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Diane A. Wade

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

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Canadian police have released a video showing how gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed into the parliament’s building on October 22.

Minutes before, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, had shot dead a soldier at Ottawa’s war memorial near parliament.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was ultimately shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.

The gunman was not on a list of known high-risk travelers, but had links to extremist elements, police said. He had recently applied for a passport and intended to travel to Syria.


At a news conference on October 23, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Bob Paulson described Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a Canadian-born petty criminal with possible dual citizenship in Libya, where his father was from.

Bob Paulson said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was not among the 90 individuals known to Canadian security forces as a “high-risk traveler”, contrary to earlier reports.

Nor was he linked to the Muslim convert who on October 20 killed a Canadian soldier in Quebec in a hit-and-run attack.

Canadian police have released a video showing how gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau stormed into the parliament’s building 640x360 photo

Canadian police have released a video showing how gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed into the parliament’s building

“[Michael Zehaf-Bibeau] was an individual who may have held extremist beliefs,” said Bob Paulson, who suggested the passport application process may have driven him to violence.

“I think the passport figured prominently in his motives. I’m not inside his head, but I think it was central to what was driving him.”

Killed in the Wednesday morning attack was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old reservist from Ontario who was standing as an unarmed honor guard, in ceremonial dress, at Canada’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Canadian capital’s Parliament Hill.

According to the RCMP investigation, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau arrived in Ottawa on October 2, intending to deal with an issue related to his application for a passport.

“He was waiting to get it, and there was an investigation going on to determine to see whether he would get a passport,” Bob Paulson said.

On October 21, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau purchased the beige car used in the attack. On October 22 at about 09:50, he approached the war memorial from behind, fired twice at Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who never saw him coming, then fired on the second guard. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was struck, but the shot missed the second guard.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau yelled something in English, then drove north on Wellington Street toward Parliament Hill. He stopped his car directly in front of the parliament complex’s East Block, and alighted from his vehicle brandishing a rifle as pedestrians fled.

Video shows Michael Zehaf-Bibeau hijacked a minister’s car, then sped off toward Centre Block, by now pursued by police.

At Centre Block, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau left the stolen car and ran into the building, exchanging gunfire with House of Commons security forces and RCMP officers.

He was ultimately shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers, a former senior RCMP officer, who received a standing ovation in parliament on Thursday.

Only one minute and 23 seconds elapsed between the time Michael Zehaf-Bibeau parked his own car and when he entered Center Block.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s assault has shaken a nation already reeling from Monday’s attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, in which 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau smashed his car into two Canadian soldiers in a car park, killing one.

Martin Couture-Rouleau, who authorities say was “inspired” by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq and Syria, led police on a brief chase before he wrecked his car, exited the vehicle reportedly brandishing a knife, and was shot dead by the officers.

PM Stephen Harper has vowed to strengthen the nation’s anti-terrorism laws, and has said Canada will not be intimidated by such violence, nor swayed from its role fighting IS in Iraq alongside the US military.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is now under 24-hour protection, authorities have said.

Several shots have been fired inside and outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, leaving one soldier wounded.

A gunman fired at the National War Memorial and then ran into parliament nearby, continuing the attack.

Canadian broadcaster CBC and several lawmakers report that one gunman has been killed but that is unconfirmed.

The incident came hours after Canada raised its terror threat level following a fatal hit-and-run attack on two soldiers earlier in the week.

“Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured,” Ottawa Police tweeted on Wednesday as a witness reported seeing authorities search from room to room for the suspect.

Police have told those in the vicinity to stay away from windows and roofs as they search for additional suspects.

One gunman – said to be carrying a rifle – fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial and then ran into the parliament.

There are no reports yet of anyone inside the building being hurt.

Meanwhile, PM Stephen Harper “is safe and has left Parliament Hill”, his director of communications wrote on Twitter.

Several shots have been fired inside and outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa leaving one soldier wounded photo

Several shots have been fired inside and outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, leaving one soldier wounded

Senior government member Tony Clement said on Twitter shots were fired near an in-progress cabinet meeting in parliament.

A government official earlier said the raised threat level was in response to an increase in online “general chatter” from radical groups including Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Ministry spokesman Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said on October 22 that the increased level “means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism”.

On October 22 a Muslim convert was killed by Quebec police after deliberately hitting two soldiers in his car, killing one and injuring another.

A minister said it was a “terrible act of violence against our country”.

Earlier this month, Canada announced plans to join the US-led campaign of air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq.

South Korea has taken down a tower used to construct a Christmas tree at the border with North Korea.

The ritual, in which the 60ft tower was covered in colorful lights and topped with a cross, was seen by the North as propaganda by the South.

North Korea repeatedly demanded its demolition and threatened to shell it.

The move came a week after senior military officials from the two Koreas held talks for the first time in seven years.

Two weeks ago, the two countries briefly exchanged gun fire across their land border, in a rare incident.

Gunfire was also exchanged recently when a North Korean patrol ship crossed the disputed western maritime border.

South Korea has taken down a tower used to construct a Christmas tree at the border with North Korea photo

South Korea has taken down a tower used to construct a Christmas tree at the border with North Korea (photo AFP/Getty Images)

The tower, which stood about 2 miles from the border, could be seen by North Koreans living in nearby towns.

Citing a defense official, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the tower, built in 1971, was being removed because it could collapse.

The official refuted speculation that the demolition had to do with relations with North Korea, and said the tower had been awarded a low grade during a safety check.

In 2004, South Korea stopped allowing groups to erect the Christmas tree after dialogue with North Korea in which both sides agreed to stop propaganda activities by the border.

However, it allowed Christian groups to put up the tree in 2010 when a South Korean warship was sunk by, Seoul says, a North Korean submarine.

News of the tower’s demolition came as North Korea freed Jeffrey Fowle, one of three US citizens currently detained.

Washington Post former editor Ben Bradlee, who played a key role in the Watergate scandal that toppled President Richard Nixon, has died aged 93.

According to the newspaper, Benjamin C. Bradlee died at his Washington home of natural causes.

As executive editor from 1968-1991, Ben Bradlee was credited for transforming the Post into one the most respected newspapers in America.

In 2013, Bed Bradlee was given the country’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession – it was a public good vital to our democracy,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Tuesday evening.

“A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told – stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better.”

“Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor,” said Donald Graham, the former publisher of the Washington Post.

Ben Bradlee played a key role in the Watergate scandal that toppled President Richard Nixon photo

Ben Bradlee played a key role in the Watergate scandal that toppled President Richard Nixon

Ben Bradlee – who fought in the Navy during World War Two – became a reporter in the 1950s.

He soon became close friends with the then senator and future President John F. Kennedy.

Ben Bradlee became managing editor at the Washington Post in 1965 and was promoted to executive editor three years later.

“From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily,” the newspaper wrote in its obituary.

“He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines.”

In 1971, Ben Bradlee decided to publish the so-called Pentagon Papers – a secret study of the Vietnam War broken by The New York Times.

Ben Bradlee acted against the advice of lawyers and the entreaties of top government officials. A legal battle then began, with the Supreme Court later upholding the right of newspapers to print the leaked papers.

He played a key role in toppling President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Ben Bradlee encouraged two journalists – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – to pursue relentlessly the unfolding story in which some of Richard Nixon’s closest aides became involved in illegal activities, followed by a political cover-up in which the president himself was implicated.

The story of the newspaper’s coverage of the Watergate scandal was later portrayed in the film All The President’s Men, with Ben Bradlee played by Jason Robards.

American citizen Jeffrey Fowle has been released by the North Korean authorities, US officials say.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was one of three US citizens detained in North Korea.

State department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that Jeffrey Fowle was on his way home on October 21 following negotiations.

Marie Harf said the US was working to secure the release of two other US nationals, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, who remain in detention in North Korea.

The US has accused North Korea of using the detained Americans as pawns in a diplomatic game.

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country. He was charged with “anti-state” crimes.

He was reported to have left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin but his family has insisted that he was not on a mission for his church.

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country 640x373 photo

Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country

Missionary activity is considered a crime in North Korea.

In August, Jeffrey Fwle and fellow detainee Matthew Miller made a televised appeal to the US government to help secure their release.

Responding to the appeal, the US authorities vowed to make securing the release of the detainees a “top priority”.

Matthew Miller was later sentenced to six years’ hard labor for committing “hostile acts”.

The state department’s Marie Harf said Washington welcomed Jeffrey Fowle’s release, adding that US officials “remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK [North Korea] to immediately release them”.

She said North Korea had asked the US government to transport Jeffrey Fowle out of the country as a condition of his release.

Marie Harf also thanked Sweden, which serves as the US protecting power in North Korea, for the “tireless efforts” of its embassy in Pyongyang.

No reason was given for Jeffrey Fowle’s release.

Washington has been trying to send high-level representatives to negotiate the detainees’ release, but these visits have been cancelled by North Korea in recent months.

Cairo’s Court of Cassation has set the appeals hearing of three jailed al-Jazeera journalists for January 1, 2015, says Mohamed Fahmy’s family.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were jailed for seven years on June 23, 2014.

They were accused of spreading false news and supporting the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

The court will either uphold the verdict or call for a retrial.

It is thought the Court of Cassation will take one or two sessions to deliver its ruling.

Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt photo

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt

If the court rejects the sentences, the case will return to the criminal court for a retrial.

Should it uphold the verdict, the only other alternative is for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to offer a pardon.

Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were arrested on December 29, 2013.

At the sentencing in June 2014, Mohamed Fahmy received a further three years on charges of possessing “unlicensed ammunition”.

Eleven other defendants, including three foreign journalists, tried in absentia at the same time received 10-year sentences.

The sentencing of the three sparked an international outcry and raised concerns over growing media restrictions in Egypt.

Journalists around the world held silent protests against their imprisonment.

Qatar-base al-Jazeera was banned from operating inside Egypt after the authorities accused it of broadcasting reports sympathetic to former President Mohamed Morsi and the now banned Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has consistently denied the allegations.

However, Qatar has supported the Brotherhood and is unpopular with Egypt’s government.

The head of Iran’s chief clerical body, Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi-Kani, has died at the age of 83.

Iran’s clerical body is in charged with choosing or dismissing the country’s supreme leader.

Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani a former acting prime minister and interior minister in the 80s had been in a coma since Jun 640x426 photo

Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi-Kani, a former acting prime minister and interior minister in the 80s, had been in a coma since June

Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi-Kani was the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, a body of 86 senior clerics that monitors the supreme leader and picks a successor after his death, making it one of the most powerful institutions in Iran, though it doesn’t involve itself in daily affairs of state.

He held the post since March 2011, after his predecessor, Iran’s influential former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was forced out following a dispute with several hard-line clerics.

Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi-Kani, a former acting prime minister and interior minister in the 80s, had been in a coma since June. He was considered a moderate conservative.

Joko Widodo has been sworn in as Indonesia’s new president in a Jakarta ceremony.

The 53-year-old charismatic outsider who won Indonesia’s presidency made a call for national reconciliation and unity as he was sworn in.

Popularly known as Jokowi, he took the oath of office at a ceremony held at parliament in Jakarta.

Joko Widodo was then cheered through the streets as he made his way on a horse-drawn carriage to the state palace.

The former Jakarta governor is the first president not to have come from the military or political elite.

Joko Widodo has been sworn in as Indonesia’s new president in a Jakarta ceremony 640x426 photo

Joko Widodo has been sworn in as Indonesia’s new president in a Jakarta ceremony

Elected in July, the former furniture exporter and son of a carpenter now leads the world’s third-largest democracy, with a population of about 250 million people.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Australia’s PM Tony Abbott were among those who attended the inauguration.

After reading the oath of office, he told Indonesians that “unity and working hand in hand are prerequisites for us to be a great nation. We will never become a great nation if we are stuck with division”.

“This is a historic moment for us all to move together, to work and work,” he said.

Joko Widodo then travelled through the capital in a horse-drawn carriage to the state palace with Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.

He was met by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the palace. The two had met on Sunday for a tour of the estate.

An outdoor concert featuring rock bands is scheduled for Monday night, with Joko Widodo expected to appear on stage.

About 24,000 police and military personnel have been deployed, but correspondents say that the mood in the capital is upbeat.

Australia’s government has reversed a decision which would have restricted access to parliament in Canberra for women wearing full-face Islamic veils.

Earlier this month, parliament said anyone visiting the building with their face covered would have to sit in a separate area of the public gallery.

The move was widely seen as being aimed at Muslim women in burkas or niqabs, prompting discrimination accusations.

Officials said visitors would now have to show their face briefly to security.

“Once this process has taken place, visitors are free to move about the public spaces of the building, including all chamber galleries, with facial coverings in place,” the Department of Parliamentary Services said in a statement.

The plans would have affected Muslim women wearing niqabs, full-length garments where only the eyes are visible, and burkas, where no part of the face can be seen.

Stephen Parry, president of the Senate, said the initial ruling had been made because of rumors that a group of people were planning to attend prime minister’s questions on October 2 wearing veils and stage a protest in the public gallery.

Australia’s government has reversed a decision which would have restricted access to parliament in Canberra for women wearing full face Islamic veils photo

Australia’s government has reversed a decision which would have restricted access to parliament in Canberra for women wearing full-face Islamic veils

He said the measure was intended to be temporary and, as it had come on the last day of the parliamentary session, had never been enforced.

PM Tony Abbott – who has previously described burkas as a “confronting” item of clothing which he wished people would not wear – had asked Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to “rethink that decision”.

The rule had come amid growing concern about the threat of terror attacks in Australia and the involvement of Australian jihadists in the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Australia has joined the US-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq, and domestically, police have conducted anti-terror raids in recent weeks.

However, critics said that as everyone entering parliament was subject to security checks there was no reason for people with faces covered to be considered a specific threat.

There are about half a million Muslims in Australia, making up just over 2% of the population.

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Pope Paul VI has been beatified by Pope Francis on the last day of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

This year’s synod of the Catholic Church has ended in clinches over how to minister to gay people or whether to give Holy Communion to Catholics who have divorced and remarried.

Paul VI, who was pontiff from 1963 until his death in 1978, had faced similar pressures during the advent of free love, when the church came out against birth control. Pope Paul VI based the decision on Catholic teachings on marriage.

But the church is honoring other aspects of his work, highlighting his efforts to spread social justice and minister to the poor, topics Pope Francis also carries on his banner.

Paul VI is also known for having pioneered papal world visits, traveling to Africa, Latin America and Asia. He was the first pope to visit five continents, the Vatican has said.

He was also the first pope to visit the Holy Land since St. Peter, the Catholic News Service said.

Pope Paul VI has been beatified by Pope Francis on the last day of the Synod of Bishops on the Family 640x507 photo

Pope Paul VI has been beatified by Pope Francis on the last day of the Synod of Bishops on the Family

A trip to the Philippines in 1970 could have cost him his life, but it also provided one of the two necessary precursors for his beatification, a relic.

When he was attacked by a man with a bayonet in Manila, two vests he was wearing were stained with blood, according to historian John-Peter Pham. One of the vests was brought to the beatification in a reliquary.

The second precursor required for beatification is a miracle. Pope Paul VI’s involves an unborn child in California, Vatican Radio said.

A doctor advised a pregnant woman to abort her child because of danger to her life and his, but she refused and instead had a nun pray for her using a photo of Pope Paul, CNS reported. The child was born healthy.

The announcement of Pope Paul VI’s beatification came in May, two weeks after Pope Francis canonized two other predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, allowing them to ascend to sainthood.

Hong Kong protesters have clashed with police in a battle for territory in the district of Mong Kok.

Some reports suggested police charged after the demonstrators had breached their barriers, sparking scuffles that caused minor injuries on both sides.

Protesters on social media accused the police of an unprovoked attack.

Leaders on both sides have called for calm, and confirmed that talks between protest leaders and the government delegates will take place on October 21.

The protesters, many of them youths and students, are angry at China’s rulers for limiting their choice of leader in the next election in 2017.

They accuse Hong Kong’s current leader, CY Leung, of failing to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong protesters have clashed with police in a battle for territory in the district of Mong Kok photo

Hong Kong protesters have clashed with police in a battle for territory in the district of Mong Kok (photo Reuters)

Protests erupted last month and have been going on intermittently around government buildings and the business district on Hong Kong island, and in Mong Kok, a residential and shopping area in Kowloon.

On October 17, police had all but cleared the Mong Kok site and protesters’ numbers had substantially dwindled elsewhere.

Clashes resumed later as protesters launched a sustained effort to reoccupy a busy road junction in Mong Kok.

About 9,000 protesters pushed police back, with 26 people arrested.

At about midnight on October 18, police charged protesters, beating them with batons and deploying pepper spray.

A stand-off resumed shortly afterwards with neither side having gained any ground.

Talks between the two sides were announced earlier.

Carrie Lam, CY Leung’s deputy, said both sides would send five representatives to the negotiations, which will be broadcast live on television.

The talks will last about two hours, and be focused on constitutional reform, Carrie Lam said.

Proposals for wider acceptance of gay people failed to win a two-thirds majority at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.

A mid-term draft report issued through the meeting had called for greater openness towards gay people and divorced Catholics who have remarried.

However, those paragraphs were not approved, and were stripped from the final text.

The report will inform further debate before the synod reconvenes in larger numbers in a year’s time.

Correspondents say the text welcoming gay people and remarried Catholics had been watered down in the final version that was voted on – but it appears that they still met with resistance from conservatives.

All other parts of the draft report were accepted by the synod.

Proposals for wider acceptance of gay people failed to win a two thirds majority at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family 640x423 photo

Proposals for wider acceptance of gay people failed to win a two-thirds majority at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family

Speaking after the vote, Pope Francis told attendees that he would have been “worried and saddened” if there had not been “animated discussions” or if “everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace”, AP news agency reported.

Pope Francis also cautioned against “hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God”.

While the earlier draft had said that gay people had “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”, the revised document only said that discrimination against gay people “is to be avoided”.

The Pope said the full draft document, including the rejected paragraphs, should be published.

“Keep in mind this is not a magisterial document….the Pope asked for it to be made available to show the degree of maturity that has taken place and that which still needs to take place in discussions over the coming year,” Holy See press officer Tom Rosica said on Vatican Radio.

Pope Francis had made a powerful appeal to traditionalists not to lock themselves within the letter of the law, but conservative cardinals and bishops carried the day at the end of the synod.

About 200 bishops attended the synod on family issues at the Vatican.

Texas can use its controversial new voter ID law for the November election, the Supreme Court ruled on October 18.

A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast ballots. Three justices dissented.

Texas can use its controversial new voter ID law for the November election photo

Texas can use its controversial new voter ID law for the November election

Texas ID law was struck down by a federal judge last week, but a federal appeals court had put that ruling on hold. The judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification. Early voting in Texas begins Monday, October 20.

The Supreme Court’s order was unsigned, as it typically is in these situations. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying they would have left the district court decision in place.

The law sets out seven forms of approved ID, a list that includes concealed handgun licenses but not college student IDs, which are accepted in other states with similar measures.

Hong Kong protesters have retaken streets in the Mong Kok district cleared by the authorities just a few hours earlier.

Some 9,000 protesters pushed back riot police, managing to retake territory south of a major intersection.

They have been occupying parts of the city for weeks, angered at China’s curbs on who can stand in Hong Kong’s next leadership election in 2017.

Police made 26 arrests for assault and other offenses on Friday evening.

Fifteen police officers were injured in the clashes, police said, while several protesters were seen being knocked to the ground during the latest scuffles, AP news agency reports.

Protest group Occupy Central issued a statement saying that the clearance operations ordered by the government had “triggered a new wave of occupations and worsened relations between police and citizens”.

The Mong Kok camp in Kowloon is an offshoot of the original protest site around government offices in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island.

Hong Kong protesters have retaken streets in the Mong Kok district cleared by the authorities just a few hours earlier 640x426 photo

Hong Kong protesters have retaken streets in the Mong Kok district cleared by the authorities just a few hours earlier

Protesters and police are also congregating at Admiralty, although there are no reports of clashes.

Earlier on Friday, Alex Chow from the Federation of Students said both his group and the government had agreed to meet on October 21, in talks that would be broadcast live on radio, the South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong leader CY Leung said on October 16 that the government was ready for talks, but China would not retract its decision to vet candidates for the 2017 elections.

The last time talks were scheduled they were cancelled by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who said it was impossible to have constructive dialogue while the occupation of city streets continued.

Protester numbers have dropped off since the start of the month, when tens of thousands were on the streets. But tensions escalated this week, with violent clashes as police cleared an underpass on Lung Wo Road near the chief executive’s offices.

A video showing plainclothes police officers beating an unarmed protester, who is a member of the pro-democracy Civic Party, also sparked outrage.

Police said seven officers had been suspended pending an investigation.

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President Vladimir Putin has paid a late-night visit to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi during ASEM summit in Milan.

Vladimir Putin left the home of Silvio Berlusconi after two hours, at 03:45, the Kremlin confirmed.

The two enjoyed good personal relations while Silvio Berlusconi was in power.

Vladimir Putin, 62, had already raised eyebrows by missing a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 16, the first day of the summit.

He was in the Serbian capital Belgrade as guest of honor at a military parade to mark the city’s liberation from Nazi Germany 70 years ago.

The talks with Angela Merkel, which focused on the peace process in Ukraine, eventually started four hours late, Russian media report.

President Vladimir Putin has paid a late night visit to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi during ASEM summit in Milan photo

President Vladimir Putin has paid a late-night visit to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi during ASEM summit in Milan

Correspondents say Vladimir Putin has a reputation for arriving late. He kept Pope Francis waiting 50 minutes when he visited the Vatican last year.

Vladimir Putin met Silvio Berlusconi “by special permission” of the judicial authorities, Italian journalist Gerardo Pelosi said in a tweet.

“After the completion of official events… Putin came to see his old friend Berlusconi,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed.

Despite his late night out, Vladimir Putin was back early on Friday for more talks with Angela Merkel.

Silvio Berlusconi, 78, is serving a sentence of one year of community service at a care home near Milan since being convicted of tax fraud last year and ejected from the Italian Senate.

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Imprisoned Indian politician Jayaram Jayalalitha has been granted bail by the country’s Supreme Court.

Former chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu Jayaram Jayalalitha was jailed last month for four years on corruption charges.

In a case that lasted 18 years, she was found guilty of amassing unaccounted-for wealth of more than $10 million.

Supporters wept on the streets when a court rejected an earlier bail plea.

Granting bail on October 17, India’s top court directed her to “complete all paperwork” relating to the appeal against her conviction within two months in the Karnataka high court.

Jayaram Jayalalitha was jailed last month for four years on corruption charges photo

Jayaram Jayalalitha was jailed last month for four years on corruption charges (photo AP)

Lawyers for Jayaram Jayalalitha, 66, had argued that she should be given bail because she is unwell and appealing against her conviction in a higher court.

However, the court warned Jayaram Jayalalitha it would not give her “a day more” if she failed to complete the procedures.

The Supreme Court also asked the former chief minister to ensure her party workers remained peaceful.

Her supporters’ protests against last month’s conviction meant they had to be forcibly dispersed by police.

The Karnataka court has sentenced Jayaram Jayalalitha and three other accused to four years in prison each, with Jayalalitha also facing a 1bn rupee fine ($16 million). The others have been ordered to pay a fine of about $1.6 million each.

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President Vladimir Putin and key EU leaders have met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis.

The leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Italy were expected to press Vladimir Putin to do more to end the fighting.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi said after the talks he was “more positive” on prospects for a solution to the crisis.
The West accuses Russia of arming separatist rebels and sending regular troops to Ukraine. Moscow denies this.
Ukraine and the rebels agreed a truce in September, but each side accuses the other of repeated shelling.
The separatists control parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
More than 3,600 people have been killed since the fighting erupted in April, following the annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsular a month earlier.

Vladimir Putin and key EU leaders have met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis photo

Vladimir Putin and key EU leaders have met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis

Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko and EU leaders met on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit in the northern Italian city.
The other participants in the meeting included UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi.
Speaking briefly after the talks, the Italian prime minister said they were constructive but big differences remained.
“I’m more positive, I hope we can work together very strongly,” he told journalists.
Petro Poroshenko met Angela Merkel ahead of Friday’s talks, with both expressing regret that many points of a peace plan agreed last month in the Belarusian capital Minsk “had not yet been implemented”, German government sources were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Angela Merkel also met Vladimir Putin for two-and-a-half hours late on Thursday, October 16.
Russian media quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that there were still “serious differences” between the two leaders over the origins of the crisis.
Angela Merkel said it was “first and foremost” Russia’s responsibility to make sure the peace plan was being followed.
Among other points, the plan envisages the withdrawal of heavy weaponry 10 miles by each side from the line of contact and the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from the conflict zone.
Earlier this week, Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of nearly 18,000 Russian troops stationed near the Ukrainian border.
However, NATO says it has seen no sign of any major Russian pullback.
Speaking ahead of the Milan talks, Vladimir Putin stressed that he would not be blackmailed by the EU and US over the Ukrainian crisis.
In what was seen as a direct reference to President Barack Obama, the Russian leader warned of “what discord between large nuclear powers can do to strategic stability”.
The two-day ASEM summit brings together more than 50 member states.

Ann Romney, the wife of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has denied he will make a third bid for the White House, amid reports his backers are pressing him to run in 2016.

Ann Romney told NBC News her family was “done done done”.

Mitt Romney, a businessman and ex-Massachusetts governor, lost to Barack Obama in 2012 and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2008.

The 2016 Republican field is expected to be wide open.

Ann Romney has denied Mitt Romney will make a new bid for the White House in 2016 photo

Ann Romney has denied Mitt Romney will make a new bid for the White House in 2016

Democrat Barack Obama is barred by term limits from running again. With the future direction of the Republican Party being hotly debated, some Republican donors are pushing Mitt Romney to consider another presidential run.

A recent opinion poll suggested Mitt Romney led the field including Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, among others.

On October 14, Ann Romney denied the family was even weighing a run, in an interview promoting the launch of a new neurological disease centre at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston bearing her name.

Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease, in 1998.

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North Korea and South Korea have held talks for the first time in seven years, South Korean Yonhap news agency reports.

The news agency, citing an unnamed source, said the talks began at 10:00 at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.

In recent weeks the two Koreas have exchange limited gun fire across both their land and sea borders.

South Korean ministry officials have not formally confirmed the talks.

Yonhap, citing its parliamentary source, said it was because North Korea did not want the talks made public.

An opposition lawmaker gave the same information to a party meeting, a statement from his party said.

North Korea and South Korea have held talks for the first time in seven years photo

North Korea and South Korea have held talks for the first time in seven years

The talks were widely expected to focus on reducing tensions after two small military incidents across the border that divides the two nations – which remain technically at war.

Last week, gun fire was exchanged after a North Korean patrol ship crossed the disputed western maritime border, South Korea said.

On October 10, there was also an exchange of fire across the land border, something that happens rarely.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing military officials, said North Korea fired towards balloons carrying propaganda leaflets that had been launched across the border by South Korean activists.

South Korea responded after some shots landed south of the border, its officials said.

The two sides last held working-level military talks in February 2011 and general-level talks in December 2007, Yonhap said.

In February, Pyongyang and Seoul also had two rounds of high-level meetings in Panmunjom, without providing any details on how the talks went.

Hong Kong police is investigating reports that officers used excessive force against pro-democracy protesters.

Local TV showed images of officers apparently beating a handcuffed protester on October 15 in some of the worst clashes since the protests began.

Hong Kong’s security chief said the officers had been “temporarily removed from their current duties”.

The incident occurred as police cleared an underpass near government buildings.

The police advance came when protesters blockaded the underpass after being cleared out of other areas of the city on October 14.

Overnight police used pepper spray and batons to remove protesters from Lung Wo Road which they said earlier had to be cleared as it was a major thoroughfare. They also arrested 45 people for “unlawful assembly”.

Local TV network TVB aired footage that appeared to show a group of plainclothes policeman dragging a handcuffed and unarmed protester and placing him on the ground.

Hong Kong police is investigating reports that officers used excessive force against pro democracy protesters 640x360 photo

Hong Kong police is investigating reports that officers used excessive force against pro-democracy protesters

They then assault him, kicking him repeatedly.

The man was named as Ken Tsang, a social worker and member of the opposition Civic Party. He was later taken to hospital.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said there was “concern” over a video clip “showing police officers who used inappropriate force against an arrested person”.

He said the officers seen on the video would be removed from their current duties and that an investigation would be carried out.

The protesters are now in their third week of occupying key parts of the city in a bid to put pressure on China and Hong Kong’s authorities to answer their calls for political reform.

Thousands of people took to the streets at the beginning of the demonstrations but the numbers have dwindled in recent days.

They are demanding fully free elections in the next vote for the territory’s leader. China, which has control over Hong Kong, says residents can vote – but it will vet which candidates are eligible to stand.

The clashes came on the third day of operations that police say are necessary to ease traffic disruption, but which they insist are not aimed at clearing the protesters.

Tsui Wai-Hung, a police spokesman, said none of the 37 men and eight women who were arrested had been hurt. Four police officers were said to have been injured.

Joshua Wong, a prominent student leader, told AFP news agency that trust between police and the activists was at a low point.

“The proper action police should take is to bring the protester to the police car, not to take him away and then punch and kick him for four minutes,” he said.

On October 15, China’s The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, said the protests were “doomed to fail” in a front-page editorial.

“Numerous facts and history tell us that if people start radical and illegal acts and there is submission to political blackmail, it will only result in more and more illegal activities and exacerbate instability and chaos,” the paper said.

Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance since September 3, the North Korean official news agency says.

The KCNA agency said on October 14 that Kim Jong-un “gave field guidance” at a newly-built scientists’ residential district.

Rodong Sinmun daily newspaper carried several photographs of Kim Jong-un using a walking stick as he inspected the site.

The absence of the North Korean leader had prompted a flurry of speculation about his health.

Some observers said Kim Jong-un, 32, could be suffering from gout or problems in his hip joint. Others even questioned if he remained in control of the state.

Official media have cited unspecified personal “discomfort” as grounds for Kim Jong-un’s absence from public view.

Kim Jong un has made his first public appearance since September 3 at a newly built scientists residential district photo

Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance since September 3 at a newly-built scientists’ residential district

KCNA said that Kim Jong-un was briefed on the Wisong Scientists Residential District “before a map showing its bird’s-eye view” and that he then “overlooked it”.

“Looking over the exterior of the apartment houses and public buildings, decorated with diverse colored tiles, [Kim Jong-un] expressed great satisfaction, saying they looked very beautiful,” the agency said.

It also said that Kim Jong-un visited the newly-built Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences.

Although the news release was dated October 14, it did not specify on which day he made the visits.

During his absence, Kim Jong-un missed two high-profile public events – the October 10 anniversary of the establishment of the Korean Worker’s Party and the September 9 Foundation Day of the North Korean State.

Analysts said they were two days in the political calendar when the leader would be expected to make an appearance.

Kim Jong-un took office on the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December 2011 and was quickly named head of the party, state and army.

In 2012 he was appointed marshal – the highest military rank – following a high-level military reshuffle.

In December 2013, Kim Jong-un purged and executed his uncle, Chang Song-thaek, who state media said had been plotting a coup.

Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with a contested independence referendum, Spanish media says.

A spokesman for Catalan President Artur Mas said he would be holding a news conference at 08:00 GMT on October 14.

Spain’s government said the November 9 vote was unconstitutional but Catalan’s leaders had vowed to hold it.

Support for independence has increased among the 7.5 million Catalans following Spain’s economic crisis.

On September 19, the regional parliament voted by 106 to 28 in favor of granting Catalan’s president the power to hold a referendum.

Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with the independence referendum 640x384 photo

Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with the independence referendum

Spain’s central government protested against the move and the Constitutional Court agreed to hear their case against the referendum – a process that could take years.

The pro-independence Catalan government had previously said it was examining legal arguments to persuade the court to lift its suspension of the vote while the case is heard.

However, Joan Herrera, of the Initiative for Catalonia party, told reporters that the regional government had “determined that the consultation can’t take place” after meeting with pro-referendum parties on Monday.

Spanish media said that President Artur Mas was now looking for other mechanisms to consult the public.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have protested on the streets in recent weeks, demanding their own vote.

Polls suggest most Catalans favor holding the vote, but are roughly evenly split on independence.

With about 16% of the Spanish population and a distinct language and culture, Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest and most independent-minded regions.

Evo Morales is claiming a third term in office win in Bolivia’s presidential elections.

“This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists,” Evo Morales told cheering supporters at the presidential palace in La Paz.

Exit polls show Evo Morales on 60%, well ahead of his rivals, as votes are counted.

To avoid a run-off, Evo Morales must win 50% of valid votes, or 40% if that includes a 10-point lead over his nearest rival.

Evo Morales has overseen strong economic growth since taking office in 2006 and has been widely tipped to win.

He has presided over a period of economic growth and reduced poverty, using Bolivia’s commodity wealth to reduce poverty levels.

However, he has been criticized for failing to halt corruption.

Evo Morales’s party, the Movement Toward Socialism, is also expected to make gains and win a strong majority in Congress.

The poll passed without major incident, according to the electoral authorities and foreign observers.

Evo Morales has overseen strong economic growth since taking office in 2006 640x426 photo

Evo Morales has overseen strong economic growth since taking office in 2006

Since 2006, Evo Morales’s government has focused on education subsidies, increased pensions and spending on public works.

He has been boosted by a boom in commodities prices that has helped propel export revenues nine-fold.

The revenue has helped fund policies that have created an average annual economic growth of 5%, well above the regional average.

It has also funded public works projects, including a cable car system for the capital, La Paz.

Some 500,000 people have been taken out of poverty.

The oil, gas, mining, telecommunications and water sectors have all been nationalized.

Evo Morales’s critics say he has introduced measures which are harmful to the environment and presided over a corrupt administration.

He is also accused of using millions of dollars in government cash to fund his re-election campaign and that this has helped create a fractured opposition.

Heading into the elections, Samuel Doria Medina was Evo Morales’ closest rival.

Samuel Doria Medina vowed to clean up the judiciary if elected.

Evo Morales will want to maintain his two-thirds control of Bolivia’s Senate and assembly, which are also holding elections.

This could allow him to alter the constitution to permit a fourth term in office.

Evo Morales has already benefited from a court ruling that permitted him to run for a third term.

Cyclone Hudhud has hit the eastern Indian coast, causing extensive damage and prompting the evacuation of some 300,000 people.

The cyclone, classed “very severe” and bringing winds of up to 120mph, is expected to make landfall soon near the city of Visakhapatnam.

Hundreds of trees have been uprooted and power lines brought down in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.

Two people have so far been reported killed in Andhra Pradesh.

It is feared a storm surge of up to two meters could inundate low-lying areas and hundreds of relief centers have been opened in the two states. Disaster relief teams have also been sent.

The authorities say the next five to six hours will be crucial.

The strength of the cyclone has been revised upwards since October 10, and the Indian Navy is on standby to assist.

The two deaths occurred in separate incidents in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district, the state’s disaster management department said.

Hundreds of thousands of people are evacuated as Cyclone Hudhud pounds the eastern Indian coast 640x365 photo

Hundreds of thousands of people are evacuated as Cyclone Hudhud pounds the eastern Indian coast

One was killed by a falling wall and the other by a tree.

The streets of Visakhapatnam, one of the largest cities in south-east India and home to a major naval base, remain largely deserted.

K Hymavathi, the special commissioner for disaster management for Andhra Pradesh state, said: “Hundreds of trees have been uprooted and power lines knocked down.”

He added: “The situation is very severe. The national highway in the region has been shut.”

In its latest report, the India Meteorological Department said sea conditions would become “phenomenal” off the north Andhra Pradesh and south Orissa coasts.

It also warned that a storm surge of up to two metres would “inundate low-lying areas of Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam”.

Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra, a special relief commissioner, said that authorities were ready.

“The administration is fully geared,” he said.

“The collectors [senior government officials] have been given total clearance to take up any evacuation wherever necessary for vulnerable areas which are likely to be inundated.”

A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.

India’s eastern coast and Bangladesh are routinely hit by cyclonic storms between April and November which cause deaths and widespread damage to property.

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Mexican authorities say that some bodies found in shallow graves near the town of Iguala are not those of students missing after clashes with police.

The 43 students were last seen being pushed into police vans after a protest in Guerrero state on September 26.

“I can say that some of the bodies, according to the work of forensics experts, do not correspond to the youths,” said Governor Angel Aguirre.

Prosecutors believe police turned over the students to a drug gang.

The gang was linked to the family of Iguala’s Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez.

He, his wife and his head of security went on leave after the clashes and have not reappeared.

A formal search has been launched for them.

The 43 students were last seen being pushed into police vans after a protest in Guerrero state on September 26 photo

The 43 students were last seen being pushed into police vans after a protest in Guerrero state on September 26

Angel Aguirre has promised new developments in the investigation over the next few days.

“I have big hopes of finding our young students alive. That is why we have now entered a new phase in the search for them,” he said.

The clandestine graves were located in the outskirts of Iguala following an anonymous tip off.

Twenty-eight burnt bodies were retrieved from the pits. Forensic experts are still working to identify all of them, said Angel Aguirre.

The students all attended a local teacher training college with a history of left-wing activism.

Six students were killed in two separate shooting incidents during the protests in Iguala, which lies some 120 miles south of the capital, Mexico City.

However, it is not clear whether they were targeted for their political beliefs.

Some think that they may have angered a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos by refusing to pay extortion money.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Mexico to demand government action to locate the students.

President Enrique Pena Nieto went on national television to promise to identify and punish those responsible for the disappearance.