International

Insurgents killed over 50 Afghan villagers

Afghanistan

MNA International Desk: Insurgents attacked a village in the northern Afghan province of Sar-e Pul, killing as many as 50 people, including women and children on Sunday, reported news agency. Many details of the attack, including the identity of the insurgents, were not immediately clear. They were a mixed group of Taliban and Islamic State fighters but the Taliban itself denied any involvement, dismissing the claim as propaganda. Although the Taliban and Islamic State are usually enemies, the allegiance of their forces is sometimes fluid, with fighters from both groups sometimes changing sides or cooperating with militants from other groups. ...

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UN strengthened sanctions on North Korea

strengthened

MNA International Desk: The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously backed a US-drafted resolution that significantly strengthened sanctions on North Korea, imposing a ban on exports aimed at depriving Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenue. The sweeping measures were the first of that scope to be imposed on North Korea since US President Donald Trump took office and highlighted China’s willingness to punish its Pyongyang ally. The resolution imposed a full ban on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood by the cash-starved state—stripping North Korea of a third ...

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US to take part climate change negotiations

new sanctions

MNA International Desk: The United States announced Friday it would still take part in international climate change negotiations in order to protect its interests, despite its planned withdrawal from the Paris accord on global warming, reported news agency. Two months after President Donald Trump announced the United States would abandon the 2015 global pact, his administration confirmed it had informed the United Nations of its ‘intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement’ — a process that will take at least until 2020. But in a statement, the State Department said Washington was still committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions ...

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Afghan Shiite mosque attack kills 29

Shiite mosque

MNA International Desk: A suicide bomber and a gunman killed at least 29 people and injured 63 at a packed Shiite mosque in Afghanistan’s main western city of Herat Tuesday, reported news agency. The assault on the Jawadya mosque in Herat, which is close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran, came a day after the Islamic State group claimed a deadly attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul. The Herat attack was the latest in a series of assaults on Afghanistan’s minority Shiite population. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but IS has been targeting Shiite minority crowds and mosques ...

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Pakistan’s parliament elected Abbasi as PM

elected

MNA International Desk: Pakistan’s parliament elected ex-oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister on Tuesday, days after three-times premier Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court, reported news agency. Abbasi is seen by the ruling party as a placeholder for Sharif’s designated successor, his younger brother Shahbaz, who must first secure election to the 342-member National Assembly. Abbasi, nominated by Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), secured 221 votes, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq announced on live television. He will be sworn in later Tuesday. “I give the floor to the new prime minister of Pakistan,” Sadiq said as ...

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Trump removes comms director Scaramucci

Scaramucci

MNA International Desk: Anthony Scaramucci was axed as White House communications director Monday, just 10 days after being named to the post and hours after Donald Trump installed a new chief of staff. The 53-year-old New Yorker—whose profanity-laden rant against colleagues gained him global notoriety—was fired as four-star general John Kelly began his quest to impose order on an administration careening out of control. During its first six months in office, Trump’s White House has been beset by scandal, investigations, infighting, leaks, sackings, resignations, stinging legislative defeats and historically low approval ratings. Scaramucci was brought in a little over a ...

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Maduro claimed vote win in Venezuela

Maduro

MNA International Desk: Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro claimed victory on Monday in an internationally criticized election to pick a new assembly to rewrite the constitution, but the opposition vowed to keep protesting despite deadly clashes. Earlier, 10 people were killed in a wave of bloodshed that swept Venezuela Sunday as Maduro defied an opposition boycott and international condemnation-including the threat of new US sanctions-to hold elections for a powerful new “Constituent Assembly.” Protesters attacked polling stations and barricaded streets around the country, drawing a bloody response from security forces, who opened fire with live ammunition in some cases. Despite the ...

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Shahbaz to succeed Nawaz Sharif

Shahbaz

MNA International Desk: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif has been chosen as his successor, reported news agency. In two separate meetings on Saturday, headed by Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz/PML-N) leaders decided to rally behind Shahbaz as his eventual successor. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was till Friday the petroleum minister, was tapped to take over as interim prime minister till the time Shahbaj is elected to parliament, and then to the prime minister’s office. His ascension to the prime minister’s office is considered to be a foregone conclusion, as the PML-N continues to hold a ...

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Donald Trump replaces chief of staff

chief

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump ousted his beleaguered chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday, replacing him with Homeland Security Secretary and former general John Kelly after vicious White House infighting spilled into the open. Only hours after a humiliating defeat on health care reform had underlined his tenuous control over his party in Congress, Trump announced a second shakeup of his inner circle in barely a week. Since entering the White House six months ago, Trump has parted company with his national security advisor, deputy national security advisor, FBI director, press secretary, communications director, acting attorney general, ...

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Zakir Naik declared proclaimed offender

Interpol refused

MNA International Desk: Televangelist Zakir Naik has been declared a proclaimed offender by a special court on Friday, reported news agency. Following the court order last week, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has initiated the process to attach his assets under the law. According to NIA, the order declaring Naik – who enjoys a NRI status – a proclaimed offender was issued on July 21 after which the process to attachm his assets started under the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 83. On November 18 last year, the NIA had lodged a criminal case against Naik in Mumbai, invoking various sections ...

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Building collapse kills 17 in Mumbai

building

MNA International Desk: Rescuers stepped up a desperate bid Wednesday to find victims buried under the rubble of a collapsed building in Mumbai as the death toll rose to 17. The disaster, which occurred in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar on Tuesday morning, was the latest to shine a spotlight on poor construction standards in India. Some bodies were found during the night. Rescuers, using diggers, sifted through the debris on Wednesday morning in the hope of finding more trapped survivors in the block of apartments. Building collapses are common in India, especially during the monsoon season from late June ...

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Israel removes metal detectors from holy site

metal detectors

MNA International Desk: Israel removed metal detectors from a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday and said they would no longer be used after the new security measures set off deadly violence. The move came after intensive international diplomacy seeking to stop the outbreak of wider unrest, with warnings that it could spread far beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories, reported news agency. Israel’s security cabinet accepted “the recommendation of all the security bodies to change the inspection with metal detectors to a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means,” a statement from ...

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Kabul car bombing kills at least 38

least

MNA International Desk: At least 38 people have been killed and 42 wounded after a car bomb struck a bus carrying government employees in western Kabul Monday, reported news agency. No militant group immediately claimed the blast, but it came as the Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country in recent days, with several new districts falling to the militants over the weekend. Kabul is regularly rocked by suicide bombs and attacks. A recent UN report showed they accounted for nearly one-fifth of all civilian Afghan casualties in the first half of 2017. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan ...

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70 villagers kidnapped, 7 killed in Afghanistan

kidnapped

MNA International Desk: At least 70 Afghans were kidnapped Friday from their village along the main highway in the south of the country, and at least seven were killed, police said, accusing the Taliban of the kidnappings. Around 30 villagers have been released but at least 30 others are still missing, reported news agency. The highway runs from Kandahar, the largest city in southern Afghanistan, to Tarinkot, capital of Uruzgan province, a poppy-growing area where the Taliban have a heavy presence. It is not clear why the villagers were targeted. Government officials and security forces are usually the target of ...

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US confirmed North Korea travel ban

confirmed

MNA International Desk: The United States confirmed Friday that it plans to ban its nationals from traveling to North Korea, in the wake of the death of an American student who was imprisoned by Pyongyang during a tourist visit. Travel agencies organizing trips to the isolated country had said earlier Friday they were informed of the impending change. Strict warnings against travel to North Korea had already been in place, but Washington toughened its stance after the death in June of Otto Warmbier. The 22-year-old University of Virginia student was imprisoned for more than a year on charges of stealing ...

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Ram Nath Kovind elected President of India

Ram Nath Kovind

MNA International Desk: Ram Nath Kovind, a low-caste politician backed by the ruling coalition, won India’s presidential election on Thursday, tightening the governing alliance’s hold on positions of power. India’s constitution provides a largely ceremonial role for the president, with the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues holding executive power. But the president has a key role during political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, by deciding which party is in the best position to form a government. Kovind, 71, gained an overwhelming majority to beat Meira Kumar, also a low-caste Dalit candidate, who was backed by ...

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China ready to attack India

ready

MNA International Desk: Samajwadi Party leader and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday claimed that China was ready to attack India in collaboration with Pakistan and asked the government to reverse its stand on the Tibet issue and support its independence. Raising the matter in the Lok Sabha against the backdrop of tension between India and China, he asked the government to inform Parliament what it has done to meet any likely challenge from the neighbouring country. “India is today facing a big danger from China. I have been cautioning the central government for years. China has joined ...

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Indian passport of Zakir Naik revoked

Indian passport

MNA International Desk: Indian passport of televangelist Zakir Naik, who is wanted in connection with his role in a terror case, was on Tuesday revoked on the NIA’s request, an official statement said. The NIA had requested the External Affairs Ministry to revoke Naik’s passport after he failed to respond to three summons in cases filed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against him last year, an NIA official said. The NIA took the step after a special NIA court on April 21 issued non-bailable warrant against Naik and subsequently issued proclamation on June 15 requiring his appearance. Following the Dhaka ...

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Fresh Brexit talks open despite UK infighting

fresh Brexit

MNA International Desk: Britain and the EU vowed to get to the “heart of the matter” as they launched fresh Brexit negotiations in Brussels on Monday, even as bitter infighting gripped the British government. Brexit minister David Davis met EU negotiator Michel Barnier for a second round of talks ahead of Britain’s historic withdrawal from the bloc, scheduled for March 2019. But in London there was fresh turmoil as weakened Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to urge her warring ministers to end damaging leaks against each other over Brexit. “Now it’s time to get down to work and make this ...

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IS leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive

baghdadi

MNA International Desk: A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official was 99 % sure that Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was almost certainly alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa as he said on Monday, in response to reports that  Baghdadi had been killed. Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview ,”Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive”. “Don’t forget his roots go back to al Qaeda days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing,” ...

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Turkey marks one year of attempted coup

one year

MNA International Desk: Turkey on Saturday marked one year since the defeat of the failed coup bid with mass nationwide rallies seeking to showcase national unity and a stern warning by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “chop off the heads” of traitors. The authorities declared July 15 an annual national holiday of “democracy and unity”, billing the foiling of the putsch as a historic victory of Turkish democracy. In an intense programme aiming to hammer home the anniversary’s importance, Erdogan attended a special session of parliament in Ankara, spoke to a mass rally in Istanbul and then flew back to ...

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Former Brazil president Lula jailed for graft

Lula

MNA International Desk: Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for graft on Wednesday—a stark fall from grace for the iconic leftist leader, and the latest twist in a sprawling political corruption probe engulfing Latin America’s largest economy. Lula, who ruled Brazil from 2003-2010, was convicted and handed a 9.5-year prison term for accepting a bribe of a luxury seaside apartment and $1.1 million. But anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, who handed down the sentence, said the 71-year-old Lula would remain free pending an appeal—something his lawyers immediately said they would lodge. ...

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Trump defends son over Russia ‘dirt’ emails

eldest son

MNA International Desk: Donald Trump defended his eldest son Wednesday over emails showing his embrace of Russian efforts to support the billionaire’s presidential campaign in a shock disclosure set to fuel speculation over Moscow’s suspected role in the vote. The revelation puts the president’s son at the center of a burgeoning scandal involving multiple US investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow in its efforts to tilt the 2016 election in the Republican’s favor. In a string of emails released on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr was told he could get “very high level and sensitive information” that was “part ...

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At least 16 killed in US military plane crash

military plane

MNA International Desk: At least 16 people were killed when a US military plane crashed in rural Mississippi on Monday evening, a regional emergency management official said. No official details were immediately available on the circumstances of the crash in northern Mississippi’s LeFlore County, about 100 miles (160 km) north of Jackson, the state capital. Captain Sarah Burns, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps, said only that a US Marines KC-130 Hercules transport aircraft had “experienced a mishap,” with news media initially reporting five confirmed deaths. Several hours later, Fred Randle, LeFlore County director of emergency management, told Reuters that ...

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Trump Jr. met Russian lawyer for information on Clinton

lawyer

MNA International Desk: Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 election campaign after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Trump won the Republican nomination. In a statement quoted by media outlets, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. “After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. ...

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G20 summit ends with opt-outs for Trump on climate

summit

MNA International Desk: World leaders made concessions on trade and climate language to Donald Trump Saturday at the end of the most fractious and riot-hit G20 summit ever, in exchange for preserving a fragile unity of the club of major industrialized and emerging economies. But the gesture opened the door for others, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning that Ankara was now leaning towards not ratifying the landmark Paris climate accord. Erdogan’s threat brought further disarray to a summit that was marred by bilateral quarrels and strife over climate protection and trade. And in one of the weekend’s more ...

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Donald Trump’s first meeting with Putin ‘robust’

Putin

MNA International Desk: US president Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a “very robust exchange” over claims Moscow meddled in America’s elections, during their first face-to-face talks Friday at a fractious G20 summit marred by violent street protests. From the outset of the blockbuster encounter, the US property tycoon fired the key question that has weighed on his presidency, pressing the ex-KGB agent “on more than one occasion” on the vote interference claims, said secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who was in the meeting. But Tillerson’s counterpart Sergei Lavrov quickly added that Trump “accepted” Putin denial of ...

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