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1 July, 2013

22:32

President Morales says Bolivia has not received asylum request from Snowden

Speaking to RT Spanish from Moscow, Bolivian president Evo Morales has said that Edward Snowden has not requested political asylum from his country. “If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” said Morales. The president further explained that Bolivia was prepared to assist the whistleblower. “Why not? Well, he’s left much to be discussed … and a debate on the international level, and of course, Bolivia is there to shield the denounced, whether it’s espionage or control, in either case, we are here to assist.”

21:25

India places its first navigation satellite into orbit

India has placed the country’s first navigation satellite in orbit. This is the first of seven satellites planned to orbit the Earth under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The network plans to become operational by 2015, with the second launch planned in three months. The satellites plan to cover the entirety of India with pin-point precision readings of about 10 meters. India started its space journey in 1975 and to date has completed over 100 space missions.

20:55

Catholic Church forced to release 6,000 pages of child rape records

Thousands of documents were released Monday revealing how deep the child sex abuse scandal has become in the Catholic Church, and the strains top-level clergy took to cover up allegations of rape and molestation. The 6,000 pages were disclosed by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin as part of a deal with sex abuse victims suing the church, which is accused of transferring priests to different parishes throughout the country to hide claims they had abused children. The personnel files of 42 priests known to have sexually abused minors, plans to pay abusive priests up to $20,000 to leave the church, and depositions from clerics worried about how the scandal would hurt the Vatican’s public image are among the files released Monday. Perhaps most shocking, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, are the files of Father Lawrence Murphy, who is alleged to have molested 200 deaf boys during his tenure.

16:15

Nelson Mandela remains critical but stable

Former South African President Nelson Mandela remains "criticalbut stable" in hospital, the South African government said on Monday . Mandela has been in a Pretoria hospital for more than three weeks receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection, his fourth hospitalization in six months. While he is in hospital , many South Africans are looking ahead to his 95th birthday on July 18 “to do something good for humanity ….in tribute to our former President,"President JacobZuma said . During his visit to South Africa, President Obama intendedto visit Nelson Mandela, but , as the patient was critical,Obama met the Mandela family on Saturday instead, offering words of comfort.

14:56

Protests disrupt Libyan oil output

Protests have shut down several Libyan oilfields, cutting output by around a third, industry sources said. Workers calling for management change shut down production at several fields belonging to Zueitina Oil Company on Monday, Reuters reported. Closing down oil exports would affect other fields that pump to Zueitina’s export terminal in eastern Libya, such as Abu Attifel. A Zueitina official said that there were “demonstrations in Zueitina’s fields.” A separate security dispute closed the Sharara field.

14:27

UN takes over from African troops in Mali mission

A force of African soldiers that helped France take back northern Mali has officially been transformed into a UN peacekeeping mission. About 6,000 African troops from countries bordering Mali will be folded into the Integrated United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Mali, or MINUSMA. The mission is expected to grow to more than 12,000 soldiers. The mission’s goals are to stabilize Mali, protect human rights and preserve cultural sites, the head of the peacekeeping force, Bert Koenders, said Monday.

13:52

SF Bay Area unions go on strike, halting train service

San Francisco Bay area commuters were affected on Monday by a Bay Area Rapid Transit train strike. Two of BART's largest unions went on strike at midnight, halting train service for the first time in 16 years. The walkout may affect the more than 400,000 passengers. Another 60,000 vehicles could be on the road, clogging highways and bridges, transportation officials said. The strike was called after an 11th-hour effort to resume negotiation failed to produce a new contract by the deadline of midnight Sunday. Both the unions and management were far apart on salary, pensions, healthcare and safety.

13:29

Tunisia parliament begins debate on draft constitution

Tunisia’s National Assembly on Monday began debating for the first time the draft constitution, which has been criticized by opponents of the Islamist-led government. The debate, which began at around 10:00 GMT, was suspended after less than half-an-hour, AFP said. Opposition MPs protested articles that exempt laws adopted under the ruling Islamist party Ennahda from constitutional control for three years. They would also extend indefinitely the legislative powers of the National Assembly and fail to draw up a plan to replace it with a permanent parliament.

12:39

Nazarbayev tells Cameron to stop lecturing Kazakhstan on human rights

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Monday nobody had the right to lecture his country after British Prime Minister David Cameron raised concerns about human rights in Kazakhstan. “People from your island see the post-Soviet space as being in the Middle Ages, whose residents ride camels and horses,” Reuters quoted Nazarbayev as saying during a news conference after the British PM’s brief visit. “Democracy for us is not the beginning of the journey, but the end of the journey. We’re moving forward,” Nazarbayev said. Cameron said he had discussed “at length” allegations about alleged government repression.

11:14

7 cruise ships to accommodate 60,000 guests at Sochi Olympics

Seven cruise ships that will serve as floating hotels during the Winter Olympic Games in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi will accommodate over 60,000 fans and volunteers. “For 17 days of the 2014 Olympic Games we hope to accommodate from 50,000 to 60,000 fans in Sochi on board cruise liners," Itar-Tass quoted the head of Svoi TT travel company, Sergey Voitovich, as saying on Monday. “Of those, 80 percent are Russian tourists and 20 percent are foreigners,” he said. About 7,000 volunteers will be also accommodated. The cruise liners provided by Russia’s state-run seaport operator Rosmorport will serve as three- to five-star hotels.

09:05

Russia sues US Library of Congress over Schneerson books

The Russian Culture Ministry and the State Library have filed a motion at the Moscow Arbitration Court to compel the Library of the US Congress to return seven books from the Schneerson Library. The books from the collection of the RSL center of Oriental literature were reportedly received for temporary use under the international library exchange system, Interfax said, citing the ministry’s statement. Agudas Chasidei Chabad nonprofit organization, to which the Library of Congress lent the books, is also party to the litigation. Rare books from the disputed Schneerson Library collection were exhibited at the Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance in Moscow earlier this month.

08:33

Thousands call for democracy at Hong Kong rally

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong to denounce the city’s leaders and demand universal suffrage on the 16th anniversary of the territory’s handover to China. Demonstrators started off from the city’s Victoria Park to the financial district bearing banners reading “Democracy now” and “Down with the Chinese Communist Party.” The main goal was “to push through for genuine democracy” and to ask for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down, Jackie Hung, of the Civil Human Rights Front, which is organizing the march, told AFP. A widening income gap and soaring property prices have also contributed to the turnout.

07:46

Policeman, rebel killed in Indian Kashmir gun battle

A policeman and a militant have been killed in a gun battle in Indian-controlled Kashmir, an official said. Soldiers and police cordoned off Mandoora village in southern Kashmir on Monday, leading to an exchange of gunfire with rebels trapped in a building, and two soldiers were wounded in the firefight, paramilitary spokesman Kishore Prasad said. Schools and colleges were shut and businesses remained closed in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar as separatists in the disputed region called for a strike to protest the killing of the two people by the army on Sunday.

05:00

Buddhists rioters assault Muslims in Myanmar, 2 houses burnt down

Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar continue, as about 50 rioters set ablaze two houses belonging to Muslim families in retaliation for alleged rape of a woman from the Buddhist community. Three Muslims were injured in the incident. Over the last year at least 237 people have been killed in Myanmar in religious violence, about 150,000 people have been displaced.

02:35

At least 40 dead in Pakistan blasts

Bombings in Pakistan have claimed the lives of at least 40 people on the day when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed security with his British counterpart. At least 17 people were killed when a remotely detonated car bomb exploded outside the market in Peshawar barely missing its intended target of an army convoy. In the second attack a suicide bomber killed at least 24 people in the city of Quetta near a mosque. At least 65 were wounded. Another explosion targeting a vehicle in Pakistan’s northwest, left four servicemen dead. No organization has claimed responsibility yet.

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