Bosnian war criminal kills himself in court

war criminal

MNA International Desk: Bosnian Croat war criminal died Wednesday after apparently drinking poison in dramatic courtroom scenes after UN judges upheld his 20-year jail term, reported news agency. Slobodan Praljak, 72, died in hospital, according to Croatia’s state-run news agency HINA after he drank from a brown bottle at the hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. After the judges upheld a 20-year jail term originally imposed in 2013, Praljak, 72, a former military commander of a breakaway Bosnian Croat statelet, shouted out angrily: “Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict.” ...

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North Korea fires ‘highest ever’ ballistic missile

ballistic missile

MNA International Desk: North Korea has fired its highest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and poses a worldwide threat, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis has said, reports news agency. The missile, launched early on Wednesday, landed in Japanese waters. It reached an altitude of 4,500km (2,800 miles) and flew 960km, according to South Korea’s military. It was the latest in a series of weapons tests that has raised tensions. Pyongyang last launched a ballistic missile in September. It also conducted its sixth nuclear test that month. North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear and missile programme despite global condemnation and ...

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Chinese general commits suicide amid corruption probe

Chinese general

MNA International Desk: A prominent Chinese general under investigation for corruption has committed suicide, state media said on Tuesday, the latest development in a sweeping anti-graft campaign that has shaken the armed forces. Zhang Yang, a former member of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), was being investigated over links to disgraced generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the official Xinhua news agency said. The investigation into Zhang, 66, had verified that he ‘gravely violated discipline’, was ‘suspected of giving and taking bribes’ and the origin of a huge amount of assets was unclear, Xinhua said, citing the commission. A ...

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Pakistan Law Minister resigns following deadly clashes

Pakistan Law Minister

MNA International Desk: Pakistan Law Minister Zahid Hamid resigned on Monday following deadly clashes between the police and protesters of various ‘religious’ parties, media reports said. The resignation came as part of an agreement reached between the government and the protesters late Sunday night, reports news agency. The agreement followed after a two-day face-off at Faizabad Interchange and other parts of the country between protesters and security forces that saw at least six people killed and hundreds injured. Following the agreement, the protest leaders were likely to announce an end to the sit-in at a press conference later on Monday. ...

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Egypt mosque attack toll rises 305


MNA International Desk: The death toll in a terrorist attack on a mosque on Friday in Egypt’s North Sinai has risen to 305 killed, including 27 children, and 128 others were wounded, state news agency MENA reported. ‘The attackers of the mosque were carrying the Islamic State flag,’ MENA quoted the statement of the country’s general prosecutor as saying. ‘Some 25-30 militants have gunned down the worshippers while performing the Friday prayer,’ it added. The attack took place after the mosque’s preacher started his speech, when the terrorists threw bombs from the windows and doors of the mosque, besieging the ...

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EU to monitor Rohingya repatriation process

MNA International Desk: The European Union has said it will monitor the implementation of the instrument signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on return of Rohingyas to Myanmar with attention in full compliance with international law. “We now expect the agreement signed (on Thursday) to be implemented without delay, and Myanmar to create the conditions on the ground that will allow for a voluntary, safe and dignified return of the refugees to their places of origin,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. She made remarks on the signing of a bilateral repatriation instrument between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The signing ...

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Zimbabwe’s new leader promises democracy

new leader

MNA International Desk: Zimbabwe’s new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa told a cheering crowd in Harare on Wednesday that the country was entering a new stage of democracy following Robert Mugabe’s removal as president after nearly four decades in power. Mnangagwa returned to the country earlier in the day, having fled for his safety when the 93-year-old former leader sacked him as vice president two weeks ago to smooth a path to the succession for his much younger wife Grace. ‘The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God,’ Mnangagwa told thousands of supporters gathered outside the ...

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Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president

Robert Mugabe

MNA International Desk: Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday a week after the army and his former political allies moved against him, ending four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal strongman. The 93-year-old had clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, but resigned shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out. Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe’s resignation and suspended the impeachment ...

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Amnesty accuses Myanmar of imposing ‘apartheid’ on Rohingyas


MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s suffocating control of its Rohingya population amounts to “apartheid”, Amnesty International said Tuesday in a probe into the root causes of a crisis. Distressing scenes of dispossessed Rohingya in Bangladeshi camps have provoked outrage around the world, as people who have escaped Rakhine state since August recount tales of murder, rape and arson at the hands of Myanmar troops. Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed in principle to repatriate some Rohingya but disagree over the details, with Myanmar’s army chief saying last week that it was “not possible” to accept the number of refugees proposed by Dhaka. ...

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EU to discuss Rohingya issue with Suu Kyi


MNA International Desk: The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Sunday she would discuss ways to end the Rohingya crisis with Aung San Suu Kyi when she meets the Myanmar leader in Yangon. Mogherini and foreign ministers from Asia and Europe toured refugee camps along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar and heard harrowing testimony from displaced Rohingya there before their meeting Monday with Suu Kyi. Myanmar’s civilian leader has been facing mounting global outrage over an army crackdown that has driven an estimated 620,000 Rohingya Muslims from the mainly Buddhist country’s western state of Rakhine and into Bangladesh. Mogherini said ...

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Robert Mugabe defies pressure to resign

Robert Mugabe

MNA International Desk: President Robert Mugabe stunned Zimbabwe on Sunday by making no mention of resignation in a television address, defying his own ZANU-PF party, which had sacked him hours earlier. Two sources – one a senior member of the government, the other familiar with talks with leaders of the military – had told media Mugabe would announce his resignation to the nation after ZANU-PF dismissed him as its leader in a move precipitated by an army takeover four days earlier. But in the speech from his State House office, sitting alongside a row of generals, Mugabe acknowledged criticisms from ...

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Lebanon’s Hariri leaves Saudi Arabia


MNA International Desk: Saad al-Hariri, who sparked a crisis by resigning as Lebanese prime minister on Nov. 4 during a visit to Saudi Arabia, is on his way to the airport, he said early on Saturday, before his flight from Riyadh to France. Hariri’s abrupt resignation while he was in Saudi Arabia and his continued stay there caused fears over Lebanon’s stability. His visit to France with his family to meet President Emmanuel Macron is seen as part of a possible way out of the crisis. However, Okab Saqr, a member of parliament for Hariri’s Future Movement, said that after ...

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Suu Kyi shrugs off criticism for being silent


MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has wondered why people say she has been silent over the brutal army crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. “I don’t know why people say that I’ve been silent. I haven’t been silent,” she said in reply to a reporter’s query during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Naypyidaw on Wednesday, according to a State Department transcript of the conference. “Actually, we’ve been sending out a lot of statements from my office, and I’ve also made statements of my own,” she ...

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Zimbabwe army says takes power, Mugabe “safe and sound”


MNA International Desk: Zimbabwe’s military said on Wednesday it had seized power in a targeted assault on “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe who were causing social and economic suffering, but gave assurances the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”. In a short broadcast on national television, which was seized overnight by soldiers, a spokesman for the military said it expected “normalcy” to return as soon as it had completed its “mission”. The military detained Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo on Wednesday, a government source said. Chombo was a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling ...

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Suu Kyi meets UN chief on Rohingya issue


MNA International Desk: Aung San Suu Kyi faced rising global pressure Tuesday to solve the crisis for her nation’s displaced Rohingya Muslim minority, meeting the UN chief and America’s top diplomat in the Philippines. UN chief Antonio Guterres told the Nobel laureate that hundreds of thousands of displaced Muslims who had fled to Bangladesh should be allowed to return to their homes in Myanmar. “The Secretary-General highlighted that strengthened efforts to ensure humanitarian access, safe, dignified, voluntary and sustained returns, as well as true reconciliation between communities, would be essential,” a UN statement said, summarizing comments to Suu Kyi. Guterres’ ...

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Iraq-Iran quake kills 328 people


MNA International Desk: The death toll of a major earthquake that hit the Iran-Iraq border overnight rose to 328 dead on the Iranian side of the border on Monday, the coroner’s office said. At least another 2,530 were injured in the 7.3-magnitude quake that hit late Sunday, state television reported the office as saying. A previous toll stood at 207 dead and 1,700 wounded. Footage posted on Twitter showed panicked people fleeing a building in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq, as windows shattered at the moment the quake struck late Sunday, while images from the nearby town of Darbandikhan showed major walls ...

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Mass graves holding 400 bodies found in Iraq

Mass graves

MNA International Desk: Mass graves containing at least 400 bodies have been found near Hawija, an Iraqi city that was occupied by Islamic State (IS) fighters until last month, reports news agency. Kirkuk province’s governor, Rakan Said, said they were found at an airbase just outside the city. Some of the victims were in civilian clothes but others were wearing the jumpsuits that IS used to dress people who were condemned to death. Mr Said said the base had been ‘turned into an execution ground’. General Mortada al-Luwaibi said the Iraqi military found the graves after local residents gave ‘witness ...

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Court annuls Catalan independence declaration


MNA International Desk: Spain’s Constitutional Court has annulled Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence, which the court described as “a serious attack on the rule of law”. The Catalan parliament should note that the right to autonomy “is not and can not be confused with sovereignty,” the court said on Wednesday, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. Catalonia’s regional parliament declared independence on October 27.  The declaration followed the disputed referendum on October 1 that was ruled illegal by Madrid. According to the Catalan government at the time, 90 percent voted in favour of independence, but turnout was less than 50 ...

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Myanmar cardinal urges Pope to avoid use of term ‘Rohingya’

video message

MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s most senior Catholic prelate has urged Pope Francis to avoid using the term ‘Rohingya’ during a visit this month, when he is expected to raise the humanitarian crisis faced by the Muslim minority after a Myanmar army offensive in August. The pope is set to visit largely Buddhist Myanmar from Nov. 27 to Nov. 30, before going to Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim neighbour where more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to take shelter in refugee camps. In the first visit by a pope to Myanmar, Francis will meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate ...

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Donald Trump lands in South Korea

South Korea

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump arrived in South Korea on Tuesday, the closest he has come to the frontlines of the nuclear standoff with North Korea, on a visit that could further aggravate tensions with Pyongyang. Landing at Osan Air Base outside the capital Seoul, Trump stepped down from Air Force One onto a red carpet as he began his 24-hour state visit with a ceremonial military honor guard arrayed on the airport tarmac, reported news agency. The White House says Trump’s trip is intended to demonstrate US resolve over his hardline approach to North Korean nuclear and ...

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About 26 killed in Texas church shooting

Texas church

MNA International Desk: A black-clad gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a small-town Texas church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 in the last mass shooting to shock the United States. Authorities did not identify the gunman, saying only that he was a “young white male, maybe in his early 20s,” who was wearing a bulletproof vest and found dead in his vehicle after being confronted by a local resident. Governor Greg Abbott warned the toll may rise. “There are 26 lives that have been lost. We don’t know if that number will ...

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Saudi detains 4 ministers, 11 princes in anti-corruption drive


MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia has detained four current ministers and eleven princes as part of its anti-corruption campaign, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported on Sunday. Arabiya said the number of detained princes had climbed to 11. It reported earlier that 10 princes and dozens of former ministers had been detained through a new anti-corruption committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which was formed by royal decree on Saturday. The suspects were not named. However, Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya said fresh investigations had been launched into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the outbreak of the Mers virus which emerged ...

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Israel must end illegal settlements: British PM

illegal settlements

MNA International Desk: British Prime Minister Theresa May raised concerns about illegal settlements on Thursday at a meeting with her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in London, May’s office said. “They discussed the need to overcome obstacles to peace, with the prime minister noting our grave concerns about illegal settlements,” a spokesman from May’s office said in a statement, reported news agency. “The prime ministers also discussed the fact settlements are not the only obstacle and that the people of Israel deserve to live free from the scourge of terrorism and anti-Semitic incitement.” The two leaders attended a dinner celebrating the ...

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Suu Kyi makes first visit to Rakhine state


MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived on her first visit to conflict-battered northern Rakhine State on Thursday, reported news agency. Suu Kyi, a nobel laureate who leads Myanmar’s pro-democracy party, has been hammered by the international community for failing to use her moral power to speak up in defence of the Rohinyga. Some 600,000 of the stateless minority have fled to Bangladesh since late August carrying accounts of murder, rape and arson at the hands of the Myanmar’s army, after militant raids sparked a ferocious military crackdown. The UN says that crackdown is tantamount to ethnic ...

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Shinzo Abe re-elected as prime minister


MNA International Desk: Japan’s lower house of parliament re-elected Shinzo Abe as prime minister on Wednesday after his party won a resounding victory in a snap election last month. Abe, who has been Japan’s leader since December 2012, easily won the race with 312 votes in the 465-seat lower house. He is expected to reappoint the same ministers to his Cabinet later in the day. The 63-year-old Abe dissolved the lower house in late September to force an election. Political analysts saw the move as an attempt to win a fresh public mandate and re-establish his hold on power after ...

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New York attack: Eight dead as truck rams cyclists in Manhattan


MNA International Desk: A pickup driver killed eight people in New York on Tuesday, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians, before striking a school bus in what officials branded a “cowardly act of terror.” Eleven others were seriously injured in the broad daylight assault and first deadly terror-related attack in America’s financial and entertainment capital since the 11 September 2001 Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers. President Donald Trump, who has curbed the number of migrants entering the United States, swiftly declared that the US “must not” allow Islamic State jihadists to “return, or enter, our country after defeating them” ...

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Thailand revokes Yingluck Shinawatra’s passports


MNA International Desk: Thailand has revoked the passports of ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra, who has yet to publicly emerge since she slipped out of the country two months ago ahead of judgement day in her negligence trial, officials said Tuesday. The former prime minister, whose elected government was toppled in a 2014 coup, was sentenced to five years in prison in absentia last month for failing to stop graft in a rice policy. The verdict, which closed the curtain on her political career, was lambasted by Yingluck’s supporters as a junta-backed effort to boot her out of Thai politics for ...

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