• Poland’s top court judges return from forced retirements after EU challenges move

    Several Supreme Court judges in Poland have returned from government-imposed retirements after the EU’s top court ordered their reinstatements. Dozens of supporters greeted the six judges as they headed into the Supreme Court building on Monday, ready to resume work, AP reported. Some 20 of the court’s judges were forced to retire in July after a new law took effect that lowered the retirement age for justices to 65 from 70. The change is part of a judicial overhaul by Poland’s conservative ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS). EU leaders are challenging it in the European Court of Justice, which on Friday issued an injunction suspending the forced retirements. On Tuesday, final results of Sunday’s nationwide ballot for city hall chiefs and provincial assemblies will be published, but exit polls showed PiS made only limited gains and lost a high-profile contest for Warsaw mayor.

  • US not ready for cooperation with Russia on Syria – Moscow

    The US is not ready yet for full-fledged cooperation on Syria with Russia to eliminate the remaining terrorists and ensure the return of refugees, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “Concerning our cooperation with the US on other issues, particularly, regional affairs – Syria, the Korean Peninsula and the situation around the Iran nuclear program – no formalized negotiations have been going on,” he said on Monday. The top Russian diplomat was asked whether the issue would be raised at the talks with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, TASS reported. Russia and the US have “a deconfliction channel on Syria,” and Moscow “would be prepared for more substantive cooperation to find ways of resolving the Syrian conflict,” Lavrov said. “However, the US is not ready for such full-fledged cooperation yet,” he added. Bolton began his two-day visit to Moscow on Monday.

  • US hasn’t yet formally begun withdrawal from INF treaty, Russia ready to renew New START – Lavrov

    The US has not yet formally begun to implement the procedure for withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) arms control deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. “The treaty itself contains a procedure which provides for the possibility of withdrawing from the treaty. But this procedure hasn’t yet been initiated,” the minister said. The possible withdrawal would be met with opposition from Russia, Lavrov said, adding that strategic stability can only be achieved on the basis of parity. “Such parity will be preserved in all circumstances. We are responsible for global stability, and hope that the US will not give up its share of responsibility as well,” Sputnik quoted Lavrov as saying. He added that Russia was ready to renew the New START Treaty, and was prepared for dialogue with Washington on the issue. US National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Moscow on Monday for talks with Russian officials, including Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev.

  • Afghanistan starts counting in parliamentary elections marred by violence, delays

    Vote counting has started in Afghanistan following chaotic parliamentary elections marred by violence, technical glitches and unprecedented delays, AP reported Monday. Despite attacks that killed 50, including many children, roughly 4 million Afghan voters cast their ballots over the two-day voting. In southern Kandahar province, voting is to take place next Saturday, after polls there were postponed for a week following an attack that killed two senior Afghan officials, including the powerful provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq. Unofficial election results are not expected before mid-November and official results sometime in December.

  • Germany urges EU states to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia – economy minister

    Germany wants other EU member states to follow its example in stopping arms exports to Saudi Arabia as long as uncertainty remains over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has said. Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Germany would stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia as long as the uncertainty around Khashoggi’s death persisted. Altmaier, a close ally of Merkel, said on Monday that Riyadh’s explanations on the case so far had not been satisfactory. “The government is in agreement that we will not approve further arms exports for the moment because we want to know what happened,” Altmaier told ZDF. So far this year, the German government has approved weapons exports worth more than $462 million to Saudi Arabia, making it the second-biggest recipient of German arms after Algeria, Reuters reports.

  • US, Turkey to begin joint patrols in north Syria ‘within coming days’ – military

    Turkish and American troops could begin conducting joint patrols around the northern Syrian city of Manbij within the coming days, the top US commander for the Middle East has said. Army General Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command, said on Sunday that the soldiers’ training is expected to last “several more days,” and then will transition to combined patrols. The Manbij patrols are part of a road map that Ankara and Washington agreed on in June to defuse tensions amid Turkish demands for the withdrawal of a US-backed Kurdish militia that freed the town of Manbij from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in 2016.