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US, Russia sign memo on safe flight operations over Syria

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Washington: The Pentagon said that the US and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on safe flight operations over Syria as they carry out separate airstrikes against militant groups in the country.

“Senior officials from the department of defense and the Russian ministry of defense signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding measures to minimize the risk of in-flight incidents between coalition and Russian aircrafts operating in Syrian airspace,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook here on Tuesday at a briefing.

According to Cook, specific safety protocols were established for air crews of both sides to follow, including the use of specific communication frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground, Xinhua reported.

The US and Russian militaries would also form a working group to discuss any implementation issues that would follow, added Cook.

The two countries reached agreement on air safety in Syria 10 days after US and Russian aircrafts came within visual range of each other during a mission.

To avoid an inadvertent clash in Syrian airspace during their airstrike’s against the extremist group-the Islamic State (IS), the US and Russia started their latest round of military contacts early this month after a long hiatus due to rivalry on the Ukraine crisis.

(IANS)

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US, Britain Step Up In Order to Tackle Female Genital Mutilation

The mutilation of girls’ external genitals for non-medical reasons is practiced across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It also affects immigrant communities in Europe and the U.S.

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Female Genital Mutilation
A badge reads "The power of labor against FGM" is seen on a volunteer during a conference on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 6, 2018. (VOA)

Authorities in the U.S. and Britain are stepping up cooperation to tackle female genital mutilation, staging joint operations at airports in London, New York and elsewhere to raise awareness of an issue that affects millions of girls and women worldwide.

Police and border security agencies on both sides of the Atlantic have signed a new agreement to share intelligence about when and where victims may be taken for the procedure, known as FGM, and help identify perpetrators.

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In the past week, officials also targeted travel hubs including Heathrow, JKF airport and Eurostar stations, approaching people traveling from countries where the practice is common and encouraging them to report any concerns.

The mutilation of girls’ external genitals for non-medical reasons is practiced across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It also affects immigrant communities in Europe and the U.S. (VOA)

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