World News | WRHL http://www.wrhl.net/pages/index.cfm?id=505 World News 2014-04-24T05:59:56Z World News Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies By Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit. Obama poised for new sanctions on Russia if no progress on Ukraine By Mark Felsenthal and Alissa de Carbonnel TOKYO/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was poised to impose new sanctions on Moscow if it does not act fast to end an armed stand-off in Ukraine, but there was a first, tentative sign that pro-Russian separatists were ceding ground. Moscow also flexed its economic muscles in its worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War, with the government suggesting foreign firms which pull out of the country may not be able to get back in, and a source at Gazprom saying the gas exporter had slapped an additional $11.4 billion bill on Kiev. Under an international accord signed in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups in Ukraine, including the pro-Russian rebels occupying about a dozen public buildings in the east of the country, are supposed to disarm and go home. Washington accuses Moscow of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine while Russia denies this and counters that Europe and the United States are supporting an illegitimate government in Kiev. Boy and girl on Korean ferry tied life jackets together before they drowned By James Pearson and Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) - A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said, presumably so they wouldn't float apart. Almost 250 teenagers and teachers at the school have died or are presumed dead. Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, in the latest of a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. The attacker, a policeman employed as a security guard at the Cure Hospital, was captured, the ministry said. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks this year, but made no comment about Thursday's shooting. Kashmiris shun polls as Modi challenges for power in India By Douglas Busvine and Fayaz Bukhari ANANTNAG, India (Reuters) - Mohammad Amin Pandith, a smallholder and father-of-three from Indian-controlled Kashmir, was lured from his home at night by a man in army uniform, dragged along a potholed lane and shot in the back of the head. His execution, one of three deadly attacks on village elders in the last week blamed on militants determined to derail elections, spread fear through the hamlet of Gulzarpora and led locals to boycott India's general election on Thursday. It also underlined how hard it will be for India's next prime minister to reach a lasting political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region that has been largely pacified by a huge security presence, yet is not at peace. India's election, which runs in stages until May 12, may well propel Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi to power, a prospect that has Kashmir's 12.5 million people scrabbling to determine what it would mean for them. Australia rules out link between debris and Malaysian plane By Byron Kaye and Sonali Paul PERTH/MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Authorities ruled out any link between debris picked up on an Australian beach and a missing Malaysian jetliner on Thursday as a tropical cyclone again threatened to hamper a 26-nation air, surface and underwater search of the Indian Ocean. The debris, found on Wednesday on a beach at the southern tip of Western Australia state, was seen as the first lead since April 4 when authorities detected what they believed was a signal from the black box of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. But it took Australian authorities less than a day to analyze detailed photographs of the beached debris, no description of which was given, and dismiss the possibility that it may be linked to the plane. "We're not seeing anything in this that would lead us to believe that it is from a Boeing aircraft," Australian Transport Safety Bureau commissioner Martin Dolan the Australian Broadcasting Corp. That puts the focus of the search, the most expensive in aviation history, back on U.S. Navy undersea drone Bluefin-21, which will soon finish scouring a 10 square kms (6.2 square mile) stretch of seabed where the acoustic pings were located. Tiny Pacific nation sues 9 nuclear-armed powers NEW YORK (AP) — The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world's eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of "flagrant violations" of international law. Platini: No Champs League bans in 1st FFP cases PARIS (AP) — Clubs won't be excluded from next season's Champions League for breaking "Financial Fair Play" rules, according to UEFA President Michel Platini China demands local solutions for grievances BEIJING (AP) — For decades, members of the Chinese public with grievances against local governments have been traveling to Beijing in the time-honored tradition of appealing to the country's highest authorities. Syia air raid on market town 'kills 21' An air strike on a market on Thursday killed at least 21 people, including three children, in a village of the north Syrian province of Aleppo, a monitoring group said. The deadly raid comes amid a massive aerial offensive targeting opposition-held areas across Aleppo city and province that began in December 15. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing campaign has killed hundreds, mostly civilians, and forced thousands of families to flee their homes. "The number of people killed in an air strike this morning against the market area of Atareb village has risen to 21, including three children," said the Observatory, adding the toll was likely to rise. 5 free things in Glasgow, from gardens to museums GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The image of Scotland's largest city as a hard and dirty industrial center is long gone. Instead, this former European Capital of Culture is now widely regarded as one of Britain's most lively and stylish urban destinations. It boasts the best shopping experience in the U.K. outside of London and is home to a variety of annual festivals celebrating everything from rock music and comedy to literature and the arts. Ukraine forces kill several separatists in Slaviansk operation By Aleksandar Vasovic and Gleb Garanich SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces clashed with pro-Russian militants as they closed in on the separatist-held city of Slaviansk on Thursday, seizing rebel checkpoints and setting up roadblocks as helicopters circled overhead. Reuters journalists saw a Ukrainian military detachment with five armored personnel carriers take over a checkpoint on a road north of the city in late morning after it was abandoned by separatists who set tires alight to cover their retreat. No shots were heard during that takeover but the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that its forces and troops from the Defence Ministry had killed "up to five terrorists" while destroying three militant checkpoints northeast of the center. A separatist spokeswoman in Slaviansk said early in the morning that two fighters were killed in clash in the same area, near a road leading to the town of Sviatogorsk. Clash in east Ukraine leave at least 2 dead DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian government and pro-Russia insurgents report at least two deaths on the pro-Russia side during clashes in east Ukraine. Putin warns of consequences of Ukrainian use of army ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that if Kiev authorities have used the army against pro-Russian activists in east Ukraine there will be consequences. "If these people have advanced to the so called 'acute phase' (of confrontation with protesters), this is not an acute phase, it is just a punitive operation and it will of course incur consequences for the people making these decisions, including (an effect) on our interstate relations," Putin said in a televised meeting with regional media. ... Time running out for Bundesliga's bottom 3 BERLIN (AP) — Three rounds of games remain in the Bundesliga, increasing the pressure on the sides fighting to avoid the drop and those battling for European football next season. League champion Bayern Munich is preoccupied with overturning its narrow loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal, while time is running out for Eintracht Braunschweig, Nuremberg and Hamburger SV. Stuttgart, which took a big step toward survival last weekend, gets the 32nd round of games underway at Hannover on Friday. Here are five things to know: Israeli FM lashes out at Palestinian unity deal JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's foreign minister says a peace deal with the Palestinians is impossible after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a unity government. U.S. official says Hamas-PLO government would prompt aid reassessment The United States would have to reconsider its assistance to the Palestinians if Islamist group Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization form a government together, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday. Gaza-based Hamas - which is listed by the United States as a terrorist organization - and President Mahmoud Abbas's West Bank-based PLO announced a unity pact on Wednesday, complicating U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel that Washington is already struggling to extend past an April 29 deadline. 1 year after factory collapse, Bangladeshis suffer SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — One year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in a pile of concrete slabs and twisted metal, Bangladeshi seamstress Shefali says she would rather starve to death than return to factory work. WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama's robot summit TOKYO (AP) — The voice was slightly halting, childlike. "Welcome to Miraikan, Mr. President, it is a pleasure to meet you." Kiev, insurgents in eastern Ukraine say at least 2 dead in clashes DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Kiev, insurgents in eastern Ukraine say at least 2 dead in clashes. Indonesian school: We'll cooperate in abuse probe JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A prestigious international school in Indonesia said Thursday it was cooperating with police in their investigation of alleged abuse of a 6-year-old student and was devastated upon learning of allegations against an American teacher who worked there a decade ago. Senegal ex-president's delayed homecoming set for Friday Senegal's exiled former president Abdoulaye Wade is to make his controversial homecoming two days later than planned, his party said, with supporters claiming he was deliberately held up en route. Wade, 87, who held power from 2000 to 2012, was expected in Dakar on Wednesday for his first trip back to the west African nation since he moved to France after a bitter election defeat to arch rival and current leader Macky Sall. His flight was grounded in Casablanca, however, and he is delaying his return until Friday, the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) said late Wednesday, "to allow all those who wish to come to welcome him in greater numbers and with even more enthusiasm" and avoid any reason to deny him entry to Senegal. It tarnishes the image of our country around the world, undermines our democracy and is a manifestation of the will of Macky Sall to transform our democracy into an authoritarian system," the party said in a statement. Top Asian News at 10:30 a.m. GMT KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said. The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital this year. Owners of Korea ferry company accept responsibilities, lawyer says The family that has a major stake in companies that control the shipping operator whose ferry sank last week, likely to have killed hundreds, will take social and legal responsibility for the incident, its lawyer said. The lawyer did not say that the family was assuming liability for what he termed a "tragic accident" and said that the family had not been summoned by prosecutors. "Yoo and his family will take all legal and social responsibility for this tragic accident if they have to as major stakeholders of the company," Son Byoung-gi told Reuters. Yoo Byung-un is the founder of a company that went bankrupt in the 1990s and whose shipping assets now form part of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. that is owned by investment funds controlled by his two sons, Yoo Dae-kyun and Yoo Hyuck-ki. Bloodied shirt, unwashed fork: JPII relics abound ROME (AP) — Inside a chapel on the edge of Rome, a nun uses a key to open a wooden wall panel, revealing a hidden niche. Behind glass and stitched loosely to supporting backing hangs a relic of holy suffering: the bullet-pocked, bloodstained undershirt that John Paul II was wearing when a gunman shot him in the stomach in St. Peter's Square. Costa Rica is demanding US explain 'Cuban Twitter' SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The Costa Rican government says it's still waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it launched the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic relations. EU institutions vulnerable to corruption: report BRUSSELS (AP) — An independent report says official complacency, complex rules and spotty oversight have left the European Union's leading institutions vulnerable to corruption. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges MUNICH (AP) — Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery when he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that a German banker who received a disputed $44 million payment didn't tell the truth. Germany puts military exports to Russia on hold BERLIN (AP) — The German government says it isn't authorizing any exports of military goods to Russia at present "because of the current political situation," leaving nearly 70 export applications on hold. Ukraine government forces kill 'up to five' militants in east Ukraine's interior ministry said on Thursday its forces had killed "up to five" militants in the separatist-controlled town of Slaviansk, in the east of the country. A ministry statement said that during an "anti-terrorist operation" its forces, supported by the army, removed three illegal checkpoints manned by armed groups in the northeastern part of the city. One person had been wounded on the side of government forces, it added. Juventus could clinch Serie A title ROME (AP) — Closing in on its third successive Serie A title, Juventus will be watching very closely when second-place Roma hosts an AC Milan squad that is on a five-match winning streak Friday. Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings TOKYO (AP) — Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself. Canon sees profit gain on weak yen, rising sales TOKYO (AP) — Japanese camera and office equipment maker Canon Inc. on Thursday reported a hefty 16 percent gain in profit for the first fiscal quarter, largely on a favorable exchange rate, but such strong growth wasn't expected to hold up. China says it will maintain patrols near Japan's new island base China's defense ministry said on Thursday it will continue military patrols in waters near a tropical Japanese island close to Taiwan, days after Tokyo announced it would break ground on a new radar base in the area. The radar station on Yonaguni Island, just 150 km (93 miles) from a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, marks Japan's first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years. "We are playing close attention to Japan's relevant military trends," Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in comments posted on the ministry's website. "China's military will continue to carry out battle readiness patrols, military drills and other activities in the relevant area," Yang said. Car bomb kills eight in central Iraq Hilla (Iraq) (AFP) - A car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing eight people, as Iraq struggles with daily violence ahead of an election next week. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,750 people this year, and the April 30 parliamentary vote -- the first since American troops departed in 2011 -- will be a major test for security forces. The heightened violence has been principally driven by widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority, who say they are mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said. European writers' room aims to beat Americans at TV game It could be a scene from a television drama: five Germans, three Frenchmen, a Briton, an Italian, a Bulgarian and a Hungarian, all cooking up a plot together in their London hideout. But this not-so-dirty dozen are on the other side of the small screen, as they are taking part in Europe's first postgraduate programme focused on writing and producing TV series. Dubbed "Serial Eyes", the nine-month course running between Berlin and London is a response to the new generation of TV series such as "Breaking Bad", "Mad Men" and "The Killing". "Watch as many TV shows or movies as you can and you show us what you like," special effects expert Erik Ellefsen tells the class at the London Film School in trendy Covent Garden. Central bank: Spanish growth doubled in Q1 MADRID (AP) — The recovery in the Spanish economy appears to be gathering steam. WRHL 2014-04-24T10:59:56Z http://www.wrhl.net/pages/index.cfm?id=505