Despite a high-profile visit by U.S. officials to Turkey this week, the two nations remain at odds over the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, specifically the implications for America’s Kurdish allies in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rebuffed National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday, refusing a meeting and expressing frustration in the messaging from Bolton and others that Erdogan says differs from what he said was a deal with Trump, signaling he’d prefer to communicate with the president instead.
President Trump delivered a forceful and fact-challenged televised plea to the nation Tuesday night for his long-promised border wall, declaring “a growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border and blaming congressional Democrats for the partial government shutdown that he helped instigate three weeks ago. Trump used his first prime-time televised address to the nation from the Oval Office to convey urgency about the situation at the border, which he plans to visit on Thursday.
The U.S. case against the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Canada last month, centers on the company’s suspected ties to two obscure companies. U.S. authorities allege CFO Meng Wanzhou deceived international banks into clearing transactions with Iran by claiming the two companies were independent of Huawei, when in fact Huawei controlled them. Huawei has maintained the two are independent: equipment seller Skycom Tech Co Ltd and shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd.
The United States, Pakistani, Swiss, Indian, South Korean and New Zealand consulates in Melbourne are among a number of foreign diplomatic headquarters across the city and in Canberra targeted with suspicious packages. The deliveries on Wednesday sparked an emergency “hazardous material” response and, in some cases, evacuation. Victoria police issued a statement saying it was aware of “a number of consulate offices in Melbourne today receiving suspicious packages”. “At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community,” the statement said.
Opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu has warned election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo not to “disguise the truth” as tensions mount over the delayed result. Mr Fayulu said the “Congolese people already know” the result of the vote, which took place on 30 December. A local observer group said it had witnessed “major irregularities” at counting stations. President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 18 years in office.
The British police and military forces were working on Wednesday to upgrade the security of airspace around London Heathrow Airport, the busiest in Europe, after drone sightings briefly interrupted service there Tuesday evening. The sightings, which prompted the airport to halt flight departures for about an hour, came less than three weeks after Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, was shut down for parts of three days because of drone sightings.