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Maldives' state of emergency extended 30 days

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The parliament of the Maldives has extended a 15-day state of emergency — originally set to expire on Tuesday — by 30 days at the request of President Abdulla Yameen, reports Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: The extension follows a second week of mass protests over Yameen's decision to arrest two Supreme Court justices, who drew the president's ire after overturning the convictions of nine of his political enemies. Parliamentary opposition has called the extension "illegal and void" due to a lack of quorum.

“President Yameen failed to muster the required number of votes to pass his emergency legislation. And so Yameen has ratified and extended the Emergency illegally... President Yameen has, in effect, hijacked the entire state and is ruling the Maldives like a military dictator."
— Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

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NYT: Mueller witness tried to influence White House on Gulf states

Interviews and previously undisclosed documents revealed that a witness in Robert Mueller's probe had worked for over a year to convert a Republican fundraiser into a White House influencer to help usher in deals on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times reports.

The backdrop: George Nader, a political adviser of the U.A.E. and Elliott Broidy, the RNC's deputy finance chair, reportedly urged the White House to dismiss Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's support of combative approaches to Iran and Qatar. In another case, Nader promised Broidy over a $1 billion in contracts for his private security company in exchange for deals.

David Philips 7 hours ago
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Russian obstruction on Syria at UN Security Council demands response

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaking during a press conference at the UN Offices in Geneva.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

Russia used a procedural vote on Monday to prevent UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein from presenting on human rights conditions in Syria to the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Why it matters: To date, Russia has vetoed nine resolutions aimed at intensifying pressure on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, moves that not only counter U.S. interests but undermine the international system.