Dec 072017
2 students reportedly killed in New Mexico school shooting

At least two students were killed in a shooting at their high school in New Mexico on Thursday, state police said, adding that the assailant was dead. The deadly incident took place at Aztec High School, which has been evacuated, New Mexico State Police said on Twitter. “No other injuries reported,” the police said. “#NMSP is investigating this incident. Officers are currently conducting security checks at the Aztec High School.”San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters that three people died at Aztec High School. Authorities said they had cleared all the buildings at the school and that students were boarding buses to another location where they could be reunited with their parents.Deputies with the sheriff's office and surrounding police departments responded to the school after reports of a shooting. Federal agents and state police are investigating the incident.The school is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation. This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters. Click for detailed story

Nov 232017
India voices concern over Hafiz Saeed's imminent release

India on Thursday expressed displeasure at the imminent release of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who it accuses of organising the 2008 Mumbai attacks.A day earlier, the Lahore High Court had refused to extend detention orders against Saeed, whose current house arrest is going to expire on Nov 24 (Friday).The review board under the chair of Justice Abdul Sami Khan passed these orders after a senior finance ministry official failed to convince the board that the release of Saeed would bring diplomatic and financial problems to the country.The JuD chief had been placed under house arrest on January 31 for 90 days. Subsequently, his house arrest had been extended several times.“India is outraged that a self-confessed and a UN proscribed terrorist is allowed to walk free and continue with his agenda,” Raveesh Kumar, India's foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters at a weekly briefing in New Delhi.Kumar said Saeed's release will give an impression that Pakistan supports non-state actors.Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and the United Nations over his alleged role in the attacks that left nearly 166 people dead, including Western nationals.JuD is considered by the US and India to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed for the attacks.The United States identifies Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group was headquartered in Muridke before it was disbanded and [Read More…]

Nov 192017
Arab League meets on Saudi Arabia's request to discuss Iran 'violations'

Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo on Sunday on Saudi Arabia's request for an extraordinary meeting to discuss alleged “violations” committed by Iran in the region.The Arab League meeting comes as tensions have been rising between long-standing rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran over League member Lebanon and other issues.Saudi Arabia and Iran have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria and Yemen. A diplomatic source said Riyadh was seeking to adopt a condemnation of “Iran and Arab militias linked to this country”.A committee is to prepare a draft resolution on Iran which will be discussed later by all ministers. The meeting is also expected to address a Yemen rebel missile that was intercepted near Riyadh on November 4, and a pipeline fire in Bahrain on November 10.Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accused Iran of “direct military aggression” against the kingdom by supplying the Yemen rebels with ballistic missiles, but Tehran has denied any involvement.Bahrain has also blamed Iran for the pipeline fire.In its request for the meeting, Saudi Arabia referred to those two incidents and “to the violations committed by Iran in the Arab region, which undermines security and peace, not only in the Arab region but around the globe,” according to a memo seen by AFP.Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) supported the Saudi request for an extraordinary meeting, which was also approved by Djibouti, the current chair of the pan-Arab bloc, it said.Tensions between Saudi Arabia [Read More…]

Nov 162017
Hariri is free to leave 'when he pleases', says Saudi foreign minister

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is free to leave Saudi Arabia “when he pleases”, the kingdom said on Thursday, rejecting accusations from Beirut that he was being held in Riyadh following his shock resignation. Hariri has been in the Saudi capital since announcing there on November 4 that he was stepping down.Lebanese President Michel Aoun this week accused Saudi authorities of “detaining” the premier. Aoun said on Thursday that Hariri's decision to accept an invitation to travel to France could be the “start of a solution” to the crisis sparked by his resignation. Speculation has swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a dual Saudi citizen. But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh that Hariri was free to leave “when he pleases”. Also read: Saad Hariri’s ‘resignation’ has not gone as smoothly as Saudis wantedJubeir is the highest ranking Saudi official to comment on the situation. Aoun has refused to accept the prime minister's resignation from abroad. “We hope that the crisis is over and Hariri's acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution,” Aoun said on the official presidential Twitter account. “I am awaiting the return of Prime Minister Hariri from Paris for us to decide the next step with regards to the government,” he added. Click for detailed story

Nov 122017
Myanmar soldiers gang-raped Rohingya women: UN

DHAKA: Myanmar soldiers “systematically targeted” Rohingya women for gang-rape during violence against the minority Muslim community which triggered an exodus to Bangladesh, a UN special envoy said on Sunday. Pramila Patten, a special representative of the UN secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, made the comments after visiting Bangladesh’s district of Cox’s Bazaar where some 610,000 Rohingya have taken refuge in the last ten weeks. Many of these atrocities “could be crimes against humanity”, she said. “I heard horrific stories of rape and gang-rape, with many of the women and girls who died as a result of the rape,” Patten told reporters in Dhaka. “My observations point to a pattern of widespread atrocities, including sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls who have been systematically targeted on account of their ethnicity and religion.” The sexual violence in Myanmar’s northern state of Rakhine was “commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the armed forces of Myanmar”, she said. “The forms of sexual violence we consistently heard about from survivors include gang-rape by multiple soldiers, forced public nudity and humiliation and sexual slavery in military captivity.” “One survivor described being held in captivity by the Myanmar armed forces for 45 days, during which time she was repeatedly raped. Others still bore visible scars, bruises and bite marks attesting to their ordeal,” Patten added. Deadly raids by Rohingya militants on Myanmar police posts on August 25 sparked ferocious reprisals against the community by the military in the mainly Buddhist nation. The special representative said others [Read More…]

Nov 122017
Trump mocks people opposing better ties with Russia

MANILA: Donald Trump said on Sunday he backed the US intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, but slammed “fools” who opposed better ties with Moscow. Key former Trump aides are under US investigation for possible collaboration with the Kremlin, and the issue of whether Moscow interfered with last year’s vote has overshadowed the tail end of the president’s Asia tour. Trump returned to the subject in a Twitter storm in Vietnam, which also saw him take a sarcastic dig at North Korea’s “short and fat” leader Kim Jong-Un. At a press conference in Hanoi, Trump was asked to clarify comments he had made the day before about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s insistence that Moscow had never tried to affect the US vote. US president says Xi Jinping has agreed to toughen sanctions against N. Korea “I believe he feels he and Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump said. “As to whether or not I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies. I believe in our… intelligence agencies,” he added. But in his barrage of tweets, Trump slammed “haters and fools” who questioned his efforts to improve ties with Russia. “There (sic) always playing politics — bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help,” he said. In May, US intelligence chiefs told Congress they agreed with their analysts’ conclusion that Russia had interfered in the election. CIA director Mike Pompeo, who [Read More…]

Nov 082017
Trump in China to talk trade and North Korea's 'cruel dictatorship'

Tweet inside Great Firewall North Korean cult United States President Donald Trump toured the Forbidden City with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday as the former began the crucial leg of an Asian trip intended to build a global front against North Korea's nuclear threats.After warning the North's “cruel dictatorship” in a speech in Seoul against testing the US, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were met by Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan for tea at the former imperial palace. The genial gathering will be followed on Thursday by a full day of thorny talks, with Trump looking to prod Xi into doing more to squeeze North Korea economically and to address China's massive trade surplus with the US. The Trump administration sees Beijing as the key to controlling Pyongyang, which depends on China for its economic survival and for 90 per cent of its trade. Earlier, Trump congratulated Xi on his reappointment as China's Communist Party chief, tweeting: “I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.” Trump's use of the term “political victory” for the outcome of last month's Communist Party congress was seen by analysts as a conciliatory move before tough talks. “He's laying it on thick to put Xi in a good mood because he will have unpleasant things to tell him,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, China politics specialist at Hong Kong Baptist University. Xi has prepared an extravagant “state visit-plus” for Trump, who was greeted by [Read More…]

Nov 062017

ADELAIDE: Veteran pace spearhead James Anderson said Monday he was open to replacing suspended Ben Stokes as England vice-captain for the coming Ashes Test series. Joe Root’s squad left home without their usual deputy skipper, who is awaiting the outcome of a police probe into his involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have not yet ruled him out of the series, which starts with the first Test in Brisbane on November 23. ‘Root must convince players they can win Ashes’ Anderson told reporters assuming the vice-captaincy was “not something I have really thought about to be honest”. But when questioned on whether he would decline if asked to fill the role, he replied: “Of course not, I wouldn’t. Certainly over the past few years I have seen my role in the team as being a leader, especially with the young bowlers coming in, I try and help out where I can.” The 35-year-old, who is England’s all-time leading wicket-taker with 506 in 129 Tests, said he already fulfils a leadership role in the team with support from former skipper Alastair Cook and fast bowler Stuart Broad. “War” of words begins ahead of Ashes “That is part and parcel as a senior player who has played over 100 Tests, to be a leader,” he said. “Myself and Stuart try and lead the bowling attack, Alastair has been captain. We have a nice leadership group. My experience as a senior player [Read More…]

Nov 052017

LONDON: Millions of pounds from the private estate of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II have been invested in offshore tax haven funds, a huge new leak of financial documents revealed on Sunday. Around £10 million ($13 million, EUR11.3 million) of the Queen’s private money was placed in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, according to the leaked papers, which were first reported in Britain by the BBC and the Guardian newspaper. They reported the funds reinvested the money in an array of businesses, including controversial rent-to-buy retailer, BrightHouse, which has been accused of exploiting the poor, and a chain of alcohol stores which later went bankrupt. Former PM Shaukat Aziz, ex-NICL chief Ayaz Khan Niazi named in Paradise Papers The investments, which were entirely legal, were made through the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the monarch with an income and handles investments of her vast estate and remain current, the media outlets said. There is no suggestion that the Queen’s private estate acted illegally or failed to pay any taxes due. But the leaks may raise questions over whether it is appropriate for the British head of state to invest in offshore tax havens. A spokeswoman for the Duchy of Lancaster said: “All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate.” “We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds.” The spokeswoman added that one of the fund investments represents only 0.3 percent of the total value of the Duchy. Meanwhile the money put [Read More…]

Nov 052017

WASHINGTON: At least 20 people are dead after a shooting at a Texas church on Sunday, US media reported. ABC News cited a law enforcement official as saying 20 were killed and 30 wounded in the shooting. Other media outlets were citing unnamed officials who gave death tolls as high as 27. The shooting took place at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small community about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, reports said. They said the shooter walked into the church shortly before noon — at a morning service that witnesses said was normally attended by some 50 people — and opened fire. A two-year-old was among the wounded, the Dallas Morning News website reported. There were “multiple fatalities and multiple wounded,” according to Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr, NBC News reported. A spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville told Fox News that “we have accepted a number of patients from the shooting.” She gave no number. New timeline in Vegas shooting raises questions on police response Helicopters and emergency personnel were arriving at the scene, and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were heading to the scene, the bureau said. The shooting comes just over a month after a gunman in Las Vegas, firing down from a hotel room, killed 58 people and wounded hundreds attending an outdoor concert. And it came just over two years after a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, entered a historically black church in Charleston, [Read More…]

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