China says discusses with Pakistan ‘new changes’ in Afghanistan…

BEIJING ( ) -,上海龙凤1314 shlfFabiana, Senior Chinese and Pakistani diplomats discussed on Tuesday “new changes” to the situation in Afghanistan, China’s foreign ministry said, amid plans by the United States to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops based in the country.

U.S. officials have told that President Donald Trump has issued verbal orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7,000 U.S. troops. The White House and the Pentagon have not yet commented publicly.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, has been deepening its economic and political ties with Kabul and is using its influence to try to bring the two uneasy nei,上海419龙凤体验Sabia,ghbors closer.

Meeting in Bei上海419论坛jing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood ,爱上海同城对对碰aishFabi,Qureshi had a “deep discussion about new changes to the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus”, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Both sides believe that military means cannot resolve the Afghanistan issue, and promoting political reconciliation is the only realistic way,” the ministry said in its short statement.

“The two sides welcome the various efforts made by all parties and are willing to maintain close communication and strategic coordination.”

There was no direct mention of the planned U.S. troop drawdown.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, speaking at a daily news briefing, reiterated the statement and did not answer a question on whether the meeting was connected to the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Wang visited Kabul earlier this month, where he pledged to help Afghanistan and Pakistan overcome their longstanding suspicions of each other.

China has long worried about the effect of instability in Afghanistan on China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people and where China says it faces a threat from Islamist militants.

Saudi Arabia rejects Iran’s claim it backed parade attack

RIYADH ( ) – Saudi Arabia denied it had ba上海龙凤419cked the gunmen who killed 25 people at a military parade in southwestern Iran over the weekend, almost half of them Revolutionary Guards, the Saudi state news agency reported on Tuesday.

“Saudi Arabia rejects and condemns the false accusations that Iranian officials have made about Saudi Arabia supporting the events that took place in Iran last Saturday,” SPA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that the attackers were paid by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and pledged that the Islamic Republic would “severely punish” those behind the assault.

The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards also accused the Unit,爱上海Abraham,ed States and Israel of involvement and said they should expect a devastating response.

Arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, both oil super-powers, are waging a war for influence across the Middle East, backing opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

On Saturday, gunmen fired on a viewing stand in Ahvaz where officials had gathered to watch an annual parade marking the start of Iran’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.

Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian,上海贵族宝贝论坛Barry, ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, and Islamic State have both claimed responsibility, without giving evidence.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday dismissed Tehran’s threats, and a senior UAE official had previously denied the accusations.

Separately, the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars posted a video on Tuesday threatening that Iran might carry out missile strikes on Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The original footage showed Jerusalem and the Saudi capital Riyadh as being targeted, but Fars soon deleted that video and posted a new version with the cities’ names not shown.

Exclusive: U.S. delays deadline for finalizing Obamacare health plans

WASHINGTON ( ) – The Obama administration has delayed a step cruc上海419论坛ial to the launch of the new healthcare law, the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on federal health insurance exchanges starting October 1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Servic,上海贵族宝贝论坛Adam,es (HHS) notified insurance companies on Tuesday that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9, as originally anticipated, but would wait until mid-September instead, according to insurance industry sources.

Nevertheless, Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department remains “on track to open” the marketplaces on time on October 1.

The reason for the hold-up was unclear. Sources attributed it to technology problems involving the display of insurance products within the federal information technology system.

Peters said only that the government was responding to “feedback” from the companies, “providing additional flexibility and time to handle technical requests.”

Coming at a time when state and federal officials are still working to overcome challenges to the information technology systems necessary to make the exchanges work, some experts say that even a small delay could jeopardize the start of the six-month open enrollment period.

U.S. officials have said ,上海千花网Leeza,repeatedly that the marketplaces, which are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, would begin on time.

But the October 1 deadline has already begun to falter at the state level, with Oregon announcing plans to scale back the launch of its own marketplace and California saying it would consider a similar move.

Tuesday’s notification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS agency spearheading marketplace development, affects insurance plans that would be sold in federal exchanges that the administration is setting up in 34 of the 50 U.S. states. The remaining 16 states, including Oregon and California, are setting up their own marketplaces.

“It makes me wonder if open enrollment can start on October 1,” said a former administration official who worked to implement Obama’s healthcare reform.

“But having everything ready on October 1 is not a critical issue. What matters to people is January 1, which is when the coverage is supposed to start. If that were delayed, it would be a substantive setback.”

Obama’s Patient Protection and Afford,上海419论坛Jaden,able Care Act is expected to extend federally subsidized health coverage to an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans in 2014 through the marketplaces.

But insurance plans must be qualified to meet specific standards if they are to be sold on the exchanges. And each insurer must sign a contract with the federal government.

The new timetable for qualified plan agreements is the latest in a series of delays for Obamacare.

The most significant came in early July when the White House and the Treasury Department announced a one-year delay in a major Obamacare provision that would have required employers with at least 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014.

Legal and political opposition from Republicans and their conservative allies have already fragmented Obamacare’s original vision.

Only about half the states have opted to expand Medicaid program for the poor to uninsured families living below the poverty level, and Republicans in Congress have denied nearly $1 billion in new implementation funding this year alone.

The Government Accountability Office cautioned in June that the law known as Obamacare could miss the October 1 enrollment deadline because of missed deadlines and delays in several areas including the certification of health plans for sale on the exchanges.

Another U.S. watchdog, the HHS Office of the Inspector General, warned earlier this month that the government was months behind testing data security for the federal data hub that represents the information technology backbone of the new marketplaces.

The state of Oregon has already scaled back the October 1 debut of its own healthcare exchange by preventing state residents from signing up for coverage on their own until mid-October. California said last week that it, too, would consider a soft launch of its exchange if tests show it is not ready to accommodate wide public access.

(This story was refiled to remove ext,上海龙凤419Raven,raneous words in tenth paragraph)