english news

Germany kicks off key state election in Bavaria


MUNICH- Germany’s southern state of Bavaria started voting on Sunday to shuffle the local parliament Landtag. About 9.5 million eligible voters are called in 91 voting districts to elect their representatives in the new state parliament, among them 600,000 are first-time voters, according to local statistics office.

Preliminary results will be disclosed at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT). The Christian Social Union (CSU), which has long governed the economic-strong state after the post-war period, is polled to suffer a serious setback losing its majority. The latest survey showed the conservative party will get 34 percent of the votes, a historic low and a sharp decline from the 47.7 percent it got in 2013.

CSU’s losses will likely give way to the ecologist, pro-immigration Greens, with a supporting rate of 19 percent, and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is forecast to win roughly 10 percent of the votes, according to the poll made by Infratest Dimap. The regional party Free Voters is projected to get 10 percent of the votes.(Xinhua)…[+]

Princess Eugenie wedding: royal marries at star-studded ceremony


Roads were closed, balloted tickets offered to members of the public and the streets of Windsor scattered with royal devotees, but this was, insisted the father of the bride before the service, “not a public wedding. This is meant to be a family wedding.”

And so it turned out when Princess Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, married Jack Brooksbank, a “tequila ambassador”, at St George’s chapel on Friday, in a service that was both a highly formal royal event and a somewhat idiosyncratic ceremony reflecting the distinct character of the younger generation of royals.

As befits a ceremony where guests ranged from the Queen to Ricky Martin, the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, with music by Andrea Bocelli, while the bridal party included Prince George and Robbie Williams’s daughter Teddy. The readings included a lesson from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians and an extract from The Great Gatsby, read by the bride’s older sister, Beatrice, which raised eyebrows for its description of the lead character as “an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over 30, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd”.

The passage, the dean later explained in his address, had “reminded [Eugenie] immediately of Jack”, though it was particularly the description of Gatsby’s smile as having “a quality of eternal reassurance” that she had meant, he said pointedly.(theguardian)…[+]

Andrew Brunson: Turkish court rules to release US pastor


The American pastor at the centre of a bitter diplomatic rift between Washington DC and Ankara is traveling back to the US after a Turkish court ordered his release following two years in detention. Witnesses in the courtroom in the western town of Izmir said Andrew Brunson wept as the decision was announced on Friday. “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey,” he had earlier told the court.

The surprise release of Brunson – who had been held on terrorism charges related to the failed 2016 military coup – suggests US-Turkey relations are thawing as Ankara seeks US help in investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last week. After the ruling, Donald Trump – who has made the case a foreign policy priority – wrote on Twitter that his “thoughts and prayers” were with Brunson, before posting in an all-caps tweet that the US pastor would be home soon.(theguardian)…[+]

Chinese language craze catches on in Tajikistan


DUSHANBE- “I have always wanted to learn Chinese. I plan to study in China after graduation,” said Qodirova Sayora, a senior university student.

Two years after learning the Chinese language at the Confucius Institute of the Tajik National University for Nationalities, Sayora is now a die-hard Chinese culture fan. She is currently learning to play the Chinese zither, a 2,500-year-old plucked string instrument. “It is very interesting to learn to play the zither, and that helps me learn Chinese,” she told Xinhua after playing a piece of ancient Chinese music.

In Dushanbe, there are many young, passionate university students like Sayora, keen to learn Chinese and know more about the Chinese culture. “The students are curious. They are especially interested in the Chinese characters — the way they are written, what they mean, and how to speak,” said Abdurahimova Shabnam, a Dushanbe-based mandarin teacher. Luckily enough, now Tajik students have more opportunities to learn about the Chinese culture in a comprehensive way.(Xinhua)…[+]

CDB invests USD20 million in education and youth development in Saint Lucia


BRIDGETOWN- The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is investing USD20 million in education and youth development in Saint Lucia. On October 3, the Bank launched the Saint Lucia Education Quality Improvement Project (EQuIP) and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), at the Bay Gardens Hotel.

EQuIP aims to strengthen the island’s education system, through the expansion and rehabilitation of four selected institutions, and overall improvements in educational leadership and instructional effectiveness, including training for teachers, principals and education officers.

These two projects are designed to holistically address a number of the risk factors for sub-optimal educational outcomes, crime and violence, as well as deviant and anti-social behaviour that are affecting youth in a number of schools and communities across Saint Lucia. Specifically, EQuIP is expected to improve quality, equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the education system, making it responsive to the needs of diverse learners,” said Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, CDB. EQuIP will place emphasis on enhancing the support provided for children with special educational needs, by assessing the institutional and infrastructural improvements needed to provide quality education and equitable access to this vulnerable group. “The fundamental reality is such that, when we provide a platform for every child to flourish within their own right, we as a nation succeed. This is the commitment of the Department of Education, and by extension, the Government of Saint Lucia,” said Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert, Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations & Sustainable Development, Saint Lucia.(CDB)…[+]

Space crew abort flight after post-launch rocket failure


A Russian-American space crew have been forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after their Soyuz rocket suffered a failure shortly after launching from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in one of the most serious space incidents in recent years.

The launch began as a routine affair. Missions bound for the International Space Station (ISS) have been conducted every few months for the past 20 years. But 119 seconds into Thursday’s flight, mission controllers on the Nasa broadcast began to speak of a failure. Shaky footage from the capsule’s cabin seen during the live broadcast appeared to show objects floating mid-launch. The crew told mission control they felt weightless, an indication of a problem during that stage of the flight.

Agitated voices flooding the radio link between mission control and the capsule could be heard on the Nasa broadcast. Details and the exact sequence of events remain unclear, but shortly afterwards the crew initiated an abort and ejected their capsule from the rocket.(theguardian)…[+]

Jamaica: Father killed, son injured in ‘cook shop’ attack


JAMAICA-A man was Monday night shot dead and his teenage son shot and injured when a gunman attacked them in Patrick City, a middle-income community in Kingston. The Hunts Bay police reported that about 9:25 pm, Courtney Russell, 53, and another man were at a ‘cook shop’ when they were pounced on by an armed man.

It was discovered that Russell had been shot multiple times and the other man injured by a bullet. The police were summoned and they were both taken to hospital where Russell was pronounced dead and the injured man treated. The gunman allegedly escaped in a waiting motor car. However, Russell’s wief Joan, otherwise known as Miss Donna, told the Jamaica Observer that her husband and her son were shot inside their house. “About quarter past nine a slim guy came in and say, ‘You have food?’ Mi say, ‘Yes’, but at the same time when he asked if mi have food mi a watch him”. According to Joan, the man moved towards her but the door separating them was locked.(JAMAICA OBSERVER)…[+]

Viktoria Marinova: man arrested in Germany over Bulgarian journalist murder


A man has been arrested over the rape and murder of the journalist Victoria Marinova, Bulgarian authorities have said, adding that they do not believe the attack was linked to Marinova’s work. The body of Marinova, 30, was found by a passerby on Saturday, after she had gone running along the Danube in Ruse, Bulgaria’s fifth biggest city. She presented a programme on TVN, a local channel.

The man, named as 21-year-old Bulgarian citizen Severin Krasimirov, was detained by German police near Hamburg on Tuesday, at the request of Bulgarian authorities.

“We have enough proof linking this person to the scene of the crime,” said Bulgaria’s interior minister, Mladen Marinov, on Wednesday. Krasimirov, a resident of Ruse, has a criminal record for scrap metal theft, he said. The minister said investigators had spoken to the journalist’s family and friends and added: “There is no apparent link to her work.” The chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, said Krasimirov was already wanted by police over another rape and murder, and added that he did not believe the killing of Marinova was connected to her work, suggesting it was a “spontaneous” attack.

The attack marked the third death of a journalist in an EU country in the space of a year, prompting fears Marinova could have been targeted for her work, especially given that her final broadcast involved an interview with two investigative journalists who were looking into high-level corruption.(theguardian)…[+]

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Although gender equality is necessary for inclusive and sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Caribbean, actions to promote it still encounter resistance. Recognizing this, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is consulting with regional stakeholders to update its gender strategy—to achieve great progress on gender equality in the Region and align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in 2016.


JAKARTA (Xinhua) — The Indonesian national disaster agency put the death toll from multiple strong quakes and an ensuing tsunami in Central Sulawesi province at 2,045 on Wednesday, a day before the search operation ended.

Spokesman of the agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said most of the bodies were retrieved in the provincial capital of Palu which was hardest hit by the disaster late last month. “The worst-hit area is Palu, where the damages were resulted from the strikes of tsunami,” he told a press conference. Authorities have hastened funerals for victims as many of the recovered bodies were decomposing. As many as 2,549 people were severely injured and 8,130 others suffered minor wounds, he added. Some 5,000 people remained missing in two residential compounds, the spokesman said. A total of 74,044 people were taking shelter in 112 evacuation centers in the province and 8,731 people outside of the province.

The deadly disaster destroyed a total of 67,310 houses in Palu, the adjoing districts of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Mountong, said Sutopo. The search and rescue mission will be terminated on Thursday, the 14th day after the catastrophe due to the potential risk of an epidemic, according to head of the disaster agency Willem Rampangilei.

Strong and shallow quakes of 6.0, 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude, which triggered a tsunami of up to 3 meters, destroyed the province on Sept. 28 with massive damage to houses, buildings and infrastructure facilities.(Xinhua)…[+]

Stakeholders help shape new strategy for gender equality in the Caribbean


BRIDGETOWN – Although gender equality is necessary for inclusive and sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Caribbean, actions to promote it still encounter resistance. Recognizing this, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is consulting with regional stakeholders to update its gender strategy—to achieve great progress on gender equality in the Region and align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in 2016.

Actions to promote gender equality still encounter resistance at all levels – policy, institutional, community, household and individual. This resistance, along with natural hazards and governments’ fiscal constraints present additional challenges to leveraging financial allocations for gender work. In view of the persistent inequalities that remain, the Bank has committed to revising the Gender Equality Policy and Operational Strategy to reinforce and restructure our efforts to achieve gender equality,” said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB, at a workshop and consultation for representatives from government institutions responsible for gender equality.

CDB’s Gender Equality Policy and Operational Strategy (GEPOS), published in 2008, provides the framework for the new policy, which is scheduled for completion in 2019. As part of the revision process, the Bank hosted the event at its headquarters in Barbados from October 4 to 5. Participants examined the results of an external evaluation of the 2008 GEPOS, commissioned by CDB’s Office of Independent Evaluation. Clarendon noted that one of the recommendations from the evaluation was that CDB and its Borrowing Member Countries need to work together with increased coherence and cooperation, in order to enhance gender equality in the Caribbean Region…[+]