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New Ukraine Unveiled, U.S. Snubs Venezuela, "Botched Jobs"

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague

The new Ukraine government will be presented to the protesters of Kiev’s Independence Square tonight, Radio Liberty reports. A member of Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR party announced that the union government would include some of the protesters.

  • Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov signed a special order to disband the country’s riot police in a bid to win confidence from an increasingly divided country, according to The Guardian.

  • Amid fears of separatism and reports of Russian troops moving across the highly strategic region of Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Ukraine’s future is not about West vs. East.

  • Kerry’s Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov urged the democracy watchdog Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe “to decisively condemn the rise of nationalist and neo-fascist sentiment in the west of the country,” citing calls to ban the Russian language as a cause for concern for the population and freedom of speech.

  • According to RT, pro- and anti-Russian protesters are gathered in front of the Crimean Parliament with tensions rising between the two groups.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said in a statement it would retaliate after an Israeli air strike that targeted its positions at the border with Syria Monday night, Al Manar reports. Hezbollah, which is a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the strike was “a flagrant aggression against Lebanon” and that it would “choose the appropriate time, place and way to retaliate.” Israel initially refused to comment on the attack, but an unnamed official later confirmed it to Timemagazine, saying it was a move to prevent a missiles convoy to reach Hezbollah.

The Iraqi government has denied reports that it signed an arms deal worth $195 million with Iran, one day after the Iranian government also denied such an agreement, according to Xinhua. Yesterday, U.S. officials expressed their concern about the reports, according to which the two countries signed an agreement in November after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned empty-handed from a meeting in Washington.

Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will remain the country’s defense minister, despite the government’s resignation Monday, according to reports from Egypt’s state broadcaster. New Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab reappointed three other members of the cabinet, namely the ministers for interior, oil and planning, Al Arabiya reports. Al-Sisi is expected to become the country’s next president, although he still hasn’t announced his candidacy for the election, scheduled to be held in the next few months.


A sculpture of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs by a Serbian artist has been unveiled to mixed reviews.

Thailand’s military forces have increased their number of checkpoints around anti-government rally sites after unknown gunmen fired shots and threw grenades near protest camps overnight, The Bangkok Post reports. No casualties were reported, but attacks against Thailand’s anti-government protesters have been regular since the beginning of the political crisis four months ago, with 22 deaths and hundreds of wounded. Read more from AFP.

The United States has given 48 hours to three diplomats from Washington’s Venezuelan embassy to leave the country, in a tit-for-tat move after President Nicolás Maduro’s expulsion of American diplomats last week, AP reports. The announcement comes as Maduro is set to preside later today over a “National Peace Conference” to which he invited all sectors of society, including political opponents, according to Infobae. AFP reports, however, that opposition leader Henrique Capriles refused to attend.

Famous flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia has died at the age of 66.


If, like us, you love GIFs, be sure to have a look at these candidates for the Motion Photography Prize.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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