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U.N. human rights chief urges murder inquiry into Duterte's killing claim| Reuters
World

U.N. human rights chief urges murder inquiry into Duterte's killing claim| Reuters

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.

Flawed diamond regulations fuelling child labour in Congo mines - campaigners
| Reuters
World

Flawed diamond regulations fuelling child labour in Congo mines - campaigners | Reuters

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.

China welcomes Sao Tome decision to ditch Taiwan ties
| Reuters
World

China welcomes Sao Tome decision to ditch Taiwan ties | Reuters

BEIJING China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it welcomed an announcement from the small west African country of Sao Tome to end diplomatic relations with self-ruled Taiwan."We have noted the statement from the government of Sao Tome and Principe on the 20th to break so-called 'diplomat' ties with Taiwan. China expresses approval of this, and welcomes Sao Tome back onto the correct path of the 'one China' principle," the ministry said in a statement

U.S. plays down absence from Moscow talks on Syria, says not 'sidelined'
| Reuters
World

U.S. plays down absence from Moscow talks on Syria, says not 'sidelined' | Reuters

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

U.S. sanctions companies, people over Russia actions in Ukraine| Reuters
World

U.S. sanctions companies, people over Russia actions in Ukraine| Reuters

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.

Syrian army closes in on last Aleppo rebels| Reuters
World

Syrian army closes in on last Aleppo rebels| Reuters

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.

Malaysia arrests seven for suspected links to militant groups| Reuters
World

Malaysia arrests seven for suspected links to militant groups| Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police said on Tuesday they have arrested seven people, including four foreigners, for suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) militant group and for planning attacks in Malaysia and abroad.Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have revoked the passports of scores of citizens identified as having left the country to join Islamic State and police reported this year that 18 Malaysians had been killed fighting for the group in Syria, and another seven were killed carrying out suicide attacks.A grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in June was the Islamist group's first successful assault in the country.Police said in a statement their latest arrests were made between Nov. 3 and Dec

Several killed in protests calling for Congo's Kabila to step down
| Reuters
World

Several killed in protests calling for Congo's Kabila to step down | Reuters

By Tim Cocks and Aaron Ross | KINSHASA KINSHASA Security forces shot dead several protesters who had gathered in the streets of Kinshasa on Tuesday to demand that Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila step down after his mandate expired overnight. Scattered protests started on Tuesday, and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi called on the Congolese people to peacefully resist Kabila, who has remained in power beyond his constitutional mandate with no election to pick a successor. Gunfire crackled in several districts of the capital Kinshasa, a city of 12 million, as measures to thwart dissent raised fears of bloody repression.

Investigators recommend extending search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight
| Reuters
World

Investigators recommend extending search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight | Reuters

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.

Trump wins U.S. Electoral College vote; a few electors break ranks
| Reuters
World

Trump wins U.S. Electoral College vote; a few electors break ranks | Reuters

By Eric M. Johnson and Jon Herskovitz | SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas Republican Donald Trump prevailed in U.S

Trump wins U.S. Electoral College vote; some electors break ranks
| Reuters
World

Trump wins U.S. Electoral College vote; some electors break ranks | Reuters

By Eric M. Johnson and Jon Herskovitz | SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas Republican Donald Trump prevailed in U.S. Electoral College voting on Monday to officially win election as the next president, easily dashing long-shot hopes by a small movement of detractors to block him from gaining the White House.Trump garnered more than the 270 electoral votes required to win, even as at least half a dozen U.S.

N.Y. Klansman gets 30 years in prison for plot versus Muslims, Obama
| Reuters
World

N.Y. Klansman gets 30 years in prison for plot versus Muslims, Obama | Reuters

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

New Yorker gets 30 years in prison for 'death ray' plot against Muslims
| Reuters
World

New Yorker gets 30 years in prison for 'death ray' plot against Muslims | Reuters

NEW YORK A 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 self-proclaimed 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. Congress passed the statute in 2004 to punish individuals who try to set off a so-called "dirty bomb," which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives.U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe imposed the sentence at a hearing in Albany, prosecutors said in a statement.

Russian ambassador shot dead in Ankara gallery
| Reuters
World

Russian ambassador shot dead in Ankara gallery | Reuters

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.

Three people hurt in shooting at Zurich Islamic centre - paper
| Reuters
World

Three people hurt in shooting at Zurich Islamic centre - paper | Reuters

ZURICH Three people were hurt in a shooting at an Islamic centre in central Zurich on Monday, the Blick newspaper reported. Zurich police confirmed some people had been hurt in the vicinity of the centre, but gave no more details

U.S. sees China returning drone soon, South China Sea location eyed
| Reuters
World

U.S. sees China returning drone soon, South China Sea location eyed | Reuters

WASHINGTON The United States expects China to return an underwater drone "relatively soon" after a Chinese naval vessel seized it in the South China Sea last week, triggering U.S. protests, two U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Monday.One scenario saw a U.S.

Girl, 7, who tweeted from Aleppo is evacuated from Syrian city
| Reuters
World

Girl, 7, who tweeted from Aleppo is evacuated from Syrian city | Reuters

A seven-year-old Syrian girl who captured global attention with her Twitter updates from besieged Aleppo has been evacuated and will be brought to Turkey with her family, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.Helped by her mother Fatemah, who manages the @AlabedBana account, Bana Alabed has uploaded pictures and videos of life during the nearly six-year-old Syrian war, gaining around 331,000 followers on the micro-blogging site since September.Last week, mother and daughter shared a video of themselves asking U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama for help in reaching a safe place after advances by the Syrian army and allied Shi'ite Muslim militias into rebel-held eastern parts of the city.A ceasefire and evacuation deal was agreed last Tuesday but thousands of people have struggled to leave due to hold-ups. "This morning @AlabedBana was also rescued from #Aleppo with her family.

Syrian rebels, govt say working on deal to secure Aleppo evacuation
| Reuters
World

Syrian rebels, govt say working on deal to secure Aleppo evacuation | Reuters

By Laila Bassam and Lisa Barrington | ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT A new deal is being negotiated to complete the evacuation of rebel-held areas of Syria's east Aleppo which ground to a halt on Friday after demands from pro-government forces that people also be moved out of two villages besieged by insurgents.A Syrian rebel official and a government official said early on Saturday the evacuation of Aleppo would resume and the two Shi'ite villages would be evacuated, as well as the wounded from two towns near the Lebanese border and east Aleppo.But sources said negotiations between pro-government and opposition forces, plus their international backers, were still going on to finalise how the evacuations would take place and how many people would leave. A senior Syrian rebel official from the powerful Ahrar al Sham group involved in the talks said the deal was being held up by Iran and its allied Shi'ite militias who were insisting people be allowed to leave the two besieged Shi'ite villages of Kefraya and al-Foua before letting the Aleppo evacuation happen

Trump picks U.S. Rep. Mulvaney to head White House budget office
| Reuters
World

Trump picks U.S. Rep. Mulvaney to head White House budget office | Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Republican U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, a senior transition official said on Friday.An announcement naming Mulvaney is expected to be made on Monday, according to the Wichita Eagle newspaper, which first reported that the South Carolina lawmaker had been chosen.His nomination must be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.Mulvaney's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.