Russian troops ‘have not crossed Ukraine border’
Russian troops have not crossed the Ukrainian border, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said Thursday. The Russian diplomats are examining a report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the issue, he said, as cited by RIA Novosti. “There have been no troops or any military crossing the border,” he said, adding that “there is no presence of the Russian military on the Ukrainian territory.”
ESA’s Philae probe working on comet as hours left on battery
Europe’s Philae probe was conducting experiments Friday on a comet 510 million km from Earth with just hours of onboard battery life left, AFP reported. It landed at an angle with one leg dangling, likely in a crevice shadowed from battery-boosting sunlight. The robot lab stayed for the second day on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is racing towards the Sun at 18 km per second. Philae landed on the comet after a seven-hour, 20km descent from its orbiting mothership Rosetta, which had traveled more than a decade and 6.5 billion km.
UN agency halves Kenya refugees’ food rations, cites aid shortfall
Food rations for half a million refugees in Kenya will be slashed in half due to an aid shortfall, the UN said on Friday in an appeal to donors. Food rations, which include grains, pulses and cooking oil, will be cut from around 2,100 to 1,050 kilocalories per person per day, AFP reported. “Cutting rations is the last resort,” UN World Food Program (WFP) deputy chief for Kenya Paul Turnbull said, calling for $38 million more in cash. WFP needs an immediate $15.5 million to feed refugees until January. Most of the refugees in northern Kenya’s camps come from neighboring war-torn South Sudan and Somalia.
Obama to pledge $3bn for UN climate fund
US President Barack Obama will pledge $3 billion to a UN fund aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in poorest countries, AFP reported, citing a US official as saying Friday. The president was heading to a G20 summit in Australia. “It is in our national interest to helping vulnerable countries to build resilience to climate change,” the administration official said.
India detain drug makers after sterilization deaths
Indian police have arrested the head of a drug manufacturing company and his son after 13 women died after undergoing sterilizations, AFP said. Ramesh Mahawar, the director of Mahawar Pharma, and his son are suspected of destroying evidence related to the deaths, police superintendent Om Prakash Pal said on Friday.
OSCE sees no threats to work of Dutch investigators on МН17 flight crash site
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has described the conditions of work of Dutch investigators at the site of Malaysian Airlines МН17 flight’s crash in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, as safe. The organization’s monitors accompanied the investigators and “would not do so if it was unsafe,” TASS quoted OSCE deputy Chief Monitor in Ukraine Alexander Hug as saying on Friday. The OSCE is assisting the investigators in accessing the site, according to Hug.
Japan plans to give $1.5bn for UN climate fund – sources
Tokyo plans to give up to $1.5 billion to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund to help developing countries fight global warming, AFP said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the pledge at a gathering of the leaders of the Group of 20 biggest economies in Brisbane, Australia, Kyodo News reported Friday, citing its sources. The cash will come on top of a reported $2.5 billion that Washington is stumping up for the GCF. Its mechanism is designed for wealthy countries to help poorer ones become greener.
Military helicopter crashes in NE Nigeria
A Nigerian Air Force helicopter burst into flames midair and crashed near a university in Nigeria’s northeast, witnesses said on Friday. The crash, which is the second to down a military chopper in a week, happened late Thursday in the city of Yola, initially sparking fears that Boko Haram insurgency was mounting an attack, AFP said. The aircraft was thought to be carrying weapons to troops fighting militants. There was no immediate information on casualties. The explosions caused panic among students.
World leaders gathering in Australia for G20 summit
Thirteen world leaders are due to arrive in Australia on Friday for the G20 summit in the Queensland State capital, Brisbane, to be held this weekend, the BBC reported. The summit will focus on promoting growth, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said leaders would discuss job creation, identifying tax cheats and strengthening the global economy. Ukraine will also be discussed, and campaigners want climate change on the agenda. Local government workers in Brisbane have been given a day off because of the number of travel restrictions in place.
Israel to allow men of all ages to attend Al-Aqsa mosque prayers
Israel is lifting an age barrier for the main weekly Muslim prayers Friday at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the first time in months, according to a police spokesman. “No age limit on the Temple Mount, we’re hoping things will be calm and quiet today,” spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP. Extra police units were deployed in Jerusalem in the morning to prevent any incidents in and around the Old City. The decision to lift age restrictions is linked to talks in Jordan on Thursday. US Secretary of State John Kerry said steps were agreed between King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lower tensions at the mosque compound.
Seventh Russian aid convoy to go to E. Ukraine on Friday
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said it is to send its seventh convoy of humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk. So far, more than 8,000 tons of food, medicine, fuel, building materials, and other essentials have been sent by Russia to the war-torn breakaway region of eastern Ukraine, the ministry added. Earlier, the Foreign Ministry said it requested assistance from Ukraine for the delivery, adding that it hopes the International Committee for the Red Cross will participate as well.
Burkina Faso factions agree to transitional government following coup
Political forces in the West African nation of Burkina Faso agreed on a framework for a transitional government following talks between opposition parties, the military, religious leaders, and civil society groups. The decision comes two weeks after President Blaise Compaore was ousted in a military coup. The transitional government will be tasked with bringing the country back to civilian rule and getting it ready for elections. Compaore was forced to resign on October 31 following mass protests against a move to change the constitution in order to extend his long-standing leadership. “Today was the day of compromise,” Herve Kam, a member of the Balai Citoyen civil society group, said. “Both soldiers and civilians agree on a civilian transition. The institutions of the transition will be led by civilians.”
New counter-terrorism bill bans British jihadists, some airlines from UK
British Prime Minister David Cameron revealed some details about the nation’s new counter-terrorism bill, which will be officially presented later in November. One of the measures includes a right to refuse British nationals returning to the UK after being involved in jihadist fighting abroad, Cameron said in an address to Australia’s parliament on Friday. Other parts of the bill will deal with airlines – such as not allowing certain airlines to land on UK territory if they do not comply with British no-fly lists and security screen procedures. Cameron made the first mention of the laws in September. Britain raised its security threat level to the second-highest in August due to increasing danger posed by returning Islamic State fighters from Iraq and Syria. “We have to confront this threat at its source,” Cameron said in Canberra.
EU leaders to make decision on more Russia sanctions
The decision on whether to impose more economic sanctions against Russia will likely be made by EU leaders in mid-December, rather than by foreign ministers who are meeting in Brussels on Monday, Reuters quoted diplomats as saying. The foreign ministers may produce a list of Ukrainian rebel figures and possibly some Russians to be added to the list of personal sanctions already in place, according to an internal paper seen by the news agency. They will be required to keep in mind “that the main separatist leaders are already listed…and the fact that the targeted separatists could be at some point agents in the implementation of the peace plan.”
Former Saakashvili minister dies of heart attack in London
Former Georgian economy minister and wealthy businessman Kakha Bendukidze has died in Britain, Georgia’s First Radio reported on Thursday, along with several other sources. He was staying in a London hotel when he suffered an apparent heart attack, reports said. He had recently returned from Switzerland, where he was treated in a cardiology clinic. Bendukidze, who earned a fortune in Russia, served as Georgia’s economy minister and minister for reform coordination in President Mikhail Saakashvili’s government following the Rose Revolution in the country. His latest political activity included serving as an advisor to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic urges Minsk group meeting
Representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, Denis Pushilin, has urged an immediate resumption of talks on settlement in eastern Ukraine. The group should summon a meeting with the participation of the OSCE, Ukraine and Russia, according to his statement published on the republic’s official website. Donetsk and Lugansk republics are ready to send their representatives for talks, he said, adding that any attempts to settle the conflict without them will not improve the situation.
France calls on Israel to reverse decision on 200 settlements in E. Jerusalem
France has called on Israel to “immediately” reverse a decision on the building of 200 new settlements in East Jerusalem. “The decision by the Israeli authorities approving the construction of 200 new homes in the Ramot settlement again directly threatens a two-state solution,” French Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said. The new housing is slated for a sprawling hillside complex of apartment buildings and private homes at the northern edge of Jerusalem. It will be built on land Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed to the city, a move never recognized internationally.
Arrest warrants issued for Pakistan protest leaders Khan, Qadri
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has issued arrest warrants for opposition leader and former cricketer, Imran Khan and cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, Reuters said. The warrants issued late on Wednesday accused their supporters of storming parliament and the state television building on September 1. Opposition leaders reacted with outrage on Thursday, and the move is feared to provoke fresh unrest. Media agencies