Wednesday, March 15, 2017

World News Briefs -- March 15, 2017

Syrians walk amid debris during a sandstorm in the once rebel-held Kastal al-Harami neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on March 10.

Radio Free Europe: UN Rights Chief Says Syria 'Worst Man-Made Disaster Since WWII'

The UN's human rights chief has described the Syrian conflict as the "worst man-made disaster since World War II," citing widespread torture and a "tidal wave of bloodshed and atrocity."

"Today, in a sense the entire country has become a torture chamber: a place of savage horror and absolute injustice," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement on March 14.

"Countless people have suffered arbitrary detention, torture, kidnap, and enforced disappearance in Syria," Zeid said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iraqi forces take strategic bridge as battle for Mosul 'nears end'. Iraqi troops seize main bridge, advance on mosque in battle for Mosul.

100,000 flee as Iraqi forces advance in west Mosul.

Bombings hit courthouse in Syrian capital. Damascus court house, restaurant bombed in Syria, killing dozens.

US, Russia forces in eye contact in Syria’s Manbij - Coalition.

Russian-backed talks on Syria flop after rebel no-show.

UN report: Israel has established an 'apartheid regime'.

Turks 'detached from reality' - EU's Donald Tusk.

Trump wins Saudi praise for ‘turning point’ after meeting Prince. Saudi Arabia: Trump meeting a 'historic turning point'.

ASIA

N. Korea 62 pct likely to conduct nuclear or missile test in next 30 days: think tank.

'Pivot to the Pacific' is over, senior U.S. diplomat says.

Taiwan defence report warns of China invasion risk.

As concern over China mounts, Duterte orders navy to build ‘structures’ east of Philippines.

Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea.

China urges cooperation with US ahead of Trump-Xi summit. No need to choose between China and United States, Premier Li Keqiang says.

Chinese premier: Dialogue key to North Korea denuclearization.

Dozens killed in fresh clashes on Myanmar's China border.

Saudi king’s visit puts Beijing in Middle East spotlight.


Malaysia IDs Kim Jong Nam's body with DNA sample from child.

AFRICA


Somali pirates demand ransom for hijacked oil tanker. Somali pirates demand ransom after commandeering oil tanker.

Female teenage suicide bombers kill 2, wound 16.

5,000 civilians freed from Boko Haram's grip: Cameroon

Over 155 killed in Uganda clashes in December: HRW.

13 killed in Kenya in drought-related violence.

Ethiopia reports deadly raid by gunmen from South Sudan.

South Sudan: UN warns of 'social engineering' amid looming threat of genocide.

Ethiopia landslide: Number of dead at rubbish dump hits 113.

Kenya doctors end strike after signing government deal.

African governments learn to block the internet, but at cost.

EUROPE

Dutch vote in test of anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

Moscow moves to absorb rebel Georgian region's military.

Ukraine announces economic blockade of rebel-held areas.

Ukraine preparing sanctions against Russian banks.

Russia calls on Ukraine to end blockade of rebel-held region.

Europe's right hails EU court's workplace headscarf ban ruling.

Fran├žois Fillon under formal investigation for 'fake jobs offences'.

Northern Ireland vote jolts already disunited Kingdom.

Package found at German finance ministry contained explosives: police.

Spanish authorities reveal details of huge black-market weapons cache.

Germany warns social media firms over illegal content.

AMERICAS

Trump blasts release of 2005 tax form, reporter's account.

US charges 2 Russian agents, 2 hackers in mass Yahoo breach. US charges Russian spies over Yahoo breach.

Trump wiretap claims: Senator makes subpoena threat to FBI.

Top lawmakers see no evidence for Trump wiretap claim.

Trump adviser: Secret warrant may have caught hacker contact.

Report: State Dept. cuts to be reduced in Trump budget proposal.

Venezuela threatens to take over bakeries that break rules. Venezuela threatens to seize bakeries amid bread shortage.

OAS head urges bloc suspend Venezuela over elections.

Brazil prosecutor sees 350 new graft probes after Odebrecht testimony. Brazil prosecutor targets politicians in Petrobras scandal.

Sex assault reports up at US Navy, Army academies.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Spanish police seize more than 10,000 weapons 'destined for terrorism'.

Treasury sanctions Kuwait-based al Qaeda facilitator.

US offers $5 mn to find murderer of American in Yemen.

Dawn of the Jihadi drone wars (analysis).

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US raises benchmark rate by 0.25%. Fed hikes key rate for second time in 3 months.

Audi and VW sites raided in emissions probe.

Oil plumbs three-month low as OPEC reveals surprise Saudi production lift. Crude oil prices hot out of the gate Wednesday.

China seeks to avoid trade war with US.

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