• Syria, spying in focus at global security meet

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    BERLIN: Global leaders from politics, defense and diplomacy meet in Germany from Friday to discuss conflict hotspots and looming threats, from Syria and Afghanistan to East Asia and Africa.

    Some 20 heads of state and government, 50 foreign and defense ministers, 10 chiefs of world bodies as well as top military brass will gather for the Munich Security Conference (MSC).

    A tight police cordon will secure the three-day event, where United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, the United States (US) secretaries of state and defense and the Russian and Iranian foreign ministers are on the high-powered guest list.

    The annual meetings, launched 50 years ago at the height of the Cold War, have typically focused on US and European—notably North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s—efforts to tackle the world’s trouble spots.

    This year’s meeting comes as transatlantic ties, already seen as waning as the US looks more to the Asia-Pacific, have been dealt another blow by revelations of sweeping surveillance by Washington of its allies.

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