Top German, Turkish envoys to meet in Germany

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
Updated 03 January 2018
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Top German, Turkish envoys to meet in Germany

ANKARA: The foreign ministers of Germany and Turkey will meet this weekend as Ankara seeks to douse tensions with the EU that blighted 2017, Turkish officials said on Wednesday.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will host Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in his home town of Goslar in Lower Saxony on Saturday, the officials said.
The visit will represent the German leg of talks between the two men who met in November in Cavusoglu’s home region of Antalya in southern Turkey.
Cavusoglu said he would meet Gabriel on Jan. 6 at a briefing with Turkish reporters in Ankara quoted by state media.
A Foreign Ministry official, contacted by AFP, confirmed the meeting would be in Goslar. The German Foreign Ministry said a meeting was planned there without giving a date.
Relations between Turkey and Germany hit a nadir last year as Berlin strongly criticized the crackdown after the failed coup that left over 55,000 arrested and Ankara accused Berlin of meddling.
Tensions with other EU members, including Austria and the Netherlands, meanwhile appeared to bring Turkey’s bid to join the EU to a shuddering halt.
But Ankara has issued a flurry of signals in recent days it wants warmer relations with the EU and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to France on Friday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
The better tone has been helped by the shared opposition of both Turkey and key EU states, including France and Germany, to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Berlin was particularly incensed by the holding of several German nationals in a crackdown after the coup bid, although tensions eased slightly following several releases in recent months.
Most recently, German pilgrim David Britsch and German journalist Mesale Tolu were set free by Turkey in developments welcomed by Berlin.
However, the correspondent of the Die Welt daily newspaper, Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish dual national arrested in February, remains behind bars and not even a date for his trial has been set.


New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern goes into hospital to give birth

Updated 21 June 2018
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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern goes into hospital to give birth

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived Thursday at Auckland Hospital as she prepared to give birth to her first child.
The 37-year-old Ardern would become just the second elected world leader in modern times to give birth while in office, after the late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave birth to daughter Bakhtawar in 1990.
Ardern’s due date was June 17. The birth has been highly anticipated in the South Pacific nation of nearly 5 million people. She has not said whether she’s expecting a boy or a girl.
Ardern’s office confirmed she had arrived at the hospital with partner Clarke Gayford.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has taken over as acting prime minister. Ardern plans to take a six-week leave before returning to work.
Under the arrangement, Ardern will still be consulted on major decisions, including issues of national security.
Ardern has said she is confident the government will continue to run smoothly in her absence.
She said she hoped to be “sharing the good news” in an announcement but also to have some quiet time to enjoy as a family.
Asked earlier this month how the couple had been faring while trying to choose a name, Ardern responded: “Terribly. Do you have any suggestions?“