Conservatives to win vote
Conservatives were poised to remain in power after winning a snap election, nearly complete results showed yesterday, but will have to begin coalition talks to form a government after falling short of a majority. The close result does little to dispel political uncertainty in the EU’s newest member, but the new conservative leader has signaled a shift toward the center after a lurch to the right. The conservative HDZ won 61 seats, while their center-left opposition rivals, the Social Democrats, had 54, according to results from about all polling stations. The election was the second in less than a year after the previous, barely functioning, coalition government led by the HDZ collapsed in June over a conflict of interest scandal after just five months in power. However, the HDZ did not secure an absolute majority in the 151-seat parliament, and its former junior government partner, the Most Party (“Bridge” in Croatian), is likely to play kingmaker once again. The Most Party came in third with 13 seats.
Rival force seizes ports
Forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar on Sunday seized at least two key oil ports from a rival force loyal to the UN-backed government. Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), said its fighters had full control of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zueitina after launching an early morning military operation on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The attacks on major oil ports by Haftar, who opposes the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), could derail efforts to restart production. Those efforts are seen as critical to saving the nation’s economy and helping the GNA survive. In a statement released late on Sunday, the GNA’s leadership called the attacks an “unjustified escalation” that would “prolong the period of conflict” in Libya.
Bosses ride mopeds
About 700 executives and business chiefs on Sunday zoomed down Paris’ famed Champs Elysees avenue on battered blue mopeds in a bid to combat a climate of economic gloom. Decked out in matching blue capes and pink helmets, the bosses zipped down the boulevard on their Motobecane mopeds. Organizers said the event was an “apolitical” attempt to boost confidence in the economy and show solidarity with employees. Remi Peraud, a bank manager with the Banque Populaire who took part in the two-wheeled demo, said he wanted to show that “bosses know how to have fun.” The “Meules Bleues” (Blue Moped) event is now in its third year, having started out with 150 bosses taking part in 2014.
Wedding protesters arrested
Police on Sunday arrested 55 people and seized blades at a Sikh temple, following a protest against a mixed marriage. Armed officers were deployed to the Gurdwara Temple in Leamington Spa early on Sunday after a group of men entered the building. A total of 55 people were arrested for aggravated trespass in what police chief David Gardner described as “an escalation of a local dispute.” “A significant number of bladed weapons were seized from the scene,” he said, adding that no one was injured in the incident. Sikh Council UK secretary-general Gurmel Singh said protesters walked freely into the temple and did not break into the building. He said the group then held prayers and a sit-in to oppose a wedding due to take place between a Sikh and a non-Sikh.
Debris given to investigators
A US amateur investigator yesterday handed possible debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to officials and said several pieces were blackened by flames, raising the prospect of a flash fire onboard. The plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, carrying 239 passengers and crew on a routine from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is coordinating the search, said Blaine Gibson had handed over unspecified debris yesterday. “We are seeking advice from the Malaysian authorities regarding how they would like to proceed,” a bureau spokesman said. Gibson told reporters the debris, which had washed up in Madagascar, included what appeared to be an internal panel. Gibson, a lawyer from Seattle, said that the pieces could be a “real game changer” if they were found to belong to MH370.
Murder suit filed over fire
Relatives of workers killed in a fire at a packaging factory have filed a murder case against the owner, police said yesterday, as the death toll from Saturday’s disaster rose to 31. Twelve people are still listed as missing after the disaster. The government has launched an investigation into what caused the fire, but police in the industrial town of Tongi, where the Tampaco Foils factory was located, said bereaved relatives had already filed a private lawsuit against eight people, including the owner and his wife. Police said they would launch a separate investigation into the murder allegation made by the family. About 70 people were injured in the blaze, some critically.
Fourth band member freed
The fourth and final member of a band arrested in May after they made an online video mocking the government has been released, the group’s lawyer said yesterday. The four young men from the group known as Street Children posted a video on the Internet poking fun at the devaluation of the local currency and the cession of two islands to Saudi Arabia. The other three members were released on Sunday. All were released on condition that they check in twice a week at their local police station until their next court session, the lawyer said. Their case has not been referred to trial.
Pedophile suspect arrested
Police said yesterday that they arrested a US national on Sunday on suspicion of sexually abusing young boys. Acting on a tip-off from an alleged victim, police arrested the 48-year-old man in a hotel room in Kathmandu, where he was holed up with three boys. A Nepalese who allegedly supplied the suspect with young boys from poor families was also arrested. “They have both been remanded in police custody for six days as we investigate further on child molestation and human trafficking charges,” a police official said, adding that the suspect had visited Nepal several times previously.
Presidential rerun delayed
A rerun of the presidential election due to take place on Oct. 2 has been postponed, Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka said yesterday. “We are going to request that parliament approves a postponement of the election,” he told a news conference. Possible new dates are Nov. 27 or Dec. 4, he said. The postponement came after some postal voters complained of faulty seals on ballot papers. The Constitutional Court ordered the rerun after a challenge from the losing candidate.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since
WEIGHING THE RISKS: One biogeochemist said that the known risks of disease from not sterilizing baby bottles outweighed that of microplastics Bottle-fed babies might ingest more than 1 million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed on Monday, highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the most commonly used plastic for food containers. They followed official guidelines from the WHO on sterilization and formula preparation conditions. Over a 21-day