Sudan president lands in Syria in 1st visit by Arab leader

By Associated Press DAMASCUS: Sudan’s president on Sunday became the first Arab League leader to visit Syria since civil war erupted there nearly eight years ago. Omar al-Bashir was greeted at the Damascus airport by Syrian President Bashar Assad before they both headed to the presidential palace, where they held talks on bilateral relations and the latest developments in Syria and the region, according to the state-run news agency. Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League soon after war broke out in 2011. Arab countries have sanctioned Damascus and…

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UK ministers seek to downplay chance of second Brexit vote

By Associated Press LONDON: Supporters of British Prime Minister Theresa May dampened suggestions Sunday that the government is planning a second referendum on whether to leave the European Union, arguing that another Brexit vote would exacerbate divisions in the U.K., not heal them. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC that holding another vote on Britain’s EU membership would settle little in a country that backed leaving the EU in 2016 by 51.9 percent with the highest turnout for a U.K. vote since 1992. “Suppose we had another referendum.…

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Israeli PM’s son gets temporary ban on Facebook

16th December 2018 World By Associated Press JERUSALEM: Facebook has blocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair for 24 hours after he wrote a post criticising the social media platform as “thought police” and sharing previously banned content. Yair Netanyahu blasted the website on Sunday for removing an earlier post in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of two Israeli soldiers killed last week by Palestinian gunmen and calling for the expulsion of Palestinians. He shared a screenshot of the earlier post in violation of Facebook’s community rules.…

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Shock waves of #MeToo reach the City of London

By AFP A series of very public sackings, suspensions and departures suggests that Britain’s finance world is waking up to the toxic implications of sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. The changes come a little more than a year after the #MeToo movement exploded into public consciousness with multiple allegations of predatory sexual behaviour against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The campaign, in which women from a range of professions went public with allegations of harassment, quickly spread to Britain. And some of the most high-profile cases have come from…

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Cow steals spotlight at student’s graduation photo shoot

15th December 2018 World By Associated Press COLUMBIA: University of Missouri students were stunned when a towering dairy cow appeared on campus to make a cameo in a graduation photo shoot. The Columbia Missourian reports that senior animal sciences major Massimo Montalbano brought the 3-year-old cow, named Amelia, to campus on Thursday to join his commencement photo shoot. Montalbano worked with cattle throughout his undergraduate studies with the university’s Foremost Dairy Research Center. Montalbano initially presented the idea to Jim Spain, the vice provost for undergraduate studies. Spain referred Montalbano to the…

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Barack Obama receives RFK Human Rights award at NYC gala

By Associated Press NEW YORK: Former President Barack Obama was honoured with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a gala in midtown Manhattan Wednesday evening. “I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve been on this hope kick for a while now. Even ran a couple of campaigns on it. Thank you for officially validating my hope credentials,” Obama said during his remarks. The organisation’s president, Kerry Kennedy, presented the award, which celebrates leaders “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change.” Past recipients include…

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Belarus’ leader slams Russian talk of taking over his nation

By Associated Press MINSK: The leader of Belarus on Friday accused some politicians in Russia of floating the prospect of incorporating his nation, and vowed that he wouldn’t let it happen. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also criticized the Kremlin’s plan to raise crude oil prices for Belarus, describing it as part of efforts to persuade his country to join Russia. “I understand what all those hints mean: You get the oil but you break up your country and join Russia,” he said at a news conference. Russian President Vladimir Putin…

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FRANCE: Macron urges calm, Paris police prepare for more violence

By Associated Press PARIS: French President Emanuel Macron called Friday for calm as authorities prepared to deploy armoured vehicles and thousands of security forces for a possible fifth-straight weekend of violent protests on the streets of Paris. The “yellow vest” movement, which began its demonstrations Nov. 17 initially to protest an increase in fuel taxes, soon morphed into an expression of rage about the high cost of living in France and a sense that Macron’s government is detached from the everyday struggles of workers. “Our country needs calm. It needs…

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China economy shows weakness as consumers ease up on spending

By AFP Chinese consumer spending grew at its slowest pace in 15 years and factories eased up in November, official data showed Friday, raising the prospect of fresh stimulus measures as the economy sputters. The figures come just as Beijing and Washington engage in a painful trade row, while Chinese leaders are also struggling to kickstart demand at home as part of a drive to recalibrate the country’s main growth driver. The National Bureau of Statistics said retail sales growth slowed to 8.1 percent, the weakest monthly pace since May…

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Severe tropical cyclone bears down on north Australia coast

By AFP Australians in the north east of the country are bracing for a severe tropical cyclone, with authorities warning of flash flooding and destructive winds. Cyclone Owen has been strengthening off the north coast of Queensland state, in warm waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and is expected to reach category four – defined as a severe tropical cyclone with very destructive winds – when it makes landfall early on Saturday morning. “With landfall there will be significant storm tide for locations along the coast,” Richard Wardle from the…

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