China said on Monday its three-step proposal to tackle the Rohingya crisis, beginning with a ceasefire, has been approved by Bangladesh and Myanmar. More than 600,000 members of the Rohingya community have fled to Bangladesh since late August, when the Myanmar military launched a crackdown in Rakhine state following attacks by Rohingya militants. The atrocities and hardships faced by the Rohingya - described by the UN human rights chief as “ethnic cleansing” - have triggered an international outcry. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi had presented the three-step proposal to tackle the crisis during his trip to Bangladesh and his ongoing visit to Myanmar. On Monday, an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers opened in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. “His (Wang’s) initiative was approved in Bangladesh and also won approval from Myanmar. I hope the proposal will help resolve the current crisis and more importantly, fundamentally address the crisis,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular news briefing. A statement from China’s foreign ministry quoted Wang as saying that a ceasefire should be followed by bilateral dialogue to find a workable solution. It added the final phase would focus on working toward a long-term solution. Wang was quoted by the Chinese state media as saying in Dhaka that the “turbulence in Myanmar has become a burden to Bangladesh even as Bangladesh manages to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingya people who have crossed the border into Bangladesh”. He added, “With the hard work of all sides, at present the first phase’s aim has already basically been achieved, and the key is to prevent a flare-up, especially that there is no rekindling the flames of war.” The state media reported: “While speaking highly of the moves taken by Bangladesh, Wang said China is willing to continue to provide emergency humanitarian aid to those in need in Bangladesh. “China holds the view that the Rohingya issue can only be solved properly through consultations between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and only in this way will a suitable agreement be accepted by all parties.” Wang said the “international community, including the UN, should help create an atmosphere for consultations between the two countries”. A Reuters report from Naypyidaw quoted European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini as saying that stopping violence will be among the key steps to resolve the crisis. “We believe that stopping the violence, the flow of refugees and guaranteeing full humanitarian access to the Rakhine state, and safe, sustainable repatriation of refugees are going to be key,” Mogherini said on the sidelines of the ASEM meeting.
Russia carried out a successful test of its Satan 2 nuclear missile on Thursday night, the country's defense ministry said. The rocket, also known as RS-28 Sarmat, was fired from the Plestek Cosmodrome and travelled 3,600 miles before hitting a target on the Kura test range. Three submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads also carried out successful ballistic missile tests, while three bombers hit ground targets with cruise missiles. Two of the submarine-launched missiles were fired in the Okhotsk Sea, north of Japan and close to North Korea, the Russian military said. A third missile was fired from the Barents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean. Russian military forces 'have carried out an exercise to manage its strategic nuclear forces,' the ministry said in a statement. Strategic bombers Tu-160, Tu-95MC and Tu-22M3 also took off from several Russian air bases and launched cruise missiles. The rockets hit 'ground-based' targets in Kamchatka, eastern Russia, in the Komi Republic, in the north, and on Russian military terrain in Kazakhstan. 'All objectives of the training have been successfully completed,' the statement said. The Sarmat next generation intercontinental ballistic missile can 'beat any defences' and wipe out entire countries, according to Russia's military. The weapon has been in the pipeline since 2009 and is now ready after several setbacks, with initial trials to be carried out before the end of the year, sources claim. The weapon could by in use by 2019 - 2020. It would be capable of delivering warheads of 40 megatons - 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In early September, Russia test fired two more next-generation nuclear missiles, named Topol, from the Plestek Cosmodrome. The launches book-ended the huge Zapad war games with Belarus on NATO's eastern flank, which caused concern among the military alliance. On Thursday, NATO members challenged Russia over 'discrepancies' concerning the number of troops involved and the figures officially announced by Moscow. 'There is a discrepancy between what Russia briefed before the exercise... and the actual numbers and the scale and the scope of the exercise,' NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). NATO launched its own military drills in response, concerned that Russia was using Zapad as an excuse to mass forces on Europe's borders. While Moscow claimed thousands of soldiers were involved in the drills, NATO chiefs said the number topped 10,000 men.
A landslide at a construction site in northern Malaysia on Saturday killed three foreign workers, with rescuers searching for 11 others feared trapped in the mud and rubble, officials said. Fire and rescue official Mohamad Rizuan Ramli said a 10-meter (33-feet) -high slope crashed down at the construction site in northern Penang state, a popular tourist destination, early Saturday. He said the bodies of two Indonesians and an unidentified foreigner have been recovered. Rescuers are racing against time to excavate the rubble to get to another 11 foreign workers, believed to be from Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh, who are feared buried alive, he said. Bangladeshi worker Mohammad Jashim Hussein Ahmad told the national Bernama news agency that the landslide happened swiftly without warning and was over in just a minute, burying his friends, who had no time to run. State lawmaker Teh Yee Cheu told local media that he was told by a rescue worker that most of the victims were likely buried at least 10-15 feet under mud and rubble. He said natural boulders from the hill had also come hurtling down during the landslide. He said the victims included a Malaysian, who is the supervisor. Penang city Mayor Maimunah Mohamad Sharif said weather on the island was dry and the cause of the landslide wasn't clear.
A suicide bomber killed 15 Afghan army trainees as they were leaving their base in Kabul on Saturday, the defence ministry said, in the latest deadly attack in the capital. "This afternoon when a minibus carrying army cadets was coming out of the military academy, a suicide bomber on foot targeted them, martyring 15 and wounding four," defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP. It was the second suicide attack in the Afghan capital in 24 hours and the seventh major assault in Afghanistan since Tuesday, taking the total death toll to more than 200, with hundreds more wounded. The spate of deadly attacks underscores deteriorating security across the war-torn country. It was also the fifth time since Tuesday that militants have launched a major attack against Afghanistan´s beleaguered security forces already badly demoralised by high casualties and desertions.
The United Nations braced on Friday for a possible "further exodus" of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh, UN humanitarian aid chief said. Some 5,15,000 Rohingyas have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a brutal crackdown. "This flow of people of Myanmar hasn't stopped yet. Obviously there's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas still in Myanmar, and we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus," Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told a news briefing in Geneva. An estimated 2,000 Rohingyas are arriving in Bangladesh every day, Joel Millman of the International Organisation for Migration, told a separate briefing. There may be up to 1,00,000 more people in northern Rakhine waiting to cross into Bangladesh, according to the organisation. Myanmar officials have said they attempted to reassure groups trying to flee to Bangladesh but could not stop people who were not citizens from leaving. The official Myanmar News Agency said that "large numbers" of Muslims were preparing to cross the border. It cited their reasons as "livelihood difficulties", health problems, a "belief" of insecurity and fear of becoming a minority. Myanmar has blocked most access to the conflict-torn area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid. Lowcock reiterated an appeal for access to the population in northern Rakhine, saying, "The access we have in northern Rakhine State is unacceptable." Lowcock repeated the UN's call for the Myanmar government to allow "unhindered [and] unfettered" access and said he believed "a high level" UN team would be able to visit the area "in the next few days". He added that talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh on a repatriation plan were a useful first step. "But there is clearly a long way to go." UN-led aid bodies have appealed for $434 million over six months to help up to 1.2 million people, including 3,00,000 Rohingyas already in Bangladesh before the latest crisis and 3,00,000 Bangladeshi villagers in so-called host communities, reports Reuters.
Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and injured more than 500 in Las Vegas on Sunday, set up a number of cameras in and around his hotel suite. Two cameras in the hallway and one in the peephole allowed him to see if "law enforcement or security" were approaching, police said. Officers are still trying to determine why Paddock, 64, opened fire on a concert from the Mandalay Bay Hotel. However, they do know there was a high degree of planning. The authorities in Las Vegas revised the death toll down from 59 on Tuesday evening, saying that one of the bodies was that of the gunman. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters: "This individual was pre-meditated. Obviously pre-meditated, the fact that he had the type of weaponry and the amount of weaponry in that room. "It was pre-planned extensively and I'm pretty sure he evaluated everything he did in his actions." Undersheriff Kevin McMahill suggested the attack may have stopped when Paddock was disturbed, shooting a security guard. The shooting - the worst in modern US history - has sparked debate over US gun laws, but President Donald Trump has said the discussion over what, if anything, needs to be done was "not for now". He earlier described Paddock as "a sick man, a demented man". But a senior US homeland security official, speaking on condition of anonymity to news agency Reuters, said there was "no evidence" of "mental illness or brain damage". Nor have police found links to any foreign or domestic terrorist organisations. Paddock, who appears to have killed himself before police stormed his hotel room, had no criminal record and was not known to police. However, police found 23 guns in Paddock's hotel room, as well as firearms and explosives at his home. In total, across three locations, 47 firearms have been recovered, officials said.Photos from the hotel room of guns used in the attack have been obtained by Boston 25 News. Police still consider the woman thought to have been his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, "a person of interest", he said, adding they were "in conversation". Ms Danley had been in the Philippines, but flew out of the country, the Philippine immigration bureau spokeswoman told reporters and has now arrived in Los Angeles. The shooting has prompted calls for reform to US gun laws. But Mr Trump - who has been backed by the National Rifle Association, and spoke often of protecting the Second Amendment during his campaign - has tried to steer clear of leaning too far either way. After visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he said "perhaps that [time] will come" for a debate. Earlier, he had said: "We'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by." Mr Trump, whose position on gun control has changed over the years, gave no further detail. Mr Trump also declined to call the attack domestic terrorism.
Foreign Office minister Mark Field has urged Aung San Suu Kyi to do all she can to end the suffering of the Rohingya people on a visit to Myanmar. He told the country's de facto leader the authorities must heed the UN's call for violence in Rakhine to end and grant full humanitarian access. Progress in the country risked being "derailed" by the "tragedy", he said. More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh amid reports of military atrocities. Ms Suu Kyi, the former political prisoner who has been Myanmar's civilian leader since winning elections in 2015, is under growing international pressure over her handling of the crisis. In a speech on Tuesday, the Nobel Prize winner condemned human rights abuses but did not blame the army or address allegations of ethnic cleansing. After face-to-face talks in the capital Naypyidaw, Mr Field - the first foreign minister from outside the region to meet Ms Suu Kyi since the crisis began - said he had conveyed the UK's government dismay at events. "What we have seen in Rakhine in the past few weeks is an absolute and unacceptable tragedy," he said. "We need the violence to stop and all those who have fled to be able to return to their homes quickly and safely. "During my meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi and others, I strongly emphasised the need for Burma to heed the security council's call to end violence and allow humanitarian access to those in need of aid." The minister, who will visit Bangladesh on Thursday to see the relief effort in the country, said he had seen with his own eyes the damage done. "Burma has taken great strides forward in recent years. But the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Rakhine risks derailing that progress," he added. Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appealed to Ms Suu Kyi, as a "champion of democracy and human rights", to act now to put a stop to the violence. "The Rohingya have suffered for too long," he told activists at his party's conference. A stateless mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, the Rohingya have long experienced persecution. The army launched an operation in Rakhine last month after deadly attacks on police stations, which it blamed on militants. Myanmar's military has repeatedly denied targeting civilians but witnesses, refugees and journalists have contested this.
Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favour of a split from Iraq, according to regional officials, as tensions soared between Erbil and Baghdad following a contested referendum. Electoral commission officials on Wednesday told a news conference in Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, that 92.73 percent of the 3,305,925 people who cast ballots voted "Yes" in Monday's poll. Turnout was put at 72.61 percent. Any idea of secession is bitterly opposed by the central government in Baghdad, as well as neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Iran. The United States and the United States had also pressed Kurdish leaders to call off the poll. Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Erbil, said the announcement was in line with people's expectations in the region. "There's a lot of satisfaction among people and the Yes was vote was a given for everybody," she said."But when you ask them, 'what's going to happen next', they do say that they think there will be a lot of problems." Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), has said the vote will not lead to an immediate declaration of independence and should instead open the door to negotiations. But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - who rejected the referendum as illegal - told lawmakers on Wednesday there was no question of using its results as the basis for talks. "The referendum must be annulled and dialogue initiated in the framework of the constitution. We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum," Abadi said. "We will impose Iraqi law in the entire region of Kurdistan under the constitution," he said. The vote took place in three governorates that make up the region and in some disputed areas, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and parts of the northern province of Nineveh. Later on Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament called for the deployment of troops to Kirkuk to take control of its oilfields, state TV reported. "Politicians in Baghdad asked Abadi to take over - or take back, depending which way you look at it - the so-called disputed territories that are now under control of the Kurdish forces," Al Jazeera's Abdel-Hamid said. "And then there's the issue and the threats about taking the international land borders of the Kurdish region back under control of the federal government," she added. Baghdad last week asked foreign countries to stop direct flights to the international airports of Erbil and Sulaymaniya in KRG territory. Soon after, Iran halted direct flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Radical Buddhist monks stormed a United Nations safe house for Rohingya refugees near Sri Lanka's capital on Tuesday (Sep 26) and forced authorities to relocate the group, officials said. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks led a mob that broke down gates and entered the walled multi-storied compound at the Mount Lavinia suburb of Colombo as frightened refugees huddled together in upstairs rooms, a police official said. Two police were wounded in the incident, which also saw the mob pelt stones at the safe house and trash the ground floor furnishings upon entry. There were no reports of casualties among the group of refugees, which included 16 children. "We have pushed back the mob and the refugees have been relocated in a safer place," the official said, asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. Police said they were going through local media video footage as well as Facebook in the hopes of arresting those who took part in the violence, and the monks who incited them. One of the monks who stormed the building posted a video on the social networking site filmed by his radical group Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa (Sinhalese National Force) as he urged others to join him and smash the premises. "These are Rohingya terrorists who killed Buddhist monks in Myanmar," the monk said in his live commentary, pointing to Rohingya mothers with small children in their arms. The 31 Rohingya refugees were rescued by the Sri Lankan navy about five months ago after they were found drifting in a boat off the island's northern waters. They were thought to be victims of a people smuggler. They were eventually to be resettled in a third country, the official said, adding that they were authorised to remain in Sri Lanka pending the processing of their papers. Sri Lanka's extremist Buddhist monks have close links with their ultra-nationalist counterparts in Myanmar. Both have been accused of orchestrating violence against minority Muslims in the two countries. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in the face of the current wave of violence there. The Rohingya Muslims have been the target of decades of state-backed persecution and discrimination in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.
Myanmar’s government will manage the redevelopment of villages torched during violence in Rakhine state that has sent nearly half a million Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, a minister was reported on Wednesday as saying. The plan for the redevelopment of areas destroyed by fires, which the government has blamed on Rohingya insurgents, is likely to raise concern about the prospects for the return of the 480,000 refugees, and compound fears of ethnic cleansing. “According to the law, burnt land becomes government-managed land,” Minister for Social Development, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye told a meeting in the Rakhine state capital of Sittwe, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported. Win Myat Aye also heads a committee tasked with implementing recommendations on solving Rakhine’s long-simmering tensions. Citing a disaster management law, he said in a meeting with authorities on Tuesday that redevelopment would “be very effective”. The law states the government oversees reconstruction in areas damaged in disasters, including conflict. There was no elaboration on any plan or what access to their old villages any returning Rohingya could expect. The minister was not immediately available for comment. Human rights groups using satellite images have said that about half of more than 400 Rohingya villages in the north of Rankine state have been burned in the violence. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh have accused the army and Buddhist vigilantes of mounting a campaign of violence and arson aimed at driving Rohingya out of Myanmar. Buddhist-majority Myanmar has rejected U.N. accusations of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in response to coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on the security forces on Aug. 25. The government has reported that about half of Rohingya villages have been abandoned but it blames insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army for the fires and for attacking civilians.
China is limiting its oil exports to North Korea to comply with new sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council last week, which include fuel import restrictions. China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website on Saturday that China would limit exports of refined petroleum products from October 1, and ban condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately. China will also ban textile imports from the North Korea, the ministry said. Textiles are one of North Korea's last major sources of foreign revenue following repeated rounds of UN sanctions under which Beijing cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods. China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade, making its cooperation critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. They supported the latest rounds of UN Security Council sanctions but are reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard for fear the government might collapse. They also argue against doing anything that might hurt ordinary North Koreans. Joseph Cheng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said “China wants to demonstrate its support of the world community's position dissuade North Korea from continuing to hold nuclear tests and long-range missile tests”. But Cheng also said that Beijing understands that economic sanctions alone “will not be able to persuade Pyongyang to give up their programmes”. On Friday, US President Donald Trump praised China for increasing financial restrictions, and has been pushing Beijing to apply more pressure to North Korea over it nuclear programme. His comments came a day after he signed an executive order allowing Washington to ramp up sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear missile programme. Trump said the measure would allow sanctions against "individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade" with Pyongyang. Also on Friday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said his country could consider a hydrogen bomb test on an unprecedented scale on the Pacific Ocean - a threat, Japan labelled as "totally unacceptable".
The rapid spread of "super malaria" in South East Asia is an alarming global threat, scientists are warning. This dangerous form of the malaria parasite cannot be killed with the main anti-malaria drugs. It emerged in Cambodia but has since spread through parts of Thailand, Laos and has arrived in southern Vietnam. The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable. Prof Arjen Dondorp, the head of the unit, told the BBC News website: "We think it is a serious threat. "It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further [and eventually] jump to Africa." In a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the researchers detail the "recent sinister development" that has seen resistance to the drug artemisinin emerge. About 212 million people are infected with malaria each year. It is caused by a parasite that is spread by blood-sucking mosquitoes and is a major killer of children. The first choice treatment for malaria is artemisinin in combination with piperaquine. But as artemisinin has become less effective, the parasite has now evolved to resist piperaquine too. There have now been "alarming rates of failure", the letter says. Prof Dondorp said the treatment was failing around a third of the time in Vietnam while in some regions of Cambodia the failure rate was closer to 60%. Resistance to the drugs would be catastrophic in Africa, where 92% of all malaria cases happen. There is a push to eliminate malaria in the Greater Mekong sub-region before it is too late. Prof Dondorp added: "It's a race against the clock - we have to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths. "If I'm honest, I'm quite worried." Michael Chew, from the Wellcome Trust medical research charity, said: "The spread of this malaria 'superbug' strain, resistant to the most effective drug we have, is alarming and has major implications for public health globally. "Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria.