Anti-Maduro strike paralyzes swathes of Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) – Many Venezuelan streets were barricaded and deserted on Thursday for a strike called by foes of President Nicolas Maduro to demand a presidential election and the abandonment of a plan for a new congress they fear would institute dictatorship. From the Andes to the Amazon, many businesses shut as the majority-backed opposition…

Germany steps up economic pressure on Turkey in rights row

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany warned its citizens on Thursday to exercise caution if travelling to Turkey and threatened measures that could hinder German investment there in a sign of growing impatience with a NATO ally after the detention of rights activists. “Everyone can be affected. The most absurd things are possible,” said Foreign Minister Sigmar…

Trump and Putin did not have a secret G20 meeting: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not have “a secret meeting” at the G20 summit earlier this month, but confirmed they did chat informally over dinner. The Kremlin was responding to questions about a previously undisclosed conversation between Trump and Putin that…

After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerrilla warfare

MOSUL (Reuters) – Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight. Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders…

U.S. ends controversial laptop ban on Middle East carriers

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States has ended a four month ban on passengers carrying laptops onboard U.S. bound flights from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa, bringing to an end one of the controversial travel restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration. Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport was the last of…