Asia

100 die in severe flooding in Nigeria: relief agency

LOKOJA, Nigeria (AFP) — Nigeria has declared a national disaster after severe flooding left about 100 people dead across 10 states, the country’s main relief agency said on Tuesday. Heavy seasonal rains have caused the Niger and Benue rivers to burst their banks, inundating communities, farms and trapping tens of thousands of people in their homes. Sani Datti, from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told AFP: “We have declared a national disaster in four […]

Hunt for missing after deadly Lake Victoria ferry disaster

  by Tristan MCCONNELL Agence France-Presse NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — Tanzanian rescue workers scrambled Friday to find scores of people feared drowned after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, killing at least 86 people. The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers — double the ferry’s capacity — when it capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday, according to reports on state media. Witnesses reached […]

Moon rises in ratings after Pyongyang summit: polls

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating jumped this week as he basked in an intense media focus on his summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, a survey showed Friday. Seoul’s leader had seen his ratings fall to the lowest of his presidency earlier this month, in the face of a struggling economy with rising unemployment and high house prices. But it leaped 11 points to […]

US sanctions Chinese military unit for buying Russian jets, missiles

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States expanded its sanctions war against Russia to China on Thursday, announcing punitive measures against a Chinese military organization for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles. Stepping up pressure on Moscow over its “malign activities,” the US State Department said it was placing financial sanctions on the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Ministry of Defense, and its top administrator, for its recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi […]

Former PM Nawaz released from prison following court orders

  ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFP) — Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was released from prison late Wednesday to be met by jubilant supporters after a court suspended his prison sentence for corruption pending an appeal hearing. Sharif — who was ousted from office last year by the Supreme Court for alleged corruption — was freed along with his daughter. Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were arrested on their return in July from London to campaign in […]

US ready to negotiate with N.Korea ‘immediately’: Pompeo

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Pyongyang’s “important commitments” made by Pyongyang during Wednesday’s inter-Korean summit, adding Washington was ready to begin negotiating immediately to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea “by January 2021.” In a statement, Pompeo said he spoke with his North Korean counterpart Wednesday morning and invited him to meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The statement […]

Syria’s Assad blames Israel for downing of Russian plane

DAMASCUS, Syria (AFP) — President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian plane, which was accidentally hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire while seeking to intercept Israeli missile fire. “This unfortunate incident was the result of Israeli arrogance and debauchery,” the Syrian leader said, offering his condolences in a letter to his Russian counterpart for the death of 15 people killed in the incident over Syria on Monday. © Agence France-Presse

North Korea’s Kim to visit Seoul, shut missile site

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will make a historic visit to Seoul “in the near future”, he said Wednesday after a summit with the South’s Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang. Moon — who went North looking to bring fresh momentum to the stalled effort to eliminate Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons — said the trip could happen this year unless there were “special circumstances”. Moon added that the North had agreed […]

North Korea to close missile test site: Moon

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korea will close its Tongchang-ri missile testing site, the South’s President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday after a summit with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. “The North agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility in the presence of experts from relevant nations,” Moon told reporters. © Agence France-Presse

Qatar Airways files $69 million loss amid Gulf crisis

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Qatar Airways on Tuesday posted a net loss of over $69 million in the year to March 2018, blaming the “illegal blockade” against Doha by a Saudi-led bloc of countries. The tiny Gulf emirate’s national airline said the period had been “the most challenging year in its 20-year history”. Saudi Arabia and its allies broke off diplomatic relations with gas-rich Qatar on June 5, 2017. They closed all land, sea and […]

S. Korean leader and North’s Kim hold summit talks

by Park Chan-kyong Agence France Presse SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korea’s president and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un drove together through the streets of Pyongyang on Tuesday past thousands of cheering citizens before opening a summit where Moon Jae-in will seek to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks between his hosts and the United States. Kim and Moon embraced at Pyongyang’s international airport — where the North Korean leader had supervised missile launches last […]

Moon landing: South Korean leader and North’s Kim begin summit

by Park Chan-kyong Agence France Presse SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korea’s president and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un drove together through the streets of Pyongyang Tuesday past thousands of cheering citizens before opening a summit where Moon Jae-in will seek to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks between his hosts and the United States. Kim and Moon embraced at Pyongyang’s international airport — where the North Korean leader had supervised missile launches last year as […]