Malaysian court to rule on women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam

Malaysian court

MNA International Desk: A Malaysian court will decide on Thursday whether to continue hearing a case against two women charged with the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, or acquit them. Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, could face the death penalty on charges of murdering Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a nerve agent banned by the United Nations, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13, last year. The women, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and have pleaded not guilty, saying ...

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40 killed by paramilitaries in eastern Ethiopia

eastern Ethiopia

MNA International Desk: At least 40 people were killed by paramilitary forces in eastern Ethiopia over the weekend, a senior regional official said on Monday, in the latest spate of violence driven by ethnic divisions. Unrest first broke out along the border of the country’s Somali and Oromiya provinces in September, displacing nearly a million people, though the violence had subsided by April. On Monday, the Oromiya regional administration’s spokesman Negeri Lencho said heavily armed members of a paramilitary force from the Somali region had carried out cross-border attacks in Oromiya’s East Hararghe district. A week earlier, mobs looted properties ...

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Fire at Taiwan hospital kills 9


MNA International Desk: Nine people were killed and 15 injured in a blaze that broke out early Monday at a hospice for the terminally ill near Taiwan’s capital Taipei, fire officials said. All of the 36 people inside, including three staff, were evacuated after the fire started at the hospice on the seventh floor of a nine-storey hospital in New Taipei city. The nine died with the cause of death given as smoke inhalation, according to the local fire department. New Taipei fire department chief Huang Te-ching said the cause of the fire was still being investigated and denied reports ...

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Eid-ul-Azha in Saudi Arabia 21 Aug


MNA International Desk: Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festival of the Muslims, will be celebrated across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 21 August (Tuesday) as the moon for the month of Zilhaj was sighted there on Saturday evening. Therefore, the Day of Arafat will fall on 20 August, reported news agency. The Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Azha on the 10th of Zilhaj to commemorate the true spirit of the sacrifice made by Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). On this day some 4,000 years ago, Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) had offered to sacrifice his beloved son Hazrat Ismail (AS) who willingly submitted to the will ...

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US to sanction Russia over nerve agent attack


MNA International Desk: Washington said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia by the end of August after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain. A senior state department official said it had notified the Kremlin of the sanctions earlier in the day. Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March after a liquid form of the Novichok type of nerve agent ...

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Najib Razak charged over money laundering

Najib Razak

MNA International Desk: Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak was hit with new charges Wednesday linked to a multi-billion-dollar financial scandal that contributed to his shock election defeat in May, reported news agency. Appearing at a court in Kuala Lumpur, Najib was charged with three counts of money-laundering over claims he pocketed 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million), and pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 15 years in jail for each charge. These are in addition to the charges he faced last month after he was first arrested — three for criminal breach of trust and a separate count that ...

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Indonesia quake death toll nears 100


MNA International Desk: Terrified holidaymakers rushed for boats and planes to leave Indonesia’s Lombok island Tuesday after it suffered a second deadly quake within a week, while rescuers struggled to reach hard-hit areas where survivors are in urgent need of food and shelter. The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake killed at least 98 people and destroyed thousands of buildings in Lombok on Sunday, just days after another deadly tremor surged through the holiday island and killed 17. Rescuers on Tuesday resumed the search for survivors, and to recover the bodies of victims in the rubble of houses, mosques and schools destroyed in ...

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Indonesia quake kills 82 on tourist island


MNA International Desk: At least 82 people were killed when Indonesia’s resort island of Lombok was hit by a powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Sunday, triggering widespread panic as thousands fled their homes for emergency shelters as buildings collapsed, reported news agency. The death toll is expected to rise with hundreds injured and thousands of houses damaged, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in a statement on Monday. Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who was on the 10th floor of a hotel in the Lombok town of Mataram at the time of the quake, wrote on Facebook ...

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11 found killed in Mexico border town ahead of president-elect’s visit


MNA International Desk: Eleven bodies were discovered on Friday in a Mexican town close to the US border, days before president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is due to visit for a series of forums seeking to stem the violence in the country. The bodies of eight men and three women were found in a home in Ciudad Juarez, the government of the northern state of Chihuahua said in a statement. It said the people were victims of homicide. The incident may be related to clashes between criminal groups, the government added. The prosecutor’s office is investigating the killings and identities ...

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Mamata faces police case after ‘civil war’ remark

Mamata Banerjee

MNA International Desk: Mamata Banerjee has been accused of inciting “hate and tension” among communities in a police complaint filed by activists of the ruling BJP in Assam, hours after she warned of a “civil war and bloodbath” over a list of citizens that leaves out four million people from the northeastern state. The complaint was filed by three workers of the BJP’s youth wing in Assam’s Dibrugarh, reported news agency. Banerjee has accused the BJP of trying to divide the country with the draft National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam, which leaves four million people facing the ...

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PM Narendra Modi greets Pakistan’s Imran Khan


MNA International Desk: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated Imran Khan, who is set to become Pakistan’s next prime minister. He spoke to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and also congratulated him for his party emerging as the largest political party in the National Assembly there in the recent elections. The PM expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan, a statement from his office said. He also reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood, the statement said, report news agency. Mr Khan had said that he will take oath as the ...

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Greece wildfires death toll rises to 91


MNA International Desk: Greek fire services on Sunday said three more people were confirmed killed by the wildfires that have devastated seaside resorts near Athens, bringing the death toll in the disaster to 91, reported news agency. Several children — the total is not yet known — have become the face of the tragedy, including nine-year-old twin girls, a six-month-old infant, a brother and sister aged 11 and 13, and another 13-year-old. Four foreign victims have so far been identified including a young Irishman on his honeymoon, a Polish woman and her son, and a Belgian man whose daughter was ...

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6.4 magnitude quake hits Indonesia; kills 10


MNA International Desk: At least 10 people were killed as a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the popular tourist destination of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday, reported news agency. It also damaged many buildings, authorities said. The quake hit Lombok island early hours when many people were still sleeping. Twelve people were injured and many fled into open fields away from collapsed buildings. The quake was centred 50 km (31 miles) northeast of the city of Mataram on the northern part of Lombok island, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. Around 43 quakes were recorded after the initial 6.4 magnitude ...

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Rivals concede Pakistan election to Imran Khan; EU flags concerns

Imran Khan

MNA International Desk: Pakistan’s former ruling party conceded defeat to cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan ahead of final results from the country’s disputed election, which European Union monitors said on Friday had not been fought on a level playing field. Khan, during a speech declaring victory on Thursday, offered to investigate opposition allegations of vote-rigging and said he wanted to “unite” the country under his leadership. The party of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif initially rejected the so far incomplete results, but by Friday its leaders appeared to accept that Khan would be the next prime minister. The allegations of rigging ...

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Imran Khan leads in early counting

Imran Khan

MNA International Desk: Pakistani authorities said on Thursday full results of a general election would be delayed as cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan led in a partial count that opponents said was rigged, reported news agency. The party of Khan’s jailed chief rival, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called the count an assault on democracy in the nuclear-armed, Muslim country which has a history of military rule. Any potential delays in forming a government would be worrisome, as Pakistan faces a mounting economic crisis that is likely to require a bailout by the International Monetary Fund and worsening relations with on-off ...

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Voting begins in Pakistan’s general election

general election

MNA International Desk: Pakistanis began voting on Wednesday in a knife-edge general election pitting cricket hero Imran Khan against the party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, with the prospect of neither winning a clear majority amid a looming currency crisis. A decade after Pakistan was last ruled by a military government, the election has been plagued by allegations the powerful armed forces have been trying to tilt the race in Khan’s favour after falling out with the outgoing ruling party of Sharif, who was jailed on corruption charges this month. Khan has emerged as a slight favourite in national ...

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Japan heatwave kills 65 in one week

heatwave in Japan

MNA International Desk: An “unprecedented” heatwave in Japan has killed at least 65 people in one week, government officials said Tuesday, with the weather agency now classifying the record-breaking weather as a “natural disaster.” In the week to Sunday at least 65 people died of heat stroke while 22,647 people were hospitalised, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said in a statement. Both figures are “the worst-ever for any week during summer” since the agency began recording fatalities resulting from heat stroke in July 2008, an agency spokesman told news agency. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday that ...

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Gunman among 2 killed in Toronto shooting


MNA International Desk: Fourteen people, including a young girl, were shot near downtown Toronto, police in Canada’s biggest city said on Sunday, with one person killed and the gunman also dead, reported news agency. The young girl was in a critical condition, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said. “We are looking at all possible motives… and not closing any doors,” Saunders told reporters at the site of the shooting. Paramedics, firefighters and police converged on the shooting in Toronto’s east end, which has many popular restaurants, cafes and shops. Police said the gunman had used a handgun. Earlier reports said ...

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Don’t play with lion’s tail: Rouhani to Trump


MNA International Desk: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday warned US President Donald Trump not to “play with the lion’s tail”. Addressing his US counterpart Trump, Rouhani said: “You declare war and then you speak of wanting to support the Iranian people. “You cannot provoke the Iranian people against their own security and interests,” he said in a televised speech at a gathering of Iranian diplomats in Tehran. Rouhani repeated his warning that Iran could shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for international oil supplies, AFP reports. “We have always guaranteed the security of this ...

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Israel approves controversial ‘Jewish nation state’ law


MNA International Desk: Israel’s parliament has passed into law a controversial bill that defines the country as an exclusively Jewish state. The “Jewish nation state” bill downgrades Arabic as an official language and says advancing Jewish settlement is a national interest. It also states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is its capital. Israeli Arab MPs condemned the legislation, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised it as a “defining moment”. The bill, backed by the country’s right-wing government, says that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. ...

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Trump now says he misspoke in front of Putin


MNA International Desk: US president Donald Trump on Tuesday moved to limit the damage from his summit with Vladimir Putin, claiming he misspoke in appearing to accept the Russian leader’s denial of election meddling-in a rebuke to US intelligence chiefs. At their meeting in Helsinki on Monday, Trump failed to challenge Putin over the 2016 presidential election, seeming to accept at face value the strongman’s denial that Moscow interfered in a bid to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. But faced with outrage at home, with even some of his political allies demanding that he reverse course, Trump-in an extraordinary postscript ...

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Trump under fire over poll meddling comments


MNA International Desk: There has been a barrage of criticism in the US after President Donald Trump defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 elections, reported news agency. At a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying Russia had no reason to meddle. The top Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Mr Trump must see that “Russia is not our ally”. Republican Senator John McCain said it was a “disgraceful performance”. Mr Putin denied the interference claim. The US and Russian presidents held nearly two hours of closed-door ...

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Trump, Putin to hold first summit talks


MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin later on Monday, ending a tumultuous European tour in which he criticised his allies, reports news agency. Mr Trump said he had “low expectations” ahead of the talks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, but added that “maybe some good” would come of them. The summit comes after 12 Russians were charged with hacking in the 2016 US elections. Mr Trump says he will raise the issue, but there is no formal agenda. The two leaders will meet one-on-one, and will be joined only by their interpreters. It is ...

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Haiti PM resigns after deadly unrest


MNA International Desk: Embattled Haiti Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned on Saturday following deadly violence and looting sparked by a now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices. “I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic,” who has “accepted my resignation,” Lafontant said in the lower house of Haiti’s legislature. Lafontant had faced a potential vote of no confidence had he not resigned — something he had previously insisted he would not do. Last week, the government in the impoverished Caribbean country announced plans for major fuel price hikes — 38 per cent for gasoline, 47 per cent for ...

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Pakistan election rally blast toll rises to 128


MNA International Desk: A suicide blast ripped through a crowd at a political rally in southwest Pakistan Friday killing 128 people and wounding 150, officials told news agency, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history. The blast in the town of Mastung, near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on 25 July, and underscored the fragility of Pakistan’s dramatic gains in security. Authorities said the suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where the political meeting was taking ...

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Nawaz, daughter Maryam arrested at airport

daughter Maryam

MNA International Desk: In a high-stakes gamble to galvanise their beleaguered party ahead of a July 25 election, ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam returned to country, and were consequently arrested on Friday to face lengthy prison sentences. Uniformed men escorted the Sharifs, who were sentenced in absentia on corruption charges last week, from their airplane after it touched down in the central city of Lahore at around 8:45pm (1645 GMT), reported news agency. A spokesman for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party confirmed they were arrested soon afterwards. Local Geo TV said Sharif and his ...

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NATO leaders to focus on Afghanistan conflict

NATO leaders

MNA International Desk: NATO leaders plan to turn their attentions to the conflict in Afghanistan, on the second day of a summit so far dominated by demands from President Donald Trump, reported news agency. Mr Trump on Wednesday urged NATO allies to commit 4% of their annual output (GDP) to military spending. He also singled out Germany for criticism over its defence spending. NATO leaders are hoping for a more conciliatory tone on Thursday before Mr Trump leaves for the UK. But in a late night tweet from Brussels, the US president reiterated his criticism. Billions of additional dollars are ...

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