Radio Free Europe (233)

State Funeral Held For Former Kosovar Prime Minister Rexhepi

Mourners attended the state funeral of Former Kosovar Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi on August 22 in his hometown of Shipol. Rexhepi was a former independence fighter who was elected in the country's first post-war vote in 2002.

The Daily Vertical: Theater Of The Absurd

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The Daily Vertical: Theater Of The Absurd

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The Morning Vertical, August 23, 2017

Your daily roundup.

Russian Director Serebrennikov Faces Court Hearing

A prominent Russian director whose arrest on fraud charges has raised fears of a clampdown on cultural figures critical of the government faces a court hearing on August 23.

Taliban Suicide Bombing Kills Five People In Southern Afghanistan

Five people have been killed and at least 38 others wounded in a suicide bombing in the volatile southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials and medics say.

Netanyahu Tells Putin Iran's Growing Syria Presence Threatens World

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iran's growing presence in Syria "poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East, and the whole world."

Putin To Meet Top Vatican Diplomat In Sochi

The Vatican's secretary of state is set to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on the third day of his official visit to Russia.

U.S. Sends First Coal Shipment To Ukraine To Bolster Energy Security

The United States sent its first shipment of anthracite coal to Ukraine from the U.S. port Baltimore on August 22 under a deal designed to increase Ukraine's energy security.

Israeli Leader To Raise Concern About Iran's Military In Syria With Putin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin his concerns about Iran's military presence in Syria.

Venezuelan Leader Asks Russia, Vatican To Help Fend Off U.S. 'Military Threat'

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on Russia and the Vatican to help fend off a U.S. "military threat," and said he will soon go to Moscow to visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Venezuelan Leader Asks Russia, Vatican To Help Fend Off U.S. 'Military Threat'

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on August 22 called on Russia and the Vatican to help fend off a U.S. "military threat," and said he would soon go to Moscow to visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine, Russia Agree To New Cease-Fire At Start Of School Year

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine starting on August 23 at the beginning of the school year and got unanimous support from Russia, Germany, France, and the United States.

Pakistan Could Lose 'Major Non-NATO Ally Status,' Tillerson Warns

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States could consider punishing Pakistan or cutting off its status as a major non-NATO ally if Islamabad doesn't crack down on the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Former Kosovar Prime Minister Laid To Rest

Former Kosovar Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi was laid to rest on August 22 in a funeral ceremony in his native village of Shipol, near Mitrovica in northern Kosovo.

Iran Denies Joint Operation Against Kurds With Turkey

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has denied a claim by Turkey that the two countries were planning to conduct joint military operations against Kurdish rebel groups beyond the country's borders.

Amnesty Says Many Political Prisoners In Iran On Hunger Strike To Protest Conditions

Amnesty International says more than a dozen political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in a prison in Karaj, northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran, to protest the cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions' they have been forced to endure.

Ukraine Rejects Claims It Supplied Rocket Engines To North Korea

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council has rejected reports that Kyiv supplied missile technology to North Korea, saying that such claims amounted to Russian disinformation.

Helicopters Called In To Battle Southern Georgia Wildfire

Firefighters with helicopters have been battling a wildfire in the forests of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of southern Georgia.

U.S. Hits Russians, Chinese With New Sanctions Over North Korea

The United States has imposed new economic sanctions against a series of Chinese and Russian companies and individuals, accusing them of aiding the North Korean regime and its missile and nuclear programs.

Belarus Invites Observers To Monitor 'Zapad 2017' Exercises, But NATO Critical

The Belarusian Defense Ministry has invited observers from several countries to the Zapad 2017 joint Belarusian-Russian military exercise that takes place September 14-20 in Belarus, but NATO has said such efforts "fall short."

Neighbors Help Georgia Fight Wildfire In National Park

Georgia is getting help from neighboring countries to fight a wildfire that doubled in size in a day.

Kyrgyz Court Shuts Down Television Channel On Extremism Charges

A court in Kyrgyzstan has ordered the closure of the private TV channel Sentyabr after ruling that it broadcast extremist content.

Armenian Government 'Determined' To Sign New Accord With EU

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has said that his government remains very determined' to sign an agreement on deepening Armenia's links with the European Union.

New Reality: Russians React With Casual Annoyance Over U.S. Visa Curbs

Russians appear to be taking the new U.S. visa reality in stride, but some can't help sounding slightly annoyed.

Deadly Fire Destroys Homes In Russian City Of Rostov

A fire tore through a neighborhood in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on August 21, killing at least one person and injuring dozens.

Iraqi Forces Battle To Retake Tal Afar From Islamic State Militants

On August 22, Iraqi forces reached the first urban areas of Tal Afar, one of the last pockets of territory in the country held by the Islamic State militant group. A video shared by Iraqi fighters captured the moment an explosive-laden vehicle hit their front lines.

Fake Guardian Article On 'Collapsing Russia' Plan Finds Receptive Audience...On Russian State TV

A prominent pro-Kremlin television journalist has come under fire for giving credence to a widely debunked fake story about an alleged Western plot to break apart Russia.

Afghan Leaders Applaud Trump's Regional Strategy

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for not setting a timeline in his new strategic plan for Afghanistan. Speaking in Kandahar on August 22, just hours after Trump presented the outline of the strategy in a televised speech, Abdullah said: "America will stand with the ...

Five Takeaways From Trump's New Afghan Strategy

Notable in some ways for what it didn't include -- troop levels, timelines, or calls for ensuring a democratic Afghanistan -- the U.S. president tailored starkly differing messages to South Asia's respective governments.

'In Six Months I'll Be Dead': Russian Activists Warn Of Looming Spike In AIDS Deaths

If the Russian government doesn't quickly start doing more to combat the spread of HIV infections and to treat those already infected, activists say, the country can expect 20,000 AIDS deaths this year and more in the following years.

Kazakhstan Detains Eight Syrians For Using 'Doctored' Bulgarian Passports

Kazakh authorities say they have detained eight Syrian nationals they said were caught using doctored Bulgarian passports when entering and leaving Kazakhstan.

Body Found After Massive Fire In Rostov-On-Don

A fire that tore through a neighborhood whose residents have reportedly received threats has killed at one person, authorities say.

Salehi Says Iran Could Resume Uranium Enrichment In Five Days

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has said that the country would need only five days to resume high-level uranium enrichment.

Russian 'Bolotnaya' Protester In Solitary Confinement Days Before Release

The last Russian activist imprisoned following clashes at a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration to his current term has been placed in solitary confinement days before his scheduled release, a lawyer says.

The Daily Vertical: Best Frenemies Forever

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The Daily Vertical: Best Frenemies Forever

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Ghani, U.S. Allies Welcome Trump's Commitment In Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the United States' "enduring commitment" in Afghanistan after U.S. President Donald Trump outlined a strategy for the war-wracked country.

Russian Activist Arrested Over March 26 Protest Recognized As Political Prisoner

The Moscow-based human rights group Memorial has recognized an activist who is charged with attacking a police officer during an antigovernment protest in March as a political prisoner.

The Morning Vertical, August 22, 2017

Your daily roundup.

Atambaev Accepts Jeenbekov's Resignation, Appoints Interim Kyrgyz PM

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has accepted Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov's resignation and dismissed the government.

Russia Says Clears Last Soviet Debt With Payment To Bosnia

Russia says it has settled the last of the foreign debt it inherited from the Soviet Union when the U.S.S.R. collapsed more than a quarter-century ago.

Russian Theater Director Serebrennikov Detained On Suspicion Of Fraud

Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Moscow theater figure who has protested against the government, has been detained on suspicion of fraud, Russian officials say.

Russian Theater Leader Serebrennikov Detained On Suspicion Of Fraud

Russian authorities say Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Moscow theater figure who has protested against the government, has been detained on suspicion of fraud.

Pentagon Chief Arrives In Iraq On Unannounced Visit

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit as Iraqi forces pressed an assault on Tal Afar, one of the last pockets of territory held in the country by the extremist group Islamic State .

Vatican Envoy, Lavrov To Discuss Crises In Middle East Conflict Zones

The Vatican's secretary of state will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on August 22 to discuss preventing humanitarian catastrophes and protecting Christians in Middle Eastern conflict zones, the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

Court Upholds Life Bans On Two Russian Athletics Officials In Doping Scandal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld life bans on two former top Russian athletics officials for their parts in a doping scandal.

Trump Outlines Security Strategy For Pakistan, Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump outlined his new security strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan on August 21. Speaking at the Fort Myer military base near Washington, Trump warned Pakistan over giving "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror." Regarding the U.S. military presence in ...

Russia Claims Progress In Ousting IS From Syrian Strongholds

A top Russian commander has said that Moscow and Syrian government forces have made swift progress in the last month driving Islamic State militants from central Syria and a last major stronghold in the east.

Kremlin Aide Says Discussed 'Fresh Ideas' With U.S. Envoy To End Ukraine Conflict

A Kremlin aide has made upbeat remarks after talking with the new U.S. special envoy for efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, saying they discussed "fresh ideas" in a "constructive" meeting.