Putin Sets Task to Reach Leading Positions for Russia in Development of High Technologies

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is confident that Russia should achieve leading positions in the development of high technologies, guaranteeing the country's sovereignty.

"The global competition for possessing high technologies has already unfolded, and our goal is not to waste time, do everything to become one of the leaders, to guarantee Russia’s technological sovereignty, a worthy place among the leading players in promising, new markets," he said at the ceremony of exchanging documents concluded between the Russian government and large companies.

Putin thanked the government and large companies with state participation for the signed agreements on the development of key high-tech areas. According to him, "these areas determine the future economy not only for Russia, but also for global economy." We expect to see leadership from our largest companies - in terms of technology, personnel, finance," the president noted. He referred to global experience, which "shows that up to 80% of successful research and development is provided by the corporate sector."

Astana Meeting on Syria to Be Held in Early August: Bogdanov

MOSCOW-  The high-level Astana talks meeting on Syria will be held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in the beginning of August, followed by a summit in Turkey, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters on Wednesday, according to Itar Tass.

"The very beginning of August will see a regular Astana talks international meeting on Syria held in Nur-Sultan. We have some new developments, namely representatives of Lebanon and Iraq will take part for the first time as observers, in the same status as Jordan," he said answering a TASS question. "This is a new and important element. The Astana talks summit in Turkey will be held after the Nur-Sultan meeting."

"We need specific agreements to consolidate them at the highest political level during the summit," Bogdanov specified, Tass said.

British Ambassador to Washington Quits after Spat over Leaked Memos

LONDON - Britain’s ambassador to Washington quit on Wednesday after days of stinging criticism from Donald Trump, leading to accusations that Boris Johnson, the favorite to be the next British prime minister, had “thrown him under the bus”, Reuters reported.

Memos from Kim Darroch in which he described the Trump administration as inept were leaked to a British Sunday newspaper, infuriating the U.S. president, who launched a Twitter attack on both the envoy and outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had given Darroch her full support.

As the spat between the two close allies intensified, Trump said he would no longer deal with the “very stupid” Darroch and called May “foolish”, according to Reuters.

HRW: US-Led Coalition Should Address Harm to Civilians during Operations in Syria

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon the US-led coalition, purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, to address the harm to civilians during its alleged military operations Syria, according to Press TV.

The New York-based rights organization reported on Tuesday that the alliance has not thoroughly investigated the attacks that killed civilians or created a program for compensation, or other assistance to civilians who suffered harm from its operations.

It cited field investigations into 4 unlawful coalition airstrikes in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province from 2017 and 2018, where no compensation or condolence payments were made to the victims. The aerial raids reportedly killed 63 civilians and damaged and destroyed property.

UK seizure of Iranian tanker not to be left unanswered: senior cmdr.

TEHRAN– The illegal move of the United Kingdom in seizing an Iran-operated supertanker will not be left unanswered, warned Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces.

“The UK’s action was in retaliation of the Iranian Armed Forces’ brave move to down the enemy's intruding drone. The UK’s move will not be left without response; if necessary, Iran will give a proper response to the act at an appropriate time and place,” he said on Tuesday in a local event in Tehran, Mehr News reported.