Hong Kong bus accident killed 18

Hong Kong

MNA International Desk: At least 18 people were killed and dozens injured when a double-decker bus ovseturned in Hong Kong on Saturday evening. Photographs on local media websites showed the bus lying on its side with its roof torn off by a road near the town of Tai Po in the northern New Territories, reported news agency. It appeared to have slid on its side and hit a lamppost which cut through the front of the vehicle. Rescuers were attempting to reach passengers trapped in the wreckage, although police were unable to say how many were still inside the bus. ...

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Trump blocks release of democratic Russia memo


MNA International Desk: President Donald Trump is refusing to declassify a high-profile memo written by Democratic lawmakers about the Russia probe. In a letter to the chair of the House Intelligence Committee Friday, White House counsel Don McGahn says the memo “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” The Democrats’ memo aimed to counter a Republican-drafted one the president declassified and released. FBI chief Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a separate letter indicated that releasing this material would present concerns for the “protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations and other similarly sensitive information.” ...

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Death toll rises to 9 in Taiwan quake


MNA International Desk: Aftershocks hampered rescue efforts on Thursday as emergency personnel combed through collapsed buildings in search of survivors after a powerful earthquake killed at least nine people near Taiwan popular tourist city of Hualien. Nervous residents endured a series of aftershocks, including a 5.7 quake late on Wednesday and smaller tremors early on Thursday. The coastal city of Hualien was hit by a magnitude 6.4 quake just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Tuesday that killed nine people and injured 265. Four buildings collapsed, officials said, and about 62 people were still missing. It was initially feared as many ...

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4 dead, 145 missing in Taiwan quake


MNA International Desk: Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, some using their hands as they searched for about 145 people missing after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near the popular Taiwanese tourist city of Hualien overnight. At least four people were killed and 225 injured in the quake that hit near the coastal city just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said. The latest figures from government data indicated 145 people were missing. Many of those were believed to be still trapped inside buildings, including a military hospital, after the quake hit about 22 km ...

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Maldives declares state of emergency


MNA International Desk: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a state of emergency, ordered security forces into the supreme court and arrested a former president, in moves the opposition called a ‘purge’ in the Indian Ocean island nation. Maldives police also arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another Supreme Court judge on Tuesday, dramatically escalating the legal battle with the archipelago’s top court. Police said in a Twitter message they had arrested Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed ‘for an ongoing investigation’. They gave no details about the allegations or charges against the two judges. The president has ...

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N Korea’s top official to visit South


MNA International Desk: North Korea’s ceremonial head of state will visit the South this week and attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony as the divided peninsula witnesses a rare thaw after a year of high tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. Kim Yong-Nam will technically be the most senior official from the North ever to travel to the other side of the Demilitarized Zone that has for decades divided the two Koreas, reported news agency. His trip will be the diplomatic high point of the rapprochement between the two Koreas triggered by the Pyeongchang Olympics in the South, which have their ...

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Suicide bomber kills 11 soldiers in Pakistan


MNA International Desk: At least 11 soldiers were killed and 13 injured in a suicide attack near an army base in northern Pakistan on Saturday. Attacks have decreased sharply in the picturesque Swat Valley but can cause alarm in a region where Pakistani Taliban insurgents took partial control in 2007, before being ousted two years later in a major military operation hailed as an important blow against Islamist violence, reported news agency. Swat was the first sizeable region outside Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan to fall to the militants. More than 2,000 Taliban fighters have been driven out of ...

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Myanmar denies new mass graves in Rakhine

Ethnic cleansing

MNA International Desk:  Myanmar denied on Friday that there were mass graves in a village in troubled Rakhine state, where a military crackdown on insurgents has triggered the flight of nearly 690,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to neighbouring Bangladesh. The Associated Press has reported it had confirmed the existence of more than five previously unreported mass graves in the village of Gu Dar Pyin, through interviews with survivors in refugee camps in Bangladesh and through time-stamped cellphone videos. The Myanmar government’s Information Committee, part of the office of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said in a statement on its Facebook ...

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6,900 Syrians shield from US deportation


MNA International Desk: Some 7,000 Syrians can live another 18 months in the United States as the Trump administration has extended temporary protection for them. They were shielded from deportation under a humanitarian programme, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), reported news agency. Since 2011, Syria has been embr54oiled in a civil war that has caused millions to flee and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Protections were set to expire for Syrians on 31 March, but with the extension will now last at least another 18 months. The president has cancelled TPS programmes for various countries in recent months, affecting immigrants from ...

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FBI’s deputy director stepping down


MNA International Desk: The FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, is stepping down after President Donald Trump accused him of being a Democratic partisan, a government source confirmed Monday. McCabe is stopping work immediately but will remain on the FBI payroll until March to obtain retirement benefits, the source confirmed. McCabe, 49, was expected to leave sometime early this year when he became fully eligible for a pension, after two decades in the bureau. The New York Times reported that McCabe had hoped to stay active in his position up to his retirement, but was pressured to leave earlier by FBI ...

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5 killed in attack on Kabul military base


MNA International Desk: Five militants targeted a military base in Kabul Monday – just two days after an attacker driving an ambulance packed with explosives killed more than 100 in the Afghan capital. Monday’s assault started before daybreak, at 5 a.m. local time, when an attacker detonated his suicide vest at the entrance of the military base, near the Marshal Fahim Military Academy in the west of Kabul, Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told. The assault dragged on for five hours during which another suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest. Another two were killed by the Afghan ...

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Afghan blast death toll rises to 95


MNA International Desk: The casualty toll from Saturday’s ambulance bomb attack in the Afghan capital Kabul reached at least 95 dead and 158 wounded, a health ministry official said. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast, a week after it claimed an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, a week after it claimed an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed. Buildings hundreds of metres (yards) away were shaken by the force of the explosion, ...

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Saudi Prince Alwaleed expects to be released

Prince Alwaleed

MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained in the kingdom’s sweeping crackdown on corruption said on Saturday that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and be released from custody within days. Prince Alwaleed was speaking in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his suite in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel, where he has been confined for over two months along with dozens of other suspects. It was the first time the prince, one of the nation’s most prominent businessmen, has spoken publicly since his detention. Prince Alwaleed said he was continuing to maintain his innocence ...

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US diplomat Richardson quits Rohingya panel


MNA International Desk: US diplomat Bill Richardson has resigned from an international panel set up by Myanmar to advise on the Rohingya crisis, saying it was conducting a “whitewash” and accusing the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi of lacking “moral leadership”. Richardson, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, quit as the 10-member advisory board was making its first visit to western Rakhine State, from where nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled in recent months. “The main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash,” Richardson told Reuters in an interview, adding he did not want ...

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Kentucky school shooting leaves 2 dead


MNA International Desk: A teenage boy opened fire with a handgun at a Kentucky high school early Tuesday, killing two fellow students and wounding more than a dozen people in the latest mass shooting to hit the United States. The unnamed 15-year-old student, now in custody, is alleged to have carried out the attack at Marshall County High School in Benton, a small town in western Kentucky. Two students of the same age died of gunshot wounds, while 12 other people were shot and five suffered other injuries during the shooting, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said. The suspected shooter was ...

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US shutdown ends as Congress passes bill


MNA International Desk: The US government partial shutdown is ending after Republicans and Democrats voted for a temporary funding bill. The Democratic leadership agreed to back the bill after accepting promises from Republicans for a debate later on the future of young illegal immigrants. President Donald Trump, who signed the bill on Monday evening, took a swipe at Democrats. It is the fourth temporary measure since October because Capitol Hill cannot agree a longer-term budget. The spending bill passed the Senate by 81-18 and the House of Representatives by 266-150 earlier on Monday. The so-called continuing resolution keeps the government ...

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Govt services closed as working week begins in US


MNA International Desk: Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be unable to report for work on Monday, as the US Senate struggles to end a government shutdown. The shutdown began at midnight on Friday, when lawmakers failed to agree on an extension to federal funding. Efforts to reach a compromise ahead of the working week failed late on Sunday. A vote to end the shutdown was postponed until midday (17:00 GMT) on Monday, meaning many federal government offices will remain closed. The Senate held a rare session throughout the weekend, in an attempt to reach an agreement ahead of ...

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5 killed in Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel attack

Intercontinental Hotel

MNA International Desk: Gunmen killed at least five people and wounded eight others in an attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, an official said Sunday, as the eleven hours-long siege continued. Afghan security forces were still trying to clear the landmark hilltop hotel with at least one attacker on the loose, a security source said. Dramatic images broadcast on Afghanistan’s Tolo News showed thick black smoke and flames billowing from the top floor of the hotel. At least one person could be seen climbing over a top-floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, before losing his grip and plunging to the ground. ...

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US Government shuts down amid scrambled fund deal


MNA International Desk: The US federal government shut down at midnight Friday as senators continued to scramble to reach a deal to fund the government. This is the first modern government shutdown with Congress and the White House controlled by the same party, and it comes on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump’s White House however immediately blamed Democrats for the shutdown. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement moments before midnight. “We will ...

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Trump denies US embassy move to Jerusalem


MNA International Desk: President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the planned relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would take place within a year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the controversial move to happen by then. Reversing decades of US policy, Trump in early December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion the process of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv, imperiling Middle East peace efforts and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies alike. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month the embassy move was ‘probably no earlier than ...

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Colombian army helicopter crash kills 10

Colombian army helicopter

MNA International Desk: Ten people were killed when a Colombian army helicopter crashed near the town of Segovia, in northern Antioquia province, on Tuesday. The Russian-made MI-17 helicopter, carrying eight army personnel and two civilians, crashed on Tuesday morning on route from the town of Caucasia. Staff onboard the helicopter were set to inspect army gasoline storage facilities. “The hypothesis is of an accident, it is being investigated,” General Juan Vicente Trujillo, head of the army’s aviation division, told journalists, ruling out an attack as the cause of the crash. The National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group, which recently restarted ...

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14 injured in gas explosion in Belgium


MNA International Desk: Fourteen people were taken to the hospital, including one in critical condition, after an explosion collapsed or severely damaged buildings in Belgium port city of Antwerp, reported news agency. Police said in a statement that 14 people were taken to hospitals, including one in critical condition and five in a serious condition. They said emergency services pulled several people from the debris of the buildings in the Paardenmarkt area of central Antwerp, a Dutch-speaking northern city, but could not rule out finding others as searches continued. Police said the explosion was not related to terrorism, while Belgium ...

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‘I am not racist’: Donald Trump


MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump insisted on Sunday ‘I’m not a racist’ in response to reports that he had described immigrants from Haiti and African countries as coming from ‘shithole countries.’ Trump also said he was ‘ready, willing and able’ to reach a deal to protect illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children from being deported but that he did not believe Democrats wanted an agreement. Donald Trump tweeted earlier on Sunday that the existing program would ‘probably’ be discontinued. The debate over immigration policy became increasingly acrimonious after it was reported on Thursday that the ...

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Missile warning sent mistakenly in Hawaii


MNA International Desk: An crisis alert was sent mistakenly on Saturday to Hawaii’s residents warning of an forthcoming ballistic missile attack when an employee at the state emergency management agency pushed the “wrong button,” Hawaii’s governor said. State officials and the U.S. military’s Pacific Command confirmed that there was no actual threat. But for more than a half hour, while the agency struggled to withdraw the warning, panicked Hawaiians jumbled to find shelter. The mistaken alert stated: “EMERGENCY ALERT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The alert, sent to mobile phones and ...

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US ambassador to Panama resigns

US Ambassador

MNA International Desk: US Ambassador to Panama John Feeley, a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, has resigned, saying he no longer felt able to serve President Donald Trump. Feeley’s departure had been communicated to State Department officials on Dec 27 and was not a response to Trump’s alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries at a meeting on Thursday, US officials said. Trump denies using the term, reported news agency. Feeley, one of the department’s Latin America specialists and among its senior most officers, made clear that he had come to a ...

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Myanmar soldiers killed 10 Rohingyas


MNA International Desk: Myanmar’s military said on Wednesday its soldiers had murdered 10 captured Muslim “terrorists” during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after local Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave they had dug. “Villagers and members of the security forces have confessed that they committed murder,” the military said in a statement. It was a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during its operations in the western state of Rakhine. The army launched a sweeping counteroffensive in the north of the state in response to Rohingya militant attacks on Aug 25, triggering ...

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California mudslides killed 13 people


MNA International Desk: Mudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California and killed at least 13 people, police said Tuesday. Authorities said the bodies were discovered in mud and debris during rescue operations in Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department said on its Twitter feed it was using dogs to look for victims where multiple homes once stood in Montecito following heavy rain, with more than 20 people reported missing. The department posted pictures of rivers of waist-high mud flowing through neighborhoods and roads rendered impassable by fallen trees. Roads were clogged ...

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