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Southeast Asia to set up fund to help boat people

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Southeast Asian countries will establish a humanitarian fund to help boatloads of Rohingya Muslim and Bangladeshi immigrants who have recently landed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, a Malaysian minister said Thursday. Singapore has pledged $200,000 to the fund, Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Zahid Hamidi told a news conference after chairing a special regional meeting on the refugee crisis. Since early May, more than 4,600 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have come ashore in Southeast Asian waters, after human smugglers abandoned their boats amid a regional crackdown. Some are Bangladeshis who left their impoverished homeland in hope of finding jobs abroad. But many are Rohingya...

July 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm | News Desk

New US military strategy is confrontational: Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday a new U.S. military strategy was confrontational and would not help improve relations with Moscow, strained by the crisis in Ukraine.   The strategy, released by the Pentagon on Wednesday, said Russia had repeatedly demonstrated it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and that it was willing to use force to achieve its goals. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed regret about the content of the document and said it indicated a "confrontational attitude, devoid of any objectivity towards our country". "Of course this will hardly contribute to attempts to steer bilateral relations in the direction of normalization," he told reporters during a conference call. R...

July 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm | News Desk

U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba formally agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations on July 20, setting up a trip to Havana by John Kerry, who would become the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the country in 70 years. Sealed by an exchange of letters between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, the deal fulfills a pledge the former Cold War enemies made six months ago. It also attempts to end the recriminations that have predominated ever since Fidel Castro's rebels overthrew the U.S.-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on Jan. 1, 1959. The letters set a date of July 20 for the re-establishment of relations, and embassies could be opened at that time or later. Kerry...

July 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm | News Desk

Greece debt crisis: Global stock markets slide

Stock markets in Europe and Asia have seen big falls after Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls. The moves by the Greek authorities came after the European Central Bank decided not to extend emergency funding. London's FTSE 100 index fell 2% in early trade. Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei index fell nearly 3%. On the currency markets, the euro had fallen to $1.0953 at one point in Asian trading from $1.1165 on Friday, but it then recovered some ground. Elsewhere in Europe, Germany's Dax share index and France's Cac 40 were both down more than 3%. The Athens Stock Exchange and Greek banks are closed all week. Greek contagion The euro has weakened against the British pound, as investors worry about the singl...

June 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm | News Desk

EU climate chief criticises UK wind farm policy

The UK's decision to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms will make it harder to meet renewable energy targets, the EU's climate chief says. Miguel Arias Canete said the EU had already calculated that the UK was not on track to meet legally binding goals. Asked by EA if the wind decision would make the task harder he replied: "Of course". His officials have expressed bemusement at the decision to end subsidies for onshore wind energy a year early. They said onshore wind was by far the cheapest way to hit the target of 15% of all energy from renewables from 2020. 'Mind-boggling' The SNP estimate the change will cost bill payers up to three billion pounds. After a media briefing on climate policy at the European Commission, one ...

June 24, 2015 at 6:05 pm | News Desk

Israeli minister’s wife sorry for ‘Obama coffee’ gag

JERUSALEM: The flamboyant wife of Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom published an “inappropriate joke” on Sunday about US President Barack Obama on her Twitter account, only to later delete it and apologise. “Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak,” Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes wrote to her 74,400 followers. Online shock, condemnation and accusations of racism later led her to delete the incriminating tweet. “I apologize, that was a stupid joke somebody told me,” she wrote on her @JudyMozes Twitter account in English. “President Obama I shouldnt have written the inappropriate joke I heard”, she also wrote, addressing the US leader directly. “I like people no matter about their race and religion”. “Sor...

June 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm | News Desk

India extends crackdown to Catholic charity

NEW DELHI: India has placed the Catholic charity Caritas on a government watch list, an official and news reports said Tuesday, in a growing crackdown on foreign organisations operating in the country. A home ministry official told AFP that Caritas had violated India's foreign funding laws by financing groups that were working “against the country”. He said Caritas had been placed on a list of organisations needing prior government approval to receive or distribute funds in India, a move also reported by the Indian Express daily. “There was clear violation of foreign funding law,” said the official, who asked not to be named, citing funding for groups which protested against a nuclear plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. T...

June 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm | News Desk

Iran MPs pass bill to safeguard nuclear ‘rights’

TEHRAN: Iran's parliament passed a bill on Tuesday obliging the government to safeguard the country's “nuclear rights and achievements,” despite talks with global powers on curbing the Islamic republic's disputed atomic programme. The measure was met by anger from President Hassan Rouhani's government, with a spokesman saying the draft law was unconstitutional as it contravened the country's defence and security policies. The bill's adoption reflects tension between Rouhani, a moderate who aims to end Iran's diplomatic isolation, and a conservative-dominated legislature, where hardliners often dispute the worth of negotiations with the West. The bill, which still has to be signed into law by Iran's Guardian Council, says the governme...

June 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm | News Desk

The China-Pak Economic Corridor: An Evaluation

In the contemporary world, economy is treated as a religion. The time has gone when the superpowers had large arsenals and extensive colonies. This is the era of economic independence and self-reliance. Currently, the nations which are economically independent, sovereign and self reliant are dominant. The story behind the success of the Western powers, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and other fast progressing countries is their economic independence and self- reliance. But unfortunately, the situation in Pakistan is totally reversed. Although Pakistan is rich in natural resources, it is very poor in management. Sixty seven years have passed since the inception of the country but none of its systems has been developed properly. In Pak...

June 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Zulqarnain Sewag

End to Erdogan’s political dictatorship

Over the weekend, Turkey experienced something resembling an electoral earthquake, with Sunday's general election yielding an array of unexpected outcomes that suggest a major political reconfiguration lies ahead for the Republic. That has come as something of a surprise. After all, over the past several years, Turkish politics have been nothing if not predictable. Since coming to power in 2002, the country's ruling Adalet ve Kalk?nma Partisi, or AKP, has systematically consolidated its political control, in the process moving Turkey ever closer to becoming an authoritarian one-party state. As a result, more than a few seasoned observers concluded that this election, like past ones in 2007 and 2011, was destined to be much ado about not...

June 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm | News Desk

Fears of greater conflict: U.S.- Russia military tit for tat

Washington:The war of words between America and Russia is escalating. So, too, is the movement of implements of war -- from U.S. fighter jets to Russian nuclear weapons. So is an actual war imminent? No one in Russia, NATO or the United States has gone that far yet. Still, the rhetoric and actions from both sides have definitely ratcheted up in recent days, raising concerns of a new arms race -- if not worse -- amid tensions both sides blame on each other. The major players all claim their movements are defensive and necessary responses to their foe's provocation. None has talked of an invasion. Still, that's not what some experts are worried about. They say a bigger fear is what things can happen, accidentally, when you have in...

June 19, 2015 at 11:48 am | News Desk

China pushes Uighurs to give up fasting in Ramazan

BEIJING: Some local governments in China's unruly far western region of Xinjiang are stepping up controls on the Islamic faith followed by the Uighur people ahead of Ramazan, including making officials swear they will not fast. The holy month, which begins this week, is a sensitive time in Xinjiang following an uptick in deadly attacks blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants over the past three years in which hundreds have died. In recent days, state media and government websites in Xinjiang have published stories and official notices demanding that party members, civil servants, students and teachers in particular do not observe Ramazan, something that happened last year too. In Jinghe county near the Kazakh border, food safety of...

June 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm | News Desk

11 cops, armymen dead in Helmand Taliban attack

KANDAHAR: Afghan officials say that at least 11 members of the security forces have been killed in a Taliban assault on government buildings in an unstable district in southern Helmand province. The officials said on Thursday that four soldiers and seven police officers were killed when the insurgents overran Musa Qala ? which has shifted between government and Taliban control for years. Saqi Jan, police logistics expert in the district, said four soldiers and four police were killed in the attack, which began late Wednesday night. Earlier the spokesman for the provincial governor, Omar Zawaq, said three policemen had been killed. Jan says that police have regained control of the area around the district police headquarters afte...

June 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm | News Desk

Russia ready to sell four Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan

MOSCOW: A draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M 'Hind E' combat helicopters has been sent to Pakistan from Russia, a source in the Russian military and technical cooperation said on Wednesday, according to a report published on TASS news agency's website. "Following the results of the talks held earlier on helicopters, which Pakistan would like to get from Russia, a draft contract on the delivery of four Mi-35M gunships has been sent to the Pakistani side. Pakistan is now studying the document," the source said. According to Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, talks between Russia and Pakistan are under way regarding the delivery of helicopters. However, Rosoboronexport declined to reveal details regarding these consult...

June 18, 2015 at 4:18 pm | News Desk

Sleeping giants India ‘sink to new low’

NEW DELHI: India hit a new low with their “humiliating” loss to tiny Guam in World Cup qualifying, the country's media said Wednesday. India, once hailed the sleeping giants of football by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, were outclassed by the Pacific island minnows on Tuesday night. The 2-1 defeat was made even more embarrassing as India, with a population of 1.25 billion compared to Guam's 160,000, are 33 places above Guam Matao (174) in the FIFA world rankings. “HUMILIATION”, screamed the Mail Today tabloid which said the defeat was the latest in a string of poor performances. “There is a point after which the word embarrassing does not do justice while describing repeated debacles,” the newspaper said in its back pa...

June 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm | News Desk

US Secret Service Security Breaches: An American Problem

"I wish you spent the time protecting the White House that you spent protecting your reputation here today." ---Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachussetts to former Secret Service Director, Julia Pierson during her Congressional hearing Since the above quote was made, the United States Secret Service Director, Julia Pierson, has resigned. On September 19, 2014, a man jumped over the fence of the White House and entered the main floor...with a folding knife. Up to this point he was completely undetected. This is the White House we are talking about...the residence of the President of the United States. It would be another ten whole days until The Post would report that the White House intruder, Omar Gonzalez, had made it that far into the execut...

October 18, 2014 at 9:10 am | News Desk

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