Two Indians held while trying to enter US illegally

Wednesday 24th April 2019 02:35 EDT

Two Indian nationals have been apprehended by the patrol agents at the US-Mexico border in Arizona after they got stranded while trying to enter America illegally, authorities said. The duo, including a Sikh man, called for help using technology installed in remote locations to help people in distress. Agents assigned to the Ajo Border patrol station rescued the two migrants following the activation of a US Border Patrol rescue beacon. They responded to the beacon located at Lukeville Port of Entry and found the two men alone. The two were in good health, and did not request further medical assistance, the US Customs and Border Protection said. The duo was transported back to the station for processing, where records checks revealed the men were Indian nationals. The agency said criminal organisations often abandon migrants in the desert. As a result, many perish along the border every year. US Border Patrol has encouraged anyone in distress to call 911or activate a rescue beacon before they become a casualty.

Reconsider travel plans to Pak, US tells its citizens

The US has advised its citizens to reconsider their travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and asked them not to travel to restive Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), identified as the most dangerous areas due to terror attacks. While Pakistan in general has been placed in “Level Three” category in the latest travel advisory issued by the US, several parts of the country, including Balochistan, KPK province, PoK and India-Pakistan border, have been placed in the most dangerous “Level Four” category, in which US citizens are asked not to travel due to high risk areas. “Terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and information suggests they continue to do so,” it said.

Pak army bars Durrani from media talks

Pakistan spy agency ISI’s ex-chief Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani and two former head of the military’s media wing have been denied permission by the army to appear on media as defence analysts. In a notification, the Inter-Services Public Relations allowed 26 retired officers to appear on media.“The prominent omissions are Brig (retd) Mahmood Shah, Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood,” Durrani and Masood often appeared on the Indian media. In February, the Pakistan army held Durrani guilty of violating military code of conduct by co-authoring a book with India’s former intelligence head and punished him by stopping his pension and other benefits.

Gunmen kill 14 bus passengers in Pakistan

Gunmen ambushed a bus and killed 14 passengers after going through their ID cards and forcing them out on a highway in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan before dawn, officials said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the killings. Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack in restive Baluchistan province, calling it "an act of terror." Separatists in Baluchistan frequently target Pakistani security forces and also people from neighboring Punjab province. Punjabis, a different ethnic group from the Baluch, tend to dominate the ranks of the military units stationed in Baluchistan that the separatists are fighting. The attack took place as the bus was travelling on the Makran coastal highway between the port city of Karachi and the Gwadar port in the southwest, officials said.

UN finds torture, ill-treatment in Afghan prisons

Around a third of all conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan say they have suffered from torture or ill-treatment, the UN said. UN officials interviewed a total of 618 detainees held in 77 government facilities across the country between January 2017 and December 2018. The alleged torture included beatings, suffocation and electric shocks. The UN said nearly a third of those interviewed provided "credible and reliable" accounts of abuse and mistreatment, without providing an exact number of detainees. The US-backed Afghan government is holding thousands of detainees, many of them captured as part of the ongoing war with the Taliban. The insurgents have made major gains in recent years and now effectively control half the country. Widespread corruption and distrust of the government has undermined efforts to combat the Taliban.

Notre Dame will be closed up to 6 years

Notre Dame's rector Bishop Patrick Chauvet said that the famed monument would close down for "five to six years" as he spoke with local business owners, two days after a blaze torched the roof of the cathedral and brought down its spire. Chauvet said "a segment of the cathedral has been very weakened" by the devastating fire. He did not elaborate which section he was talking about.

$1 billion raised

Nearly $1 billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and high-powered magnates around the world to restore the monument. Construction teams brought in a huge crane and a delivery of planks of wood to the site. Firefighters are still examining damage and shoring up the structure.

Comic Zelenskiy wins Ukraine presidential vote

Results from nearly all polling stations show that TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won the Ukrainian presidential runoff vote in a landslide. The Central Election Commission says that Zelenskiy has won 73% of the vote while the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko got just 24% support with more than 95% of the ballots counted. Unlike in most of the elections in Ukraine's post-Soviet history, Zelenskiy appears to have won both in Ukraine's west and east, areas that have been traditionally polarized. One of the campaign slogans of the popular television comedian who has no previous political experience was to unify Ukraine, which has been torn by bitter debates over its identity as well as the separatist conflict in the east that is fueled by neighboring Russia.

China- Vatican ties warming up

China has invited the Vatican to participate in a major international horticultural show in Beijing later this month, the foreign ministry said, in a further sign of warming ties. Beijing cut diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1951 and has remained concerned that an independent Catholic Church in China could threaten its authority. They reached a historic agreement last year on the appointment of bishops in China, but have not resumed diplomatic relations. The Vatican maintains ties with Taiwan instead, which China views as a wayward province. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, would attend "relevant activities" of the International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing, which opens in late April. China and the Vatican have continued to talk following the agreement on bishops and are working hard to improve relations, Lu added, without giving details.

Attack on Mali army base kills 11 soldiers

Gunmen attacked a Malian army base, killing 11 soldiers and burning the camp in west-central Mali, the army and a local lawmaker said. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Central Mali has in the past few years been overrun by jihadists with links to al Qaeda. In March, an al Qaeda affiliate said it was behind a similar overnight attack on an army base in the central region of Mopti in which 16 soldiers were killed. Escalating violence led to the resignation last week of the entire Malian government. The authorities have come under fire for failing to beat back militants and disarm militias, after a massacre of 157 villagers by an ethnic vigilante group shocked the nation in March. Both Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso have been hit by the spike in hostilities fuelled by Islamist militants seeking to extend their influence over the Sahel, an arid region between Africa's northern Sahara desert and its southern savannas.

150 reported missing after boat in Congo sinks

Congo's president says 150 people are reported missing after a boat sank on Lake Kivu in the country's east. The motorized boat was headed toward the commercial hub of Goma when it sank. Many of the victims were believed to be traders who make the journey each week. President Felix Tshisekedi says in a Twitter post that officials will work to punish those responsible for the fatal sinking. Local authorities say only four bodies had been recovered, while 35 people had been saved. Delphin Birimbi, a civil society leader in Mbinga, said the authorities need to step up surveillance of overladen boats, which frequently contribute to fatal accidents.

Myanmar leader pardons 9,500 prisoners

More than 9,500 prisoners were ordered released in Myanmar under a presidential amnesty, but they did not include two Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters reporters. The Facebook page of the Office of President Win Myint said he has signed a pardon for 9,551 prisoners, including 16 foreigners, to be released nationwide on the occasion of the country's traditional New Year. Official lists of those to be freed are usually not made public, but activists monitor releases, especially at Yangon's Insein Prison, where most important detainees are held. Sympathizers waited outside the prison for the possible release of the two Reuters reporters jailed for breaking the Official Secrets Act, but they were not freed. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are serving a seven-year sentence. They say they were framed because of official displeasure over their reporting on the crackdown by security forces on members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine state.

Former French PM Fillon and wife to stand corruption trial

A French judicial official says investigating judges have ordered that former Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife stand trial on corruption charges. Fillon, who at one point was the front-runner in France's 2017 presidential race, saw his bid unravel over allegations he paid his wife Penelope and two of their children more than 1 million euros over many years for jobs as parliamentary aides that involved no sustained work. The judicial official confirmed a report that the couple will stand trial. Fillon has denied wrongdoing, contending the allegations were a smear campaign to undo his presidential bid.

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