Health minister calls for big hike in cigarette prices

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U.N. rights body mulls sending mission to Iraq to probe IS abuses

GENEVA (AFP) -- The UN Human Rights Council on Monday debated whether to send an emergency mission to Iraq to investigate suspected "crimes against humanity" by the Islamic State, as Baghdad called the jihadists an "imminent threat" to the world."This terrorist organisation must be crimina...

Updated : 2014.09.01 22:29

Russia breaks ground on new gas pipeline to China

MOSCOW (AFP) -- Russia launched construction Monday of a 770 billion ruble ($20.8 bn) gas pipeline that will help bring gas from the far east of the country to China."We are today starting the biggest construction project in the world," President Vladimir Putin said at the ceremonial joini...

Updated : 2014.09.01 22:29

India, Japan will shape 21st century: Modi

TOKYO (AFP) -- Conservative soulmates Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe declared Monday ties between India and Japan were moving to a "new level", during a summit pregnant with promise for a relationship they hope will offer a counterweight to China.Modi's first foreign visit outside the Indian...

Updated : 2014.09.01 21:59

Putin urges Europeans to have 'common sense' over sanctions threat

MOSCOW (AFP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the EU on Monday to show "common sense" and not to engage in mutually destructive sanctions, in his first reaction to the threat of additional punitive measures over Ukraine."I hope that common sense will prevail, ... that we will work...

Updated : 2014.09.01 21:57

'Up to 15,000 Russian soldiers' sent to Ukraine: rights adviser

MOSCOW (AFP) -- Up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been sent to Ukraine over the past two months, and at least several hundred have apparently died in combat there, rights groups exposing army abuses told AFP on Monday.Moscow denies that it has deployed regular troops to Ukraine to prop up...

Updated : 2014.09.01 21:55

Obama seeks to do no harm to Democrats in midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has yet to campaign alongside a Democrat at risk of losing in the midterm congressional elections, and the president will be largely sidelined in nearly all of the races that will determine November's biggest prize: control of the Senate for the re...

Updated : 2014.09.01 21:48

China anti-dissent playbook may fail in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) -- China's Communist leaders have pulled out their usual playbook to suppress resistance to their plans to tightly limit the first direct election of Hong Kong's leader, but are likely to find that the results are quite different. Beijing is blaming radicals and foreigners a...

Updated : 2014.09.01 21:45

H.K. activists fight back after China vote decision

HONG KONG  ― Hong Kong activists launched their fightback Monday against Beijing’s landmark decision to limit voting reforms, heckling a senior Chinese official in angry scenes after hopes for full...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:55

Man kills two in New Zealand welfare office

WELLINGTON (AFP) ― A homeless man who allegedly shot dead two women and seriously wounded a third when he opened fire in a New Zealand welfare office was arrested Monday after a seven-hour manhunt.The man, who police named as Russell John Tully, is accused of entering the Work and Income ...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:49

Thai junta leader packs cabinet with military men

BANGKOK (AP) ― The general who transitioned from Thailand’s junta leader to prime minister has awarded key cabinet posts to his trusted allies from the armed forces, the latest in a series of moves that critics say will prolong the military’s grip on power. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s gov...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:49

Iraq breaks militant siege of Shiite town

Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen chant slogans after breaking the siege of 15,000 Shiite Turkmens stranded in the town of Amirli, 170 kilometers north of Baghdad, Sunday. (AFP-Yonhap)BAGHDA...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:49

Pakistani protesters storm state TV

ISLAMABAD (AFP) ― Hundreds of protesters trying to topple Pakistan’s government stormed the state broadcaster on Monday, intensifying the political crisis gripping the nuclear-armed nation.Transmissions of the main Pakistani Television news channel were cut for around half an hour before...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:49

Knifeman kills at least three in rampage at Chinese school

BEIJING (AFP) ― A knife-wielding man stabbed eight children and a teacher in a rampage at a Chinese primary school Monday, leaving at least three of them dead, reports said, in the country’s latest attack against youngsters.The man, surnamed Chen, killed himself by jumping from a buildin...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:48

Israel downs drone from Syria over occupied Golan

JERUSALEM (AFP) ― Israel downed a drone over the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, the army said, amid mounting tension on the U.N.-patrolled armistice line with Syria on the strategic plateau.Air defenses “successfully intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle that breached Israel airspace...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:48

Islamist militia now guards U.S. Embassy in Libya

TRIPOLI (AP) ― An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya’s capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, a commander said Sunday, as onlookers toured the abandoned hom...

Updated : 2014.09.01 20:48