Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Friday to announce his vision for a "new Turkey" heading to 2023, at a rally in Istanbul as he prepares to stand in August presidential polls. Erdogan, Turkey's most powerful figure for over a decade, is seeking in the August polls to cement his grip on the country by switching to the post of president which he could theoretically hold for two five-year terms. In the rally in Istanbul at a congress centre overlooking the Golden Horn and attended by thousands of supporters, academics and celebrities, Erdogan is expected to announce a new set of targets for Turkey heading to 2023.
By Mark Felsenthal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is enlisting several major U.S. and multinational companies to draw attention to an initiative aimed at helping small businesses expand and hire workers. The president will meet on Friday with representatives of household name firms such as Apple , AT&T , Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson to spotlight the corporate giants' pledge to pay their smaller suppliers within 15 days. For the larger companies, the initiative ensures that their own suppliers are robust and "demonstrates a recognition that a healthy supply chain is good for business," the White House said in a statement. Frustrated by a legislative stalemate with the Republican-led House of Representatives, Obama has vowed to act unilaterally when he can to achieve his agenda, and the announcement Friday is typical of the sorts of modest initiatives the White House has unveiled.
The United States is not playing fairly in its trade with Europe and is deliberately undermining Europe's banking system, the heads of German and French industry said in newspaper interviews Friday. "It cannot be that America is weakening the European financial system and then buying up a bank here or there," the head of the powerful BDI industry federation Ulrich Grillo said in an interview published both in the German daily FAZ and the French newspaper Les Echos. French bank BNP was recently fined nearly $9.0 billion (6.6 billion euros) for violating US sanctions against blacklisted countries including Iran and Sudan. The US authorities are similarly investigating Germany's second-biggest bank Commerzbank on the same suspicions and the country's biggest lender Deutsche Bank has set aside billions of euros in provisions in case it is fined too.
Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong hit back Friday at former colonial ruler Britain over a report they said showed no "commitment" to the city and strived to avoid embarrassing Beijing. The British parliamentary report comes as tensions rise over complaints of increasing interference from China in the semi-autonomous city, and Beijing's insistence that it vet candidates for Hong Kong's next leader in 2017. In a foreword to the report, released Thursday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the city's "unique constitutional framework has worked well" and that there was no "perfect model" for electoral reform. Britain and China signed trade deals worth more than $24 billion in June, during a visit to London by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Friday said the horrors of war must never be repeated as he visited a World War II battlefield in Pacific nation Papua New Guinea. He was also due to visit Cape Wom, the site of the Japanese Army's surrender in PNG on the final day of a Pacific swing that also took him to New Zealand and Australia. "I pledged in front of the spirits of the war dead that Japan wants to be a country that thinks about world peace with its friends in Asia and around the world." His comments come at a time of heightened regional tension over Japan's wartime record, with China and South Korea in particular raising concerns that Abe's right-wing government is failing to face up to the country's history of aggression.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security agency responsible for removing immigrants who are in the country illegally will run out of money by mid-August unless Congress approves President Barack Obama's emergency request for $3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of child immigrants crossing the border illegally without their parents, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says.
A new Amnesty International report on Friday highlighted the "hundreds" of abductions and incidents of torture by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, and also criticised the excessive force used by government forces. Amnesty's report paints a grim portrait of rampant kidnapping, extortion and torture in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces seized control of key cities earlier this year and are currently engaged in a desperate battle against government forces. The rights group said it was impossible to provide reliable statistics amid the chaos, with no attempt by authorities to create a single register of incidents or victims.
Unidentified gunmen raided a village near Kenya's restive coastal town of Lamu early Friday, Kenyan officials said, the latest in a string of attacks in the region. Officials said more than 10 raiders struck at Pandanguo village, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Mpeketoni -- where close to 50 people were massacred in an attack last month -- stole guns from police reservists and torched houses and other buildings. The Kenyan Red Cross said there were no reports of any casualties in the latest attack. "The heavily armed attackers raided the village at around 1:00 am today (Friday) and disarmed six police reservists," Kaviha Charo Karisa, a local area assistant chief, told AFP.
With both presidential candidates declaring victory in Indonesia's knife-edge election this week, anxiety is growing that fraud and dirty tactics could twist official results due to be announced later this month. Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and his rival, former general Prabowo Subianto, used different unofficial tallies Wednesday to claim victory in the world's third-biggest democracy. Now more than 130 million ballot papers from the vast archipelago that sprawls the distance of London to New York are being counted and collected, and then sent on to the capital Jakarta. "The most vulnerable part of the Indonesian election is the counting process," Jakarta-based independent analyst Paul Rowland told AFP.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Military officers testified that there was no "stand-down order" that held back military assets that could have saved the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans killed at a diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya. Their testimony undercut the contention of Republican lawmakers.
US Secretary of State John Kerry began a difficult mission to mediate an end to the political crisis in Afghanistan Friday, warning a bitter dispute over presidential polls threatened the country's future. "Obviously we are at a very critical moment for Afghanistan," Kerry said as he met the head of the UN assistance mission Jan Kubis in the heavily fortified US embassy in Kabul. Later Friday he will meet poll rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who are locked in a bitter row over who won last month's run-off election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Kubis vowed the UN would do its utmost to help Afghanistan "finalise and complete the political transition... in a way that will strengthen the stability and unity of the country."
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Friday brushed off a defeat in the Senate on repealing the country's carbon tax, calling it normal "argy bargy" that would not derail a key election promise. The government must walk a tightrope in the upper house, needing the backing of minor party senators such as those from PUP to get its legislative agenda passed if it cannot secure support from Labor or the Greens. This includes not only scrapping the carbon tax but the massive spending cuts it has planned to bring the budget under control.