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Thu
19
Jan

Sharif meets UN chief, stresses resolution of Kashmir issue

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum here and apprised him about the long-standing Kashmir issue with India.

"Kashmir is an internationally recognised issue and for development every dispute, including that of Kashmir, should be resolved," Prime Minister Sharif told Guterres.

During the meeting, Sharif informed the newly-appointed UN chief that Pakistan wants sustainable peace and security in the region. Sharif also invited Guterres to visit Pakistan.

In the meeting, Sharif said Pakistan needs a favourable environment for economic cooperation.

--IANS

Thu
19
Jan

China defends trade stance after Trump appointee's criticism

China's government defended itself today as a supporter of free trade after US President-elect Donald Trump's pick for commerce secretary criticised its tactics.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying pointed to President Xi Jinping's appeal to avoid protectionism in a speech this week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

"Who is sincerely pushing ahead with liberalization of trade and investment and who is exercising trade protectionism should be clear for all to see," Hua said at a news briefing.

Trump, who takes office Friday, promised during his campaign to respond to what he called unfair Beijing trade tactics by raising tariffs on Chinese goods and possibly imposing other penalties.

His nominee for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, criticised China yesterday for excess steel and aluminum production and said he would look closely at potential anti-dumping cases.

Thu
19
Jan

S Korea court rejects arrest warrant for Samsung heir

A South Korean court today refused to authorise the arrest of the heir to the Samsung business empire, in a setback to prosecutors probing a corruption scandal engulfing President Park Geun-Hye.

Officials on Monday sought the arrest of Lee Jae-Yong on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury, sending shock waves through the group, which is a major part of the South Korean economy and includes the world's largest smartphone maker.

It is already reeling from the debacle over the recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device and reports have suggested it could face sanctions from overseas authorities if Lee is punished.

Lee, who became Samsung's de facto head after his father suffered a heart attack in 2014, is accused of bribing Choi Soon-Sil, Park's secret confidante at the centre of the scandal, and receiving policy favours from Park in return.

Thu
19
Jan

N Korea preparing to launch new missiles: report

North Korea is preparing to test new rockets, a report said today, after its leader Kim Jong-Un said the country was in the final stages of developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang's missile programme and its pursuit of nuclear arms have seen it repeatedly sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

Quoting high-level South Korean officials and South Korean and US military sources, the South's Yonhap news agency said two new missiles had been loaded onto mobile launchers.

They were believed to be equipped with new engines that the North tested last April, it added, when Pyongyang said they would "guarantee" an eventual nuclear strike on the US mainland.

The missiles' existence appeared to have been intentionally leaked by Pyongyang, according to Yonhap, to send a "strategic message" to incoming US president Donald Trump, due to be sworn in on Friday.

Thu
19
Jan

2016 was hottest year ever recorded: UN weather agency

The world witnessed the hottest year on record in 2016, surpassing the exceptionally high temperatures of 2015, according to the UN weather agency, highlighting new records in indicators of human-caused climate change, as well as loss of Artic sea ice.

The globally averaged temperature in 2016 was about 1.1 degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period, according to a consolidated analysis by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), continuing the trend in which 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been during this century (1998 is the outlier).

The year "2016 was an extreme year for the global climate and stands out as the hottest year on record," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said, stressing that "temperatures only tell part of the story."

Thu
19
Jan

Ex-US President George H W Bush,his wife admitted to hospital

Former US President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to the ICU of a hospital here to address an acute respirator problem stemming from pneumonia while his wife Barbara was also hospitalised as a precaution, a family spokesman said today.

The 92-year-old leader was admitted to the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital after experiencing shortness of breath, family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

Bush had "responded very well to treatments" and hoped to be out soon, McGrath said.

"Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation. President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation," the statement said.

"Additionally, Mrs Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital this morning as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing."

Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital falling ill recently.

Thu
19
Jan

Mexico youth shoots teacher, classmates, then kills himself

A 15-year-old student opened fire with a gun at a private school in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey today, hitting a teacher and two other students in the head before killing himself. Another student suffered lesser injuries in the shootings, which were captured on a chilling video posted to social media.

Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez said the shooter died at a hospital and that the other three victims with head wounds were "fighting between life and death." The boy wounded in the arm was out of danger.

A video, apparently from the school's surveillance camera, shows a female teacher handing out materials and students seated at their desks when a boy opens fire with a pistol from a sitting position, hitting a boy sitting in front of him, who immediately slumps to the ground.

Wed
18
Jan

Triple-quake strikes reeling, snow-bound central Italy

A series of earthquakes measuring 5.3-5.7 magnitude struck central Italy today, bringing fresh terror to an area still reeling from deadly quakes last year and struggling to cope with heavy snowfall.

Monitors said the first quake, which struck at 10:25 AM (0925 GMT) was around 5.3 magnitude and a second, some 50 minutes later, was put at 5.7 magnitude by the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). It was quickly followed by a third, measured at 5.5.

The tremors were felt across the Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche regions and also in Rome, over 100 kilometres (60 miles) away.

Underground train services in the capital were suspended on safety grounds and the Italian foreign ministry and some schools were evacuated.

Those schools that were not already closed due to snow in towns and villages closer to the affected area were also evacuated.

Emergency services mobilised helicopters to check the impact of the quakes.

Wed
18
Jan

Ex-US President George H W Bush admitted to hospital

Former US President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to a hospital here, where the 92-year- old leader is responding to treatment, his top aide said today.

Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital falling ill recently.

"He's there. He's fine and he's doing really well," Bush's chief of staff, Jean Becker was quoted as saying by Houston Chronicle newspaper.

She said the doctors have a couple of theories about Bush's condition, but he is responding to treatment.

Becker did not specify the reason why Bush was hospitalised.

Bush, who lives in Houston, Texas, is expected to be discharged in the next couple of days, the report said.

Bush served as America's 41st president from 1989 to 1993.

As is the case with most people his age, Bush has had his share of health issues in recent years.

Wed
18
Jan

Gambia’s president declares state of emergency

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh has declared a state of emergency just two days before he was due to step down, as British and Dutch travel agencies scrambled to evacuate thousands of tourists. Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for 22 years, initially acknowledged opponent Adama Barrow as the victor in December elections, but later rejected the ballot count as flawed and lodged a complaint with the country’s Supreme Court.
He declared a state of emergency yesterday due to the “unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the December 1 presidential elections and also in the internal affairs of The Gambia,” Jammeh announced on state TV.
Citizens were henceforth “banned from any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement to violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace,” Jammeh said, asking security forces to maintain law and order.

Wed
18
Jan

60-year-old gorilla, 1st to be born in a zoo, dies in Ohio

The world's first gorilla born in a zoo, a female named Colo who became the oldest known living gorilla in the US, has died at age 60, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said today.

Colo died in her sleep overnight, less than a month after her birthday, the zoo announced. She surpassed the usual life expectancy of captive gorillas by two decades.

"Colo touched the hearts of generations of people who came to see her and those that cared for her over her long lifetime," zoo president Tom Stalf said in a statement. "She was an ambassador for gorillas and inspired people to learn more about the critically endangered species and motivated them to protect gorillas in their native habitat."

Colo had been on exhibit in view of visitors yesterday, when the zoo offered free admission for Martin Luther King Jr Day. Fond of baseball caps, the gorilla was seen in her enclosure toting around a yellow cap with a gorilla on it, given to her by the zoo team caring for her.

Wed
18
Jan

WikiLeaks says Obama clemency may have saved Manning's life

WikiLeaks says President Barack Obama may have saved Chelsea Manning's life by granting the former Army intelligence analyst clemency, but adds that the decision doesn't make up for the harm she has suffered.

The statement came after Obama announced yesterday that Manning would be released May 17, cutting her sentence by almost 30 years.

In a tweet soon after the announcement, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange thanked "everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning's clemency. Your courage & determination made the impossible possible."

Assange didn't mention his earlier pledge that he would agree to US extradition if Obama granted clemency to Manning. But, Melinda Taylor, who serves on Assange's legal team, said he would not be going back on his word. She says: "Everything that he has said he's standing by.

AP

Wed
18
Jan

9 killed in coal mine collapse in China

At least nine workers have been killed and another rescued in a coal mine collapse in north China's Shanxi Province, rescuers said today.

The collapse occurred at 10:45 AM yesterday at the Danshuigou colliery in Shuozhou City, when workers were doing shaft maintenance work. In total there were ten people present at the time of the accident.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, state- run Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier this month, 12 people were killed after a falling roof triggered a gas explosion at a coal mine in central China's Henan Province. The explosion took place at Xingyu Colliery in Xuzhuang Township in the city of Dengfeng.

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal. Its mining industry has long been one of the world's deadliest.

PTI

Wed
18
Jan

Thousands converge in Washington to attend Trump inauguration

Thousands of people including many Indian-Americans are converging here to attend US President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony themed 'Make America Great Again'.

Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th US President on January 20 using two Bibles: the one that former President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration, plus his own that dates back to the President-elect's childhood.

Trump's Bible was presented to him by his mother upon his graduation of Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, New York, on Children's Day on June 12, 1955.

The celebrations around Trump's inauguration beginning tomorrow has been organised around the theme 'Make America Great Again' which not only caught the imagination of the Americans during the grilling election campaign, but also propelled Trump to victory.

Tue
17
Jan

Nigerian military jet 'mistakenly bombs refugee camp', killing more than 100

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: A Nigerian state official says an Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists has mistakenly bombed a refugee camp, killing more than 100 refugees and wounding aid workers.
The Borno state government official is helping to coordinate the evacuation of wounded. The official spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.
Military commander Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor confirms the accidental bombardment in northeast Rann, near the border with Cameroon. The general says among the wounded are Nigerians working for Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This is believed to be the first time Nigeria's military has admitted to making such a mistake.

AP

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