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Erdogan says after Biden talks no Turkey-U.S. problems unsolvable

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Reuters
(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sounded upbeat after his first face-to-face talks with Joe Biden, though he announced no major breakthroughs in the awkward relationship between the two allies, at odds over Russian weapons, Syria, Libya and other issues.

Erdogan characterised his talks with the new U.S. president on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels as “productive and sincere”.

“We think that there are no issues within U.S.-Turkey ties, and that areas of cooperation for us are richer and larger than problems,” he said.

Turkey, with the alliance’s second-largest military, has angered its allies in the Western military alliance by buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and intervening in wars in Syria and Libya. It is also in a stand-off with Greece and Cyprus over territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As president, Biden has adopted a cooler tone than predecessor Donald Trump towards Erdogan. Biden quickly recognised the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide — a position that angers Turkey — and stepped up criticism of Turkey’s human rights record.

Washington has already removed Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program and imposed sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

One area where Erdogan hoped to showcase a central Turkish role in NATO is Afghanistan, where Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul airport after U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in coming weeks. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey would play a key role but no decision was made at the Monday summit.

At the start of the main leaders’ session at NATO, Biden spoke to Erdogan at length in a small group before they took their seats.

Later in the day, the two leaders and their top aides sat mostly silently on opposite sides of a conference table, ignoring questions shouted to them by journalists briefly invited into the room.

Erdogan also met French President Emmanuel Macron. Ankara and Paris have been at odds over Syria, Libya, and Turkish criticism of the fight against what Macron calls Islamist separatism, among other issues.

“President Erdogan confirmed during our meeting his wish that the foreign mercenaries, the foreign militias, operating on Libyan soil leave as soon as possible,” Macron told a news conference afterwards.

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Three students shot dead, 8 wounded in Michigan school shooting

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

A 15-year-old boy opened fire in a Michigan high school on Tuesday with a semi-automatic pistol his father had purchased days earlier, killing three fellow students and wounding eight other people before he was arrested, authorities said.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told a news briefing hours after the rampage at Oxford High School that investigators were at a loss to explain what might have precipitated “an unspeakable and unforgivable” act of violence, Reuters reported.

The suspect, disarmed and taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies minutes after the shooting began, has declined to speak with investigators after his parents retained a lawyer and denied authorities permission to interview their son, Bouchard said.

“The person who’s got the most insight on motive is not talking,” the sheriff told reporters.

Bouchard said he was unaware of any previous run-ins with law enforcement by the suspect adding there was “nothing to suggest that there had been disciplinary issues or problems with him at school.”

The bloodshed unfolded around midday in Oxford, Michigan, about 65 km north of Detroit, as terrified students and teachers taking cover inside the school flooded the county emergency dispatch center with more than 100 calls for assistance, authorities said.

Bouchard said his deputies confronted the young suspect advancing down a hallway toward them with a loaded weapon, when he put his hands over his head and surrendered.

Three students died in the shooting spree – a 16-year-old boy who succumbed to his wounds en route to a hospital in a patrol car, and two girls, aged 14 and 17, authorities said.

Of the eight others struck by gunfire, seven were students, two of them hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the head.

At least two girls, aged 14 and 17, were described by Bouchard as critically wounded with chest wounds.

A teacher was also treated for a shoulder wound and later discharged.

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Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Talks between Tehran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have resumed in Vienna, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported on Monday.

“The new round of the Joint Commission has started at the Palais Coburg in Vienna,” IRNA reported.

The Commission comprises Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France and Iran, signatories to the nuclear deal that the United States abandoned three years ago.

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Woman arrested after setting fire to Australian quarantine hotel room

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Australian police are expecting to charge a woman with arson after she set fire to a quarantine hotel facility in Cairns, Queensland, with her two children inside on Sunday.

No one was injured in the fire but over 100 people needed to be evacuated after the 31-year-old mother was alleged to have started the fire in her room.

Video obtained by Reuters showed black smoke billowing out of a rooftop hotel room as fire ladders were extended to put out the fire.

“There was a smell like burnt plastic,” Sarah Orton, a resident of Toowoomba in Queensland, told Reuters.

“Police were very quick to arrive on scene and cordon off the area.”

“The 31-year-old female had been in quarantine for a couple of days and we did have some issues with that female occupant that we were managing,” acting chief superintendent, Chris Hodgman told reporters in Cairns.

Hodgman added that the woman’s two children were being cared for by police.

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