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New Pentagon chief Carter in Kabul on unannounced visit KABUL: The Pentagon's new chief, Ashton Carter, flew to Kabul on Saturday to confer with commanders and Afghan leaders about the future of the American military presence in Afghanistan.Only days after taking the helm as defence secretary, Carter paid an unannounced visit to a country where US troops have been deployed for more than 13 years but are now in a scaled back role."The reason for this destination, Afghanistan, in my very first week in office as the secretary of defence is because this is still where we have 10,000 American troops. They come first in my mind, always," Carter told reporters aboard his plane before landing in the Afghan capital.Carter said he would meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders as well as top US officers and diplomats "so that I can make my own assessment of that progress and my own assessment of the way forward."Carter's visit ...

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US, Latin America worry over Venezuela tensions CARACAS: The United States and Latin American nations voiced concerns Friday over political tensions in Venezuela after the socialist government arrested the opposition mayor of Caracas in an alleged coup plot.Almost exactly one year after opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez was arrested as he led a wave of protests against Maduro, intelligence agents burst into Mayor Antonio Ledezma's office late Thursday and hauled him to jail.A third radical critic of the government, ousted lawmaker Maria Machado, ...

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Shipping firms, dockers union reach tentative deal on US ports LOS ANGELES: US West Coast dockworkers and port operators have reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract, officials said late Friday, averting a shutdown that would have hit about half the country's trade.The new agreement, details of which were not immediately available, could free up operations at the ports that have slowed significantly since the labor contract expired in July at key ports for trade with Asia.The Pacific Maritime Association, representing management for ...

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Kim guides military drill near sea border with South Korea SEOUL: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un has guided a military drill simulating an attack and seizure of a frontline South Korean island, Pyongyang's state media said Saturday.The drill came as tensions grow ahead of an annual US-South Korea joint Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercise that is reportedly to start early next month.Artillery units were among the troops taking part in the drill on the islets of Mu and Jangjae "in the biggest hotspot in the ...

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Brazil's Rousseff refuses Indonesian envoy credentials BRASÍLIA: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday refused to accept the credentials of the Indonesian ambassador to demonstrate her anger at last month's execution of a Brazilian citizen for drug smuggling."We think it is important that there is an evolution in the situation in order to clarify the state of Indonesia's relations with Brazil," Rousseff said as she received the credentials of ambassadors from five other countries.Rousseff said clearance for Indonesia's representative would be "held ...