• Australian FM's Putin emoji sparks debate on Russia relations

    22/Oct/2015 // 361 Viewers

    AFP/File | Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop used a red-faced emoji to depict Russia's Vladimir Putin in what was dubbed the world's first political emoji interview with website Buzzfeed SYDNEY (AFP) - 

    The Australian foreign minister's use of a red-faced emoji to depict Russia's Vladimir Putin sparked debate among lawmakers in Canberra Thursday, demanding to know what the icon means for relations between the nations.

    The image was used to describe the Russian leader when Foreign Minster Julie Bishop, who regularly tweets the icons, conducted what was dubbed as the world's first political emoji interview with website Buzzfeed in February.

    The ideogram -- a fuming red face with angry eyes and a downturned mouth -- prompted a brief back-and-forth in parliamentary hearings about Australian-Russian relations.

    "I'm trying to understand what is the public message from Australia's foreign spokesperson about our relationship -- which is obviously, shall we say, a difficult one -- with Russia, which is being expressed via emoji," said opposition Labor senator Penny Wong during the hearing.

    "It may be that the foreign minister is saying she is angry with him. It may be that she thinks he is a red-faced angry man. I don't know."

    Attorney-General George Brandis replied that the red face "could be a reference to ideology", alluding to Russia's communist past.

    "Nobody suggests, and I don't understand you to be suggesting, that the communication concerned was a formal diplomatic demarche of any kind," he said.

    "It's plainly not an expression of our relationship with Russia."

    Bishop later told reporters that Putin, as a "hard man", would have liked the emoji.

    "In the case of President Putin, he self-describes as a hard man," she said, the Australian Associated Press reported.

    "Having met President Putin I think he'd be delighted with the... emoji that I used to describe him."

    Australia's diplomatic relations with Russia have been tense since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July last year, killing 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

    Several countries, including Australia, accuse pro-Russian separatist rebels of downing the aircraft with a Buk surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies involvement and blames the Ukrainian military.


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  • North Korea's Kim hails 'successful' submarine missile test

    24/Apr/2016 // 227 Viewers

     

    Seoul (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hailed a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test as an "eye-opening success", state media said Sunday, declaring Pyongyang has the ability to strike Seoul and the US whenever it pleases.

    Saturday's missile launch came amid growing concern that Pyongyang is preparing a fifth nuclear test.

    But it was followed just hours later by a North Korean offer to impose a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing if the United States suspends annual military exercises with South Korea.

    The US and Britain denounced the SLBM test as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and called on the North to refrain from further moves that could destabilise the region.

    South Korea's defence ministry said the missile, fired from a submarine in the Sea of Japan, flew around 30 kilometres (18 miles).

    The North's state-run KCNA news agency said the test, personally monitored by Kim, confirmed the reliability of the country's underwater launching system.

    It also cited the young leader as saying Pyongyang was now capable of "hitting the heads of the South Korean puppet forces and the US imperialists anytime as it pleases."

    Still images broadcast on state television showed Kim on the deck of the submarine before watching the test through binoculars from shore and meeting the crew and scientists afterwards.

    "This eye-opening success constitutes one more precious gift the defence scientists and technicians are presenting to the great leaders and the party," the KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

    - Nuclear test offer -

    Pictures showed the missile, with "The North Star" emblazoned on it, soar out of the water and fly into the sky, leaving a massive plume of smoke above the sea surface.

    State TV also showed what it claimed were underwater images of the missile being ejected from the submarine, using key "cold launch" technology.

    North Korea has been pushing to acquire an SLBM capability that would take its nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and the potential to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.

    The isolated country has conducted a number of what it says were successful SLBM tests, but experts had previously question the claims, suggesting Pyongyang had gone little further than a "pop-up" test from a submerged platform.

    The latest launch comes as the North gears up for a rare and much-hyped ruling party congress early next month -- the first in 36 years -- at which Kim is expected to take credit for pushing the country's nuclear and missile weapons programme to new heights.

    Many analysts and senior Seoul officials have suggested the regime may carry out a fifth nuclear test as a display of defiance and strength ahead of the May party congress.

    In an interview with the Associated Press in New York, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong said Pyongyang would be willing to halt further tests if Washington announced an end to annual joint military exercises with Seoul.

    The annual drills always raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, with the North condemning them as provocative rehearsals for invasion.

    The North made exactly the same offer in January last year, when it was flatly rejected by the United States as an "inappropriate" effort to link nuclear testing with regular military exercises.

    North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a rocket launch a month later that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.

    The UN Security Council responded by slapping its strongest sanctions to date on Pyongyang.


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  • Man shouts ''Allahu akbar'' stabs woman to death

    24/Aug/2016 // 376 Viewers

     

     (AP) — A French man shouting the Arabic phrase "Allahu akbar" stabbed a British woman to death and wounded two men in an attack at a hostel in northeast Australia, police said Wednesday.

    The 29-year-old suspect did not have any known links to the Islamic State group and appeared to have acted alone, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said. Police were trying to determine whether the man had been motivated by extremism, or something else.

    "While this information will be factored into the investigation, we are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be political or criminal," Gollschewski told reporters in the Queensland state capital of Brisbane. "Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse factors are involved in this incident."

    The attack took place Tuesday night at a hostel in the town of Home Hill, south of Townsville in northern Queensland. A 21-year-old British woman was found dead at the scene and a 30-year-old British man was hospitalized in critical condition. A local man was treated and released for injuries. A dog was also fatally wounded in the attack.

    The man, a French national visiting Australia, shouted "Allahu akbar" — the Arabic phrase meaning "God is great" — both during the attack and while being arrested by police, Gollschewski said. He has not yet been charged, but police weren't looking for any other suspects related to the incident.

    Police were treating the attack as a homicide, rather than a terrorism-related incident, Gollschewski said.

    "The associated issues of what motivated him and whether that has any relevance to radicalization is something we're going to explore fully, but we won't know for some time whether that's the case," he said.

    The man had been in Australia on a temporary visa for about a year, Gollschewski said.

    Australian Federal Police Commander Sharon Cowden said her office was speaking to international police agencies about the attack.


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  • India paves for women in army combat roles

    24/Oct/2015 // 165 Viewers

    AFP | Members of India's Border Security Force in the closing ceremony of the Women Camel Safari expedition at the Wagah Border post with Pakistan on March 22, 2015

     

    NEW DELHI (AFP) - 

    The Indian government gave its nod Saturday for women to fly fighter jets, paving the way for them to assume combat roles for the first time in one of the world's largest militaries.

    The federal defence ministry gave the green light to a proposal for recruiting female fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), where women already fly transport aircraft and helicopters.

    "With this decision to open up induction of women in the fighter stream, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF," a defence ministry statement published on Saturday said.

    "This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in Armed Forces of developed nations," it said, adding that after training, selected women "would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017".

    The latest move not only marks the maiden entry of women in combat roles in the IAF but in any branch across the Indian armed forces.

    Many countries like the United States, Israel and even arch-rival neighbour Pakistan already allow women as fighter pilots.

    But India has kept them out of such roles, reportedly fearing women would be more vulnerable to sexual attacks, and worries over lodging and physical fitness.

    Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha expressed his reluctance to change tack last year when he said "women are by nature not physically suited for flying fighters for long hours".

    Since then, increasing numbers of female officers have brought court cases demanding better work conditions and permanent commissions instead of temporary terms of five to ten years.

    The ministry said it had carried out a review in connection with how to increase roles of women in the forces.

    "Once finalised more and more branches would be opened up for induction of women to give them the space which they deserve in the Armed Forces of the country," it said.

    Women form some five percent of around 1.32 million active personnel and 2.14 million reservists in the defence forces, according to government figures.

     

    afp with dailyglobewatch


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  • US military vessels 'just streaming in international waters'

    24/Oct/2015 // 181 Viewers

     US Admiral John Richardson talks to reporters at the US Embassy in Tokyo on Oct. 15th.
    TOKYO -- The U.S. Navy's highest ranking officer in uniform made clear on Thursday that any navigation by a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea is an expression of international rights, rebutting China's claim that such voyages are provocations.

         "They are just steaming in international waters," Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, during his maiden international trip. "I don't see how this can be interpreted as a provocation."

         Richardson was responding to the backlash in China toward reports that the U.S. Navy is planning to send a cruiser or destroyer within 12 nautical miles of the man-made islands that China is building in the South China Sea. The Global Times, a hawkish newspaper published by the People's Daily of China, carried an editorial on Thursday that said, "China has remained calm with self-restraint even in the face of Washington's escalating provocations, but if the U.S. encroaches on China's core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it."

         Richardson's cold shoulder and continued emphasis that the South China Sea is part of international waters come as blunt signaling that the U.S. does not recognize the waters around the Nansha Islands -- where China just completed two lighthouses -- as Chinese territory, as the Chinese claim.

         During this trip, Richardson, who assumed his current position in September, will visit Japan, South Korea, Bahrain and Italy to meet with U.S. sailors and strengthen relationships with host nations. "That fact that this is my first stop gives you a sense of where my focus is in terms of our priorities" he said, indicating that the Asia Pacific region -- with the rise of China and the unpredictability of North Korea -- is the U.S. Navy's top concern. The U.S. plans to send approximately 60% of its ships to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

         He welcomed passage of Japan's new security law, which expands the scope of the Self-Defense Forces' overseas operations. "Certainly," he said, "the legislation provides an opportunity to increase cooperation between the [Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force] and the U.S. Navy in humanitarian assistance and other operations."

         The admiral also talked about the Navy's plan to relax the boundary between the 7th Fleet, whose area of responsibility ranges from the West Pacific to the Indian Ocean, and the 3rd Fleet, which covers the East Pacific, from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland.

         "What you are seeing is a fluid structure in our Navy so that we can more adaptively respond to the changing situations," Richardson said. "And we wouldn't be prohibited by something like the International Date Line."

         Until now, the International Date Line, which runs just West of Hawaii, has been the boundary between the two fleets. As a symbol of further involvement of the 3rd Fleet in the West Pacific, Nora Tyson, the fleet's commander vice admiral, rather than her 7th Fleet counterpart, will represent the Navy at the Japan Fleet Review, to be held by the Maritime Self-Defense Force on Sunday.


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  • China aligns with TRUMP, bans all Muslim call to prayer

    25/Dec/2016 // 949 Viewers

     

    Non-Muslim countries are experiencing the true agenda of Islamists: to establish an Islamic state in which unbelievers are subjugate to Islamic rule and must pay jizyah to be allowed citizenship.

    However, one country has quickly recognized the threat of Islamization, and has taken measures to stunt the growth of such demands.

    The Xinjiang region in western China has officially banned Muslim prayer meetings and other religious practices in government buildings, schools, and business offices, The Times Of India reports.

    Steep fines have been imposed on the use of mobile phones and internet for content that may “undermine national unity,” meaning Islamic propaganda will be punished.

    Officials claim that such propaganda may threaten social stability or incite ethnic hatred, quite the contrary of the U.S.’s idea of Islam.

    All religious activity, including praying, will be restricted to designated mosques.

    Another rule is that Muslims cannot wear clothing or logos associated with extremism. Sorry, mujahideen, no ISIS flags or patches allowed.

    The new legislature will immediately affect Muslim employees, many of whom require five prayer breaks each day in their places of work. Their personal phones may also no longer be used to study the Quran or practice religious hymns.

    For more click LINK


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  • JUST IN: Muslims pop-eyed as Christian cleric sends very powerful message to Boko Haram

    25/Dec/2016 // 997 Viewers

     

    Provost of The African Church Cathedral of St. James, Abeokuta, The Venerable Samuel Adeyemi, has appealed to the Boko Haram sect and Niger Delta militants to give peace a chance in the country.

    The cleric said peace was germane to sustainable development in Nigeria and to enable the government to find lasting solutions to various problems confronting the country.

    He gave the admonition in his sermon at the holy solemnization of Princess Layebi Tejuoso and her heartthrob, Olalekan Aluko, held at the church.

    The bride is the daughter of Osile of Oke Ona, Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, and younger sister of the Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, Lanre Tejuoso.

    At the event were eminent personalities, including Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa; state Chief Judge, Justice Olatokunbo Olopade, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, and representative of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi.

    Also present were Chief Razak Okoya, wife of former Vice President, Mrs Titi Atiku, Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson, former presidential adviser, Chief (Mrs) Titi Ajanaku, Chief Doja Adewolu, as well as government functionaries and traditional rulers from Ogun and Osun states.

    In his sermon titled: “Marriage on earth and marriage in heaven”, Adeyemi said no sinner will see the kingdom of God except such repented before death.

    The cleric noted that the activities of Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants and other violent groups constitute sins and crimes.

     


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  • U.N. diplomats: U.S. and China agree on new North Korea sanctions

    25/Feb/2016 // 282 Viewers

     

    UNITED NATIONS--The United States and China have reached agreement on a United Nations resolution that would impose tougher sanctions on North Korea as punishment for its latest nuclear test and rocket launch, U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.
    One Security Council diplomat called the draft resolution "significantly substantive" and expressed hope that it will be adopted in the coming days. Another said the draft had been circulated on Wednesday to the three other permanent council members--Russia, Britain and France.
    The Security Council is scheduled to hold closed consultations Thursday afternoon on compliance with the North Korean sanctions resolutions, and the U.S.-China draft could be discussed then with the 10 non-permanent council members.
    Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because all discussions on the proposed resolution have been private.
    Their comments follow a flurry of activity in Washington, including meetings between China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, and with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday afternoon.
    U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said Rice and Wang agreed "on the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea's provocations, including through a U.N. Security Council resolution that goes beyond previous resolutions."
    "They agreed that they will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state," Price said.
    Earlier on Wednesday, Kerry told a Congressional hearing: "We're on the brink of achieving a strong United Nations Security Council resolution."
    North Korea started off the new year with what it claims was its first hydrogen bomb test on Jan. 6 and followed that up with the launch of a satellite on a rocket on Feb. 7 that was condemned by much of the world as a test of banned missile technology.
    Over the past 10 years, North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests and launched six long-range missiles--all in violation of Security Council resolutions.
    South Korea's U.N. Ambassador Oh Joon has urged the Security Council to adopt "extraordinary" measures to make clear to the North "that it will no longer tolerate its nuclear weapons development."
    The United States, its Western allies and Japan also pressed for new sanctions that go beyond the North's nuclear and missile programs. But China, Pyongyang's neighbor and supporter on the council, is reluctant to impose measures that could threaten the stability of North Korea and cause the country's economy to collapse.

    Wang said Tuesday that a new U.N. resolution alone cannot resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and that dialogue was neede
     He said China was urging a "parallel track" in which there were both talks on denuclearization--the top priority of the United States--and replacing the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War with a formal peace treaty, a key demand of Pyongyang.
    While the United States and China were discussing a new U.N. resolution, the United States took tougher steps of its own against North Korea, tightening sanctions and announcing it will hold formal talks with South Korea on deploying a missile defense system that China fears could be used against it as well North Korea.
    South Korea and Japan have also announced new measures against Pyongyang. - AP


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  • Over 3,000 foreigners duped over instant citizenship

    25/Jul/2016 // 599 Viewers

     

    PETALING JAYA: More than 3,000 hopeful foreigners swarmed the National Registration Department (NRD) headquarters today conned by a fake promise of immediate citizen status for holders of permanent residency.

    The large pool of people, including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Cambodians and Indonesians, gathered at the NRD headquarters in Putrajaya after reading a fake message that was spread via Whatsapp and Facebook.

    According to NST Online, people began swarming the headquarters as early as 3am, hoping to obtain Malaysian citizenship.

    NRD public relation officer Fara Maya Ahmad Jelani told the English portal that people poured in from nationwide and queued even before the office was scheduled to open at 7.45am.

    She said they had been receiving people since early this week but only today there was a large turnout.

    "To handle the sudden influx of visitors, we had to open up more counters at various levels of the building so that other services rendered by the department would not be disrupted,” she told NST Online.

    She said the misleading message had caused trouble for the hopeful turnouts as well as employees in Putrajaya.

    Fara Maya further elaborated that people were reluctant to leave even after being told that the message spread via Whatsapp and Facebook was a hoax.

    A police report had since been lodged at the Putrajaya police headquarters.

    Applications to become Malaysian citizens would take months or years pending approval based on the eligibility of the applicant. - Ask Legal

    Pic credit: NST


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  • Filipino nailed to cross prays for Belgium, Philippines

    25/Mar/2016 // 722 Viewers

     

    SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines (AP) — A Filipino devotee was nailed to a cross for the 30th time in an annual Good Friday ritual and said he hoped his painful sacrifice would help bring peace to Belgium and other countries targeted by Islamic extremists.

     

    Ruben Enaje and 14 other men, some screaming in pain, were nailed to wooden crosses by actors dressed as Roman centurions in San Pedro Cutud and two other rice farming villages in Pampanga province north of Manila, according to organizers.

    Thousands of foreign and local tourists snapped pictures of the devotees, who re-enacted Jesus Christ's suffering and death in scorching heat. Other devotees flogged their own bloodied backs with whips while walking barefoot around the dusty villages.

    The gory spectacle reflects the Philippines' unique brand of Catholicism, which merges church traditions with folk superstitions. Many of the mostly impoverished penitents undergo the ritual to atone for sins, pray for the sick or for a better life and to give thanks for what they believe were God-given miracles.

    Enaje, a 55-year-old sign painter, began undergoing the annual ordeal after he fell from a three-story building in 1985 and survived nearly unscathed.

    Asked what he was praying for this year, Enaje said he was saddened by the recent bombings at a Brussels airport and a subway station and other attacks in the Middle East that killed and wounded innocent people.

    "What are they fighting for?" Enaje asked, referring to Islamic State group militants who have claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks. "Even the innocent are not spared. They want to lord over the world but that can't be allowed to happen."

    He expressed concern over reports that Islamic State group extremists may have already influenced militants in the southern Philippines.

    The Lenten rituals are opposed by church leaders in the Philippines, Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation, but have persisted and become a tourist attraction in San Pedro Cutud village, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) north of Manila.


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