Death toll from Japan quake hits 44


MNA International Desk: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in northern Japan last week rose to 44, with 660 injured, the government said on Monday, as electricity supply remained short and top automaker Toyota suspended work at most of its assembly plants. The pre-dawn, 6.7-magnitude quake on Thursday temporarily paralysed the island of Hokkaido, cutting off access by air and train and knocking out power to an island the size of Austria. About 2,500 people remain in evacuation centres, according to Fire and Disaster Management Agency, after landslides buried houses and rain at the weekend loosened soil in a ...

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N Korea to hold military parade to mark 70th anniv

N Korea

MNA International Desk: Hundreds of trucks carrying thousands of troops lined a Pyongyang riverbank in the pale light of dawn early Sunday, as nuclear-armed North Korea prepared to celebrate its birthday with a huge show of military strength. Sunday is the 70th anniversary of the 1948 foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the North is officially known, three years after Moscow and Washington divided the peninsula between them in the closing days of the Second World War. Such set-piece dates are a mainstay of the North’s political calendar, particularly when round numbers are involved, and have traditionally ...

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Ex-Trump campaign aide jailed in Russia probe


MNA International Desk: A former advisor to US president Donald Trump whose contacts with Russians set off the investigation into possible collusion with Moscow was jailed Friday for lying to the FBI. US District Judge Randolph Moss sentenced foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos to 14 days in prison, acknowledging his guilty plea and his remorse, but noting that he “lied in an investigation that was important to national security.” Papadopoulos was the second person ordered to prison in the sprawling, 16-month Russia collusion investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, and came just over two weeks after two former top aides ...

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Erdogan, Putin clash over Idlib ‘ceasefire’


MNA International Desk: Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday openly disagreed about a “ceasefire” in Syria’s Idlib province, highlighting their differences despite a close cooperation. The rare scenes captured on camera came as Putin, Erdogan and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani met in Tehran for a three-way summit to discuss the fate of the country’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib. Russia and Iran are key allies of president Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader, and has argued against a large-scale offensive against the rebels fearing ...

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India’s SC legalises gay sex in landmark ruling

gay sex

MNA International Desk: In a historic verdict, India’s Supreme Court today ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence in the country. A five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, gave the judgment on a clutch of petitions challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises consensual gay sex, reports news agency. Section 377 of the IPC provides imprisonment for life for a term which may extend to 10 years and a fine for ‘unnatural offences’. The section says, whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman ...

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20 dead as blasts hit Afghan capital

Afghan capital

MNA International Desk: The death toll from two blasts at a sports centre in a heavily Shi’ite area of the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday reached at least 20, with 70 wounded, officials said. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the total was likely to change. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi, home to many members of the mainly Shi’ite Muslim Hazara ethnic minority which has been targeted repeatedly in the past by the militant Sunni group. The Taliban denied any involvement. Prior to Wednesday’s attack, the area had seen a series of similar incidents, most recently ...

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Typhoon kills 10 people in Japan


MNA International Desk: A powerful typhoon killed 10 people in western Japan and an airport company started to transfer some 3,000 stranded passengers by boats from a flooded airport, the government said on Wednesday, as more than a million homes were without power. Jebi, or “swallow” in Korean, was briefly a super typhoon and is the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years. It follows heavy rains, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people this summer. About 3,000 tourists stayed overnight at Kansai Airport in western Japan, an important hub for Japanese companies to export ...

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Taliban announces death of Afghan Haqqani leader


MNA International Desk: The founder of the Haqqani network, one of Afghanistan’s most effective and feared militant groups, has died after a long illness, their affiliates the Afghan Taliban announced Tuesday, reported news agency. Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose son Sirajuddin Haqqani now heads the brutal group and is also the Taliban’s deputy leader, died “after a long battle with illness”, the Taliban said in a statement. Jalaluddin “was from among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era”, the Taliban said in a statement posted on Twitter. During the 1980s the Haqqani figurehead was an Afghan mujahideen commander fighting the Soviet ...

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2 Reuters journalists jailed for 7yrs


MNA International Desk: A Myanmar court on Monday sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years imprisonment as they were found guilty of breaching a law on state secrets, reported news agency. Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin said Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act when they collected and obtained confidential documents. “The defendants…have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years. The time already served by the defendants from Dec. 12 will be taken into consideration,” the judge said, reports Reuters. The reporters had told the court two ...

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Massive fire at Brazil’s 200-yr-old Museum


MNA International Desk: A massive fire on Sunday ripped through Rio de Janeiro’s National Museum, one of Brazil’s oldest, in what the nation’s president said was a “tragic” loss of knowledge and heritage. Television footage showed the majestic building engulfed in flames that firefighters had yet to bring under control, with plumes of smoke shooting into the night sky. Though some 20 fire brigades dashed to the scene after the blaze erupted around 2230 GMT, they had yet to smother the inferno that was tearing through hundreds of rooms. The museum, located in the city’s north, was closed to the ...

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Brazil court bars Lula from presidential contest


MNA International Desk: Brazil’s top electoral court on Friday barred jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in this year’s presidential because of his corruption conviction, reported news agency. The widely expected decision removes a cloud hanging over Brazil’s most uncertain election in decades – though Lula’s lawyers have said they would appeal an adverse decision to the Supreme Court. “What is at stake here today is the equality of all citizens before the law and the Constitution,” Judge Og Fernandes told the court in his vote to declare Lula ineligible. Judge Admar Gonzaga, who as a ...

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‘Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize won’t be withdrawn’


MNA International Desk: The Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi will not be withdrawn in the light of a United Nations report that said Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings of Muslim Rohingya, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Wednesday. On Monday, UN investigators said Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent”, and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law. Aung San Suu Kyi, who leads the Myanmar government and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for campaigning for democracy, has been criticised for ...

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Russia to hold biggest military drills since Cold War

Cold War

MNA International Desk: Russia will next month flex its military muscles and hold the biggest war games since the Cold War era, with almost 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, reported news agency. The Vostok-2018, or East 18, exercises simulating large-scale warfare, will be carried out from 11 to 15 September in the country’s east, with troops from China and Mongolia also taking part. They come as Russia is hit by the latest round of US sanctions and faces even harsher ones over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack in Britain, with its relations with the West at their ...

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Malcolm Turnbull ‘to quit parliament’

Malcolm Turnbull

MNA International Desk: Malcolm Turnbull has said he will quit Australia’s parliament on Friday following his ouster as prime minister by party rivals, reported news agency. Mr Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison last week in a bid to end infighting that had crippled the centre-right government. The ousted leader said Australians would be “appalled” by recent events. His departure will trigger a by-election and place Mr Morrison’s parliamentary majority at risk. In explaining his decision, Mr Turnbull again took a thinly veiled swipe at his predecessor, Tony Abbott – who had been accused of undermining the government. “Former prime ...

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Verdict postponed in Myanmar’s case against Reuters journalists


MNA International Desk: The verdict in Myanmar’s prosecution of two Reuters reporters accused of breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act was postponed on Monday until Sept 3 because the judge overseeing the case is sick, reported news agency. Scores of reporters and diplomats had gathered at the Yangon court to hear the verdict on journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, the culmination of eight months of hearings in a landmark case that has come to be seen as a test of progress towards democracy in the Southeast Asian country. But the proceedings lasted just a few minutes, ...

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US senator John McCain dies


MNA International Desk: US Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who ran unsuccessfully for president as a self-styled maverick Republican in 2008 and became a prominent critic of president Donald Trump, died on Saturday, his office said. He was 81, reported news agency. McCain, a US senator from Arizona for over three decades, had been battling glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, discovered by his doctors in July 2017, and had not been at the US Capitol in 2018. He also had surgery for an intestinal infection in April of this year. His family had announced on ...

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US cuts $200m aid to Palestinians


MNA International Desk: The United States is cutting more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians, the state department said on Friday, amid a deteriorating relationship with the Palestinian leadership, reported news agency. A senior state department official said without elaborating that the funds, originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza, would address “high-priority projects elsewhere.” “We have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,” the official ...

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Morrison new Australian PM


MNA International Desk: New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised generational change in the warring Liberal party yesterday, seeking to end an internecine battle that has scarred the conservative government ahead of an election due by May 2019. Morrison, who was treasurer under outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, emerged the surprise winner in a three-way challenge for the leadership of the Liberal party brought on by a right-wing rival this week. Stepping up to become Australia’s sixth prime minister in less than 10 years, Morrison has inherited leadership of a coalition between the Liberal and National parties whose one-seat majority ...

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Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar passes away

Kuldip Nayar

MNA International Desk: Veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Kuldip Nayar passed away at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday after a brief illness. He was 95. Mr. Nayar was known for his stand against the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency as the Editor of The Statesman. He was arrested for his vocal protest during the time. His first job was with an Urdu daily. He served in a leadership role in The Indian Express, too, and had written columns in over 80 newspapers, including the Pakistan-based Dawn and The Express Tribune. Apart from his work as a journalist, Mr. ...

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Ministers offer to quit as Australia political crisis deepens


MNA International Desk: At least 10 ministers have offered their resignations as a leadership crisis in Australian politics deepened Wednesday with another challenge against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appearing inevitable. The embattled leader narrowly survived a move to unseat him by his populist Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Tuesday with a Liberal party ballot voting 48-35 in his favour. It came to a head after months of poor opinion polls and a revolt by fellow Liberal politicians on Monday against his plans to embed carbon emissions targets in law at a time of soaring power prices. Despite Turnbull’s win, ...

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Eid-ul-Azha being celebrated in Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries

Gulf countries

MNA International Desk: The holy festival of Eid-ul-Azha is being celebrated in Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Gulf countries, Afghanistan and some other parts of the world today. In Saudi Arabia, major congregations were held in Masjid-ul-Haram, the Grand Mosque in Makkah, and Masjid an-Nabawi, also called the Prophet’s Mosque, in Madina early Tuesday morning where more than two million Muslims offered Eid-ul-Azha prayers. The pilgrims, after completing their prayers, began arriving in Mina where they will perform ‘stoning of the devil’ at Jamarat Al-Aqba, reported news agency. After the stoning ritual, the pilgrims will sacrifice animals, shave their heads and ...

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Korean families reunite after being separated since 1950s


MNA International Desk: Some 180 families torn apart by the 1950-53 Korean War will be temporarily reunited in North Korea starting Monday after the two Koreas renewed exchanges this year following a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. The reunions, the first in three years, will take place in the North’s tourist resort on Mount Kumgang, as agreed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their first summit in April. The separated families are victims of a decades-long standoff between the neighbors, which has escalated over the past several years as Pyongyang ...

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Death toll following deadly India floods rises to 357

death toll

MNA International Desk: The death toll from the worst flooding to hit India’s Kerala state in a century has jumped to 357, authorities said Sunday, with losses to infrastructure pegged at some $3 billion, reported news agency. The idyllic tourist hotspot has been badgered by torrential monsoon rains since the end of May, triggering landslides and flash floods that have swept away entire villages. “Since May 29, when the monsoon starts in Kerala, a total of 357 people have lost their lives until now,” a statement from the state’s information officer said, with 33 losing their lives over the last ...

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Imran Khan sworn in as Pakistan PM


MNA International Desk: Pakistan’s new prime minister Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad on Saturday, ushering in a new political era as the World Cup cricket hero officially took the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country, reported news agency. The ceremony at the President’s House in the capital marks the end of decades of rotating leadership between the ousted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), punctuated by periods of army rule. A tearful Khan, clad in a traditional black sherwani, smiled as he stumbled over some of the words of the ...

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India bids tearful adieu to Vajpayee


MNA International Desk: Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose appeal transcended party lines and geographical boundaries, was cremated with full military honours on Friday in the presence of the country’s top leaders cutting across the political divide and adoring masses, reported news agency. Amidst chanting of vedic hymns and firing of a 21-gun salute by soldiers, his foster-daughter Namita lit the funeral pyre in the presence of a galaxy of leaders including prime minister Narendra Modi, president Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, political leaders and foreign dignitaries bidding adieu to the departed leader at the Rashtriya ...

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Malaysian court to rule on women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam

Malaysian court

MNA International Desk: A Malaysian court will decide on Thursday whether to continue hearing a case against two women charged with the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, or acquit them. Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, could face the death penalty on charges of murdering Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a nerve agent banned by the United Nations, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13, last year. The women, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and have pleaded not guilty, saying ...

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40 killed by paramilitaries in eastern Ethiopia

eastern Ethiopia

MNA International Desk: At least 40 people were killed by paramilitary forces in eastern Ethiopia over the weekend, a senior regional official said on Monday, in the latest spate of violence driven by ethnic divisions. Unrest first broke out along the border of the country’s Somali and Oromiya provinces in September, displacing nearly a million people, though the violence had subsided by April. On Monday, the Oromiya regional administration’s spokesman Negeri Lencho said heavily armed members of a paramilitary force from the Somali region had carried out cross-border attacks in Oromiya’s East Hararghe district. A week earlier, mobs looted properties ...

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