It was September 6, 2018. The two Saudi sisters were on a family vacation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For weeks, they had helped their mother organize the trip, feigning

excitement at the possibility of two weeks away from Riyadh, but knowing that if all went to plan, they’d never go back.

  Failure was not an option. Every step of their escape from Saudi Arabia carried the threat of severe punishment or death.

  ”We knew the first time, if it’s not perfect, it will be the last time,” Reem says.

  CNN has changed the sisters’ names and is not showing their faces, at their request for their safety.

  The sisters say years of strict Islamic teaching and physical abuse at home had convinced them that they had no future in a socie

ty that places women under the enforced guardianship of men, and limits their aspirations.

  ”It’s slavery, because whatever the woman will do it’s the business of the male,” Rawan says.

  That’s why they say they renounced Islam.

  And that’s why aged 18 and 20, they stole back their own passports, hid their abayas under the b

edcovers, snuck out of their holiday home and boarded a flight from Colombo to Melbourne, via Hong Kong.

  The Hong Kong stopover was supposed to take less than two hours.

  Two hours has turned into five months.

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  Reem pre-booked the taxi. It was Rawan’s job to retrieve their passports from a bag stored in their parents’ bedroom. Around 2 a.m

., she tip-toed past them as they slept, took the bag with their passports, then snuck back in again to return the bag so as not to raise suspicion.

  ”It’s a really great memory, exciting,” Rawan tells CNN, smiling. Of the two sisters, she‘s the more talkative, taking the lead and occasi

onally looking to her sister for advice on the right word in English. Reem is more reserved. She’s careful about what she says and who to tr

ust. They both have dark, short, curly hair and being small in stature seem much younger than their years.

  When the cab driver arrived at 5 a.m., the sisters say they did something they’d never do

ne before. They pulled on jeans they’d bought in secret and walked out of the house without their abayas.

  It was only after they arrived at Colombo Airport that the sisters booked the flight they’d

meticulously researched online: SriLankan Airlines flight UL892 departing Colombo at 9 a.m., arriving Hong Kong a

t 5:10 p.m. local time. From there, they’d take Cathay Pacific flight CX135 departing at 7:10 p.m. for Melbourne, Australia.

  They had no trouble boarding the plane for the roughly six-hour flight to Hong Kong.

  It was after they arrived in at Hong Kong International Airport that things started to go wrong.

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  ”We must have faith,” Juventus coach Max Allegri told BT Sport.

  ”We’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilled milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Mad

rid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

  ”We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappoint

ment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

  In the night’s other game, 10-man Manchester City came from behind to win 3-2 at German side Schalke.

  Nabil Bentaleb scored two first-half penalties to cancel out Sergio Aguero’s opener and ensure Schalke led 2-1 at the interval.

  City hit back in the second half, recovering from losing Nicolas Otamendi to a re

d card before goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling secured victory.

  Pep Guardiola’s team had looked in control before the game was turned on its head by VAR.

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  ed to comment on his relationship with the President or talk about the photograph said to be in th

e possession of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He would not disclose his location, although CNN w

as able to confirm he was in the Moscow area as recently as this month. Asked whether he had been approached by t

he committee and whether he was aware of its interest, Geovanis told CNN he had “no comment.”

  A spokeswoman for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Republican chairman, North Ca

rolina Sen. Richard Burr, declined to comment on whether Geovanis was of interest to it. A spo

keswoman for the committee’s Democratic Vice Chair, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, also declined to comment.

  It’s not known whether Geovanis is also of interest to the invest

igation into alleged Russian election meddling by special counsel Robert Mueller.

  The President’s legal team declined to comment on his relationship to Geovanis. A lawyer for the Trump Organization also declined to comment.

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Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna announce their resignation from the La

bour Party at a press conference on February 18, 2019 in London, England.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday after Ryan’s resignation from the

party, Labour MP Chris Williamson said that he had never known Labour to be “more united

” than it was now, adding it was “regrettable that a minority of MPs” were out of step with the popular mood in the country.

Though many within the party have publicly moved to criticize Ryan’s decision

, her departure will likely fuel concerns that further resignations could follow in the weeks ahead.
In a state

ment after the initial resignations Monday, Corbyn sai

d he was “disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for th

e Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”

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mainly on the issue of past abductions of Japanese nationals, and over Pyongyang conduc

ting nuclear and missiles tests which have Japan within their range. Whenever tensions soared on the Korean P

eninsula, Japan took a hard-line stance toward North Korea and proposed to enhance sanctions.

If Washington-Pyongyang ties improve, Tokyo may rethink its policy toward North Korea, participate in

efforts with other East Asian countries to push for peace on the Peninsula and ease geopolitical strains.

After the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Tokyo has been marginalized over the Korean Peninsula.

Furthermore, on the abductions issue and North Korea’s nuclear issue, Japan’s right to speak is waning.

If the US’ basic request on North Korea is met, Japan may seek to normalize relations w

ith North Korea. Furthermore, Tokyo may help Pyongyang’s economy later by offering fin

ancial aid and investment. With these moves, Japan may intend to increase its influence on the Peninsula.

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relationship between the US and Central and Eastern Europe. The US will also launch a Future Leaders Ex

change Program, providing one-year academic scholarships for Hungarian high school students to study in the US.

There are many aspects to US strategic return to Central and Eastern Europe. First, the US can

enhance energy cooperation with the region. The regional countries would prefer not to become overly dependent on Russia.

The US has already voiced strong opposition to the energy cooperation between Germany and Russia via the Nord Stream 2 project.

Given that the US is set to become a net energy exporting country in 2020, it could become a major source of energy for Central and Eastern European countries.

Second, the US will strengthen political cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries.

The region has undertaken multifaceted diplomacy, hoping to win more policy initiatives in tod

ay’s volatile geopolitical dynamic. As they receive less political and economic promises from the EU, they are turning to e

xternal powers such as China and Russia. The US wants to get back in as quickly as possible to make up for its absence.

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countries, who claim their nations represent public interest, globalism is becoming a tool in the fight between capitalist forces an

d national will. As a result, state power is eroded by capital, leading to alienation and political strains in some countries.

It is believed that some countries cannot bear the negative effects of globalization. The main reason for t

his is that capital is equipped with increasingly powerful characteristics that weaken nations’ capa

bility to control their capital and eliminates sovereign states’ ability to embody the will of the people.

The hit on state power by capital not only leads to financial chaos, triggering financial and economic crise

s, but can also generate social and political woes. Western countries’ easing financial regulations resulted in the 2008 financial c

risis. In recent years, developed countries are experiencing increasing economic and political challenges, which a

ctually are extensions of the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them are yet to be addressed.

Economic liberalization faces challenges in the developed and developing world.

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al affairs in Southeast Asia. Although Duterte’s strategies differ in some ways fro

m those of his predecessors, the US still has strong influence on the Philippines. It is understandable that M

anila may worry that the takeover of strategic facilities by Chinese companies could affect its relationship with the US. So

me US politicians may also use the South China Sea issue to instigate reckless moves against Chinese investment.

Politicizing investment is a pervasive problem faced by China as the country pushes forward the BRI. China and the Philippines need to make join

t efforts to resolve the issue. China should back the establishment of mechanisms such as the South China Sea Code of Conduct to sa

feguard the interests of all parties and build the foundation for win-win cooperation. As for the Philippines, the c

ountry needs to rid itself of US influence with a new understanding of the Chinese investment. We hope the Philippines can p

rovide fair treatment to Chinese enterprises and abandon its old idea that it has to take sides between China and the US.

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litical and diplomatic means alone cannot support Japan’s global ambitions. A military presence at the global level is needed if Japan is to expand its political clout.

Compared with old European powers like the UK and France, Japan’s military influence in Europe is jerkwater. But it is different after Japan signed military pa

cts with these countries – Japan’s political influence is increasing because of the support of military powers.

With the influence of the UK and France declining in the Asia-Pacific region, their military activities can get

the support from Japan via the ACSA, which will immensely boost Japan’s military clout. These European countries will not look at Ja

pan through the military lens, which will effectively strengthen Japan’s political might.

Meanwhile, exchange of military provisions will help enhance people-to-people exchanges between Japan and these countries, ex

erting Japan‘s cultural influence in these countries and beyond. Even if Japan fails to become a permanent member of the UN Security Co

uncil, it can still play a major role in the world. This has been part of the global strategies of the Abe administration.

We can see that Japan signing ACSAs with six countries is not just for defense and military purposes, it’s part of an overall plan to influence economics, po

litics, military and culture, which is a long-term strategic mind-set of the Japanese government.

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