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.
MANILA The United Nations human rights commission has urged the Philippines to launch a murder investigations into President Rodrigo Duterte claims he killed three people as mayor of Davao City and all killings in his war on drugs.Since July when Duterte assumed the presidency, there had been 6,000 people killed in the government's war on drugs, about a third died in police anti-narcotics operations and the rest by motorcycle-riding masked men and vigilante groups.Duterte told a gathering of businessmen last week that as mayor of Davao City he "personally" killed criminals as he prowled the streets.He later admitted killing three men, who were involved in a kidnapping case, during a police gunfight in late 1980s."The Philippines judicial authorities must demonstrate their commitment to upholding the law and their independence from the executive by launching a murder investigation," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in reference to Duterte's claims. "The killing described by President Duterte also violates international law, including the right to life, freedom from violence and force, due process and fair trial, equal protection before the law and innocence until proven guilty," Zeid said in a statement.He also said "there is surprisingly little information on actual prosecutions" over recent killings, despite police investigations into thousands of killings by vigilantes."Credible and independent investigation must be urgently re-opened into the killings in Davao, as well as into the shocking number of killings that have occurred across the country since Duterte became president," Zeid said.
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.
MEXICO CITY At least 10 people died on Tuesday in an explosion at a fireworks market outside the Mexican capital, a government official said, declining to provide his name as the death toll is still preliminary.The blast struck the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Mexico City, injuring at least 60 others, according to an official tally by emergency services which could rise.
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.
By Joel Schectman | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON The U.S.
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 Michelle Martin and Sabine Siebold | BERLIN BERLIN German authorities on Tuesday released a Pakistani asylum-seeker suspected of driving a truck into a Berlin Christmas market and killing 12 people due to a lack of evidence and the interior minister said the real perpetrator may still be on the run.The truck smashed into wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages on Monday evening at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, one of west Berlin's most famous landmarks. Forty-five people were injured, 30 severely.The Chief Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement it had been unable to prove that the suspect had been in the cabin of the truck at the time of the attack and said he had denied any involvement.Earlier, Die Welt newspaper quoted an unnamed police chief as saying: "We have the wrong man. And therefore a new situation.
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.
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 Patricia Reaney | NEW YORK NEW YORK The United States lost some literal and figurative pioneers in 2016 with the deaths of famed sons and daughters from John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, to Gwen Ifill, the first black woman to co-anchor a major U.S. television newscast.The year also saw the deaths of stars of sports, the arts and politics, including former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and golfing great Arnold Palmer, rock star Prince and U.S.
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.
SYDNEY Investigators searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have recommended extending the search by an additional 25,000 sq km (9,650 sq miles), the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Tuesday. The current 120,000 sq km (46,330 sq miles) search area in the Indian Ocean is due to be exhausted by January, with no sign of the missing jet.Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them Chinese, en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
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
By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS UNITED NATIONS African states narrowly failed on Monday for a second time to halt the work of the first U.N. independent investigator appointed to help protect gay and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.The attempt was voted down in the U.N. General Assembly 84 to 77 with 16 abstentions, a month after African states made a similar unsuccessful move in the General Assembly's third committee, which deals with human rights.
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.
By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Umit Bektas | ANKARA ANKARA The Russian ambassador to Ankara was shot in the back and killed while giving a speech at an art gallery on Monday.
By David Morgan | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON The U.S. Electoral College meets on Monday to officially confirm Republican Donald Trump as the next president, a vote that is usually a formality but that has taken on extra prominence after an unusual and particularly acrimonious election campaign.At meetings scheduled in every state capitol and the District of Columbia, the institution's 538 electors, chosen by state parties, will cast official ballots for president and vice president.The votes will be counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6