International

North Korean leader Kim visits China

North Korean leader Kim

MNA International Desk: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to denuclearise and meet US officials, China said on Wednesday after an historic meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbour. After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what China’s Foreign Ministry called an unofficial visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday. The China visit was Kim’s first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation ...

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US steps up threat to quit UNHRC

UNHRC

MNA International Desk: The United States warned Friday that it was losing patience and again threatened to quit the UN Human Rights Council or UNHRC after the Geneva-based body adopted five resolutions condemning Israel. US ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that the council was “grossly biased against Israel,” noting that it had adopted only three resolutions separately targeting North Korea, Iran and Syria. “When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said Haley. “Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s ...

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Peru’s president Kuczynski resigns

Kuczynski

MNA International Desk: Peru’s center-right President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced his resignation on Wednesday after vote-buying allegations ensnared him in a fresh scandal on the eve of an impeachment vote, capping months of political turmoil in one of Latin America’s most stable economies. Kuczynski, a 79-year-old former Wall Street banker who once held US citizenship, promised a ‘constitutional and orderly’ transition of power to end what he described as a hostile political climate that had made governing nearly impossible. But Kuczynski, who is expected to be replaced by Vice President Martin Vizcarra on Friday, denied allegations of wrongdoing and blamed ...

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Myanmar’s president Htin Kyaw resigns

Htin Kyaw

MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s civilian president, Htin Kyaw, has resigned with immediate effect ‘in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities’, his office said in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday. Htin Kyaw, whose post is largely ceremonial, has been a close ally of the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He was handpicked by the Nobel peace prize laureate to become president because a constitution drafted by the country’s former junta bars her from the top office. There has been speculation in the local media for some months that Htin Kyaw was in ...

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Vladimir Putin wins presidential election

Vladimir

MNA International Desk: Vladimir Putin rolled to a crushing re-election victory Sunday for six more years as Russia’s president, and he told cheering supporters in a triumphant but brief speech that “we are bound for success,” reported news agency. There had been no doubt that Putin would win in his fourth electoral contest; he faced seven minor candidates and his most prominent foe was blocked from the ballot. His only real challenge was to run up the tally so high that he could claim an indisputable mandate. With ballots from 80 percent of Russia’s precincts counted by early Monday, Putin ...

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Russia expels 23 British diplomats

British diplomats

MAN International Desk: Russian on Saturday said it will expel 23 British diplomats from the country within a week. The country summoned the British ambassador to inform him of the retaliatory action taken after the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats amid tensions over spy poisoning row. It also said it would close the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg, reported news agency. The move comes in response to Britain’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats. They were ordered to leave over the incident on 4 March which ...

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Xi re-elects as China’s president with no term limits

Xi

MNA International Desk: Xi Jinping was reappointed Saturday as China’s president with no limit on the number of terms he can serve, reported news agency. The National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislature, also appointed close Xi ally Wang Qishan to the formerly ceremonial post of vice president. At the Great Hall of the People, Xi, Wang and other officials took turns stepping to the lectern to place their left hands on the constitution and raise their right fists as they delivered an oath swearing loyalty to the constitution, the motherland and the people. Xi, 64, is considered the most powerful ...

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Observers urged Myanmar not to drag out Reuters reporters case

Reuters

MNA International Desk: Some international observers urged Myanmar on Wednesday not to drag out legal proceedings against two Reuters journalists, as they appeared in court for the 10th time since they were arrested in December and accused of possessing secret government papers. A Yangon court began preliminary hearings in January to decide whether reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, will face charges under the colonial-era Officials Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. Denmark’s embassy in Yangon, which has closely followed the case, said ahead of the latest hearing that the journalists ...

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Haspel, nominated as first woman CIA chief

Haspel

MNA International Desk: Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to become the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, made her career in covert action, but her involvement in controversial interrogations has already provoked Senate opposition to her confirmation. She who joined the CIA in 1985 and earned high-level awards during her career. She was sworn in early last year as deputy director and helps manage intelligence collection, analysis, covert action and counterintelligence. Trump announced Tuesday he was removing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The Senate must vote on Haspel’s confirmation to ...

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Rebel group vows to fight in Syria’s Ghouta

rebel group

MNA International Desk: The largest rebel group in the besieged suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus has vowed not to leave the area and to continue fighting advancing government forces. The Army of Islam was responding to some local reports that said it is negotiating with the Syrian government and its Russian backers to leave the area known as eastern Ghouta. Hamza Bayraqdar, the group’s chief military spokesman, said in a video statement posted online that “our revolutionary ideology does not allow us to sell the blood of the holy warriors who liberated Ghouta.” Bayraqdar says: “we will stay in ...

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2 killed in NY river helicopter crash

helicopter

MNA International Desk: A helicopter carrying six people crashed in New York City’s East River on Sunday, killing at least two and sending three to the hospital in critical condition. Two of the five passengers died at the scene and three were taken to hospitals, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said late Sunday at a press conference. The pilot freed himself and was rescued and in good condition after being taken to a hospital for observation, reported news agency. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Eurocopter AS350 went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7 ...

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18 Afghan soldiers killed in battle

Afghan soldiers

MNA International Desk: As many as 18 Afghan soldiers and members of the special forces have been killed in fighting in the western province of Farah, local officials said on Saturday. Taliban fighters attacked troops assembled to prepare an attack in Bala Buluk district in the night, setting off a fierce battle, officials said. Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said four members of the special forces had been killed and a number wounded, but the head of the local provincial council, Farid Bakhtawar, said the death toll had reached at least 18. As the fighting went on, an air strike ...

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Trump ready to meet Kim Jong Un

singapore

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because Kim is the ultimate decision-maker in his country, a senior administration official said on Thursday. ‘President Trump has made his reputation on making deals,’ the official said in a briefing with reporters after Trump’s agreement to meet Kim at a time and place to be chosen in what would be the first-ever US-North Korea summit. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the message from Kim was relayed orally to Trump by a South Korean delegation in the Oval Office. There was ...

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US Holocaust museum rescinds award to Suu Kyi

US Holocaust

MNA International Desk: The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has rescinded its top award to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi because of her failure to condemn and stop military attacks on her country’s minority Rohingya Muslims, the museum said on Wednesday, reports news agency. The Washington museum’s rescission of its Elie Wiesel Award to Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is the latest honour to be retracted over her silence about widespread abuses against the Rohingya. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy have refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, fed hate attacks on the Rohingya ...

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Trump’s top economic adviser Cohn quits

cohn

MNA International Desk: Gary Cohn, the top economic adviser to US President Donald Trump and a voice for Wall Street in the White House, said on Tuesday he would resign, a move that came after he lost a fight over Trump’s plans for hefty steel and aluminum import tariffs. The departure of Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, was expected to be finalized in a few weeks and will blow a hole in Trump’s already depleted advisory team at a time when the economy is growing but markets are volatile. Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday night that ...

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Kim ‘wants closer ties’ with South Korea

ties

MNA International Desk: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met senior South Korean government officials for the first time and said it is his ‘firm will to vigorously advance’ inter-Korean ties and pursue reunification, the North’s official news agency said on Tuesday. A 10-member South Korean delegation led by National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong travelled to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, on Monday in hopes of encouraging North Korea and the United States to talk to one another. Washington and Pyongyang have been at loggerheads for months over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes, with U.S. President Donald Trump ...

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Curfew in Kashmir after 4 killed by Indian troops

curfew

MNA International Desk: A curfew has been imposed on parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir to contain protests after Indian troops killed three young civilians and a rebel. Indian army Colonel Rajesh Kalia says militants fired at a checkpoint in southern Shopian area and a shootout with soldiers followed. The Associated Press reports citing the locals, that the three civilians were killed in cold blood. Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India with both nations claiming the region entirely. Rebel groups demand the region be united under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. Most people in the portion governed by India ...

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Burkina Faso attacks killed 28

Burkina Faso

MNA International Desk: Twin attacks on the French embassy in Burkina Faso and the country’s military headquarters Friday left dozens dead or wounded, security sources said. The apparently coordinated attacks underlined the struggle the fragile West African nation faces in containing a bloody and growing jihadist insurgency. The government said the attack on the military was a suicide car bombing, adding that a regional anti-terrorism meeting may have been the target. Eight members of the armed forces were killed by the blast and the parallel attacks on the French embassy, while 80 were wounded, said Security Minister Clement Sawadogo. The ...

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Donald Trump’s top aide Hope Hicks to quit

Hope Hicks

MNA International Desk: Hope Hicks, one of US President Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal. The White House announced Hicks, 29, was leaving a day after she spent nine hours in a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Hicks’ decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel, ...

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Saudi King Salman sacks military chiefs

Saudi King Salman

MNA International Desk: Saudi King Salman has sacked the military chief of staff and a host of other top commanders, state media said on Monday, in a major shake-up of the defence establishment. The monarch also replaced the heads of the ground forces and air defences, as well as senior officials at the interior ministry, in a series of late-night royal decrees. No official reason was given for the sweeping overhaul, but it comes as the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels nears the end of its third year. Al-Bunyan’s sacking came after he inaugurated a ...

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Ex-journalist becomes Australia’s deputy PM

deputy PM

MNA International Desk: A former regional newspaper editor, Michael McCormack, has been chosen as Australia’s new deputy PM, reported news agency. He replaces Barnaby Joyce as leader of the Nationals, the governing coalition’s junior partner. Mr Joyce resigned on Friday over his affair with a former staffer, after holding the post for two years. Mr McCormack, a relatively unknown conservative, has attracted criticism for a column he wrote in 1993 in which he described homosexuality as “sordid”. As leader of the Nationals, he automatically becomes deputy to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – who heads the Liberal Party. Mr McCormack was ...

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Bombs hit capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state

bombs

MNA International Desk: Three bombs exploded in different locations around Rakhine’s state capital Sittwe early Saturday morning, including at the home of a high ranking official, Myanmar police told media, adding that no deaths were reported. It is the latest violence to hit Rakhine, which is festering with ethnic tensions and has been roiled by communal violence in the north against the Rohingya and insurgencies in other parts of the state. Bombings in the state capital are rare however. The blasts took place around 4:00am (2130 GMT Friday), the officer said. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear. ...

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100 girls missing after Boko Haram school attack

Boko Haram

MNA International Desk: More than 100 girls were missing on Wednesday, two days after a Boko Haram attack on their school in northeast Nigeria that has raised fears of a repeat of the 2014 Chibok kidnapping that shocked the world. Islamist militants stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening. Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled. But fears have been growing about the whereabouts of the students, and one schoolgirl who escaped said it was likely they were taken by Boko Haram fighters. “We have every reason to suspect that they ...

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Israel, Iran Clash Over Nuclear Threat at Munich

nuclear

MNA International Desk: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Iran is just years away from having a nuclear bomb. Under pressure back home and facing possible corruption charges, Netanyahu took to the stage at the Munich Security Conference Sunday to deliver a warning about the security of the Middle East region, accusing Iran of posing an existential threat. “The nuclear agreement with Iran has brought the countdown, has begun the countdown to an Iranian nuclear arsenal in little more than a decade. And the sanctions relief that the deal provided has not moderated Iran. It’s not made them ...

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Plane crash kills 66 in Iran

plane

MNA International Desk: An Iranian commercial plane, carrying 66 passengers, crashed in a foggy, mountainous region of southern Iran on Sunday, killing all people on board. An Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying, went down near its destination of the southern Iranian city of Yasuj, some 780 kilometers (485 miles) south of the Iranian capital, Tehran, news agency reports quoting Iran’s state media. Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV that all on the flight were killed. The plane carried 60 passengers, including one child, and six crew members. Due to foggy condition, ...

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Florida school shooting kills 17

Florida

MNA International Desk: 17 people were killed in the United States after a gun man opened fire at a high school campus in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. The suspect has been named as Nikolas Cruz, 19, and is a former student at the school who had been expelled, reported news agency. As the attack unfolded students were forced to hide as police swooped in on the building. It is one of the deadliest school shootings since 26 people were killed at a Connecticut school in 2012. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters Cruz killed three people outside the school, ...

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Jacob Zuma resigned as President

Jacob Zuma

MNA International Desk: Jacob Zuma resigned as President of South Africa on Wednesday, reluctantly heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power. In a 30-minute farewell address to the nation, 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him towards an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December, but would accept its orders. ‘I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,’ Zuma said. ‘Even though I disagree with the ...

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