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Jakarta governor crosses barriers

Jakarta, the sprawling Indonesian megacity of 10 million people, has a new governor with a difference. It is not just Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s hard-charging style that sets him apart from his predecessors. It is also the fact that he is Christian and ethnic Chinese, and isFULL STORY

Maguindanao massacre widows battle to survive

For Gloria Teodoro and other women widowed by the Philippines’ worst political massacre, the struggle to move on with their lives is as long and painful as their fight for justice. Five years since the carnage in the impoverished farming province of Maguindanao left 58 peopleFULL STORY

India to buy first artillery since 1980s

India approved a 158 billion rupee (US$2.5 billion) purchase of artillery, the first acquisition of large-caliber guns since the 1980s, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to modernize the armed forces. The Indian Defence Acquisition Council authorized 229 billion rupees of procurements yesterday, including theFULL STORY

North Korea warns over UN rights ruling

North Korea’s top military body yesterday warned of “catastrophic consequences” for supporters of the latest UN censure on its human rights record, as state media reported leader Kim Jong-un presided over fresh military drills. A resolution asking the UN Security Council to refer North Korea’s leadershipFULL STORY

North Korean student escapes Paris kidnap attempt

A North Korean student with family ties to the regime in his country escaped a kidnapping bid in Paris, where he was studying, and is now in hiding, a French source with knowledge of the case said on Saturday. The architecture student, identified only as Han,FULL STORY

Bangladesh arrests female chief of group of militants

Bangladesh has arrested four members of an outlawed militant group, including the chief of its women’s wing, police said yesterday, as authorities intensify a crackdown on militants. The arrest follows Indian security officials’ exposure of a plot last month targeting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. TwoFULL STORY

Workers hack to death tea plantation owner in India

Angry workers have hacked to death the owner of a tea plantation in eastern India over a payment dispute, police said yesterday, underscoring festering labor unrest in the region. Rajesh Jhunjhunwala, 45, was dragged out in the middle of discussions and attacked by the irate mobFULL STORY

Two senior Thai police officers face royal insult charges

Two senior Thai policemen face royal insult charges, a national police spokesman said yesterday, and warrants have been issued for their arrest, the latest in a mounting number of lese-majeste cases following a coup in May. Thailand’s lese-majeste law is the world’s harshest and makes itFULL STORY

Iran open to extending negotiations up to a year

Iran signaled yesterday that it is open to having nuclear talks with world powers extended by up to a year if no real progress toward a deal was achieved later yesterday, the eve of a deadline. Foreign ministers holding marathon negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna,FULL STORY

Post-crisis Tunisia opens polls for presidential vote

Tunisians went to the polls yesterday to vote for their first directly elected president since the 2011 revolution that ended the regime of former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. About 30 candidates are running, but a race is emerging between a veteran former BenFULL STORY

Portugual detains ex-PM Socrates

Portuguese police have arrested former Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates and three other people in an investigation of suspected tax fraud, corruption and money laundering, the nation’s Prosecutor General’s office said on Saturday. The detention, the first involving a former prime minister in Portugal under democracy,FULL STORY

Albania reveals leader’s secret Cold War bunker

The massive, top secret Cold War nuclear bunker of former Albanian leader Enver Hoxha was opened to the public on Saturday, decades after it was built by the paranoid communist regime fearing an attack by the West that never came. The ex-dictator’s bed, covered with aFULL STORY

Polish local election results published

Poland’s electoral commission finally published results from local elections held on Nov. 16 overnight on Saturday, after computer glitches had stopped the vote count and called the balloting process into question. The delay in publishing the results prompted opposition parties to question the credibility ofFULL STORY

Turkey, US’ Biden fail to find consensus over Syria

US Vice President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged from a nearly four-hour meeting on Saturday, offering no indication that the US and Turkey had bridged their differences about how to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the Islamic State (IS)FULL STORY

Washington ex-mayor Marion Barry dies at 78

Former Washington mayor Marion Barry, who left office in disgrace and went to prison on drug charges only to return for a fourth term, died at a Washington hospital, a spokesperson said yesterday. He was 78. United Medical Center spokeswoman Natalie Williams confirmed Barry’s death, butFULL STORY

US military enlists robotic help in fight against Ebola

The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola — a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light. Resembling a taller, skinnier version of R2D2 from Star Wars, the robots are operating at threeFULL STORY

US nuclear commander linked to fake poker chips

The admiral fired last year as the US nuclear forces’ No. 2 in command might have made his own US$500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to aFULL STORY

Brazil slams media’s ‘manipulation’ on alleged Petrobras kickbacks scandal

Brazilian authorities on Saturday blasted a news magazine for media “manipulation” as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration battles an escalating kickbacks scandal at state-owned oil company Petrobras. Rousseff’s press service lambasted Veja magazine for alleging that jailed former Petrobras director and whistle-blower Paulo Roberto Costa hadFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

CHINA Quake kills at least four A strong earthquake that hit a sparsely populated, mountainous area killed at least four people and injured 54, including schoolchildren in a stampede, officials said on Sunday. The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit on Saturday about 30kmFULL STORY

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