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WORLD NEWS

Iran nuclear talks extended; Russia says 'key aspects' agreed

Hamid Baeedinejad, an Iranian official, speaks with the press about negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme outside the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in LausanneBy Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Six world powers and Iran will meet again later on Wednesday in a bid to reach an outline accord reining in Tehran's nuclear program, after failing to agree crucial details such as the lifting of U.N. sanctions by a Tuesday deadline. The negotiators ended talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne in the early hours of Wednesday and said they would reconvene later in the day, with Iran and Russia expressing optimism that an initial agreement was within reach. With Iran asserting its "nuclear rights" and the United States threatening on Tuesday to abandon the negotiations, the talks have been bogged down on the issues of nuclear research, the lifting of U.N. sanctions and their restoration if Iran breaches the agreement. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said negotiators had reached a general accord on "all key aspects", according to Russia's TASS news agency, while his Iranian counterpart said a draft agreement could be prepared on Wednesday.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:21:24 -0400
Yemen air strikes kill 23 in factory: residents
An air strike on Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodaida destroyed a dairy factory on Tuesday night, killing 23 workers, medical sources said, in what appeared to be one of the biggest cases of civilian deaths in a Saudi-led campaign against Houthi militia. The operation by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states is aimed at stopping the Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh winning control of the country and at reinstating Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The sound of gunfire and several large blasts were heard in Aden throughout the night, a Reuters reporter said.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:05:54 -0400
Two armed people enter Turkish ruling party office in Istanbul: media
Two armed people entered an office of Turkey's ruling AK Party in an Istanbul suburb on Wednesday, the private Dogan news agency reported, a day after leftist militants took a prosecutor hostage in a courthouse in the city. Dogan said police sealed off the road in front of the building in the Kartal district on Istanbul's Asian side. Footage on Dogan's website showed several police cars outside the building.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:45:21 -0400
Iraq's interior minister says most of Tikrit is liberated, fight goes on

A Shi'ite paramilitary fighter puts Iraqi flags on a wall painted with the black flag commonly used by Islamic State militants in TikritIraqi troops and Shi'ite paramilitary fighters were battling Islamic State militants in northern Tikrit Wednesday, as the government forces sought to push the extremist group from the city. Iraq's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban said security forces were fighting to clear the last Islamic State stronghold, the city's northern neighborhood of Qadissiyah. "Most of Tikrit is liberated today.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:30:49 -0400
Video shows last seconds of Germanwings flight before crash: Bild

A rescue worker is seen at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-AlpesA video showing the chaotic final seconds on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps last week has been discovered near the site, Germany's Bild daily reported on Wednesday, saying it had seen the footage. The video was found on a mobile phone belonging to one of the passengers killed on the flight when German pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew into a mountain, said the paper. The scenes seen on the video were chaotic and very wobbly, said Bild, adding screams and shouts of "My God" could be heard, indicating the passengers knew what was happening. Prosecutor Brice Robin, who is handling the case in France, said none of the mobile telephones collected at the crash site had been sent for analysis.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:41:18 -0400
South Korea charges attacker of U.S. envoy with attempted murder

Kim Ki-jong who attacked the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert at a public forum, is carried on a stretcher off an ambulance as he arrives at a hospital in SeoulProsecutors have formally charged a South Korean man with attempted murder after the U.S. ambassador in Seoul was slashed in the face in a knife attack last month, leaving him with wounds needing 80 stitches, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Kim Ki-jong, 55, attacked ambassador Mark Lippert with a fruit knife during a forum on Korean reunification in Seoul on March 5. Kim has been charged with attempted murder, the assault of a foreign envoy, and obstruction of duty, an official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office told Reuters. He could face life in prison or even the death penalty, which is rarely used in South Korea, if found guilty of attempted murder.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:03:56 -0400
Buhari: Nigeria embraces democracy, 1-party state behind us

Nigerian former Gen. Muhammadu Buhari speaks to journalists in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to Buhari, a 72-year-old former military dictator, who was elected in a historic transfer of power following the nation's most hotly contested election ever. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday it was time "to heal wounds," a day after Nigeria's president conceded defeat in a bitterly fought election.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:06:17 -0400
Libya rival government chief rejects sacking

Lawmakers in Libya's National Congress have voted to sack prime minister Omar al-HassiThe head of Libya's rival government has rejected his sacking by the Tripoli-based parliament, suggesting he retains the support of powerful militia allies. Libya has had two governments and parliaments since Tripoli was seized in August by the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya militia coalition and the internationally recognised government fled to the country's far east. On Tuesday lawmakers in the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) voted to sack prime minister Omar al-Hassi, accusing him of failing to tackle corruption. "I will accept this decision only if my main partners in this government, the brave revolutionaries, accept it too, and we will preserve our constitutional right to object," he said.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:06:09 -0400
Mustafa Kamal resigns as ICC president in World Cup dispute
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Mustafa Kamal has resigned as ICC president, accusing India of influencing the outcome of a World Cup match against Bangladesh.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:03:26 -0400
Top Asian News at 9:00 a.m. GMT
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thousands of Vietnamese workers at a major footwear factory were on strike for a sixth day Wednesday over a social insurance law in a rare challenge to government policy. Several thousand people at the Taiwanese-owned Pou Yuen factory in southern Ho Chi Minh City began the stoppage last Thursday. Pou Yuen Vietnam, which employs more than 80,000 workers, is a subsidiary of Pou Chen Group and makes footwear for companies such as Nike and Adidas.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:02:24 -0400
UN rights chief: Boko Haram fighters murdered captive women
BERLIN (AP) — The U.N.'s human rights chief said Wednesday his office has received reports that Boko Haram fighters retreating from advancing military forces in Nigeria murdered women and girls they had taken as "wives," along with other captives.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:01:24 -0400
Nigeria vote winner Buhari praises loser's 'statesmanship'

Muhammadu Buhari says: "Our country has now joined the community of nations that have used the ballot box to peacefully change an incumbent president in a free and fair election"Nigeria's president-elect Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called elections that will lead to the country's first democratic change of power "historic" in a victory speech. "Our country has now joined the community of nations that have used the ballot box to peacefully change an incumbent president in a free and fair election," he said at the headquarters of his All Progressives Congress party in Nigeria's capital Abuja. He also praised the "statesmanship" of the country's outgoing leader Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat in a vote that saw an incumbent lose for the time in the nation's history.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:01:07 -0400
American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia

In this handout photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, Justus Walker, center, poses with his family for a family photo near the eastern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. A Kansas-born farmer who uses his Siberian dairy smallholding to support his missionary work, Walker is among the winners in the year since Russia was hit by US and EU sanctions. He shot to fame in August, shortly after the Russian government banned food imports from the U.S. and much of Europe in response to what Russia says are unjustified sanctions against it over the Ukraine conflict. (AP Photo/ Justus Walker/ HO)MOSCOW (AP) — Kansas-born farmer Justus Walker is prospering in Russia — one year after the U.S. and European Union began imposing sanctions against his adopted country over its aggression in Ukraine.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:55:47 -0400
Iraqi minister says Tikrit to be recaptured within 'hours'

Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen celebrate as they hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Iraqi forces battled Islamic State militants holed up in downtown Tikrit, going house to house Tuesday in search of snipers and booby traps, and the prime minister announced security forces had reached the city’s center. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's interior minister says security forces are battling the last remaining pockets of Islamic State militants in Tikrit and that he expects them to gain full control of the city "within the coming hours."


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:45:41 -0400
Crimea's only Tatar TV station goes off air
MOSCOW (AP) — Crimea's independent television station ATR has gone off air after Russian authorities repeatedly refused to give it a broadcasting license.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:37:09 -0400
Iran nuclear talks resume on seventh day after deadline missed

US Secretary of State John Kerry waits for the start of nuclear talks with Iranian officials at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 30, 2015Lausanne (AFP) - Foreign ministers from global powers resumed talks on curtailing Iran's nuclear programme Wednesday after missing a deadline to reach a framework deal, US officials said.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:35:20 -0400
International court welcomes Palestinians as 123rd member

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2014 file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Fatah revolutionary council in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The Palestinians formally join the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, as part of a broader effort to put international pressure on Israel and exact a higher price for its occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Palestinian Authority became a member of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, with a low-key ceremony at the court's headquarters marking the high-stakes move.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:35:00 -0400
Lufthansa executives visit Alpine crash site where 150 died

FILE - In this Thursday, March 26, 2015 file photo, rescue workers work at debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. Investigators recovering remains from all 150 people aboard a German passenger jet that crashed into the Alps have accelerated their timeframe for identifying and matching their DNA _ whether that be from a body part or only a shred of skin. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) — The heads of Lufthansa and its low-cost airline Germanwings are visiting the site of the crash that killed 150 people amid mounting questions about the co-pilot and how much his employers knew about his mental health.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:24:06 -0400
UKIP candidate replaced after 'kidnap Obama' post

UKIP, known for its anti-immigration and anti-European Union stance, has suffered a series of embarrassments over gaffes by members, and several of its candidates have withdrawnA parliamentary candidate for Britain's UK Independence Party was replaced on Tuesday after writing that Israel should "kidnap" US President Barack Obama in a Facebook post. The post by Jeremy Zeid was a response to the declassifying of documents on Israel's secret nuclear programme, and was written last week as he prepared to run for a seat in Britain's general election on May 7. "Once Obama is out of office, the Israelis should move to extradite the bastard or 'do an Eichmann' on him, and lock him up for leaking state secrets," Zeid wrote in the Facebook post, according to a screenshot. "Just kidnap the bugger, like they did to Eichmann," he added in a comment, referring to the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in Argentina in 1960 and put on trial in Israel.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:08:27 -0400
100 UK business leaders back Conservatives in election

British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and leader of the opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband (L) walk through Central Lobby at the Palace of Westminster in London on June 4, 2014The letter could be a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron, who is neck-and-neck with his main opposition, Labour party leader Ed Miliband.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:07:50 -0400
Gazans hope ICC will make 'Israel pay'

Palestinian women walk past the rubble of buildings that were destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014, in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighbourhood, on March 31, 2015This is what Yasser al-Qassas and thousands of Gazans hope to see with the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday. Palestinians joined the ICC with the goal of trying Israeli leaders for alleged war crimes in the fighting in and around the Gaza Strip in summer 2014, and alleged crimes relating to the occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:57:43 -0400
Palestinians want leverage on Israel in international court

FILE - In this Saturday, April 26, 2014 file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The Palestinians formally join the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, as part of a broader effort to put international pressure on Israel and exact a higher price for its occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinians formally joined the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, as part of a broader effort to put international pressure on Israel and exact a higher price for its occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:55:15 -0400
French ex-president appears before financial investigators

Former French President and conservative party UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy gives a speech following the final round of French local elections, in Paris, France, Sunday, March 29, 2015. French voters are choosing members of local councils in run off elections Sunday seen as a test for the far right National Front, which is expanding its presence in French politics. The mainstream conservative UMP party came out ahead in the first round, ahead of the National Front and the governing Socialists. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)PARIS (AP) — Three days after a resounding electoral victory for his conservative party, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is appearing before investigators probing financing of his failed 2012 re-election bid.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:54:37 -0400
Gaza artist gobbles up valuable Banksy mural on war debris

An empty frame doorway is seen standing on the rubble of a destroyed building that was damaged in last summer's Israel-Hamas war, without a door painting, presumably painted by British street graffiti artist Banksy, east of Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Artworks by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy are typically sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but in the Gaza Strip a local painter has succeeded in purchasing a Banksy original for less than $200. The popular street artist is believed to have sneaked into Gaza in February, leaving behind four murals including one drawn on a metal door that depicted a Greek goddess cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house. The painting of the goddess Niobe, titled "Bomb Damage," was drawn on the lone remaining part of a two-story house belonging to the Dardouna family in Jabaliya, northern Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A 33-year-old Gaza man says he has been duped into selling a valuable work by British graffiti artist Banksy for less than $200 to a local artist.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:50:26 -0400
State of emergency as super typhoon batters Micronesia

Meteorologists monitor and plot the direction of super typhoon Maysak at PAGASA headquarters in suburban Manila on April 1, 2015An emergency was declared in the Micronesian state of Chuuk Wednesday as Super Typhoon Maysak cut a destructive path across the centralPacific leaving at least five dead and extensive damage. Crops were ruined and water supplies contaminated, with fears people faced starvation if they did not get aid soon, after the violent storm took three days to cross the vast Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). "Governor Johnson Elimo declared a state of emergency (in Chuuk) due to damage by Typhoon Maysak, including five deaths," FSM President Manny Mori said in a statement, indicating foreign aid would be needed to support relief efforts. Victoria Bannon, North Pacific representative for the Red Cross, said the charity was on the ground in Chuuk and Yap and "in full mobilisation mode".


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:36:39 -0400
Top Asian News at 7:30 a.m. GMT
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thousands of Vietnamese workers at a major footwear factory were on strike for a sixth day Wednesday over a social insurance law in a rare challenge to government policy. Several thousand people at the Taiwanese-owned Pou Yuen factory in southern Ho Chi Minh City began the stoppage last Thursday. Pou Yuen Vietnam, which employs more than 80,000 workers, is a subsidiary of Pou Chen Group and makes footwear for companies such as Nike and Adidas.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:32:23 -0400
S. Korea indicts US envoy attacker for attempted murder

US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert leaves after a meeting with South Korean officials at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on March 17, 2015South Korean prosecutors formally charged the man who injured US ambassador Mark Lippert in a knife attack with attempted murder on Wednesday, despite his denials of any intention to kill. Lippert, 42, suffered deep gashes to his cheek and hand when he was assaulted by knife-wielding nationalist Kim Ki-Jong at a breakfast function in central Seoul last month. The prosecutors' office in Seoul said Kim, 55, was charged with attempted murder, violence against a foreign envoy and obstruction of duty. Kim has told investigators the ambassador was the "symbolic" target of his opposition to annual US-South Korea joint military exercises, which he blames for blocking dialogue with North Korea.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:24:13 -0400
World's oldest person dies at 117

Misao Okawa (C), the world's oldest person, pictured on March 4, 2015 with her family at a nursing home in OsakaTOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person has died nearly a month after celebrating her 117th birthday.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:10:28 -0400
Capitals' Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals for 6th time

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Washington. It was Ovechkins' 50th goal of the year. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin is 29, and his hair is flecked with gray nowadays. His coaches and linemates keep changing, as have the ways opponents try to stop him.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:07:30 -0400
South Korean man charged in knife attack on US envoy
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday indicted a man who slashed the U.S. ambassador in Seoul last month on charges of attempted murder.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 02:43:05 -0400
Thousands strike at Nike, Adidas shoe factory in Vietnam
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thousands of Vietnamese workers at a major footwear factory were on strike for a sixth day Wednesday over a social insurance law in a rare challenge to government policy.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 02:20:25 -0400
Lufthansa says Germanwings co-pilot had 'severe depression'

National flags of countries of the victims, a teddy bear, books and different items left by people, are pictured near a stele in memory of the victims of the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash, in Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, on March 30, 2015The co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings plane told his bosses he had suffered from severe depression, Lufthansa has revealed, as the airlines' chief executives announced plans to visit the crash site on Wednesday. Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz had told the airline in 2009 about his illness after interrupting his flight training. The parent company said it had handed additional information, especially medical and training documents, to prosecutors in the western German city of Duesseldorf after "further internal investigations". The airline had before now only said that Lubitz had interrupted his training for several months six years ago, but Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr had not provided an explanation as to why he did so.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:56:20 -0400
Anwar's request for Malaysian royal pardon rejected: report

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gestures while addressing his supporters at a gathering in Kuala Lumpur on February 9, 2015Malaysia's king has rejected a royal pardon request for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently serving five years in jail for sodomy, local media reported on Wednesday. Anwar was convicted last year of sodomising a former male aide, which he denies, calling the case a "political conspiracy" by Malaysia's long-ruling government to destroy his political career. The decision was upheld on February 10 by the nation's highest court, causing his family to apply in late February for a rare royal pardon from the country's figurehead Islamic monarch.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:35:38 -0400
Better lives sought for larimar miners in Dominican Republic

In this March 18, 2015 photo, miners work inside a mine for the blue-green gemstone known as larimar in Las Filipinas, Barahona province, Dominican Republic. The gem has provided a modest source of income for about 1,000 miners and their families since it was rediscovered four decades ago. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)BAHORUCO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The men in ragged clothes, many barefoot and covered in grime, scramble deep into the earth, searching for veins of a blue-green stone believed to exist only in the southwestern mountains of the Dominican Republic.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:29:59 -0400
Video 'shows cabin chaos' in seconds before Alps crash: reports

Gendarmes and investigative teams return to their base on March 30, 2015 in Seyne-les-Alpes after working at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320A video purportedly showing the final seconds inside the cabin of the ill-fated Germanwings airliner moments before it crashed has emerged, two European media said, although French police denied the claims to CNN. One sequence reportedly shows a chaotic scene with passengers screaming "My God". French magazine Paris Match and German daily Bild said the authenticity of the video filmed on a mobile phone is "unquestionable" and that it had been retrieved from the wreckage of last Tuesday's crash. The recording lasting just a few seconds showed that passengers knew what was happening to them before the plane crashed into the French Alps, instantly killing all 150 people on board, according to the reports.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:18:59 -0400
Lavrov, Zarif claim breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) walks in the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 31, 2015, during negotiations on Iran's nuclear programmeRussia and Iran's foreign ministers claimed a breakthrough early Wednesday in talks on a framework deal curtailing Tehran's nuclear programme, but the US said not all issues had been agreed yet, as discussions were suspended for the night. "One can say with relative certainty that we at the minister level have reached an agreement in principle on all key aspects of the final settlement of this issue," Russian media quoted Sergei Lavrov as saying at talks in Switzerland. This came after Russia's top diplomat and the foreign ministers of five other major powers and Iran continued working through the night as they missed a midnight (2200 GMT) deadline to agree the main outlines of what they hope will be an historic accord. The powers hope a full agreement, due to be finalised by June 30, will see Iran scale back its nuclear capability to prevent Tehran developing nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian programme.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:59:09 -0400
Djokovic defeats Dolgopolov in Miami; Venus Williams loses

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Alexandr Dolgopolo, of Ukraine, at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Before the first set ended Tuesday, Novak Djokovic had busted a racket in anger, drawn jeers from the crowd and received two code violations, which cost him a point penalty.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:58:31 -0400
Turkey hostage drama ends in deadly shoot-out

A senior Turkish prosecutor and his two hostage-takers were killed when security forces launched an operation to free the official in a bloody end to a six-hour standoff in IstanbulA senior Turkish prosecutor and his two hostage-takers were killed when security forces launched an operation to free the official in a bloody end to a six-hour standoff in Istanbul. Two radical leftist militants had earlier Tuesday taken the Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage in his office, putting a gun to his head and threatening to kill him if their demands were not met. Their demands related to the investigation Kiraz was leading into the killing of teenager Berkin Elvan, who died in March last year after spending 269 days in a coma from injuries inflicted by police in anti-government protests in the summer of 2013. The authorities initially tried negotiating with the captors on a hugely tense day in Turkey's largest city which also suffered a major power cut.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:56:56 -0400
Syria slashes imports to save dwindling foreign reserves

Syrian women sit on a bench as they eat with a young boy in the city of Damascus on March 4, 2015Syria's government, presiding over an economy ravaged by war and facing dwindling foreign currency reserves, is taking new measures to slash imports and prop up exports. Importers require government licences that allow them to request a favourable exchange rate at the Syrian central bank. "A month ago, I got a text message from the economy finance ministry telling me that because of the shrinking foreign currency reserves, I would no longer get the preferential dollar rate at the central bank," one importer of consumer goods told AFP. An official at Syria's economy ministry, quoted by the Al-Watan daily, said two-thirds of import licences granted in the last quarter of 2014 went to industries considered essential, including fuel, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.


Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:53:31 -0400
Leftist Colombian jurist Carlos Gaviria dies at 77
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Carlos Gaviria, a former Colombian presidential candidate who became an icon of the country's democratic left while presiding over its constitutional court, died Tuesday night. He was 77.
Date Posted : Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:45:57 -0400
 

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