De-escalation in South of Syria Meets Both Russian and US Interests: Bogdanov

MOSCOW- Continued efforts to consolidate cessation of hostilities in south of Syria and throughout the rest of the country meet the interests of Russia as well as the U.S., Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is the Russian President's special envoy for the Middle East and North Africa told TASS on Monday answering a question on whether the U.S. anti-Russian sanctions would affect agreements on the de-escalation zone in southern Syria.

Over 8 Million Vote in Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly Election

Voter turnout for Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly was over 41 percent, the National Electoral Council in Venezuela announced.

The president of the National Electoral Council Tibisay Lucena has announced that turnout in Venezuela's historic National Constituent Assembly was over 41 percent, indicating that over 8 million people voted in the elections.

"Peace has won. If peace has won, Venezuela has won," she said at a televised press conference. "Despite the violence and threats, Venezuelans were able to express themselves."

Lucena said the CNE had to relocate some voting centers to avoid violence, and that on Tuesday the Indigenous communities will choose its eight remaining representatives, Telesur reported.

Putin: 755 US Diplomats to Depart Russia, Time to Show We Won’t Leave anything Unanswered

MOSCOW- More than 750 American diplomats will have to leave Russia as a result of Washington's own policies, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an exclusive interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel.

"The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn't been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia," Putin told channel host, Vladimir Solovyov, Sunday.

Anti-Russia Sanctions: Moscow Has a Lot to Respond With to the US 'Colt Culture'

Commenting on the new set of US punitive measures against Russia, which is waiting to be approved by President Trump, Russian political analyst Alexei Fenenko explained to Sputnik Radio in what particular spheres Moscow's response could be the most sensitive.

On Thursday, the US Senate approved a bill that would impose sweeping sanctions on Russia and seeks, in particular, to target companies that invest in Russian energy projects. The bill now has to be either signed or vetoed by US President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, the legislation was approved by the House of Representatives. The chamber voted to attach Iran and Russia to a bill that originally targeted North Korea, which is what the Senate had requested. The bill passed by the Senate retains the stipulation that any attempt by the White House to lift or relax sanctions must go through the US Congress.

Russia and US Must ‘Start Anew or Everything Will be in Tatters’ – Ryabkov

Moscow is calling on Washington to revise its policy and break “the vicious circle of retaliation,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated.

The deputy minister’s interview to ABC came out after Moscow decided to reduce the number of US diplomatic staff in Russia and suspend the use of embassy storage facilities, according to RT.

China’s Xi Calls for More Cooperation among BRICS States

President Xi Jinping said the BRICS nations were faced with a “complex international political and economic security situation” and communication on financial cooperation, cultural exchanges and security issues would help strengthen the ties.

According to the Hindustan Times,the Chinese president on Friday called for more cooperation among the BRICS countries on economics, finance and security at a meeting of security heads of the five-nation grouping, including India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval, in the backdrop of a military standoff on the Sino-India border.

Venezuela’s Maduro Invites Opposition to Reconciliation Talks

CARACAS- Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday proposed reconciliation talks to the opposition after it vowed to go ahead with a protest against this weekend's legislative vote.

"I propose to Venezuela’s political opposition to abandon its path of insurrection, return to the constitution and set up in the hours before the election for the national constituent assembly a table for dialogue, national agreement and reconciliation," Maduro said in a televised speech, according to Sputnik.

US Treasury Slaps Sanctions on Iranian Companies after Rocket Test

The US Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on Iran over what it called Tehran's "continued provocative actions," including Thursday's successful test of a satellite-launch rocket.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control slapped the sanctions on Friday on six Iranian companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the Treasury said in a statement, according to Press TV.

The Treasury Department called Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group "central" to Iran's ballistic missiles program, which Tehran says is defensive.