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Powerful quake kills 14 on Indonesian tourist island Lombok

SEMBALUN, Indonesia ( ) – A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday killing 14 people and sending villagers fleeing from their beds into open fields to avoid collapsing buildings.

The quake, which rocked the island early in the,上海夜网Eliza, morning when many people were still asleep, injured 162 people and damaged thousands of houses.

Electricity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.

A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesman.

He said the area was temporarily closed to climbers because there were reports of landslides. Hundreds of climbers are being evacuated from the Rinjani national park and 115 have been safely escorted out, Nugroho said.

“The most pressing needs now are medical personnel, stretchers, health equipment, kids wares and food,” Nugroho said.

An emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged, and th爱上海419ose in a critical condition were taken to other hospitals.

“It happened so suddenly at around 6 in the morning. Suddenly eve,上海夜生活论坛Gabi,rything simply collapsed,” said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. “My child was inside the house, thankfully he survived.”

Standing outside a green tent set up on a dusty field, she said nothing was left of her house.

Video footage showed ambulances lining the streets of Lombok and many houses damaged with only parts of brick walls standing.

“We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads,” said Jean-Paul Volckaert who runs a hotel near Senggigi on the western side of Lombok.

“I’ve been walking around but so far there is no damage. We were very surprised as the water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea. There were waves in the pools but only for 20 to 30 seconds,” he told by telephone.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage.

The Lombok quake struck at 6:47 a.m. (2247 GMT on Saturday) and was only 4.35 miles deep (7 km), a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect.

It was centered 50 km (31 miles) northeast of the city of Mataram, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but it was also felt strongly to the west on the neighboring island of Bali, Indonesia’s top tourist destination.

Over a hundred of subsequent tremors were recorded, with the largest aftershock recorded at 5.7 magnitude, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.

The earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami.

Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” that surrounds the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Written by shyw on July 30, 2019 Categories: zeepfegqyr Tags: , ,

Mali begins presidential vote count amid simmering insecurity

BAMAKO ( ) – Vote counting began in Mali on Sunday evening after an election to determine whether President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will win a second term, amid ethnic and jihadist violence that has dramatically worsened since he came to power five years ago.

Two dozen other candidates were contesting the presidency in a largely Saharan desert nation that has been fractured by a Tuareg rebellion and Islamist militancy across its north and central zones since the last poll in 2013.

In some parts of Mali, the vote simply did not happen owing to a lack of security, and the European Union observer mission urged the government to publish the places that would be unable to vote, to quell suspicions by candidates.

In a news conference on Sunday night, a campaign director for candidate Soumaila Cisse, 68, seen as mounting the strongest challenge to Keita, estimated at least 644 polling stations out of some 23,000 had been unable to open owing to a lack of security.

“We invited them (the government) to state in which communes it was impossible to hold elections. We haven’t yet had a response,” Tiebile Drame said. “We deplore this dysfunction.”

Authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Voting was briefly suspended at a polling ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Randolf,station in the village of Aguelhok in the northern region of Kidal after militants fired 10 mortar bombs, U.N. mission spokesman Olivier Salgado said. No one was hurt. The attack was the kind that has become routine in Mali in the months leading up to the vote.

“One mortar landed around 100 metres from a polling station so there was a bit of panic,” Salgado said.

‘Don’t worry about me’ says France’s ex-First Lady

MUMBAI ( ) – France’s former first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, said on Monday she was doing fine after her s,上海夜网Leif,plit from President Francois Hollande, telling reporters during a trip to India that she felt “useful” doing charity work.

The break-up of the couple, who were not married, was confirmed on Saturday by Hollande, who said in a curt statement he had “ended his partnership” with the 48-year-old journalist.

That announcement came less than three weeks after the tabloid Closer set off a media storm by publishing photos of what it said was Hollande, 59, making nocturnal visits to the apartment of French actress Julie Gayet, 41.

Closer’s pictures of a helmeted figure, arriving and leaving on the back of a scooter, drew mockery from critics who called it an embarrassing vaudeville.

Trierweiler, who spent eight days in hospital after news broke of the alleged affair, followed by a week in seclusion, was in India with the charity Action Against Hunger.

In her first public comments since the scandal broke, Trierweiler did not mention the break-up but gave a tongue-in-cheek thank you to the French journalists who crowded the press conference for their “interest in malnutrition.”

“I feel very well, it feels good to be here,” said Trierweiler, when asked about her health. “I have the impression I’m being useful for something.”

“Don’t worry about me,” said Trierweiler, dressed in a bright pink blouse.


Trierweiler, a columnist for Paris Match magazine, had been in a relationship with Hollande since 2006. After his election in May 2012, she assumed the unofficial role of “first lady” and had an office at the Elysee Palace with a budget of roughly 20,000 euros ($27,400) per month, while continuing to write.

News of Hollande’s alleged affair – which he has neither confirmed nor denied – has not worsened his record low approval ratings, but has distracted attention from a series of business-friendly policies aimed at reviving the economy.

Hollande is,上海夜生活论坛Jared, due to travel alone to the United States to visit Barack Obama early next month. Allies said his announcement should put an end to the media scrutiny of his personal life.

Still, some have criticized the way in which he announced the break-up, with some politicians and journalists calling Hollande callous in publicly repudiating his longtime partner.

“More like a pink slip than a break-up letter,” conservative politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told iTele.

Asked about her track record a上海419论坛s first lady, Trierweiler – whom polls showed to be deeply unpopular with the public – said it was not for her to judge.

“I was there for 19 months. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people and maybe even discover a part of myself that I didn’t know existed,” said Trierweiler.

She said she did not know what her future held, but that she would continue to do humanitarian work.

“I think that all together, we can do something, each in his or her own way,” she said. “That’s what I’ll continue to do, whatever happens.”

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UK’s new foreign minister in China for first overseas visit

LONDON ( ) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will meet his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Monday to discuss cooperation between the two countries on his first major overseas trip since he replaced Boris Johnson earlier this month.

Hunt and Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, are expected to discuss free trade, enforcing sanctions on North Korea and how Britain and China can work together ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Irena,on global challenges such as climate change, Britain’s Foreign Office said.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Hunt said that as Britain leaves the European Union it was committed to deepening its partnership with China.

“The UK-China Strategic Dialogue is an important opportunity to intensify our cooperation on shared challenges in international affairs, ranging from global free trade to non-proliferation and environmental challenges, under the UK-China Global Partnership and ‘Golden Era’ for UK-China relations,” he said.

Britain is trying to reinvent itself as a global trading nation after it voted in 2016 to leave the EU, and China, the world’s second largest economy, is high on the list of countries with which it wants to sign a free trade agreement.

Hunt said he would seek to build on Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to China in February, when she secured commercial deals worth 9 billion pounds ($12 billion).

His predecessor quit earlier this month in protest at the government’s plan ,上海夜网Karina,to maintain a close trading relationship with the European Union after Brexit, a st爱上海rategy that Johnson said would make it much more difficult to do free trade deals.

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The ‘fearless’ speech writer behind Obama’s State of Union address

WASHINGTON ( ) – Six days before the State of the Union address, Cody Keenan posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram a blurred image of a speech draft with President Barack Obama’s notes in the margins. He ended the post with “#SpoilerAlert #InsideSOTU-Cody.”

No amount of eye-squinting could decipher the details, but if anyone knew exactly what Obama intended to say in his annual address to the nation, it was chief speech writer Keenan.

The 33-year-old Keenan wrote what will be his State of the Union address numero deux after taking over duties last year from Jon Favreau, who left after five years in the job.

A Chicago native who once worked for the late Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Keenan joined Obama as an unpaid summer campaign intern in 2007 as Obama sought the Democratic presidential nomination.

At the end of the internship, he returned to Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to earn a master’s degree in public policy, graduating ,上海夜生活Darla,in 2008.

When the White House called, Keenan jumped at the chance to join the administration, according to a 2010 interview he did with the Kennedy School.

Keenan’s speechwriti,上海夜生活论坛Olive,ng career took off after he crafted the impassioned speech that Obama delivered at a memorial service for victims of a 2011 shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, where former Representative Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured.

Keenan, a former high school football player with a hipster-esque beard, also helped write the president’s eulogy to Ted Kennedy in 2009.

Obama himself is an accomplished and prolific writer, and Keenan has said it is challenging to meet the president’s high standards.

“Our jobs are remarkably like graduate school,” Keenan said in the Kennedy School interview. “You g上海419论坛et a paper assignment, you might pull an all-nighter or come in really early to finish, and you hand it in and then you get his marks back and find out whether (the President) likes it or not.”

At Harvard, Keenan studied speech writing and delivery from public policy professor Steven Jarding.

Jarding described Keenan as passionate and fearless. The classes included mock interviews and presidential debates, drills that did not intimidate Keenan, he said.

“He would come to my office and ask, ‘How do I get my foot in the door?’” Jarding told on Tuesday.

Images of Keenan donning a pirate costume and arm hook while chatting with Obama, and his flirtatious Instagram teases of the State of the Union address reveal a side that his former professor described: “He doesn’t take himself seriously, and yet he is a serious person.”

When Obama takes the stage Tuesday night, Keenan’s skills will also be on trial, Jarding said.

“Even in a room (full of) exceptional students, I knew that this is somebody that we should watch, and that is something that we’re going to see unfold tonight,” Jarding said.

Vietnam jails fugitive tycoon for nine years after one-day trial

HANOI ( ) – A Hanoi court sentenced a fugitive Vietnamese tycoon to nine years in prison on Monday for deliberate disclosure of state secrets following a one-day trial, the government said.

Property developer Phan Van Anh Vu had fled to Singapore seeking passage to Germany but was arrested in Vietnam earlier this year after Singaporean authorities deported him back home.

The government gave few details on its website of the trial, which was held behind closed doors under Vietnamese regulations that allow closed hearings to protect state secrets.

Vietnamese authorities are staging a crackdown on corruption that has led to the arrest of dozens of officials and business figures, and is entangled in political intrigue in the one-party communist state.

Vu had previously told his foreign lawyers that he was also a senior officer in Vietnam’s secret police. He had been trying to get to Germany and could have details of an operation in which another Vietnamese fugitive, Trinh Xuan Thanh, was spirited home from Berlin last year.

Last week a German court jailed a Vietnamese man named only as Long N.H. f,上海夜生活桑拿会所Edith,or helping his country’s secret services to kidnap Thanh, a former oil executive, and smuggle him back to Vietnam.

On Monday the Hanoi court also jailed two former police officials, Phan Huu Tuan and Nguyen,上海夜生活论坛Ionia, Huu Bach, for seven and six years respectively for the same charge as Vu, the government said.

No one was available for comment at the People’s Court of Hanoi City outside of office hours.

Top officials have also become caught up in the crackdown.

Earlier this year, a former member of the Politburo, Vietnam’s top decision-making body, was jailed for a combined 31 years for economic mismanagement and violating state regulations while heading a state firm.

Then last week, Vietnam also suspended the minister of information and communications for mismanagement at a state telecoms firm.

Vu was also separately accused of tax evasion and abusing powe上海419论坛r while performing public duties in a separate case involving the selling and purchase of state properties in various provinces and cities, the police ministry had said.

Obama urges Guantanamo closure this year, shift from ‘permanent war…

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Barack Obama told Americans on Tuesday that 2014 should be the year to finally close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay as the United States winds down its military role in Afghanistan and shifts away from a “permanent war footing.”

In his annual State of the Union address, Obama renewed his old vow – dating back to the start of his presidency five years ago – to shut the internationally condemned jail at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, and he called on Congress for further action to help him do so.

“This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay,” Obama said. “Because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world.”

While seeking to add a sense of urgency to the issue, Obama stopped short of offering any new prescriptions on how he intends to empty Guantanamo of its remaining 155 prisoners. They were rounded up overseas after the September 11, 2001, attacks and have been 上海龙凤419held without trial ever since.

After U.S. lawmakers made it easier late last year to transfer Guantanamo inmates to their home countries, Obama is now in a better position to gradually reduce the detainee population. But signaling that major obstacles remain, he said Congress needed to give him further flexibility.

The effort to close Guantanamo is a critical part of Obama’s broader drive to roll back some of controversial aspects of the global fight against Islamist militants as he presses ahead with plans to formally end the long, unpopular war in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

“Even as we actively and aggressively pursue terrorist networks,” Obama said, “America must move off a permanent war footing.”

In a speech that focused mostly on domestic issues, Obama reminded Americans that he had already imposed “prudent limits” on deadly U.S. drone strikes against al Qaeda and its allies – a campaign that has drawn criticism for civilian casualties in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“We will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence,” he said.

He also reasserted the pledge he made earlier this month to reform U.S. surveillance activities. The move was triggered by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations of the government’s vast collection of phone data, including eavesdropping on some allied foreign leaders.

Reaction from human rights groups was initially muted. “President Obama’s legacy is at stake and his time is slipping away,” said Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program.

“We’ve heard this before and now is the time for action, to finally transfer the 77 Guantanamo detainees cleared to leave, reveal the names of people killed by drones, end mass surveillance and end the constant state of war,” he said.


Opened by President George W. Bush in 2002, Guantanamo became a symbol of the excesses of his administratio,上海夜网Faris,n’s “war on terror” interrogation and detention practices. Even he expressed a desire to close the camp near the end of his presidency.

Whil,上海夜生活桑拿会所Barry,e seeking to turn the page on the Bush era, Obama failed to meet his promise to shut the prison within a year of taking office in early 2009. Though he recommitted several times to his pledge, he was reluctant to set a new time frame for achieving it.

Long a subject of international criticism but low on the list of the American public’s concerns, Guantanamo was thrust back in the spotlight last year by a hunger strike and the military’s decision to force-feed prisoners to keep them alive.

Obama’s renewed promise followed congressional passage in December of a broader defense spending bill that loosened some restrictions on his ability to send more of the detainees home.

Despite that, he still faces limits on his room to maneuver. Lawmakers refused to budge on a ban on bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. mainland.

On top of that, complications remain with Yemen, where U.S. officials fear released prisoners might join up with an active al Qaeda branch. Yemen’s government also has yet to build a long-promised detention center for any prisoners sent home.

About half of Guantanamo’s remaining detainees have been cleared for transfer or release since 2009, but most were blocked from going home because of congressional restrictions.

Still, nearly four dozen prisoners are considered too dangerous to release. And Obama can also expect continued pressure from some lawmakers, including Republican critics, who want to keep Guantanamo open.

Despite that, the administration has shown signs of a more active transfer policy in recent months. It sent two detainees back to Sudan, two to Saudi Arabia and two to Algeria, and it sent the three remaining ethnic Uighur Chinese inmates to Slovakia.


Obama also used his speech to reassure a war-weary American public that the U.S. military was on track to withdraw from Afghanistan after more than a decade of war there.

“We will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over,” he said.

He also sent a thinly veiled warning to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is locked in a test of wills with Washington over efforts to reach a long-term security pact that would enable a small contingent of U.S. forces to remain in the country beyond 2014.

The White House has warned that it will resort to a “zero option,” pulling out all U.S. forces at the end of the year unless he signs a security deal soon.

Four Western cyclists killed in possible terrorist act in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE ( ) – Four Western cyclists were killed when a car plowed into them in Tajikistan in what may have been a terrorist act in which the attackers also stabbed their victims after injuring them, the interior minister and the U.S. embassy said on Monday.

The tourists, from the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands, were killed in the Central Asian country on Sunday, the authorities said. Three others, from Switzerland, the Netherlands and France, were injured – one of them also from a stab wound.

Security forces pursuin上海龙凤419g suspects in the attack killed four, including one who resisted arrest, and detained a fifth man, the former Soviet republic’s interior ministry said.

“We are looking into all versions – accident, robbery … including a terrorist act,” Interior Minister Ramazon Rakhimzoda told a briefing.

Among the four suspects killed was the owner of the car, which police believe hit the group as they cycled through a rural area 90 km (55 miles) southeast of the capital Dushanbe.

A purported video of the incident published online by Radio Free Europe and credited to an anonymous source showed a car doing a U-turn on a narrow road after it had already run into the group and then running over several of the cyclists.

A “wanted” notice disseminated by Tajik authorities named two suspects aged 18 and 19 from the same village close to the Tajik-Afghan border, and a third one, 21, from the town of Nurek located not far from the site of the attack.

The U.S. Embassy said it could not name the two U.S. victims due to privacy concerns, but indicated that it also considered the incident to be an intentional attack.

“We strongly condemn the cruelty of the attackers and recognize that they in no way represent the kindness and hospitality of the Tajik people,” it said in a statement.

“According to multiple sources, on July 29 Tajik citizens hit seven foreign cyclists with their vehicle, exited the car, and stabbed the cyclists with knives,” the embassy said in another statement issued later on Monday.

Still, the embassy said it had “no evidence that indicates a heightened level of threat to U.S. citizens”. It also commended the Tajik authorities “on their professional and quick response to the incident”.

Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the death of one Swiss national and said it ,上海夜生活Octavien,was in contact with the second tourist, who has been injured. “If it is established that this was a terrorist attack, it will be noted in future travel advice for Tajikistan,” the ministry said in a statement.

Britain’s Foreign Office urged UK tourists in Tajikistan, particularly those hiking or cycling in its south, “to exercise extreme caution and vigilance during their visit”, citing “the first incident of this kind in Tajikistan”.

The government of Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon – who expressed condolences to the U.S., Swiss and Dutch authorities on Monday – fought Islamist guerrillas in a 1992-1997 civil war,上海夜生活桑拿会所Caleb, which claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Canada’s Trudeau pressed on gun control after Toronto shooting

TORONTO ( ) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked on Monday if he would support a ban on handguns, said he was looking at a range of options after last week’s shooting in Toronto left two dead and 13 wounded.

Trudeau spoke after laying flowers at the site of the shooting, promising to look at a “broad range” of options in order to make “the right decision for the long term,” and adding that the city needed time to hea,上海夜网Mackay,l.

“Strength of community comes from moments of resilience like this,” he said.

Police have said 29-year-old Faisal Hussain used a handgun when he opened fire along Toronto’s Danforth Avenue. They have not released any other information on the weapon, or said whether it was obtained legally. His motive is not clear.

On Monday, sidewalks in the area were lined with flowers and messages of hope written in chalk. 

Police surrounded the site as Trudeau arrived, following the funeral of 18-year-old victim Reese Falcon, who was sh上海龙凤419ot while on a night out with friends.

In Markham, mourn,上海夜生活Dashiell,ers gathered at a Greek Orthodox church to honor 10-year-old victim Julianna Kozis.

Dozens of people surrounded the fountain, lighting candles and talking quietly. A single protester interrupted Trudeau, and was shouted down by onlookers before being escorted away by police.

Target says criminals attacked with stolen vendor credentials

BOSTON/WASHINGTON ( ) – Target Corp said on Wednesday that the theft of a vendor’s credentials helped cyber criminals pull off a massive theft of customer data during the holiday shopping season in late 2013.

It was the first indication of how networks at the No. 3 U.S. retailer were breached, resulting in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers.

“The ongoing forensic investigation has indicated that the intruder stole a vendor’s credentials, which were used to access our system,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement.

She declined to elaborate on what type of credentials were taken, who the vendor was, or to provide other details.

The company’s shares have been hurt since the data breach was announced on December 19, and the incident has drawn scrutiny from l,上海夜生活桑拿会所Caroline,awmakers as well as federal law enforcement and consumer protection agencies.

Target closed at $56.89 per share on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, down 1.7 percent, after reaching its lowest level since July 2012.

Earlier on Wednesday U.S. spy chiefs called on Congress to draft stricter requirements for how retailers and other private businesses should inform government agencies and customers about big breaches of personal and financial data.

The comments came as Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the Department of Justice was investigating the massive hacking at Target.

Separately, at Wednesday’s threat hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, where the National Security Agency is headquartered, asked intelligence chiefs if media leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had affected U.S. cybersecurity efforts.

“Is the impact of the Snowden affair slowing us down in our work to be more aggressive in the cybersecurity area?” Mikulski asked.

FBI Director James Comey said political uproar over surveillance and Snowden’s leaks had complicated discussions about how to fight consumer data breaches.

“There is the threat of fraud and theft because we’ve connected our lives to the Internet,” Comey said. “We n,上海夜生活论坛Ira,eed to make sure that the private sector knows the rules of the road and how we share that information with the government.”

Some U.S. officials with responsibility for cybersecurity have complained privately that, while states have created a “patchwork” of local rules requiring businesses to report breaches of consumer data to authorities and the public, there are no similar federal requirements.

Congress has been wrestling for years with proposals for legislation on data security but has been unable to reach agreement. There is no national standard to govern how and when businesses that suffer consumer data breaches must advise their customers and federal agencies.


Holder, testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, said the Justice Department would seek the perpetrators of the Target breach as well as “any individuals and groups who exploit that data via credit card fraud.”

“While we generally do not discuss specific matters under investigation, I can confirm the department is investigating the breach involving the U.S. retailer, Target,” Holder said.

The Secret Service has taken the lead investigating the breaches at Target and other retailers, including Neiman Marcus and Michaels Companies Inc, the largest U.S. arts and crafts retailer.

reported on January 23 that the FBI also warned U.S. retailers to prepare for more cyber attacks after discovering about 20 hacking cases over the past year that involved the same kind of malicious software used against Target during the holiday shopping season.


As lawmakers accelerated to gather information about the data breaches, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, took a new tack, asking Target why the company had not yet reported its data breach to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Your failure thus far to provide this information to your investors does not seem consistent with the spirit or the letter of the SEC’s financial disclosure rules,” Rockefeller wrote in the three-page letter to Target’s chief executive.

Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday asked Neiman Marcus for documents relating to the upscale retailer’s recent cybersecurity breach. Last week, the same lawmakers asked Target executives to provide an array of internal documents.

Malaysia civil aviation chief resigns over MH370 lapses

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – The chief of Malaysia’s civil aviation authority resigned on Tuesday after an investigation report on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 showed lapses by the air traffic control center in Kuala Lumpur.

The report released on Monday on the disappearance four years ago of the airliner during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board shed little fresh light on one of the biggest mysteries of modern aviation history.

In a statement announcing his resignation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the report had highlighted failures by air traffic control to comply with standard operating procedures, but had not suggested the aviation authority was to blame for the loss of the aircraft.

“Therefore, it is with regret and after much thought and c,上海夜生活桑拿会所Katherine,ontemplation that I have decided to resign as the Ch,上海夜网Darian,airman of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia effective 14 days from the date of the resignation notice which I have served today,” he said in the statement.

In a 495-page report, investigators said the controls of aircraft were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course but they were unable to determine who was responsible.

The report, however, highlighted mistakes made by the Kuala Lumpur air traffic control. It said air traffic controllers failed to initiate standard emergency phases, and that there was no record that they took any action to ale爱上海419rt the air force or kept a continuous watch on the radar display.

Addressing a news conference in parliament, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said an internal committee would be formed to come up with recommendations and possible action that could be taken against the air traffic controllers on duty at the time.

Japan pledges to cut plutonium stocks amid growing concern from…

TOKYO ( ) – Japan pledged to reduce its controversial stocks of plutonium, the world’s biggest inventory of the highly toxic material held by a state without nuclear weapons, following pressure from the United States, China and other countries.

The government did not outline by how much and when it will cut the stockpiles of plutonium it holds. Japan shut down most of the reactors that can use the material as fuel after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011.

Japan, the only country to be bombed by a nuclear weapon, is al上海419论坛so the only nation without atomic arms to have significant amounts of plutonium. This has sparked criticism from nuclear-armed China and other neighboring countries, who are worried about the material falling into the wrong hands or that Japan might eventually build a weapon.

Japan held 47 tonnes of plutonium at the end of 2017, including 21 tonnes stored in Britain and 15 tonnes in France, enough to make thousands of atomic bombs.

Local media reported in June that the U.S. government had asked Japan to cut its stockpiles ahead of an extension this month of a nuclear cooperation agreement that allows the country t,上海夜生活Gayle,o reprocess spent nuclear fuel and extract plutonium for further use in reactors.

“Japan will reduce the size of its plutonium stockpile,” the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAECO) said on Tuesday in a revision of the country’s basic policy on plutonium use that was first issued in 2003.

Plutonium is the foundation of resource-poor Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle, in which spent fuel from nuclear reactors is reprocessed into plutonium and then reused. Most of the reprocessing is done in France but Japan is building its own site to produce plutonium for reactor fuel at Rokkasho in northern Honshu.

Rokkasho has been hit with repeated delays and cost overruns and is now scheduled to start operations in the early 2020s. Once it does it will add to the plutonium stockpiles unless the fuel produced can be used in reactors.

“We are struggling to reduce the stockpile, so why do we need to produce more plutonium?” said Tatsujiro Suzuki, director of the Research Centre for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University and a former vice-chairman of JAECO.

He said JAECO’s statement of intent was a “good first step … (but) now is a good time to rethink the whole recycling program.”

Only a limited number of reactors in Japan can use MOX, a blend of uranium and the plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel. ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Samuel,Four out of six reactors currently operating can use MOX and consume about 2 tonnes of plutonium a year.

Reactors need a special license to be able to use MOX fuel and experts say it is an expensive method of fuelling reactors compared to using enriched uranium.

Japanese utilities also have large amounts of spent fuel held in reactor buildings, a source of concern after the Fukushima disaster.

Poland sees higher risk of no-deal Brexit

WARSAW ( ) – Poland said on Tuesday that the risk of Britain dropping out of the European Union with no agreement on post-Brexit ties “cannot be ruled out” and it would spike if London and the bloc fail to agree details in October.

Britain’s political meltdown and disagreements with the bloc over issues including the Irish border cast an increasingly long shadow over chances for a broad deal to regulate their relationship from day one after Brexit, which is due next March.

A no-deal Brexit is widely expected to sow chaos for people and businesses alike as there would be little clarity over what replaces more than four decades of collaboration on everything from food safety standards to airline regulations.

“The European Council sitt,上海夜生活桑拿会所Cannon,ing … to be held in October, 2018, will be a key moment,” the Polish government said in a statement referring to a meeting of EU leaders planned in Brussels.

Talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May will be followed by discussions between the remaining 27 leaders on whether they find acceptable whatever deal emerges with London by then.

“If there is no binding agreements, the risk of a fiasco of talks will rise significantly,” Warsaw said, adding it would then move to safeguard the interests of its entrepreneurs and citizens, of which there are about one million living in Britain.

Social discontent with workers arriving in masses from the poorer eastern EU states like Poland in search for better-paid jobs in Britain played a big role in the 2016 ,上海夜网[随机符爱上海419],Brexit referendum.

EU immigration to Britain, including from Poland, has fallen since.

“EU net migration continues to add to the UK population with around 100,000 more EU citizens coming to the UK than leaving,” the country’s Office for National Statistics said this month.

“The estimated number of EU citizens coming to the UK ‘looking for work’ continued to decrease over the last year and the number coming to the UK for a definite job has remained stable.’

Lift switch + heatwave = Eiffel Tower queue frustration

PARIS ( ) – A change in who gets to use the Eiffel Tower’s elevators has stranded frustrated tourists in long queues at the Paris landmark during a heatwave in the French capital.

Management of the 324-metre (1,063-foot) tower decided this month to dedicate one elevator for those who book tickets in advance and leave only one for those who turn up on the day, rather than both as before.

Sightseers who arrive without tickets have had to join queues that snake all the way around the base of the monument. Some said they had waited for up to three hours, annoyed that few people were lining up for the other elevator.

Temperatures in the city have hit 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit), leaving sweltering adults and children desperate for bottled water in the queue.

“It’s too long!” Burty Surette, 37, an electrician visiting from Mauritius said. “I was expecting the wait to be long but not this long. “There should be two elevators for people arriving without tickets. With the number of people that are coming to visit, one is not sufficient.”

Pat Murphy爱上海419, a 66-year-old retired automotive worker from Ohio, disliked the idea of having to book three months in advance for a particular day. “You don’t know if it’s going to rain,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Eiffel tower played down suggestions the new system had caused extra queues saying there alwa,上海夜生活论坛Ojai,ys large numbers of visitors to the monument, particularly in summer.

Workers at the tower have threatened to strike over what they call the “monstrous” new system. Negotiations are underway between the tower’s management and the CGT union, with a de,上海夜生活桑拿会所Mabel,cision expected on Wednesday.

“I can understand the workers saying this is insane – people are getting mad …so I’d join them on strike,” said Murphy.

More than 40 million tourists visited Paris last year, the highest on record, with over 6 million going up the Eiffel Tower, the most popular site in the city.

In Soviet echo, Putin gives Russian army a political wing

MOSCOW ( ) – Vladimir Putin has created a new directorate inside the Russian army to promote patriotism, evoking memories of a Soviet practice that once saw soldiers taught the precepts of Marxism and Leninism by political commissars.

The move, approved by Putin in a presidential decree published on Monday, will affect Russia’s around 1 million active military service people and appears designed to ensure soldiers’ loyalty at a time when Moscow is locked in a geopolitical standoff with the West.

“In conditions of a global information and psychological confrontation (with the West) the role of political and moral unity within the army and society drastically grows,” Alexander Kanshin, who sits on a civilian body that shapes military policy, told Interfax news agency in February.

In the Soviet Union, a similar directorate worked to ensure that the army stayed loyal to the then ruling Communist party.

Putin, commander-in-chief of Russia’s armed forces, ran as an independent candidate when re-elected to a new term in March, but is supported by the ruling United Russia Party.

His decree said the new directorate would be responsible for “military-patriotic” work and, in a separate decree, Putin made Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, a veteran of Russia’s conflict in Syria, its new head and a deputy defense minister.

The defense ministry did not release details of the new directorate, but an unnamed military source told the Kommersant daily that Kartapolov would also be responsible for the activities of the Yunarmiya, a patriotic military youth organization sponsored by the ministry.

After Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, seen by the Kremlin as a big succe爱上海ss, the military has grown increasingly influential in domestic and foreign policy, especially in Syria.

The Bolsheviks, wary of the army’s loyalty, introduced political commissars in 1918. In the late Soviet period, political officers, known as zampolity, tried to ensure soldiers knew their communist doctrine and where their loyalties lay.

Vladimir Scherbakov, a military specialist at the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, said Putin’s decision to resurrect a version of the Soviet-era directorate raised questions.

“The main question is this. In the Soviet era, the directorate in practice worked in the interests of the Communist Party’s central committee. It’s not completely clear what military-political work the resurrected directorate will do and more importantly ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Bentley,in the interests of which political party.”

Others wondered whether the creation of t,上海夜网Queenie,he new directorate was the start of a wider renaissance in ideological education that would draw in schools and colleges, and whether the new instrument would be used to root out young soldiers deemed as too pro-Western.

“All of this is reminiscent of a gradual return to the USSR,” wrote Dmitry Drize, Kommersant’s deputy editor.

Vietnam graft crackdown claims first military scalp with ‘Little…

HANOI ( ) – A Vietnamese military court on Tuesday sentenced the first military official to go on trial in the communist-ruled country’s ongoing crackdown against corruption to 12 years in jail.

Former colonel Dinh Ngoc He, known by his nickname “Little Baldy”, was convicted of “abusing power in performance of official duties” and “using fake documents”, the news website of state radio Voice Of Vietnam reported.

“The court said the case nature is very serious, directly harming the rightful operations of state authoriti,上海夜生活Caleb,es… The culprit’s action seriously affected the prestige of the military and the police,” the report said.

Vietnamese authorities have since 2016 intensified a crackdown on corruption which has led to the arrest of dozens of high-profile business figures and officials, including one member of the politburo.

The crackdown was widened earlier this year to include the military and police force.Dinh Ngoc He abused his position as chairman of Thai Son Joint Stock Company and his military status to get contracts in key national projects, the official Vietnam News Agency said, citing a,上海夜生活桑拿会所Pascal, copy of the indictment.

He also abused his position to obtain military license plates for his company cars and submitted fake university test certificates to the Communist Party in a bid to increase his salary, the indictment said.

The sentencing follows the disciplining of two deputy ministers at the Ministry of Public Security on Saturday, both of whom were stripped of their party credentials by the Communist Party for “lacking responsibility”, the party’s inspection committee said.

On Monday, a Hanoi court sentenced a fugitive Vietnamese tycoon, Phan Van Anh Vu, who previously told his foreign lawyers that he was also a senior officer in Vietnam’s secret police, to nine years in prison for deliberate disclosure of state secrets.

The two cases are unrelated but both have been closely wat爱上海419ched in Vietnam for their close ties to several senior government officials, some of whom have since been arrested.

In April, police arrested a former senior police official and a former head of the central city of Danang and placed another former chairman of the city under house arrest, after connecting them to Vu’s case.

Four U.S. congressmen urge North Korea to free missionary Bae

( ) – The last surviving members of the U.S. Congress to have served in the Korean War have sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asking him to release imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae.

North Korea in December released 85-year-old Korean War veteran Merrill E. Newman, a former U.S. special forces soldier who had been held since October after visiting the country as a tourist, and the members of Congress applauded that in the letter seeking Bae’s freedom.

“You have done the right thing by releasing a fellow Korean War veteran, Merrill E. Newman, to return home, you would be making further progress on the humanitarian front by freeing Kenneth Bae to reunite with his family,” stated a copy of the letter obtained by on Wednesday.

The letter, signed by Democrat Charles Rangel from New York, Democrat John Conyers Jr. from Michigan, Republican Sam Johnson from Texas and Republican Howard Coble from North Carolina, is not seen as having nearly as much influence on the North Korean leaders as a possible visit from a U.S. envoy.

Bae, 45, has been held for more than a year by North Korea, which convicted him of trying to overthrow the state and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor. Rangel and a congressman from Washington state, where Bae lived, invited his family to attend President Barack Obama’s state of the uni,上海夜生活论坛Lauralei,on speech last month.

Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, said in an interview she was grateful to the four congressmen for calling attention to her brother’s situation. “When there’s more awareness of Kenneth’s plight, I think that’s always a good thing,” she said.

Chung said Bae’s Seattle-area family has not spoken to him since a December 29 phone call, one of three that North Korea has allowed Bae to have with his family since his detention in November 2012. Bae’s mother was permitted to visit him in Pyongyang in October.


Academic experts on North Korea said the letter was not likely to sway authorities there to free Bae.

“I don’t think they really care what four members of Congress think … whether they’re Korean War veterans or not,” said Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

“They want someone coming to pay homage to them, and maybe they have something they want to communicate and they want to communicate it at that level,” Sneider said.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last month that an offer had been made to send U.S. North K,上海夜网Pattie,orean rights 上海龙凤419envoy Robert King to Pyongyang to secure Bae’s release. King has not been sent to North Korea on that mission, and how North Korea responded to the offer is not clear.

Rangel, who was wounded in the Korean War and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service, had mentioned Bae’s case in a letter last year to North Korea that pleaded for the release of Newman, who was still detained at the time.

The letter from the four congressmen was dated Tuesday and came as North and South Korea agreed to allow some families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War to hold brief reunions.

The meetings between families from the two countries are planned for February 20 to February 25 in Mount Kumgang, just north of the border, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.

In their letter, the congressmen urged Kim Jong-un to extend the reunion effort to the roughly 100,000 Korean-Americans with family in North Korea.

Australia yet to strike deal with China for foreign minister’s…

SYDNEY ( ) – A schedule for Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to visit China has yet to be agreed, although dates were proposed more than two months ago, two sources said on Wednesday, an impasse in Canberra’s efforts to repair strained relations.

Ties suffered in November 2017, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused Beijing of meddling in Australia’s affairs, and in May, when some Australian wines began to experience delays in clearing Chinese customs to enter their biggest market.

Late in May, Australia proposed dates for Bishop’s travel as part of a series of meetings between the foreign ministers of the two countries held since 2014.

A source aware of the protocol said talks over a visit would typically take “weeks”, although a pact remains elusive.

“No agreement has been reached over dates, but they are confident that the meeting will proceed,” said one source briefed on the matter by government officials, who declined to be identified as he was not permitted to speak to the,上海夜网Paydon, media.

A spokesman for Bishop declined to comment.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said talks continued, but added that the burden of repairing the damage lay on Australia.

“What I want to stress is that a healthy and stable China-Australia relationship accords with the basic interests of both countries and their peoples,” he told reporters.

“We hope that the Australian side meets China halfway, and can, on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, do more to benefit the increase of mutual trust and cooperation.”

The row spilled into the trade arena in May, after six Australian wines, including vintages from the world’s biggest-listed winemaker, Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, and Pernod Ricard suffered delays in clearing Chinese customs.

Amid fears that Australian wine sales to China this 爱上海419year would fall short of a A$1-billion ($741-million) forecast, its diplomats began to lobby their Chinese counterparts, and confidence is growing ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Olek,that the lobbying is bearing fruit.

Sales are beginning to flow in China with only minor delays, Australian wine industry executives said.

“The issue is much better now,” said an industry source who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to talk to the media. “If there are delays, companies are now factoring them into shipments.”

British far-right activist Robinson released on bail after court…

LONDON ( ) – Jailed British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, whose case has attracted the sympathy of right-wing supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, was released on bail on Wednesday after winning an appeal against a contempt of court ruling,上海夜生活Calista,.

Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League (EDL) which in the past has staged violent demonstrations against Islam, was arrested in May for making video recordings outside a courthouse which revealed the identities of defendants while jurors were considering their verdicts in an ongoing trial.

Later that day, Robinson, 35, was jailed for 13 months.

Sources to,上海夜生活桑拿会所Sanford,ld in July that a representative of U.S. President Donald Trump raised Robinson’s case with Britain’s ambassador to the United States following lobbying by the right-wing Breitbart.com website.

Appeal Court judges on Wednesday ruled that the court process against Robinson in Leeds was flawed as the proceedings were completed too quickly, and that no details of the case against him were put to Robinson. He was sentenced within five hours of recording a Facebook Live about the trial.

“Once the appellant had removed the video from Facebook, there was no longer sufficient urgency to justify immediate proceedings,” judge Ian Burnett wrote in his ruling.

“No particul上海419论坛ars of the contempt were formulated nor put to the appellant.”

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, will be released from custody pending a rehearing, a date for which has yet to be set.

Robinson’s supporters in court clapped when his release was announced. Outside, police kept apart dozens more of them from “Stand up to Racism” activists who were protesting against his release.

The ruling against Robinson in Leeds came after he had earlier in May been handed a suspended sentence for attempting to film defendants at Canterbury Crown Court during a rape trial, actions which the judge said could have derailed the trial.

The judges on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by Robinson against the Canterbury ruling.

Robinson’s lawyers thanked the Court of Appeal for its detailed judgment.

“The rule of law and the right to a fair trial are fundamental to every individual,” Carson Kaye solicitors said in a statement.

“This ruling (is) an example of the procedural safeguards of our system, and its potential for protecting every citizen equally.”

Flurry of Syrian death notices shows fate of government detainees

BEIRUT ( ) – For six years Amina al-Khoulani hoped her brothers Majd and Abdelsattar were alive, albeit cut off in a Syrian government prison after their arrest early in Syria’s war.

But last week, newly published state records obtained by relatives told her the men died back in 2013, just weeks after the family last saw them through a metal fence during a visit to the Sednaya military jail near Damascus.

“We used to hear a lot of reports that they had been executed. We know that the regime is criminal and is capable of doing this but you always have hope that this is untrue,” al-Khoulani, a refugee in Britain, said in a video call.

Afte,上海夜生活桑拿会所Nigel,r years of government silence about the fate of tens of thousands of people that rights groups say have been forcibly disappeared in the war, authorities have begun quietly updating registers to acknowledge hundreds of their deaths, according to Syrians who have recently learnt of their relatives’ fate.

Starting in around April, families began discovering what happened to their loved ones by chance, when they requested records from register offices, rights groups and Syrians said.

Such records are needed for many administrative tasks in Syria, so they are often sought. Only this time, the information was not what they expected – but what they had long feared.

Word spread that deaths were being ,上海夜生活Abril,acknowledged and more people began approaching registries for information.

in Beirut did not receive any response to questions faxed to the Syrian Information Ministry in Damascus. Officials at the Syrian missions in New York and Geneva could not be reached for comment.

The Syrian government last year denied a report by Amnesty International saying it had carried out a campaign of mass hangings and exterminations at Sedneya prison, calling it “devoid of truth”.


The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), which has been documenting the war from outside Syria, has recorded 532 cases of forcibly disappeared people being listed as deceased in state records in recent months, without relatives having been previously informed of their deaths.

SNHR head Fadel Abdul Ghany said the death notices were Assad’s signal to Syria that he has won.

Anwar al-Bunni, a human rights lawyer with the Berlin-based Syrian Centre for Legal Research and Studies and himself a former detainee now based outside Syria, put the figure much higher. From sources inside Syria, he had so far documented 3,000 names and called this the tip of the iceberg.

“Mothers and sisters are going to see if their sons are on the lists. Those that find out drop to the ground and faint,” said 63-year-old Fadwa Mahmoud, a refugee in Germany who founded Families for Freedom which campaigns on behalf of disappeared and detained Syrians.

Mahmoud is herself awaiting news of her husband and son who were detained in 2012.

Many of the death notices on the updated register are for activists arrested in the early days of the Syrian uprising in 2011 and 2012.

And many of those came from the Damascus suburb of Daraya, one of the early centers of the uprising where rebels were finally defeated by the government in 2016 after years of siege.

“Of course the paper does not state that they died in prison … the death is written, the date, and that is it,” said al-Khoulani. The al-Khoulani brothers’ registry document, seen by , says they both died at 10 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2013.

She said her brothers had been taking part in Daraya protests calling for “freedom and dignity” – slogans of the “Arab Spring” uprisings上海龙凤419 under way across the region at the time.

Abdelsattar’s friend and fellow protester Islam al-Dabbas also died that day, al-Khoulani said. So too did prominent Daraya activist Yahya al-Shorbaji, his family – now living outside Syria – told , producing his record.

The number of Daraya residents registered as having died on the same day has led relatives to conclude they were executed together.


A resident of Mouadamiya town, another early center of the uprising, said 96 people had recently been listed as dead at the local records office. But the resident’s son, missing since January 2013, was not among them.

“My heart and my hopes say he is alive, God willing, but common sense says that he has been killed with many others because he was a peaceful activist,” the resident said.

SNHR has documented at least 85,036 people forcibly disappeared across Syria since the start of the war.

Around 90 percent are thought to have been taken by government security agencies, the rest by factions operating in Syria’s chaotic multi-sided war, it said.

Backed by Russia and Iran, Assad’s advances have accelerated this year with rebels now posing no military threat to his rule.

Assad’s ally Russia is urging refugees to come home, saying there is nothing to fear from Assad’s government.

But people continue to flee areas that are falling back under its control, and many refugees say they are scared to return, fearing arrest, conscription or worse.

Syrian opposition officials and Turkey, which backs them, have pushed for the issue of detainees and the forcibly disappeared to be discussed in peace talks that have made no progress.

“They forced us out of our homes, took our money and killed our children,” said the mother of the al-Khoulani brothers from her exile in Britain. “I want justice.”