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EU backs France in submarine dispute



European Union foreign ministers expressed support and solidarity with France on Monday during a meeting in New York to discuss Australia’s scrapping of a $40 billion submarine order with Paris in favour of a U.S. and British deal

European Union foreign ministers expressed support for France in its submarine order dispute with Australia during the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.

Australia said last week it would scrap a $40 billion submarine order from Paris in favor of a U.S. and British deal that’s enraged France.

It includes at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology and a trilateral security partnership under the name AUKUS.

After a closed-door meeting at the annual UN gathering of world leaders, European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrel, said “more cooperation” was needed among leaders and “less fragmentation.”

“The position has been this clear expression of solidarity with France, and the consideration that this was not a bilateral issue but a relationship with European Union that affects all of us. And also the fact that it doesn’t go in the direction of a greater cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which is our purpose.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave the U.S a dressing down earlier on Monday, accusing U.S. President Joe Biden of continuing his predecessor Donald Trump’s foreign policies.

“Yes, it is a disappointment. We thought unilateralism, unpredictability, brutality and not respecting your partner was part of the past but it continues so we want to understand.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there will not be an opportunity to address the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron this week.

Meanwhile, Biden and Macron are set to speak by phone in the next few days.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said she expected Biden to “reaffirm our commitment to working with one of our oldest and closest partners on a range of challenges that the global community is facing.”

It’s not clear what impact the security partnership will have on next month’s fresh rounds of EU-Australia trade talks.

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Ukraine’s bold counteroffensive dreams shattered: Security official



The ambitious hopes of a Ukrainian counteroffensive have failed to materialize as anticipated, according to a high-ranking security official.

The nation had been eagerly anticipating a resurgence in their military operations to reclaim lost territories, but the recent turn of events has cast a shadow of uncertainty.

The security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that despite meticulous planning and intense preparations, the counteroffensive has encountered unforeseen challenges, pushing back the timeline for its execution.

This setback has left Ukrainian citizens anxious, hoping for a swift resolution to the ongoing conflict that has plagued their country for far too long.

The disappointment in Ukraine’s counteroffensive ambitions raises crucial questions about the nation’s military strategy, the level of external support, and the overall stability of the region.

The international community watches with bated breath as Ukraine navigates this critical juncture, wondering what the future holds for this war-torn nation.

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Zara pulls ad over Gaza boycott uproar



Fashion giant Zara has withdrawn one of its advertisements from the front page of its website after facing calls for a boycott over its alleged insensitivity to the situation in Gaza.

The controversy erupted when Zara featured an ad showcasing its latest collection on its website’s front page, coinciding with a period of heightened tensions in the Gaza Strip. Critics argued that the timing was inappropriate, given the ongoing conflict and suffering in the region.

Social media campaigns and online petitions quickly gained traction, with thousands of people expressing their disapproval and calling for a boycott of Zara products. The hashtag #BoycottZara trended on various platforms, putting immense pressure on the clothing retailer.

In response, Zara issued a statement announcing the removal of the controversial ad. The company expressed regret over any offense caused and reaffirmed its commitment to corporate responsibility.

However, this incident has sparked a broader debate about the intersection of fashion and political sensitivity in an increasingly interconnected world.

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BTS stars take a break to serve military time



The world-renowned South Korean megaband BTS has announced an indefinite hiatus, with all seven members set to fulfil their mandatory military service obligations.

The news has sent shockwaves through the global entertainment industry and left fans wondering what the future holds for the chart-topping group.

This decision comes after the septet’s unprecedented rise to fame, conquering international music charts, and amassing a dedicated fan base known as the ARMY.

The group’s management agency, Big Hit Entertainment, released a statement confirming that the hiatus is aimed at allowing each member to complete their military service without interruption. This move is seen as a testament to their commitment to fulfilling their civic duties despite their immense success.

While BTS fans are undoubtedly disappointed by the hiatus, it raises intriguing questions about the group’s future. Will their time away from the spotlight allow them to explore new musical directions?

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