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Ukraine Formally Calls Off Easter Truce

Ukraine Formally Calls Off Easter Truce

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Ukraine has formally called off an Easter truce with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east and announced “anti-terrorist operations” are on again.

First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema told reporters during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday that “appropriate steps” will be taken and that results will be seen shortly.

Yarema said Ukraine has received assurances from the United States that it would not be left alone to face Russian aggression. He expressed hope that the U.S. support will be more substantive.

Ukraine Formally Calls Off Easter Truce from smalljournal on Vimeo.

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US Defends Support of Attacks on Yemeni Militants

US Defends Support of Attacks on Yemeni Militants

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The United States is not talking about the details of the reported American drone strikes that the Yemeni government says helped kill 55 al-Qaida militants in the last several days.

The U.S. Defense Department, however, says it is has “good reason” to continue to work with the Yemenis to combat the threat presented by the terrorist group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemen, reportedly backed by U.S. drone strikes, has been conducting what it says is an “unprecedented” aerial campaign against an al-Qaida stronghold hidden in the Middle Eastern country’s remote…

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Vietnamese Government Under Fire Over Its Handling of Measles Crisis

Vietnamese Government Under Fire Over Its Handling of Measles Crisis

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Vietnamese authorities have come under fire for their management of a deadly measles outbreak, with netizens calling for the resignation of the embattled health minister and suggesting authorities are covering up a potential epidemic. 

Fatalities of children infected with the disease reached at least 123 on Tuesday, Thanh Nien news reported, as parents rushed to get their children vaccinated against the highly contagious viral disease

A report by the Ministry of Health confirmed 3,430 confirmed cases and more than 5,800 suspected ones as of last Sunday, in what doctors have called the country’s worst-ever measles outbreak.

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Tibetan Language Promotion Event Blocked by China

Tibetan Language Promotion Event Blocked by China

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Chinese authorities have at the last minute blocked a move to hold a traditional Tibetan language competition in a Tibetan-populated county in Sichuan province, citing concerns over the “political implications” of the event, sources said.

The competition calling for participants to speak “pure” Tibetan unmixed with Chinese was scheduled for Feb. 21 in conjunction with International Mother Language Day, and was to have been held in Muge Norwa town in Zungchu (in Chinese, Songpan) county, an area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“The event was announced, and preparations had been made,” the resident said, speaking on condition…

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Foreign Travelers in North Korea Report Ability to Send Emails Abroad

Foreign Travelers in North Korea Report Ability to Send Emails Abroad

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Authorities in North Korea, who tightly regulate the flow of information, appear to be allowing foreign travelers to send and receive emails abroad using mobile devices linked to the Internet, according to a North Korean visiting China.

The source said he had received an email from a foreign colleague who had used his smartphone to send it while accessing the Internet during a visit to the capital Pyongyang.

The content of the email was short and included a signature which indicated that it had been sent from an Apple iPhone.

He said that many nationals from other countries are permitted to bring their own smartphones with them…

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Myanmar’s Kachin General Wants Foreign Involvement in Peace Talks

Myanmar’s Kachin General Wants Foreign Involvement in Peace Talks

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A leader of Myanmar’s ethnic Kachin rebels battling government troops has called for foreign participation in ongoing talks aimed at forging a nationwide cease-fire agreement with more than a dozen armed ethnic groups to bring an end to decades of conflict.

Questioning the government’s sincerity in the peace process, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), General Gun Maw, called for participation of the United Nations and key powers such as the United States and China in negotiations for the much-delayed cease-fire deal.

He said that President Thein Sein’s government had stepped up its military offensive in Kachin state…

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Labor Activists Held As China’s Shoe Factory Strike Continues

Labor Activists Held As China’s Shoe Factory Strike Continues

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wo employees of a non-government labor organization supporting thousands of striking workers in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong were being held in an undisclosed location on Wednesday after being summoned by state security police for questioning, their colleagues said.

Some 30,000 employees of a factory complex owned by Taiwan-invested Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) in Guangdong’s Dongguan city have been striking intermittently since April 5 over social security payments required under Chinese law, and other demands.

Zhang Zhiru and Lin Dong of the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Justice Service Department, a rights organization in close contact with the Yue Yuen labor…

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China Rejects Obama’s Stance on Japan Island Dispute

China Rejects Obama’s Stance on Japan Island Dispute

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BEIJING — China is voicing strong opposition to President Obama’s statement that disputed islands in the East China Sea fall under a mutual security treaty between Washington and Tokyo.

Ahead of his arrival in Japan for security and economic talks, the president told a Japanese newspaper that Washington would come to Tokyo’s defense if there is ever a conflict over the islands in the East China Sea, which China also claims as its own.

It was expected that territorial disputes between China and its neighbors would come up during U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia,…

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Malaysia Approves International Investigation into MH370

Malaysia Approves International Investigation into MH370

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Malaysia’s Cabinet approved on Wednesday the appointment of an international team
to investigate the disappearance of missing Malaysia Airlines  Flight MH370, the country’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

“The main purpose of the international investigation team is to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the accident so similar accidents could be avoided in the future,” Hishammuddin told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Hishammuddin added that the government has had talks with Malaysian state oil firm Petronas and other unidentified entities to expand the deep-sea search for the…

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Thailand’s Political Power Struggle Continues

Thailand’s Political Power Struggle Continues

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— Thailand’s constitutional court has given Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges. 

The case comes amid continuing uncertainty over when to hold a new election to end the country’s bitter political power struggle.

Yingluck faces possible dismissal from office in two verdicts expected within weeks by the constitutional court and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Wednesday, the Constitutional Court granted her leave to submit further evidence until May 2,

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Afghanistan Delays Election Results

Afghanistan Delays Election Results

Afghanistan’s election commission has delayed releasing preliminary results from the country’s April 5 presidential election to allow more time to investigate possible fraud.

A vote count was expected on Thursday, but the Independent Election Commission said results will now be released on Saturday.

Election officials say the extra time is necessary to ensure that possible irregularities are thoroughly investigated. Some seven million ballots were cast on election day.

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah smiles during an interview in Kabu

Partial results…

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Former Senegalese Leader Set to Return Home Wednesday

Former Senegalese Leader Set to Return Home Wednesday

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Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is expected to return home Wednesday from France, where he has been living since his 2012 electoral defeat by current President Macky Sall.

But, his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) said the government has ordered a shutdown of the Leopold Senghor International Airport from 2 to 8pm local time and barred Wade’s supporters from holding a welcome rally.

Amadou Sall, former justice minister and communications director during former Wade’s administration, said the government is afraid because Wade is more popular than Sall.

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South African President Zuma Unscathed by Scandals

South African President Zuma Unscathed by Scandals

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JOHANNESBURG — South African President Jacob Zuma has been described by many as the luckiest head of state.

Throughout his career, Zuma has been able to escape serious scandals, including rape charges, corruption charges and now misuse of state funds for developments at his private home.

Popularly known for his singing and dancing talent, Zuma’s art of escaping serious scandals have left many people dumbfounded.

In 2005, then Vice President Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was sentenced to 15…

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Ebola Death Toll Rises in West Africa

Ebola Death Toll Rises in West Africa

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A medical relief worker at an Ebola treatment center in Guinea says new patients continue to be admitted on a daily basis.

Jonas Hagensen, of Doctors Without Borders, says many of the people receiving treatment at the center in Conakry know how they were exposed.

“A lot of the people who come into our centers, they actually know how they had been infected because they had been in close contact with a person that they know had had Ebola.”

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Obama Arrives in Japan

Obama Arrives in Japan

TOKYO — U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Japan for a weeklong tour of Asia.  The visit aims to reassure allies who are nervous about U.S. defense cutbacks as China moves to expand its influence in the region. 

Security concerns over China’s territorial claims and North Korea’s nuclear program will be a major focus of President Obama’s trip, which includes stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The eight-day tour began in Tokyo with a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It was nearly three years ago that the Obama administration announced what it called the “Asia pivot.”  The…

usa 14 march-23 from smalljournal on Vimeo.

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