Indonesia has ordered the evacuation of 15,000 people from their homes near an active volcano as it pushed up the alert for emergency to the highest levels.
Officials on Sunday raised the volcanic alert for Mount Sinabung, on Sumatra, after it began throwing clouds of ash, gravel and gas as high as 5,000m, according to government volcanologists but no casualties have been reported so far.
“We have raised the status to ‘caution’, which is the highest of levels for volcanic activity because we anticipate there will be more eruptions and because the intensity of eruptions has been increasing,” the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in a written statement.
About 6,000 people have already been moved from the area, 88km from Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, and were placed in 16 safe locations. Authorities narrowed the evacuation radius to 5km from 3km and the military geared up to move residents out.
The conservative ruling party Prez candidate has claimed victory in Honduras’ presidential election as an early vote count put him ahead, but his leftist rival also said she was the winner, setting the stage for a conflict.
Electoral authority late on Sunday said a partial count of votes gave National Party candidate, Juan Hernandez, 34 percent support while Xiomara Castro, wife of deposed former leader Manuel Zelaya, had 28.5 percent.
The preliminary tally was based on a count from 43 percent of polling booths. Final results are expected on Monday.
A Hernandez victory would deal a blow to Zelaya, who was ousted in a 2009 coup that plunged Honduras into a political crisis. He had hoped to stage a political comeback behind Castro. Honduran Election Tribunal has consistently been called into question by Castro’s Libre Party. The party has also warned of fraud and voter intimidation.
“All of these parties have been conducting their own polling for months and they are convinced that their polling is correct,” Al Jazeera’s Adam Raney, reporting from the capital Tegucigalpa, said. ”So, whatever this tribunal says, it’s going to be hard to convince the loser that this is an accurate count.”
Castro was campaigning to become the first female president of Honduras, the poorest country in the Americas after Haiti with an estimated 71 percent of the population living in poverty.”The people have decided, and the people want change,” she said after voting in Catacamas. “A new era has started for all Hondurans.
Lots of cheering supporters welcomed Iranian negotiators arrival home.
Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7bn in sanctions relief.
Israel called the deal a “historic mistake”.
Carrying flowers and Iranian flags at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, crowds hailed Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, as an “ambassador of peace” and chanted, “No to war, sanctions, surrender and insult”.
Are you in Iran? What are your thoughts on the deal? What difference will the sanctions relief make to your life. Let us know.
US Secretary of State Kerry assured Israel will be safer over the next six months due to the agreement reached in Geneva concerning Iran’s nuclear program and uranium enrichment plan.
Though “Israel is threatened by what has been going on in Iran”,the deal brokered on Saturday will keep the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program under supervision and control, said John Kerry.
“But I believe that from this day – for the next six months – Israel is in fact safer than it was yesterday because we now have a mechanism by which we are going to expand the amount of time in which they (the Iranians) can break out (toward making a nuclear bomb),” he told CNN.
The remark comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had slammed the international deal over Iran’s nuclear program as a “historic mistake.” He said that after this agreement was reached, the world has become “a more dangerous place.”
In an attempt to reduce tension Kerry assured that from this day there will be “insights” into the program “that we didn’t have before.”
The much-anticipated agreement reached in Geneva gives Iran initial relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its enrichment of uranium to above 5 per cent for six months.
However Kerry stressed that “there’s very little sanctions relief here – that the basic architecture of the sanctions stays in place.”
The Obama administration pointed out that it has no illusions about the risks that the Islamic state might not follow through but the US entered the deal with eyes “absolutely wide open.”
The US and Iran secretly engaged in a series of high-level talks over the past year, according to an AP report. The negotiations were allegedly hidden even from America’s key ally in the region, Israel.
The talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and were personally authorized by President Barack Obama, the report claims. It says that since March top US officials – Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice-President Joe Biden’s foreign policy adviser – have met at least five times with Iranian diplomats. The last four meetings were held after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated in August and were very productive, three senior administration officials told AP on condition of anonymity.
EU will likely ease sanctions in place against Iran in December, said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The announcement comes hot on the heels of a landmark deal over Tehran’s nuclear program that ended a decade of diplomatic deadlock.
The European Union will ease sanctions imposed on Tehran “in December,” the French foreign minister told radio Europe 1 on Monday. Fabius added that a meeting between EU foreign ministers had been scheduled for the coming weeks to discuss the lightening of the sanctions.
Although Fabius did not specify which sanctions would be lifted, he said that the move would be“reversible.”
“We are doing the same as the American side,” said Fabius. The P5+1 reached a deal with Iran in the early hours of Sunday morning that will allow Tehran access to $4.2 billion in funds frozen as part of the financial penalties imposed on the country.
The agreement will allow Tehran to continue enriching uranium, but only to 5 per cent, a far cry from the 90 per cent needed for the construction of an atomic bomb. Minister Fabius said that although the international community had agreed to let Iran continue enrichment, the deal does not acknowledge Tehran’s “right to enrichment.”
“Iran cannot do whatever it wants, there are specific limitations,” he said. After the deal was clinched the international community has diverged somewhat in its interpretation of what it means for Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi wrote on Twitter that the right to enrichment had been recognized in negotiations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov intimated that Iran’s right to enrichment has been acknowledged.
“This deal means that we agree with the need to recognize Iran’s right for peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment, Lavrov told Russian press following negotiations.
In contrast Washington said that while it accepted Tehran’s right to a “peaceful nuclear program,” its right to enrichment had not been acknowledged.
“The first step, let me be clear, does not say that Iran has a right to enrich uranium,” said Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday.
The Geneva has, for the most part, been hailed as a success by the international community and a step towards the normalization of relations with Iran. However, Israel has opposed the deal and condemned it as a “historic mistake.”
At a cabinet meeting on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was not bound by the new agreement
“The regime in Iran is committed to destroying Israel. [But] Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself from any threat, [and] will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.”
When asked if he feared the possibility of a preventative, Israeli strike, Fabius said he did not because“no one would understand” such a move “at this stage.”
Conference on Palestine needed similar to one on Syria – envoy
It would be possible to convene a conference to settle the Palestinian problem that will be similar to an international conference on Syria in Geneva, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa said Monday.“We believe that after the Geneva conference on Syria and future Geneva-2 and probably Geneva-3 may be held,”Itar-Tass quoted the envoy as saying. “Perhaps, one more Geneva conference – the third one or the fourth one may be convened… to resolve the Palestinian problem.”
About 600 people rallying in Kiev – Ukrainian police
Some 500 pro-EU protesters were rallying in the Ukrainian capital’s Europe Square on Monday morning, RIA-Novosti reported, citing police in Kiev. Another 50 people gathered on Independence Square. Nobody was detained during the morning’s peaceful protests or during the night, police said. Demonstrators are demanding the authorities sign an agreement on association and free trade with the EU. The government last week suspended preparations for the signing.
3 killed in clashes of Libyan army, Islamist militants
Clashes between Libyan troops and militants in the eastern city of Benghazi on Monday killed at least three people and wounded a dozen more, officials said. Gunfire and explosions were heard in Benghazi and smoke rose from the Ras Obeida area, Reuters reported. Fighting broke out when an army special forces unit pursued a suspect into an area where Islamist militant group Ansar Al-Sharia operates its own checkpoints. A year ago, the group was blamed for the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi when the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
Protesters break into Thailand Finance Ministry
About 40 anti-government protesters forced their way into Thailand’s Finance Ministry on Monday, Reuters reported. The move followed a march of more than 30,000 of demonstrators to 12 buildings in Bangkok seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The building’s power was cut shortly after protesters burst into the ministry, according to a witness. Demonstrators spread across the city on Monday to government offices, military and naval bases and state TV channels to stop the alleged influence of the deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
IAEA starts review of work to scrap Fukushima reactors
A team of experts formed by the International Atomic Energy Agency began Monday reviewing the efforts to scrap the crippled reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The IAEA team will focus on the management of the radioactive water buildup at the site and fuel removal work that has just started at a pool inside the damaged No. 4 reactor building, Kyodo quoted team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo as saying in Tokyo.“The removal of the spent fuel is an essential activity toward decommissioning,” Lentijo said. The full process that TEPCO has developed will be reviewed, as well as all the precautions adopted to develop these activities in a safe way.
Saudi court sentences Jeddah US consulate attacker to death
A Saudi court has sentenced one man to death and another 19 to jail terms ranging from 18 months to 25 years for storming the US consulate in Jeddah in 2004, Reuters reported. Another 35 defendants in the case will be sentenced on Monday and Tuesday. In the December 6 attack, five militants stormed the US consulate with bombs and guns, killing four Saudi security personnel and five local staff. Three of the attackers were killed and two were captured. The attack was seen as part of an Al-Qaeda campaign aimed at ousting the ruling Al Saud family. The campaign was crushed in 2006, with more than 11,000 people being detained.
China has send formal letters of protest to Japanese and US embassies in Beijing, after both countries criticized China’s move to create the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone over islands disputed with Japan, China’s Defense Ministry said on Monday. The accusations toward China are “absolutely groundless and unacceptable,” ministry’s spokesman Yang Yujun said. On Saturday PRC said that any Japanese planes in the vicinity of Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands need to submit their flight patterns to China’s Foreign Ministry or civil aviation administration and they must maintain radio contact with Chinese authorities, as the country introduced the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov says Moscow is considering reviewing a 2009 gas contract that Kiev believes to be unfavorable. “We have been persistently trying to persuade the Russian Federation to review the contract,” Azarov told Ukrainian TV channel ICTV. “Now, generally speaking, there is such a pledge, and we hope we will implement it during the talks.” Ukraine considers the gas contract signed in 2009 by then-Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers Vladimir Putin and Yulia Tymoshenko as financially unfavorable. Ukraine repeatedly warned that if Gazprom refuses to revise the contract, it would stop importing gas from Russia.
New Delhi, November 25, 2013: The Indian Media Centre strongly condemns the prima facie serious case of sexual harassment of a young woman journalist by Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal and demands that the matter be probed thoroughly by the authorities concerned in the interests of probity in the media.
No corporate or editorial head can set the terms of his own punishment. The magazine’s management should have taken prompt action on the basis of the Vishakha guidelines laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The malafide and serious dereliction of duty on the part of the management and its opting for an ‘internal inquiry’ in such a serious matter cannot be condoned and is not acceptable. It is a clear cut case of institutional failure and the law of the land must take its course.
The unfortunate incident should also serve as a wakeup call for the entire media to institutionalize mechanisms where even the minutest instance of the violation of the Vishakha guidelines is taken congnizance of and it is ensured that the law takes it course.
The Government on its part must notify the relevant laws with immediate effect and provide for a mechanism to ensure compliance. It is suggested that this work be entrusted to the National Commission for women.
The IMC shall also be organizing a National Consultation on the issue with all stakeholders and like minded organizations in the near future.
Indian Media Centre is an independent, non-profit institution dedicated to the highest standards in journalism – print, electronic and Internet. It has 16 chapters across the country.
Dr Chandan Mitra, K G Suresh
Chairman, IMC Director, IMC
(Editor-in-Chief, The Pioneer) (Editor, Vivekananda International Foundation)