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story.lead_photo.caption A Rohingya Muslim woman cries Tuesday outside a police station in Agartala, India, after she and her child were arrested.

61 Rohingya arrested entering India

GAUHATI, India — Police in northeastern India have arrested 61 Rohingya Muslims this week for illegal entry, officials said Tuesday.

In Assam state, police said they arrested 30 Rohingya, including 12 children, who were found traveling on a bus Monday night to Gauhati, the state capital.

In neighboring Tripura state, police said they arrested 31 Rohingya on Tuesday after they spent two days in the open in a no man’s land along the border with Bangladesh. The Rohingya had been stranded there after Bangladeshi and Indian border guards refused to let them enter their territories.

More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Burma, chiefly to Bangladesh, since August 2017 to escape army-led violence against them. An estimated 40,000 Rohingya fled to India, which says it has evidence that some of them are violent extremists.

Officials with United Nations agencies in the region said more than 1,300 of the Rohingya in India, fearing deportation to Burma, have crossed into Bangladesh in recent weeks.

Syrians, Emiratis reviving trade talks

BEIRUT — The United Arab Emirates hosted a Syrian trade delegation led by a businessman and lawmaker who has been on the U.S. Treasury sanctions list since the country’s civil war started in 2011, UAE state media reported Tuesday.

The high-profile meeting comes weeks after the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus for the first time in seven years — a break with its U.S. ally, which shuns restoring ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Bahrain’s embassy followed suit the next day.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that it had appointed a diplomat to serve as deputy charge d’affaires at its embassy in Damascus. Jordan reopened its border with Syria to trade in October, after years shuttered by war.

The UAE’s state-run Emirates News Agency said the private sector forum launched Sunday in Abu Dhabi was meant to “enhance” commercial ties between Emirati and Syrian businessmen.

The news agency said Mohammed Hamsho led the Syrian delegation. Hamsho is on the sanctions list for supporting Assad and his brother, Maher Assad, whom Washington accuses of playing a leading role in human-rights abuses in the war.

Emirati and U.S. officials didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

Afghan enemy fire kills U.S. soldier

KABUL, Afghanistan — A U.S. service member was killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan on Tuesday in the second U.S. combat death there so far this year.

A brief statement by the U.S.-led military mission in Afghanistan said the incident was under investigation and provided no further details.

While it is unclear where the service member died, fighting has continued across the country. Taliban militants, U.S. Special Operations troops and Afghan forces have been vying for territory as negotiations resume to end the 17-year war.

Hours after an attack Monday that killed a still-unknown number of Afghans at an intelligence base in Wardak province, a Taliban statement said the militants had resumed discussions with U.S. diplomats in Qatar.

“Following American acceptance of the agenda of ending invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today in Doha,” a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

The State Department had no comment.

Washington and Kabul are behind the efforts, which are helmed by U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. So far, Taliban leaders have refused to talk to Afghan officials.

There are roughly 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In 2018, 13 U.S. service members were killed in combat there, up from 11 in 2017.

Russia, Japan in talks over islands

MOSCOW — The leaders of Russia and Japan acknowledged Tuesday that settling a decades-long territorial dispute poses a daunting challenge but vowed to continue negotiations.

The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands during the final days of World War II. Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, and the dispute has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for several hours of talks in the Kremlin that they need to negotiate a solution to the dispute that would receive public support.

“Delicate work is needed to create conditions for reaching a mutually acceptable solution,” Putin said. “A settlement that negotiators would propose must be acceptable to the people of Russia and Japan and supported by the public.”

“It’s not easy to solve a problem left unsolved for more than 70 years after the war ended, but we must do that,” Abe said.

Abe has held dozens of meetings with Putin in recent years in a bid to solve the dispute, and they agreed in November to accelerate negotiations based on a 1956 Soviet proposal to return two of the islands to Japan.

A Section on 01/23/2019

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