World News

Chinese foreign minister berates Canadian reporter for asking about human rights

‘Please don’t ask questions in such an irresponsible manner,’ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said

cda-china-20160601

China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi scolds a Canadian journalist during a press conference with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

China’s visiting foreign minister publicly berated a Canadian journalist on Wednesday for asking a question about his country’s human rights record.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was “irresponsible” of a journalist from the web outlet iPolitics to ask about human rights and the jailing of a Canadian, Kevin Garratt, who is charged with espionage.

Wang appeared visibly angry as he delivered the scolding in the lobby of Global Affairs headquarters at a joint news conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.

L.A. County supervisors vote to welcome Syrian refugees

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Amid heightened national debate over the resettlement of people fleeing the war in Syria, a divided Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to voice their willingness to welcome Syrian refugees.

The supervisors also voted to send a letter to President Obama and the county’s congressional delegation “expressing the board’s support of federal efforts to help Syrians fleeing violence and oppression and to increase the overall number of refugees that the U.S. will resettle over the course of the next two years.”

The question of how many refugees from Syria the United States will take in and where they will live has become politically charged in recent weeks. More than 30 state governors, mostly Republicans, have voiced concerns that extremists could infiltrate the United States and vowed to stop the refugees from settling in their states.

Burma votes in first democratic election in years

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma's election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma’s election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

RANGOON, Burma — Millions of residents voted Sunday in Burma’s first democratic election in years, a historic event that could mark a new era for the country and pave the way to power for the longtime opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

By nightfall, hundreds of supporters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party had gathered on the street in front of the party headquarters, waving red balloons, dancing, chanting and watching local election results on big-screen TVs. They cheered every time a yellow ballot was unfurled with a stamp next to a golden peacock, the symbol for the NLD. Some preliminary results might be known Monday, but the final official results could take days.

“We have been suffering for 25 years. Today, we change the old system and bring in a new one,” Theingi, a homemaker and mother of two, said at the rally. She uses only one name.

Anonymous denies link to list of alleged KKK members — and promises to release its own

Image from an 'Anonymous' video [YouTube]

Image from an ‘Anonymous’ video [YouTube]

Updated| Online hacking group Anonymous has denied responsibility for the recent publication of a list that claims some U.S. politicians belong to the Ku Klux Klan.

Last week, Anonymous said it would soon release the identities of about 1,000 members of the white supremacist organization. Anonymous is expected to release the details on Thursday, the day of the global protest movement known as the Million Mask March, in which demonstrators around the world will march in a protest against corrupt governments and corporations.

Anonymous denies it has any connection to the list of names, which was published Saturday on the website Pastebin. Most of the politicians included on the list—four Republican senators, four Democratic mayors and a Republican mayor—have denied the claims.

Canada election: Liberals sweep to power

 Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, are leading in 185 electoral districts.

The son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is now poised to form a majority government, Canada’s CBC and CTV networks predict.

Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper – whose party is leading in 103 districts – accepted defeat.

Speaking after the polls closed, he said he had already congratulated Mr Trudeau, saying the Conservatives would accept the results “without hesitation”.

Turkey Mourns Nearly 100 Dead In Ankara Blasts

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Turkey begins three days of mourning on October 11 after at least 95 people were killed in twin blasts at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara.

The Turkish government said 245 people were also injured in what it called a “terrorist act,” with 48 of them in serious condition.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that suicide bombers carried out the October 10 attack, which came three weeks before a rerun of June’s inconclusive general elections.

The explosions, which struck 50 meters apart, occurred near the city’s central train station as people were gathering for a planned “peace march” to push for a settlement of the conflict between the government and Kurdish militants in the southeastern part of the country.

Some Context For America’s Pledge To Take In 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The United States has promised to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, about 7 times as many as America has welcomed since the start of the conflict.1 But the new quota still isn’t impressive compared with the number of refugees the U.S. has accepted from other countries and the scale of the Syrian crisis.

Had the U.S. made the same commitment in the past, Syria would have been in the top three nations sending refugees to the U.S. in only two out of the five most recent years for which we have data. In the 2013 fiscal year (the most recent on record), the U.S. accepted more refugees from Iraq (19,487) and Myanmar (16,299) than it plans to accept from Syria. The country’s new commitment to Syria would have placed it ahead of Bhutan (9,134) — again, in terms of 2013 numbers — but just barely.

Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

 The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.


The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.

Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He was 75.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Mr. Bond’s death on Sunday. His wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, said the cause was complications of vascular disease.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities.

He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.

 Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

He also served for 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face — he was often called dashing, handsome and urbane — became familiar to millions of television viewers in the 1960s and 1970s. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s.

Moving beyond demonstrations, Mr. Bond became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

Bernie Sanders in Statistical Tie With Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire Poll

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders is making significant inroads against Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, with a new poll showing him in a statistical tie with Mrs. Clinton in the state.

A new survey released by Franklin Pierce University and The Boston Herald found that 44 percent of Democrats in the state are backing Mr. Sanders compared with 37 percent for Mrs. Clinton, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of error.

The last Democratic poll from the group in March showed Mr. Sanders with support of 8 percent of likely voters, demonstrating a significant erosion in the former secretary of state’s lead.

Ireland Votes to Approve Gay Marriage, Putting Country in Vanguard

English: ‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

By Danny Hakim and Douglas Dalby

DUBLIN — Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.

With the final ballots counted, the vote was 62 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent opposed.

The turnout was large — more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million eligible voters cast ballots, and only one district out of 43 voted the measure down. Cheers broke out among the crowd of supporters who had gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle when Returning Officer Riona Ni Fhlanghaile announced around 7 p.m. that the ballot had passed, 1,201,607 votes to 734,300.

Not long ago, the vote would have been unthinkable. Ireland decriminalized homosexuality only in 1993, the church dominates the education system, and abortion remains illegal except when a mother’s life is at risk. But the influence of the church has waned amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes, particularly among the young, have shifted.

“Today Ireland made history,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at a news conference, adding that “in the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement.”

“This decision makes every citizen equal and I believe it will strengthen the institution of marriage,” Mr. Kenny said.

U.S. special forces kill Islamic State leader in raid in eastern Syria

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Iraqi Sunni volunteers from Anbar province, who joined Iraq’s Popular Mobilization force to fight Islamic State, training at a base in Amriyat Falloujah. (Ahmad Rubaye / AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Saturday that commandos from U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State militant leader and captured his wife during a night raid Friday in eastern Syria in a town called al-Amr.

The leader, known as Abu Sayyaf, was involved in the Islamic State’s military operations and helped direct the group’s’ illicit oil, gas and financial operations, Carter said in a statement.

The Pentagon said no U.S. personnel were killed or injured during the operation.

The military’s intent was to capture Sayyaf, but he was killed when he “engaged” U.S. forces, Carter said. The commandos captured Umm Sayyaf, his wife, who the Pentagon suspects is also a member of the Sunni militant group and “may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night.”

Bernadette Meehan, White House spokeswoman, said President Obama authorized the operation as soon as sufficient intelligence was gathered and he had received the “unanimous recommendation” of his national security team.

“This operation was conducted with the full consent of Iraqi authorities and, like our existing airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, consistent with domestic and international law,” she said in a statement.

Picasso stepdaughter accuses Paris dealer of stealing artist’s works

Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay accuses top Paris art dealer Olivier Thomas of stealing works he was paid to transport

 Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

By Rory Mulholland in Paris

French prosecutors are investigating a top Paris art dealer after Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter filed charges against him for allegedly stealing artworks that he was meant to be transporting and storing on her behalf.

News of the arrest came hours after a Picasso masterpiece, Les femmes d’Alger, sold for a world record auction price of $179 million (£116 million) in New York.

The suspect, Olivier Thomas, is a business partner of a Swiss art dealer who was recently charged with defrauding the Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlev, the owner of Monaco football club, in one of the biggest cases of alleged fraud to hit the global art market.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the only daughter of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline, filed the legal complaint against Mr Thomas in March this year, the Paris prosecutor’s office told The Telegraph.

She believes that some of the works the art dealer was hired to transport have gone missing. Prosecutors would not say which works were involved nor give their estimated value.

Six officers charged in death of Freddie Gray

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray – who died last month after being injured in police custody – have been charged criminally, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday.

Turkish Parliament Expands Police Powers and Cracks Down on Demonstrations

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Parliament passed one of its most contested pieces of legislation on Friday, a bill that broadens police powers and increases penalties for people participating in unauthorized demonstrations.

Approval came after a monthlong debate in which cups and glasses were flung across the assembly floor and lawmakers on opposing sides brawled with their fists over the bill. Supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party, which holds the majority of seats, the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under the bill, the police will be permitted to use firearms against demonstrators who are armed with firebombs or other “injurious or similar weapons.” They will also be able to detain people for up to 48 hours to uphold public order. Protesters wearing masks or partly covering their faces will face up to five years in prison if they are deemed to be spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The bill will also allow the police to pursue some investigations without authorization from prosecutors and judges, raising fears of the arbitrary use of power without judicial oversight.

Opponents say that the bill breaches the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches and that it could create the basis for turning Turkey into a police state. The government has described the bill as a reform that increases the security of its citizens while keeping within the European Union’s standards for freedoms and security regulations.

The bill was proposed by the ruling party after thousands of Kurds took to the streets last October to protest Turkey’s lack of support for Kurdish fighters battling militants of the Islamic State, the extremist group, in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani. At least 40 people died in the demonstrations.

International human rights organizations have criticized the bill for its vague terminology that could lead to preventive detentions to crack down on dissent.

West Bank Mosque Torched by ‘Price Tag’ Extremists on Baruch Goldstein Terror Date

Arson Marks Anniversary of Massacre of 29 Palestinians

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank. Read more: http://forward.com/articles/215446/west-bank-mosque-torched-by-price-tag-extremists-o/#ixzz3SnpxP5S8

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank.

A mosque in the West Bank near Bethlehem was set on fire and nationalist slogans were painted on its walls.

The attack in the Jaba village occurred early Wednesday morning. A window of the mosque was broken and something burning was thrown inside. Worshippers who arrived at the mosque at 4:30 a.m. saw the flames and put out the fire, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The mosques interior walls and furniture were damaged in the attack.

Phrases spray painted on the mosque’s outside walls included “we want the redemption of Zion” and “revenge.”

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