize a European conference to propose all the changes necessary for our political project, without taboos, including a revision of the treaties". After the 2019 European elections, the designated Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU/EPP) adopted this idea in her political guidelines

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The emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb killed by the French army

Abdelmalek Droukdel, Algerian jihad veteran, was killed in northern Mali during an operation on Wednesday, the Defense Minister announced.

Abdelmalek Droukdel (left)Mali, June 6.– In military jargon, we speak of “mowing the lawn” to evoke the operations of elimination of the jihadist leaders, constantly replaced. The man who was killed on Wednesday was more of a tree than a clump of grass. Its roots go deep into the history of Algerian terrorism, the matrix of armed groups that are swarming in the Sahel today. Abdelmalek Droukdel, 50, was the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi).

The Algerian was the link between global jihad - he corresponded with Al-Qaeda cadres - and local jihad - most of the Islamist groups in the Sahel have pledged allegiance to him . At the start of the dark decade, he had interrupted his engineering studies to join the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), a bloody movement responsible for the campaign of attacks in France in 1995.

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