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.
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.
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
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.
WASHINGTON Donald Trump pounced on a reported comment from Bill Clinton, the former president and husband of his Democratic rival in the Nov. 8 election, in an usual exchange on Tuesday between future and former U.S. presidents.Clinton, whose wife, Hillary, lost last month's election after spending millions of dollars more than her Republican rival, was spotted at a bookstore near the couple's hometown a suburb of New York City earlier this month
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Eric M. Johnson and Jon Herskovitz | SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas SEATTLE/AUSTIN, Texas Republican Donald Trump prevailed in U.S
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.