ABU DHABI, August 19, 2018 (News Wires) - US forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed" to help stabilise regions previously controlled by Islamic State, a spokesman for the US-led international coalition fighting the militants said on Sunday.
"We'll keep troops there as long as we think they're needed ... The main reason, after IS(Islamic State) is defeated militarily is the stabilisation efforts and we still need to be there for that, so that's one of the reasons we'll maintain a presence," Colonel Sean Ryan told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.
LONDON, August 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran said on Saturday it would resist the pressures of US sanctions by relying on its natural and human resources, as Washington pushes allies to cut economic ties with Tehran.
"It is a critical moment for our economy, but we are not in a dead end," Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
"This country has plenty of human and natural resources that can rely on."
"The size of our oil and gas resources is number one in the world. In minerals and metals we are among the top 10 countries," Jahangiri said.
Washington has withdrawn from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Sanctions imposed in August target Iran´s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars and its car industry.
US President Donald Trump has said a new round of sanctions will be imposed in November, targeting Iranian oil sales.
Iran´s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week rejected Trump´s offer of talks.
Iran's rial currency has lost about half of its value since April, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.
BEIJING, August 18, 2018 (News Wires) - China on Saturday rejected what it called an "irresponsible" Pentagon report claiming Beijing's bombers are likely training for strikes against US and allied targets in the Pacific.
The Thursday report said China was leveraging its growing military, economic and diplomatic clout to rapidly establish regional dominance, while its bombers were developing capabilities to hit targets as far from the Chinese mainland as possible.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the report was "presumptuous and irresponsible", stating it was "in total disregard of facts" in a Saturday statement.
Beijing's military development was defensive in nature and intended to safeguard its territorial integrity, he added.
"We urge the US side to abandon the outdated cold-war and zero-sum mentality... (and) stop issuing such irresponsible reports year after year," he said.
China is engaged in a decades-long build-up and modernisation of its once-backward armed forces, and military leaders have set a goal of fielding a world-class force by 2050.
Last year, six Chinese H-6K bombers flew through the Miyako Strait in the southwest of the Japanese islands, and then for the first time turned north to fly east of Okinawa, where 47,000 US troops are based.
The PLA may demonstrate the "capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam," said the Pentagon report.
ISTANBUL, August 17, 2018 (News Wires) - The Turkish currency fell again on Friday, breaking a three-day quiet spell in the country currency crisis, after the United States threatened to impose new sanctions on the NATO country.
The lira dropped about 5 per cent, to about 6.11 per dollar, after US President Donald Trump posted a tweet warning the country of more punitive measures over the continued detention in Turkey of American pastor Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who faces 35 years in prison on charges of espionage and terror-related charges.
Turkey's trade minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, said her government would respond to any new trade duties.
Dashing hopes for a quick solution to the dispute, a Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal for the pastor's release from house detention. Upholding a lower court's decision earlier this week, it also ruled against lifting a travel ban imposed on Brunson.
The United States has already imposed sanctions on two Turkish government ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports. Turkey retaliated with some $533 million of tariffs on some US imports - including cars, tobacco and alcoholic drinks - and said it would boycott US electronic goods.
The diplomatic dispute is worsening investors' concerns about Turkey's fundamental economic problems. The country has amassed high levels of foreign debt to fuel growth in recent years and as the currency drops, that debt becomes so much more expensive to repay, leading to potential bankruptcies. Economists are worried of a recession.
WASHINGTON, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said that the United States is preparing more sanctions against Turkey if American pastor Andrew Brunson is not released from custody, The Washington Times reported.
“We have more that we’re planning to do if they don’t release him quickly,” he said late Thursday.
Mnuchin gave the update at a Cabinet meeting, where President Trump said Turkey is not turning out to be a great friend of the US.
The administration sanctioned two top Turkish officials last week over the imprisonment of Brunson, who was released from jail last month but is still being detained on house arrest. Turkey has accused him of fomenting an attempted coup, but the US says the charges are phony.
SEOUL, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un harshly criticized international sanctions on the North during his visit to a tourist complex under construction on the North's eastern coast, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Kim, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju and ranking government and party officials, inspected the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area.
In a meeting with construction workers there, Kim expressed discontent with international sanctions, accusing "hostile forces" of attempting to stifle the North's people through "brigandish" sanctions and blockade.
Following the North-US summit talks in Singapore on June 12, Pyongyang's official and propaganda media outlets have steadily displayed strong dissatisfaction with Washington-led international sanctions and have pressed South Korea not to blindly follow them.