Najib arrested over tampered 1MDB audit report


MNA International Desk: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested former prime minister Najib Tun Razak on Monday for his alleged role in the tampering of the final audit report on graft-plagued state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib was arrested at around 11am at the MACC headquarters shortly after he had arrived for a fresh round of questioning over the issue. MACC sources said the ex-premier would be released if he can come up with money for bail. Najib had spent about four hours at the office on Dec 6, giving his statement to assist in the same probe. ...

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Kelly to leave chief of staff job


MNA International Desk: White House chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year, US president Donald Trump said on Saturday, his latest staff shakeup since midterm elections a month ago cost Republicans control of the House of Representatives. Trump, speaking to reporters as he left the White House to attend the annual football game between the Army and Navy military academies in Philadelphia, said he would name a successor for Kelly, possibly on an interim basis, in the next day or two. “He’s a great guy,” Trump said of Kelly, who led the ...

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Italian nightclub stampede kills 6


MNA International Desk: Six people have died in a stampede at an Italian nightclub near Ancona on the Adriatic coast after panic erupted, firefighters said Saturday. The incident took place near the eastern coastal city of Ancona. Some reports say there was panic after pepper spray was fired inside the club in the town of Corinaldo. The Lanterna Azzurra club was hosting a concert by rapper Sfera Ebbasta and up to 1,000 people were thought to be inside. The incident took place at around 01:00 (midnight GMT) as Italy began celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The injured have ...

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Myanmar closes Rohingya camps


MNA International Desk: As the world was focused on abortive efforts to begin repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar last month, hundreds of their fellow Muslims still in Myanmar were boarding boats seeking to escape the country. Their attempted flight cast the spotlight back on 128,000 Rohingya and other displaced Muslims still living in crowded camps in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, six years after Buddhist mobs razed most of their homes. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi, under international pressure to address their plight, says it is now closing the camps on the ...

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Gunmen kill 24 construction workers in Indonesia

construction workers

MNA International Desk: Gunmen in the remote Indonesian province of Papua have killed as many as 31 construction workers who were brought from a distant island to help build a major highway, officials said Tuesday. The police attributed the attacks to separatists who have long pushed for an independent Papua, The Associated Press reported. But there were few details of the killings, which were said to have begun on Sunday with the shooting of 24 workers. Indonesia’s public works minister, Basuki Hadimuljono, told reporters on Tuesday that work on the highway would be halted while the authorities investigated the killings ...

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Trump seeks Imran’s help to end Afghan war


MNA International Desk: Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Monday that US President Donald Trump has written a letter to prime minister Imran Khan seeking Islamabad’s support in securing a “negotiated settlement” to the war in Afghanistan, reported news agency. The development comes as Washington steps up efforts to hold peace talks with the resurgent Taliban, more than 17 years after the invasion of Afghanistan. In the letter, Trump said a settlement is “his most important regional priority”, the Pakistani foreign ministry stated. “In this regard, he has sought Pakistan’s support and facilitation”, it continued. US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or ...

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Top Afghan Taliban commander killed


MNA International Desk: A top commander of the Taliban was killed in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand in a joint operation by Afghan and US Special Forces, reported news agency. Abdul Manan, who was in charge of Helmand province for the insurgent group, was killed along with 29 others by an air strike on Saturday while he was meeting local commanders and fighters in the Nawzad district, Helmand provincial governor Mohammad Yasin Khan said. His death was confirmed by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid and by the US military, which said Afghan forces had gone on the offensive with US support, ...

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Anti-Macron protests turn violent in Paris


MNA Sports Desk: Anti-government protesters torched dozens of cars and set fire to storefronts during daylong clashes with riot police across central Paris on Saturday, as thousands took part in fresh “yellow vest” protests against high fuel taxes. Officers responded with tear gas after being targeted by protesters hurling rocks and other projectiles on the third weekend of demonstrations which have morphed into a broader rebuke of French president Emmanuel Macron. Smoke engulfed several shopping districts as the violence spread from the Arc de Triomphe, where crowds had gathered earlier hoping to march down the Champs-Elysees. While several dozens were ...

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Ex-US president George Bush dies


MNA International Desk: Former US president George HW Bush, who presided over the end of the Cold War and routed Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army but lost a chance for a second term after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge, died on Friday at the age of 94, a family spokesman said. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, lived longer than any of his predecessors. His death at 10:10pm Central time was announced in a statement issued by longtime spokesman Jim McGrath. He was the father of former president George W Bush, who served two terms in the White House from ...

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India won’t attend SAARC Summit in Pakistan

SAARC Summit

MNA International Desk: India on Wednesday put to rest any speculation over Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelling to Pakistan to attend the SAARC Summit. Addressing the press, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj categorically stated that there was no way PM Modi would travel to Pakistan for the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) regional grouping. The minister said no dialogue can take place between India and Pakistan till the time the latter puts a curb on terrorist activities emanating from its soil. “PM Narendra Modi will not go to Pakistan to attend the SAARC Summit,” she ...

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May, Corbyn agree to TV debate over Brexit


MNA International Desk: British prime minister Theresa May challenged opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to a live prime time television debate on Brexit before a crunch parliamentary vote as she struggles to win support for the deal agreed with the European. May said the format of the debate would need to be decided by broadcasters. Corbyn’s team swiftly accepted the offer, prompting demands from other parties and anti-Brexit groups to insist one of their supporters is allowed to take part. This would be the first time May has been willing to go head-to-head with the Labour leader in a live ...

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HRW asks Argentina to probe Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi

crown prince

MNA International Desk: Human Rights Watch has asked Argentina to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in possible crimes against humanity in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Argentina’s constitution recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, meaning judicial authorities can investigate and prosecute those crimes no matter where they were committed. Human Rights Watch said its submission was sent to federal judge Ariel Lijo. Neither Lijo’s office nor the office of Argentina’s public prosecutor responded to requests for comment. HRW’s Middle East and ...

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Hindu activists, monks protest at Ayodhya


MNA International Desk: More than 200,000 Hindu activists and monks protesting near a disputed religious site in northern India dispersed peacefully on Sunday after demanding the government build a temple at the site of a 16th-century mosque. A similar rally in 1992 near Ayodhya led to a Hindu mob tearing down the mosque, sparking riots that killed about 2,000 people in one of the worst instances of communal violence in India since the 1947 partition. Tensions have again been running high ahead of the latest rally, with a heavy security presence at the site, reported news agency. Prime Minister Narendra ...

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French President slams violent protesters

French President

MNA International Desk: French President Emmanuel Macron came down heavily at demonstrators who clashed with police in Paris during the latest protests sparked by rising fuel prices. “Shame on those who attacked” officers, he tweeted. “There is no place for violence in the [French] Republic.” There was chaos on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday as police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters. The demonstrations had been billed by the “yellow vest” movement as “act two” in a campaign that began a week ago, BBC reports. Named after their distinctive high-visibility attire, the protests initially focused on a rise ...

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China condemns consulate attack


MNA International Desk: China on Friday condemned the terror attack at its consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi and asked Islamabad to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in the country where it has multi-billion dollar investments. “China strongly condemns any violent attacks against diplomatic missions and have asked the Pakistani side to take measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and organisations in the country,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. Geng said three men tried to barge into the consulate who were later killed by Pakistani policemen. The spokesperson said that the Consulate staff were safe ...

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Trump clashes with US chief justice

chief justice

MNA International Desk: US chief justice John Roberts on Wednesday pointedly defended the independence of the federal judiciary a day after president Donald Trump called a judge who ruled against his policy barring asylum for certain immigrants an “Obama judge,” but Trump swiftly rejected the rebuke. The remarks by Roberts represented his first public response to Trump over the Republican president’s persistent criticism of the federal courts. Opponents of Trump have called his criticism of judges an attack on the rule of law in the United States. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton ...

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Trump’s claim angers Pakistan


MNA International Desk: Pakistan reacted angrily Monday to criticism by President Donald Trump that the country had not done enough in return for years of US military aid and that the government had harboured Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida. In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, Trump defended his decision early this year to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid to Pakistan. “I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us,” he said. Trump also alleged that the Pakistani government had known bin Laden ...

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Trump doesn’t want to hear tape of ‘vicious’ Khashoggi murder


MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump said he does not want to listen to an audio recording of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite facing mounting pressure to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and Turkey has given the US government a recording of the murder, but Trump said he would not listen to it “because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape.” “I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape,” Trump said in an interview with ...

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Powerful cyclone kills 33 in India

powerful cyclone

MNA International Desk: A powerful cyclone in southern India has killed at least 33 people, caused massive damage to homes and roads and drove tens of thousands of people into relief camps, reported news agency. India’s navy assigned two ships and a helicopter for relief work as state authorities rushed drinking water, food and paramedics to nearly 82,000 people who took shelter in more than 400 state-run camps. They were evacuated from areas in the path of Cyclone Gaja, which struck six districts of Tamil Nadu state on Friday with heavy rains and winds that reached 90 kilometers (55 miles) ...

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1,000 missing after California wildfire


MNA International Desk: Recovery teams with cadaver dogs pressed on with their search for more victims in a flame-ravaged northern California town on Friday as authorities sought clues to the fate of more than 1,000 people reported missing in the deadliest wildfire in state history. Remains of at least 71 people have been recovered so far in and around the Sierra foothills hamlet of Paradise, which was home to nearly 27,000 residents before the town was largely incinerated by the deadly Camp Fire on the night of Nov 8. More than a week later, firefighters have managed to carve containment ...

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Crisis deepens in Sri Lanka as parliament rejects PM


MNA International Desk: Sri Lanka’s parliament on Wednesday (Nov 14) voted out the bitterly disputed government of former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse, removing one controversial figure but leaving the country in a power vacuum. The island nation has been in crisis since the president sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct 26 and replaced him with Mr Rajapakse, who served as president until being voted out three years ago. On Tuesday the Supreme Court overruled the president’s dissolution of parliament and halted preparations for a snap election, in a major boost for the ousted prime minister. In stormy scenes Wednesday, legislators ...

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White House again hit with staff upheavals


MNA International Desk: Another round of upheaval engulfed president Donald Trump’s White House on Tuesday, with the future of several senior aides in doubt just a week after U.S. congressional elections. Three Trump cabinet members – chief of staff John Kelly, homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and interior secretary Ryan Zinke – could soon be gone, said sources familiar with internal discussions in the Republican administration. Turnover among White House personnel paused during the run-up to last week’s elections after senior Republicans asked Trump to refrain from firing staff, hoping to minimize perceptions of disorder. Attorney general Jeff Sessions was ...

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Suu Kyi stripped off Amnesty honour


MNA International Desk: Amnesty International announced on Monday that it has withdrawn its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of the Myanmar leader’s shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for. Amnesty International’s secretary general Kumi Naidoo wrote on 11 November to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her that the organisation is revoking the 2009 award. Naidoo expressed the organisation’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar, citing her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar ...

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Israeli fire kills 7 during Gaza raid


MNA International Desk: An exchange of fire erupted during an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing six Palestinians and an Israeli soldier, officials said, while potentially dashing hopes that a recent agreement would restore calm, reported news agency. As tensions rose following the clash, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he would cut short his trip to Paris, where he had been attending World War I commemorations, and return home. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, denounced a “cowardly Israeli attack”. Palestinian security sources said the ...

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California wildfire death toll rises to 23


MNA International Desk: The charred remains of fourteen more victims have been found in and around a Northern California town overrun by flames from a massive wildfire, officials said on Saturday, raising the death toll to 23, reported news agency. The bodies were recovered in and around Paradise, California, a mountain community some 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento left devastated by the Camp Fire, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Maclean said. Maclean said no details were immediately available about the circumstances of the deaths and that the bodies’ badly burned condition would make identification ...

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Mamata agrees to fence 300 acres of Bangladesh border


MNA International Desk: India’s West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has agreed to the country’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s request to acquire 300 acres of land in the state and give it to the Centre for constructing barbed wire fencing along the India-Bangladesh border, officials said Friday. The move came after the home minister wrote to the chief minister, whose government had been dithering for months over acquiring the land, leading to a delay in construction of a fence along the international border, they said. Singh’s letter to Banerjee, requesting her to acquire and hand over about 300 acres of ...

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Pakistan’s Asia Bibi freed from jail


MNA International Desk: A Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail and is believed to have already flown out of the city of Multan where she was being held, heading for an unknown destination, her lawyer said Thursday. Asia Bibi’s release comes a week after her acquittal in a landmark case that triggered angry Islamist protests in Muslim-majority Pakistan and following appeals from her husband for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum. Her lawyer fled to the Netherlands on Saturday under threat to his life. Bibi’s ...

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