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Vanuatu president calls snap election: report WELLINGTON: Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale has dissolved parliament and called a snap election after a corruption scandal destabilised the government, local media reported Wednesday.Lonsdale addressed the nation late Tuesday, calling the situation a "man-made disaster", the Vanuatu Post reported.It said the president announced he was using his constitutional powers to dissolve parliament and call an election on a date yet to be set.Lonsdale said a "political impasse" was paralysing the impoverished Pacific nation's government after 14 lawmakers were jailed last month over a bribery scandal.He said attempts to forge a government of national unity including government and opposition lawmakers had failed, forcing him to act."Following the political instability in Vanuatu, which is man-made disaster, the whole nation has become victim of this issue," he said."Service delivery cannot reach the people because of the lack of good governance principles and... strong leadership."The constitutional crisis erupted last month, when the 14 lawmakers ...

South Korea, US ratify new civilian nuclear pact SEOUL: South Korea and the United States on Wednesday formally ratified a new nuclear cooperation agreement that stops short of granting Seoul the permission it had sought to start reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.Agreed in April after more than four years of negotiation, the accord would take effect from 6:00pm (0900 GMT) with an exchange of diplomatic notes, Seoul's foreign ministry said. It replaces an existing 1974 accord and was struck after four-and-a-half years of intense ...
Xi to bring no new concessions to Paris climate summit BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping will bring no new concessions to the negotiating table when he attends key UN climate change talks in Paris next week, a senior Chinese diplomat said Thursday.China pledged last year to peak carbon output by "around 2030" -- suggesting at least another decade of growing emissions. The Asian giant is estimated to have released nine to 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2013, nearly twice as much as the ...
North Korea slams South's live-fire drill SEOUL: North Korea on Tuesday bitterly criticised the South for staging a live-fire drill near their disputed sea border, hinting it may respond to Seoul's "confrontation" just days before the rivals were due to hold talks designed to improved relations. A spokesman for the North's powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) described the exercise conducted Monday as the "most vicious military provocation aimed at confrontation" and "reckless sabre-rattling", according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.Despite ...
Daredevil climbers scale Istanbul bridge for dizzying selfie ISTANBUL: Two daredevil climbers scaled a crane on Istanbul's newest bridge, taking a dizzying selfie from the top of the structure of the Bosphorus Straits and the clouds below.Free climbers Pavel Smirnov and Ozcan Ipar made it to the top of the crane building the new Sultan Selim Yavuz bridge across the Bosphorus to a height of 350 metres (1,150 feet), according to video they released on Monday and published in Turkish media.Using no specialised ...
South Korea stages live-fire drill near sea border SEOUL: South Korea on Monday staged a major live-fire exercise near the disputed inter-Korean sea border despite North Korea's warning of possible "merciless" retaliation, military officials said.The drill was carried out around front-line islands in the Yellow Sea to mark the anniversary of North Korea's deadly shelling of one of them five years ago, the South's defence ministry said.The attack on Yeonpyeong Island on November 23, 2010 killed four South Koreans including two civilians and ...
'Umbrella Soldiers' take seats in Hong Kong elections HONG KONG: Young supporters of Hong Kong's democracy movement, known as 'Umbrella Soldiers', took seats in the city's first vote since mass street protests -- but pro-Beijing forces dominated the polls in a key test of public sentiment.The spotlight was on Sunday's district elections to gauge whether support for the democracy movement could translate into votes.While a new generation of pro-democracy campaigners unexpectedly won a handful of seats, the balance of power remained largely the ...

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