Syria chemical attack: Death toll rises to 72


MNA International Desk: The death toll from a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Syrian town has risen to 72, including 20 children, sources said on Wednesday. “There were also 17 women among the dead and the death toll could rise further because there are people missing,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Insurgent groups led by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front vowed revenge for Tuesday’s strike in the town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province in the northwest. The attack caused many people to choke or faint, and some had foam coming out of their mouths. ...

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St Petersburg metro blast is ‘act of terror’: Probe Committee


MNA International Desk: About eleven people were killed and dozens more injured as an explosion shocked the Saint Petersburg metro Monday, with the Kremlin saying it bore “all the hallmarks of an attack.” Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was probing an “act of terror” but added it would look into all other possible causes of the blast. However, the authorities shut down metro system in Russia’s second city for several hours as security services said they had also defused a bomb at a second metro station. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which comes after the ...

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Leftist candidate Lenin Moreno claims victory in Ecuador

Lenin Moreno

MNA International Desk: Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno Lenin Moreno claimed victory in Ecuador presidential vote on Sunday, bucking a shift to the right across South America, but the conservative challenger asked for a recount. A Moreno victory would come as a relief for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after Guillermo Lasso vowed to remove him from the Ecuadorean embassy in London if he won the runoff. Moreno, a paraplegic former vice-president, had secured 51.07 percent of the votes compared to Lasso’s 48.93 percent, with just over 94 percent of votes counted, according to the electoral council. It has not yet ...

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Colombia landslide death toll rises to 250: Red Cross


MNA International Desk: In the southwestern Colombia town of Mocoa a sudden surge of mud and water swept away homes, bridges, vehicles and trees, leaving piles of wrecked timber buried in thick mud. The toll has risen to 250 dead in a violent landslide in Colombia caused by the overflowing of three rivers swollen by torrential rain, the local Red Cross said Sunday. Hardest-hit was the southwestern town of Mocoa, in the Amazon rainforest basin, with the previously reported number of fatalities hitting 206. At least 202 people were wounded, more than 100 people missing, 300 families affected and 25 ...

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Twenty people murdered at Pakistani Sufi shrine


MNA International Desk: At least 20 people, including six members of a family, were tortured and killed at a shrine allegedly by its “mentally ill” custodian and his associates in Sargodha in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Sargodha Deputy Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatta said the incident took place at the dargah (shrine) of Muhammad Ali Gujjar in a village in Sargodha district, some 200 km from Lahore. The custodian Abdul Waheed, who was apparently suffering from mental disease, used a dagger and a stick to kill his victims, he said. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has asked for a police report on ...

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First daughter Ivanka Trump takes White House job

daughter Ivanka

MNA International Desk: First daughter Ivanka Trump is about to take on another title as an unpaid adviser to her father President Donald Trump, the White House announced on Wednesday. Ivanka will not receive a salary for her work as a federal employee. Kushner, a real estate developer, is also unpaid. “We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president,” a White House statement said. “Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities ...

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UK formally launches process for leaving EU today


MNA International Desk: Britain formally launches the process for leaving the European Union on Wednesday. Just days after the EU’s 60th birthday, Britain is poised to become the first country ever to seek a divorce, striking a blow at the heart of the union forged from the ashes of World War II. Nine months since the shock British referendum vote to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, meaning Britain is set to leave the EU in 2019. “We must no longer be defined by the votes we cast in the referendum-but ...

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Tropical Cyclone Debbie hits Northeast Australia


MNA International Desk: Howling winds, heavy rain and huge seas pounded Australia’s northeast on Tuesday, damaging homes, wrecking jetties and cutting power to thousands of people as Tropical Cyclone Debbie tore through Queensland state’s far north. Wind gusts stronger than 260 km per hour (160 mph) were recorded at tourist resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef as the powerful storm made landfall as a category four, one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level. It was later downgraded to a category three storm. Forecasters said high winds could persist for as long as 10 hours, although it would ...

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At least 6 students feared dead in Japan avalanche


MNA International Desk: Six high school students were feared dead Monday after they were engulfed by an avalanche while on a mountain-climbing outing, reported news agency. Local authorities and police confirmed that an avalanche had hit early Monday on the mountain in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo. Three other students were injured, while three teachers on the excursion could not immediately be contacted. The incident occurred in the town of Nasu about 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Tokyo. Tochigi prefectural authorities said that about 50 students from seven high schools were on the mountaineering trip. Television footage showed heavy ...

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Air strike kills 16 people on prison in Syria’s Idlib


MNA International Desk: At least 16 people were killed overnight in air strikes on a prison in the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwest Syria, reported news agency. It said the dead included prisoners and prison guards, but did not have an immediate breakdown of the toll. The strikes were believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes, which have been flying sorties in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s government since Moscow began a military intervention in September 2015. Idlib city became the second provincial capital to fall from government control when it was captured in March 2015 by ...

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UK parliament terrorist attack killed 5, injured 40


MNA International Desk: Five people, including a London police officer who was stabbed and the alleged assailant, were killed in a terror attack that saw more 40 people injured outside the Parliament building on Wednesday. The dead, in what police called a “marauding terrorist attack,” included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed. The other three victims were among those hit by the car as it sped across Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings just outside parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack as “sick and depraved”. “The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, ...

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UK, US ban laptops on flights from Middle East counties

Middle East

MNA International Desk: The United States and Britain banned larger electronic devices from the passenger cabin on flights from some airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. American officials warned that extremists are seeking ‘innovative’ ways to attack airliners with smaller explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics bigger than smart phones. The UK government has also announced a sweeping cabin ban on laptops and tablets on inbound flights from six countries. The UK ban on any electronic item larger than a normal Smartphone applies to all direct passenger flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. ...

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Baghdad car bomb blast kills 23 people

car bomb blast

MNA International Desk: At least 23 people have been killed and 45 others injured in a car bomb blast in the west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Islamic State militants captured an Iraqi police colonel and eight other officers on Monday after they ran out of ammunition during a skirmish in the battle for western Mosul, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. The official, who declined to be identified, said the incident took place as government forces closed in on Islamic State fighters in the Old City and other districts, in an offensive intended to crush the hardline group ...

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At least 20 students die in freak tree accident in Ghana


MNA International Desk: At least 20 students died after trees fell on them while swimming in a river during a storm in Ghana, emergency officials said on Sunday. National Fire Service spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said the ‘unusual incident’ happened on Sunday afternoon, when a group of high school students were swimming at the Kintampo waterfalls, a popular tourist destination in the Brong-Ahafo region. The students died at the scene and 11 more were receiving treatment, including one of the school administrators in charge of the trip. Accidents ranging from deaths caused by mass flooding to petrol tanker explosions happen ...

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Paris airport attacker ready ‘to die for Allah’


MNA International Desk: A man who said he was ready to die for Allah was shot dead on Saturday after attacking a soldier at Paris’s Orly airport. Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old French national, grabbed a female soldier and put a gun to her head, seizing her assault rifle, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference. “Put your weapons down, hands on your heads. I’m here to die for Allah. In any case people are going to die,” the attacker told. Ben Belgacem had a string of criminal convictions and showed signs of Islamic radicalization. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins ...

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At least 25 killed in Syria courthouse bomb attack


MNA International Desk: A suicide bomber attacked a courthouse in the centre of the Syrian capital on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding others, state media reported. Security forces had cordoned off the area and roads leading to it were blocked as ambulances and firefighters rushed to the building. The courthouse contains both an Islamic religious tribunal charged with personal matters, and a criminal court. The bombing comes on the sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, which began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011. Last Saturday, a twin bombing in the capital killed 74 people and was claimed ...

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EU court allows employers to ban Islamic headscarf at work


MNA International Desk: The European Union’s highest court has allowed companies to ban staff from wearing Islamic headscarves at work, but only as part of a general policy barring all religious and political symbols. The ruling arrives on the eve of elections in Netherland, where Muslim immigration has been a controversial issue and in France; where the race to succeed President François Hollande remains wide open. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg ruled the garments could be banned, however, adding that if the company has no policy barring religious symbols then customers cannot simply demand workers remove their ...

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UK parliament gave approval on Brexit bill

UK parliament

MNA International Desk: UK parliament gave its approval Monday for Prime Minister Theresa May to start Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, even as Scotland signaled its opposition by announcing plans for a fresh independence vote. The House of Lords rejected a last-ditch attempt to amend a bill empowering May to begin Brexit, paving the way for it to become law as early as Tuesday. The prime minister could then trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty at any time, starting two years of talks that will end with Britain becoming the first country to leave the bloc. May’s ...

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Massive landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump kills 30


MNA International Desk: At least 30 people were killed and dozens more hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. The tragedy on Saturday saw dozens of homes of squatters living in the dump leveled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, reported news agency. Construction materials, wooden sticks and plastic sheeting could be seen in the wreckage. According to local residents, some 50 houses with about seven people living in each of them were built on the trash. People had built the ...

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At least 59 pilgrims killed in Damascus bomb blast


MNA International Desk: Twin bombs targeting Shiite pilgrims killed 59 people in Damascus on Saturday, most of them Iraqis, a monitoring group said of one of the bloodiest attacks in the Syrian capital. There have been periodic bombings in Damascus, but the stronghold of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been largely spared the destruction faced by other major cities in six years of civil war. A roadside bomb detonated as a bus passed by and a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Bab al-Saghir area, which houses several Shiite mausoleums that draw pilgrims from around the world, ...

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19 teenage girls dead in fire at Guatemala orphanage


MNA International Desk: At least 19 teenage girls have died after a fire at a children’s care home in Guatemala. The fire broke out in the adolescent female wing of the state-run Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home. It then spread quickly through the site. Although the exact cause of the blaze has not been confirmed, police said it began with a group of young people setting fire to mattresses in a bedroom, apparently during disturbances. All those who died were aged 14 to 17. A further 25 people were injured; suffering first, second and third-degree burns, and were taken ...

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Gunmen dressed as doctors kill 30 people in Kabul hospital


MNA International Desk: Gunmen dressed as doctors stormed Afghanistan’s largest military hospital Wednesday, killing more than 30 people in a six-hour attack claimed by the Islamic State group as it makes inroads into the war-battered country. Around 50 others were wounded in the assault on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital, with explosions and gunfire rattling Kabul’s diplomatic district as dense clouds of smoke rose in the sky. Medical staff hunkered down in the hospital wards posted desperate messages for help on social media. Television footage showed some of them trapped on the ledge of a top-floor window. Hospital administrators told ...

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China calls ceasefire between rebels and Myanmar forces


MNA International Desk: China on Tuesday called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic rebels and Myanmar security forces in a restive border area, urging the two sides to resolve their differences through peaceful means instead. China is giving humanitarian help to people from Myanmar who have fled the fighting that has killed about 30 people and dealt a blow to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s goal of reaching peace with minorities. Thousands have fled a Myanmar town bordering China after over 30 people were killed as the army fought back ethnic rebels armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. ...

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US issues travel warning for visiting South Asian countries

travel warning

MNA International Desk: The United States has issued a travel warning for its citizens visiting Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh citing that terrorist groups in South Asia could be planning attacks in the region, possibly against American facilities, citizens and interests.  “The US government assesses terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against US facilities, citizens, and interests,” the State Department said as part of its ‘Worldwide Caution’ issued on Monday. “Terrorists have hit a wide variety of targets and institutions in Bangladesh,” it continued, leaving in place the ‘ Bangladesh Travel Warning ‘ it ...

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60-year-old Indian detained for raping 15-year-old girl


MNA International Desk: A 60-year-old man was arrested and another detained for raping a 15-year-old girl in New Delhi, Delhi Police said on Tuesday. The accused, Mijhawan, was arrested on Monday night after a police complaint was lodged by the minor’s family, while his accomplice in the case has been detained. The incident occurred when the 9 grader student, a resident of Shakarpur in Netaji Subhash Place, left for home after her tuition classes on 4 March, police said. The victim, a student of government school, said the accused persons again molested her on Monday while she was returning from ...

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North Korea launched 4 ballistic missiles into Japan waters


MNA International Desk: North Korea launched four ballistic missiles on Monday in another challenge to President Donald Trump, with three landing close to America’s ally Japan. Seoul and Washington began annual joint military exercises last week that always infuriate Pyongyang, with the North’s military warning of ‘merciless nuclear counter-action’. Under leader Kim Jong-Un, Pyongyang has ambitions to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland—which Trump has vowed will not happen. The missiles travelled around 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) and reached an altitude of 260 kilometres, said a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, ...

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Malaysia cancelled N.Korea visa-free travel deal after Kim murder

travel deal

MNA International Desk: Malaysia has cancelled a visa-free travel deal with Pyongyang as a diplomatic spat deepens over the assassination of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader, news agency reported on Thursday. The government implemented the change on the grounds of national security; the Malaysian news agency quoted the country’s deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying. The cancellation will take effect on March 6, after which North Koreans entering Malaysia will be required to obtain a visa, the report added. Before the murder of Kim Jong-Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, the two countries enjoyed ...

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