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Australia PM defends treatment of migrants held on boat SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Saturday said his government's treatment of a boatload of 157 asylum-seekers who have been kept at sea for weeks would underline its resolve to stop people-smuggling.Abbott, who came to power in September promising to "stop the boats" bringing asylum-seekers from countries such as Iran and Afghanistan, said Canberra would not dodge its international and legal obligations."What we do is always in accordance with our international obligations, it's always in accordance with our legal obligations, it's always in accordance with safety at sea," he told reporters in the capital.But he said the boat carrying the group of 157 thought to be mostly minority ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka now being brought to the Australian mainland would demonstrate Canberra's position."We are determined to respond to this one in ways which underline our absolute implacable opposition to people-smuggling," he said."Because every boat that comes is exposing ...

Raul Castro marks anniversary of Cuba revolution landmark ARTEMISA: Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday officiated at a ceremony to mark the 61st anniversary of the guerrilla assault on the Moncada Barracks, widely regarded as the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.More than 100 rebels led by Fidel Castro attempted to storm the military facility at Moncada on July 26, 1953, in the first armed action of the revolution to topple dictator Fulgencio Batista.The assault ended in a crushing defeat for the rebels, with ...

More than 140 bodies pulled from Gaza rubble in truce: medics GAZA CITY: The bodies of at least 147 Palestinians were recovered from the rubble across the Gaza Strip during a 12-hour humanitarian truce on Saturday, medics said.Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the bodies had been brought to hospitals in north, central and southern Gaza, as well as Gaza City.The grim discoveries raised the toll in Gaza on the 19th day of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group to more than 1,000, ...

Boko Haram execute 12 in northeast town: residents KANO: Boko Haram militants have executed 12 people including a village chief in a remote part of northeastern Nigeria, residents said on Saturday.The attackers entered the village of Garubula, in Biu district, late Wednesday and dragged their victims out of their homes before shooting them, the residents said."They killed 12 people including the village chief whom they shot in the head," said resident Mallam Idrissa told AFP.Wednesday also saw bombings in north-central Kaduna blamed on ...

First MH17 crash victim identified: official THE HAGUE: Forensic experts have identified the first of 298 people killed when flight MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine last week, the Dutch government said on Saturday."Today the first victim of the flight MH17 disaster was identified," the justice ministry said in a statement. "It's a Dutch citizen and the victim's family and mayor of where they lived have been informed."The ministry did not publicly release the identity of the victim.The Dutch are ...

Putin, Abbott discuss MH17 probe MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Saturday discussed how an international probe could be set up into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine, in which 28 Australians were killed.The two leaders held a telephone conversation "to exchange their views on aspects of organising an independent and objective international inquiry", the Kremlin said in a statement.They also stressed the need for compliance with a UN Security Council ...

IMF urges ‘steady implementation’ of Ukraine loan programme WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund urged Ukraine's leaders on Friday to press forward with "steady implementation" of economic reforms agreed with the fund, a day after the prime minister tendered his resignation.A fund spokesperson said the IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, who tendered his resignation on Thursday."The discussions focused on the implications of the recent political developments in Ukraine for economic policies, ...


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