Germany's Von der Leyen Confirmed as Next EU Commission President

The European Parliament has confirmed model centrist liberal politician Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the EU Commission, narrowly exceeding the 374 votes she needed to take one of the bloc’s top jobs.

Von der Leyen, a former German Defense Minister who came to politics after a career in medicine, was confirmed by a vote of 383 to 327, speaker of the assembly David Sassoli said on Tuesday. Sassioli also said there were 22 abstentions and one blank vote, according to RT.

Hawks around Trump won’t Succeed in Selling War, Says Zarif

While warning against a potential military attack targeting Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the warlike officials around US President Donald Trump will not succeed in enabling such a course of action against the Islamic Republic, according to Press T.V.

 “People know that Iran is a big, proud country…We will not take a military attack lightly," Zarif told NBC News on Monday.

He, however, observed that he did not think that Trump was seeking such one either, instead pointing the finger for such malign intentions to “people are around him (Trump) who wouldn't mind."

"But I don't think they'll succeed because at the end of the day, I think prudence will prevail,” the top diplomat stated.

Russia Supports Urgent Crisis Withdrawal by Sides in Venezuela, Says Lavrov

MOSCOW - Russia welcomes consultations between Venezuela’s government and the opposition and wants the sides to withdraw from the crisis as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference after negotiations with Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith.

"Of course, we discussed Venezuela. We want Venezuela’s government and the opposition to agree on the withdrawal from the current crisis as soon as possible," the diplomat said. "We welcome the negotiations that are taking place under the so-called Oslo process."

In May, at least two rounds of indirect negotiations between Venezuela’s authorities and the opposition, organized with the Norwegian authorities’ intermediacy, were held in Oslo. On July 8, a new stage of dialogue was launched in Barbados. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stated that the negotiations were tight; not ruling out that the consultations may culminate in agreements.

Umakhanov, Haddad Discuss Situation in Syria, Counterterrorism Developments

MOSCOW, (ST)- Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov and the Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad have discussed the situation in Syria and developments of  counterterrorism process.

The two sides stressed the need to completely uproot terrorism from Syria, reiterating that solving the crisis will only be done by the Syrians themselves pursuant to the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi as well as the Astana talks and the Security Council resolution No. 2254.

Russia, India Agree to Ink Arms Deals in Own Currencies to Skirt US Sanctions

Russia and India have already signed several arms contracts worth the equivalent of billions of dollars using rubles and rupees, and have sought other ways to increase trade in national currencies amid concerns in Delhi that Washington could slap sanctions on India for buying Russian-made defence equipment.

Russia and India have devised a new mechanism which will allow payments for multi-billion dollar deference deals to be made using their own national currencies, Bloomberg has reported, citing a Russian source and two Indian sources said to be familiar with the matter.

According to the business newspaper, settlements in rubles and rupees are designed specifically to allow Moscow and Delhi to skirt the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a 2017 US legislative measure designed to slap severe restrictions on Russia's ability to sell arms abroad.

Hammond Pledges to Fight a No-Deal Brexit from outside Government

British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Monday he would not stay in his job when the country’s next prime minister takes over next week, and he would do everything he could to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Hammond told CNBC television he did not want to make life difficult for either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, the two contenders to replace Theresa May as prime minister on July 24.

But he made it clear he would work to block any attempt to take the country out of the European Union without a transition deal to soften the economic shock.

“If the new government tries to drive the UK over a cliff edge called no-deal Brexit, I will do everything I can to stop that happening,” he said.

China hosting Afrian miliary leaders for week-long security forum in Beijing

Beijing is hosting African military leaders for a week-long summit aimed at strengthening China-Africa military relations, with discussions expected to mainly focus on peace and security across the continent.

The Defense Ministry kicked off China-Africa Peace and Security Forum on Sunday with the presence of African defense ministers and military chiefs in Beijing.

High-ranking military attaches and army representatives from virtually all African countries are attending the event, Press TV reported.

“The main point of the forum will be more technical and specialized exchanges,” said Wang Hongyi, a researcher from the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Iran Denies US Talks

TEHRAN– Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed rumors about mediation by some countries for launch of Iran-US talks, saying there are no negotiations between Tehran and Washington.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi denied reports that the US has asked Russia to pass on a message calling for negotiations with Iran at the level of foreign ministers.

 “The Islamic Republic of Iran is not involved in any negotiations with the American officials at any level,” the spokesman underlined, according to Tasnim News Agency.