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Iraqi forces launch push to retake western Mosul

US-backed Iraqi forces yesterday launched a large-scale military operation to dislodge Islamic State group militants from the western half of Mosul, a battle that is expected to be prolonged and difficult due to a densely packed civilian population and older, narrower streets. In a briefed televisedFULL STORY

Thai junta backs down over plant

Thailand’s military government yesterday shelved plans to build a coal-fired power station in a popular beach region, a rare success for demonstrators in a country where the right to protest has been severely curbed. Hundreds of protesters had gathered outside government offices in Bangkok since FridayFULL STORY

Devotion to Park splits South Korea

Chung Kwang-yong choked up in describing how much he missed South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has been cloistered in her official residence since her impeachment in December last year on corruption charges. “Dear President Park Geun-hye, please come out. We miss you so much,” ChungFULL STORY

One man carries the burden of Nepal’s power supply

The continuous whirl of hair dryers is a novel sound at the Blush Beauty Point parlor in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, which until just five months ago had to close at regular intervals because of power cuts. Scheduled power cuts — known as load-shedding — haveFULL STORY

Malaysia hunts for four suspects in Kim killing

Malaysian police yesterday said that four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fled Malaysia on the day of the killing. The four North Koreans flew out of the country, but police would not reveal the flight’sFULL STORY

UK officials say Russia behind Montenegro plot

British officials believe Russian authorities were behind a plot in October last year to kill Montenegro’s pro-Western prime minister, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported, citing senior British government sources. A special prosecutor in the former Yugoslav republic said in November last year that a group ofFULL STORY

Ukraine truce due to come into force

A truce between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine is to come into force today, Moscow and Kiev said, though some separatists were already labeling it unfeasible. Saturday’s announcement comes after nearly 30 people lost their lives as violence flared again earlier this monthFULL STORY

Hungarian film ‘On Body and Soul’ wins Golden Bear award

A Hungarian love story about two slaughterhouse workers who connect in shared dreams won the top award on Saturday at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. On Body and Soul by writer-director Ildiko Enyedi contrasts the harsh reality of the abattoir with the magical world of slumber. EnyediFULL STORY

‘Blind sheik’ convicted in US bombing dies in jail

Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Muslim cleric known as “the blind sheik” who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a broader “war of urban terrorism” in the US, died on Saturday in a North Carolina prison, authorities said. Abdel-Rahman, 78,FULL STORY

Tech tools gain traction amid Trump war on leaks

As US President Donald Trump warns of a crackdown on US government leaks to media, interest is growing in technology tools that allow sources to share information anonymously. One such tool called SecureDrop, being used by at least 30 US and global media organizations, offers aFULL STORY

‘Jane Roe’ plaintiff in US abortion case dies aged 69

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as “Jane Roe” in the US Supreme Court’s landmark Roe verses Wade ruling legalizing abortion, died on Saturday at the age of 69, a journalist close to McCorvey said. McCorvey died on Saturday morning of heart failure at an assistedFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

CHINA Anti-terror rally in Xinjiang Security forces have staged another mass anti-terror rally in Xinjiang, parading hundreds of armed men through the streets of Urumqi in a show of force after an uptick in violence. The Xinjiang government’s news Web site on Saturday showed pictures of hundredsFULL STORY

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