China Xi jingping calls for better relation with NZ
Xi Jinping calls for “better future” of relations with New Zealand
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for joint efforts with New Zealand to work for “an even better future” of bilateral relations.
In a signed article published on the New Zealand Herald, Xi said he is looking forward to his upcoming visit to the country, during which he will discuss with the government and people from various sectors about ways to advance bilateral ties.
The Chinese president lauded the friendship between the two peoples and “historic strides forward” in their bilateral relations.
“The two countries have set many records in China’s relations with developed countries,” Xi said.
“For example, China is now the largest trading partner and source of international students for New Zealand. In particular, New Zealand is the first developed country to have signed and implemented a free trade agreement with China,” Xi said.
“From more quality and inexpensive goods and services to more jobs, from more convenient people-to-people exchanges to better study opportunities, more and more visible and tangible benefits are made available to our two countries and peoples as a result of our friendly cooperation,” Xi said.
Stressing mutual respect and equality, complementarity and mutual benefit, and a pioneering spirit and the readiness to seek common ground while shelving differences, Xi said the China-New Zealand relations have gone beyond the bilateral scope and set a fine example for the pursuit of successful state-to-state relations.
As both nations are striving for reform and development, more converging interests are seen between China and New Zealand, said Xi.
“Aligning our development strategies effectively, we will have the rare opportunities and broad prospects for even stronger cooperation in all fields,” he said.
ChinaOz agree to strengthen cooperation
China, Australia agree to strengthen Antarctic cooperation
China and Australia inked a memorandum of understanding here Tuesday pledging to strengthen bilateral Antarctic cooperation.Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott witnessed the signing of the deal in this port city in Tasmania state, Australia’s gateway to Antarctica.
The two leaders also spoke via live video with scientists of both countries stationed at the South Pole, respectively from Australia’s Davis Station and China’s Zhongshan Station.
Scientific research in the Antarctic region is of great significance and benefits the human race, Xi said, adding that China’s expeditions have contributed to the peaceful utilization of Antarctic resources.
Speaking highly of the comprehensive and in-depth collaboration between Chinese and Australian Antarctic researchers over the past three decades, Xi said China is willing to continue working with Australia and the international community to better understand, protect and utilize Antarctica.
For his part, Abbott said he looks forward to closer bilateral cooperation in Antarctic research.
After the signing ceremony, Xi boarded Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which is berthing at Hobart port for replenishment.
The vessel, which set out from Shanghai late last month, is undertaking China’s 31st Antarctic expedition. It is scheduled to return in April next year.
Aboard Xuelong, Xi visited an exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of China’s polar expeditions. He also talked with crew members and wished their ongoing mission a success.
The Chinese president is on a state visit to Australia after attending a Group of Twenty summit in Brisbane. Australia is the first leg of his ongoing three-nation tour, which will later take him to New Zealand and Fiji.
Italian police arrest 40 in huge mafia inquiry
Anti-mafia police in Italy have released unprecedented footage of a mafia initiation ritual as part of their investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.Three groups are under investigation mainly in the northern areas of Milan and Lombardy and 40 suspects were arrested. Italian media reported that phone intercepts and secret filming of a recruitment ceremony were used in the investigation.
Kenya mob strips another woman over ‘inappropriate dress’
A mob of Kenyan men has stripped another woman, claiming she was inappropriately dressed, AP reported. The attack came just hours after nearly 1,000 people marched through downtown Nairobi to protest the rising wave of such assaults. Nairobi police said Tuesday that nearly 100 people had been arrested. About 80 of the men were conductors on mini-buses, where a lot of the recent sexual harassment has taken place. The woman attacked Monday evening was taken to the hospital with injuries. The mobs of men have attacked women wearing mini-skirts and any outfit they consider too revealing.
WHO urges Europe to be vigilant over new bird flu strain
A new kind of bird flu hitting European poultry farms will surely spread among birds, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. Whether the virus will spread to humans is unclear. “We should all be quite vigilant,” AFP quoted Elizabeth Mumford, a scientist with the WHO’s Global Influenza Program, as saying. It has been confirmed that Germany and the Netherlands are dealing with the same subtype of a highly infectious strain of bird flu, called H5N8. It appears to be similar to a virus that has been infecting birds in China, Japan and South Korea since the beginning of the year.
71,000 people flee homes in DR Congo’s Katanga in 3 months – UN
Widespread violence has forced more than 71,000 people to flee their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga region in the past three months alone, the UN said Tuesday. The UN refugee agency is“deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian situation” there, AFP said. Violence has uprooted about 400,000 people since 2012, and the total number of internally displaced people is nearing 600,000, UNHCR said. The violence is mainly attributed to the Mai Mai rebel group. It is fighting for a better distribution between the north and south of the wealth from the province’s natural resources.
Spain MPs to vote on non-binding resolution to recognize Palestine
Spain’s parliament is expected to vote Tuesday on a nonbinding resolution to recognize a Palestinian state. European recognition of a Palestinian state would help create a “conducive climate for the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian talks,” Spanish parliamentarian Trinidad Jimenez told the Jerusalem Post. Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo said in Brussels on Monday that the government’s position is that Palestinian statehood should only come about as part of negotiated final agreement for a two-state solution. Parliaments in the UK and Ireland already approved similar nonbinding resolutions, calling on the governments to unilaterally recognize Palestine.
Germany to keep 850 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2015
Germany plans to keep up to 850 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2015 to help train local armed forces, Reuters said. A German Defense Ministry spokesman on Tuesday confirmed a Sueddeutsche Zeitung report that the number had been revised up slightly. The German military will continue to be responsible for the international mission in northern Afghanistan, he said. Germany has had some 3,200 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, and Berlin had been planning to reduce that to a force of 600 to 800 soldiers from January.
Japan PM calls snap election for December, parliament to be dissolved on Friday
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for mid-December, saying he will dissolve parliament on Friday, AP reported. The premier also put off a sales tax hike planned for next year until 2017. Abe said Tuesday that he decided to postpone a second tax hike after Japan slumped into recession due to a tax increase in April.
Iraqi forces enter refinery in Baiji – reports
Iraqi security forces entered the country’s largest refinery for the first time on Tuesday, Reuters reported. “The anti-terrorism force called Mosul Battalion, entered Baiji refinery for the first time in five months,” said police colonel Saleh Jaber. Government forces had battled militants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), who had surrounded it, for months. State TV showed what it said was live footage of the complex from outside its walls.
Lavrov hopes West understands danger of military operation resumption by Ukraine
Moscow hopes that the West understands the danger of Ukraine’s plans to resume its special operation in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. “We urge the launch of an all-encompassing and inter-Ukrainian dialogue involving all the regions,” TASS quoted Lavrov as saying at a joint meeting of the boards of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries. He said that instead of establishing stable contacts with those “who do not accept the results of the armed coup, Kiev has taken a course for socio-economic stifling of Ukraine’s southeast and is threatening to resume the effort to resolve the conflict by force.”
Mass murderer Charles Manson gets marriage license
Convicted serial killer Charles Manson is set to marry 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton in December after receiving a marriage license earlier this month, AP reports. Issued November 7, the couple has 90 days to get married before having to reapply. Convicted in 1971 and sentenced to life in prison for the killings of actress Sharon Tate and six other people, Manson is not eligible for parole until 2027 and is not allowed conjugal visits. Burton said she believes he is innocent and will eventually be retried.
Colombia FARC faces intl pressure to free general
Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) came under heavy international pressure on Monday to free a general as the government suspended peace talks after his kidnapping, AFP said. The EU urged FARC to free their hostages immediately and unconditionally, and the European Commission said the incident “seriously put at risk the continuation” of the peace talks to end Colombia’s 50-year-old conflict. General Ruben Alzate disappeared in a remote region on the Pacific coast on Sunday, in what the government denounced as a kidnapping by FARC.
Police detain 12 Bosnian Serbs suspected of war crimes
Bosnian police on Monday arrested 12 Bosnian Serbs suspected of crimes against humanity over an attack in the 1992-95 war, in which 150 Muslim Bosniaks were killed with their bodies being dumped in mass graves, Reuters said. The arrests were carried out near the town of Prijedor. The charges include murder, torture, rape, as well as looting and destroying the property of Bosniaks in the village of Zecovi, the prosecutor’s office said. An estimated 100,000 people are believed to have been killed in the war, the large majority of them Bosniaks.
Egypt announces woman’s bird flu death, 2nd death in year
An Egyptian woman died on Monday of H5N1 bird flu, after coming into contact with infected birds, Reuters quoted a health ministry spokesman as saying. The woman was 19 and died at a hospital in the southern region of Assiut, the second death from the virus this year, according to Hosam Abdel Gaffar. So far in 2014, Egypt has identified seven cases of the virus.
35mn people affected by modern slavery – NGO
More than 35 million people around the world are trapped in a modern form of slavery, the Guardian said, citing a report from the Walk Free Foundation (WFF). The study by the Australia-based NGO that publishes the annual global slavery index, highlighted the prevalence of forced labor, human trafficking, forced marriages, debt bondage and commercial sexual exploitation. Due to better data and improved methodology, WFF said it had increased its estimate by 23 percent in the past year.
EU to sanction more officials from E. Ukrainian self-proclaimed republics
EU foreign ministers asked officials on Monday to present proposals for putting more officials from eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed republics on the sanctions list, Reuters said. The names should be presented by the end of this month, according to diplomats. At a meeting in Brussels, the ministers took no action to step up economic sanctions on Russia.
Pacific bluefin tuna used in sushi, sashimi ‘at risk of extinction’
The Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish used in sushi and sashimi dishes, is at risk of extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) said on Monday. According to the conservation body, the global food market places “unsustainable pressure” on this species and others, AFP said. The bluefin tuna joined the Chinese pufferfish, American eel, Chinese cobra and Australian black grass-dart butterfly on the IUCN’s “red list” of threatened species.
2 Americans suspected of trying to ship baby body parts leave Thailand
Two Americans suspected of trying to send infant and adult body parts in parcels to the US have fled Thailand, local police said on Monday. Body parts, which were destined for an address in Las Vegas, were found in parcels on Saturday after staff at a shipping office in Bangkok scanned the packages, Reuters said. The two suspects, aged 31 and 33, who were being “monitored,” fled Thailand on Sunday through a checkpoint in the east of the country, Police Lieutenant General Ruangsak Jaritake, assistant to the National Police Commissioner, said.
Moscow confirms expulsion of German embassy worker
The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the reports that a German embassy staff member has been expelled from Moscow, TASS reported. The expulsion comes “in response to unfriendly actions of the German authorities in regard to a staff member of one of Russian foreign establishments in Germany,” the ministry said on Monday. The move came after Germany had expelled a Russian diplomat from the consulate general in Bonn, Spiegel reported last week.
French citizen ‘likely’ on ISIS beheading video – Interior Minister
There is a very strong likelihood that an Islamic State militant who appears on a beheading video released by the group at the weekend was a 22-year-old French citizen, Reuters quoted French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve as saying on Monday. The analysis by French intelligence services suggests “with a very high probability that a French citizen could have directly participated in carrying out these abominable acts,”Cazeneuve told reporters. The man in question left for Syria in August 2013, the minister added.
UK police evacuate part of parliament over suspicious package
London’s Metropolitan Police said part of the British parliament housing lawmakers’ offices was evacuated on Monday due to a suspicious package. Portcullis House is opposite the Houses of Parliament and above Westminster underground station, which has been closed, Reuters reported.
Russia expels Polish diplomats in tit-for-tat move
Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna described on Monday Russia’s decision to expel Polish diplomats from Moscow as a tit-for-tat response to the earlier expulsion of Russian diplomats from Poland. The Russian Foreign Ministry cited Poland’s “unfriendly and ungrounded step,” earlier on Monday, saying that several Polish diplomats have already left “for activity incompatible with their status.”
Burkina Faso ex-UN envoy Kafando to become interim leader
Burkina Faso’s former ambassador to the UN, Michel Kafando, will be in charge of a civilian transitional government after the military briefly seized control of the country last month, AP said. Kafando, 72, was named early Monday as transitional president until elections to be held in a year. President Blaise Compaore, who ruled for nearly three decades, fled office earlier this month amid rising opposition protests.
Australia, China sign preliminary free-trade deal
Australia and China have signed a preliminary deal after almost a decade of free-trade negotiations, AP said. The agreement will give Australia’s service industry unsurpassed access to the Chinese market and agriculture advantages over competitors from the US, Canada and the EU. A declaration of intent signed by trade ministers and witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday concluded negotiations that began in 2005. Trade Minister Andrew Robb says the pact would be signed next year. It will take effect as early as March if endorsed by the Australian Parliament.
Colombia calls off FARC peace talks over kidnapping of general
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended peace talks with FARC rebels on Monday after their kidnapping of an army general. General Ruben Dario Alzate was captured the day before with another military official and a civilian during a visit to the site of an energy project in the northern province of Choco.“Tomorrow negotiators were to travel to another round of talks in Havana,” President Santos said on Sunday, Reuters reports. “I will tell them not to go and that the talks are suspended until these people are released.” The Revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, or the FARC, a military Marxist organization, and the government have been holding peace talks for two years, but the conflict in the country dates back to 1960s.
600 people evacuated in Moscow after gas blasts, fires
Around 600 people have been evacuated from burning apartment buildings in the center of Moscow following a series of gas explosions, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has said. The fires began due to jumps in the gas pressure, according to ministry spokesman Mikhail Gefenider. The blazes were reported in several buildings at 6:57 p.m. in the Presnenskiy region of Moscow, located in the western part of the city center.“According to updated information the fire took place in the 13 buildings, affecting 18 separate apartments,”Gefenider said. “The total area of the fire was 190 square meters. Firefighters rescued 12 people and seven people requested psychological assistance.”