Hong Kong protesters to withdraw from some protest sites
Demonstrators in Hong Kong have announced they will withdraw from several protest sites. The protesters, who have been gathering for more than a week in the city center, demand that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying resign and Beijing stop vetting candidates who want to stand for the chief executive’s job in 2017 elections.
F1 team Marussia pilot Jules Bianchi seriously injured
French driver Jules Bianchi, of F1 team Marussia, has sustained a serious head injury after crashing during a rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix, reports TV station France 3. The Frenchman hit a recovery vehicle after spinning off the track and was rushed to hospital with a police escort. His father said he was in critical state.
IS militants publicly execute 6 people
At least six Iraqi soldiers have been publicly killed by IS (Islamic State) extremists in the town of Hit, Anbar province, western Iraq, witnesses told AP on condition of anonymity. The soldiers, one wearing a uniform and the other five dressed as civilians, were lined up against the wall and shot in the head. According to the witnesses, IS militants also bombed the town’s police station.
UK probes if Spanish jets violated its airspace
The UK authorities have started an investigation if two Spanish military planes entered British airspace over Gibraltar on September 19, a British territory on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. “We are continuing to examine the incident to ascertain whether it was within the lawful right of passage, but this incursion did not represent an obvious exercise of jurisdiction,” a Foreign Office statement said. The incident is the latest in a long line of diplomatic spats between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar.
Israel: Sweden’s declaration to recognize State of Palestine ‘hastened’
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who announced a plan to recognize the State of Palestine. Lofven had “hastened to make declarations … apparently before he could delve into the matter and understand it is the Palestinians who have constituted the obstacle to progress”in reaching a peace deal with Tel Aviv, Liberman said on his Facebook page. He added that Lofven “must understand that no declaration nor move by an external player will replace direct talks between the sides that will be part of a comprehensive accord between Israel and the entire Arab world.” On Friday Lofven announced that Sweden’s newly-formed center-left government is set to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.
22,000 households lose power in Japan ahead of powerful typhoon
At least 22,000 households have been left without power in the Amami area in Kagoshima Prefecture, on the most southwesterly main island of Kyushu as powerful typhoon Phanfone moves in, reports Japan’s national public broadcaster NKH. At least 58 residents of the area were evacuated. According to Japan’s Meteorological Agency, the typhoon is 180km east of the island of Amami and is moving north at 15kph. The typhoon is expected to strike the country’s main islands at about 17:00 GMT on Sunday.
Germany to expand its role in fight against ISIS
The German government says it is planning to expand its military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) by helping train Kurdish and Iraqi troops, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday. The ministry announced plans to create a training military base in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, a ministry spokeswoman told EPD news agency. It also signaled that it is interested in taking part in training the Iraqi army, and is considering sending more military officers. However, the plans contained no mention of Germany’s role in US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed to the expansion on Wednesday, DW news agency reported, citing sources.
First US Ebola patient in critical condition
The first patient to be diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in the US is now in critical condition, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia had previously been described as being in serious condition, Reuters reports. Duncan is a 40-year-old Liberian national, who came to the US to visit his family living in Dallas, Texas. The Ebola epidemic, which began in late 2013, has already killed over 3,000 people in West Africa.
First case of Ebola in France cured
The first case of Ebola in France – a nurse who contracted the virus in Liberia – has been cured and left hospital in Val-de-Marne, near Paris, the country’s Health Department said on Saturday. The woman was a volunteer for the Doctors Without Borders humanitarian-aid organization in Liberia. She was delivered back to France on September 19 for treatment. The current outbreak of Ebola started in West Africa in March 2014. The number of patients with Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone surpassed 6,500 with more than 3,000 deaths, according to the WHO.
Sarkozy allies charged in fraud probe
Three allies of France’s ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy were charged in connection with an investigation into financing the failed 2012 presidential campaign, French media reported on Saturday. Eric Cesari, Sakrozy’s former aide, Fabienne Liadze, the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) party’s financial director and Pierre Chassat, former head of communications were indicted with forgery and abuse of trust, AFP reported.
West Bank officials welcome Sweden’s recognition of Palestine
Palestinian officials from the West Bank have applauded Sweden for becoming the first EU state to recognizethe country. “We salute the announcement by the Swedish prime minister,” said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat in the West Bank administrative capital of Ramallah. “We hope that all countries of the European Union will take the same courageous and remarkable decision… as there is no reason not to recognise the Palestinian state.” The UN voted for Palestine to be given statehood in 2012, but major Western powers have so far not followed suit.
Japan’s Ontake volcano death toll reaches 50 people
The death toll from the last week’s eruption of the Ontake volcano has reached 50, the Japanese medics said. Four more bodies were discovered on Mount Ontake on Saturday as the rescue operation, involving over 1,000 troops, continues on site. According to official data, 16 more people remain on the missing persons list. However, the doctors said that the death toll may still rise as not all of the mountaineers inform the authorities of their intention to climb the peak. Ontake, situated some 200km away from Japan’s capital, Tokyo, last erupted in 2007, with no casualties reported back then.
6.0 magnitude quake hits Azerbaijan
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit north-western part of Azerbaijan, 220km from the country’s capital, Baku, reported the country’s national seismology center. The quake struck at a depth of 5km and was 13km northwest from the city of Qabala, a home for 13,000 residents. The tremors in Qabala were registered as 5 magnitude. No casualty or damage reports were immediately available.
N. Korea’s second-in-command visits South
Three senior officials from North Korea are visiting the South for the closing ceremony of Asian Games which is scheduled on Saturday, Yonhap news agency reported. Newly-elected vice chairman of the National Defense Commission Hwang Pyong-So, the second-highest ranking official in Pyongyang, is heading the delegation. Other high-ranking officials are Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang-gon, two senior aides to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, said the agency citing the South’s Unification Ministry.