Deadly Turkey air strikes shatter NE Syria truce

  by Delil Souleiman Agence France Presse TAL TAMR, Syria (AFP) — Deadly Turkish air strikes Friday shattered an hours-old US-brokered deal to stop Ankara’s military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. The ceasefire announced late Thursday was meant to provide a pause for the evacuation of Kurdish fighters from the battleground border town of Ras al-Ain and other areas Turkey wants to control along its border with Syria. The five-day suspension looked designed […]

Turkey, US agree on Syria ceasefire to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw

by Shaun Tandon and Raziye Akkoc ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey has agreed to suspend its Syria offensive for five days and will end the assault if Kurdish-led forces withdraw from a safe zone along the border, US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish officials said on Thursday. The agreement for a 120-hour ceasefire to allow a Kurdish militia to pull out was hailed by US President Donald Trump as a “great day” for Turkey […]

Japan plans to postpone imperial parade over typhoon: media

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan plans to postpone a major imperial parade celebrating the new emperor’s ascension to the throne after nearly 80 people were killed in a devastating typhoon, local media said Thursday. The parade was scheduled for October 22 as part of a series of events marking the official proclamation of Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement. The religious rites and imperial banquet associated with the event are still expected to go ahead, national broadcaster NHK […]

35 foreigners dead in Saudi bus crash: state media

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Thirty-five foreigners were killed and four others injured when a bus crashed with another heavy vehicle in the Muslim holy city of Medina, Saudi state media said on Thursday. The accident on Wednesday involved a collision between “a private chartered bus… with a heavy vehicle (loader)” in the western Saudi Arabian city, a spokesman for Medina police said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. Those involved were Arab and […]

More US sanctions on Turkey if no ceasefire: Mnuchin

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States is prepared to ratchet up economic pressure on Turkey if it does not agree to cease its offensive in northern Syria, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday. Turkey has so far rebuffed international pressure to hold its fire against Kurdish forces in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation. Facing stinging criticism at home, US President Donald Trump this week slapped sanctions on top Turkish officials and imposed […]

Hong Kong protest leader left bloodied in street attack

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — A leading face of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement was rushed to hospital covered in blood late Wednesday after being attacked by unidentified thugs with hammers, his protest group said. The Civil Human Rights Front said leader Jimmy Sham was assaulted by four to five people wielding hammers in the district of Mongkok in what they described as an act of “political terror”. “He received a bloody head wound and was […]

Qatar to end controversial migrant worker restrictions

by Gregory Walton DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Qatar announced plans Wednesday to scrap key aspects of its controversial “kafala” labor rules, including the requirement for some workers to obtain employers’ permission to change jobs and exit permits to leave the country. Qatar has made a series of reforms to its employment regulations since being selected to host the 2022 World Cup, which set motion a vast construction program employing foreign workers. Rights groups have long […]

Turkey defiant on Syria offensive as US demands ceasefire

by Luana Sarmini-Buonaccorsi with Nazeer al-Khatib in Ras al-Ain CEYLAPINAR, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey rebuffed international pressure to curb its deadly offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria on Wednesday as US President Donald Trump dispatched his deputy Mike Pence to Ankara to demand a ceasefire. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey’s operation — which has been facilitated by the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria — would continue. On another front, Kurdish […]

Japan allocates millions in aid for typhoon-hit regions

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s government said Wednesday it would set aside millions of dollars to help areas devastated by Typhoon Hagibis, which killed more than 70 people across the country. Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday, unleashing fierce winds and unprecedented rain that triggered landslides and caused dozens of rivers to burst their banks. By midday Wednesday, the government put the toll at 74, with more a dozen people still missing. Prime Minister […]

UPDATED: Clean-up, rescue efforts in Japan as typhoon toll nears 70

by Kyoko HASEGAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) –Rescuers in Japan worked into a third day on Tuesday in an increasingly desperate search for survivors of a powerful typhoon that killed nearly 70 people and caused widespread destruction. Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday night, unleashing fierce winds and “unprecedented” rain that triggered landslides and caused dozens of rivers to burst their banks. By Tuesday morning, national broadcaster NHK put the toll at nearly 70, with more […]

Trump: US troops leaving Syria will ‘remain in region’ to prevent IS revival

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump said Monday that US troops withdrawing from Syria would remain in the region to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group. “United States troops coming out of Syria will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq,” Trump said in a statement, using an acronym for […]

UPDATED: Japan searches for survivors as Typhoon Hagibis death toll hits 56

  by Shingo ITO / Sara HUSSEIN Agence France Presse TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Tens of thousands of rescuers worked into the night Monday to find survivors of a powerful typhoon in Japan that killed at least 56 people, as fresh rain threatened to hamper their efforts. Typhoon Hagibis crashed into the country on Saturday night, unleashing high winds and torrential rain across 36 of the country’s 47 prefectures, triggering landslides and catastrophic flooding. The […]