Three Indian workers killed in Kashmir

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002445572945600

SRINAGAR: Three civilian workers were killed Monday when unidentified militants attacked a military road construction camp in Indian-administered Kashmir, the army said.
A spokesman said the army had launched a search for the attackers, who fled after firing at the General Reserve Engineering Force camp near the international border with Pakistan while the workers were sleeping.
The area has been relatively calm in recent weeks following an upsurge in cross-border firing after a deadly attack on an Indian army base in September that New Delhi blamed on militants from Pakistan.
“Terrorists fired at the camp at 1:30 a.m. and killed three casual laborers. A search operation is launched to nab the attackers,” army spokesman Manish Mehta told AFP.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full.
Rebel groups have for decades fought 500,000 troops deployed in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands have died in the fighting, most of them civilians.

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Three Indian workers killed in Kashmir

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002445572945600

SRINAGAR: Three civilian workers were killed Monday when unidentified militants attacked a military road construction camp in Indian-administered Kashmir, the army said.
A spokesman said the army had launched a search for the attackers, who fled after firing at the General Reserve Engineering Force camp near the international border with Pakistan while the workers were sleeping.
The area has been relatively calm in recent weeks following an upsurge in cross-border firing after a deadly attack on an Indian army base in September that New Delhi blamed on militants from Pakistan.
“Terrorists fired at the camp at 1:30 a.m. and killed three casual laborers. A search operation is launched to nab the attackers,” army spokesman Manish Mehta told AFP.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full.
Rebel groups have for decades fought 500,000 troops deployed in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands have died in the fighting, most of them civilians.

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Frosts kill dozens in central Europe

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214152912600

PRAGUE: Severe frosts and snow storms killed at least 25 people in central Europe over the weekend, mainly in Poland, as temperatures in the region dropped below -30 degrees Celsius in some places.
The Danube river was slowly freezing over in Budapest, a rare sight in recent years.
Air pollution, mostly from airborne dust particles, forced production cutbacks at large polluters in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Authorities made public transport free of charge in Warsaw and Krakow to help improve air quality.
In Poland, 17 people died of the cold over the weekend, according to the Government Center for Security, bringing the death toll since November to 65.
Czech media said six Czechs, mostly homeless people, died over the weekend, four of them in the capital Prague.
Several weather stations in the Czech mountains reported temperatures below -30, including -34.6 Celsius in the south-western Sumava mountains.
The Czech hydrometeorological institute forecast more harsh frosts across the region for the coming days, with night temperatures of -20 in the north-east on Tuesday morning.
Hungarian state news agency MTI reported on Sunday that record lows were broken both nationally and in Budapest registering -28.1 and -18.6 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Two homeless men froze to death in Slovakia over the weekend as weather caused train delays and road closures in northern Slovakia, even shutting down some cable cars in ski resorts in the High and Low Tatra Mountains where temperatures fell to -30 degrees Celsius.
In Bulgaria, snowfall and high winds blocked roads and left over 75,000 households in the country’s north-east without electricity over the weekend.

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Frosts kill dozens in central Europe

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214152912600

PRAGUE: Severe frosts and snow storms killed at least 25 people in central Europe over the weekend, mainly in Poland, as temperatures in the region dropped below -30 degrees Celsius in some places.
The Danube river was slowly freezing over in Budapest, a rare sight in recent years.
Air pollution, mostly from airborne dust particles, forced production cutbacks at large polluters in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Authorities made public transport free of charge in Warsaw and Krakow to help improve air quality.
In Poland, 17 people died of the cold over the weekend, according to the Government Center for Security, bringing the death toll since November to 65.
Czech media said six Czechs, mostly homeless people, died over the weekend, four of them in the capital Prague.
Several weather stations in the Czech mountains reported temperatures below -30, including -34.6 Celsius in the south-western Sumava mountains.
The Czech hydrometeorological institute forecast more harsh frosts across the region for the coming days, with night temperatures of -20 in the north-east on Tuesday morning.
Hungarian state news agency MTI reported on Sunday that record lows were broken both nationally and in Budapest registering -28.1 and -18.6 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Two homeless men froze to death in Slovakia over the weekend as weather caused train delays and road closures in northern Slovakia, even shutting down some cable cars in ski resorts in the High and Low Tatra Mountains where temperatures fell to -30 degrees Celsius.
In Bulgaria, snowfall and high winds blocked roads and left over 75,000 households in the country’s north-east without electricity over the weekend.

Main category: 

China blasts Taiwan leader’s meeting with Cruz

Author: 
AP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214152912400

BEIJING: China has reiterated its opposition to any contacts between US officials and Taiwan’s government following a meeting between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott and the self-governing island’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
Cruz and Abbot met with Tsai while she was passing through Houston on her way to a visit to Taiwan’s Central American allies.
At a news briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was firmly opposed to any contact between Taiwan’s leader and “anyone from the US government.” Such contacts threaten to disturb and undermine relations between Washington and Beijing, Lu said.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has been ratcheting up the diplomatic pressure on the independence-leaning Tsai since her election last year.
Cruz said in a news release that during his meeting with Tsai, they “discussed our mutual opportunity to upgrade the stature of our bilateral relations” in a talk that addressed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations.
Cruz, who lost to Trump in the Republican primary elections, said he had gone ahead with the tete-a-tete despite Chinese opposition. He said the Houston congressional delegation had received a “curious letter” from the Chinese Consulate requesting that no one meet her.
“The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves,” the Republican said.
“The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet.”
A US official said neither Trump nor transition officials would meet with Tsai. Her stop in the US was scrutinized by Beijing for any signs that Trump’s team would risk its ire by further engaging with the self-ruled island that China considers its territory.

Trump last month breached diplomatic protocol by speaking by phone with the Taiwanese leader. Trump raised further concerns in Beijing when he questioned a US policy that since 1979 has recognized Beijing as China’s government and maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan.
Trump has threatened to get tough with what he sees as unfair Chinese trade practices, and suggested that the One China policy could become a bargaining chip in other disputes.
But he appears to have ruled out meeting Tsai during her stopover, saying it is “a little bit inappropriate” to meet anybody until he takes office on Jan. 20.
US lawmakers often meet with Taiwanese presidents when they transit through the US — most recently in June, when Tsai met in Miami with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times said Beijing would take a hard line toward any contacts between Taiwan’s government and the incoming Trump administration. China “should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force,” the ruling Communist Party-published paper said in an editorial Sunday.
China has “seized the initiative. The US and Taiwan now should restrain, or be forced to restrain, themselves,” the paper said.
“Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes,” it said.

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China blasts Taiwan leader’s meeting with Cruz

Author: 
AP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214152912400

BEIJING: China has reiterated its opposition to any contacts between US officials and Taiwan’s government following a meeting between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott and the self-governing island’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
Cruz and Abbot met with Tsai while she was passing through Houston on her way to a visit to Taiwan’s Central American allies.
At a news briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was firmly opposed to any contact between Taiwan’s leader and “anyone from the US government.” Such contacts threaten to disturb and undermine relations between Washington and Beijing, Lu said.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has been ratcheting up the diplomatic pressure on the independence-leaning Tsai since her election last year.
Cruz said in a news release that during his meeting with Tsai, they “discussed our mutual opportunity to upgrade the stature of our bilateral relations” in a talk that addressed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations.
Cruz, who lost to Trump in the Republican primary elections, said he had gone ahead with the tete-a-tete despite Chinese opposition. He said the Houston congressional delegation had received a “curious letter” from the Chinese Consulate requesting that no one meet her.
“The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves,” the Republican said.
“The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet.”
A US official said neither Trump nor transition officials would meet with Tsai. Her stop in the US was scrutinized by Beijing for any signs that Trump’s team would risk its ire by further engaging with the self-ruled island that China considers its territory.

Trump last month breached diplomatic protocol by speaking by phone with the Taiwanese leader. Trump raised further concerns in Beijing when he questioned a US policy that since 1979 has recognized Beijing as China’s government and maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan.
Trump has threatened to get tough with what he sees as unfair Chinese trade practices, and suggested that the One China policy could become a bargaining chip in other disputes.
But he appears to have ruled out meeting Tsai during her stopover, saying it is “a little bit inappropriate” to meet anybody until he takes office on Jan. 20.
US lawmakers often meet with Taiwanese presidents when they transit through the US — most recently in June, when Tsai met in Miami with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times said Beijing would take a hard line toward any contacts between Taiwan’s government and the incoming Trump administration. China “should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force,” the ruling Communist Party-published paper said in an editorial Sunday.
China has “seized the initiative. The US and Taiwan now should restrain, or be forced to restrain, themselves,” the paper said.
“Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes,” it said.

Main category: 

London tube strike hits millions of passengers

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214062912100

LONDON: A strike on the London Underground caused major disruption on Monday as almost all stations in the city center shut and services were canceled in a dispute over jobs and ticket office closures.
Millions of passengers were forced to take overcrowded buses or overland trains, or work from home, after the 24-hour walk-out by the RMT union.
All 11 lines were affected in the action, which began on Sunday evening, with four completely closed and many others running a severely reduced service limited to the suburbs. In a message on Twitter, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the strike was “totally unnecessary” and was “causing misery to millions of Londoners.” He urged both sides to resume negotiations.
But the RMT say they are protesting against a “crisis” in the service after more than 830 job cuts meant there were not enough staff to run stations safely.
The strike is the latest in a series of walkouts since 2014 over the dispute, as ticket offices across the network have been closed.
“The strike action is being solidly supported on every line, at every station and on picket lines right across the Tube network,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
“This action has been forced on us by savage cuts to jobs that have reduced London Underground to an under-staffed death trap at a time of heightened security and safety alert.”
Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for London Underground, said the company had agreed that more staff were needed in stations and had started recruiting 200 more.
“There is no need to strike. We had always intended to review staffing levels and have had constructive discussions with the unions,” he said.
“Taking into account existing vacancies and natural turnover this means that over 600 staff will be recruited for stations this year.”
London Underground is the world’s oldest subway network, having opened in 1863, and carries 1.34 billion passengers a year.

Main category: 

London tube strike hits millions of passengers

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214062912100

LONDON: A strike on the London Underground caused major disruption on Monday as almost all stations in the city center shut and services were canceled in a dispute over jobs and ticket office closures.
Millions of passengers were forced to take overcrowded buses or overland trains, or work from home, after the 24-hour walk-out by the RMT union.
All 11 lines were affected in the action, which began on Sunday evening, with four completely closed and many others running a severely reduced service limited to the suburbs. In a message on Twitter, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the strike was “totally unnecessary” and was “causing misery to millions of Londoners.” He urged both sides to resume negotiations.
But the RMT say they are protesting against a “crisis” in the service after more than 830 job cuts meant there were not enough staff to run stations safely.
The strike is the latest in a series of walkouts since 2014 over the dispute, as ticket offices across the network have been closed.
“The strike action is being solidly supported on every line, at every station and on picket lines right across the Tube network,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
“This action has been forced on us by savage cuts to jobs that have reduced London Underground to an under-staffed death trap at a time of heightened security and safety alert.”
Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for London Underground, said the company had agreed that more staff were needed in stations and had started recruiting 200 more.
“There is no need to strike. We had always intended to review staffing levels and have had constructive discussions with the unions,” he said.
“Taking into account existing vacancies and natural turnover this means that over 600 staff will be recruited for stations this year.”
London Underground is the world’s oldest subway network, having opened in 1863, and carries 1.34 billion passengers a year.

Main category: 

US hacking allegations ‘reminiscent of a witch-hunt,’ says Russia

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214042911800

MOSCOW: Allegations that Russia tried to influence the US election in favor of Donald Trump amount to a witch-hunt, the Kremlin said on Monday, in its first reaction to the release of a US intelligence report on the alleged Russian operation.
The report, a redacted version of which was released publicly last week, alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a cyber campaign aimed at helping Trump beat his rival Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no new evidence had been produced to show that Russian officials was involved.
“We are observing a serious fatigue with these accusations,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “It truly is reminiscent of a witch-hunt.”
His words echoed a phrase used by Trump himself, who was quoted as saying in an interview with the New York Times newspaper on Friday that the storm over Russian hacking was a “political witch hunt.”
Peskov, commenting on the US intelligence report, said: “You know, that version of the report that was made public added no substance whatsoever that we can comment on.”
“Groundless accusations which are not supported by anything are being rehearsed in an amateurish, unprofessional way. We don’t know what information they are actually relying on.”
Asked if Putin himself had read a translation of the report, Peskov said there was nothing in the document “that’s worth reading in detail.”
But Peskov said the Kremlin’s position, as in the past, is that it categorically rules out that any Russian official could have been involved in hacking related to the 2016 US presidential election.
Both Trump and Putin have said that they want to restore US-Russian relations, and the Kremlin spokesman indicated that Moscow was looking beyond the hacking row and ahead to the new administration.
Peskov said there had been witch-hunts in the past in US history, but those periods came to an end when what he described as more sober leaders took charge.
Peskov said that once Trump had been inaugurated on Jan. 20, work would begin on finding a date for a first meeting between the Russian and US leaders.
“If some kind of contacts will be planned, then they will be planned extremely painstakingly, carefully, especially since we are talking about contacts following a very tense period in our relations,” he said, referring to disputes between the Kremlin and the Obama administration.
Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Sunday that Trump indeed has accepted that Russia was responsible for the hacking, which targeted the Democratic National Committee and a top aide to Hillary.
“He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign,” Priebus said in an appearance on a Sunday television news show.
Beginning Tuesday, the Senate will hold its first confirmation hearings. Senators will scrutinize one of their own, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, who’s been nominated to be attorney general, and also will have a hearing on Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s choice for homeland security secretary.

Main category: 

US hacking allegations ‘reminiscent of a witch-hunt,’ says Russia

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-01-10
ID: 
1484002214042911800

MOSCOW: Allegations that Russia tried to influence the US election in favor of Donald Trump amount to a witch-hunt, the Kremlin said on Monday, in its first reaction to the release of a US intelligence report on the alleged Russian operation.
The report, a redacted version of which was released publicly last week, alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a cyber campaign aimed at helping Trump beat his rival Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no new evidence had been produced to show that Russian officials was involved.
“We are observing a serious fatigue with these accusations,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “It truly is reminiscent of a witch-hunt.”
His words echoed a phrase used by Trump himself, who was quoted as saying in an interview with the New York Times newspaper on Friday that the storm over Russian hacking was a “political witch hunt.”
Peskov, commenting on the US intelligence report, said: “You know, that version of the report that was made public added no substance whatsoever that we can comment on.”
“Groundless accusations which are not supported by anything are being rehearsed in an amateurish, unprofessional way. We don’t know what information they are actually relying on.”
Asked if Putin himself had read a translation of the report, Peskov said there was nothing in the document “that’s worth reading in detail.”
But Peskov said the Kremlin’s position, as in the past, is that it categorically rules out that any Russian official could have been involved in hacking related to the 2016 US presidential election.
Both Trump and Putin have said that they want to restore US-Russian relations, and the Kremlin spokesman indicated that Moscow was looking beyond the hacking row and ahead to the new administration.
Peskov said there had been witch-hunts in the past in US history, but those periods came to an end when what he described as more sober leaders took charge.
Peskov said that once Trump had been inaugurated on Jan. 20, work would begin on finding a date for a first meeting between the Russian and US leaders.
“If some kind of contacts will be planned, then they will be planned extremely painstakingly, carefully, especially since we are talking about contacts following a very tense period in our relations,” he said, referring to disputes between the Kremlin and the Obama administration.
Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Sunday that Trump indeed has accepted that Russia was responsible for the hacking, which targeted the Democratic National Committee and a top aide to Hillary.
“He’s not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign,” Priebus said in an appearance on a Sunday television news show.
Beginning Tuesday, the Senate will hold its first confirmation hearings. Senators will scrutinize one of their own, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, who’s been nominated to be attorney general, and also will have a hearing on Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s choice for homeland security secretary.

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