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Nepal: Mountain rules tightened in wake of Himalayan disaster
Trekkers will be required to take guides and weather forecasts improved when the Nepalese government introduces new rules, following the country's worst hiking disaster. The tourism department has said trekkers will be required to rent a GPS tracking unit to help authorities trace them and take a trained local guide, when new rules are introduced in the spring. At least 41 people were killed last week when a blizzard and avalanches swept across the mountans in northern Nepal. Of those, 21 were foreign trekkers from countries including Canada, Poland, Slovakia, India, Japan, China and Israel. Tourism department official Tulasi Gautam said: “The main reason for the high number of casualties is that those trekkers without proper guides were prompted to continue with their trek in attempts to beat the storm. So we plan to strictly enforce new rules of no trekking without porters or proper guides.” JM
South Africa: Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but his 'short' sentence has been criticised by campaigners. The sentence was handed down by high court judge Thokozile Masipa on Tuesday (21-10), bringing an end to the 49-day trail which has gripped the world. However the jail term has sparked outrage on social media after it was revealed that 10 months into his sentence, Pistorius would be eligible to apply to serve the rest under house arrest. Many argue the athlete should have been convicted of murder instead of culpable homicide. The 27-yerar-old double-amputee shot Steenkamp four times through the toilet door on Valentine's Day last year after mistaking her for an intruder. JM
South Korea: 'Christmas tree' pulled down
South Korea has taken down a steel tower on its border with the North after the totalitarian state threatened to bomb it as “religious propaganda”. The 43-year-old tower has previously been covered in colourful lights and topped with a cross for Christmas by Christian groups. But the 'Christmas tree', which is only two miles from the border, was demolished last week as North Koreans condemned it as propaganda warfare. The news of the dismantling came three days after troops from the rival states exchanged fire along the border. Earlier this month, there were signs of easing tensions after a high-profile delegation from the North visited the South and agreed to revive senior-level talks. RK
USA: Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies
Ben Bradlee, the editor who reigned over the Washington Post during the notorious Watergate scandal, has died aged 93. He died of natural causes on Tuesday (21-10) at his Washington home, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Bradlee, who was editor of the Post from 1968-1991, was hailed for having “the courage of an army”. He was also a friend to former President John F. Kennedy, and was awarded the country's highest civilian honour – the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. In a statement President Barack Obama said: “For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession – it was a public good vital to our democracy.” RK
Australia: Domestic violence reforms to empower victims
Women's groups have welcomed legislation in NSW which means victims will be able to give evidence in court via a pre-recorded statement and police will be able to use body-mounted cameras to record evidence. The reforms, to be introduced on Tuesday, are a nationwide first but domestic violence groups say they still need to check out the details. Moo Baulch, domestic violence NSW chief executive, said: “Anything that takes the pressure off victims giving evidence in court has to be helpful. Women are inevitably going to be traumatised in that moment when police arrive at 4am, and there's abuse and violence going on.” Under the reforms a victim must give his or her consent to be filmed and the perpetrator will have access to the video before trial under strict conditions. JM
Northern Ireland: Ban on paying for sex is approved
Paying for sex will become illegal in Northern Ireland under new measures backed by the Stormont Assembly last night (20-10). The proposal to outlaw purchasing sex is among a number of clauses contained in a bill aimed at amending laws on trafficking and prostitution. Currently paid-for consensual sex is legal in Northern Ireland but activities such as brothel-keeping, pimping and kerb-crawling are not. The clause was passed by 81 votes to 10 but Stormont's justice minister, David Ford, leader of the cross-community Alliance party, opposed the ban. Research published by Queen's University in Belfast found that approximately 17,500 men pay for sex in Northern Ireland each year. The ban will follow Sweden which made buying sex illegal in 1999. JM
Unicef: A child is killed by violence every five minutes
Violence kills a child every five minutes in the world, according to a leading charity. The UN children's agency, Unicef, warns that 345 children under 20 could die from violence every day over the next year, if the world fails to agree a commitment to safeguarding young people in their homes, schools and communities. The report, Children in Danger: Act to End Violence against Children, found that more than 75% of violent child deaths are the result of interpersonal violence, rather than conflict. Unicef claims only 41 countries have an explicit ban on violence against children, but the report states that richer countries should not be complacent as no nation is currently providing children with the protection they need. RK
Australia: Former PM Gough Whitlam dies
Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, credited with transforming Australian society in the 1970s, has died at the age of 98. The Whitlam government created Australia's national health insurance scheme, abolished university fees, introduced state aid and strengthened ties abroad. However, his three years in office was plagued by resignations and ended with his controversial dismissal by the governor-general. In a statement, Mr Whitlam's family said he was a “loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.’’ RK
Egypt: Cairo bombing wounds 12 people
A bomb blast in central Cairo has left 12 injured after a court sentenced seven Islamic militants to death over terror attacks last year, Egypt's offical news agency has reported.The explosion was caused by a homemade bomb placed in a busy district near a court house and subway station.Earlier in the day an Egyptian court sentenced seven militants to death following the killing of 25 soldiers last year. Egypt has witnesses a series of suicide bombings, assassinations and attacks over the past year after the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Most of the attacks were carried out by al-Qaida-inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which is based in the northern region of Sinao Peninsula, where the Egyptian army has been carrying out a year-long offensive. JM
Ebola outbreak: Facebook CEO donates $25m to fight Ebola
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, are donating $25m to help fight against the worst-ever Ebola outbreak in west Africa.The money will go to the CDC Foundation, a non-profit organisation securing donations to help the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight the epidemic, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives.CDC has so far received an estimated $40m in commitments and donations to help combat the crisis.Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post: “We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis.”JM
UK: Boris urged to ban smoking in London's parks
Smoking in London's parks would become illegal under proposals from health advisers appointed by the mayor, Boris Johnson. The plans follow a review of health across the capital and would see bylaws banning smoking in outside areas including famous landmarks like Trafalgar and Parliament Square to make it one of the world's healthiest cities.Professor Sally Davies, the government's chief medical officer for England, said it would help deter young people from smoking by reducing the likelihood of them seeing adults lighting up. She said: “I welcome any measures to reduce both active smoking and its role-modelling in front of children.”In 2007 smoking was made illegal in enclosed public spaces such as pubs, clubs and restaurants across the UK. Smoking-related diseases are estimated to cause 8,400 premature deaths and 51,000 hospital admissions a year in the capital. RK
US Strategy: Obama Meets Foreign Military Chiefs
President Obama is going toattend a meeting on Tuesday (14/10) led by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, with foreign defence chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. The President is to discuss the US-led strategy to counter Islamic State (Isis) with military leaders from 20 countries including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, amid growing pressure for the US-led coalition to do more to stop the militants’ advance. Alistair Baskey, spokesman for the White House national Security Council said, “It is part of ongoing efforts to build the coalition and integrate the capabilities of each country into the broader strategy.” Previously on Monday the UN said that fighting in Iraq’s western Anbar province had forced up to 180,000 people to flee after Isis captured the city of Hit. JM
G 20 Meeting: Coal Burn or Climate Safety
Mining companies are campaigning for the upcoming G20 leaders’ meeting to support continued use of coal as a solution to the global “energy poverty” crisis while the focus was primarily on economic security, financial stabilisation, the importance of private sector-led growth. The world’s largest private coal miner Peabody has launched an online campaign titled the “Lights On” project to convince G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane next month. It is said that Climate change is a major threat in the fight against hunger and poverty and coal burning is the single biggest contributor to climate change.Therefore the chief executive of WWF Australia Dermot O’Gorman “Poor people in developing countries deserve access to clean, safe and affordable energy sources and this should be the primary motivation for the G20, rather than protecting the coal industry and running the risk of creating stranded assets.” JM
ST LOUIS PROTESTS : Youngsters Reject Religious Message
In response to the killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson a mass protest took place on Sunday (12/10).Later the showdown exposed a generational divide over how best to confront police racism, brutality which has drawn activists from across the US, plan to stage mass civil disobedience across St Louis on Monday. The young black Americans are apparently frustrated and got divided from older generation’s peaceful methods on this issue. Youngsters reject religious leaders’ repetitive message about loving one’s fellow man and standing up against injustice. The crowd exploded in a meeting of civil rights movement at St Louis University where activist Cornel West spoke in the same tone. Tef Poe, a St Louis rapper and activist could understand the young mind and said, “The people who want to break down racism from a philosophical level, y’all didn’t show up.” JM
BOLIVIA : Morales Elected for the Third Time
Evo Morales (55) elected as Bolivia’s president for the third time. Morales, a native Aymara Indian received 60% of the vote against 25% for cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina in Sunday’s election. The former coca growers’ union leaderknown internationally for his anti-imperialist and socialist rhetoric. He is widely popular at home for delivering economic and political stability though he has alienated environmentalists and many former indigenous allies by promoting mining and a planned jungle highway through an indigenous reserve. In a victory speech from the balcony of the presidential palace in La Paz, Morales dedicated his victory to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez. He said, “It is a triumph of the anti-colonialists and anti-imperialists.” JM
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