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Ukraine accuses Russia of 'undisguised aggression' as rebels advance
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:02:53 -0400

Piece of a mortar projectile is pictured on a road near the airport in Donetsk,By Pavel Polityuk and Polina Devitt KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of "direct and undisguised aggression" which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance as Kiev's forces suffered a further reverse in their war with pro-Moscow separatists. In the latest in a string of setbacks in the past week, Ukraine's military said it had pulled back from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion. Poroshenko said in a speech there would be high-level personnel changes in the Ukrainian armed forces, whose troops fled a new rebel advance in the south which Kiev and its Western allies say has been backed up by Russian armored columns. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called on Sunday for immediate negotiations on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, blamed Kiev's leadership for refusing to enter into direct political talks with the separatists.




Fiji says Syrian rebels want compensation, removal from terror list
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:37:12 -0400

Rebel fighters demonstrate with their fake weapons during a military display as part of a graduating ceremony at a camp in eastern al-GhoutaBy Baz Ratner and Lincoln Feast EIN ZIVAN Golan Heights/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Islamist fighters who seized dozens of Fijian soldiers serving as U.N. peacekeepers on the Golan Heights last week are demanding that their group be removed from a global terrorism list and that compensation be paid for members killed in fighting, the head of Fiji's army said on Tuesday. Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said negotiations had been stepped up between the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and a new U.N. negotiation team now in place in Syria. "They also told us they are ensuring that they are taken out of battle areas." Heavy fighting erupted on Monday between the Syrian army and Islamist rebels near where 45 Fijian peacekeepers were captured and scores of their fellow blue helmets from the Philippines escaped after resisting capture. Syria's three-year civil war reached the frontier with Israeli-controlled territory last week when Islamist fighters overran a crossing point in the line that has separated Israelis from Syrians in the Golan Heights since a 1973 war.




Hong Kong police arrest 19 in pro-democracy scuffles
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:06:56 -0400

A pro-democracy activist is detained by the police during a confrontation in Hong KongHong Kong police said on Tuesday they arrested 19 people during scuffles with pro-democracy activists prompted by China's decision not to allow the Asian financial hub to choose its next leader. The 19, aged between 20 and 45, were arrested on Monday for illegal assembly, trying to force their way on to a carriageway, charging a police line and for pushing barriers, a police spokeswoman said. Police used pepper spray to disperse activists as Hong Kong center braces for a wave of disruptive protests against China's decision. Hong Kong is in the midst of a political upheaval as activists in the former British colony push for full democracy.




U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:53:06 -0400

Department of Defense spokesman said. "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. Al Shabaab is an Islamist group affiliated with al Qaeda that wants to impose its own strict version of Islam in Somalia. It ruled most of the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when African peacekeeping troops marched into the capital, Mogadishu.

Tunisian deputy survives assassination attempt
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:50:21 -0400

By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - A deputy in Tunisia's transitional parliament survived an assassination attempt in the city of Kasserine, near the Algerian border, where security forces have been hunting Islamist militants for months. Mohamed Ali Nasri told reporters in hospital that about five gunmen attacked his house late on Monday. Tunisia holds its first free parliamentary elections on Oct. 26 after parliament adopted a new constitution this year. Protests in Tunisia in 2010 sparked subsequent revolutions that have transformed the Arab world and in many ways is more stable and secure than other Arab Spring countries such as Libya, Egypt and Syria.

China replaces Communist Party leader in coal-rich province amid 'corruption problem'
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:23:28 -0400

A paramilitary policeman stands guard in front of Great Hall of the People, venue of 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China, in BeijingChina has replaced the Communist Party leader of the coal-rich northern province of Shanxi amid what a top leader said was a grim corruption problem and a troubled political scene, state media reported. Wang Rulin will take up the post of Shanxi party chief, replacing Yuan Chunqing, who will be shifted to the central government's leading group for rural work, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Wang previously served as the governor and party boss of the northeastern province of Jilin, bordering North Korea, Xinhua reported earlier.




British activist set for Thai defamation trial
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:53:02 -0400

British activist Andy Hall answers reporters' questions as he arrives for a hearing at a court in Bangkok on September 2, 2014A British activist is set to face a defamation charge in a Bangkok court Tuesday stemming from a report he co-authored on alleged labour abuses in Thailand's food industry. Andy Hall, 34, faces civil and criminal lawsuits submitted by Thai fruit processor Natural Fruit, after his report levelled accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours at one of its factories. Natural Fruit is a major supplier to the European drink market and leading European food companies have urged the company to drop its legal action. Defamation is a criminal offence in Thailand and Hall, who has had his passport confiscated by Thai authorities pending the trial, could be jailed for up to a year if found guilty.




Syrian rebels, government clash in Golan Heights
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:51:49 -0400

U.N. soldiers observe Syria's Quneitra province at an observation point on Mount Bental in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, overlooking the border with Syria, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels clashed with government troops on Monday in the Golan Heights, where al-Qaida-linked insurgents abducted U.N. peacekeepers last week, activists said.




Australia to scrap plan for dumping near Great Barrier Reef: AFR
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:51:32 -0400

- UNDATED FILE PHOTO - A tourist swims on the Great Barrier Reef in this undated file picture. Fishi..Australia will abandon plans to dump 3 million cubic meters of dredged sand into the Great Barrier Reef area in its effort to create the world's biggest coal port, the Australian Financial Review reported on Tuesday. The fragile reef, which stretches 2,300 km (1,430 miles) along Australia's east coast, and sprawls over an area half the size of Texas, was the centerpiece of a campaign by green groups and tour operators opposing the plan. The Abbot Point port is being expanded to accommodate $16 billion worth of coal projects planned in the inland Galilee Basin by two Indian firms, Adani Enterprises and GVK, and Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart. On Tuesday, the paper said North Queensland Bulk Ports, Adani Group and GVK would re-submit a proposal as early as this week to Environment Minister Greg Hunt offering alternative dumping sites on land.




Azarenka tops qualifier Krunic to reach US Open QF
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:45:25 -0400

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after defeating Aleksandra Krunic, of Serbia, during the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)NEW YORK (AP) — Trailing against a woman trying to become the first qualifier in the U.S. Open quarterfinals since 1981, Victoria Azarenka needed every ounce of experience and skill to advance.




Mexico turns to army, drones for security
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:40:16 -0400

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government says it is increasingly turning to the use of the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of the once-successful Marine forces.

Lesotho PM heading home after 'coup'
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:37:59 -0400

Soldiers walk inside the Makoanyane Barracks in Maseru on September 1, 2014Lesotho's prime minister is set to return home Tuesday after three days in exile in neighbouring South Africa, as regional mediators seek to reinstall him to power after an apparent coup. "We are going home now, most probably we will be in Lesotho tomorrow," Samonyane Ntsekele, an advisor to Prime Minister Tom Thabane, said from Pretoria, where southern African states brokered a deal to end the crisis. Thabane had fled across the border to South Africa before dawn on Saturday, as troops attacked key police installations and surrounded his official residence. The military and a rival political party -- the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) -- have been accused of trying to oust the 75-year-old, a charge they vehemently deny.




Lauren Jackson pulls out of worlds due to injury
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:35:54 -0400

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Basketball Australia says Seattle Storm star Lauren Jackson has withdrawn from the world championships later this month to undertake further rehabilitation for her knee injury

Beale, White axed after All Blacks flogging
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:35:21 -0400

Australia fullback Israel Folau (C) during the rugby union Test match against the New Zealand All Blacks in Sydney on August 16, 2014Australia coach Ewen McKenzie Tuesday dropped Kurtley Beale and Nic White for the Rugby Championship clash against South Africa following the Wallabies' 51-20 humiliation by New Zealand. Beale and White were preferred for the opening two rounds but McKenzie reverted to Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps as his halves pairing after last month's beating in Auckland. They are among a number of changes for Saturday's Test in Perth, with James Hanson replacing injured hooker Nathan Charles after he was ruled out for the season with a pectoral tear.




Rights group slams Thai detention of child migrants and refugees
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:34:08 -0400

By Thin Lei Win BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An 8-year-old Sri Lankan refugee girl spent two years crammed in a cigarette smoke-filled cell with many adults, developing a rash all over her body. Every year, Thailand arbitrarily and indefinitely detains thousands of child migrants and asylum seekers due to their immigration status or that of their parents, according to a new report from the Human Rights Watch (HRW). The children are exposed to violence, denied access to education, nutritious food, and space for recreation, and held in squalid conditions in what amounted to a “modern-day debtor’s prison” until their parents could pay for their repatriation, said the report. Such detentions are not in accordance with international law, violate children’s rights, risk their health and wellbeing and threaten their development, the U.S.-based rights group added.

Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:32:19 -0400

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days. Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers.

Hong Kong activist's newspaper column scrapped amid democracy row: media
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:25:44 -0400

A well-respected Hong Kong newspaper has axed a weekly column by a political activist and hedge fund manager as the Asian financial center braces for a wave of protests against China's decision to rule out full democracy. Columnist Edward Chin Chi-kin was told by the Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal on Friday that his half-page weekly column that he had written since 2006 would be canceled due to a new page design, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday. Chin, a member of a movement called Occupy Central that has threatened to blockade Hong Kong's financial district amid the democracy row, branded the move "a political decision", the Post said.

US OPEN SCENE: Azarenka's 'Happy Birthday' wish
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:21:20 -0400

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after a point during a math against Aleksandra Krunic, of Serbia, during the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)NEW YORK (AP) — As a singer, Victoria Azarenka makes for a really good tennis player.




NY West Indian Day Parade marred by nearby slaying
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:20:55 -0400

Food vendors prepare jerk chicken in drum cookers along Eastern Parkway before the start of the annual West Indian Day Parade in the Brooklyn borough of New York Monday, Sept 1, 2014. Hours before the parade, police reported multiple shootings overnight, one of them deadly, near the route for the political see-and-be-seen event, which celebrates Caribbean culture and echoes traditional pre-Lenten Carnival festivities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)NEW YORK (AP) — Colorful floats, elaborate costumes, politicians and merrymakers filled Brooklyn's streets Monday for the annual West Indian Day Parade, a massive Caribbean celebration that was marred by a fatal shooting nearby before the official festivities got underway.




British migrant rights activist faces Thai trial
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:16:39 -0400

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A British human rights activist who investigated alleged abuses at a Thai fruit processing factory went on trial Tuesday in the first in a series of criminal lawsuits filed against him by the company.

Beale dropped for Wallabies-Springboks clash
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:16:17 -0400

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has abandoned the experiment of using Kurtley Beale at flyhalf and named the New South Wales Waratahs halves pairing of Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps for Saturday's Rugby Championship test against South Africa.

Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:02:13 -0400

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days. Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers.

Kiev warns of 'great war' with Russia as its forces retreat
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:54:38 -0400

Villagers walk by an abandoned checkpoint in Olenivka on September 1, 2014Ukrainian forces ceded a strategic eastern airport to pro-Russian insurgents as the government in Kiev accused Moscow of launching a "great war" that could claim tens of thousands of lives. The sense of foreboding in Kiev came as European-mediated talks over the fast-escalating crisis opened behind closed doors in the Belarussian capital Minsk, attended by government, separatist and Russian envoys. The rebels have launched a major counter-offensive in recent days that the Ukrainian government and its Western allies claim is backed by Russian forces -- a charge Moscow denies. Ukraine's Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey vowed on Monday to "immediately mount defences against Russia, which is trying not only to secure positions held by terrorists before but to advance on other territories of Ukraine".




Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:51:51 -0400

Pro-Russian rebel leaders from Eastern Ukraine Andrei Purgin, left, and Alexey Karyakin walk in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. A so-called contact group meets for talks in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, to reach agreement on a cease-fire. The group, which last met in late July, includes representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (AP Photo/Dmitry Brushko)MOSCOW (AP) — Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy — a shift that reflects Moscow's desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.




3 Chinese inmates kill guard, break out of jail
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:50:08 -0400

BEIJING (AP) — Three inmates escaped in a rare jailbreak in China's northeast after killing a guard early Tuesday morning, state media reported.

Wawrinka pulls away to beat Robredo at US Open
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:43:21 -0400

Stan Wawrinka, of Switzerland, reacts after defeating Tommy Robredo, of Spain, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK (AP) — Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka tumbled into the stands, kept calling for the trainer to treat cramping, and still pulled away to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals.




Tropical depression forms off Gulf coast of Mexico
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:42:15 -0400

MIAMI (AP) — Forecasters say a tropical depression has formed off the Gulf coast of Mexico with tropical storm warnings issued from Tuxpan in the state of Veracruz north to La Pesca.

Australian dad accused of abusing Thai-born twins
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:35:16 -0400

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian man has been charged with sexually abusing twin girls he fathered several years ago to a Thai surrogate mother, according to local media reports.

Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:32:15 -0400

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days. Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers.

China calls for Britain to scrap Hong Kong inquiry: report
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:29:30 -0400

Protesters attend a pro-democracy rally next to the Hong Kong government complex on August 31, 2014Chinese authorities have demanded Britain drop an inquiry into the progress of democratic reforms in Hong Kong, accusing it of "highly inappropriate" interference in its affairs, the BBC reports. The broadcaster said it had seen a letter from China's Foreign Affairs Committee to its British counterpart condemning the probe into the state of democracy since Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese control in 1997. Critics have called the restrictive framework a betrayal of Beijing's promise to award Hong Kong universal suffrage by 2017. The letter from the foreign affairs committee said the British probe, announced in July, would be a "highly inappropriate act which constitutes interference in China's internal affairs".




Apple, FBI investigate massive celebrity photo 'hack'
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:16:55 -0400

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, CaliforniaThe FBI and Apple were urgently investigating after an apparent massive hack of a cloud data service unleashed a torrent of intimate pictures of dozens of celebrities across the Internet. Anonymous posters to online message boards boasted of having nude images of scores of female stars including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and top model Kate Upton. Reports suggested hackers had "ripped" private images from Apple's iCloud online data storage, a potentially embarrassing -- and damaging -- breach for the California tech giant. "We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, the Re/code website reported.




Top Asian News at 2:00 a.m. GMT
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:02:20 -0400

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days. Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers.

Dizzy in heat, Bouchard out of upset-heavy US Open
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:51:57 -0400

Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, wraps her head in an ice-packed towel between games against Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)NEW YORK (AP) — Bothered by the heat and stifling humidity, Eugenie Bouchard felt dizzy and her vision was blurry.




Fiji says Syrian rebels issue demands for captives
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:50:53 -0400

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days.

United signs Falcao in another transfer coup
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:50:50 -0400

FILE - This is a Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 file photo of AS Monaco player Radamel Falcao as he gives a thumbs up to fans as he warms up on the sideline during the second half of the Emirates Cup soccer match between AS Monaco and Valencia at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London. Radamel Falcao is set to join Manchester United on loan after the Premier League club agreed to a loan deal with Monaco, a person with knowledge of the deal said Monday Sept. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)LONDON (AP) — A week after signing Angel Di Maria, Manchester United persuaded striker Radamel Falcao to join the faltering club in European football's most eye-catching switch as the summer transfer window closed.




Regional body to help restore stability in Lesotho
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:46:22 -0400

In this Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 photo, army personnel man outside the military headquarters in Maseru, Lesotho. Lesotho's prime minister fled to South Africa in fear for his safety and will now meet with leaders of the region there to seek peace, he said Sunday. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said there had been an attempt to take over Lesotho, a country of about 2 million people that is surrounded by South Africa. Lesotho's Defense Forces deny any attempt at a coup although they say the military exchanged gunfire and disarmed two police stations in Lesotho's capital, Maseru, on Saturday. (AP Photo)JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Southern Africa's regional body said Monday it will send an envoy and an observer team to Lesotho to help restore stability and security in the mountainous kingdom where military actions over the weekend caused the prime minister to flee.




Manchester United sign Falcao, Blind on busy deadline day
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:44:47 -0400

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao during a Ligue 1 match in Nantes, western France on August 24, 2014Manchester United made a sensational double swoop on transfer deadline day to sign Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco and Holland international Daley Blind from Ajax. Blind's arrival, in a £14 million ($23 million, 17 million euros) transfer, had been expected, but the signing of prolific 28-year-old frontman Falcao was a major coup for the ailing English giants. "I am delighted to be joining Manchester United on loan this season," Falcao told the United website. "Manchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top."




Survey: Foreign companies in China feel 'targeted'
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:43:28 -0400

BEIJING (AP) — An American business group warned Tuesday that foreign companies in China feel increasingly targeted for unfair enforcement of anti-monopoly and other laws and said investment might decline if conditions fail to improve.