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- For the first time in 27 years, a Saudi Arabian budget-carrier Flynas has launched a direct flight between Riyadh and Baghdad in what’s being perceived as an attempt to curb Iranian influence. Riyadh and Tehran have been in a proxy-conflict since 2011. There have not been commercial flights between the two countries since the 1991 Gulf War.
- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will “shred” the nuclear deal with the U.S. if Washington withdraw its support. Khamenei spoke five days after President Donald J.Trump refused to certify the deal, putting Washington at odds with other parties who signed.
- A court in Hawaii blocked the latest version of Trump’s travel ban. The third version of the ban, which prevents travel from several Muslim-majority countries, as well as government officials from Venezuela, was announced last month. The court said that a complaint from the state of Hawaii was likely to demonstrate that the ban violates federal law. The White House said that the judgement was “dangerously flawed”.
- An electoral commission official has fled Kenya, telling the BBC that intimidation against officials would make a “mockery” of next week’s presidential election rerun. Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified elections held in early August, saying that the poll was unreliable. Opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew his candidacy last week, saying that the rerun would not be fair.
- President Xi Jinping opened the Chinese Communist Party’s congress with a three-and-a-half hour speech in which he pledged to build a “modern socialist country”, reportedly using the phrase “new era” 36 times. He also warned against separatism and promised to lower barriers for foreign investors. The congress takes place every five years.
- A bipartisan deal struck between two senators that may solve an impasse over healthcare is in doubt after Trump said that “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.” The deal, between senators Lamar Alexander (R) and Patty Murray (D), maintains federal assistance for insurers for a limited period while states adjust their approach to healthcare.
What we’re reading
- The annual Man Booker prize for literature was awarded to George Saunders for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo, based on Abraham Lincoln’s mourning upon the death of his third son, William, in 1863.