NEWS OF THE DAYNew Zealand’s prime minister John Key said he was “ecstatic” on Saturday after a crushing election win, securing his third term as leader of the South Pacific nation. “I’m ecstatic, it’s a great night,” the leader of the centre-right National Party said. Key confirmed his popularity with New Zealanders, increasing his vote despite a tumultuous campaign marked by allegations of dirty tricks and mass spying.
EDINBURGH: Having rejected independence and lost First Minister Alex Salmond, Scotland woke up to an unsettled future Saturday as fears grew that new powers promised by London will prove a disappointment. Violent scenes in Glasgow’s main square on Friday night may not been repeated elsewhere but many Scots see their nation as divided and are looking to the next few months with uncertainty. A key question is what fresh powers Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Britain’s other main parties will now hand to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh. Many people do not trust a Westminster elite... more ›
MINSK: Kiev and pro-Russian separatists on Saturday signed a deal creating a demilitarised zone in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine after fresh talks aimed at ending a brutal five-month war. Face-to-face talks began on Friday evening in the Belarussian capital of Minsk and ended seven hours later with an agreement to create the buffer zone and withdraw all foreign fighters and weapons from the area. “We have signed a memorandum,” said Ukraine’s former president Leonid Kuchma, who was Kiev’s representative at the meeting. Under the deal, both sides agreed to pull back heavy weapons by 15 kilometres (nine miles) from their point of contact, thereby creating a buffer zone of “at least 30 kilometres... more ›
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama plans to make his case against the Islamic State militants before the world at the United Nations General Assembly next week in a bid for greater international support in the anti-IS fight. “We won’t hesitate to take action against these terrorists in Iraq or in Syria,” Obama said of the militants who have seized territory in the two neighboring countries. “But this is not America’s fight alone.” The United States is leading efforts to build a global response to the growing IS threat. The resulting alliance has produced strange bedfellows, with... more ›
WASHINGTON: Stung by the backlash over a German caught selling secrets to the US and the revelations of surveillance by the National Security Agency, the CIA has stopped spying on friendly governments in Western Europe, according to current and former US officials. The pause in decades of espionage was designed to give CIA officers time to examine whether they were being careful enough and to evaluate whether spying on allies is worth running the risk of discovery, said a US official who has been briefed on the situation. Under the stand-down order, case officers in Europe largely have been forbidden from undertaking “unilateral operations” such as meeting with sources they have recruited within... more ›
BAGHDAD: Forty-nine Turks were freed Saturday more than three months after the Islamic State group kidnapped them in Iraq, as the US sought to strengthen a coalition to defeat the jihadists. It was not immediately clear what circumstances led to their release, which came as heavy clashes raged in neighbouring Syria between Kurds and the jihadists after they seized dozens of villages in a lightning offensive. NATO member Turkey has so far been reluctant to take part in combat operations against the IS militants, or allow the US-led coalition to use its airbases for strikes against them, citing... more ›
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