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UN and partners urge feuding Somalia leaders to reduce tensions

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The United Nations and other countries are in talks with the Somalian prime minister and president to urge them to reduce tensions in their political feud that has fed fears of a military clash, officials said on Wednesday.

A Somalia government official said Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble had separately talked with a senior US official on the political situation in Somalia, which is also seen by analysts as distracting the government from fighting an insurgency by the al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab group.

“The United Nations and international partners are in contact with all sides to urge de-escalation,” UN Spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

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The talks involved the global body's partners in Somalia who include the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and others, Gaitanis said.

On Wednesday the group met separately with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and a group of candidates who are aiming to run against him in a presidential election.

“Their goal at both meetings was to encourage Somalia’s leaders to put the country’s interests first and to focus on correcting electoral deficiencies,” Gaitanis said.

Roble spoke with US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Molly Phee about “the political situation in Somalia, security and elections,” Somalia federal government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu said on Twitter.

The president on Monday suspended the prime minister for suspected corruption, a move Roble said was a coup attempt and asked all security forces to take orders from his office.

For a second day on Wednesday, security forces belonging to politicians allied to the prime minister camped in an area near the presidential palace.

Somalia begun holding parliamentary elections on Nov. 1 which were supposed to be completed by Dec. 24 but by Wednesday, only 30 of the 275 representatives have been elected, according to results announced by the election commission.

Mogadishu residents told Reuters although the capital was calm they had noticed a bigger-than-usual presence of security forces belonging to Roble's political allies, but that they had largely kept away from the streets.

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Somalia PM Roble orders security forces to take orders from him, escalating crisis

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US considering moving troops from Western Europe to Eastern Europe: NATO diplomat

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The United States is considering transferring some troops stationed in Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks, a NATO diplomat told Reuters, amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

“This has to do with American troops that are already in Europe,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming a New York Times report that said US President Joe Biden was considering sending US troops to the Baltics and Eastern European allies.

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NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as an escalation of tensions over Ukraine.

The diplomat said the potential troop movements would be gradual and that any filling of NATO gaps on its eastern flank could take place in the coming weeks.

Read more: From Kyiv, top US diplomat warns Russia against Ukraine aggression

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Several wounded in shooting in German city; gunman dead

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A lone gunman wounded several people at a lecture theater in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg on Monday, police said.

Police said in a brief statement that the perpetrator was dead, but didn’t give details of how that happened. They had earlier asked people on Twitter to avoid the Neuenheimer Feld area of Heidelberg, where the city’s university campus is located.

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Police didn’t specify how many people were wounded, or how seriously, and there was no information on their identities or that of the suspected shooter. The university’s press office declined to give any details on the shooting and referred all inquiries to police.

German news agency dpa cited unidentified security sources as saying that the gunman killed himself.

Police said the weapon used in the shooting was a long-barreled firearm.

Heidelberg is located south of Frankfurt and has about 160,000 inhabitants. Its university is one of Germany’s best-known.

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Aramco CEO says oil demand nearing pre-pandemic levels: Report

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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Al Nasser said that the demand for oil is nearing pre-pandemic levels, Asharq Business reported in a tweet on Monday.

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