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    Philippines' Duterte threatens press over critical coverage
    30.03.17
    AFP

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday described two major media outlets as "sons of whores" and warned them of karmic repercussions for their critical coverage of his deadly drug war. Duterte's verbal attacks on top television broadcaster ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper came in a pair of speeches in which he also lashed out at the European Union for criticising him over alleged human rights abuses. "I'm not threatening them but someday their karma will catch up with them," Duterte said of the two media outlets. "They're shameless, those sons of whore journalists." Duterte named the Prieto...

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    Arab leaders denounce 'foreign interference'
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Arab leaders meeting Wednesday at a summit in Jordan denounced "foreign interference" in their affairs, in reference to Iran, and called for the settlement of conflicts that are tearing the region apart. As at previous summits, the leaders of the 22-member Arab League criticised Iran, but without naming the Shiite-dominated main regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. "We reject any intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries," they said in a declaration at the end of their one-day meeting in the Jordanian town of Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast. In their statement, they also called for a revival of "serious and...

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    Uganda hails surrender of senior LRA commander
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Uganda's army on Wednesday hailed the surrender of a senior commander of the Lord's Resistance Army who was in charge of communication for leader Joseph Kony. Major Michael Omona returned to his hometown of Gulu in northern Uganda on Monday, 23 years after he was kidnapped by the feared LRA. He handed himself over to US troops in the Central African Republic last month, said army spokesman Richard Karemire. "Having him weakens the command and control of the LRA because communication is a major component in command and control of the military even if it is a ragtag force like the LRA," Karemire told AFP. "This surrender is an...

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    Calls for unity as Arab leaders meet
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Arab leaders looked to overcome divisions and "foreign interference" on regional crises including the devastating wars in Syria and Yemen as they met Wednesday for an annual summit in Jordan. A show of unity was expected on the Israeli-Palestinian question, but on other issues analysts said any breakthrough was highly unlikely. As the summit of the 22-member Arab League opened in Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast, Jordan's King Abdullah II suggested that failing to come together would expose the region open to outside influence. "We need to take the initiative to find solutions to all the challenges we face in order to avoid foreign...

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    Romania rejects ex-communist prison chief's appeal
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Romania's highest court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of a communist-era prison boss sentenced to 20 years for the deaths of 103 prisoners more than half a century ago. Ioan Ficior, head of the Periprava camp in southeast Romania between 1958 and 1963, was found guilty last March of "inhuman treatment". At least 103 prisoners died at the camp, considered one of the country's worst, when he was in command. The 89-year-old has always maintained that he was merely carrying out orders and did his best to provide prisoners with food and medicine. In addition to the jail sentence, the court also ordered Ficior to pay...

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    Calls for unity as Arab leaders gather
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Arab leaders gathered for an annual summit in Jordan Wednesday looking to overcome divisions on regional crises including the devastating wars in Syria and Yemen. A show of unity was expected on the Israeli-Palestinian question, but on other issues analysts said any breakthrough was highly unlikely. As the summit of the 22-member Arab League opened in Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast, Jordan's King Abdullah II suggested that failing to come together would leave the region open to outside influence. "We need to take the initiative to find solutions to all the challenges we face in order to avoid foreign interference in our affairs," he...

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    Myanmar Rohingya militants call for peacekeeping troops
    29.03.17
    AFP

    A nascent Rohingya militant group whose raids triggered a bloody crackdown by Myanmar's army called Wednesday for international peacekeepers to protect the stateless Muslim minority. Attacks on police border posts in northern Rakhine State in October claimed by the group, which now calls itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ASRA), sparked a crackdown by security forces that sent tens of thousands fleeing to Bangladesh. In a statement widely shared by Rohingya activists outside of Myanmar the outfit said it had acted to "defend, salvage and protect (the) Rohingya community in Arakan (Rakhine)". "We have the legitimate right...

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    Myanmar stumbles on path to democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi
    29.03.17
    AFP

    For decades Myanmar's people dreamed of democracy, but a year into office Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government is struggling to revive a sluggish economy and shake off the vestiges of the still powerful military. Swept into power on a wave of optimism and hatred of the generals who ruled for 50 years, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) vowed to boost prosperity and end decades of bloody civil war. But while "The Lady", as she is widely known, still draws widespread personal adoration in many areas of the country, dissenting voices are rising. Suu Kyi cuts an increasingly aloof figure, say analysts, ducking press...

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    Arab leaders meet to address conflicts and 'terror'
    29.03.17
    AFP

    Arab leaders are set to meet in Jordan on Wednesday for their annual summit with no expected breakthrough on resolving conflicts or "terrorism" in the region. Saudi Arabia's King Salman is among 22 leaders attending the Arab League for the meeting in Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast from 0900 GMT. UN chief Antonio Guterres and his special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, are also expected to be present. The leaders are set to discuss the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the fight against "terrorism" and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Jordan's information minister. "I think this summit won't be any...

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    Zambia to consult public over ICC membership
    28.03.17
    AFP

    Zambia opened public consultations this week on the government's plan to leave the International Criminal Court, as several other African countries re-assess their membership. South Africa recently revoked its planned departure from the ICC, based in The Hague, and The Gambia's new president, Adama Barrow, reversed his predecessor's decision to withdraw. Zambian justice minister Given Lubinda announced the consultation, which will run until Friday, in a speech to parliament last week. "The consultative process will be conducted through public hearings in 30 districts where members of the public will be invited to make oral and...

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    Prosecutors demand life sentence for ex-first lady Gbagbo
    28.03.17
    AFP

    Prosecutors on Tuesday demanded a life jail term for Ivory Coast's former first lady, Simone Gbagbo, who is on trial for alleged crimes against humanity. "Gentlemen of the jury, you will declare Madame Gbagbo guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentence her to life imprisonment," prosecutor Aly Yeo urged in his summing up at the country's top criminal court. He described her as a shadowy figure who orchestrated attacks on her husband's opponents. "After her spouse came to power, she started to impose herself as the real head of Ivory Coast, the army, the police and gendarmerie," Yeo said. Gbagbo, the...

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    Coalition falling short in protecting Mosul civilians: Amnesty
    28.03.17
    AFP

    Amnesty International said Tuesday the US-led coalition was not doing enough to protect civilians in the battle to retake Iraq's Mosul with cases of entire families killed in their homes. Iraqi authorities launched the battle to retake the second city from the Islamic State group in October with support from coalition air strikes, recapturing its eastern side from the jihadists in January. Amnesty's Donatella Rovera said field research in east Mosul showed "an alarming pattern of US-led coalition air strikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside". "The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces... have...

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