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8 April, 2013

23:09

Serbia wants to negotiate with EU over Kosovo after rejecting its plan

Serbia's coalition government has called for the “urgent” continuation of negotiations with the EU as Belgrade rejects a European Union-brokered plan to tackle the ethnic partition of Kosovo. Serbia hopes to win approval as the bloc is set to consider whether to recommend the start of accession talks with the Balkan state.

22:51

Clinton hostage-taker arrested in New Hampshire after escape

New Hampshire police re-arrested Leeland Eisenberg Monday just hours after he managed to escape from the halfway house where he's stayed since 2010. Eisenberg is best known for instigating a standoff with police in 2007 when he held hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office with what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his chest. The explosive device turned out to be road flares, however, and the standoff ended without any injuries. Eisenberg, 52, was taken into custody Monday after police found him sitting in a building lobby, at which point he told them he was looking for a job. Eisenberg, who has also has two rape convictions, was eligible for parole in August but could now be placed behind bars for up to seven years.

21:39

Obama green lights arms deal to Somalia

US President Barack Obama has signed a determination allowing Secretary of State John Kerry to offer defense equipment to Somalia to aid the government battling Islamist militants. The aim of the administration is for the Somali forces to become more professional and stand as a bulwark against the al-Qaeda elements in the country. Washington’s move follows the suspension of the light arms embargo by the UN Security Council last month. The arms embargo was imposed in 1992, a year after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, as rival warlords battled for control of the East African nation.

19:59

United Arab Emirates sentence man to 10 months in jail for tweeting details of his father’s trial

A man in the United Arab Emirates, who tweeted details of the trial of his father, has been sentenced to 10 months in jail. Abdulla al-Hadidi was arrested on March 21 on charges of publishing "in bad faith" false details of a public hearing that along with his father involved 93 other people accused of plotting to seize power in the Gulf Arab state. Hadidi's attorney would appeal the sentence, Emirate activist Ahmed Mansoor told Reuters. The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi has forbidden Hadidi and several other relatives of the defendants’ family members from attending the trail.

19:22

Syria will not allow UN team to probe the use of chemical weapons in the conflict

Syria says it will not accept a chemical weapons team to examine the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country's conflict. The statement by the country’s foreign ministry comes after the UN chief Ban Ki-moon "suggested a supplementary mission allowing the mission to deploy throughout Syrian territory, which is contrary to the demand Syria made to the United Nations." Syrian FM said Damascus cannot allow such “maneuvers”, recalling the same actions by the UN in Iraq in 2003 that cleared the way for the American invasion of that country. Earlier Syrian authorities called on the UN to investigate the use of chemical weapons in the Aleppo attack that claimed the lives of 25 people on March 19.


18:57

Thousands of youths march to honor Holocaust victims at Auschwitz

Thousands of young people from Israel and other countries marched in silence Monday at Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau - the former Nazi death camp. Participants paid homage to the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Israeli President Shimon Peres recorded a message which was delivered  to the 11,000 youths who took part in the annual “March for Living” trip. "There are less Jews today than there were on the eve of World War II. The pain, wounds and void still exist. They live inside us,” he said. The 25th annual march also honors the fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis. April 19 will mark 70 years since they began their struggle.

18:44

Russian reporter dies in hospital five years after being brutally beaten

Russian reporter and activist Mikhail Beketov, who was savagely beaten in 2008, has died in the hospital. As a result of the attack, he lost three fingers, part of his lower leg and sustained severe brain damage which took his ability to speak. He died in hospital after food clogged his breathing tube. While Editor-in-chief of the local newspaper in the city of Khimky, several kilometers outside Moscow, he was beaten in broad daylight. He was widely known in Russian society for campaigning against the cutting down of a local forest, planned due to the construction of a highway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg that would go through it. The culprits have not been found. The investigation does not rule out the attack was connected with his professional life.


18:31

Opposition in Montenegro not to accept results of country’s Presidential election

The Montenegrin opposition refuses to accept the results of Sunday’s Presidential election, where current leader Filip Vujanovic claimed his third term in a row, Reuters report. His opponents claim it was fraud. The leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) Vujanovic, who’s been in power since 2003, took 51.2 percent of the vote. His opponent, former diplomat Miodrag Lekic had 48.8 percent, according to the state electoral commission. Though the results were preliminary pending possible challenges, the narrow margin could trigger instability in the small Adriatic state, which seeks EU membership. "It's clear that this is election fraud. I guarantee we will not allow our victory to be taken from us, whatever it takes," senior Democratic Front official, Goran Danilovic, said.


16:09

South Korea says the North ‘will be held responsible’ for pulling 50,000 workers from industrial zone

South Korea says the North’s decision to pull more than 50,000 workers from the jointly-run Kaesong industrial complex “cannot be justified in any way and North Korea will be held responsible for all the consequences,” AFP reported. The remark comes in response to a statement by the secretary of the North’s ruling Wokers’ Party Central Committee, Kim Yang-gon, which said Pyongyang would “temporarily suspend the operations in the zone and examine the issue of whether it will allow its existence or close it.” The North has already banned South Koreans from entering the site. Kaesong, which was established almost a decade ago, was previously considered a symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas.

14:55

UN humanitarian agency reopening Gaza food distribution centers

The main UN humanitarian agency for Palestinians has said it will reopen its Gaza food distribution centers next day after suspending operations last week. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) closed the centers on Thursday after demonstrators stormed its headquarters over aid cutbacks. The agency has received “assurances from the relevant parties over the safety of its staff,” Reuters quoted UNRWA's spokesperson Adnan Abu Hasna as saying on Monday.

14:27

Chile exhumes body of poet Pablo Neruda

The body of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, dead nearly four decades, was exhumed on Monday. His former driver Manuel Araya says agents of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship took advantage of his illness to inject poison into his stomach while he was bedridden at the Santa Maria clinic in Santiago, Reuters reports. Neruda, famed for his love poems and staunch communist views, is presumed to have died from prostate cancer on September 23, 1973. Results of the expert evaluation are expected in the coming months.

13:49

Israel closes Gaza border after rocket fire – reports

Israel reportedly sealed its border with the Gaza Strip on Monday after militants fired a rocket into the Negev desert on Sunday evening. The Kerem Shalom goods crossing was closed, according to Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh. The Erez passenger terminal was also closed Monday, Palestinian sources say. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP the rocket fired from Gaza landed in an uninhabited sector of the Negev desert in southern Israel on Sunday, without causing casualties or damage.

13:16

Iraq executes 7 for terror offences

Iraq has executed seven people convicted of terror-related offences, an official said on Monday. The men were reportedly executed after having been convicted on terror charges. Those executed were Iraqi men, and brought to 29 the number of times Iraq has carried out the death penalty so far this year, AFP said. Baghdad executed 129 people in 2012, among the highest such figures in the world. Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari said last month that Baghdad would continue to implement the death penalty despite widespread calls for it to issue a moratorium.

12:42

Kidnapped French photographer freed in Afghanistan

A French photographer has been freed more than three months after being taken hostage in Afghanistan, the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Monday. He was released in Wardak province, near Kabul, Reuters quoted ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi as saying. The circumstances of his release were not immediately clear. Four armed men snatched the freelancer in the capital, Kabul, last November.

12:33

Serbia to reject EU-brokered Kosovo deal

Serbia said on Monday it would reject an EU-brokered proposal to tackle the ethnic partition in Kosovo. The plan “fails to recognize our basic interests and should not be signed,” Reuters quoted Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, leader of the largest party in Serbia's ruling coalition, as saying. "We will ask that the dialogue continue; we need a solution as soon as possible," he said. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton set a Tuesday deadline for Serbia and Kosovo to accept the principles on the table after talks broke down last week.

11:37

Second Egyptian dies after Coptic cathedral clashes

A second Egyptian died on Monday from wounds sustained in clashes at Cairo's Coptic cathedral the previous day. A 21-year-old Muslim man, named only as Mohamed, died of a fractured skull in hospital after fighting between local Muslims and Copts, Reuters said. They had been attending a funeral for four Christians shot dead in a town near Cairo on Friday. The Health Ministry said at least 90 people, including 11 policemen, were wounded around the cathedral in the sectarian flare-up.

11:13

Italian police arrest 37 over mafia involvement

Italian authorities arrested 37 people accused of involvement in the Sicilian Mafia, police said on Monday. The arrests, on charges including organized crime and extortion, were ordered by the Palermo anti-mafia office Reuters said. A network that allegedly controlled businesses in towns around Sicily's capital was reportedly targeted. Among those arrested was the mayor of Montelepre. The town of 6,000 is famous as the home of 1940s ‘Robin Hood’ bandit leader Salvatore Giuliano, as well as a livestock breeder who police said was the head of the ring.

11:03

Egypt suspends commercial flights from Iran after protests

Egypt has halted commercial flights from Iran until mid-June. The first such flight in 34 years between the countries recently provoked protests from hardline Sunni Islamists in Cairo, Reuters reported. That flight, from Cairo to Tehran, on March 30 was seen as a sign of normalizing ties broken after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when Egypt gave sanctuary to the deposed shah of Iran. Sunni Islamists who accuse Iran of trying to spread the Shiite faith in Sunni countries objected and about 100 people staged a demonstration in front of a senior Iranian diplomat's residence in Cairo on Friday.

10:45

Chemical weapons team ready to deploy in Syria – UN chief

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said a team to investigate claims of chemical weapons use in Syria was ready to deploy within 24 hours. Ban met the head of the global chemical weapons monitoring body in The Hague on Monday, saying that an advance team had been sent to Cyprus, Reuters reported. The full team will consist of 15 experts, including inspectors, medical experts and chemists. “All we are waiting for is the go-ahead from the Syrian government to determine whether any chemicals weapons were used, in any location,” Ban said, urging the Syrian government to be more flexible.

10:29

Protesters clash with police over Turkey coup mass trial

Turkish police and demonstrators clashed outside a prison complex in Turkey Monday as nearly 10,000 people protested the mass trial of 275 people accused of preparing to topple the government. Protesters were trying to breach the security barricade outside the compound in Silivri, a suburb on the outskirts of Istanbul, AFP reported. An Istanbul court will hear the closing arguments soon in the four-year trial of the defendants who stand accused of having ties to a nationalist "terrorist network" known as Ergenekon.

09:53

Top Pakistan court summons Musharraf in treason case

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday summoned former President Pervez Musharraf over treason allegations. Musharraf was also barred from leaving the country. A two-judge bench held initial hearing on petitions seeking criminal proceedings against him for alleged abrogation of the Constitution. The court reportedly issued an order to Musharraf to appear in person or through his attorney on Tuesday to defend himself.

08:36

Bomb kills 9 in southwestern Afghanistan

A roadside bomb exploded under an Afghan bus southwest of Kabul on Monday, killing nine people and wounding at least 22 others, officials said. An improvised explosive device hit a bus early morning, Attaullah Khogyani, the governor's spokesman in Wardak province, told AFP. He added that the Taliban were behind the attack. The bus was a government service making daily trips between the capital, Kabul, and Ghazni, the neighboring province.

07:24

Wiesenthal Center adds 2 former SS chiefs to most-wanted Nazi criminals list

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has added two former members of the SS-Death’s Head camp guards to its Nazi War Criminals list. Both Hans (Antanas) Lipschis and Theodor Szehinskyj escaped to the US after World War II. The center released on Sunday the findings of its 12th annual report on the investigation and prosecution of Nazi criminals around the world. The list comprises 10 people. The two additions replace Dutch-German Nazi criminal Klaas Faber, who died in Germany last year, and Karoly (Charles) Zentai, whose extradition to Hungary to stand trial for murder was blocked by the Australian authorities.

06:35

Storm leaves 3 dead, over 30 injured in Japan over weekend

High winds and heavy rainfall in east and west Japan claimed three lives due to drowning, police said Monday. More than 30 others were injured nationwide, TV Asahi quoted police as saying. Bad weather conditions generated by two low-pressure systems wreaked havoc on transportation, with trains and planes experiencing delays and cancellations. Northern and eastern Japan will experience strong winds through April 8, with some areas receiving heavy rain, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported on Monday.

06:14

Three miners rescued in China after 60 hours, 3 others missing

Three miners in China have been rescued after spending two-and-a-half days trapped underground. Three of their colleagues were killed after flooding in a coal mine, Xinhua said. The three were lifted to safety from the mine in Guizhou province's Weng'an county early Monday and hospitalized in stable condition. Three other miners remain missing. The mine flooded at around 10pm Friday, trapping nine miners.

05:25

Two pilots killed at air show in Dominican Republic

A Chilean-made ENAER T-35 aircraft participating in an air show went down on Sunday in the Caribbean Sea off the shore of Santo Domingo. The crash killed Second Lieutenants Rafael Eduardo Sanchez, 27, and Carlos Manuel Guerrero, 25, said Air Force Gen. Ramon M. Hernandez, as quoted by the Dominican Today daily. Witnesses said the aircraft sank less than a minute after hitting the water, and the pilots did not eject from the plane. The pilots’ bodies have been recovered, according to John Vargas, an organizer of the air show.

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