News stories from around the world
PAKISTAN: Thousands of people rallied in Islamabad on Sunday to condemn the US air strikes that target tribes near the Afghan border.
Supporters of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party met in front of parliament to demand the government review its ties to Washington, which says that the drone attacks are crucial to its war effort in Afghanistan.
Party leader Syed Munawar Hassan said that the attacks are an “attack on the sovereignty and integrity of the country” and a “gross violation of human rights.”
YEMEN: A blast at an explosives factory today killed 78 people after it was briefly taken over by gunmen and then looted by civilians.
Medical and security officials in Abyan province said many women and children from surrounding villages were killed and wounded.
Locals apparently entered the facility to loot it on Sunday after Islamist militants broke into the factory and made off with explosives.
AUSTRALIA: MPs endorsed a plan to roll out a A$36 billion (£23 billion) super-fast fibre-optic national broadband network today.
It was a major campaign in last year’s elections, which returned Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s centrist Labour Party to power.
It will deliver speeds of 100 megabits per second to nine in 10 Australian homes, schools and businesses.
GLOBAL: Fewer people are being executed after a decade of progress on the death penalty, Amnesty International said today as it published its annual report on capital punishment.
The group recorded 527 killings in 23 countries in 2010, down from 714 in 2009.
Most of the countries that executed people in 2010 were in the Middle East and Asia.
HONDURAS: The People’s National Resistance Front has called a general strike for Wednesday against President Porfirio Lobo’s administration.
The left-wing alliance decided to take action after Mr Lobo issued a decree on Sunday threatening to fire teachers if they continue their strike to press their demand for six months of back pay.
The decree states that teachers who fail to show up in classrooms this week will be suspended without pay.
Teachers will be sacked if they don’t appear by April 4.
TURKEY: Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan announced today that his administration will complete the privatisation of 17 thermal and 28 hydro power plants this year.
The government is selling state-run power plants and distribution grids, as well as natural-gas networks, to lure more private-sector investment to the country’s energy sector.
Ankara, which launched a privatisation drive in October 2005 shortly after entering negotiations on EU membership, recently signalled its intention to privatise the country’s national carrier Turkish Airlines next year.
CHINA: Thousands of citizens gathered in a square in front of the Potala Palace in the capital of the Tibet autonomous region today to celebrate serf emancipation day.
It is marked every year on March 28 to commemorate the removal of the old feudal elite.
People sang the national anthem at a flag-raising ceremony before watching a play, Tears of the Serfs, put on by a group of farmers from Nedong County.
China’s government abolished serfdom in Tibet 1959, freeing about a million people from feudal servitude.
BAHRAIN: Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa has rejected a Kuwaiti offer to mediate the kingdom’s political crisis.
Leading opposition group Wefaq said on Sunday that it would accept an offer from Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to oversee talks between Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family and civil rights groups.
Protesters have been forced off the streets by troops, including forces from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Mr Khalifa said today there were no plans for Kuwaiti-led dialogue and that martial law would continue.
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