Friday, July 5, 2013

NEWS ROUND THE GLOBE


NEWS ROUND THE GLOBE

Standard
Georgia final date for presidential poll
Georgia has changed back the presidential election date to Oct. 27, Andro Barnov, head of the presidential administration,told local press Thursday.
Between Monday and Wednesday, the election date has been set, changed and then changed back.
Presidential Spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze said Monday President Mikheil Saakashvili have signed a decree to designate Oct. 27 as the presidential election date.
Thai prime minister visits Poland
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited Poland and met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw on Thursday.
According to polish media reports, Yingluck is the first Thai Prime Minister to visit Poland.
The two leaders discussed economic cooperation in agriculture, tourism, energy and defense between Poland and Thailand. They also agreed to promote bilateral trade and regional cooperation between the two countries.
Poland and Thailand signed bilateral agreements on cooperation in business and agriculture and an accord on strategic dialogue.
Zimbabwe elections go ahead on July 31
July 4 — Zimbabwe’s general elections will proceed on July 31, the country’s top court ruled Thursday, an decision in favor of the country’s veteran President Robert Mugabe, seeking to extend his 33-year rule of the country.
Constitutional Court rejected several applications, including two filed by Mugabe’s main political rivals in the coalition government, to have the elections delayed for two or more weeks.
After hearing the cases, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku announced that the court had unanimously concluded that the applications for extension of the poll date be dismissed.
“For the avoidance of doubt elections should proceed on July 31 2013 in terms of the proclamation by the President of Zimbabwe in compliance with the order of this court,” Chidyausiku said.
Mugabe in June proclaimed that harmonized elections, which combine presidential, parliamentary, and local council votes, will be held on July 31, but he was urged to appeal for a two-week extension heeding the advice of leaders of the regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Mugabe’s long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai contested the appeal, saying that two weeks are not enough to implement reforms to ensure a fair and free election.

China and Pakistan vow cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (2nd L) pose for a group photo during their meeting in Beijing, capital of China, July 4, 2013. 

China and Pakistan on Thursday hailed their traditional friendship and pledged to promote their all-weather partnership to a higher level.
China and Pakistan are “good neighbors, friends, partners as well as brothers,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said when conferring with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday in Beijing.
He said the all-weather strategic cooperation were treasures to both countries and the foundation for the future development of the bilateral relations.
The partnership with Pakistan is a priority in China’s foreign policies, Xi told Sharif, calling on the two sides to step up the current cooperation to a higher level, and strengthen joint planning on the key bilateral projects in a bid to promote common development.
Xi also said Sharif, as a senior Pakistani statesman, is an old friend of China who has remained committed to promoting China-Pakistan friendship and generating significant contributions to bolster the bilateral ties. Echoing Xi’s views on the bilateral relations, Sharif said the Pakistani people highly value the friendship with the Chinese people. He expressed his appreciation to the valuable aid and help offered by China in a long time.

Sharif said China was the first foreign nation he visited after he took office in May, which showed his determination to consolidate and foster the good-neighborly and friendly ties with China.
He said Pakistan expects to expand cooperation with China in many fields as the country is on a fast track of its own national development.
He said Pakistan welcomes Chinese companies to invest and establish business in the country and he pledged to create a safer and more favorable environment for investors.
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang, Sharif is on an official visit to China from July 3 to 8. 

EU Parliament votes to scrap US data-sharing deal

European Parliament  announced for the scrapping of two agreements granting the US access to European financial and travel data, unless Washington reveals the full extent of its spying on Europe.

Non-binding resolution, is passed by 483-98 with 65 abstentions on Thursday, said the US should provide full disclosure about its email and communications data. If Washington fails to agree, two EU-US transatlantic information-sharing deals could be revoked.
Both data-sharing deals – the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) were agreed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, despite apprehension surrounding whether or not they would give the US too much access to European data.
The TFTP provides the US Treasury with European stored data on international financial transfers, while the PNR covers data provided by passengers when booking tickets and checking in on flights. It then passes this information to the Department of Homeland Security.
Plans to abandon the agreements must be approved by EU governments and the bloc’s executive Commission. While their approval looks highly unlikely, the vote served to prove the simmering anger which exists within the assembly, caused by recent NSA leaks.
Thursday’s vote comes ahead of next week’s talks on a potential EU-US free trade deal. The deal will be negotiated by the European Commission, but parliament can veto the final agreement. Calls from some members of parliament to suspend the talks in light of the NSA surveillance leaks were rejected.

Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens' privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)
Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens’ privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

 

France was originally among those calling for the talks to be suspended. However, French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that the meetings could go ahead as planned, after the EU and US agreed to hold talks next Monday to clarify the extent of Washington’s spying operations.
The European Commission has asked the US to reveal how much data it has access to, and for what purpose. A joint EU-US expert group will be set up to discuss the matter.

US airlines cancel dozens flights due to Mexican volcano eruption

More than 40 flights to Mexico have been cancelled by at least 6 US airlines after the Popocatepetl volcano spewed out ash, steam and glowing rocks on Thursday. US Airways, Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines said they have canceled flights to Mexico City and Toluca airports as a precautionary measure. The airports, which are within 70 kilometers of the volcano, continue to operate normally otherwise, and no ash has reached the area, according to airport officials. The 5,450-meter volcano has recently reached yellow phase two level of activity, and has been spewing hot rock and ash for the last 24 hours.

South Africa denies Mandela in ‘vegetative state’

The South African President’s office has denied reports that the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is in a “permanent vegetative state.” Mandela “remains in a critical, but stable condition,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told reporters, citing doctors. Earlier, AFP said it obtained documents dated June 26, which say Mandela’s breathing is being mechanically assisted.

Egypt closes Gaza border, amasses armored vehicles

Egypt has closed the only gate to the outside world for most of Gaza’s citizens. The Rafah border crossing remains open only for patients, students, traveling abroad for medical treatment or study and for some others, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said Thursday. The Egyptian military for the first time in decades has tightened control over the border area, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, ideologically close to ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The army has located several dozen armored vehicles at the border with the Palestinian enclave in order, it said, to suppress possible activities of militants in the area.

UK police have new leads for inquiry into missing Madeleine McCann

UK detectives have begun their own investigations into Madeleine McCann, who vanished in Portugal May 2007 at age three. British police said they “continue to believe” the girl is alive. There are new leads and 39 potential suspects now and that shifts the process from review to investigation, said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood. McCann went missing from her room at the hotel in the Algarve, while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, leading to a global search that gripped the world’s media.

Doctors advised unplugging ‘vegetative’ Mandela’s life support

Doctors treating Nelson Mandela said that he was in a “permanent vegetative state” and advised his family turn off his life support machine, according to court documents dated June 26, obtained by AFP Thursday. Court papers filed Wednesday in a spat over the Mandela family burial site, revealed that the Nobel peace laureate’s condition was “perilous”.

The Statue of Liberty reopened on the US Independence Day celebration

The Statue of Liberty was reopened on Thursday after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor. The statue wasn’t damaged in the fall storm, but Lady Liberty’s island was seriously damaged. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm got into electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from all over America helped to reconstruct the famous monument. The Statue of Liberty has reopened in time for Independence Day celebrations in America. Officials estimated the cost of repair was $59 million, US media report.

Buenos Aires to host 2018 Youth Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has chosen the capital of Argentina to host the third Youth Olympic Games. Buenos Aires won out against Medellin, Colombia, in the final of the contest. The next Youth Olympics will take place in Nanjing, China, in 2014.

Ingushetia head Yevkurov to run for second term

President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation on Thursday of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the head of the Russian North Caucasus Republic of Ingushetia, and appointed him as the acting head until new elections. Yevkurov said he would seek a second term in September. Under the republic’s constitution, which was amended in May, the head of Ingushetia will be elected by the local parliament.

Two Koreas agree to hold talks on factory park

North and South Korea agreed on Thursday to hold talks this weekend on restarting a jointly run industrial park, the South Korean government said. The industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong, just north of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, has been shut since a political showdown in April. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said the North accepted a proposal from the South that low-level officials from the two sides meet in the village of Panmunjom. The meeting will be held on Saturday morning on the North’s side of the village.

11 missing Bangladesh cargo ship capsizes off Thailand

Eleven crew members of a Bangladeshi cargo ship are missing on Thursday after their vessel capsized in the Andaman Sea, Thai officials said. The ship was heading for Chittagong in Bangladesh and ran into trouble early on Thursday in rough seas some 32km off an island near Phuket in Thailand’s south, AFP reported. Six of the crew were rescued, five of them by a passing ship and the other by a navy helicopter. Fears were growing for the 11 missing after several hours without a sighting.

France apologizes to Bolivia for presidential plane incident

France has apologized to Bolivia for closing its airspace to President Evo Morales. Speaking in Berlin, French President Francois Hollande said he granted the aircraft permission to fly over his country as soon as he knew Morales was onboard, the BBC reported. Morales’ plane, which was returning home after an energy meeting in Moscow, was forced to land in Austria after France and Portugal revoked permission for the plane to enter their airspace over suspicions that it might be carrying fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Time, place of new round of 6-party talks with Iran uncertain – Moscow

Russia is concerned about the absence of an agreement as to when and where a new round of six-party talks with Iran could be held, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday. He questioned the chances of progress in the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program in the absence of such an agreement. It is also unclear who will represent the Iranian side during the next round of talks.the diplomat a

Egypt’s prosecutor orders arrest of top Brotherhood leader

Egypt’s general prosecutor’s office ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, and his deputy, Khairat Shater, judicial and army sources said. His arrest follows the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, who was backed by the Islamist movement. Shater, seen as the Brotherhood’s top political strategist, was the group’s first choice to run in last year’s presidential election. However, he was disqualified from the race due to past convictions, forcing Morsi to take his place.

Quake death toll 30 in Indonesia

The death toll has reached 30 from an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in Indonesia’s Aceh province, media reported Thursday. More than 200 people were also injured, according to the country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Twelve people were reported missing, and more than 4,000 houses and buildings were damaged in the province.

Egypt’s interim president Mansour praises army

Egypt’s interim president has said the mass protests demanding the ouster of Mohammed Morsi have united Egyptians. Adly Mansour made the remarks at his swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mansour, who was the court’s chief justice, replaces Morsi. The Islamist leader was overthrown by the military on Wednesday after just one year in office. According to a military decree, Mansour will serve as Egypt’s interim leader until a new president is elected. The military has placed Morsi under house arrest at an undisclosed location.

Afghan roadside blast kills at least 4 girls

At least four girls have been killed by a roadside blast in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, according to officials. The girls, aged between 7 and 12, were attending a wedding and had gone to collect water from a stream when the explosives detonated, the BBC reported. Helmand is considered one the most active provinces for insurgent activity.

Obama, Merkel to discuss US surveillance program

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to hold a high-level meeting on reported US spying on European states. The White House said Obama and Merkel spoke by phone, and“the president assured the chancellor that the US takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners.”US and EU officials will discuss intelligence and privacy issues as early as July 8. The EU has demanded Washington explain a report in a German magazine that the US was spying on its European allies.

Philippine army kills 8 rebels

Philippine troops clashed with communist rebels early Thursday and killed eight guerrillas after villagers complained about being abused by them, officials said. Soldiers recovered firearms, explosives and grenade launchers after the fighting with New People’s Army guerrillas in Sorsogon province southeast of Manila, the military said. Residents in Juban township complained to the military that the rebels have been extorting money and threatening them.

​South North Dialogue to restart Kaesong industrial complex

South Korea has sought to resume talks with North Korea via diplomatic channels in an effort to kick start the free economic zone just north of the Demilitarized Zone. Pyongyang pulled 53,000 workers out of Kaesong in April to protest joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. The $2 billion project was the last joint undertaking established between two Koreas in the states’ effort at reconciliation. North Korea has yet to respond to the request.

South Korea makes new bid for talks with the North

South Korea has made new overtures to resume talks with North Korea in hopes of reopening the jointly run Kaesong factory park straddling their border, three weeks after talks broke down over political protocol. Proposed cabinet-level talks were aborted just one day before the meeting was slated to begin, as both sides bickered over plans to send low-ranking officials. In June relations between the two Koreas seemed to be on the mend following months of increasingly heated rhetoric from the North, which culminated in the shuttering of the Kaesong industrial zone last April, and threats of war and nuclear annihilation aimed at the South. South Korea offered to hold talks with the North on Thursday, to be held at the Panmumjom truce village on Saturday, according to a statement made by the South’s Unification Ministry. That communication was made possible by North Korea’s restoration of a telephone hotline on Wednesday. The move for renewed talks came after pressure from business owners now incurring losses as the industrial park remains closed.

UNASUR to hold emergency summit

The refusal by countries in Europe, including France, Portugal and Spain to grant the Bolivian head of state’s aircraft entry into their airspace, a group of South American nations is set to hold an emergency summit on Thursday. The meeting of the 12-nation UNASUR bloc will be held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, with the presidents of six nations confirming their attendance so far, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Suriname. President Evo Morales was en route to the capital of La Paz from an energy summit in Russia when his plane was forcefully rerouted to Austria on Wednesday, due to suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was being on board. Morales refuted speculation that Snowden had stowed away on the plane, with Austrian officials later confirming his absence. Several days earlier, Morales had indicated that a request for asylum for Edward Snowden would be considered. The move to detain the presidential plane triggered a wave of furious rhetoric from Latin American leaders who alleged it had been “kidnapped by imperialism.” “This is an excuse to try and frighten, intimidate and punish me. An excuse to try and gag us in the fight against the dominant economic powers,” said Morales.
Media agencies

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