For South China Sea claimants, a legal venue to battle China

(Reuters) – When Philippine President Benigno Aquino compared China to the Germany of 1938 and called for global support as his country battles Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, he put the focus on a case that Manila has filed in an international court. The Philippines has taken its dispute with China to arbitration under the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea and its lawyers say that the tribunal has discretionary […]

Two American soldiers killed in Afghan ‘insider’ attack: officials

KABUL Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:45pm EST (Reuters) – Men in Afghan army uniforms turned their weapons on American forces in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding four others, officials said. An Afghan Interior Ministry official said the shooting took place in Kapisa province, just north of the capital, Kabul. The NATO-led coalition confirmed two foreign soldiers had been shot dead, but did not specify their nationality. Two U.S. defense officials, […]

Exclusive: Opposition plan for post-war Syria ignores Assad

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis GENEVA Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:51pm EST (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition called on Wednesday for a transitional governing body to oversee a U.N.-monitored ceasefire across Syria and expel foreign fighters, in a paper that avoided any mention of President Bashar al-Assad. The confidential paper, seen by Reuters, lays out a vision of post-conflict Syria with all ethnic groups participating in a transition process aimed at restoring peace and stability. Opposition […]

Bombs kill at least 17 across Iraq: police and medics

HILLA, Iraq Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:52pm EST (Reuters) – At least 17 civilians and soldiers were killed in car and roadside bomb attacks across Iraq on Wednesday, police and medics said. No group claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Sunni Islamists and other insurgents have been regaining ground in a violent campaign to destabilize Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government. More than 1,000 people were killed in attacks across the country in January alone in […]

Former New Orleans mayor guilty of graft in Katrina recovery

By Kathy Finn NEW ORLEANS Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:03pm EST (Reuters) – Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin was found guilty by a federal jury on Wednesday of accepting bribes and trading on the public trust during the critical years of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. A jury of six men and six women convicted Nagin on 20 of 21 counts, including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and […]

Iglesia Ni Cristo to hold “Worldwide Walk” for Yolanda survivors on February 15

    MANILA, Philippines — On Saturday, February 15, the Iglesia Ni Cristo will be conducting a “walk for a cause” for victims of supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) to further help families affected by the strongest typhoon on record. INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo recently approved the holding of the activity in cooperation with its socio-civic arm, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc.   A circular was read in local congregations of the INC […]

Brahimi: Syria peace talks ‘laborius’ and with little progress

The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi urged both sides taking part in the Geneva 2 discussions to “speed up”. “The beginning of this week is as laborious as it was the first week. We are not making much progress,” Brahimi told reporters at a press conference in Geneva, Tuesday. “One of your colleagues said I had tonnes of patience, and I confirm that […]

Thailand Constitutional Court rejects opposition request to annul election

Thailand’s constitutional court has rejected an opposition call to annul elections held earlier this month. The court ruled there were insufficient grounds. The Constitutional Court said in a statement that it had declined to consider the petition by Wiratana Kalayasiri, an opposition Democrat Party lawyer, to nullify the February 2 vote because there were insufficient grounds. The opposition’s legal challenge was based on the failure to hold the entire election on the same day. “This […]

North and South Korea seek better ties at rare high-level talks

(Reuters) – North and South Korea held their first high-level talks in seven years on their armed border on Wednesday, exploring ways to improve ties while the South and the United States geared up for large-scale military drills that have angered Pyongyang. The meeting was set up with unusual speed and great secrecy at the North’s suggestion last week, the latest example of conflicting signals coming from Pyongyang that included an abrupt cancellation of an […]

China’s premier cements ban on new buildings in cost-saving drive

(Reuters) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for a complete halt to construction of new government buildings, training centers and hotels, throwing his weight behind a standing order that the authorities have had difficulty enforcing in recent months. Li’s call came during a meeting of China’s State Council, or cabinet, and was part of broad efforts to curtail government spending, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. In July, the government ordered a […]

Yellen, upbeat China trade report buoy risk assets

(Reuters) – Asian shares rallied for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, as upbeat trade data from China and an optimistic economic outlook from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen whetted investors’ appetite for risk. Investors took heart from the strong performance on Wall Street and lifted MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan about 0.8 percent. Chinese exports handily beat expectations in January, rising 10.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports jumped 10 […]

U.S. House approves ‘clean’ debt limit after Republicans drop demands

(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a one-year extension of federal borrowing authority on Tuesday after Republicans caved into President Barack Obama’s demands to allow a debt limit increase without any conditions. The 221-201 vote, carried mainly by Democrats, marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal tactics House Republicans have used over the past three years, culminating in last October’s 16-day government shutdown. It came after House Republicans repudiated House Speaker […]