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Four countries could team up to counter Beijing's influence

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the Belt and Road Forum in 2017. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein, Pool / Getty Images

The U.S., Japan, India and Australia could form an alliance as an answer to China's trillion dollar Belt and Road infrastructure project, the Australian Financial Review reports. China's project will involve dozens of countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe in an effort to increase its global economic prowess.

The details: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will reportedly discuss the idea with President Trump during his visit to Washington this week.

Go deeper: The staggering scale of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative

Dave Lawler 1 hour ago
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Former French president held over claims Gaddafi funded campaign

Sarkozy welcomes Gaddafi to France in 2007. Photo: Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was taken into police custody on Tuesday over claims Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan dictator, spent millions to fund Sarkozy's successful 2007 presidential campaign. Sarkozy, who denies the allegations, welcomed Gaddafi to France for a five-day state visit in 2007. Four years later later, Sarkozy played a key role in the NATO campaign that ultimately toppled Gaddafi's regime.

Why it matters, per the AP: "Investigators are examining claims that Gaddafi’s regime secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros overall for the 2007 campaign. Such a sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit... [and] would violate French rules against foreign financing and declaring the source of campaign funds."

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Negotiators think it's a long shot to satisfy Trump on Iran deal

Donald and Melania Trump
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In their meeting last Thursday in Berlin, U.S. and European diplomats tabled drafts for an agreement which will not nix the Iran nuclear deal or renegotiate it but still substantively turn on the pressure on the Iranian regime. A senior European diplomat who participated in the talks told me that the gaps between the U.S. and the three European powers are actually closing.

But, but, but: The French, Germans and the Brits think the chances of finding a formula which will satisfy Trump are very slim. This assessment is shared by both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior figures in Washington like Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker.