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Showing posts from October, 2016

Saudi-led raid kills 60 at Yemen security site, prison, official says

An air raid by an Arab coalition killed 60 people in Yemen, including inmates of a prison near the city of Hodeidah, medical sources said.

The prison held 84 inmates when it was struck three times late on Saturday, Hashem al-Azizi, deputy governor of the province of Hodeidah, told Reuters.
The Saudi-led alliance that conducted the raid said it struck a "central security building" used as a military command center by the Houthi rebels it is fighting.
Local officials said the prison lies within a security complex but that only prison guards were present during the air strike.
"This building is used by Houthi militia and the forces of the deposed president as a command and control center for their military operations," a statement by the coalition said, referring to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally.
"The coalition forces' leadership stresses that targeting protocols and procedures were followed fully,‎" the statement said.
The Saudi-led coal…

Australia, Indonesia consider joint South China Sea naval patrols

Australia is considering joint naval patrols with Indonesia in the contested South China Sea, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Tuesday.

Bishop said Indonesia's request for joint patrols at a bilateral meeting in Bali last week was "consistent with our policies of exercising our right of freedom of navigation."
"That's in accordance with international law and our support for peace and stability in the region," Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.
Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, has previously drawn criticism from China for running surveillance flights over disputed islands in the South China Sea and supporting U.S. freedom of navigation exercises there.
China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea where about $5 trillion of sea-borne trade transits annually, last month urged Australia to "speak and act cautiously" on the South China Sea.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on parts o…

Dollar inches lower on U.S. election jitters, BOJ decision awaited

The dollar edged lower on Tuesday as the final days of the contentious U.S. presidential campaign overshadowed other major market events, as investors weighed the latest concerns about an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Clinton held a five percentage point lead over Republican rival Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday, down only slightly since the FBI said last week it was reviewing new emails in its investigation of the former secretary of state ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
As Clinton is viewed as the status quo candidate for markets, the news weighed on the dollar and nudged it away from highs hit on growing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.
The greenback inched down against the yen ahead of the outcome of a two-day Bank of Japan meeting later in the session, at which policymakers were widely expected to stay the course after a major policy overhaul last m…

Oil prices rise from one-month lows after OPEC approves strategy

Oil prices edged higher from one-month lows in early trading in Asia on Tuesday after OPEC agreed on a long-term strategy that was seen as an indication the cartel was reaching a consensus on managing production.

But the gains were limited as the market was weighed down by further indications of record output from the group, a sign the glut that has kept a lid on prices is not draining away as fast as the oil bulls would like.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were up 9 cents at $46.95 a barrel at 0008 GMT.
On Monday they plunged nearly 4 percent to $46.86 a barrel.
Brent LCOc1 for January deliver, the new front-month contract, was up 24 cents at $48.85.
The previous front-month contract, which expired on Monday, fell nearly 3 percent in the previous session.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) approved a document on Monday outlining its long-term strategy, a sign its members are achieving consensus on managing production.
But the oil grouping had set…

South Korean prosecutors arrest woman at center of political crisis: Yonhap

The woman at the center of a political scandal that has cast the South Korean presidency into crisis was detained late on Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported, hours after she had arrived at the office of local prosecutors to answer questions.

Prosecutors are investigating allegations that Choi Soon-sil used her friendship with President Park Geun-hye to influence state affairs by gaining access to classified documents and benefited personally through non-profit foundations, a prosecution official said earlier.
Worried that Choi may be a flight risk and could destroy evidence, prosecutors placed her under emergency detention without a warrant, Yonhap reported, citing a prosecution official.
She was taken to a Seoul detention facility, Yonhap said.
Prosecutors and Choi's lawyer were not immediately available for comment early on Tuesday morning.
Under South Korean law, a suspect can be held under emergency arrest without a warrant for up to 48 hours. A longer detention requires an arrest…

Asia stocks wallow at six-week lows, China PMIs in focus; oil down

Asian stocks wallowed near six-week lows on Tuesday as investors braced for a looming raft of economic and central bank events, while oil prices fell as markets doubted OPEC's ability to implement planned production cuts.

Market anxiety deepened in recent sessions after the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday said it was investigating newly discovered emails that might relate to democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.14 percent in early trades, its lowest levels in since Sept. 19. October marked the first monthly loss for the index since May.
Investor trepidation was captured in a broad gauge measuring volatility .VIX, which was at its highest levels in a month.
The focus on the day turns to twin China factor PMI surveys due shortly, while later in the day Bank of Japan decides on policy, followed by a U.S. Feder…

Syrian Army: 84 killed by rebel shelling over past 3 days in Aleppo, mostly women & children

The bombardment of government-held positions in Aleppo by militants from terrorist groups has resulted in the deaths of some 84 people, the majority of whom were women and children, the Syrian Army has said.

In a statement issued on Monday, the army and Armed Forces High Command also said rebels had targeted schools and civilians, fired 20 poison gas canisters and 50 Grad rockets, and ignited 48 fires.
On Sunday, a poisonous substance, believed to be highly toxic chlorine gas, was fired at the residential district of al-Hamdaniya in government-held west Aleppo. 
TV channel Al-Mayadeen reported that all the victims of the attack were civilians. 
Rebels have called the accusation a lie.
Moscow has strongly condemned the alleged poison gas attack and repeated its call for Western countries to separate ‘moderate’ rebels from terrorists.
“It’s our duty to remind those who say they have influence over the armed Syrian opposition of the necessity to fulfill their obligation to clearly separate so…

Delhi chokes as air pollution levels jump to 35 times safe limits

Smog has covered New Delhi, India, leading to warnings that even healthy locals may suffer from respiratory issues. 

Pollution levels have hit some 35 times the recommended safe limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
New Delhi usually ranks as one of the world’s most polluted cities as it is, but on Monday morning things spiraled out of control. 
The situation was worsened by smoke from firecrackers used to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, plus the burning of crops in the region.
"Last night, levels hit the severe category, which is the worst. 
You could see and sense how the visibility had come down and there was a choking haze all around," said Anumita Roychowdhury from the Centre for Science and Environment, as cited by Reuters.
The levels of PM 2.5, a tiny particle that can get into the lungs, have reached up to 883 micrograms per cubic meter, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said, as quoted by The Hindu. 
This is 14-16 times higher than the stand…

Russia-US plutonium deal no longer in force after Putin signs bill

President Vladimir Putin has signed an act suspending a 2000 agreement between the US and Russia on reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium extracted from decommissioned warheads.

The bill has already been published on Russia's official legal information website, meaning it's now in force.
It mentions that a decision to restore the agreement can only be made by Russia's president.
The deal between Moscow and Washington was ratified in 2000. 
As a means to safely utilize weapons-grade plutonium, it suggested a specific procedure to turn it into nuclear plant fuel. 
Starting from 2018, it was planned to reprocess 34 tons (68,000 pounds) of plutonium, which would have been enough to produce thousands of nuclear weapons, RIA Novosti reported.
Yet, while Russia has prepared the infrastructure necessary for the process, the US said it found the procedure too costly and instead opted for mixing plutonium with special dilutants to store it indefinitely.
Russia suspended the deal "due t…

Drone captures build-up of Iraqi forces near Mosul as army enters ISIS stronghold

Iraqi Army units have for the first time managed to enter one of the districts of Islamic State stronghold Mosul, following a two-week military operation aimed at clearing areas surrounding the city and ousting the terrorists.

The Iraqi Army and allied militias backed by the US-led coalition entered the Karama district of Mosul on Monday, an Iraqi officer reported, according to Reuters. 
This marks the first significant achievement in the advance into the city.
“They have entered Mosul. 
They are fighting now in Hay [district] al-Karama,” General Wissam Araji of the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service said, according to Reuters.
The battle for Mosul is expected to take weeks or even months.
“The battle of Mosul will not be a picnic. 
We are prepared for the battle of Mosul even if it lasts for months,” said Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organization, the largest Shiite militia supporting Iraqi government forces, Reuters reported.
Dozens of Iraqi military vehicles nearing Mosul from t…

German army creates ‘reality show’ to boost popularity, critics warn of distortions

The German army (Bundeswehr) is set to launch a new reality show covering the daily life of fresh recruits. 

The project, aimed at boosting the popularity of the military, faces mounting criticism from politicians, the public and activists.
The reality show, titled ‘The Recruits’, depicts the daily lives of 12 army newcomers during their basic training. 
The show is split into 90 episodes of about five minutes each and will be put on the Bundeswehr YouTube channel every day, starting from November 1. 
The project is part of a larger campaign by the government to fill the ranks of the Bundeswehr with new recruits.
Yet following the release of a trailer almost a week ahead of the launch, the project has already caused quite a stir. 
While generally approving of the idea of increasing the army’s appeal among recruits, Bundeswehr PR adviser and former military officer Sascha Stoltenow warns of painting a false picture of reality.
“Unfortunately, the campaigns of the Bundeswehr do not necessari…

Denmark: Refugee woman, 2 children found dead in freezer

The bodies of a 27-year-old Syrian refugee woman and her two children have been found dead in a freezer in the south of Denmark, prompting an investigation.

Police made the gruesome discovery on Sunday night in the southern town of Aabenraa after being alerted by the woman’s brother, according to local media. 
He said he had been unable to get in touch with her for a number of days. 
The man took the officers to her apartment, where together they found the bodies of the 27-year-old victim and her daughters, aged seven and nine.
Several streets were sealed off in the neighborhood with police combing through the surrounding area with forensic teams and dogs. Several witnesses reported seeing officers in riot gear.
According to a statement by the South Jutland Police, the family were Syrian refugees who had arrived in the summer of 2015.
“They spoke only Arabic, but they were so polite and sweet. 
Oh god, what a pity for the two girls,” an 81-year-old neighbor told the JV newspaper.
An autopsy …

'End unlawful attacks in western Aleppo' – Amnesty Intl to armed opposition groups in Syria

The human rights NGO Amnesty International has raised the alarm of civilians being killed in Syria’s western Aleppo by armed opposition groups. 

Having called the attacks on government-controlled areas “unlawful,” the group said that weapons banned by international law had also been used.
“The goal of breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo does not give armed opposition groups a license to flout the rules of international humanitarian law by bombarding civilian neighborhoods in government-held areas without distinction,” Deputy Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, Samah Hadid, said.
In a statement published on Monday, the organization accused armed opposition groups of “a shocking disregard for civilian lives.” 
The latest offensive on western Aleppo launched on October 28 saw “indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas,” the group said, adding that dozens of innocent people, including children, were killed in the areas, controlled by the Syrian government.…

صندوق کودکان سازمان ملل: سیصد میلیون کودک در جهان هوای بسیار آلوده تنفس می‌کنند

صندوق کودکان سازمان ملل (یونیسف) در تازه‌ترین گزارش خود گفته است حدود ۳۰۰میلیون کودک در جهان در معرض تنفس "هوای بسیار آلوده" هستند که ممکن است صدمات جدی فیزیکی یا لطمات شدید مغزی به آنها وارد کند.
بر اساس این گزارش که امروز، دوشنبه (۳۱اکتبر/۱۰آبان) منتشر شده، تقریبا از هر هفت کودک یک کودک در جهان هوایی را تنفس می‌کند که شش بار از استانداردهای جهانی آلوده‌تر است.
یافته‌های صندوق کودکان سازمان ملل، یک هفته قبل از مذاکرات تغییرات اقلیمی سازمان ملل، که قرار است هفته آینده در مراکش برگزار شود، منتشر شده است.
آنتونی لیک، مدیر اجرایی این سازمان، گفته است: "آلودگی هوا یکی از عوامل اصلی مرگ و میر حدود ششصد هزار کودک زیر ۵سال در جهان است و زندگی و آینده میلیونها نفر دیگر را تهدید می‌کند."
او همچنین گفته: " آلودگی هوا فقط به ریه کودکان در حال شد آسیب نمی‌رساند بلکه ممکن است به آسیب‌های دائمی بر روی مغز آنها هم منجر شود."
صندوق کودکان سازمان ملل در گزارش اخیر خود تعداد کودکانی که در معرض هوای "بسیار آلوده" هستند را ۳۰۰میلیون نفر در جهان ذکر کرده و منابع این آلود…