International

Hong Kong gears up for lunchtime rallies after weekend unrest

Hong Kong

MNA International Desk: Hong Kong protesters geared up for a week of lunchtime rallies on Monday, a day after a mass demonstration showed the anti-government movement can still draw people to the streets even after sweeping recent gains by democrats in district elections. After a rare lull in demonstrations following the polls, police on Sunday fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters as residents chanted “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”. Protesters are planning two-hour rallies at lunchtime for the next five days in the Asian financial hub’s central business district, according to online posts. The ...

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Iraqi PM submits resignation amid mounting pressure

resignation

MNA International Desk: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi submitted his resignation to parliament amid continuing anti-government protests in the capital Baghdad and in southern Iraq. The prime minister announced on Friday he would resign amid mounting pressure a day after more than 40 demonstrators were killed by security forces. The formal resignation came after an emergency cabinet session on Saturday, in which ministers approved the document and the resignation of key staffers, including Abdul Mahdi’s chief of staff, reports Al Jazeera. The Iraqi parliament is scheduled to meet today (Sunday) where legislators will vote on whether to accept Abdul ...

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London Bridge sealed off amid reports of gunfire

MNA International Desk: London Bridge has been cordoned off by police, with a BBC journalist reporting hearing gunfire. BBC reporter John McManus said he saw a group of men involved in a fight on the bridge. Police then arrived and shots were fired, he said. The Met Police confirmed that it was dealing with an incident at London Bridge and advised people near the scene to follow directions from officers on the ground. McManus told the BBC News channel: “Just a few minutes ago I was walking across London Bridge on the south bank to the north bank of the ...

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Ex-president of Maldives sentenced to five years in jail

Maldives

MNA International Desk: A criminal court of the Maldives found former president Abdulla Yameen guilty of money laundering on Thursday and sentenced him to five years in prison, the judge said. Yameen, who drew the Indian Ocean island country closer to China during his tenure, was accused of receiving $1.0 million of government money through a private company as part of a deal to lease a number of tropical islands for hotel development, reports Reuters. The court also slapped a fine of $5.0 million on Yameen, who is under arrest, Judge Ali Rasheed said. A lawyer for Yameen said he ...

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UN conference opens with call to make gender equality a reality

gender

MNA International Desk: Over 500 ministers, senior policymakers, UN officials and civil society from across Asia and the Pacific region on Wednesday gathered in Bangkok to chart out priority actions aiming to support accelerated progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The three-day Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on the Beijing+25 Review, jointly organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, will provide a platform for countries to explore policy options and innovative strategies, towards addressing barriers to gender equality and realising women’s rights for ...

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At least 18 people killed in Congo plane crash

Congo

MNA International Desk: Rescue workers pulled 18 bodies from the rubble after a plane crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo shortly after take-off on Sunday. The aircraft, operated by local company Busy Bee, was en route to the city of Beni, about 250 km (155 miles) to the north, North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita’s office said in a statement. An official from Busy Bee, who asked not to be named, said the 19-seater Dornier 228-200 crashed with 16 passengers and two crew on board. A Reuters witness at ...

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Malaysia arrests 680 suspected members of Chinese online fraud gang

fraud

MNA International Desk: Malaysian authorities have arrested 680 Chinese nationals suspected of operating an extensive online fraud operation cheating people in their homeland, officials said on Thursday. A team of 150 Immigration Department officers raided the suspects’ well-guarded headquarters in the town of Cyberjaya on Wednesday, the director general of the Immigration Department, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, said in a statement. About 100 suspects managed to escape, and some were hurt in the melee, Khairul said. The gang was believed to have operated from the premises for about six months, Reuters reports. “The modus operandi of this syndicate is to target ...

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Ex-defence chief Rajapaksa wins Sri Lanka presidency

chief

MNA International Desk: Sri Lanka’s former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa has won a presidential election that has split the country along ethnic lines. Official results showed Mr Rajapaksa took 52.25 per cent of the vote. His rival Sajith Premadasa had already conceded. Analysts say Mr Rajapaksa was the clear victor in Sinhalese majority areas while Mr Premadasa scored better in the Tamil-dominated north, reports BBC. The election is Sri Lanka’s first since a deadly terror attack in April. Militants linked to the Islamic State group targeted churches and high-end hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, killing more than ...

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Syria bomb attack kills 18

Syria

MNA International Desk: A car bomb exploded Saturday in a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters, killing at least 18 people and wounding several others, Syrian opposition activists and Turkey’s Defense Ministry said. Northern Syria has been hit by several explosions that have killed and wounded scores of people over the past month. That’s since Turkey began a military operation against Kurdish fighters in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the bulk of American troops out of northern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 19 people, including 13 civilians, were killed ...

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Bolivian senator declares herself interim president

Jeanine Áñez

MNA International Desk: Bolivian opposition senator Jeanine Áñez has declared herself interim president of the South American country following Evo Morales’ resignation. Lawmakers from Mr Morales’ party boycotted the session, meaning there was no quorum for the appointment. But Ms Áñez said she was next in line under the constitution and vowed to hold elections soon. Mr Morales condemned the announcement, describing Ms Áñez as “a coup-mongering right-wing senator”. The former president has fled to Mexico, saying he asked for asylum there because his life was in danger. He resigned on Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential ...

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Venice mayor declares disaster amid high tide

Venice

MNA International Desk: Venice was hit by the second highest tide recorded in the lagoon city on Tuesday, which flooded its historic basilica and left many of its squares and alleyways deep underwater. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said he would declare a state of disaster and warned of severe damage. City officials said the tide peaked at 187 cm (6.14 ft) at 10.50 p.m. (2150 GMT), just short of the record 194 cm set in 1966. “The situation is dramatic,” Brugnaro said on Twitter. “We ask the government to help us. The cost will be high. This is the result of ...

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Woman’s arms found in Russian historian’s bag

Russian

MNA International Desk: A well-known Russian historian has confessed to murdering his lover, his lawyer says, after he was found in a river with a backpack containing a woman’s arms. Oleg Sokolov, 63, was drunk and fell into the river as he tried to dispose of body parts, Russian media said. Police then found the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, at his home in the city of St Petersburg. Prof Sokolov is a Napoleon expert who has received France’s Légion d’Honneur, reports the BBC. Prof Sokolov reportedly told police he had killed his lover during an argument and had ...

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Bolivian president Evo Morales resigns after protests over disputed election

Evo Morales

MNA International Desk: Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Sunday (local time) he was resigning to ease violence that has gripped the South American nation since a disputed election, but he stoked fears of more unrest by saying he was the victim of a “coup” and faced arrest. Video footage showed clashes on the streets of La Paz and some buildings on fire Sunday night after the military called on Morales to step down and allies deserted him following weeks of protests since the October 20 election. Morales, in power for nearly 14 years, said in televised comments earlier that ...

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Babri mosque dispute: Hindus get disputed land for temple

Ayodhya

MNA International Desk: The disputed land in Ayodhya will be given to a government run trust for the building a temple and Muslims will be given a five-acre “suitable” plot in the town, India’s Supreme Court announced on Saturday. A five-judge constitution bench delivered a unanimous verdict, NDTV reports. The verdict was read out by a five-judge constitution bench. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17, decided the date of the verdict in consultation with four other judges. The five-judge constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice heard the case for 40 days. The other members ...

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China launches BeiDou satellite

BeiDou

MNA International Desk: China sent a new satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 1:43 am Tuesday. Launched on a Long March-3B carrier rocket, it is the 49th satellite of the BDS satellite family and the 24th satellite of the BDS-3 system. It also marked that a total of three BDS-3 satellites have been sent into the inclined geosynchronous Earth orbit. The launch was the 317th mission for the Long March series of carrier rockets. The new satellites and the carrier rocket were developed by the China ...

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World’s biggest trade pact shapes up without India

India

MNA International Desk: Although India pulled out at the last minute, China and 14 other countries agreed in Bangkok this week on plans for what could become the world’s biggest trade agreement – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, Chinese premier Li Keqiang and Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha shake hands at the third Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 4, 2019. Reuters They aim to sign it next year to start freeing up trade between members that include the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian ...

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Taj Mahal gets air purifier amid severe air pollution

Taj Mahal

MNA International Desk: As north India battles severe levels of pollution, authorities have deployed an air purifier at the Taj Mahal to save the iconic 17th-century marble mausoleum. The air purifier van deployed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has capacity to purify 1.5 million cubic metre air in eight hours within a 300 metre radius, reports NDTV. “Looking at the developing situation and consistent deterioration in air quality, a mobile air purifier van has been deployed at the west gate of the Taj Mahal,” Regional Officer of UPPCB Bhuvan Yadav said. Pollution around the white marble mausoleum ...

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Airbnb bans ‘party houses’ after five die in Halloween shooting

Airbnb

MNA International Desk: Airbnb has said it will ban “party houses” after a mass shooting at a California home rented through the company left five people dead. CEO Brian Chesky said in a tweet the company would take steps to “combat unauthorised parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct”. “We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable,” Mr Chesky added. Three people died at the house, in the city of Orinda, near San Francisco, and two more died later in hospital, the BBC reported. The house was reportedly booked under a pretence for a small ...

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EU agrees to Brexit extension to 31 January

Brexit

MNA International Desk: The EU has agreed to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020, according to a tweet from the European Council president. Donald Tusk said the bloc would allow for a so-called “flextension” – meaning the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal was approved by Parliament. It comes as MPs prepare to vote on proposals by Boris Johnson for an early general election on 12 December. The SNP and Lib Dems have also proposed an election on 9 December. The draft text of an agreement for the 27 EU ambassadors – seen by the BBC – ...

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Indian capital’s air quality falls to “severe” category

air

MNA International Desk: The air quality in the Indian capital plummeted to “severe” category on Monday morning, post the festival of lights “Deepawali” when people indulged in bursting firecrackers. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) released by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality in Delhi stood at 463 at 9:00 a.m. local time on Monday. At 7:00 a.m. local time, Delhi’s overall AQI stood at 506, and even touched 999 at around 4:00 a.m. local time, according to SAFAR. The gradual improvement in air quality was attributed to slow winds ...

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$1.84m diamond stolen from Japan jewelry fair

diamond

MNA Business Desk: Japanese police are investigating a 200 million yen ($1.84 million) diamond allegedly stolen from an international jewelry trade show near Tokyo. The 50-carat diamond was last seen sitting inside a glass showcase at 5 pm Thursday. An hour later, just after closing time, the diamond was gone and the jewelry case was unlocked, according to police. Police said Saturday they suspect the alleged theft took place sometime in the final hour of the crowded exhibit at Yokohama, near Tokyo. The sparkly stone, exhibited by a company in Saitama, north of Tokyo, was the only item missing. Nobody ...

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39 bodies found inside lorry container in England

bodies

MNA International Desk: The bodies of 39 people have been found in a lorry container in Essex in England. Police were called by the ambulance service shortly before 01:40 BST after the discovery at Waterglade Industrial Park in Eastern Avenue, Grays. The lorry driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Essex Police said the lorry travelled from Bulgaria and entered the country via Holyhead, Anglesey, on Saturday, the BBC reported. Early indications are that 38 adults and one teenager have died, the force said. Ch Supt Andrew Mariner said officers were trying to ...

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India, Pakistan sign pact on cross-border temple visits

Pakistan

MNA International Desk: India and Pakistan signed an agreement on Thursday allowing Indian pilgrims to cross the border to a Sikh shrine in Pakistan, rare cooperation between the nuclear-armed rivals at a time of tension and clashes elsewhere on their frontier, reports Reuters. The pact will introduce visa-free access from India to the Pakistani town of Kartarpur, home to a temple that marks the site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, died. “Today is a day of celebration,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal told a signing ceremony in Kartarpur. Prime Minister Imran Khan will formally open the border ...

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India, Pakistan set to sign pilgrim corridor pact amid Kashmir tension

Pakistan

MNA International Desk: India and Pakistan are set to sign an agreement on Indian pilgrims visiting a Sikh shrine in Pakistan, rare cooperation between the nuclear-armed neighbours at a time of tension that has brought exchanges of fire on their disputed border. The pact will introduce visa-free access from India to the Pakistani town of Kartarpur, home to a temple that marks the site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, died. India’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Monday an understanding had been reached on most issues and India was prepared to sign the agreement on Wednesday. ...

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India, China can together unlock potential

China

MNA International Desk: It is widely acknowledged that China and India are playing pivotal roles in regional and global affairs in the 21st century. Indeed, both countries have taken comparable stances or approaches to many critical policy areas, such as international trade and global governance reform, on intergovernmental platforms. As emerging economies and the two most populous countries, China-India cooperation can affect the livelihood and welfare of 2.7 billion people. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in 2017 ushered in a new era of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. New Delhi’s pursuit of a New India ...

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Modi cancels Turkey visit over Erdogan’s remarks on Kashmir

Modi

MNA International Desk: The Indian government has decided to call off a proposed visit by the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Turkey’s capital Ankara. The decision was taken as part of a number of measures showing the Indian government’s displeasure over Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month. During the speech, Erdogan criticised India’s move to abrogate Article 370 of the constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Supporting Pakistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that it is imperative to solve the problem through “dialogue on the ...

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Brexit: Commons set for knife-edge votes on deal

Brexit

MNA International Desk: MPs are debating the PM’s Brexit deal, amid uncertainty about whether the decisive vote on it will go ahead. The PM is trying to convince MPs to support the agreement he secured with the EU, in Parliament’s first Saturday session in 37 years. Mr Johnson told MPs “now is the time to get this thing done”, saying any delay beyond 31 October would be “corrosive”. But MPs will debate a proposal that could delay Brexit again until all the necessary UK legislation is passed. Commons Speaker John Bercow has chosen an amendment that, if passed, would require ...

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