Vivian on 3-day visit to Washington
SINGAPORE • Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan will make a three-day working visit to Washington to participate in the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS meeting hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tomorrow.
During his visit starting today, Dr Balakrishnan will have bilateral meetings with Mr Tillerson and US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
The Singapore minister will also meet key congressmen and prominent strategic thinkers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
NZ expels US diplomat under probe for serious crime
WELLINGTON • A US diplomat has been expelled from New Zealand after Washington refused to waive diplomatic immunity so that police investigating a serious crime can question him, officials said.
Details of the alleged crime, which police linked to an incident on Wellington's outskirts in the early hours of March 12, have not been revealed but local media reported that the diplomat left last week with a broken nose and a black eye.
Television New Zealand said yesterday the man was a technical attache who had been working closely with New Zealand's intelligence service.
Syrian army recaptures positions lost to rebels earlier
DAMASCUS • Intense clashes took place early yesterday as the Syrian army counter-attacked rebels who had advanced in the north-east of the Syrian capital on Sunday, with the army recapturing all positions it had lost, according to a Syrian military source.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad drove the rebels, led by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, back by nightfall and began a fierce bombing campaign yesterday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The observatory said it was unclear whether regime forces or their Russian allies were carrying out yesterday's raids.