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France’s Macron Calls On Lebanon To Form New Government

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Beirut explosion: Macron ready to host Lebanon aid conference

Following the appointment of new prime minister in Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron has on Monday called on crisis-hit Lebanon to swiftly form a new government to rescue the country, which is reeling from the deadly August 4 port explosion, an economic collapse and the coronavirus pandemic.

Lebanon is facing the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war after the last Lebanese government resigned following the devastating explosion in the capital, Beirut which killed at least 190 persons and injured 6,000 others, with its economy devastated by a financial crisis, a swathe of Beirut in tatters, and sectarian tensions rising.

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Macron, speaking on his arrival at Beirut airport, said a new line-up should be agreed “as soon as possible” something that Lebanon’s former ambassador to Germany, Mustapha Adib, who has taken on the new role of PM already promised.

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Macron was met at the airport by President Michel Aoun in the French leader’s second visit in less than a month. He also visited legendary Lebanese singer Fairouz later on Monday.

He also addressed the Lebanese people in an Arabic-language tweet, saying he had returned as promised to “work together to create necessary conditions for reconstruction and stability”.

Also, the French president, who is visiting Lebanon to urge the government to implement reforms to tackle corruption and mismanagement, is also offering to host an aid conference in mid-October to help.

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On Monday, the World Bank estimated that the explosion caused as much as $4.6bn (£3.4bn) in damage to buildings and infrastructure, adding that other losses, including the impact on economic output, could add up to $3.5bn.

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World News

NY Times: Trump ‘Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

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NY Times: Trump 'Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

New York Times has obtained a copy of president Donald Trump’s federal income tax and has revealed the president paid just $750 in taxes in 2016, the year he ran for the U.S. Presidency, and the same amount during his first year in office.  The newspaper also reports Trump paid no income taxes at all in ten of the previous fifteen years.

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Trump has faced and is still facing legal challenges for refusing to share documents concerning his fortune and business dealings.

He is the first president since the 1970s who has refused to make his tax returns public.  Even though making tax returns public is not legally required of presidential candidates or presidents, those who occupy the White House have always showed their tax returns in an act of transparency.

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Trump says the times report was “fake news.”  The newspaper says the information carried in the story was provided by sources with legal access to it.

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

Six in ten Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to end an accord with the European Union allowing free movement of people.

Switzerland is not an EU member, but it has a series of interdependent treaties with Brussels which gives it access to Europe’s free trade area.

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The move to rein in immigration was proposed by the Swiss people’s party but opposed by the government.    A similar initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum, damaging Swiss-EU relations.

The Swiss are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy.  They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

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Supporters of the anti-free movement plan say it would allow Switzerland to control its borders and select only the immigrants it wants.

Opponents argue it would plunge a healthy economy into recession at an uncertain time and deprive hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens of their freedom to live and work across Europe.

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North Korea Apologizes For ‘Unfortunate’ Killing Of South Korean Official

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North Korea Apologizes For 'Unfortunate' Killing Of South Korean Official

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean official, an incident which could have been a disaster for any hopes of rekindling talks between the South and the North.

According to a report by Yonhap news agency on Friday Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.

Earlier on Monday, a South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.

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On Thursday, South Korea said on Thursday the 47-year-old man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.

In a message to Seoul, Kim said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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News agency reported that the North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean. The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.

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However, the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.

Also, some experts were skeptical of claims that the man had been trying to defect to a country that has seen more than 30,000 North Koreans fleeing to South Korea in the past two decades, defections from South to North are rare.

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