Monday, March 18, 2013

China's new Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to root out corruption. He said the effort will also require taking on vested interests.Li told a news conference on Sunday that the government will resolutely fight corruption.

He said the choice of becoming a public servant mandates a person work for the benefit of the people and abandon the desire to make money.Li called for the reduction of the number of items that must get approval of ministries and agencies by at least one-third.He encouraged people in society and the media to be vigilant in the fight against corruption.

Li added that the benefits of economic growth go mainly to senior communist party officials and state-owned companies. He said now is the time to take on vested interests.

World news

Libya death toll 87 homebrew alcohol  several injured

Consumption of homemade alcohol in Libya has claimed the lives of 87 people with another 1,044 hospitalized from poisoning, after the first deaths were reported a week ago, the country’s health minister announced on Sunday. Drinking the liquor has also blinded 15 people and sent numerous others into comas. Some suffered kidney failure. All of the victims were between 19 and 50 years old. Sale of alcohol is forbidden in Libya but it can be found on the black market.

Several injured in private jet crash in Indiana – reports

A small privately owned jet has crashed in an Indiana neighborhood, FAA said on Sunday. According to authorities the aircraft, Beechcraft Premier I twin-jet, experienced technical problems before it crashed near the South Bend Regional Airport on Sunday afternoon. The neighborhood where the accident took place has been evacuated because of a gas leak. People aboard the plane were reportedly injured during the accident, no fatalities have so far been recorded.

Canadian police search for 2 inmates who escaped prison on chopper

Authorities in Quebec have launched a massive manhunt after two inmates broke out of prison by hijacking a helicopter. The men escaped from the prison in Saint-Jerome, about 50 kilometres northwest of Montreal, around 14:20 local time. Authorities have found the helicopter and pilot about 85 kilometres away in Mont-Tremblant. Its alleged that the inmates hijacked the chopper by holding a gun to the pilot’s head.

Iran contact group ‘revises’ Tehran’s nuclear dossier

Six world powers (US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) have revised their approach towards Iran’s nuclear program, though “this is not enough”, says Tehran as a meeting between the P5+1 group and Islamic republic began in Istanbul. The group suggested it will back down from demands to stop Iran building centrifuges and the investigation on nuclear fuel enrichment, said the Fars news agency. But the new proposals aren’t satisfying Tehran’s interests, which stresses its right to peaceful atomic use, the sources added.

Cyprus’s Central Bank bans money transfers and payments home and abroad – report

The Central Bank of Cyprus has banned all of its banks from performing money transfers and payments both domestically and abroad, the Cyprian web site 24h reported on Sunday with reference to a document it obtained. The Central Bank published the letter marked as ‘confidential’ which says that making payments and money transfers via any system, either clearing or card, is temporary prohibited. Some financial experts are predicting the move will do more harm than good. The Bank has yet to comment on the situation.

Lokomotiv Novosibirsk claim volleyball Champions League

Lokomotiv Novosibirsk have triumphed in the Final-Four of the CEV Champions League, which took place in the Russian city of Omsk. Lokomotiv topped Italian side, Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo, in a five-set thriller 3-2 (22:25, 26:24, 25:23, 20:25, 16:14) to claim their first ever win in Europe’s top volleyball competition. Another Russian side and defending champions, Zenit Kazan, settled for bronze, beating Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle 3-1 in the third-place match.

Saudi Arabia detains 4,000 infiltrators on Yemen border in single month

Saudi Arabian border guards have arrested more than 4,000 infiltrators on its border with Yemen in just one month, AP reports the country’s officials as saying. According to border guard spokesperson, Captain Ali bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, 49 of those arrested were drug smugglers carrying more than 800 kilograms (1,800 pounds) of hashish. Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdul-Aziz, the governor of the south western province of Asir, which borders Yemen, explained that most of the people illegally coming to his region were from the African states of Ethiopia, Chad and Somalia. In previous years, there were reports of Saudi Arabia blocking several attempts by militants from Yemen’s al-Qaida branch from carrying out attacks inside the kingdom.

Suspect detained in Turkey over murder of US tourist

Turkish police said they have arrested a suspect in the murder of 33-year-old American tourist Sarai Sierra, whose body was discovered in Istanbul on February 2. The alleged criminal, who was previously identified as ‘Ziya T.,’ was detained in the southern province of Hatay where he has family. Sierra came to Turkey from Staten Island, New York, on a two-week trip and went missing on January 22, the date she was due to depart for the US.

‘Alcohol and discotheque tourists’ unwelcome in Sudan

The North African state of Sudan will not allow entry to “alcohol and discotheque tourists,” Sudanese tourism minister Mohamed Abdul-Karim Al-Had said on Sunday. Al-Had added that those interested in “nudity and beaches” will also be denied entry, stressing that the International Tourism Association emphasizes the need for travelers to respect the values of the countries they visit. Sudan is a Muslim state with strict laws, according to which selling alcohol is forbidden even at five-star hotels. Al-Had also said that Sudan’s tourism revenues in 2012 were estimated at $600 million, with 5 million guests expected in the country this year.

Bahrain court jails 17 Shias on attempted murder charges

A Bahraini court has sentenced 17 Shia activists to 15 years in prison for the attempted murder of four police officers in a bomb attack, a judicial source told AFP. The activists were found guilty of detonating a roadside bomb in the Shia village of Aker in April 2012. The blast wounded four members of a passing police patrol, a source said. Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has seen over two years of protests as the country’s Shia majority demands a constitutional monarchy with an elected government. At least 80 people have been killed in the political unrest, according to human rights watchdogs. Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, while over 75 per cent of the population is Shia.

Israeli PM chooses new Defense Minister to replace Barak

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed an ex-general and vice premier from his right-wing Likud party, Moshe Yaalon, to be the country’s new defense minister. Yaalon, 62, has spent four years in Netanyahu’s inner circle of ministers and is replacing Ehud Barak, who served as defense minister for the past seven years. Yaalon was chief of the Israeli armed forces from 2002 until 2005. His term was not extended, allegedly because of his opposition to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip at the time.

Two car bombs kill 8 people, injure 21 in Iraq

Two car bombs have killed eight people and wounded 21 others in southern Iraq. The first blast took place near a parking lot near the tax department in the city of Basra, police officials told AP. Fifteen minutes later, a second bomb went off near an outdoor market in another part of the city. Basra is located 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Attacks are rare in the Shiite-dominated area, which is considered relatively violence-free compared to other parts of the country.

Five detainees confess to raping Swiss tourist in India

Five of the people detained by Indian police in Madhya Pradesh state have confessed to gang-raping a tourist from Switzerland on Friday night, a police official said. A sixth suspect in the case is still at large. The woman was assaulted in front of her tied-up husband after the pair camped for night at a village in central India.

Fifth French soldier killed in Mali

The French presidency has officially announced the death of a fifth French solider in Mali since the military campaign started on January 11. Although France saw some early successes in the conflict, the difficulties faced by the country in ousting militants has prolonged the violence. The previous French death was confirmed on the March 6.

Al-Qaeda claims attack on Iraqi Justice Ministry

Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliates took responsibility for Thursday’s suicide bomb and gun attack on the country’s justice ministry in Baghdad, which killed at least 25 people. Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an umbrella group of Al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslims, said that it had ordered the attack to “liquidate” its enemies. During the attack, three car bombs went off, a suicide bomber blew himself up and another bomber walked into the justice ministry to set off his device while militants stormed the building. The attack happened near the heavily fortified Green Zone, which contains several Western embassies and government offices.

Cyprus president postpones bailout briefing with MPs

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has postponed an informal briefing to parliament, which was called to vote on a levy on bank savings. Several parties indicated they would not back the levy, which is part of a $13-billion bailout deal with eurozone creditors brokered earlier on Saturday. An emergency session of parliament on the issue will be held on Monday.

34 Czech troops to be sent to Mali

The Czech Republic is sending a contingent of 34 soldiers to Mali to aid in the operation against Islamist insurgents, according to Czech CTK news agency. Their mission is set to start in April; the overall number of Czech troops sent to Mali over the next 15 months will be 50. In January, France deployed its own military contingent to help Mali’s government, whose army had been retreating before an offensive by Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

2 dead in California race car accident

Two people were killed after a speeding race car smashed into pit row on a race course in Marysville Raceway Park north of Sacramento, according to an official. A 68-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, and a 14-year-old boy died while medical treatment was being administered. The accident occurred late on Saturday. Both were reportedly part of a crew, and had permission to be in the area.
Media agencies

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