Facebook has launched a new tool that would make it easier for users to find and "follow" their elected representatives.
By Gopal Sharma | KATHMANDU KATHMANDU Nepal's national unity is under attack and its people must act to save it, former King Gyanendra said on Wednesday, in some of his most critical political comments since being toppled by a parliamentary vote eight years ago.A specially elected Constituent Assembly dominated by Maoist former rebels ended Nepal's 239-year-old monarchy in 2008 and turned the impoverished country of 28 million people into a republic.Political parties are still haggling over creating federal states under a new constitution prepared last year, with the Madhesi ethnic minority demanding an autonomous state in the southern plains bordering India. This is opposed by some upper caste Brahmins living in the hills of the mainly Hindu nation.More than 50 people died during protests in the Madhes, also known as the Tarai, last year while demanding a greater say for the Madhesi community in the government. "Social goodwill among Nepali people is being erased and relentless efforts are being made to break the feeling of unity between Tarai (plains), hills and Himal (mountains)," Gyanendra said in a statement.
By Ellen Francis | BEIRUT BEIRUT Buses carrying Syrian civilians and fighters began leaving the last rebel-held enclave of Aleppo on Wednesday after being stalled for a day, aid officials and pro-government media reports said.Obstacles hindering evacuations from east Aleppo and from two villages besieged by rebels had been overcome and the operation would be completed within hours, according to a news service run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government.The eventual departure of the thousands left in the insurgent zone will hand full control of the city to President Bashar al-Assad, the biggest prize of Syria's nearly six-year-old civil war.
By Nate Raymond | NEW YORK NEW YORK The FBI acted inappropriately when it announced the revival of its investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email setup days before the Nov.
By Kieran Guilbert DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The failure of European jewellery firms to scrutinise their supply chains and a flawed diamond certification scheme are fuelling child labour and sexual abuse in artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a campaign group said on Thursday.Thousands of children work illegally in diamond mines in Congo's diamond-rich Kasai region - mainly to pay for food and school fees - and girls who live around the mines are prey to rape, forced marriage and prostitution, according to Swedwatch.Yet few jewellery firms have policies to assess the risk of child labour and abuses in their diamond supply chains, and many do not provide public information about efforts to operate responsibly, Swedwatch said in a report.Swedwatch also said the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), an initiative seeking to end trade in "blood diamonds" used to finance conflict, was obscuring rights abuses.The KPCS classifies less than 0.1 percent of the world's diamonds as untradeable for ethical reasons. Yet this figure only includes diamonds used by rebel groups to finance conflict, and does not account for diamond extraction involving rights violations across Africa, Swedwatch said."The KPCS is outdated and does not cover most human rights abuses linked to diamond extraction today," Therese Sjöström, a researcher at Swedwatch, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Stockholm.Andrey Polyakov, head of the World Diamond Council (WDC), said the success of the KPCS was based on its focus on conflict.
By Yeganeh Torbati and David Alexander | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON The United States on Tuesday sought to downplay its absence from talks on the Syrian conflict among Russia, Iran and Turkey in Moscow, saying it was not a "snub" and did not reflect a decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East.However, President Barack Obama's decision to offer only limited support to moderate rebels has left Washington with little leverage to influence the situation in Syria, especially after Moscow began launching air strikes against rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad
BUENOS AIRES Argentina and Britain agreed on a framework to identify the bodies of dozens of unknown Argentine soldiers buried on the disputed Falkland Islands, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in on Tuesday.
ERBIL, Iraq Six people were killed in a bomb attack on the offices of an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq late on Tuesday, Iraqi Kurdish security sources said.The explosion targeted the offices of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in Koy Sanjak, east of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region. Clashes opposed in June and July PDKI fighters and Iranian Revolutionary Guards in northwestern Iran, leaving several dead on both sides.
VATICAN CITY The Vatican said on Tuesday it hoped China's communist government would give Catholics there "positive signs" that would help them have faith in a push by Pope Francis to heal a decades-old rift with Beijing.Chinese Catholics are divided between those who are loyal to the pope and those who are members of a government-controlled official church.The Vatican has been seeking a compromise with Beijing on the appointment of bishops but some see that as selling out those who have remained loyal to the pope.The Chinese government says bishops must be appointed by the local Chinese Catholic community and refuses to accept the authority of the pope, whom it sees as the head of aforeign state that has no right to meddle in Beijing's affairs. A statement said the Vatican was "certain that all Catholics in China are waiting with trepidation for positive signals that would help them have trust in dialogue between civil authorities and the Holy See and hope for a future of unity and harmony."The two sides have been at loggerheads since the expulsion of foreign missionaries from China after the Communists tookpower in 1949 Prospects for a deal were set back earlier this month after Lei Shiyin, a government-backed bishop excommunicated by the Vatican, participated in the ordination of new bishops
By Nate Raymond | NEW YORK NEW YORK A U.S. court on Tuesday released a copy of the application used to obtain a search warrant that allowed the FBI to gain access to emails related to a probe of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private server before the Nov. 8 election.The filings involving a search warrant issued after Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey informed Congress of newly discovered emails on Oct
WASHINGTON The United States on Tuesday blacklisted seven people and eight companies and government enterprises over Russia's annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine, the U.S.
By Angus McDowall and Maria Tsvetkova | BEIRUT/MOSCOW BEIRUT/MOSCOW As President Bashar al-Assad's army closed in on the last rebel enclave in Aleppo on Tuesday, Russia, Iran and Turkey said they were ready to help broker a Syrian peace deal. The Syrian army used loudspeakers to broadcast warnings to insurgents that it was poised to enter their rapidly diminishing area during the day and told them to speed up their evacuation of the city.Complete control of Aleppo would be a major victory for Assad against rebels who have defied him in Syria's most populous city for four years.Ministers from Russia, Iran and Turkey adopted a document they called the "Moscow Declaration", which set out the principles that any peace agreement should follow. At talks in the Russian capital, they also backed an expanded ceasefire in Syria."Iran, Russia and Turkey are ready to facilitate the drafting of an agreement, which is already being negotiated, between the Syrian government and the opposition, and to become its guarantors," the declaration said.The move underlines the growing strength of Moscow's links with Tehran and Ankara, despite the murder on Monday of Russia's ambassador to Turkey, and reflects Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to cement his influence in the Middle East and beyond.Russia and Iran back Assad while Turkey has backed some rebel groups.
By Saliou Samb | CONAKRY CONAKRY Senegal authorities have arrested a Guinean soldier linked to a 2009 massacre in Conakry where at least 150 people were killed and dozens of women raped, a Senegalese security source said on Tuesday.The source said Lieutenant Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite, who witnesses say played a key role in the massacre at a Conakry stadium, was arrested in Dakar on Monday.The Sept. 28, 2009, incident in Guinea's capital is seen as one of the worst acts of repression in West Africa's recent history and Human Rights Watch called the arrest a breakthrough in the bid to bring justice.In that incident, security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protestors who had gathered at the stadium to put pressure on then junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara not to stand at an election the following year.
BRUSSELS The European Union agreed stricter gun rules on Tuesday but balked at a proposal for a complete ban on the most lethal semi-automatic weapons such as the Kalashnikov.The measure is part of an overall tightening of EU rules that govern the purchase and sale of such weapons since two Islamist gunmen shot dead 12 people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
By Aaron Ross and Tim Cocks | KINSHASA KINSHASA Protests erupted in several neighbourhoods of the Congolese capital Kinshasa late on Monday and police fired tear gas to disperse them, witnesses said, just before President Joseph Kabila's mandate expires at midnight.Demonstrators in the districts of Kalamu, Matete and Lingwala and at Kinshasa University blew whistles to signal to Kabila that it was time to leave, and students at the university burned tires, multiple witnesses said. Hundreds of anti-Kabila demonstrators earlier defied a ban on marches against the president's plans to stay in office past the end of his term, and security forces faced off against groups waving red cards saying "Bye, bye Kabila." Opposition activists have accused Kabila of trying to cling to power by letting his term run out without an election to chose the next leader of Congo, which has not witnessed a peaceful change of power since independence in 1960."Kabila's mandate finishes at 1159
UNITED NATIONS United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he feared the process of genocide was about to start in South Sudan unless immediate action was taken, renewing his plea for the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country."If we fail to act, South Sudan will be on a trajectory towards mass atrocities," Ban told the Security Council.
By Michael Nienaber | BERLIN BERLIN A truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital Berlin on Monday evening, killing nine people and injuring up to 50 others, police said. German media, citing police at the scene, said first indications pointed to an attack on the market, situated at the foot of the ruined Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was kept as a bombed-out ruin after World War Two.The incident evoked memories of an attack in France in July when Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people. The attack was claimed by Islamic State.The truck careered into the Berlin market at what would have been one of the most crowded times for the Christmas market, when adults and children would be gathering in the traditional cluster of wooden huts that sell food and Christmas goods.Berlin police said nine people were killed"I heard a big noise and then I moved on the Christmas market and saw much chaos...many injured people," Jan Hollitzer, deputy editor in chief of Berliner Morgenpost, told CNN.
NEW YORK A self-proclaimed white supremacist convicted on charges he planned to use a "death ray" to kill Muslims and President Barack Obama was sentenced on Monday to 30 years in prison, federal prosecutors in New York said.Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, a Navy veteran and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, was found guilty in August 2015 of conspiring with another man to build a radiation dispersal device, dubbed a "death ray" by tabloids.Crawford is the first person to be convicted under a law barring attempts to acquire or use a radiological dispersal device, which combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. Congress passed the statute in 2004 to punish individuals who try to set off a so-called "dirty bomb."U.S
DOHA A Saudi-led Arab coalition will halt its use of British-made cluster munitions in Yemen, the Saudi government said on Monday, after 20 months of war in which thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in airstrikes.In London, British defence minister Michael Fallon confirmed in parliament that the coalition had dropped "a limited number" of UK-supplied cluster munitions in Yemen.Britain, a signatory to the international convention which prohibits use of the munitions, has been investigating whether the coalition dropped the BL 755 munitions in Yemen following an Amnesty International report in May."The government of Saudi Arabia confirms that it has decided to stop the use of cluster munitions of the type BL-755 and informed the United Kingdom government of that," said the Saudi statement, carried by state news agency SPA.It was the first Saudi confirmation of the coalition's use of the cluster munitions.Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told Arabiya TV: "BL 755 bombs are used in a limited way and not in residential areas. We do not use the bombs in areas populated by civilians." "This munition was used against legitimate military targets to defend Saudi towns and villages against continuous attacks by Houthi militia, which resulted in Saudi civilian casualties."Assiri said the coalition, which is battling Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, had not violated international law because it had not signed the cluster munitions convention. Fallon stressed that Britain had sold the munitions to Riyadh in the 1980s, long before the 2008 convention."However, Saudi Arabia has now confirmed it will not further use BL-755 cluster munitions and I welcome that," he said.
ANKARA The gunman who shot the Russian ambassador to Turkey in an attack at an art gallery on Monday was an off-duty police officer who worked in the Turkish capital, two security sources told Reuters.Russia's foreign ministry earlier confirmed that the ambassador, Andrey Karlov, had died in the attack. Turkish state media earlier reported that the gunman had been "neutralised" following the attack.