Desperate and alone, Saudi sisters risk everything

  It was September 6, 2018. The two Saudi sisters were on a family vacation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For weeks, they had helped their mother organize the trip, feigning

excitement at the possibility of two weeks away from Riyadh, but knowing that if all went to plan, they’d never go back.

  Failure was not an option. Every step of their escape from Saudi Arabia carried the threat of severe punishment or death.

  ”We knew the first time, if it’s not perfect, it will be the last time,” Reem says.

  CNN has changed the sisters’ names and is not showing their faces, at their request for their safety.

  The sisters say years of strict Islamic teaching and physical abuse at home had convinced them that they had no future in a socie

ty that places women under the enforced guardianship of men, and limits their aspirations.

  ”It’s slavery, because whatever the woman will do it’s the business of the male,” Rawan says.

  That’s why they say they renounced Islam.

  And that’s why aged 18 and 20, they stole back their own passports, hid their abayas under the b

edcovers, snuck out of their holiday home and boarded a flight from Colombo to Melbourne, via Hong Kong.

  The Hong Kong stopover was supposed to take less than two hours.

  Two hours has turned into five months.

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We’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying

  ”We must have faith,” Juventus coach Max Allegri told BT Sport.

  ”We’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilled milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Mad

rid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

  ”We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappoint

ment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

  In the night’s other game, 10-man Manchester City came from behind to win 3-2 at German side Schalke.

  Nabil Bentaleb scored two first-half penalties to cancel out Sergio Aguero’s opener and ensure Schalke led 2-1 at the interval.

  City hit back in the second half, recovering from losing Nicolas Otamendi to a re

d card before goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling secured victory.

  Pep Guardiola’s team had looked in control before the game was turned on its head by VAR.

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Aid is piling up on Venezuela’s border. Here’s why it’s not

  On February 23, humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela one way or another,” the country’s self-declared president Juan Guaido d

eclared earlier this month. But not so fast — President Nicolas Maduro, who won reelection in a widely-criticized vote last year, has pr

omised to block the supplies, and organizations including the Red Cross and United Nations have refused to help.

  The slow advance of aid toward impoverished Venezuela has become a proxy measure of

the power struggle between its two rival presidents. At the same time, there is little doubt that the Ve

nezuelan people are in need of help. So why is it so hard to agree on aid?

  What is happening?

  Venezuela is dealing with the worst economic crisis in its history. One

in 10 Venezuelans are undernourished, and the economic crisis has triggered an exo

dus of at least three million people, according to the International Organization of Migration.

  Venezuela closes key maritime, air borders with neighbors amid growing aid crisis

  Guaido has thrown all his weight behind a “humanitarian channel” that would bring tons of mu

ch-needed aid from foreign countries into Venezuela. But the plan isn’t just benevolent — it’s als

o a direct jab at Maduro, who for years has denied that a humanitarian crisis was happening in Venezuela.

  ”The impact of the humanitarian aid is highly political,” admits Jua

n Miguel Matheus, an MP for the opposition. “Our first and primary goal is to provide relief for

the Venezuelan population, but after that, with this move we want to checkmate Maduro.

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hey say they were sexually abused by sts, then silence

Lucie was just 16 when she became involved with a Catholic religious community after attending a holiday camp in Switzerland. At the time, she told CNN

,she was “very, very, very alone” and looking for friends and affection.
What she found at first was “really like a family

,” she said. But two years later — by which time she was preparing to become an “oblate,” a lay person affiliated with a rel

igious order — she says a pattern of sexual abuse by a charismatic priest who she considered her spiritual father began.

It took 15 years for Lucie — a pseudonym used at her request to protect her family — to realize that what she says she experienced over several months in the 1990

s was abuse. At the time, just 18 years old, she felt “disgusted” by the physical intimacy she says the priest for

ced on her but also wracked by guilt and powerless to stop him.
“It was like automatic you know. He wan

ted to go to the end — to ejaculation — and I was just like an object for him and I had a feeling he did this a lot of times,” she said.

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hinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the US on Thursday and

Friday to continue high-level trade negotiations. His new title as Chinese President Xi Jinpi

ng’s special envoy indicates the importance and authoritativeness of the talks. As pre

paration for the event, consultations at vice-ministerial-level between China and the US were recovered on Tuesday.

The world’s stock markets surged Monday due to the optimistic prospects on the deals that Beijin

g and Washington are expected to make. US President Donald Trump praised “big progress” in the

trade deal on Twitter. His words further stoked the stock markets of the US, which reached the highest in two m

onths and so increased pressure on the Trump administration to close the deal with China.

Analysts believe that if the two countries couldn’t come to an agreement, and as a result the US imposes more tariffs on Chinese prod

ucts while China responds with fiercer countermeasures, it would be a catastrophic strike to global stock markets.

In terms of avoiding such blows, the Trump administration is probably the most pres

sured. Thus in general, by the end of the trade negotiations, China and the US have become more psychologically equal.

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Washington alleged that INF failed because Moscow did not

ply with INF and Beijing was not bound by the treaty. These were its main excuses for the withdrawal.

Germany believes that the more countries involved in INF, the better. However, ma

ny European countries can never understand the security risks and the urgency to strengthen national defense in other regions.

The INF Treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union. It was a compromise bet

ween the two superpowers with the same level of military power to ease their confrontations.

Although China is now much stronger than it was in the past, its nuclear power and compreh

ensive military strength are far from being equal to those of the US and conducting negotiations on an equal footing.

The Europeans are clear that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is part of its America First agenda and an abandonment of its international obligations.

At the Munich security conference, Merkel and European countries criticized recent US security policies. But on the issue of the

INF treaty, Merkel snubbed China to serve US interests, reflecting the selfishness of Germans and some Europeans.

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With the proscription of Azhar becoming a contentious

t impedes China-India relations, some Chinese scholars advise that China take India’s concern more into account. But Liu Zongyi, a senior fellow of the Shanghai I

nstitutes for International Studies, told the Global Times that India should, first of all, mind its approach. Should New Delhi resort to quiet dipl

omacy instead of extensively directing aggressive rhetoric to pressure Beijing, the Azhar issue could have been better addressed.

Terrorism in India poses a significant threat to Indians. Without solid evidence, India has long accu

sed Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed and other militant groups and China

of providing uncritical support for Pakistan. Instead of simply blaming other countries, especially Pakistan and China, shouldn’t the Indian government ma

ke more self-introspection on its anti-terrorism policy and dwell more on how to better administer the India-controlled part of Kashmir?

China and Pakistan are not enemies of India in countering terrorism. Despite the India-Pakistan dispute, New Delhi has comm

on interests in fighting terrorism with Islamabad and Beijing. It’s suggested India abandon suspicions and the three countries enhance consult

ations on regional security and strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation. Last August for the first time the militaries of India and Pakistan took part in

a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among member countries to de

al with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism. Such momentum shouldn’t be disrupted.

With the approaching general election in India, nationalism could be easi

ly fanned and used by politicians to woo support. Blaming China and Pakistan for the terr

orist attack will arouse Indians’ anxieties over neighboring countries. A tough stance by the BJP government may help the

ruling party win more support. But this will risk anti-terrorism cooperation being sabotaged for the political interests of parties in India.

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The US team expressed the willingness to make joint effor

rts with the Chinese team to strive for the conclusion of a deal that meets the interests of both sides.

“We bring the best wishes of President Trump. He’s asked us to state that

he also places great importance on his personal relationship with you,” Lighthizer said.

“We have had two very good days of negotiations. We feel that we have made headway on some very, very important and

very difficult issues,” he said. “We have additional work we have to do but we are hopeful.”

Xi asked Lighthizer and Mnuchin to extend his sincere greetings to President Trump, saying

that he cherishes their good working relationship and would like to keep in contact with him.

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ooperation will bring benefits to the two countries while

conflicts will injure both sides, he added.Xi called China-US ties one of the world’s most important

bilateral relationships, and the two countries have wide common interests a

nd shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and promoting global prosperity.

Maintaining the healthy and stable development of the China-US relationship is in line with the fundamen

tal interests of the people of both countries, and it is also the common wish of the international community, Xi said.

Xi mentioned his latest meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders

Summit in Argentina in December, saying that the two leaders reached important consensuses.

The two countries should promote building stable, cooperative and coordinative Chi

na-US relations, Xi said. The two sides should enhance communication, focus on cooperation a

nd handle disputes to promote economic and trade cooperation, Xi added.

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urope needs economic cooperation, not blind suspicion

Austria’s technology ministry has called on Europe to form a joint position on whether or not to allow Chinese firm Huawei to equip 5G for next-generation mobile networks. This consideration co

mes amid the US-hyped security concerns over Huawei and Washington’s relentless efforts to thwart the 5G efforts of this leading tech company.
5G

will be one of the most critical components of the digital economy and society, not only in China but also Europe. Europe has taken significant ste

ps to lead global developments toward this strategic technology. To reposition itself as a leader in world affairs including the field of technology, Europe h

as no reason to reject cooperation with Huawei which has developed the most advanced 5G technology, disregarding u

nwarranted US claims.
Europe is caught in the middle. While the continent treads carefully between China an

d the US, what is at stake is its own interests. As China tries to offer a cooperative approach, Europe, a longtime US ally, is hesi

ant to accept. The Belt and RoadInitiative proposed by China presents tremendous opportunities in terms of trade and g

rowth, while skepticism lingers in Europe about the geopolitical ambition the initiative may harbor.
Ob

servers believe that the funds allocated by the EU will fall way short of what is really needed. The EU will allocate funding for this project in its ne

xt multiannual budget, which will stretch from 2021 to 2027, but can Europe afford to wait till then to walk out of its current plight?

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