Taliban behead 12 civilians
An official says the Taliban have beheaded 12 civilians and torched about 60 homes in an assault on security forces in the eastern Ghazni Province. Provincial deputy police chief Asadullah Ensafi said the Taliban had attacked several villages over the past week in the Arjistan District. He said that on Thursday night they captured and beheaded 12 family members of local and national police and burned down 60 homes. He added that the battle was still raging. Ensafi said the Taliban also detonated a car bomb in front of an encampment where about 40 police were posted. He said it was not possible to reach the area to ascertain casualties because the insurgents had mined the roads.
Border dispute resolved
A military stand-off with Chinese troops that lasted nearly two weeks and overshadowed a key summit in New Delhi has ended, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said, after meeting her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi (王毅). Troops were to start pulling back from the disputed border area yesterday, Swaraj said. “Timelines have been drawn... by Sept. 30, it [withdrawal] will be completed. Whichever positions were occupied by the armies on Sept. 1, they will go back to those positions,” she said in comments broadcast on TV.
Modi faces US lawsuit
A US court has ordered Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer allegations that he failed to stop anti-Muslim rioting when he was chief minister of Gujarat state, overshadowing his first trip to the US as his nation’s leader. The civil case before a New York court seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Modi for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. Modi has 21 days to respond. The petitioner in the case is the American Justice Center, a non-profit human rights organization, acting on behalf of two survivors of the 2002 riots in the western Indian state. Modi was to arrive in the US for a five-day visit yesterday.
Activists pan Australia deal
About 100 people, including Buddhist monks, protested outside the Australian embassy against a deal to be signed later yesterday that will see asylum seekers rejected by Australia resettle in Cambodia. A senior Australian minister said the bilateral agreement would cost the Australian government more than A$10 million (US$9 million) a year. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng in Phnom Penh to resettle an unspecified number of refugees currently held at an Australia-run detention camp in Nauru.
Pope removes bishop
Pope Francis on Thursday removed a conservative bishop from a Paraguayan diocese who had clashed with his fellow bishops and promoted a priest accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. The removal of Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement, underscored the deep ideological shift under way in the church under Francis. The Vatican said Francis took the “onerous” decision in Paraguay for the good of the church in Ciudad del Este and for the sake of unity among Paraguayan bishops.
Crew docks with station
A US and Russian crew docked early yesterday with the International Space Station, about six hours after launching from Russia’s manned space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft joined up with the space laboratory as it orbited 364km above the planet. It was carrying space veterans Alexander Samokutayev of Russia and US astronaut Barry Wilmore, along with Elena Servova of Russia, making her first journey. The capsule launched at 2:25am on Friday from Baikonur. Serova is the first Russian woman to fly to space since 1997, and the fourth woman in the history of the Soviet and Russian space programs. Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963.
Fingerprinting hits stores
Caracas has started to fingerprint shoppers at some state-run supermarkets in a plan to combat food scarcity that has been derided by some consumers weary of shortages. The plan designed to prevent shoppers from stocking up on cheap price-fixed goods has been implemented in some state-run supermarkets. “This guarantees price-fixed products will remain on shelves,” Minister of People’s Power for Food Yvan Bello said during a visit to a huge Bicentenario supermarket in Caracas on Thursday afternoon to drum up support for the initiative. About 785,000 people have been registered in six state-run food store chains across the nation, the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information said in a statement.
Stunt pans Western T-shirts
Russians are being urged by a pro-Kremlin group to trash Western T-shirts and put on new ones flaunting anti-sanction slogans such as “We can get our kicks without your Coca-Cola.” The stunt seemed to score a hit with young Muscovites, who handed in more than 3,000 old T-shirts bearing slogans such as “I love NY” on the first day, Monday, said Ksenia Melnikova, one of the organizers from fundraising group Sodeistviye (Cooperation).
Stone Age globalization?
Innovative Stone Age tools may have been developed by people in Eurasia and not just invented in Africa, a study published on Thursday found. Research published in the journal Science shows evidence that refined stone weapons were developed in Armenia about 325,000 years ago. Experts studied thousands of stone artifacts from a site in Armenia. “The discovery of thousands of stone artifacts preserved at this unique site provides a major new insight into how Stone Age tools developed during a period of profound human behavioral and biological change,” researcher Simon Blockley, from the Royal Holloway geography department of the University of London, said in a statement.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered