California's Governor Jerry Brown has signed new legislation paving the way for driverless cars in the state. The bill creates safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles, and will require vehicles operating autonomously to have a licensed driver behind the wheel in case of emergency. In February, Nevada became the first US state to approve regulations to test driverless cars on that state's roads. Internet giant Google and carmakers such as Audi AG, BMW AG, Ford and Volvo have been working on autonomous car technology for years.
China has introduced its first aircraft carrier into service, showcasing its naval might amid heightened tensions with Japan over a disputed island group in the East China Sea. “The aircraft carrier will play an important role in China's settlement of islands disputes and defense of its maritime rights and interests,” Li Jie, a Chinese naval expert, told People’s Daily. The 300-meter-long Liaoning is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine. The premiere of the new vessel serves as a display of national prestige, making China a member of the nine-nation club of carrier-equipped navies.
The head of Google's operations in Brazil is to be arrested for not cooperating with local election laws after the company failed to take down YouTube videos offensive to a local mayoral candidate. A judge had ordered the arrest of Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, unless the materials attacking a local candidate were removed. "Google is appealing the decision that ordered the removal of the video on YouTube because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted to its site," the company said through a spokesman in Brazil.
The European Space Agency’s Edoardo Amaldi Automated Transfer Vehicle 003 (ATV-3) resupply spacecraft has failed to undock from the International Space Station on Tuesday night, the Moscow region-based Mission Control Center said. It is still unknown why the spacecraft did not undock as scheduled at 22:35 GMT, the agency said. ATV-3 arrived at the ISS at the end of March, carrying almost seven tons of cargo. During its mission the spacecraft readjusted the orbit of the ISS five times, with one failed attempt on August 15, when the ATV raised the station’s orbit by 5 kilometers instead of 7.7 kilometers.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi says freedom of speech must be used responsibly. Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative and addressing the wave of violence seen in the Arab World over an Islamophobic video produced in the United States, Morsi condemned the violent acts of some demonstrators. Earlier in a meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Morsi stressed that protecting American diplomatic missions on Egyptian territory was his government's duty. Clinton and Morsi also addressed improving security in the Sinai Peninsula and helping the Egyptian economy. Clinton also urged Egypt to improve communications with Israel.
French President Francois Hollande has told the UN General Assembly that the EU is ready to impose new sanctions on Iran to force it back to the negotiating table over its controversial nuclear energy program. On the sidelines of the meeting, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius explained that the sanctions will be “on the financial and trade side.” This year the EU has already banned oil trade with Iran following US sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking sector. However, since Russia and China are opposed to the idea, the possibility of any sanctions on the level of the UN Security Council is rather slim, UN diplomats say.
The Lebanese army has seized a truck smuggling weapons into bordering Syria. According to the report, troops arrested a Lebanese man and six Syrians who entered the country illegally trying to traffic military equipment including hand grenades and communication devices. The poorly-demarcated Syrian-Lebanese border has witnessed a number of violations since trouble in Syria began in March 2011. Lebanon and Syria share a 330-kilometer border, but have yet to agree on official demarcation.
The Spanish region Catalonia, home to Barcelona, will hold early elections on November 25, regional president Artur Mas announced Tuesday. The autonomous region comprises one fifth of the Spanish economy, but is also the country’s most indebted region. Barcelona’s call for greater tax autonomy was rejected last week by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, triggering Mas to demand an early vote in front of the Catalan Parliament. "The time has come to exercise the right to self-determination. We do not have to justify who we are. We want the same instruments that other nations have to preserve our common identity," Mas told the assembly. His conservative Convergence and Union (CiU) party is expected to win an absolute majority in the elections, consolidating his mandate to pursue the region’s independence from Spain. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is urging national unity in an effort to secure its public finances. Last month, Catalonia was required to contribute five billion euro to the central government to help it deal with its 40-billion-euro debt.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti will not run for reelection in the country’s spring vote. "I will not run for the elections," he told CNN. “I think it's important that the whole political game resumes in Italy, hopefully with a higher degree of responsibility and maturity." Polls suggest Italy’s elections may lead to a government coalition that would shirk commitment to Monti’s budget policies. However, Rome is on track to lower its deficit to within the European Union limit this year, and is adamant to reduce the EU’s second-biggest debt in 2013.
The French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that the United Nations must immediately provide protection to areas liberated by the rebels in northern Syria, adding that President Bashar al-Assad has no future on the international stage.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has said in a speech before the UN General Assembly that it would be better for Arab countries to intervene in Syria rather than western ones. The conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of some 5,000 Syrians since unrest began in the country nearly a year ago.
The BBC apologized to Queen Elizebeth II for revealing that she had raised concerns with the government about why the radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-masri had not been arrested, the agency reported Tuesday. A BBC security correspondent also apologized for leaking details of a private conversation he had with the Queen. On Monday Hamza, who was first arrested in 2004, lost his latest appeal at the European Court of Human Rights against extradition to the US on terrorism charges. Four other men were also extradited on similar charges after losing their extradition appeals.
A huge camp for civilians displaced by war in northern Sri Lanka was closed, officials said. On Tuesday, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Sri Lanka, Sabinay Nandy, called the shuttering of Manik Farm a “milestone event” in ending displacement in Sri Lanka, the AP said. However, among the last to leave the camp were 346 people from 110 families who were relocated elsewhere and are unable to return home because their land is occupied by the military, Nandy said. The Manik Farm camps housed 225,000 ethnic Tamil civilians since May 2009, when government troops defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, ending a quarter-century-long civil war.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a Revolutionary Guard commander, said Iran deployed a domestically built reconnaissance drone that can fly for 24 hours straight. The head the Guard's aerospace division said on Iranian state TV that the drone – named Shahed-129, or Witness-129 – has a range of 2,000 kilometers, covering Israel and much of the Middle East, the AP reported. The craft possesses nearly double the reported range of previous Iranian drones. The drone was designed and developed by Iranian scientists, Hajizadeh said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Tuesday the “door may be closing, for good” on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a solution is the “only sustainable option,” but the continued growth of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories “seriously undermines efforts towards peace,” he told the UN General Assembly. The UN chief urged both sides to “break this dangerous impasse.”
On Tuesday, South Africa’s labor strikes spread from its mines to the transport sector. The country's Transport and Allied Workers' Union reported over 20,000 road freight employees were on strike over a pay dispute, the AP reported. The strikers are demanding a 12 percent pay raise, while employers offered an 8.5 percent increase. Striking truck drivers gathered in Johannesburg and reportedly threw stones at passing trucks. Mine workers at the Anglo American Platinum mines near Rustenburg on Tuesday met with management and arbitrators to discuss demands for higher pay.
A Norwegian public prosecutor alleged in his opening statements at the trial of Sadi Bugingo that the man took part in the killings of some 2,000 people, mainly belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda. Bugingo, 47, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to participating in the 1994 genocide in his home country, the AP reported. Bugingo arrived in Norway in 2001 to join his family, and was arrested last year. Norway's first genocide trial is scheduled to last several months.
Some 200 Al-Shabaab rebels surrendered after African Union (AU) troops and Somali forces captured a key rebel town, media reports said. The Ahmad Ali Militant Group was among those that surrendered. Amisom, the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, called on other militants in the country to disarm. Interior Minister Abdisamed Mohamed Hassan reportedly appealed to militants in other areas, promising the rebels jobs and training if they turn themselves in.
More than 400 Tibetan exiles from around the world met in India on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to dozens of recent self-immolations by Tibetans. The Dalai Lama, the supreme spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, will not participate in the four-day Second Special General Meeting of Tibetans in the Indian hill town of Dharmsala, but will attend a prayer on Friday, the AP said. The first meeting in 2008 came after protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Tibet’s government-in-exile reported that since March 2009, 41 Tibetans died from 51 attempts at self-immolation.
The North Korean parliament held a rare second session on Tuesday to extend students’ schooling period by a year to better “train able revolutionaries.” No economic or agricultural reform measures were discussed or adopted, Reuters reported. The meeting was only the third time in the past decade that the Supreme People's Assembly met more than once in the same year. Analysts expected the event to confirm changes to investment laws or announce economic reforms.
Syrian refugees clashed with Jordanian police in protest against substandard living conditions in their desert tent camp. Some 150 refugees hurled stones at security officers and torched a tent, the AP quoted a police official as saying. The offices of a Jordanian charity responsible for the camp and a Moroccan field hospital were also attacked late Monday. Twenty-six policemen were reportedly injured in the violence. The Zaatari camp near the Syrian border houses about 32,000 Syrian refugees.
A wave of insurgent attacks in central Iraq killed nine people and wounded 19, police reported. On Tuesday, two police officers and a soldier were killed in two of the attacks, and six troops were wounded in eastern and southwestern Baghdad. In western Baghdad, a brigadier and his driver were killed in a drive-by shooting, the AP reported. A car bomb went off next to a police patrol in Fallujah, killing two officers and wounding seven. Two more people were killed when another car bomb exploded near a police station in the town of Tarmiyah.
In an apparent boost to Kuwaiti opposition groups, the country’s Constitutional Court rejected a government challenge to a recent electoral law. The court announced it will not reverse a 2006 law that created five electoral districts, which allowed opposition parties to boost their power and influence. The districting will be in effect during the next parliamentary election. The Islamist-led opposition took control of parliament after last February’s elections. The parliament was later dissolved by Kuwait's ruling monarchy when it challenged the new electoral system.
An Indian soldier and suspected rebel were killed in a fierce gun battle in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, the Indian army reported. The fighting erupted early Tuesday after soldiers engaged militants hiding in a forest village, the AP quoted Army spokesperson Col. Brijesh Pandey as saying. Reinforcements were sent to the village as both sides exchanged gunfire intermittently. No rebel groups issued a statement on the incident.
New satellite images showed that North Korea halted work at a launch pad capable of testing intercontinental missiles, the US-based website 38 North said on Tuesday. The August 29 pictures also revealed that construction was postponed on crucial fuel and oxidizer buildings, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies reported. The slowdown “could result in a 1-2 year slip in the planned completion date of the new complex,” the report said. The cause of the work stoppage was unclear, though recent heavy rains may have contributed to the halt.
On Tuesday, Russia’s State Duma will consider new legislation to protect the religious sentiments of the country’s citizens. The motion was initiated by all four factions of parliament. Lawmakers will condemn “insults and hooliganism against both the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations,” Itar-Tass quoted Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin as saying. The deputies aim to impose “stricter punishment for insulting citizens' religious feelings, including for desecration of shrines,” he said. An article will also be added to the Criminal Code concerning punishments for insulting religious beliefs and the feelings of citizens, the Vedomosti daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Mali asked the UN to approve an ‘immediate’ mandate for an international force to recapture parts of the country’s north, currently controlled by Islamist militants. Mali requested a UN Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to mandate an international force “to help the Malian army to reconquer the occupied areas of northern Mali,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday. Fabius cited a September 18 letter sent by Mali’s interim leaders to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Reuters reported. Following a coup in Mali in March, Islamist Tuareg rebels took control of nearly two-thirds of the country, with several groups seizing control of the country’s north and imposing strict Islamic law.
Twenty workers at a coal mine in northwest China were killed on Tuesday when a steel cable pulling two mine cars broke. Local media reported that 34 miners were riding in the cars in the mine, located in Baiyin city in Gansu province. Fourteen miners were rescued after the accident.
Tehran blocked Iranians from accessing Google, and its email service Gmail, through the country’s Internet service providers. Iran justified the move by Google’s refusal to take down the controversial US-made anti-Islamic movie 'Innocence of Muslims’ from YouTube, which was blocked in Iran in 2009. The country also severely limits Internet access to western media outlets like the BBC, CNN and the Guardian, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Landslides in northeastern India killed over 30 people and forced more than a million people to leave their homes, after a week of heavy rainfall. Sikkim was among the regions hardest hit by the downpour, where landslides cut off whole areas from the mainland, and Assam, where the rains led to extensive flooding. Over two million people were reportedly displaced by the floods. The Indian government is organizing search and rescue operations, and transferring homeless residents to refugee camps. The deluge threatens Kaziranga National Park, where hundreds of animals died in a series of floods earlier this year.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a total structural overhaul of the United Nations Security Council so that international law can prevail. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, the Iranian President criticized the hegemonistic powers for imposing their will on nations and violating people's inalienable rights and liberties under the pretext of defending freedom and international security. Ahmadinejad has unveiled Iran’s vision of justice based on 10 proposals for the better observance of law in international relations.
The FBI will investigate what led a Houston police officer to shoot and kill a double amputee in a wheelchair, the city's police chief Charles McClelland said on Monday. He also asked the community to “reserve judgment” on the officer and his actions. The shooting occurred early on Saturday in a group home, the owner of which called the police claiming a man was causing a disturbance. Matthew Jacob Marin opened fire, saying he was forced to take action, "fearing for his partner's safety and his own safety", after the man refused to calm down and remain still. Marin, who had reportedly been involved in another fatal suspect shooting three years ago, was placed on three-day administrative leave.
Roman Catholic activists criticized a decree passed by German bishops on Friday which denies sacraments and religious burials to parishioners that do not pay the church's tax. According to Germany's Roman Catholic Bishops, those who refuse to pay a church tax will not be admitted to Holy Communion, cannot become a godparent, and will be refused religious burial. Germany has had a church tax system in place since the 19th century requiring residents to either officially declare their religion and pay a church tax, or to be classed as "non-religious". The amount due is between eight and 10 per cent of income tax paid, depending on where the person lives.