Japan ruling party candidate elected Tokyo governor, aiding PM Abe

(Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s favored candidate won Sunday’s election for governor of Tokyo, quashing efforts to make the vote a referendum on Abe’s pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three years after the Fukushima disaster The widely-expected victory by former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare setback in another local election last month. The 65-year-old Masuzoe, backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, was the winner […]

China decries U.S. comments on South China Sea as ‘not constructive’

BEIJING Sat Feb 8, 2014 10:05pm EST (Reuters) – China has accused the United States of undermining peace and development in the Asia-Pacific after a senior U.S. official said concern was mounting over China’s claims in the South China Sea. “These actions are not constructive”, Hong Lei, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a statement issued late on Saturday. “We urge the U.S. to hold a rational and fair attitude, so as to have […]

Egypt army hits Sinai militants; new group claims Cairo bomb

By Tom Perry CAIRO Sat Feb 8, 2014 1:57pm EST (Reuters) – The Egyptian army said on Saturday it had killed 16 Islamists in Sinai, and a new group said it carried out a bomb attack on police in Cairo, underscoring the widening scope of militant violence since the army removed Mohamed Mursi from power. The army said its aircraft hit radical Islamists near Sinai’s border with the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. A statement […]

Heavy rains destroy crops, livestock in Bolivia

(Reuters) — Torrential rains continue to wreck havoc in Bolivia’s rural areas as farmers are helpless to save their livestock from the flood waters. Thousands of head of cattle and other livestock that sought refuge on small patches of higher ground are now trapped there surrounded by the water which is expected to stay at it’s current level for at least the next ten days. Unable to feed them the farmers are helpless to save their […]

U.S. diplomat plays down leaked call; Germany’s Merkel angry

(Reuters) – A top U.S. diplomat tried to play down the damage to Washington’s diplomacy in Ukraine from a leaked telephone call, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel called an obscene remark about the EU “absolutely unacceptable.” U.S. officials blamed Moscow for the Internet leak of recordings of a senior State Department official and the U.S. ambassador discussing a possible future government for Ukraine, where Washington and Brussels back anti-Kremlin demonstrators. Western officials described the leaks […]

China slams Aquino for “Hitler” remark on its South China sea position

(Reuters) — China on Friday (February 7) expressed “strong dissatisfaction” over remarks made by Philippine President Benigno Aquino that compared Beijing’s claims in the disputed South ChinaSea to demands for land made by Nazi Germany to the former Czechoslovakia. In an interview with The New York Times published on Tuesday (February 4), Aquino called for more global support for the Philippines over the territorial issue, comparing it to the failure by the West to support Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler’s demand in 1938. “It is unthinkable and utterly groundless […]

Iran won’t shut down uranium enrichment program — Iran deputy FM

(Reuters) –Iran will not shut down its uranium enrichment programs nor dismantle any of its nuclear facilities, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and top negotiator Abbas Araghchi said Tuesday. Araghchi made the statement during an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) inTehran. Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the U. N. Security Council plus Germany, will start talks on a final nuclear deal on Feb. 18 in Vienna, Austria. Many see the meeting as a significant step for reaching a final agreement. […]

2014 Winter Olympic Games

Winter Olympics happens only once every four years, and this week marks the start of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.  Although officially running from 7 February to 23 February 2014, selected figure skating, skiing, and snowboard competitions began on the eve of the Opening Ceremony, 6 February 2014. Sochi Winter Olympics riveted us with snowboarding event on Thursday, Britain’s Billy Morgan being the first competitor on the first as he showed  a breath- taking […]

Help Reaches Flood-Ravaged Northern Bolivia

Scores of homes have been left underwater in northeastern Bolivia as heavy rains continued to lash out in the country, bringing deadly floods. The government has been reportedly quick to send help, particularly in the northern parts of the country, which has been the most devastated by the recent storms. Authorities are currently conducting seek and rescue operations in the area.

Growing concern with China’s behavior at sea: senior U.S. diplomat

(Reuters) – The United States has growing concerns that China’s maritime claims in the disputed South China Sea are an effort to gain creeping control of oceans in the Asia-Pacific region, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. In congressional testimony, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel said China’s vague territorial claims in the South China Sea had “created uncertainty, insecurity and instability” among its neighbors. While the […]

Syria misses chemical weapons handover deadline

By Anthony Deutsch AMSTERDAM Wed Feb 5, 2014 5:01pm EST (Reuters) – Syria on Wednesday missed a deadline to hand over all the toxic materials it declared to the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, putting the program several weeks behind schedule and jeopardizing a final June 30 deadline. At the same time, opposition activists say the Syrian air force is attacking the country’s biggest city, Aleppo, with barrel bombs, forcing many to flee. Turkey was turning […]

Scathing U.N. report demands Vatican act against child sex abuse

An unprecedented and scathing United Nations report said on Wednesday (February 5) that the Vatican has consistently placed the reputation of the Church above the interests of child sex abuse victims. The U.N. watchdog for children’s rights demanded that the Vatican “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities, as well as hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children. The watchdog’s exceptionally blunt paper — […]