Trumplomacy hits Russian wall

Reminder: that’s when lawmakers questioned whether Rex Tillerson’s history of doing business deals with Russia would make him too cosy with the Kremlin to represent US interests as America’s top diplomat. Fast forward to Mr Tillerson’s reception on Wednesday by his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Mr Lavrov levelled a litany of complaints about the “extremely ambiguous and contradictory” policy talk in Washington and “unlawful” US strikes in Syria. Then he twisted the knife a bit, pointedly noting that many key State Department posts have yet to be filled by the…

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Sugar mills shut early as drought hits cane crop – trade body

More than two dozen mills in India’s top sugar producing Maharashtra state have stopped crushing due to cane shortage while many more mills are likely to shut before February end, a producers’ body said on Tuesday. Sugar mills in Maharashtra typically operate between November to April, but this year cane supplies have fallen due to back-to-back droughts. Out of 147 sugar mills that started operations this year, 25 mills have stopped crushing as on Dec. 31, Indian Sugar Mills Association said in a statement. The country produced 8.09 million tonnes…

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Second deadly quake hits southern Japan, rescuers race against time

A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck southern Japan early on Saturday, killing at least 20 people, injuring more than 1,000 and trapping people in collapsed buildings, barely a day after a quake killed nine people in the same region. Rescuers dug through the rubble of collapsed buildings and mud and debris on Saturday to try and reach those trapped, but continued aftershocks hindered rescue efforts and fuelled fears of more powerful quakes. “Nothing is more important than human life and it’s a race against time,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,…

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