Sabtu, 9 November 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Maldives' democratic process breaks down again amid bickering


MALE (Reuters) - The Maldives' top court delayed holding the second round of the country's presidential poll yet again on Sunday, prolonging a political crisis that has sparked international criticism over the Indian Ocean state's repeated failure to hold free elections.

Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader who first came to power in 2008 after 30 years of one-man rule, won the first round of voting on Saturday but failed to win a clear majority.

The run-off was scheduled to take place on Sunday but the Supreme Court has delayed it until Saturday, in line with demands from Nasheed's two biggest rivals.

This weekend's poll was the Maldives' third attempt to elect a new president in as many months, but the democratic process once again broke down amid bickering between political factions.

The delay makes it unclear who will actually be in charge of the country from Monday, when the incumbent steps down. It is yet another distraction for a country known more for its luxury beach resorts than its recent bouts of unrest.

Whoever wins will face a rise in Islamist ideology, human rights abuses and a lack of investor confidence. The political crisis has hit tourism, a vital source of earnings, and the Maldives has faced fuel shortages because it is unable to pay suppliers on time amid dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

"To delay second-round voting beyond the constitutional requirements for a new government by November 11 will create uncertainties that may destabilise the Maldives," the U.S. States Department said in a statement.

"It is unreasonable and unacceptable for parties to continue to demand changes to an agreed election date."

A September 7 vote was annulled based on a secret police report which found vote rigging while an October poll was halted by police after a Supreme Court ruling.

Nasheed, who was ousted from power last year in circumstances that his supporters say amounted to a coup, won 46.93 percent of the vote, the official results showed.

Nasheed's main opponent is Abdulla Yameen, a half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the islands for 30 years and was considered a dictator by opponents and rights groups. Yameen won 29.72 percent of the vote, while resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, a finance minister under Gayoom, secured 23.34 percent.

(Writing by Shihar Aneez in Colombo; Editing by Matthias Williams nd Nick Macfie)

Philippine super typhoon kills at least 10,000, official says


TACLOBAN, Philippines (Reuters) - One of the most powerful storms recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, with huge waves sweeping away entire coastal villages and devastating the region's main city.

Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through Leyte province on Friday, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director.

Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many described as similar to a tsunami, levelling houses and drowning hundreds of people in one of the worst natural disasters to hit the typhoon-prone Southeast Asian nation.

The national government and disaster agency have not confirmed the latest estimate of deaths, a sharp increase from initial estimates on Saturday of at least 1,000 killed.

"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials. The governor said, based on their estimate, 10,000 died," Soria told Reuters. "The devastation is so big."

Witnesses and officials described chaotic scenes in Leyte's capital, Tacloban, a coastal city of 220,000 about 580 km (360 miles) southeast of Manila, with hundreds of bodies piled on the sides of roads and pinned under wrecked houses.

The city and nearby villages as far as one kilometre from shore were flooded by the storm surge, leaving floating bodies and roads choked with debris from fallen trees, tangled power lines and flattened homes. TV footage showed children clinging to rooftops for their lives.

Many internet users urged prayers for survivors in the largely Roman Catholic nation on social media sites such as Twitter.

"From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometre inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami," said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who had been in Tacloban since before the typhoon struck the city.

"I don't know how to describe what I saw. It's horrific."

Mila Ward, an Australian citizen and Filipino by birth who was in Leyte on vacation visiting her family, said she saw hundreds of bodies on the streets.

"They were covered with blankets, plastic. There were children and women," she said.

Six people were killed and dozens wounded during heavy winds and storms in central Vietnam as Haiyan approached the coast, state media reported, even though it had weakened substantially since hitting the Philippines with winds gusts of up to 275 kph (170 mph).


Vietnam authorities have moved 883,000 people in 11 central provinces to safe zones, according to the government's website. Despite weakening, the storm is likely to cause heavy rains, flooding, strong winds and mudslides as it makes its way north in the South China Sea.

Looters rampaged through several stores in Tacloban, witnesses said, taking whatever they could find as rescuers' efforts to deliver food and water were hampered by severed roads and communications.

"They are taking everything, even appliances like TV sets. These will be traded later on for food," said Tecson John Lim, the Tacloban city administrator.

"We don't have enough manpower. We have 2,000 employees but only about 100 are reporting for work. Everyone is attending to their families."

Lim said city officials had so far only collected 300-400 bodies, but believed the death toll in the city alone could be 10,000.

International aid agencies said relief efforts in the Philippines are stretched thin after a 7.2 magnitude quake in central Bohol province last month and displacement caused by a conflict with Muslim rebels in southern Zamboanga province.

The World Food Programme said it was airlifting 40 tonnes of high energy biscuits, enough to feed 120,000 people for a day, as well as emergency supplies and telecommunications equipment.

Tacloban city airport was all but destroyed as seawaters swept through the city, shattering the glass of the airport tower, levelling the terminal and overturning nearby vehicles.

A Reuters reporter saw five bodies inside a chapel near the airport, placed on pews.

Airport manager Efren Nagrama, 47, said water levels rose up to four metres (13 feet).

"It was like a tsunami. We escaped through the windows and I held on to a pole for about an hour as rain, seawater and wind swept through the airport," he said. "Some of my staff survived by clinging to trees. I prayed hard all throughout until the water subsided."

Iran nuclear talks fail to reach deal, France pushes back


GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers failed in marathon talks to clinch a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program but said differences had narrowed and they would resume negotiations in 10 days in a fresh bid to end the decade-old standoff.

But clear divisions emerged among the U.S. and European allies on the final day of the talks as France hinted that the proposal under discussion did not sufficiently neutralize the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Iran is hoping for a deal that would ease the international sanctions that have frozen its assets around the world and prevented it from selling its oil.

It is ultimately the Americans and Iranians, who have not had formal diplomatic ties for more than three decades, who have the power to make or break an agreement.

But on Saturday the attention suddenly turned to the French after Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio that Paris could not accept a "fool's game" - in other words, a weak deal with Iran.

"From the start, France wanted an agreement to the important question of Iran's nuclear programme," Fabius told reporters after the meeting, which ran into the early hours of Sunday.

"The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed," Fabius said.

Fabius' pointed remarks rankled others in the Western camp. One diplomat close to the negotiations said the French were trying to upstage the other powers and were causing unnecessary trouble for participants in the talks, which are aimed at securing a deal with Iran that has eluded the West for a decade.

"The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively together for months on this proposal and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations," the diplomat told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Kerry played down suggestions of a rift, saying, "I think tonight there is a unity in our position and a unity in the purpose as we leave here."

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said senior political officials from Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany would meet again on November 20 to work on a deal.

Kerry told reporters that an agreement could be within reach.

"There is no question in my mind that we are closer now as we leave Geneva than we were when we came and that with good work and good faith over the course of the next weeks, we can, in fact, secure our goal," Kerry said.

"We came to Geneva to narrow the differences and I can tell you without any exaggeration we ... narrowed the differences and clarified those that remain," he said.

But he warned Tehran that Washington's desire for a diplomatic solution to the long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear programme was not infinite, saying the window for diplomacy "does not stay open indefinitely."

Ministers from Iran and the major powers held a series of meetings late on Saturday in a final push for an outline of a deal that would freeze parts of Iran's atomic programme in exchange for sanctions relief. In the end, however, they chose to adjourn for 10 days.

Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said they hoped an agreement would be signed later this month.

"We have done some intense negotiations and discussions and our objective is to reach a conclusion and that's what we will come back to try and do," Ashton told reporters.

Zarif said: "We had a very good three days, very productive three days, and it is something we can build on."

The latest talks began on Thursday and Kerry unexpectedly arrived on Friday to help bridge differences and secure an agreement. From the time he arrived in Geneva, Kerry played down expectations of a deal.

Fabius, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and their counterparts from Russia and Germany, Sergei Lavrov and Guido Westerwelle, also attended, along with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, demonstrating the six-nation group's commitment to reaching an agreement.


Zarif, asked about the role Fabius played in the talks, did not criticize the French minister, saying disagreements at this stage of the negotiations were to be expected.

"It was natural that when we start dealing with the details there will be differences of views and we expect it," he said. "I am not disappointed at all because the meeting we just had ... was a good meeting.

"I think we are all on the same wavelength and that is important and that gives us the impetus to move forward when we meet again next time."

The main sticking points in the talks include calls for a shutdown of an Iranian reactor that could eventually help to produce weapons-grade plutonium, the fate of Iran's stockpile of higher-enriched uranium and the nature and sequencing of relief from economic sanctions sought by Tehran.

The powers remain concerned that Iran is continuing to amass enriched uranium not for future nuclear power stations, as Tehran says, but as potential fuel for nuclear warheads.

They are searching for a preliminary agreement that would restrain Iran's nuclear programme and make it more transparent for U.N. anti-proliferation inspectors. In exchange, Tehran would obtain phased and initially limited relief from the sanctions throttling the economy of the giant OPEC state.

Iran and the six powers have been discussing a partial nuclear suspension deal lasting about six months. During that time, Iran and the six powers would negotiate a permanent agreement aimed at removing all concerns that Tehran is amassing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

One concession under consideration is the disbursement to Iran, in instalments, about $50 billion of Iranian funds blocked in foreign accounts for years.

Another step could be temporarily relaxing restrictions on precious metals trade and Washington suspending pressure on countries not to buy Iranian oil.

Negotiators have limited political room to manoeuvre as there is hard-line resistance to any rapprochement both in Tehran - especially among its elite Revolutionary Guards and conservative Shi'ite clerics - and in the U.S. Congress.

Kerry appeared to respond to his critics in the U.S. legislature by saying, "This is an issue of such consequence that really needs to rise or fall on merits, not on politics."


Kerry arrived in Geneva on Friday from Israel after a tense meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who rejected any budding compromise with Iran.

Netanyahu warned Kerry and his European counterparts that Iran would be getting "the deal of the century" if they carried out proposals to grant it temporary respite from sanctions.

Israel, which is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal and regards its arch-enemy Iran as a mortal threat, has repeatedly mooted military action against Tehran if it does not mothball its entire nuclear programme.

Iran dismisses such demands, citing a sovereign right to a nuclear energy industry, and most diplomats concede that, as Tehran has expanded its nuclear capacity exponentially since 2006, the time for demanding a total shutdown has passed.

Kerry seemed to acknowledge on Sunday divisions among U.S. allies who worry that a deal with Iran would be a mistake - an apparent reference to both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"We also understand there are also very strong feelings about the consequences and choices we face for our allies and we respect that," Kerry said. "Some of them are absolutely directly and immediately involved and we have an enormous respect, needless to say, for those concerns."

Like Israel, Saudi Arabia has expressed concerns to Washington about the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the Saudis' main rival in the region, as well as Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's 2-1/2-year civil war.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau, Fredrik Dahl and Yeganeh Tobati; Writing by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Paul Simao and Bill Trott)


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved