Seven Palestinians including a local Hamas commander have been killed during an Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials say. Israel's military said one if its soldiers had been killed and another wounded in "operational activity" by special forces in the strip. The clashes took place east of Khan Younis, in the south of the territory. Sirens later sounded in communities across southern Israel and rockets were fired from Gaza. The Israeli military later said 17 rockets had been fired and three were shot down. It was not clear if the rockets had caused any damage. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to cut short his visit to Paris for events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and return on Sunday evening, his office said in a statement. Source: bbc.com
[b] [/b]A passenger jet that crashed into the sea near Indonesia last week had an airspeed indicator problem on its final four flights, officials say. The damage to the device, which tells pilots how fast their planes are travelling, was revealed after the recovery of a "black box" recorder. Lion Air flight JT 610, carrying 189 people, crashed soon after taking off from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Angry relatives confronted Indonesian officials at a conference on Monday. They wanted to know why the plane was allowed to fly and demanded there be no let up in recovery efforts. The cause of the crash is still unclear. "We are the victims here. Imagine if you were in our position," said Najib Fuquoni, a relative of a victim. Lion Air's founder, Rusdi Kirana, attended the meeting. At one point, families demanded that he stood up. He did not speak but clasped his hands in prayer and bowed his head. The suggestion that the Lion Air plane had a defective airspeed indicator is a significant development. The aircraft's erratic behaviour during its final flight, and reports of an issue during a previous journey, had already prompted speculation that this could have been an issue. Airspeed is measured using sensors called pitot tubes, which record pressure on the wing or front surface of the aircraft. This is compared to pressure readings obtained from a so-called "static port" on another part of the aircraft. With corrections, the difference between the two can be used to calculate airspeed. Pitot tubes, however, can become blocked - for example due to icing. Such instances can cause erratic airspeed readings, which in turn can confuse pilots and affect the way in which the aircraft is flown, possibly leading to accidents. In 2009, for example, an Air France flight went down off the coast of Brazil. Blocked pitot tubes triggered a chain of events in which the pilots became confused and disorientated and lost control. In every other respect the aircraft was working perfectly. These are still early days in the investigation and more information is needed. But if unreliable airspeed readings were a factor, key questions will be: what was the cause - poor design or poor maintenance procedures, for example - and why previous problems were apparently not rectified. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
Australia on Tuesday slapped travel and financial sanctions on five top Myanmar military officers, accused of overseeing brutal violence against Rohingya Muslims by units under their command, following similar moves by the European Union and United States. More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh last year, according to U.N. agencies, following a counter-insurgency operation launched by Myanmar's military after attacks on security posts by Rohingya militants in August last year. A recent U.N. report accused Myanmar's military of gang rapes and mass killings with "genocidal intent" and called for its commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law. Myanmar has denied most of the allegations in the report, blaming Rohingya "terrorists" for most accounts of atrocities. However Australia, which has previously provided training for Myanmar's army and refrained from imposing sanctions, on Tuesday responded to the U.N. report by targeting four of the men named, and one other senior commander. "I have now imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against five Myanmar military officers responsible for human rights violations committed by units under their command," Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement. A separate document named the officers; Aung Kyaw Zaw, Aung Aung, Maung Maung Soe, Than Oo and Khin Maung Soe. It said financial dealings with them can now attract penalties of A$1.7 million ($1.2 million) for companies and 10 years jail for individuals. Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay did not pick up a call seeking comment on Tuesday. The United States imposed similar restrictions on top generals in August. Like the United States, Australia omitted Myanmar's military chief, Min Aung Hlaing from the sanctions. [i]Agencies[/i]
A strong typhoon tore through the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday packing winds of more than 200 kph (124 mph) along with torrential rain, killing three people and causing floods, landslides and power outages. Mangkhut entered the Philippines as a super typhoon in the early hours, and sent winds and rains across the entire main island of Luzon, home to about half the country's 105 million people. Known locally as Ompong, Typhoon Mangkhut at one point had maximum gusts of 305 kph (190 mph) before it exited the land area before noon and moved toward southern China and Vietnam with reduced wind speeds of 170 kph (106 mph). Two rescue workers were killed while trying to free people trapped in a landslide in the mountainous Cordillera region, said Ricardo Jalad, head of the nation's disaster agency. No further details were provided. Police also said a body had been found in a river in Manila. Philippine state weather agency PAGASA downgraded the domestic threat level, but warned the danger was far from over, with continued storm surges and heavy rains that could trigger floods and more landslides. "We are asking the people to remain alert and continue taking precautions," said PAGASA meteorologist Rene Paciente. Rapid response teams were on stand by with the air force for search and rescue missions as authorities undertook damage assessments in areas in the path of the storm, which felled trees, electricity poles and tore off shop signs and sheet metal roofs hundreds of kilometers away. There was flooding in several provinces and parts of the capital Manila. Authorities were preparing to release water from several dams, fearing constant rains could push reservoirs to dangerously high levels. Mangkhut had been a category 5 storm for days since wreaking havoc in U.S. Pacific territories of Micronesia before edging toward the Philippines, where it is the 15th and strongest storm this year. The typhoon's peak winds were stronger than those of Hurricane Florence, which killed five people in the United States after it piled into the Carolinas knocking down trees, and gorging rivers and causing major power outages before it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Some 105,000 people were staying in temporary shelters after mass evacuation of coastal areas of the Philippines following major storm surge warnings. Authorities in some areas of northern Luzon turned off power as a precaution, and said some residents in high-risk areas chose to ride out the storm to protect homes from looters. More than 1,000 houses were impacted in Cagayan province, where the storm first made landfall, with authorities in the town of Baggao saying they had lost contact with an emergency response team, said Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Rogelio Sending, a government official in Cagayan said there were provincewide power and communication outages and reports of uprooted trees blocking roads. "This makes the clearing operations really difficult," he said by phone. The Philippines is still haunted by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in central areas of the country in 2013, most due to huge storm surges. But authorities say they were better prepared this time in terms of evacuating and informing high-risk communities. "I talked to the president last night. His clear and concise marching order was 'Save lives, save lives,'" said Francis Tolentino, the government's disaster response coordinator and adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Renato Solidum, a senior official at the Science and Technology department, said people in northern Luzon experienced a super typhoon in 2016 and were not caught off guard. "There has been an aggressive information dissemination to prepare well," he said. "Because the people had experienced a super typhoon only recently, they really had imagination about what happened before and that they really need to be prepared."
Fifty two people, including several women and children, were killed, and more than 20 suffered injuries on Tuesday morning when a Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus plunged into a gorge on the Kondagattu ghat road in Jagtial district. The bus, belonging to the Jagtial depot, had more than 60 passengers, who reportedly came to the hillock temple at Kondagattu. It was going from Shanivarampeta village to Jagtial via the Kondagattu ghat road and Muthyampet villages when the accident happened. More than two dozen passengers died on the spot and bodies of seven children have been recovered. The bus was overcrowded, eyewitness accounts said. Initial reports said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle at the third sharp curve, resulting in the bus plunging into the gorge. Most of the passengers lost balance and fell on the right side of the bus leading to the accident. Many due to suffocation as they fell on one another. Some four-wheelers following the bus stopped and launched a rescue operation with the help of the locals. The severely injured were rushed to the Jagtial Area Hospital for treatment. The condition of close to a dozen passengers was said to be critical and death toll is likely to go up, reports said. Jagtial Collector A. Sharath, SP Sindhu Sharma and Karimnagar Police Commissioner Kamalhasan Reddy, and other officials reached the spot and shifted the injured to the Jagtial hospital. The bodies have been shifted to the hospital pending post mortem.
Japan has been hit by its strongest typhoon in 25 years, causing at least 10 deaths and 200 injuries. Typhoon Jebi made landfall in western areas, bringing heavy rain and reports of winds up to 172km/h (107mph). In Osaka Bay it swept a tanker into a bridge and in Kyoto parts of a railway station roof came down. Officials ordered more than a million people in affected areas to evacuate their homes amid warnings of high waves, flooding and mudslides. It has already left tens of thousands without power and authorities have urged people to move to safety. The storm made landfall on Shikoku island around noon on Tuesday local time and then moved across Japan's largest main island of Honshu. It is expected to weaken as it moves north. Jebi is the first typhoon classed as "very strong" by the country's weather agency to make landfall on Japan's main islands since a typhoon left 48 people dead or missing in 1993, Kyodo reports. Hundreds of flights, trains and ferries have had to be cancelled. Flooding covered the runways at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, which is built on a man-made island in a bay. Universal Studios Japan, a popular amusement park near Osaka, was closed.
The US military says it is cancelling $300m (£230m) in aid to Pakistan over what it calls Islamabad's failure to take action against militant groups. President Donald Trump has previously accused Pakistan of deceiving the US while receiving billions of dollars. Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Koné Faulkner said the US military would aim to spend the money on other "urgent priorities". The move, which needs to be approved by US Congress, is part of a broader suspension announced in January. The US state department has criticised Pakistan, a key ally, for failing to deal with terrorist networks operating on its soil, including the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban. "We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups," Col Faulkner said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the $300m aid - which had earlier been suspended - should be used elsewhere due to "a lack of Pakistani decisive actions" in tackling the issue. The announcement comes just days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Pakistan to meet the country's new prime minister, Imran Khan. In January, the US government announced it was cutting almost all security aid to the country. The US and others have long complained that Pakistan provides a safe haven to militant networks, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan - something that Islamabad denies. [i]Agencies[/i]
Pakistan's new government has banned the discretionary use of state funds and first-class air travel by officials and leaders, including the president and the prime minister, as part of its austerity drive, reports NDTV. The decisions were made at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday, according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. "It has been decided that all the top government officials, including the president, prime minister, chief justice, senate chairman, speaker national assembly and the chief ministers will travel in club/business," he told media. To a question, Mr Chaudhry said that the Army chief was not allowed first-class travel and always used business class. He said that the discretionary allocation of funds by the prime minister and the president and other officials was also stopped by the Cabinet. Mr Chaudhry claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif used Rs. 51 billion discretionary funds in a year. The prime minister also decided to stop using special plane for foreign visits or domestic travelling and use business class. After his victory in the July 25 general election, Khan decided not to use palatial Prime Minister House and instead live in a small portion of it that was previously used as the residence by the military secretary to the prime minister. Mr Khan also decided to use only two vehicles and keep two servants. He refused to use elaborate official protocol. The Cabinet took up a host of issues, including reverting to six-day working week but decided to continue five-day working after some ministers opposed the idea because it may alienate government servants. The five-day working was instituted in 2011 due to power shortages and save fuels. The Cabinet was briefed that five-day working had not affected the performance or output by the civil servants. While retaining two weekly off-days, the Cabinet changed the official office timings from 8-4 pm to 9-5 pm. The meeting also decided to conduct an audit of all the mega transport projects carried out in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the previous governments.
A blast targeting a police van killed more than 25 people in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday, a hospital spokesman said, as the South Asian nation goes to the vote to choose a new government. The blast happened near a polling station, said a witness in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan, but it was unclear if voting had been disrupted. Television images showed a charred police vehicle, cordoned off by security officials. 24 others were injured in the attack. The bomb disposal squad has also reached the site of the attack after reports that an unexploded grenade has been discovered. Rescue sources said the explosion occurred near a police vehicle on routine patrolling. DIG Abdul Razzak Cheema said the injured have been shifted to Sandeman Provincial Hospital. A state of emergency has been declared at the hospital. The border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Chaman, Balochistan was closed by the government on Tuesday for two days in the wake of the general election. Polling across the country for the 11th General Election began at 8am. [i]Source: Agencies[/i]
Myanmar violated its obligations to the United Nations child rights convention in its crackdown on the Rohingya that led to an exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from the minority community, legal experts have found. Children make up around half of the more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh since the start of a military crackdown last August. The U.N. has called the Myanmar military operations a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Myanmar denies the allegation and has said it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation after Muslim militants attacked security posts. Legal experts commissioned by Save the Children Norway analysed research by U.N. bodies and international human rights groups who have alleged that mass killings, arson, and torture were conducted by Myanmar security forces on the Rohingya. “The research finds that the response by the Myanmar Government to the August 2017 attacks on police posts, together with the ongoing discrimination against Rohingya, constitute violations of at least seven key articles of the (UN convention on the rights of the child),” their report said. The analysis found both the government and the security forces at fault. The Myanmar government “took positive steps” to assist the military operations and there was no evidence to suggest it did anything to curtail or condemn the security forces’ actions, the report said. Myanmar acceded to the United Nations convention on the rights of the child in 1991 and is bound to it by law. Representatives of the Myanmar government and military did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The violations highlighted in the report include failure to protect children from violence, abuse, neglect, sexual and other exploitation, inhumane treatment and detention. It refers to “indiscriminate and extrajudicial killing of Rohingya children, and the torture, ill-treatment and gender-based violence” committed against them. The government’s failure to conduct an independent investigation into the events following the August 2017 attacks, and ongoing discrimination against Rohingya children by denying them citizenship also are in violation of Myanmar’s obligations to the child rights convention, the report said. The report was shared exclusively with Reuters ahead of its release next week. “The list of violations we have found is not exhaustive,” said Guy Goodwin-Gill, emeritus professor of international refugee law at Oxford University, who co-authored the report. “It represents only the most serious violations and there most likely are several others.” [i]Source: Reuters[/i]
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made recommendations to strengthen diplomatic relations with Russia and China to help resolve Rohingya crisis. The recommendations on Thursday came at the 17th meeting of the committee held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban with its Chairman Dr Dipu Moni in the chair. Other members of the committee — Foreign Affairs Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, Muhammad Faruq Khan, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Raji Mohammad Fakhrul, Selim Uddin and Begum Mahjabin Khaled attended the meeting. It was discussed in the meeting that heads of government from different countries and top officials of international organizations are visiting ***’s Bazar to see the situation of the Rohingya people. So, the committee recommended modernization and expansion of ***’s Bazar Airport. The meeting suggested the Foreign Affairs Ministry to take initiatives to ensure safe return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
Kim Jong-un will on Friday become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953. In newly announced details, South Korea said President Moon Jae-in would personally meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 local time (00:30 GMT). The historic talks will focus on the North's recent indications it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons. The landmark summit is a breakthrough after years of mounting tension. But Seoul has warned reaching an agreement aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons will be "difficult", because North Korea's nuclear and missile technology has advanced so much since the sides last held talks. "The difficult part is at what level the two leaders will be able to reach an agreement regarding willingness to denuclearise," South Korean presidential spokesperson Im Jong-seok said. The meeting - the third of its kind following summits in 2000 and 2007 - is the result of months of improving relations between the two Koreas, and paves the way to a possible meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump. As well as addressing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the leaders are expected to discuss a path to peace on the peninsula to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, and a series of economic and social issues. Mr Moon will meet Mr Kim and his delegation of nine officials at the border, Mr Im told reporters on Thursday. DESHISMASH.COM