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Human Rights Observatory
Sunday, December 16, 2018
China has allowed the Canadian ambassador to meet with a second Canadian citizen detained for reasons that are still unclear, the foreign ministry in Ottawa said. Ambassador John McCallum spoke with Canadian business executive Michael Spavor on Sunday — two days after he met with another Canadian detainee, former diplomat Michael Kovrig. A foreign ministry statement said Sunday the ambassador will continue providing consular services to Spavor and will seek further access to... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
An Iraqi Sunni Muslim leader laid the cornerstone Sunday in the first step to rebuild the iconic 11th-century al-Nuri mosque in Mosul. Three years of fighting between Islamic State and Iraqi forces left the structure in ruins. All that remains is the stone gate, the green graffiti-covered dome, and part of the base of the minaret. United Nations officials and European ambassadors joined Iraqi political and religious leaders for Sunday's cornerstone-laying ceremony. The... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Saudi Arabia early Monday rejected "the position expressed recently by the United States Senate," saying that the Jamal Khashoggi murder is a crime that does not reflect the policy of the kingdom, a statement by Saudi's foreign ministry said. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects the position expressed recently by the United States Senate, which was based upon unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom's internal... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
For four years at the turn of the century, Wang Zhaohong worked on a demolition crew in Shenzhen, clearing the way for the once-tiny border village to become a bustling metropolis. Now, emaciated and struggling for breath, the bedridden 50-year-old says the work he did will end up killing him. Without proper safety equipment, he and his colleagues from a remote county in Hunan province inhaled so much construction dust during Shenzhen's development boom that they contracted... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
A Pakistan-arranged meeting between U.S. and Taliban officials will be held Monday in the United Arab Emirates to push a political settlement to the war in Afghanistan. The special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will lead the U.S. team at the talks in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the gulf state, a senior Pakistani official privy to the development confirmed to VOA on Sunday. The official, requesting anonymity, said Islamabad has facilitated the dialogue after... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
The White House on Sunday pressed its demand for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to thwart illegal immigration, even if it forces a partial government shutdown later this week. Stephen Miller, a key immigration adviser to President Donald Trump, told CBS News, "We will do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of immigration." Asked if that included having a shutdown of about 25 percent of the U.S. government when... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Several thousand protesters have marched peacefully through Budapest for a fourth day to oppose laws introduced by the Hungarian government that critics say will restrict workers' rights. The protesters chanted anti-government slogans and braved sub-zero temperatures while gathered Sunday in front of parliament, where speakers denounced changes to the labor code that lawmakers approved Wednesday. The demonstrations have attracted participants from across Hungary's spectrum.... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
The decision to transform Kosovo's security force into an army is ''irreversible,'' the country's president said Sunday while offering assurance that a new national military does not threaten ethnic Serbs living in the former Serbian province. President Hashim Thaci gave a briefing on the army plan before he left for New York, where the United Nations Security Council is expected in coming days to discuss the small Balkan nation's decision. Kosovo's... (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
The future of health care in America is murkier than ever after a federal judge ruled that former President Barack Obama's signature health care law is unconstitutional. VOA's Michael Bowman reports that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is still in effect pending appeals that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. (Full Story)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
A fifth person died Sunday from gunshot wounds in last week's Christmas market terror attack in Strasbourg. The French prosecutor's office said the victim was a Polish national. His brother identified him in a Facebook message as Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, a 36-year-old native of Katowice. Four others died and 11 were wounded when a gunman identified as Cherif Chekatt opened fire last Tuesday in the world-famous Christmas market in central Strasbourg. Witnesses... (Full Story)
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