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China rebuffed over UN request targeting NGOs

China was forced on Friday to drop a measure at the UN that targeted non-governmental organizations (NGO) seeking to be heard at the world body. China had proposed that the UN refrain from naming nations that criticize NGOs during meetings of a committee that decides whichFULL STORY

China to restrict textbooks promoting ‘Western values’

In law school at Peking University in the late 1970s, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) was an avid student of English and helped translate texts that gave his generation its first, exhilarating exposure to Western legal ideals after the death of Mao Zedong (毛澤東). However, todayFULL STORY

Blast in Pakistan Shiite mosque kills 59

A bomb blast ripped through a Shiite mosque in southern Pakistan as worshipers gathered for prayer on Friday, killing at least 59 people and wounding dozens more, in the deadliest act of anti-Shiite violence in two years. The attack compounds Pakistan’s security challenge to contain aFULL STORY

Bangladesh cuts power line to leader’s home

Bangladesh authorities yesterday cut the power to opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s home in an apparent bid to force her to call off a crippling anti-government transport blockade. Local television showed footage of a technician from a state-run power utility climbing a ladder and cutting the lineFULL STORY

Australia’s Abbott to scale back parental leave plan

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plans to further scale back his signature policy to provide paid parental leave amid dissent from some governing Liberal-National coalition lawmakers. The policy, championed by Abbott since before he won office in September 2013, had been intended to provide new mothersFULL STORY

Japan inhibits images, words linked to hostage crisis

Images or mentions of knives, ransom or blood — or anything else that can be seen alluding to the hostage crisis involving two Japanese in Syria — have been cut out in Japan. Some animations and other entertainment programs are altering, canceling or postponing episodes violatingFULL STORY

Philippine, rebel negotiators issue joint peace plea

Philippine government and Muslim rebel negotiators issued a joint plea on Saturday for the nation to stick to a historic peace accord that is now in peril after a deadly clash spurred calls for retribution against the guerrillas. Both sides told a media briefing in KualaFULL STORY

US, Israel plotted killing: report

The CIA and Israeli spy agency Mossad were behind an elaborate plot to kill then-Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in a 2008 car bomb attack in Syria, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Citing former intelligence officials, the newspaper reported that US and Israeli spy agencies workedFULL STORY

Ukraine rebels urge truce talks

Rebels fighting government forces in Ukraine said they are ready to discuss peace terms with the Ukrainian administration in Kiev after taking more territory and surrounding a key railway town. Artillery shells rained down on the eastern city of Debaltseve, where rebels said they had surroundedFULL STORY

ANALYSIS: Romney’s exit resets US Republican field

US politician Mitt Romney stepped away from what would have been his third US presidential run and reset the field in the battle for the 2016 US Republican Party nomination. The former Massachusetts governor’s decision freed up vast quantities of political oxygen for the potential runsFULL STORY

Hungary under pressure to pick sides

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spent the past year straddling the divide between Russia and his EU counterparts on the crisis in Ukraine, but he may soon be forced to pick sides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit Budapest tomorrow for the firstFULL STORY

Netanyahu denies wife’s ‘returned bottles’ slush fund

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday dismissed as “false” reports that his wife, Sara, had pocketed at least US$1,000 worth of public money by returning empty bottles to supermarkets. The reports, which prompted widespread ridicule in local media outlets, come as the head of theFULL STORY

UN may deny aid against Rwandan rebels in DR Congo

UN support for a planned military operation against Rwandan rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) could be in doubt because the DR Congo named a general accused of rights abuses to head the offensive, diplomats and officials said on Friday. CongoleseFULL STORY

Canada to criminalize terror threats

Canada announced a new anti-terror law on Friday that would allow anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be detained without charge for up to seven days. The law would also make it a crime for people to call for a terrorist attackFULL STORY

NY settles in Bronx shooting case

New York City Government has agreed to pay US$3.9 million to the family of a black Bronx teenager shot to death by a white police officer in 2012. The deal on Friday settled a US federal lawsuit brought by the family of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. “This wasFULL STORY

Latin America lets marijuana ‘genie’ out of the bottle

After Uruguay first moved to legalize marijuana in 2013, the approach has taken root in Latin America with several other nations in the region considering a revamp of their own drug laws. “Someone has to start in South America,” Uruguayan President Jose Mujica said in lateFULL STORY

Balloon crew on path to surpass distance record

Two pilots from the US and Russia have traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to eliminate any remaining debate over a century of records in long-distance ballooning. The Two Eagles pilots surpassed the distance and duration records that haveFULL STORY

Texas Governor to name day after late US sniper

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 “Chris Kyle Day” in the state, in honor of the late Navy SEAL sharpshooter portrayed in the film American Sniper. The movie stars US movie actor Bradley Cooper as Kyle — who wasFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

AUSTRIA Right-wing shindig crashed Police officials said that a demonstration protesting the presence of right-wingers at a ball in Vienna has left at least two people injured and dozens of protesters detained. Police officers estimated that about 5,000 demonstrators gathered on Friday to oppose the ball atFULL STORY

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