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US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

The United States has filled a diplomatic void in Somalia, swearing in its first ambassador to that country in 25 years.

Ambassador Stephen Schwartz took his oath Monday in Washington, following his Senate confirmation in May.

Schwartz, a senior Foreign Service officer who served as deputy chief of missions in Zambia, will replace James Bishop, who left more than two decades ago as the U.S. embassy came under threat.

The U.S. pulled its diplomatic presence and forces out of Somalia in 1993, after militiamen shot down a U.S. military helicopter, killing 18 soldiers.

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Russia Rejects Much Engagement Sought by US, Ambassador Tefft Says

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

The United States is seeking to engage and involve Russia on a range of international issues — including the most sensitive to their relations — but is often given the cold shoulder, according to U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft.

In an hour-long and exclusive joint interview Monday with VOA Russian Service's Danila Galperovich and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Irina Lagunina, Tefft described U.S. efforts to reach out to Russia despite ups and downs in political dialogue on Ukraine, Syria and NATO.

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US Media Scrutinize Wave of Chinese Migrants Illegally Crossing From Mexico

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

A surge in Chinese migrants seeking a better life in the United States by illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border is capturing the attention of U.S. media.

The San Diego Union-Tribune broke the story earlier this month, saying it obtained U.S. Customs and Border Protection data showing the agency caught 663 Chinese nationals making the illegal crossing from Mexico into San Diego, California, from last October through May.

The newspaper said the latest apprehensions compared to only 48 Chinese migrants being caught along that part of the border in the previous 12 months, reflecting an increase of more than 13 times for the current fiscal year, with four more months to go.

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Afghan Forces Kill 135 Militants Linked to IS

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Officials in eastern Afghanistan say security forces have killed more than 135 Islamic State (IS) militants, including top commanders, and wounded many more in days of ground and air raids near the border with Pakistan.

The clashes in Nangarhar province’s Kot district subsided on Sunday, but search and clearing operations are still under way, said regional civilian and security chiefs, confirming at least 12 Afghan security personnel were also killed while another 18 were wounded.

Provincial Governor Salim Kunduzi told reporters in Jalalabad, the regional capital, the clashes in Kot erupted late Thursday when about 600 heavily armed men linked to Daesh (Arabic acronym for IS) staged coordinated attacks on security outposts in the area.

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Iraqi Official Declares Fallujah 'Fully Liberated'

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Iraqi forces have liberated the city of Fallujah from Islamic State fighters, following a month-long military offensive to seize control, according to a senior Iraqi official.  

Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said Sunday Fallujah is now "fully liberated" after Iraqi forces took control of the Julan neighborhood, the last area of the city still held by IS.

The destruction of the city is extensive.

Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and a strong contingent of Shi’ite militias, Iraqi forces fought fiercely for weeks to oust the extremist fighters.  There are no clear reports of how many IS militants and how many Iraqi security forces died or were wounded in the battle for the city.

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