White House again hit with staff upheavals


MNA International Desk: Another round of upheaval engulfed president Donald Trump’s White House on Tuesday, with the future of several senior aides in doubt just a week after U.S. congressional elections. Three Trump cabinet members – chief of staff John Kelly, homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and interior secretary Ryan Zinke – could soon be gone, said sources familiar with internal discussions in the Republican administration. Turnover among White House personnel paused during the run-up to last week’s elections after senior Republicans asked Trump to refrain from firing staff, hoping to minimize perceptions of disorder. Attorney general Jeff Sessions was ...

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Suu Kyi stripped off Amnesty honour


MNA International Desk: Amnesty International announced on Monday that it has withdrawn its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of the Myanmar leader’s shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for. Amnesty International’s secretary general Kumi Naidoo wrote on 11 November to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her that the organisation is revoking the 2009 award. Naidoo expressed the organisation’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar, citing her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar ...

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Israeli fire kills 7 during Gaza raid


MNA International Desk: An exchange of fire erupted during an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing six Palestinians and an Israeli soldier, officials said, while potentially dashing hopes that a recent agreement would restore calm, reported news agency. As tensions rose following the clash, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he would cut short his trip to Paris, where he had been attending World War I commemorations, and return home. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, denounced a “cowardly Israeli attack”. Palestinian security sources said the ...

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California wildfire death toll rises to 23


MNA International Desk: The charred remains of fourteen more victims have been found in and around a Northern California town overrun by flames from a massive wildfire, officials said on Saturday, raising the death toll to 23, reported news agency. The bodies were recovered in and around Paradise, California, a mountain community some 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento left devastated by the Camp Fire, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Maclean said. Maclean said no details were immediately available about the circumstances of the deaths and that the bodies’ badly burned condition would make identification ...

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Mamata agrees to fence 300 acres of Bangladesh border


MNA International Desk: India’s West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has agreed to the country’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s request to acquire 300 acres of land in the state and give it to the Centre for constructing barbed wire fencing along the India-Bangladesh border, officials said Friday. The move came after the home minister wrote to the chief minister, whose government had been dithering for months over acquiring the land, leading to a delay in construction of a fence along the international border, they said. Singh’s letter to Banerjee, requesting her to acquire and hand over about 300 acres of ...

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Pakistan’s Asia Bibi freed from jail


MNA International Desk: A Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail and is believed to have already flown out of the city of Multan where she was being held, heading for an unknown destination, her lawyer said Thursday. Asia Bibi’s release comes a week after her acquittal in a landmark case that triggered angry Islamist protests in Muslim-majority Pakistan and following appeals from her husband for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum. Her lawyer fled to the Netherlands on Saturday under threat to his life. Bibi’s ...

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Democrats capture US House majority


MNA International Desk: Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with president Donald Trump to win control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday where they will seek to keep his agenda in check and open his administration to intense scrutiny. In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans were set to maintain their majority in the US Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues. With a House majority, Democrats will have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of ...

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Sons want to bury Khashoggi in Madinah


MNA International Desk: The sons of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi issued an emotional appeal for the return of their father’s body. They made the appeal in their first interview since he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a month ago. Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, who called their father “courageous, generous and very brave,” said they have endured weeks of anguish and uncertainty following his disappearance and death, reports CNN. “I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah Khashoggi, 33, told CNN during a sit-down interview ...

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Suu Kyi’s party slapped down in by-polls


MNA International Desk: The party of Myanmar’s embattled head of state Aung San Suu Kyi said Sunday they were defeated in six constituencies in a national by-election, showing uneven support for her government after a string of controversies. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to power in 2015 in a landslide victory, ending decades of military rule. But her tenure has been full of stumbles, most notably with ethnic groups involved in peace talks with the military — which has been marred by skirmishes and ongoing civil war in states like Kachin and Shan. The dissatisfaction ...

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Italian storms claim 17th life, 14 million trees


MNA International Desk: Heavy storms and gales devastating parts of Italy have claimed two more lives, taking the overall death toll to at least 17. A spokeswoman said 17 deaths related to the severe weather had been reported to the Agency so far. Many of the victims to date have been killed by falling trees. Coldiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies, said in a statement that gales had destroyed around 14 million trees, many in the far north. Areas from the far northeast to Sicily in the southwest have been affected, with the worst damage in the northern regions ...

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Erdogan: Khashoggi killing ordered at Saudi ‘highest levels’


MNA International Desk: The order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in the Washington Post on Friday and he called for the “puppetmasters” to be unmasked. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul exactly one month ago on October 2. Erdogan, in an op-ed piece in the newspaper, said he did not believe “for a second” that King Salman had ordered “the hit” on Khashoggi ...

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‘Black box’ recovered from crashed Indonesia aircraft

black box

MNA International Desk: One black box from the crashed Lion Air jet has been recovered, the head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said, which could be critical to establishing why the brand new plane fell out of the sky. The devices record information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane as well as flight crew conversations and could hold vital clues to the cause of the deadly accident. The Boeing-737 MAX 8, which went into service just a few months ago, plunged into the Java Sea off Indonesia’s northern coast on Monday, killing 189 people, just 12 ...

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‘Khashoggi murder outcry threatens US-Saudi ties’


MNA International Desk: The outcry in the United States demonizing Saudi Arabia over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul threatens US-Saudi strategic ties, the former Saudi intelligence minister warned on Wednesday.  “We value our strategic relationship with the United States and hope to sustain it. We hope the United States reciprocates in kind,” royal family member Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud said in an address to the National Council on US-Arab Relations, a non-profit advocacy organization. Turki, to whom Khashoggi once served as an adviser, has also served as an ambassador to ...

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Search for crashed Indonesian aircraft widens

Indonesian aircraft

MNA International Desk: The search for an Indonesian aircraft which crashed into the sea with 189 people onboard will expand on Wednesday to 15 nautical miles from the area where the plane lost contact, according to search and rescue officials. Ground staff lost contact with flight JT610 of Indonesian budget airline Lion Air 13 minutes after the Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off early on Monday from Jakarta on its way to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang, reported news agency. It is now almost certain that everyone on the plane died, but relatives are desperate to find traces of ...

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Trump sends 5,200 troops to Mexico border as caravan advances


MNA International Desk: The United States said on Monday it will send over 5,200 troops to help secure the border with Mexico, a far larger-than-expected deployment as President Donald Trump hardens his stance on immigration ahead of Nov 6 mid-term elections. The deployment will create an active-duty force comparable in size to the US military contingent in Iraq, as Trump’s administration draws attention to a caravan of migrants that is trekking through Mexico toward the United States. General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of US Northern Command, said 800 US troops were already en route to the Texas border and more ...

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Indonesia plane crashes with 189 aboard


MNA International Desk: A Lion Air Boeing passenger plane carrying 188 people on board requested air control for return, minutes after taking off from here, before crashing into the sea on Monday. A rescue and search operation is underway, officials said. ‘Several pieces of Lion Air JT 610 aircraft that crashed in the waters of Karawang (was found),’ Head of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted. The budget airline’s aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, a child, two babies with two pilots and five flight attendants, Nugroho said, adding that the National Search and Rescue ...

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Khashoggi fiancée declines Trump invitation


MNA International Desk: The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday said she did not accept an invitation from US President Donald Trump to visit the White House because she thought it was aimed at influencing public opinion in his own favour. In her first television interview since the killing, Hatice Cengiz recounted the events leading up to their visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 where Khashoggi handed her his two mobile phones and went inside while she waited outside for him to emerge. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Saudi ...

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Explosives sent to Obama, Hillary Clinton


MNA International Desk: The US Secret Service said federal authorities are investigating suspicious packages sent to former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It comes two days after a bomb was found at the home of liberal philanthropist and financier George Soros in the suburbs of New York City. The devices were discovered by technicians who screen mail sent to the former US officials. The Time Warner building in New York was also evacuated due to a package. CNN, which is located in the Time Warner building, reported that it evacuated its newsroom over a suspicious ...

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Khashoggi’s body parts found: report

Body parts

MNA International Desk: Body parts belonging to murdered Saudi Arabia journalist Jamal Khashoggi found, reported news agency. The sources have told Sky News the writer had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured”. One source also suggested Khashoggi’s remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home – situated around 500 metres away from the consulate. It puts paid to the explanation being put about by Saudi officials that the body was rolled up in a carpet and handed to a local collaborator who was tasked with disposing of the evidence. It comes after Turkey’s president earlier ...

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World’s longest Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge opens


MNA International Desk: Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began, reported news agency. Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. The bridge has cost about $20bn (£15.3bn) and seen several delays. Construction has been dogged by safety issues – at least 18 workers have died on the project, officials say. Mr Xi attended the opening ceremony of the bridge which took place in Zhuhai along with the leaders of Hong Kong and ...

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700,000 march to demand 2nd referendum on Brexit


MNA International Desk: Almost 700,000 people from all over the UK took to street to demand a second referendum on Brexit, reported news agency. The centre of London ground to a halt as the crowds marched peacefully on parliament to demand the same. Addressing the crowds, which included dozens of MPs from all political parties, the TV personality and food writer Delia Smith said Brexit threatened to cause “unmitigated chaos”. The Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said the march showed that British people were beginning to realise that politicians could not deliver a successful Brexit that would protect their jobs, ...

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US to exit INF treaty, citing Russian violations: Trump


MNA International Desk: President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States will exit the Cold-War era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that eliminated a class of nuclear weapons, in a move that is likely to upset Russia, reported news agency. The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the US Senate in 1988, required elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries. “Russia has not, unfortunately, honoured the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump told reporters after a rally ...

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Khashoggi killed in consulate, Saudi Arabia admits


MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia said on Friday that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate, reported news agency. It also said that it had fired two senior officials over the incident, giving an account that US President Donald Trump said was credible. Saudi Arabia’s acknowledgement that Khashoggi died came after two weeks of denials and growing demands from Western allies for an explanation over Khashoggi’s disappearance, which galvanised a global outcry and prompted some US lawmakers to call for harsh action against Riyadh. Saudi state media said King Salman had ordered the dismissal of two ...

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At least 59 killed as train hits crowd in northern India

northern India

MNA International Desk: A commuter train traveling at high speed ran through a crowd of people on the rail tracks in northern India killing at least 59 people on Friday, state officials said, making it India’s worst rail disaster this year. Video footage from the scene showed hundreds had gathered to watch the burning of an effigy as part of the Dussehra festival celebrations, when a commuter train ran through the crowd. Police said it was “freak accident” as people did not hear the train approaching amid the din of festivities and fireworks. During the festival of Dussehra people all ...

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MJ Akbar resigns amid #MeToo storm


MNA International Desk: India’s junior foreign minister M.J. Akbar announced his resignation on Wednesday following allegations of sexual harassment by a string of women, as the country’s fledgling #MeToo movement gathers pace. “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations against me,” M.J. Akbar, a veteran newspaper editor before joining politics, said in a statement. He earlier denied #MeToo claims. On Sunday he dismissed sexual harassment allegations made against him by several women, mostly journalists, and ducked calls for ...

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‘Guilty until proven innocent’: Trump defends Saudi in disappearance of Khashoggi


MNA International Desk: Donald Trump has defended Saudi Arabia against mounting international condemnation of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning against a rush to judgment as his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, headed to Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The US president in an interview with the Associated Press, compared the case of Khashoggi – whom Turkish officials say was murdered in the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate – to allegations of sexual assault levelled against the supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. “I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here ...

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Trump sends Pompeo to Riyadh over Khashoggi


MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a botched interrogation, CNN and the New York Times said on Monday, after US President Donald Trump speculated ‘rogue killers’ may be responsible. Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case that has strained the Americans’ relationship with the Saudis, carefully cultivated by the US president. Khashoggi, a US resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago to ...

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