Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Cardboard Trudeau Cut-Outs Banned At Canada’s Diplomatic Missions In US

Justin Trudeau may still be a big draw on the international circuit, but his cardboard stand-ins have fallen flat. Global Affairs has instructed diplomatic missions in the United States to stop using life-size cardboard cut-outs of the prime minister to promote Canada. The order follows the revelation last week that prime ministerial replicas turned up at an event last June organized by the Canadian consulate in Atlanta and earlier this month at a Canadian music festival in Austin, Tex. It’s not clear if the missions ever had departmental permission to use the cardboard cut-outs. According to emails obtained by the Conservatives through the Access to Information Act, the Washington embassy’s interest in using a cardboard likeness was sparked by word that the Atlanta consulate had put one on display at a pre-Canada Day event last year. Asked if Ottawa had given permission, Louise Blais, the Atlanta consul general, advised the embassy that she did ask but “never got an answer.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/03/20/trudeau-cardboard-cutout-banned_n_15494944.html

Newsline: Russian Embassy in Damascus Damaged by Militants

One of the buildings that belong to the Russian Embassy in Damascus was damaged as a result of a Sunday shelling by militants, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said. “We have a building, which we temporarily do not use and it is located close to the epicenter of the yesterday’s armed clashes. As they told me, the blast wave had broken the window glass there. However, nobody is currently living there except for a local keeper,” Kinshchak told reporters. According to Kinshchak, this building was previously used and it was planned to station the consular office there, however, this building is located close to the district controlled by illegal armed groups. “We were forced to temporarily abandon the idea of using this building… all the employees moved to the main building of the embassy,” the ambassador added.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201703201051763845-embassy-damascus-militants/

Newsline: Dying Interest By Media To Camp Outside North Korean Embassy in Malaysia

Scenes of local and foreign pressmen waiting outside the North Korean embassy to catch embassy officials for comments related to the murder of Kim Jong-nam is slowly diminishing. Pressmen feel there is no reason to wait outside the embassy because none of the embassy staff or its spokesman Ri Tong-il had issued any statements or talked to the media since Feb 18.

http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1339775

Newsline: North Korean counselor tells Malaysian media not to take photos

The North Korean Embassy counsellor in Malaysia Kim Yu Song asked the media not to take pictures of him putting bins in front of the embassy. Yu Song, who speaks Malay fluently, said the media should ask permission in advance if they wanted to take pictures of him. “This is not good news. No need to publish them in the newspapers, understand? Don’t … don’t take. ‘If we agree on you taking our pictures, you must ask me, okay?” he told the media in front of the embassy here. Bernama photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain who was on duty when queried by Yu Song explained to him that they were just doing their job. Some local and International media practitioners who gathered in front the embassy did not miss the chance to take pictures of Yu Song together with two men carrying out a sofa to be disposed in front of the premises. The North Korean Embassy located in Bukit Damansara has become the focus of the media since the murder of Kim Jong Nam last month. Kuala Lumpur-Pyongyang relations were strained following the murder of Jong Nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/03/19/dont-take-photos-says-north-korean-counselor-to-media/

Newsline: Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to US released on bail

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya who was held in remand custody for allegedly misappropriating funds allocated for purchasing a building for the Sri Lankan Embassy in USA, was ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate. The suspect was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.50,000 with two sureties of one million rupees by Magistrate Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. He was further barred from leaving the country. The Financial Crimes and Investigations Division (FCID) alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the amount during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington 20008.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/article/1018681/former-sri-lankan-ambassador-jaliya-wickramasuriya-released-on-bail

Newsline: New Zealand asks US embassy diplomat to leave

The US embassy in New Zealand has refused to waive diplomatic immunity for one of its staff members New Zealand police want to question. An incident involving a diplomat from the US embassy was brought to the attention of New Zealand police on Sunday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesman says. MFAT was asked by police on Monday to request a waiver of immunity from the US to enable police to undertake investigations, and did so that day. The US government has on Friday declined to waive the diplomat’s immunity. Therefore, MFAT has asked the US to withdraw the staff member in question from New Zealand. Police were called to an address in Lower Hutt but the man, who works at the embassy in Wellington as a technical attache, had left, apparently nursing a broken nose and a black eye, TVNZ reported. A US government spokesman says as a matter of policy “we do not comment on the specifics of matters under investigation”. “We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US government personnel. ”Any allegations of wrongdoing are always fully investigated.”

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/03/nz-asks-us-embassy-diplomat-to-leave.html

Newsline: UK ambassador summoned in Indonesia over cruise ship crashing into coral reef

Indonesia has summoned the British ambassador in Jakarta after a cruise ship crashed into coral reefs off the coast of Indonesia earlier this month. The Caledonian Sky, a 4,200-tonne cruise ship, was on a voyage organised by a London company when it smashed into the reefs at low tide around Kri, one of hundreds of tiny islands in Raja Ampat, West Papua province. The region attracts many travellers and divers – those on the ship were on a bird-watching expedition – as it is one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on the planet. Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs, summoned British ambassador Moazzam Malik to Jakarta on Friday. “I’m disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua – as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world,” Malik told reporters following a meeting at Pandjaitan’s office. “We hope the matter can be resolved quickly between the Indonesian authorities and the company that is responsible for this accident.” Further damage to the coral reef was caused when numerous attempts to free the ship using a tug boat failed. The ship, carrying 79 crew members and 102 passengers, was later refloated during high tide. “He [the captain] attempted to break free from the reefs and made the damage even worse even though he was ordered to stop,” Pandjaitan said. The Indonesian government has said that the British captain piloting the ship could face criminal charges, while marine researchers have estimated that it could take decades and millions of dollars to restore the coral.

http://sea-globe.com/uk-ambassador-summoned-indonesia-cruise-ship-crashing-coral-reef/