Hong Kong leader suspends controversial extradition bill


MNA International Desk: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Saturday delayed indefinitely a proposed law to allow extraditions to mainland China, in a dramatic retreat after widespread anger over the bill sparked violent protests in the Asian finance hub. The extradition bill, which would cover Hong Kong’s 7 million residents as well as foreign and Chinese nationals in the city, was seen by many as a threat to the rule of law in the former British colony. Around a million people marched through Hong Kong last Sunday to oppose the bill, according to protest organisers. Protests continued through the week ...

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36 children dead in Bihar due to ‘Acute Encephalitis’


MNA International Desk: Some 36 children died at Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district of India in the last 48 hours and 133 children were admitted to hospitals due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome or AES. The doctors, however, said many of the deaths were due to Hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar, reports NDTV. “There’s proper research required, but 90 per cent cases are due to hypoglycemia,” said Dr SK Sahi, Medical Superintendent at the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital in the district. Most wards in private and government hospitals in the district are full of children, ...

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Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water as protest escalates

Hong Kong

MNA International Desk: Hong Kong police fired tear gas and high-pressure water hoses against protesters who had massed outside government headquarters Wednesday in opposition to a proposed extradition bill that has become a lightning rod for concerns over greater Chinese control and erosion of civil liberties in the semi-autonomous territory. The afternoon violence marked a major escalation in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s biggest political crisis in years. It came after protesters earlier in the day forced the delay of a legislative debate over the bill, which would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent for trial in mainland ...

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North Korean leader’s slain half-brother ‘was a CIA informant’


MNA International Desk: Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to a Wall Street Journal report run by the Reuters news agency on Monday (US standard time). The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear. Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment. The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a ...

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Former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari arrested


MNA International Desk: Law enforcers of Pakistan have arrested Asif Ali Zardari, a former president of the country and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), from his residence in Islamabad on Monday. A 15-member team of Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB), accompanied by police personnel, arrested Zardari after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected an application seeking extension in the pre-arrest bails of him and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case. A number of party workers and Zardari’s children Bilawal and Aseefa saw him off as the former president was driven away in a black Landcruiser. ...

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Iran warns Europe to normalize economic ties or to face consequences


MNA International Desk: Iran said on Sunday that Europe was not in a position to criticize Tehran for its military capabilities, and called on European leaders to normalize economic ties with the Islamic Republic despite US sanctions or face consequences. President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions. Trump has condemned a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not being permanent and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile programme or its role in conflicts around the Middle East, reports Reuters. The ...

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Theresa May quits as party leader

Theresa May

MNA International Desk: British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned as leader of her Conservative Party on Friday, formally triggering the race for a successor. May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, likely in late July, but has relinquished control over the direction of Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union, AFP reports. Brexit is still scheduled for October 31 but while her rivals thrash it out, the project remains stuck, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels stuck in parliament. May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the ...

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Trump calls London mayor ‘stone cold loser’ on UK arrival

Sadiq Khan

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump renewed his verbal attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday, calling him a “stone-cold loser” after the mayor criticized the British government’s decision to offer a state visit to Trump, reports Reuters. “@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom,” Trump said on Twitter shortly before Air Force One landed at Stansted Airport near London. “He is a stone cold loser who should focus ...

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12 killed in Virginia shooting; suspect dead


MNA International Desk: A longtime city employee opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 12 people and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him, authorities said. Four other people were wounded in the shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera. The city’s visibly shaken mayor, Bobby Dyer, called it “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.” The shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. when the veteran employee of the Public Utilities Department entered a building in ...

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Economy in focus as India PM Modi starts second term without key aide

Narendra Modi

MNA International Desk: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take his oath of office on Thursday along with his ministers, though he suffered a setback at the start of his second term when key aide and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley opted out of the next government. The swearing-in ceremony at the forecourt of the colonial-era presidential palace will be attended by thousands of guests including Bollywood stars and leaders of neighbours including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Modi won a massive mandate in the general election that ended this month after focusing his campaign on national security, as tension with old ...

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At least 40 inmates found strangled in Brazil prison clashes


MNA International Desk: At least 40 prisoners in Brazil were found strangled to death on Monday in four jails in the Amazon jungle city of Manaus, where a fight between rival prison gangs resulted in 15 dead the day before, authorities said. A federal task force is being sent to Manaus in an effort to halt the violence. Prison clashes often spread rapidly in Brazil, where drug gangs have de facto control over nearly all jails. In January 2017, nearly 150 prisoners died during three weeks of violence in north and northeastern Brazil, as local gangs backed by Brazil’s two ...

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Papua New Guinea PM resigns

Papua New Guinea

MNA International Desk: Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced his resignation on Sunday after seven years in the top job following weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party. O’Neill had resisted calls to resign for weeks but said recent movements in parliament showed a “need for change”, ABC News reported, handing over the reins of power to former prime minister Sir Julius Chan. Opponents of O’Neill said on Friday they had mustered enough support in parliament to oust him over a range of grievances including a gas deal with France’s Total, which critics have questioned. Political instability ...

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Half of Americans expect war with Iran: poll


MNA International Desk: Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday amid increased tensions between the two countries. While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favour of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked US military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the ...

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Trump declares national emergency over IT threats


MNA International Desk: President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect US computer networks from “foreign adversaries”. He signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose national security risks. The order does not name any company, but is believed to target Huawei, reports BBC. The Chinese tech giant said restricting its business in the US would only hurt American consumers and companies. Several countries, led by the US, have raised concerns in recent months that Huawei products could be used by China for surveillance, allegations the company has vehemently denied. ...

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Sri Lanka extends curfew after anti-Muslim riots


MNA International Desk: Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide curfew for the second night in a row after a wave of anti-Muslim violence in the wake of the Easter bombings. A Muslim man was stabbed to death while rioters torched Muslim-owned shops and vandalised mosques during Monday’s attacks. Police have arrested 60 people, including the leader of a far-right Buddhist group, reports BBC. The United Nations has called for calm and a “rejection of hate”. Tuesday’s curfew came into effect at 21:00 (15:30 GMT). Police said the North-Western province, where the worst violence flared, will be shut down for longer. ...

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Trump cites Ramadan as time of ‘hope, tolerance and peace’


MNA International Desk: The US President Donald Trump celebrated the month of Ramadan Monday evening as a time when people join forces in “pursuit of hope, tolerance and peace.” Trump held an iftar dinner for ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps representing Muslim-majority nations. The dinner breaks the daylong fast that Muslims follow during Ramadan. They have been held regularly at the White House since the Clinton administration as a form of outreach to the Muslim world. Trump said it’s been a rough period recently for people of all faiths. He cited attacks on Muslims in New Zealand, Christians ...

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2 Saudi oil tankers came under attack off UAE coast


MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia on Monday said that two of its tankers were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Quoting energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reports the two tankers were targeted off the coast of Fujairah. Al-Falih explained that one tanker was en route to the kingdom to be loaded with Saudi crude oil to send to the United States to supply Saudi Aramco customers. “Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels,” Al-Falih ...

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Rahul Gandhi wins citizenship row


MNA International Desk: Indian Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition questioning Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship. NDTV reports, The petition filed by two Delhi residents wanted the Supreme Court to direct the government to decide whether Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen and whether he should be allowed to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Amethi and Wayanad, and then “fill a seat” in parliament. The petitioners – Jai Bhagwan Goyal and Chander Prakash Tyagi – had said that in a form along with the annual data of a UK-based company in 2005-06, it was allegedly mentioned that Rahul ...

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Nine die as blast hits near major Sufi shrine in Lahore

Sufi shrine

MNA International Desk: At least nine people were killed by a blast targeting a security checkpoint outside a major Sufi shrine in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, officials said. The blast, one day after the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, took place close to the Data Darbar, one of the largest shrines in South Asia, which was cordoned off by security forces. “Police was the prime target in this attack. We are collecting forensic evidences to ascertain the nature of the blast. This attack has left nine dead and 24 injured,” said Ashfaq Khan, ...

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Remains of nearly 85,000 genocide victims buried in Rwanda


MNA International Desk: The remains of nearly 85,000 people murdered in Rwanda’s genocide were laid to rest Saturday in a sombre ceremony in Kigali, a quarter of a century after the slaughter. Mourners sobbed as 81 white coffins containing the remains of 84,437 victims of the 1994 mass killings were buried at the Nyanza Genocide Memorial in the capital. They were among more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, massacred over 100 days by Hutu extremists and militia forces determined to eradicate the Tutsi minority in Rwanda. Rwanda begins 100 days of mourning every April 7 — the day the genocide ...

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Boeing 737 with 143 aboard slides into US river


MNA International Desk: A Boeing jetliner with 143 people aboard from the US outpost at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, slid off a runway into a shallow river in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday while attempting to land at a military base there during a thunderstorm, injuring 21 people. There were no reports of fatalities or critical injuries. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that all 21 of the injured were taken to a hospital, where they were listed in good condition. The plane, a chartered Boeing 737-800 arriving from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba with 136 passengers and seven crew ...

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Venezuelan opposition leader vows crippling strikes


MNA International Desk: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has called for an escalating series of strikes to force President Nicolás Maduro to relinquish power. Mr Guaidó urged public employees to act on Thursday, saying the stoppages would lead to a general strike. A woman was killed in clashes between protesters and security forces in Caracas on Wednesday, reports say. Mr Maduro meanwhile dismissed suggestions he had been ready to flee and accused the US of directing a coup. Those involved would be punished, he said. Tensions over the crisis are also rising between the US and Russia. US Secretary of ...

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Lankan defense secretary resigns for failure in prevent bombing


MNA International Desk: Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando told Reuters on Thursday that he had resigned, taking responsibility for the failure to prevent suicide bomber attacks on the country last Sunday. He said that while there had been no failure on his own part, he was taking responsibility for failures of some institutions he headed as the secretary of defence. He said that security agencies were actively responding to intelligence they had about the possibility of attacks before they were launched. “We were working on that. All those agencies were working on that,” he said. The Easter Sunday bombings ...

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Sri Lanka President asks police chief, defense minister to quit


MNA International Desk: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the police chief and defense secretary to quit following recent series of bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 people. Two sources close to Sri Lankan president revealed the information on Wednesday. The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter amid accusations within the government of intelligence failures ahead of the attacks. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the police chief and defense secretary to quit following the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 ...

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Death toll crosses 300: Sri Lanka falls silent

Sri Lanka

MNA International Desk: Sri Lanka began a day of national mourning with three minutes of silence to honor more than 300 people killed in suicide bomb blasts. Flags were lowered to half mast on government buildings, and people bowed their heads and reflected silently on the violence that has caused international outrage. The silence began at 8:30 am (0300 GMT), the time that the first of six bombs detonated on Sunday morning, unleashing carnage at high-end hotels and churches packed with Easter worshippers. Shortly after the silence was observed, a police spokesman said the toll had risen to 310, with ...

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Widodo comfortably ahead in early results of Indonesia polls


MNA International Desk: Early results from Indonesia’s election on Wednesday showed President Joko Widodo with a comfortable lead, in line with opinion polls that had predicted the low-key reformist was heading for a second five-year term. Private pollsters data based on a partial count of samples from polling stations showed that Widodo was winning more than half of the vote and his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, was more than 10 percentage points behind him. One of the pollsters, the Jakarta-based CSIS, showed Widodo with 56.7 percent and Prabowo at 43.3 percent, after just over half of the votes were ...

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Sudan President al-Bashir steps down


MNA International Desk: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was forced to step down by the military on Thursday, after three decades of autocratic power, and moves were under way to form a transitional council to run the country, Sudanese sources said. Government sources and the minister of production and economic resources in North Darfur, Adel Mahjoub Hussein, told Dubai-based al-Hadath TV that Bashir had stepped down and consultations were taking place to form a ruling military council, reports Reuters. Sudanese sources told Reuters Bashir, 75, was deposed by the army and was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. The military ...

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