Tuesday, March 8th, 2016


South Korea announces unilateral sanctions on North Korea

AFROASIA NEWS ONLINE / SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea said Tuesday it will sanction 40 individuals and 30 organizations abroad, mostly in North Korea, as part of its unilateral punitive measures on the North for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. The announcement came a day after North Korea warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes in response to the start of Seoul-Washington military drills it views as an invasion rehearsal. This year’s annual drills are the largest ever. The South Korean government said in a statement that theRead More

9 hurt as train derails, car plunges into California creek

SUNOL, Calif. — A downed tree on the tracks reported caused a commuter train to derail in Northern California, sending its lead car plunging into a swollen creek and leaving nine people injured, authorities said. Rescuers battled the creek’s fast-moving currents Monday night to pull riders to safety from the partially submerged rail car, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said. “It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic,” Kelly said. “This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders.” FourRead More

Volunteer firefighters suspended for transporting gravely ill toddler in fire truck reinstated

Two volunteer firefighters in Stafford County who were suspended for transporting a gravely ill toddler to a hospital in a firetruck — instead of waiting for an ambulance — were reinstated Monday, a day after their story unleashed a wave of criticism. The temporary suspension of the two firefighters, lauded by the family of the 18-month-old, came to symbolize a slavish adherence to policy over common sense. But Stafford County officials said in a hastily-called press conference Monday afternoon that they were reinstating Capt. James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil BloomRead More

White House ‘surprised’ Netanyahu turned down Obama meeting

The White House said Monday it was “surprised” to learn through press reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had declined an invitation to meet President Barack Obama later this month in Washington. An aide to Obama said that Netanyahu’s office had requested a sit-down between the two leaders on March 17 or 18, and that the White House responded two weeks ago offering March 18 as a meeting date. That’s just ahead of Obama’s planned trip to Cuba. “We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting, and weRead More

China to issue five to ten year visa to foreign experts

BEIJING: China is considering plans to make it easier for foreign experts to come and stay, such as offering them five- or even 10-year multiple-entry visas, reports China daily. Zhang Jianguo, head of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and a political adviser, said that this year he will try to make sure that the visa issue will not become a hurdle preventing high-end overseas talent from coming to China. “Many foreign experts wrote me e-mails to complain about the visa problem. They want five-year or even 10-year multiple-entryRead More

Wisconsin Justice Apologizes For Student Columns Going Off On ‘Queers’ And AIDS

Wisconsin state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in a column more than 20 years ago that gay people are “degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Bradley made the comments in columns she wrote for the Marquette Tribune in 1992 as a student. The columns were surfaced Monday by progressive activist group One Wisconsin Now. Bradley, who was appointed to the court in October by Gov. Scott Walker (R) and faces election in April, apologized for the columns on Monday. “To thoseRead More

China says it won’t budge on South China Sea sovereignty

AFROASIA NEWS ONLINE / BEIJING — China’s foreign minister took a hard line Tuesday on the country’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea, saying Beijing won’t permit other nations to infringe on what it considers its sovereign rights in the strategically vital area. Wang Yi, speaking to reporters at an annual news conference in Beijing, said that another nation’s claim to freedom of navigation in the region doesn’t give it the right to do whatever it wants — an apparent reference to the U.S., which has sent navalRead More

Seoul says N. Korea hacked into S. Korean officials’ phones

AFROASIA NEWS ONLINE / SEOUL, South Korea — Seoul’s spy agency on Tuesday accused North Korea of having hacked into the smartphones of dozens of key South Korean officials, stealing text and voice messages and their phone call logs. The announcement came a day after North Korea warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes in response to the start of Seoul-Washington military drills it views as an invasion rehearsal. This year’s drills are the largest ever, meant to respond to the North’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. The National IntelligenceRead More

Jury: Polygamous towns discriminated against nonbelievers

PHOENIX — Two polygamous towns on the Utah-Arizona border violated the constitutional rights of nonbelievers by denying them basic services such as police protection, building permits and water hookups, a jury said Monday. The civil rights trial marks one of boldest efforts by the government to confront what critics have long said was a corrupt regime in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah. The seven-week trial provided a rare glimpse into the communities that for years have been shrouded in secrecy and are distrustful of government and outsiders. The jury,Read More

Jury awards Erin Andrews $55 million in lawsuit over nude video

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A jury awarded Erin Andrews $55 million on Monday in her lawsuit against a stalker who bought a hotel room next to her and secretly recorded a nude video, finding that the hotel companies and the stalker shared in the blame. After a full day of deliberations, the panel said the stalker was responsible for 51 percent of the verdict and the two hotel companies should share the rest, which is nearly $27 million. Andrews, a Fox Sports reporter and co-host of the TV show “DancingRead More

Indonesian leader holds talks with Sudan’s Bashir

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s leader Monday held talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, with Jakarta defending having invited him to a summit of Muslim countries. Bashir met President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian foreign minister briefly on the sidelines of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Jakarta. Bashir regularly travels to Sudan’s neighbours but goes on long-distance trips less frequently. The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted him over war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2009 andRead More

Hillary, Sanders spar in fierce Democratic debate

NEW YORK – US Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had one of their sharpest exchanges of the Democratic presidential campaign to date during Sunday’s debate in Flint, Michigan, disagreeing over trade, guns and the auto industry bailout while joining forces to call for the resignation of state governor Rick Snyder over the city’s water contamination crisis. Shortly after they took the stage, the Associated Press, the American wire service, announced that Sanders had won the Democratic caucuses in Maine, his eighth victory in the 2016Read More

Rouhani praises Khatami role in recent vote

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani praised Monday the strategic role played in recent elections by Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s ex-president who is subject to a media ban, thanking him in a speech aired live on state television. Rouhani’s remarks, during a visit to Yazd, the home town of Khatami, Iran’s only reformist president, prompted cheers from the crowd but the sound of their applause during the broadcast was lowered several times. Iranian media are forbidden on the orders of Tehran’s prosecutor from publishing pictures of Khatami, president between 1997 and 2005,Read More

Six wounded in Somalia airport laptop blast

MOGADISHU – Six people were wounded Monday when a laptop bomb exploded at an airport in Somalia, police said, the second such attack in recent weeks targeting passenger aircraft. The bomb exploded at a checkpoint in the small central town of Beledweyne, some 325 kilometres (200 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, where last month Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents claimed responsibility for a bomb attack which ripped a hole in a passenger plane shortly after takeoff. “A laptop computer went off at the screening area, and the security forces have alsoRead More

China party punished 300,000 for graft in 2015

AFROASIA NEWS ONLINE / BEIJING – China’s ruling Communist Party punished nearly 300,000 of its members last year for corruption, its graft watchdog said amid a wide-ranging crackdown by President Xi Jinping on official malfeasance. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said on its website that 200,000 cadres were given “light punishment” for graft, while 82,000 received “heavy punishment”. It did not specify the difference between the penalties involved, but both categories could see individuals transferred from their positions. With corruption widespread in China, critics say there is aRead More