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Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliye after making statements before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Azerbaijan envoy defends country’s rights record after presidential visit

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The Obama administration’s decision to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of last month’s nuclear summit has sparked a debate over the country human rights record and the decision to welcome an authoritarian leader who has drawn heat from critics — including the U.S. State Department — for his record back home.

Pakistan and India face tension after an attack earlier this month on an Indian military base in Indian Kashmir that left many soldiers dead. (Associated Press)

Pakistan says India risks ‘self-destructive war’ by escalating Kashmir tensions

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The top Pakistani official in the volatile dispute over Kashmir warned in an interview that India is dangerously escalating a war of words over the divided territory between the two nuclear-armed powers, vehemently denying that Islamabad was behind a recent attack that killed 18 soldiers at an Indian military base there.

Rep. Michael T. McCaul of the House Committee on Homeland Security said President Obama's policies have failed to dent the Islamic State. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Michael McCaul blasts ‘willfully blind’ Obama for enabling Islamic State ‘terror surge’

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The Obama administration oversaw the 2011 takedown of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden but has since failed to confront honestly the more dangerous rise of the Islamic State, according to the Republican head of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who worries that the president’s “tone-deaf” posture toward Islamist terrorism has damaged the intelligence community’s own assessment of the new group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting with governors in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, Turkey's education ministry says 11,285 of its personnel have been suspended amid suspicions they may be linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdish rebels. (Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

Turkish leader calls for U.S.-Turkey ‘joint operation’ in Syria

- The Washington Times

EXCLUSIVE: A key political ally of Turkey’s president says defeating the Islamic State in Syria will require U.S. troops joining Turkish military forces on the ground inside the war-torn nation — a move that would require a significant shift in the Obama administration’s current policy.

With a total annual budget of roughly $730 million for the government's international media operations, the U.S. is "spending a small fraction of what our adversaries are spending," said Jeff Shell, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. (Associated Press)

Russian, Chinese propaganda muffling U.S. government’s message to world

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The U.S. government’s international media operations grossly lack funding to counter effectively the rising global blitz of state-sponsored propaganda from Russia, China and other rivals, says the head of the federal board that oversees such Washington-financed outlets as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America.

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