Saudi prince not confined to palace
DUBAI • A senior Saudi official has denied as "baseless" a New York Times report that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef has been confined to his palace and barred from travelling abroad after being replaced by the King's son as next in line to the throne.
The official told Reuters that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran Interior Minister, was continuing to host guests and there were no restrictions at all on his or his family's movements.
The prince was relieved of all his duties a week ago.
Russia mocks Britain's new aircraft carrier
MOSCOW • Russia yesterday mocked Britain's brand new HMS Elizabeth II aircraft carrier, saying it was above all a "convenient target" for Moscow's forces.
The Russian Defence Ministry described as "arrogant" comments by British Defence Minister Michael Fallon, who said Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, was "dilapidated" and that Moscow would look at the new vessel "with a little bit of envy". Mr Fallon's comments "prove a clear lack of naval knowledge", ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Nato to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan
BRUSSELS • Nato will increase troop numbers in Afghanistan to help train local forces facing a resurgent Taleban but will not return to a combat role, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday.
The alliance ended its longest-ever military operation in 2014 when it handed over post-9/11 front-line duties to the Afghan military. An increase of up to 3,000 troops from the current figure of 13,500 soldiers is under consideration, diplomatic sources said, though Mr Stoltenberg did not give a precise figure.