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Civilians emerge as pawns in South China Sea legal chess game

File photo of Filipino soldier patrolling the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, PhilippinesNot far away, China is building lighthouses and weather stations on reclaimed land. Further north, a Chinese cruise ship takes "patriotic" tourists to a separate group of contested islands. Little noticed in the heated debate over the potential military use of China's holdings is a growing civilian presence across the South China Sea - a trend that potentially complicates any future armed conflict while buttressing competing claims to territory.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 03:26:57 -0400
Myanmar says won't take blame at Asia migrant crisis talks

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn poses with delegates during an opening ceremony of the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean at a hotel in BangkokBy Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Kanupriya Kapoor BANGKOK (Reuters) - Myanmar insisted it was not to blame for Southeast Asia's latest influx of "boat people" at a regional crisis meeting on Friday, as the United States said thousands of vulnerable migrants adrift at sea needed urgent rescue. More than 3,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia and Malaysia since Thailand launched a crackdown on human trafficking gangs this month. While some of the migrants are Bangladeshis escaping poverty at home, many are members of Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya Muslim minority who live in apartheid-like conditions in the country's Rakhine state.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:53:38 -0400
Exclusive: Mexican president misrepresented personal land deal, records show

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto reacts during a ceremony to sign into law a new-anti corruption legislation, at the National Palace in Mexico CityBy Simon Gardner VALLE DE BRAVO, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto misrepresented to authorities the circumstances under which he acquired one of his properties, public documents reviewed by Reuters show, a discrepancy that could add to a controversy surrounding his personal finances. According to an official asset declaration first made in 2013, Pena Nieto stated that he acquired the property through a "donation" or gift from his father. Pena Nieto, who made his asset declaration public in 2013 as part of a transparency and accountability push, has since updated and ratified this declaration twice.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 00:32:12 -0400
Blatter seeks re-election as scandal engulfs FIFA

FIFA President Blatter arrives for opening ceremony of 65th FIFA Congress in ZurichBy Mike Collett and Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - The embattled head of world soccer, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, is expected to be re-elected on Friday despite growing calls for his resignation amid a corruption scandal that has engulfed the sport's governing body. At a meeting in Zurich starting at 0730 GMT, up to 209 FIFA members will choose between Blatter, who is seeking his fifth term as president, and his sole challenger Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. Anger within Europe's powerful regional soccer body UEFA and other members over the damage allegations of graft are doing to FIFA is unlikely to be enough to topple the 79-year-old Swiss, who is backed by the Asian and African confederations.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 02:59:48 -0400
China land reclamation in South China Sea creates 'new facts': U.S.

Still image from United States Navy video shows a U.S. Navy crewman aboard a surveillance aircraft pointing to a computer screen purportedly showing Chinese construction on the reclaimed land of Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly IslandsBy David Alexander ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in Washington's latest challenge of Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea, said the scale of Beijing's activities, not the United States, was altering the status quo in the region. Carter, speaking to reporters at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia, said the United States was trying to maintain a shared regional security structure that had advanced "prosperity for everyone" over the past 70 years. "We've been flying over the South China Sea for years and years and years, and ... will continue to do that: fly, navigate, operate.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:18:15 -0400
Cameron seeks to court Merkel in bid to reshape Britain's EU ties

Balloons made by the 'ONE' campaigning organisation depicting German Chancellor Merkel and British Prime Minister Cameron are pictured in front of the Frauenkirche cathedral in DresdenBy William James BERLIN (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday in an attempt to gauge how far Berlin will go to keep the world's fifth-largest economy inside the European Union ahead of a referendum on membership. Cameron's post-election tour of European capitals ends with a lunch at which he is likely to ask Merkel's help in securing a deal of concessions that he could sell to a divided British public before the referendum by the end of 2017. French President Francois Hollande told Cameron on Thursday he wanted Britain to stay in the world's biggest trading bloc while Cameron said the status quo in Europe was "not good enough".

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:41:54 -0400
Nigeria's Buhari: from coup leader to 'converted democrat'

Soldiers stand beside a banner of President-elect Mohammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Eagle Square in Abuja on May 28, 2015, ahead of Friday's handover ceremonyMuhammadu Buhari, who is being sworn in on Friday as Nigeria's new president, is a one-time coup leader who once ruled Africa's most populous nation with an iron fist. "For him to succeed in tackling these knotty problems, he will need to behave like a dictator in spite of the constitution, ignore criticisms and keep abay sycophants," said one former army officer who took part in Nigeria's first military coup in 1966.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:42:23 -0400
Muhammadu Buhari takes over Nigeria in crisis

A man sells banners of former General and Nigerian President elect, Muhammadu Buhari, and Vice President elect Yemi Osibajo, outside Eagle Square, a day ahead of the Presidential Inauguration of Buhari, in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerians celebrated their newly reinforced democracy Friday, dancing and singing songs and praises at the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari, the first candidate to beat a sitting president at the polls.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:41:55 -0400
Vatican's anti-money laundering norms taking hold

Pope Francis poses for photographers with members of Dominican Republic Episcopal Conference in the pontiff's private studio at the Vatican, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's financial watchdog agency said Friday it received 147 reports of suspicious financial transactions last year, a sign that tough new anti-money laundering norms are taking hold at its scandal-marred bank.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:37:31 -0400
Britain's Cameron in Poland, seeking support on EU reform

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz welcomes British Prime Minster David Cameron, left, for talks in the Palace on the Island in the royal Lazienki Park in Warsaw, Poland, Friday May 29, 2015.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW, Poland (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron pressed his case for renegotiating his country's relationship with the European Union Friday in Poland, with the Polish prime minister expressing resistance to any changes that would limit the rights of the many Polish migrants living in the U.K.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:37:28 -0400
Crusaders beat Hurricanes 35-18 in Super Rugby
Seven-time champions the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 35-18 in Super Rugby Friday, keeping their slim playoffs hope alive and forcing the top-ranked Hurricanes to sweat for another week on the prospect of a home playoff.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:35:48 -0400
Nigeria's Buhari to be sworn in after historic election win

A party supporter wearing All Progressives Congress Party glasses poses with a banner for president-elect Mohammadu Buhari ahead of Friday's handover ceremony in Abuja on May 28, 2015Muhammadu Buhari becomes Nigeria's new head of state on Friday in a ceremony mixing military pomp with cultural tradition after he won the first opposition victory over a sitting president in the nation's history. In the grandstands were African heads of state, including South Africa's Jacob Zuma and Rwanda's Paul Kagame, as well as foreign dignitaries such as US Secretary of State John Kerry. Bola Tinubu, the founder and head of Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC), described the inauguration as "a turning point in our national direction and the reclamation of our best destiny".

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:34:11 -0400
Top Asian News at 9:30 a.m. GMT
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (AP) — When the Taliban descended a month ago on Dam Shakh, a hamlet on the wheat-growing plains of northern Afghanistan's Kunduz province, nobody was prepared. "They turned up suddenly and took us completely by surprise," said resident Ghulam Sakhi of the night of April 24 when hundreds of Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack. "It was horrific. People just started running away as fast as they could and for those who stayed, we were on our own for 10 days. The government just couldn't cope."
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:33:05 -0400
Blatter says vote for Russia, Qatar the root of FIFA crisis

FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter, right, walks past Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, left, and UEFA President Michel Platini, center, during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015, where he will run for re-election as FIFA head. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)ZURICH (AP) — The worst corruption crisis in soccer history stems from the governing body's decision to award Russia and Qatar the next two World Cup tournaments, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:31:33 -0400
Global finance chiefs debate growth, taxes

Finance ministers, central bank governors and global financial institution heads attend a working session during the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in Dresden, eastern Germany, Thursday, May 28, 2015. The G7 Finance Ministers meeting is being held in Dresden from May 27 to May 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)DRESDEN, Germany (AP) — Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies on Friday were wrapping up three days of debate and discussion about how to get the global recovery moving faster.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:28:49 -0400
Hundreds seek safety from Texas floods, severe weather kills 17

Amy Gilmour a volunteer from San Antonio Texas walks past a pile of debris which included parts of destroyed homes that amassed when the Blanco River flooded during the Memorial Day weekend rains in Wimberley TexasBy Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Hundreds of people fled areas near Texas rivers that overflowed their banks on Thursday as the state reeled from severe storms this week that killed at least 17 people, flooded cities and set a record for the wettest month. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch stretching from south of San Antonio to Dallas, through Oklahoma, where severe weather this week killed an additional six people, and into Kansas.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:28:09 -0400
Volcano erupts in southern Japan, spewing ash high into sky

In this image taken from a surveillance camera observed from Motomura Nishi on Kuchinoerabu island, a column of black smoke rises from Mount Shindake on the island, southern Japan, Friday, May 29, 2015. The volcano erupted on the small island about 10 a.m. local time Friday, spewing black clouds of ash and rock towering into the sky and prompting authorities to tell residents to evacuate the island. (Japan Meteorological Agency via AP) CREDIT MANDATORYTOKYO (AP) — A volcano erupted in spectacular fashion on a small island in southern Japan on Friday, spewing out rocks and sending black clouds of ash 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) into the sky. Authorities told people on the island to evacuate.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:23:46 -0400
Platini reflects on Heysel 30 years after 39 fans died

FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter, left, walks past Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, left, and UEFA President Michel Platini, center, during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015, where he will run for re-election as FIFA head. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)ZURICH (AP) — Exactly 30 years after 39 fans died at the European Cup final, UEFA President Michel Platini says he is "still doing everything in my power" to prevent a similar tragedy.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:23:17 -0400
US spelling bee ends in a tie -- again

Speller Vanya Shivashankar (L) of Olathe, Kansas, and speller Gokul Venkatachalam (R) of St. Louis, Missouri, hold up the trophy after winning the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 28, 2015 in National Harbor, MarylandThe world's premier spelling bee ended in a tie in the US for a second year in a row after an intense 10-round showdown between two young contestants who tackled some of the English language's most obscure words. Vanya Shivashankar, 13, and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, together hoisted the gold trophy amid a flurry of confetti after they clinched the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee. Venkatachalam, a basketball fanatic sporting sharp Air Jordans, also tackled such tongue-twisters as poblacion, caudillismo and nixtamal with panache.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:21:11 -0400
Ruble rebound threatens 'Made in Russia' industry revival

In this photo taken on Friday, May 22, 2015, Stanislav Obraztsov, left, speaks to his colleagues at his craft beer bar in Moscow. The ruble’s crash in value against the dollar last year helped Russia’s nascent craft beer industry by making imported competitors more expensive. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's ruble is on a roller-coaster. After being the world's second worst-performing currency against the dollar last year, it is among the best in 2015.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:19:06 -0400
China executes teacher who molested or raped 26 students
BEIJING (AP) — A former Chinese elementary school teacher has been executed for molesting or raping 26 students, some as young as 4 years old.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:19:04 -0400
12 Russians injured in lightning strike at ruins on Crete
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities say 12 Russian tourists have been injured in a lightning strike at the archaeological site of Knossos, on the southern island of Crete.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:16:51 -0400
Malaysia denies entry to second Hong Kong activist
HONG KONG (AP) — Malaysian authorities have denied entry to a radical Hong Kong lawmaker at Kuala Lumpur's airport, the second time this week they have barred one of the city's outspoken pro-democracy activists.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:13:55 -0400
Anniversary of 1st Everest climb marked as industry frets
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Everest Day, marking the conquest of the world's tallest peak 62 years ago, was marked quietly by officials, people in the mountaineering business and a few climbers Friday, little more than a month after an earthquake-triggered avalanche swept the base camp and killed 19 people.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:13:41 -0400
Strong earthquake strikes off Alaska coast
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A strong earthquake has struck in a remote region off the coast of Alaska and officials say there is no tsunami threat or immediate report of damage.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:03:19 -0400
South African rhino gets treated after poacher attack
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A rhino in South Africa that survived an attack by poachers who cut off her horns, leaving a massive wound on her face, has had a setback in her medical treatment.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 05:02:45 -0400
Belgium marks 30 years of Heysel tragedy with solemn service
BRUSSELS (AP) — Survivors and relatives of victims are marking the 30th anniversary of the Heysel stadium tragedy where 39 people died during fan violence at the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus in Brussels.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:59:51 -0400
Myanmar releases census data, but excludes Rohingya minority
By Timothy Mclaughlin YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar released the final results of its first nationwide census in 30 years on Friday, but the count excluded the country's Muslim Rohingya minority, as well as sensitive data on ethnicity and the religious beliefs of its 51.5 million people. Most of Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya are stateless and live in apartheid-like conditions in the western state of Rakhine. Almost 140,000 were displaced in deadly clashes with majority Buddhists in Rakhine in 2012.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:59:34 -0400
The Latest: Lucic-Baroni opens play on Day 6 at French Open

Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni celebrates winning the second round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Romania's Simona Halep at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Lucic-Baroni won in two sets 7-5, 6-1. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)PARIS (AP) — The Latest from the French Open:

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:58:43 -0400
Malaysia bars second Hong Kong democracy activist

League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung arrives at police headquarters to assist investigations in relation to the Occupy movement in Hong KongHong Kong lawmaker and democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung was denied entry to Malaysia on Friday, the second time this week the country has stopped a Hong Kong democracy activist from entering. Wong was denied entry on Tuesday, sparking concerns that Beijing may have put pressure on Kuala Lumpur. Leung and Wong both took part in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year that shut down key parts of the city for 79 days to demand China allow full democracy in the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:51:41 -0400
THE LATEST: Call for revote if World Cups awarded corruptly

FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter makes a gesture during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015 where he runs for re-election as FIFA head. (Patrick B. Kraemer/Keystone via AP)ZURICH (AP) — The Latest on FIFA developments:

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:51:29 -0400
Blatter calls for unity against corruption 'storm'

FIFA President Sepp Blatter delivers his speech at the opening of the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015Zurich (AFP) - FIFA leader Sepp Blatter appealed for unity among football's warring factions as he opened the congress of the world ruling body overshadowed by a major corruption scandal.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:42:48 -0400
Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupt FIFA congress

Security agents hold a demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag and asking to expel Israel of the FIFA during the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015Pro-Palestinian protesters briefly interrupted the FIFA congress on Friday with world football's governing body set to vote later on whether to expel Israel from the organisation. The two female protesters halted president Sepp Blatter's opening address, waving red cards at FIFA representatives and chanting 'Israel out!" before being escorted out of the hall by security guards. Blatter apologised for the brief delay of just a few minutes and called for security guards in the building to be more vigilant.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:41:25 -0400
Turkmenistan considers extending presidential rule

People gather for the monument unveiling ceremony in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Monday, May 25, 2015. The isolated energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has unveiled a gold-leafed statue of the president in a gesture intended to burnish the leader's burgeoning cult of personality. The 21-meter monument presented to the public Monday consists of a statue of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov atop a horse mounted on a towering pile of marble. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Legislators in the authoritarian Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan are considering scrapping the 70-year age limit at which a president can serve, enabling the incumbent to serve for life.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:40:27 -0400
India's heat wave tests water supply; death toll over 1,800

An Indian man rests on a hand cart under a market umbrella on a hot day in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 28, 2015. Eating onions, lying in the shade and splashing into rivers, Indians were doing whatever they could Thursday to stay cool during a brutal heat wave that has killed more than 1,000 in the past month. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weekslong heat wave to at least 1,826, officials said Friday.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:36:25 -0400
Blatter calls for unity at opening address to FIFA
Embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter called on members of world soccer's governing body to stick together to stamp out corruption in the wake of the latest scandal to hit the game. Addressing the FIFA delegation at Friday's Congress in Switzerland, where members will later vote to decide the organization's presidency, Blatter urged the membership to remain unified.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:23:14 -0400
Cameron meets Polish PM on EU reform tour

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz (R) welcomes her British counterpart David Cameron upon his arrival at Lazienki Palace in Warsaw on May 29, 2015British Prime Minister David Cameron met Poland's premier in Warsaw Friday on a whistlestop European tour to gather backing for EU reforms but faced implacable Polish opposition to proposals to limit benefits for immigrants. Cameron was due to go on to Berlin later in the day to lobby German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Among changes Cameron is seeking are tougher requirements for EU migrants to claim state benefits in Britain.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:16:35 -0400
Car bombs at Baghdad hotels kill at least nine: officials

At least nine people were killed and dozens wounded in car bombs that ripped through the car parks of two upscale Baghdad hotelsAt least nine people were killed and dozens wounded when car bombs ripped through the car parks of two upscale Baghdad hotels, officials said on Friday, updating an earlier toll. Militants were able to bring the bombs, which exploded just before midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday and were heard across the city centre, inside the walled compounds of the Ishtar and Babylon hotels in central Baghdad. The blast at the Ishtar -- formerly a Sheraton -- shattered windows of the recently renovated hotel, turning rows of expensive cars and SUVs into charred, twisted metal.

Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:14:18 -0400
Iraqi authorities raise Baghdad attacks death toll to 15
BAGHDAD (AP) — Authorities in Iraq have raised the death toll from bombings that targeted two top hotels in Baghdad to 15 people, with another 42 wounded.
Date Posted : Fri, 29 May 2015 04:11:40 -0400
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