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Juncker's new EU Commission takes office BRUSSELS: The new European Commission led by EU veteran Jean-Claude Juncker formally took office Saturday, promising to "get down to work" as Europe faces a host of political and economic challenges.The agenda is heavy, with Juncker making it his first task to launch a 300 billion euro ($380 billion) investment plan by Christmas to kickstart a faltering economy plagued by stubborn, near-record unemployment.The Ukraine crisis meanwhile shows no sign of easing, the European Union is locked in difficult talks on a massive and controversial trade deal with Washington and Britain's future in the bloc is uncertain."Now it's time to roll up the sleeves and get down to work. Europe's challenges cannot wait," Juncker said in a statement Saturday. "As of today, my team and I will work hard to deliver Europe the new start we have promised.A first test comes Sunday when pro-Russian rebels plan elections in the areas they ...

Nationwide blackout hits Bangladesh DHAKA: A nationwide power blackout hit Bangladesh on Saturday after a transmission line failed, the government said.Engineers "are working to fix the outage" which hit all areas linked to the national electricity grid, Masud Alberuni, a senior power ministry official, told AFP."The national grid tripped" close to mid-day, Alberuni said."As a result, all the power generating stations automatically shut down," he said.Saturday is a weekend day in Bangladesh so the impact on industry was not ...

Kim orders changes to new airport to avoid 'copying' SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered changes to the design of Pyongyang's new international airport to reflect the country's socialist ideology after saying the layout looked like "a copy" of a foreign facility, state media reported Saturday.Kim called a halt on work on Terminal 2 at Pyongyang International Airport after inspecting the construction site, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.He reproached workers for failing to carry out his earlier order in July ...

Clashes in West Bank as flashpoint mosque reopens JERUSALEM: Clashes erupted in the West Bank on Friday after weekly Muslim prayers while security forces deployed heavily around Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque which reopened following the killing of a Palestinian by police.A rocket was also fired from Gaza and hit southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli army said, although there were no reports of casualties or damage. It was the first rocket to hit Israel since September 16. Al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem's Old City, and ...

Australia confident of Antarctic marine reserve in 2015 SYDNEY: Australia said Saturday it was confident its plans for a marine reserve to protect biodiversity in East Antarctica would succeed next year, after international talks in Hobart failed to agree on the measure.The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting closed late Friday with the 25 members unable to reach consensus on two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).Australia's joint proposal with France and the European Union for reserves in East Antarctic ...

Ecuador court clears way for Correa third term QUITO: Ecuador's Constitutional Court gave lawmakers the green light on Friday to set new rules on term limits that would allow President Rafael Correa to extend his rule beyond 2017.The court said parliament may pursue amendments tabled by 16 deputies, including one that tweaks term limits to all elected offices, reports said.Ecuadoran lawmakers issued the proposals, which would allow presidents to seek unlimited terms, following a request from leftist leader Correa.In office since 2007, Correa ...

Mexico court orders US ex-Marine's release TIJUANA: A Mexican court ordered the release Friday of a former US Marine jailed in the country since March for carrying weapons, after pressure from top US officials.Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, a 25-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was arrested on March 31 when he entered Mexico from California.Tahmooressi's family has said that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and crossed the border inadvertently with several weapons in his car that he had purchased ...


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