• Friday, February 27, 2015

World

Ukraine forces 'start weapons pullback'

Ukraine's military yesterday said it was starting the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline, bolstering a stuttering peace plan as the United States and Russia traded barbs over the conflict. The announcement of the pull-back -- a key part of a peace deal negotiated this month -- comes after a shaky truce that was meant to come into force February 15 finally took hold across the conflict zone in recent days. "Ukraine is today (Thursday) beginning the withdrawal of 100mm...

Israel PM 'not correct' on Iran nuke issue

Israel PM 'not correct' on Iran nuke issue

US officials on Wednesday questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judgment and said his outspoken condemnation of efforts to secure an Iranian nuclear deal had injected destructive partisanship into US-Israeli relations. Netanyahu has criticised the US and others for "giving up" on trying to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. The Israeli PM "may not be...

'Putin planned to annex Ukraine'

'Putin planned to annex Ukraine'

Moscow has been planning to annex parts of Ukraine for more than 12 months, according to sensational claims made in a Russian newspaper. Vladimir Putin's office reportedly compiled a detailed roadmap of how a "pro-Russian drift" could allow it to seize Crimea and some eastern provinces, just a few weeks prior to the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych and the start of the Ukrainian crisis. According to a document allegedly leaked to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Russia had identified Yanukovych as “politically bankrupt”, and outlined a plan by which a “coup” would set in motion events ultimately leading to Russian expansion. The extraordinary claims made by the newspaper, which is one of...

Radicalised Islam: Europe scrambles to neutralise threat

Austria's parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning foreign sources of financing to Muslim organisations and requiring imams to be able to speak German, in a move closely watched by other European nations facing growing problems with radical Islam. The new law aims to promote what conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz calls an "Islam of European character" by muting the influence of foreign Muslim nations, organisations and funding at a time when concerns are rising about the spread of extremist...

Massive black hole challenges universe theories

Massive black hole challenges universe theories

Astronomers said Wednesday they had detected an "impossibly large" and ancient black hole that challenges theories about how these phenomena grew in the early Universe. With a mass 12 billion times that of our Sun, the black hole formed about 900 million years after the Big Bang that created the Universe 13.7 billion years...

US wraps up Ebola mission in Liberia

The United States yesterday staged a military ceremony to end its five-month Ebola mission in Liberia, with the west African nation in recovery from the worst-ever outbreak of the virus. A force that at one point reached 2,800 has been gradually scaled back since the epidemic began to recede, and the Pentagon has announced that "nearly all" troops will be gone by the end of April. "The importance of the progress we see today means more than just the reduction in...

Mortar fires on Somali presidential compound kill 1

Insurgents in Somalia's capital yesterday fired a barrage of mortar rounds targeting the highly fortified presidential palace and main government compound, killing a guard, security officials said. There was no claim of any responsibility for the explosions, but the al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels have staged a string of attacks in their fight to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government. Last week two Shebab suicide bombers killed at least 25 people when they attacked major hotel close to the presidential palace and popular with...

Afghan Avalanches

Death toll soars past 200

Death toll soars past 200

More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall around Afghanistan, officials said yesterday, warning the death toll could rise still further. The bulk of the deaths came in Panjshir province, north of Kabul, where at least 168 people were killed, acting provincial governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri...

Blast targets Afghan Nato team; 2 killed

A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a vehicle belonging to Nato's top envoy in Afghanistan, killing Turkish soldier and a passerby, Turkish officials said. The explosion struck in the heart of the heavily fortified capital Kabul, close to the German, Iranian and Turkish embassies, rattling windows and putting embassy staff on high alert. The Nato Senior Civilian Representative and former Turkish ambassador to Afghanistan could not immediately be reached by phone. Details on his location at the...

Rss's Mother Teresa Remarks

Row disrupts India parliament

Row disrupts India parliament

India's upper house of parliament was briefly adjourned yesterday after opposition members denounced comments by the leader of a Hindu group who said Roman Catholic missionary Mother Teresa had tried to convert people to Christianity. Religious conversion has become a highly emotive issue in India recently, with debate whipped up by some supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who see multi-faith Indian as a Hindu-first nation. Members of the upper house criticized Mohan Bhagwat, head of the country's most powerful Hindu organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who recently said Mother Teresa helped the poor to make them "obligated so that they become Christian". Political opponents of Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya...

Expanding Khmer Rouge trials could spark war: PM

Expanding Khmer Rouge trials could spark war: PM

Cambodia's strongman Prime Minister yesterday warned that prosecuting more Khmer Rouge suspects in the country's UN-backed genocide court could ignite a civil war. Hun Sen, himself a former low-level commander in the brutal communist regime, said the prosecution of officials "almost goes too far" and could start a new conflict in his country. The Khmer...

Adultery no longer a crime in South Korea

South Korea's top court has ruled that adultery is no longer a crime, revoking a 1953 law under which cheating spouses could be jailed for up to two years. South Korea was one of only three Asian countries to criminalise infidelity - about 5,500 people have been convicted since 2008. But out of the nine-judge panel, seven deemed the law unconstitutional. Presiding judge Park Han-Chul said public conceptions of individuals' sexual rights had changed. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state...

News in Brief

US charges 3 for supporting ISIS Afp, New York Two New York Muslims were hauled before a federal court Wednesday charged with plotting to join Islamic State extremists in Syria and threatening to carry out attacks in the United States. FBI agents arrested Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, at John F Kennedy airport allegedly attempting to board a flight to Istanbul and Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24 -- who had offered to kill President Barack Obama -- was detained at home in Brooklyn. A...

Blasts kill 35 in Nigeria

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday visited the scene of what is feared to be Boko Haram's worst massacre as the Islamists killed 35 more with three separate bombings in the country's religiously tense central region and restive northeast. The bombings raised fears of a renewed wave of attacks against vulnerable targets in urban centres, as troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon make gains against the militants in rural areas. 18 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up...

US regulators adopt 'net neutrality'

US regulators yesterday approved landmark Internet rules that would prevent broadband providers from separating online traffic into slow and fast lanes. The Federal Communications Commission's 3-2 vote in favor of so-called "net neutrality" followed an intense debate in Washington pitting backers of online services like Netflix, Twitter and Yelp against big Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said the plan would foster a free and open Internet where broadband services cannot be "gatekeepers" for what is...