Global happenings

Duo arrested on suspicion of stealing from MH370 victims

Malaysian police have arrested a bank officer and her husband over allegations they stole more than $30,000 from the accounts of four passengers aboard missing flight MH370, AFP reports. They have been held by police since Thursday after being accused of stealing from two Malaysian and two Chinese victims. Police are also looking for another suspect, a Pakistani man, who is believed to have received part of the money in his account through an online transfer, said Zainuddin Ahmad, a district police chief in Kuala Lumpur.

53 dead after monsoon floods strike Nepal

53 people have been killed in Nepal in the last three days due to flash floods and mudslides, which were triggered by annual monsoon rains. Nepal’s Home Ministry said 75 people were unaccounted for and 36 others were in hospitals and medical centers. Video clips on television showed people wading through waist-deep water carrying belongings as well as submerged houses. Officials said more than 25 percent of Nepal’s 75 administrative districts were hit by landslides or floods.

​Black box has no record of Brazil’s Campos fatal flight

The black box from Wednesday’s plane crash that killed Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos did not record his flight, Brazilian Air Force (FAB) announced, but recorded something else. “The two hours of audio, the maximum recording capacity of the equipment, which were received and validated by certified technicians, were not of the flight of 13 August,” air force spokesman Pedro Luis Farcic said. FAB is trying to determine what the recording is. Campos and six other people died when a private jet crashed near Sao Paulo.

UN Security Council blacklists Islamic State militants

The UN Security Council blacklisted six militants from the Islamic State, including the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, in a resolution issued on Friday. The six people will be subject to an international travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. The UNSC added that those who finance, recruit or supply weapons to the insurgents will be sanctioned. The resolution stated that the UNSC “deplores and condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist acts of ISIL (Islamic State) and its violent extremist ideology, and its continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.” It also blacklisted Said Arif, a former Algerian army officer and Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al-Charekh of Saudi Arabia from the Nusra Front in Syria. The Nusra Front insurgent group was added to the list earlier this year. ISIS (ISIL) militants declared the creation of an Islamic State in the end of June naming the territories they had seized in parts of Syria and Iraq a caliphate.

Medecins Sans Frontieres warns it will take 6 months to contain Ebola

It will take about six months to bring the Ebola epidemic in West Africa under control, and this will require greater leadership from the World Health Organization (WHO), the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Friday. “If we don’t stabilize Liberia, we will never stabilize the region,” Reuters quoted Joanne Liu, international president of MSF as saying said in Geneva after a 10-day trip to the region. “Over the next six months we should get the upper hand on the epidemic, this is my gut feeling,” she said. However, more experts are needed on the ground, according to Liu.

2nd jihadist suspect leaves Australia using brother’s passport

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott conceded on Friday that a second suspected jihadist had flown out of the country to the Middle East using his brother’s passport, AP said. A 19-year-old Sydney man slipped out of the country last week, but was detained on arrival in the United Arab Emirates and deported, according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. In December last year, a terrorist left Sydney in a similar security breach.

Czech Republic to deliver weapons to Iraqi Kurds at end of August

The Czech Republic plans to start delivering firearms and munitions to Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in northern Iraq at the end of August. “The Foreign Ministry considers the end of August as a realistic date for starting deliveries,” Reuters quoted Czech diplomats as saying Friday. Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said Wednesday the shipments did not have to come from state warehouses as there were private companies that could deliver the goods.

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Russia licenses Almaz-Antei’s S-400 air defense system for export

Russia’s latest air defense system S-400 has been issued a license for exports, ITAR-TASS quoted deputy director general of the Almaz-Antei concern as saying on Friday. Talks are underway on its exports abroad, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln said at Oboronexpo- 2014 show in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region. The export passport for the system has been received, and considerable progress has already been made in talks of its exports abroad, he said.

Pakistan opposition leader Khan not hurt, clashes start after shots on his vehicle

Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan is unharmed after shots were fired at his vehicle during a march on Friday, Reuters reported. Clashes broke out as tens of thousands of Pakistani protesters from two anti-government movements converged on the capital. Gunshots hit the vehicle of former cricket star and opposition politician Khan as he led his supporters through the eastern city of Gujranwala. Residents brandishing ruling-party posters attacked his convoy, throwing shoes and stones. The protests are presenting the 15-month-old civilian government with its biggest challenge yet.

Lavrov, Steinmeier agree all issues of Russian aid

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier have stressed the need to resolve all issues regarding passing of a Russian aid relief convoy in eastern Ukraine immediately, ITAR-TASS reported. Lavrov and Steinmeier discussed in a phone conversation a humanitarian situation in the eastern Ukraine, which is on a verge of catastrophe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. All the efforts should be taken to ensure safe and quick delivery of the cargo to areas suffered from a military operation, according to the two ministers. They also discussed practical steps to realize measures aimed at achieving a steady ceasefire in Ukraine’s southeast.

Putin discusses economy with Finnish President Niinisto

President Vladimir Putin and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto were discussing economic relations between the two states at a meeting in the southern Russian resort of Sochi on Friday. Recently, the turnover in the mutual trade fell by 8 percent, Putin said, adding that could be explained by political tensions and economic factors. Russia remains the first partner of Finland in terms of the volume of economic ties, he said. According to Putin, the two presidents were going to discuss “the whole complex of issues,” ITAR-TASS reported.

Ukrainian customs, border officials inspect Russian humanitarian convoy

Ukrainian customs and border service officials crossed the border into Russia on Friday to inspect a huge Russian convoy with humanitarian aid for eastern Ukraine, ITAR-TASS said. “Ukrainian officials arrived to the site where the convoy stands, where they were provided with all necessary documentation concerning the convoy and the cargo,” a source familiar with the situation said. Russia “is ready to provide all necessary documents and information about the cargo,” the source added. Defense officials in Kiev said the group of 41 Ukrainian border service representatives and 18 customs officials began inspecting the Russian aid at the Donetsk crossing on Friday morning.

Germany sends 1st plane to deliver aid to northern Iraq

Germany’s armed forces have begun sending aid supplies to northern Iraq where thousands of people have fled Islamic State militants. The first plane Friday set off for Arbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, carrying medicines, food and blankets, Reuters said. Further aid flights were planned for the day. “This is just the beginning,” Germany’s defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said at Hohn airbase, adding that Germany was looking into whether it would also deliver military equipment.

HIV-positive passengers sue China airline

Two HIV-positive passengers and an HIV-negative traveling companion are suing a Chinese airline for refusing to let them on board, AFP said. In the country’s first such lawsuit, the trio said they planned to travel from Shenyang in the northeast to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing. They were barred from the Spring Airlines plane after the two HIV-positive passengers informed staff of their condition, according to a Global Times report. The three are accusing the budget airline of discrimination and demanding an apology as well as compensation of 48,999 yuan ($8,000).

IOC bars Ebola region athletes from Youth Games events in China

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is prohibiting young athletes from the Ebola-affected region of West Africa from participating in certain events at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Reuters said. Athletes from West Africa will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the swimming pool, the IOC and the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee said in a joint statement.

Mexican mayor detained for alleged killing, links to drug cartel

A mayor in the western state of Michoacan was detained for allegedly ordering the killing of a friend, AP said. Huetamo Mayor Dalia Santana was also accused of extorting her employees and street vendors in her city on behalf of a drug cartel, Michoacan state prosecutors say. Santana reportedly told her friend to meet her at a restaurant, where a gunman shot him dead last year. The gunman is said to be a member of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which is based in the state. Also, authorities say Santana demanded 20 percent of her employees’ salaries and extorted street vendors, giving the money to Servando Gomez, the alleged leader of the Knights Templar cartel.

India PM slams spate of rapes, communal violence

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that levels of rape had shamed the country. In his first Independence Day speech, Modi urged parents to take responsibility for the behavior of their sons rather than put the onus on their daughters. The PM also urged an end to communal violence and vowed to improve the lives of the nation’s poor, AFP reported.

2 Japanese ministers, politicians visit controversial WWII shrine

Two Japanese cabinet ministers visited a controversial war shrine Friday, seen as a symbol of Tokyo’s militarist past by China and South Korea. Dozens of other politicians were also expected to gather at the Yasukuni shrine in downtown Tokyo later in the day. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a donation to the shrine through an aide, AFP reported. The 145-year-old Shinto shrine honors some 2.5 million citizens who died in World War II and other conflicts, including 14 indicted war criminals.

Pakistani security forces kill 6 militants in attacks on 2 air force bases

Six militants were killed and 13 members of the Pakistani security forces were wounded in attacks on two air force bases in the west city of Quetta on Thursday, Reuters said. The attackers did not get inside either facility. No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday night’s raids. In June, militants targeted Pakistani airports. Pakistan’s military is fighting an offensive against the Taliban insurgency in the largely lawless region of North Waziristan on the Afghanistan border.

Pope commemorates Korea ferry disaster victims on Asia visit

Pope Francis on Friday commemorated the more than 300 people killed in a ferry disaster in April, on the second day of his first trip to Asia. The pontiff met with families of victims and some survivors ahead of a Mass before about 50,000 people at the World Cup stadium in the central South Korean city of Daejeon. He also called on South Koreans to beware of the spiritual “cancer” that often accompanies affluent societies, media said.

Lavrov tells Ukraine’s FM Kiev should inform about journalist Stenin’s fate

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged his Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin to provide information about the fate of Russian photo-journalist Andrey Stenin’s fate. The communication with Rossia Segodnya photographer Stenin, who worked in Ukraine, was lost on August 5. Lavrov stressed the need to clarify Stenin’s circumstances immediately, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after a telephone conversation between the two ministers on Thursday. It was reported that Stenin had been captured by Ukrainian security forces.
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