USA: It is difficult time to do business with Turkey

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen during a news conference in Bogota, Colombia February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga
Updated 09 February 2018
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USA: It is difficult time to do business with Turkey

Washington: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Turkey to rein in its military operation in northern Syria during a visit to the NATO ally next week, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
"That's going to be a difficult conversation," the official told reporters in a briefing about Tillerson's Feb. 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait. Speaking of U.S.-Turkish relations, he added: "Look it's difficult. The rhetoric is hot. The Turks are angry, and this is a difficult time to do business but it's our belief that there are still some very fundamental underlying shared interests". The official went on to explain that secretary Tillerson plan to raise difficult issues including urging restraint in Turkish operation in Afrin and beyond.


Malaysia court sentences Australian woman to death for drug-trafficking

Prosecutors had sought the appeals court conviction, which overturned the earlier acquittal of Maria Exposto, 54, of charges of smuggling the drugs in a backpack in Dec. 2014. (Reuters)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Malaysia court sentences Australian woman to death for drug-trafficking

  • Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court
  • Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offenses

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court on Thursday sentenced to death by hanging an Australian mother of three, for trafficking more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into the Southeast Asian nation, but her lawyer said she was appealing.
Prosecutors had sought the appeals court conviction, which overturned the earlier acquittal of Maria Exposto, 54, of charges of smuggling the drugs in a backpack in Dec. 2014, after she said she was duped in an online scam.
Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court.
“We are extremely disappointed,” Scivetti told Reuters by text message. “Maria is a victim of an Internet romance scam. She is not a drug trafficker.”
Exposto, arrested in Kuala Lumpur while in transit to Melbourne from Shanghai, has said she was decoyed into carrying the bag with the drugs by a friend of her online boyfriend, who claimed to be a US soldier serving in Afghanistan.
Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offenses. Late last year, parliament voted to remove the death penalty as mandatory punishment for drug trafficking, and leave it to judges’ discretion instead.
Malaysia has executed three Australian nationals for drug trafficking in the past 30 years, leading to brief strains in diplomatic ties between the two countries.