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China to improve land compensation

BEIJING: Chinese officials will this week discuss improving compensation for farmers whose land is expropriated, state media said today, a move designed to try to quell growing rural anger over forced land seizures. Some academics have urged the government to grant farmers greater control over their land as tensions over the sensitive issue rise creating a potential problem for the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party. The official Xinhua news agency said a draft amendment to the Land Administration Law would remove a previous ceiling for calculating compensation — which farmers c...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Bus-fall kills 11 kids

BEIJING: At least 11 Chinese kindergarten children died when their minivan plunged into a pond on Monday, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Police detained the driver of the van, which was carrying 15 children in a rural part of the southern province of Jiangxi. The deaths of 18 nursery school children in a bus crash in November last year caused a wave of public anger and prompted Premier Wen Jiabao to pledge more money for school bus services. Despite the pledge, there have been a string of similar accidents. Afghan insider attack Kabul: An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an Am...
Published On: 2012-12-24

International envoy disappointed after meeting Assad

BEIRUT: The international envoy tasked with pushing to end Syria’s civil war said after talks with President Bashar Assad today that the situation is still “worrying” and gave no indication of progress towards a negotiated solution to the conflict. In brief comments to reporters after meeting the Syrian leader at the presidential palace in Damascus, Lakhdar Brahimi said he and Assad exchanged views on the crisis and discussed possible steps forward, which he did not disclose. “The situation in Syria is still worrying and we hope that all the parties will go towards th...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Egypt judges review ballot on constitution

CAIRO: Egyptian judges were investigating opposition accusations of voting irregularities today before declaring the result of a referendum set to show that a contentious new constitution has been approved. President Mohamed Mursi sees the basic law, drawn up mostly by Islamists, as a vital step in Egypt’s transition to democracy almost two years after the fall of military-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak. The opposition, a loose alliance of liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, says the document is too Islamist, ignores the rights of minorities and represents a recipe for more trou...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Drone kills two Qaeda militants in south Yemen-officials

SANAA: At least two militants were killed on Monday in what security and local officials said was a U.S. drone strike on a suspected position of al Qaeda-linked insurgents in southern Yemen. Washington has escalated its use of drones to kill suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen, where the group exploited anti-government protests last year to seize swathes of territory in the south of the country before being driven out by a military offensive in June. The officials said the drone hit a vehicle in a town in southern al-Bayda province, killing at least two suspected militants. One of those ki...
Published On: 2012-12-24

UN envoy expresses concern after Assad talks

BEIRUT: The international envoy tasked with pushing to end Syria's civil war said after talks with President Bashar Assad on Monday that the situation is still "worrying" and gave no indication of progress toward a negotiated solution to the conflict. In brief comments to reporters after meeting the Syrian leader at the presidential palace in Damascus, Lakhdar Brahimi said he and Assad exchanged views on the crisis and discussed possible steps forward, which he did not disclose. "The situation in Syria is still worrying and we hope that all the parties will go toward the solut...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Police shut down roads to stop India rape protests

NEW DELHI: Authorities shut down roads in the heart of India's capital on Monday to put an end to a week of demonstrations against the brutal gang-rape of a woman on a moving bus. Thousands of armed police and paramilitary troops blocked roads in central New Delhi to prevent protesters from marching to the presidential palace. A small group of demonstrators gathered at a venue about a kilometer (less than a mile) away from India's parliament to press the government to ensure the security of women in the city. The city ground to a halt as commuters found themselves caught in massive traffic j...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Gaza rocket attacks on Israel unlawful - rights group

JERUSALEM: Palestinian militants violated the laws of war by launching rockets at Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip during last month's fighting, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday. The New York-based group also said that militant organizations in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas, put Palestinian civilians in harm's way by firing the rockets from within densely populated areas. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed the charges: "This report is biased because it equates a nuclear-armed country using all means of aggression against civilians and a peop...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Russia launches third probe against opposition leader

MOSCOW: A prominent Russian opposition leader faces his third investigation in five months as authorities intensify pressure on the opposition. The Investigative Committee said in a statement on Monday that they launched a new probe against Alexei Navalny, who was already charged with theft and with fraud and money laundering in two separate cases. Investigators now say they also suspect Navalny of defrauding the Union of the Right Forces, a now defunct liberal party, of 100 million rubles ($3.2 million) in 2007. Navalny, a charismatic 36-year-old lawyer, made his name exposing corruption i...
Published On: 2012-12-24

Police say Afghan policewoman kills US adviser

KABUL: An Afghan policewoman killed an American adviser at the Kabul police headquarters on Monday, a senior Afghan police official said.Kabul's Deputy Police Chief Mohammad Daoud Amin said it has not been determined whether the killing was intentional or accidental and that an investigation is under way. He declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the killing or give more details. It was also not known whether the victim was a U.S. military or civilian adviser. The NATO military command said it was looking into reports of the shooting but had no independent information. More than 50...
Published On: 2012-12-24