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 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.
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.
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
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
BERLIN Nine people were killed and many others injured when a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, police in the Germany city said on Twitter."We can confirm 9 deaths & many others injured. Many police are at the Breitscheidplatz to investigate what happened," the police said on their @polizeiberlin account. German newspaper Bild said what it called an attacker was on the run
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.
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.