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Why Ukrainian forces gave up Crimea without a fight – and NATO is alert

KIEV/SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (Reuters) – The career of Sergei Yeliseyev helps to explain why Ukraine’s armed forces gave up Crimea almost without a fight – and why NATO now says it is alert to Russian attempts to undermine military loyalty in its eastern European members. His rise to become number two in the Ukrainian navy long before Russia seized Crimea illustrates ...

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Hezbollah wages multi-pronged attack on militants at Syrian border: media unit

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah said its forces seized a strategic valley from Sunni Muslim militants on Monday, the latest advance in an offensive to oust jihadists from their last foothold along the Syria-Lebanon border. The Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah said it had advanced from several directions in the Wadi al-Kheil valley in Juroud Arsal, a barren mountainous border zone that has ...

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Top lawmaker pushes for same-sex unions, divorce in Catholic Philippines

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s top ally in Congress proposed new bills to legalize divorce and same-sex unions on Monday, a move almost certain to meet fierce resistance from bishops in the mainly Catholic country. Opening the lower house for its second regular session, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he would file a bill to legally recognize civil partnerships ...

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Tearful parents of UK baby Charlie Gard agree to let him die

LONDON (Reuters) – The parents of critically-ill British baby Charlie Gard, whose fate has captured global attention, return to London’s High Court on Monday where a judge is set to hear final arguments as to why a hospital should not turn off the boy’s life support. Charlie has a rare genetic condition causing progressive muscle weakness and brain damage and ...

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China says it wants to 'maintain stability' in disputed South China Sea

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday Beijing wanted to maintain stability in the South China Sea as it seeks alliances in the region amid tensions in the disputed waters. The United States has criticized China for disregarding international law by the construction and militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea, undermining regional stability. ...

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Head of Polish constitutional court sees no threat in judicial reform

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal President Julia Przylebska said that she sees no threat to the division of powers in an overhaul of the judicial system that has brought tens of thousands of people into the streets in protest. Senators of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party passed a bill that would remove all Supreme Court judges except ...

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UNHCR accuses Australia of backtracking on asylum seeker deal

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The U.N. refugee agency accused Australia on Monday of reneging on an agreement to settle some vulnerable asylum seekers held in controversial offshore detention centers, but Canberra said no such agreement existed. Australia takes a hard line on asylum seekers, with those intercepted at sea sent for processing at camps on the tiny South Pacific island of ...

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