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World News

Korean unity! - a historic handshake as Pyeongchang Olympics open

The two Koreas marched together and South Korea's President shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un's sister, as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opened in a spirit of intense rapprochement, yesterday. It cemented what has been a rapid improvement in Korean ties. Kim Yo Jong, the first member of the North's ruling dynasty to venture South since the Korean War, forms part of the highest level delegation ever to cross the border. At a glittering ceremony, North and South Korea brought the crowd to its feet, as they entered behind the blue-and-white Korean unification flag. The two Koreas last marched together at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Indian Prime Minister to embark on a 4-day visit to Palestine, UAE and Oman.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a four-day visit to Palestine, the UAE and Oman, today. Mr Modi will reach Ramallah tomorrow morning, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine. He will hold delegation-level talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after which a number of MoUs are expected to be signed. The same day, Mr Modi will travel to Dubai where he will address the 6th World Government Summit, at which India has been extended 'guest of honour' status. On the final leg of his visit, he will attend an Indian Community Event at Muscat in Oman, on Sunday.

Bangladesh ex-Prime Minister guilty of corruption

Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia has been sentenced to five years in jail for corruption. The verdict was read out in a court in Dhaka, after police used tear gas to disperse thousands of her supporters. The sentence bars her from contesting in the parliamentary polls due this year.

Bill to end US aid to Pakistan moved in House of Representatives too.

The US House of Representatives joined the Senate yesterday in seeking to end US economic aid to Pakistan while the Trump administration has already suspended military aid. A bill introduced in the House said that non-defence aid to Pakistan should also end and the money set aside for this purpose should be invested in infrastructure

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Deaths confirmed amid rescue effort after Taiwan earthquake.

A strong earthquake in Taiwan has killed at least two people and injured more than 100 others, officials say. The powerful 6.4-magnitude tremor struck at last midnight about 20kilometers off the island's east coast.

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Maldives opposition calls for Indian intervention, as its President imposes Emergency Rule

An exiled former president of the Maldives has urged India to send an envoy, backed by military, to release political detainees, after the Government of Maldives imposed a State Of Emergency and arrested two senior judges. He also urged the United States to block financial transactions of incumbent President Abdulla Yameen's government. The Maldives plunged into crisis last week, after the Supreme Court delivered a shock ruling, quashing terrorism convictions against nine leading opposition figures, including the country’s exiled, first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed. Having defied the court ruling, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, ordered security forces to seize control of the court and arrest the chief justice. Since Yameen took power in 2013, his government has faced repeated questions over Freedom of Speech, the Detention of Opponents and the Independence of the Judiciary.

Dow Jones stock index hit by record falls

The White House is "concerned" about the fall on US stock markets after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 1,175 points. The leading US stock market index closed down 4.6 percent at 24,345.75.

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Ecuadoreans vote to scrap unlimited presidential terms

Ecuadoreans have voted to scrap unlimited presidential terms, a move which would stop ex-leader Rafael Correa from returning to power. A quick count suggested that 64 percent of the voters supported a constitutional change, which will prevent presidents from holding office for more than two terms. The question was one of the seven questions put before voters in a referendum. The referendum was called by current President Lenin Moreno, who was once Mr Correa's deputy, but is now his staunch opponent. The questions also include a proposal to bar officials convicted of corruption from entering politics.

Air strike cripples Syrian 'cave hospital'


A hospital built under 20 meters of rock, in a rebel-held area of central Syria, has been wrecked by a powerful air strike. No casualties have been reported. It is not clear who carried out the strike. However, Syrian government warplanes and those of its ally Russia, have been stepping up attacks in rebel-held areas. Both Syria and Russia have consistently denied targeting civilians. Meanwhile, the UN says aid is no longer getting through to besieged areas.

Poland's Senate passes controversial Holocaust Bill

Poland's Senate has approved a controversial bill that makes it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. The bill also prohibits describing Nazi Death Camps in Poland as 'Polish'. It sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term, as 'punishment'.

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