Monday, March 30, 2015
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Thousands bid farewell to Lee amid heavy rains in Singapore
SINGPORE, Mar 29 (Agencies): Tens of thousands of teary-eyed Singaporeans today braved torrential rains to bid adieu to the country's founding leader Lee Kuan Yew in a grand funeral attended by a host of world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who described him as one of the "tallest leaders of our times". 91-year-old Lee, the city-state's prime minister for 31 years and widely respected as the architect of Singapore's prosperity, died of severe pneumonia on March 23. Global dignitaries, including monarchs, presidents, prime ministers and former leaders, joined hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans at a state funeral service which was telecast live and streamed on various social media. Prime Minister Modi arrived in Singapore this morning and attended the service. After ...
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45-day Ebola 'health emergency' declared in 5 Guinea regions
CONAKRY, Mar 29 (Agencies): Guinean President Alpha Conde has declared a 45-day "health emergency" in five regions in the west and southwest of the Ebola-hit nation in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly disease. The focus of the virus "has shifted to our country's coastal areas", the president said yesterday in a statement published in national media. "That is why I am declaring a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia," he said. Since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013, more than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and over 10,000 of them have died. All but a handful of those deaths have occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The World Health Orga...
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Indian-American mom seeks Cong help to reunite with kids
WASHINGTON, Mar 29 (Agencies): Battling overwhelming odds to reunite with her twin children, an Indian-American mother has turned to US lawmakers seeking their help to get her sons back who were allegedly "abducted" by her ex-husband while on a trip to India. Bindu Philips, 44, testified before a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with several other parents of abducted children, requesting their help to reunite with her children, Albert Philip Jacob and Alfred William Jacob, now aged 14. "I respectfully request that you, the members of the Congress, help me to make my voice heard in a way that shall be meaningful and allow me to be reunited with my children who need the love and nurturing of their mother," she said. Philips, from Plainsboro in New Jersey, accused her h...
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Toronto Uber driver sues Bieber on alleged 2013 assault
LOS ANGELES, Mar 29 (Agencies): Justin Bieber has been sued by the Toronto SUV limousine driver that alleged the pop star punched him in the head repeatedly back in December 2013. The driver, Abdul Mohar, is asking for USD 850,000 in damages, and seeking a court order preventing Bieber, 21, from coming within 100 meters of him, according to documents filed in Toronto. Mohar, 34, said after picking up a group of six men via transportation app Uber on December 30, 2013 in Toronto, a man, he later identified as Bieber, punched him in the head because he refused to turn the limo's music up louder. In a statement to the Toronto Star, Mohar claims Bieber punched him "very hard" after climbing into the front seats and turning the stereo's music to full volume. Bieber’s lawyer, Brian Greenspa...
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Won't wed rape victims: Malaysia's ethnic-Indian men
KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 29 (Agencies): In a short film shot as a social experiment, two out of three ethnic-Indian men in Malaysia have said that they would not marry rape victims as it would tarnish their family's "honour". The social experiment film made by Malaysian television channel Astro Ulagam (Astro world) has been titled "Would you marry a rape victim?" In the four-and-a-half minute video, two of the three young ethnic-Indian men interviewed said they will not marry sexual assault victims, saying their family honour will be tarnished. "No, I won't. My family's honour will fall," one of the men was quoted as saying in Tamil. Another man said it would be cumbersome to answer people's questions if he were to accept a rape victim as his life partner, Malay Mail reported today. "I won'...
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Germanwings Air Crash: Jet audio shows pilot locked out of cockpit
FRANCE, Mar 26 (Agencies): The first half of Germanwings Flight 9525 was chilling in its normalcy. It took off from Barcelona en route to Duesseldorf, climbing up over the Mediterranean and turning over France. The last communication was a routine request to continue on its route. Minutes later, at 10:30 AM Tuesday, the Airbus A320 inexplicably began to descend. Within 10 minutes it had plunged from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to just over 6,000 feet and slammed into a remote mountainside. To find out why, investigators have been analyzing the mangled black box that contains an audio recording from the cockpit. Remi Jouty, the head of France's accident investigation bureau BEA, said yesterday that it has yielded sounds and voices, but so far not the "slightest explanation" of w...
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Pak court gives 5 days to Punjab Govt to decide on Lakhvi
LAHORE, Mar 26 (Agencies): A Pakistani court today directed the Punjab government to decide "within five days" the detention matter of LeT operations commander and 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi. Lahore High Court Justice Mahmood Maqbool Bajwa ordered the home department of the Punjab government to decide the detention matter by March 31. Lakhvi yesterday filed a contempt of court petition in the LHC seeking a direction for the state government to decide his detention matter in the light of an order passed by Islamabad High Court (IHC). The IHC on March 13 had suspended the government's detention order for Lakhvi and ordered his immediate release. Just before his release next day, the Punjab government issued a detention order for Lakhvi for another 30 days under ...
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Ex-Lankan Prez to head task force for reconciliation of Tamils
COLOMBO, Mar 26 (Agencies): Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga will head a special presidential task force to identify urgent reconciliation needs of the minority Tamil community, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. "We are focused in achieving communal and religious harmony," Wickremesinghe said. The new government has set up a dedicated office for reconciliation under the Chair of 69-year-old Kumaratunga, the country's first woman president. The Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation (PTFR) would identify urgent reconciliation needs that require immediate solutions. The PTFR would also consider proposals from citizens for the purpose. Kumaratunga was the fifth President of Sri Lanka, who served from 1994 to 2005. In November last year Kumar...
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N Korea denies hacking nuclear plants in S Korea
SEOUL, Mar 26 (Agencies): North Korea today denied involvement in cyber-attacks on South Korea's nuclear power plant operator, accusing Seoul of fabricating a story to shift the blame for high cross-border tensions. Last December hackers published designs, manuals and other information about South Korean reactors on Twitter, along with personal information about workers at their operating company. The leaks prompted the South to heighten cyber-security and launch an investigation involving experts, government officials and state prosecutors. Last week Seoul blasted Pyongyang for seeking to throw South Korea into "social chaos" with cyber-attacks on the reactors, describing them as a threat to people's lives and safety. Today Pyongyang's state Internet research institute insisted North...
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Plane with 148 on board crashes in French Alps
PARIS, Mar 24 (Agencies): A German airliner crashed near a ski resort in the French Alps today with all 148 people on board feared dead, officials said. French President Francois Hollande said it was likely all passengers and crew on the Airbus A320 had perished in the crash. "There are not thought to be any survivors," the president told reporters after the disaster. The plane was travelling from the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf when it went down in the Barcelonnette area, in southeeastern France. The plane issued a distress call at 10:47 am (1517 IST), sources said. The airliner was carrying 142 passengers and six crew members. The plane belonged to Germanwings, a low-cost affiliate of German airline Lufthansa. The single-aisle A320 typically...
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China wishes 'All Weather Friend' Pak on National Day
BEIJING, Mar 23 (Agencies): Terming Pakistan an "all weather" friend, China today said their ties will be a "shining example" for other neighbouring countries even as Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was expected to visit Islamabad for the National Day parade, gave it a miss. "China congratulates Pakistan for its military parade. We hope for full success of the parade," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. "China-Pakistan relations are tested through time. We are now all weather friends to each other. We have shown high level of mutual understanding and support to each other and have come through ups and downs together with each other," Hong said. "Practical cooperation can be further pushed forward and the community of shared destiny between China and Pakistan will be a ...
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Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, dies aged 91
SINGAPORE, Mar 23 (Agencies): Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father who dominated the country's political scene for over half a century and transformed the tiny former British colony into a thriving global trade and finance powerhouse, died today. Lee, 91, the country's first Prime Minister, "passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital," the government announced. He had been under intensive care for pneumonia since February 5. In an emotional televised address, his son and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tributes to him. "He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won't see another man like him." Prime Minister Lee said that his father would lie in state from March 25-28 at Parliament House...
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