Britain will need months of preparation before Brexit talks can start, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday, chiding the government in London for not preparing better for the possibility of a 'Leave' vote. Juncker, who also confirmed Britain would lose unrestricted access to the internal European Union market if it did not accept free movement of workers, said his preference would have been for Brexit talks to start as soon as possible. The British government needs several months to fine-tune its position," Juncker told France 2 television.
By Michael Martina and Manuel Mogato VIENTIANE (Reuters) - Southeast Asian nations overcame days of deadlock on Monday when the Philippines dropped a request for their joint statement to mention a landmark legal ruling on the South China Sea, officials said, after objections from Cambodia. China publicly thanked Cambodia for supporting its stance on maritime disputes, a position which threw the regional block's weekend meeting in the Laos capital of Vientiane into disarray. Competing claims with China in the vital shipping lane are among the most contentious issues for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with its 10 members pulled between their desire to assert their sovereignty while finding common ground and fostering ties with Beijing.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan soared to a record high in the first half of 2016, the UN said on Monday, with children in particular paying a heavy price as insurgents step up fighting and insecurity grows. The UN report, which comes two days after the deadliest attack in Kabul since 2001, cited ground combat between militants and NATO-backed Afghan forces as the leading cause of casualties. Between January and June, 1,601 civilians were killed and 3,565 were wounded -- a four percent increase in casualties compared to the same period last year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.