Some 9.6 million Afghans are registered to vote, but many have lost any hope that after 18 years of war any leader can unify the fractious country. Nevertheless, the first-round vote marks the culmination of a bloody election campaign that is seen as a close race between President Ashraf Ghani and his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah, the country's chief executive after insurgents attacked polling centres in a series of blasts across the country that left at least one person dead.
Kurt Volker, US Special Envoy for Ukraine who got caught in the middle of the pressure campaign by President Trump and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to find damaging information about Democrats, abruptly resigned his post on Friday.
Saudi Arabia annouced on Friday that it will offer tourist visas for the first time, opening up the ultra-conservative kingdom to holidaymakers as part of a push to diversify its economy away from oil. The announcement comes just two weeks after devastating attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure - blamed by Washington on Iran - which roiled global energy markets and raised fears of a wider regional conflict.
In a surprising outcome of the events, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party the chance to form a new government after receiving the final results of last week’s deadlocked election.
Social media companies led by Facebook said Monday they were ramping up an industry body that aims to weed out extremist content, seeking to put procedures in place globally on how to handle crises. Facebook announced the additional efforts at the United Nations during a meeting with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has taken up the cause of fighting online extremism after a March massacre by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a government proposal to bankroll the modernisation of the armed forces in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, a government document published online showed on Monday.
France’s foreign minister said on Sunday his country’s main aim at this week’s UN General Assembly meeting is to de-escalate tensions between the United States and Iran and that a meeting between their presidents was not the top priority.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will present a plan for creating security in the Gulf in cooperation with other countries in the region when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. Saudi Arabia and the United States accuse Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities on 14 Sept., the biggest such assault on the world’s top oil exporter.
The United States aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops ordered to be deployed in the Gulf region are for “deterrence and defense,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday. Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Pompeo added that he was confident U.S. President Donald Trump would take action if such deterrence measures fail and that this was well understood by the Iranian leadership.
Thousands of people gathered in the center of Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday for a protest against the government and ruling Georgian Dream Party, three months after the brutal dispersal of an anti-Kremlin demonstration.