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Like many teenagers, 19-year-old Negin Khpalwak from Kunar in eastern Afghanistan loves music, but few people of her age have battled as fiercely to pursue their passion in the face of family hostility and threats. Playing instruments was banned outright during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and even today, many conservative Muslims frown on most forms of music.
Negin took her first steps learning music in secret, before eventually revealing her activity to her father.
Now living in an orphanage in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Negin leads the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women at the Afghanistan National Institute for Music that plays both Western and Afghan musical instruments. When she went home on a recent visit, her uncles and brothers threatened to beat her for a performing appearance on television, and she had to return to Kabul the next day. In a country notorious internationally for harsh restrictions on women in most areas of life, Negin's story highlights a double challenge. While children at the school have the support of their parents, they often face pressure from their wider family as well as from religious authorities, he said. Some of the women say their relatives are proud of their achievements, but they face suspicion from others, as well as intimidation. The dangers awaiting performers in Afghanistan were brutally highlighted in 2014, when Sarmast was nearly killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up during a show at a French-run school in Kabul. She is ready to leave her family behind for the sake of her music, she said, although, in Afghanistan, family is crucial to most people's sense of their position in the world. The stampone of the world's most famous pieces of postagewas among four of its kind taken from a 1955 collectors' convention. The would-be consignor, a man in his 20s who lives in the United Kingdom, said he'd inherited the stamp from his grandfather and knew little about it, said George Eveleth, head of Spink USA's philatelic department.
While it's unclear whether the man can shed any light on the long-cold trail to the thieves, the stamp was accompanied by an intriguing item: a 1965 letter about a monetary loan from a noted stamp dealer to a well-known auctioneer, both now dead, Eveleth said. Still, the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania-based philatelic library hopes the stamp's discovery could lead to clues. Worth 24 cents when issued in 1918, inverted Jenny stamps fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars today.
It made its way into popular culture in movies such as 1985's Brewster's Millions, in which Richard Pryor's character uses one to mail a postcard, and television shows including The Simpsons, in which Homer Simpson finds but disregards a sheet of them at a flea market. A grief stricken aunt, Johana Estupinan, now is making the longest journey of her life in a funeral hearse to the town of Esmeraldas, where she will bury her loved ones and break the news of the loss to her sister's three now orphaned children.
As Ecuador digs out from its strongest earthquake in decades, tales of devastating loss are everywhere amid the rubble. Portoviejo, a provincial capital of nearly 300,000, was among the hardest hit, with the town's mayor reporting at least 100 deaths.
Estupinan watched as her loved ones were loaded onto a truck-sized hearse for the nighttime drive, the three older ones in dark mahogany coffins and 8-month-old Matias in a casket painted white. She hoped to bury her relatives in Esmeraldas on Monday, but devastation there is also severe and she worried about whether the hearse could make it along roads torn apart by the quake. The Saturday night quake knocked out power in many parts along the coast and residents who fled to higher ground fearing a tsunami had no home to return to, or feared structures still standing might collapse. Correa, who cut short a trip to the Vatican, flew directly to the city of Manta from Rome to oversee relief efforts. As rescuers scrambled through the ruins near the epicenter, in some cases digging with their hands to look for survivors, humanitarian aid began trickling in.
Ecuadorean Veronica Paladines removes debris in a frantic search for her husband in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta, Ecuador, on Sunday. Authorities said at least 42 people had died and nearly 1,100 were injured in the two quakes that hit the region near Kumamoto city late on Thursday and early on Sunday.
Rescuers were redoubling search efforts on the southern island of Kyushu, where many areas were cut off by landslides and road and bridge damage. The US side, whose Air Force, Navy and Marine bases are home to about 50,000 troops in Japan, was to provide aerial support from other regions the effort to feed and care for tens of thousands of people seeking shelter.
This time, Japan asked for help with airlifts into the area, said Jacqueline Hearne, a public affairs officer for the US Army.
The disruptions caused by damage to buildings and roads, and by stoppages of electricity and water supplies, were reverberating beyond Kyushu as manufacturers suspended output and transport links were snarled.
Toyota Motor Corp said it would shut down most of its vehicle production in Japan over the course of this week because of parts shortages stemming from the earthquakes.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended his government's handling of the crisis, as some of the 180,000 evacuees complained of having only rice balls and bread to eat. Many whose homes were not seriously damaged sought shelter as the area was rocked by more than 500 aftershocks. His house was intact despite major roof damage, but like many, the family was sleeping in their cars.
Japan's atomic regulator on Monday said there is no need to shut down the country's only operating nuclear station on southwestern Kyushu island, where a series of quakes killed more than 40 people and damaged infrastructure. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it was monitoring the situation closely at four nuclear power stations, after calling a special meeting of its commissioners. Sensitivity over atomic power is high in Japan after the Fukushima disaster of 2011 was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami. Revenue for the ultra-hard-line Sunni Muslim group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, fell to $56 million a month in March from around $80 million a month in the middle of last year, the analysis company IHS said.
Daily oil output dropped to 21,000 barrels from 33,000 barrels over the same time frame, as production facilities suffered damage from air-strikes carried out mainly by a US-led coalition. The territory under its control has declined by about 22 percent since mid 2014, while the population of that territory has fallen to around 6 million from 9 million.
Around 50 percent of the group's revenue comes from taxation and confiscation, 43 percent from oil and the rest from drug smuggling, sale of electricity and donations, the report said. The group began allowing people sentenced to corporal punishment to be spared in return for cash payments, an indication of financial difficulty, it said. It also introduced new taxes on such activities as installing satellite dishes or exiting cities.
Prosecutors dropped two more serious charges that Heard illegally imported the Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country last year, when Depp was filming the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The false documents charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of more than $7,650, but Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan sentenced Heard instead to a one-month good behavior bond.
Depp and Heard said little to the waiting throng of reporters and fans outside the Southport Magistrates Court on Queensland state's Gold Coast, but did submit a videotaped apology to the court that was played during Monday's hearing. The drama over the dogs began last May, when Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Depp of smuggling the tiny terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming the Pirates movie. Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores.
Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo back to the US, with officials warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanized. The comments by Joyce, who is now the deputy prime minister of Australia, elevated what might otherwise have been a local spat into a global delight for comedians and broadcasters. Like fans watching a football final, Brazilians cheered and hugged when lawmakers voted for President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment, while the losing side sobbed and walked out in disgust at the result. Tens of thousands massed on the lawn outside Congress in Brasilia while thousands more held rival rallies in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities, with samba beats animating the crowds. In the capital, the crowds were separated by a kilometer-long metal wall and they watched the five-hour-long drama unfold on eight large screens, with each side loudly jeering or cheering as each lawmaker declared their vote. Brasilia's wall became a symbol of the country's ideological divide in a searing political and economic crisis, just four months before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Summer Olympics.
When vote number 342 was cast, giving the impeachment backers their two-thirds majority needed to recommend impeachment to the Senate, Rousseff opponents jumped in celebration, launched small fireworks and chanted "ciao dear". Janda Ribeiro, 54, an unemployed woman who traveled from Sao Paulo, shed tears of joy amid a crowd clad in the yellow and green colors of Brazil. On the other side of the fence, Mariana Santos shed tears of sadness as she watched the decisive vote being cast, surrounded by despondent supporters of Rousseff sporting her Workers Party red colors. About 53,000 pro-impeachment demonstrators gathered on the right side of the wall while 26,000 turned out for Rousseff on the left, according to police. Hundreds of Rousseff's supporters walked out of the esplanade well before the defeat in Congress, many fearing that the social programs implemented by the Workers Party would be rolled back if the president is ousted. Many vowed to keep demonstrating as the Senate debates whether to suspend Rousseff and put her on trial. Rousseff, whose approval rating has plunged to a dismal 10 percent, faces charges of embellishing public accounts to mask the budget deficit during her 2014 re-election. But opponents are also angry at the country's deep recession and a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras that has involved top politicians.
Rousseff's supporters point out that her potential successor and former ally, Vice-President Michel Temer, and the man leading the impeachment drive, House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, have themselves been tainted by corruption scandals. In Rio about 3,000 people each from both sides demonstrated at separate moments next to Copacabana beach. In Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial center, thousands of pro-impeachment supporters gathered downtown and celebrated as they watched the result on a giant screen. Member of the Lower House of Congress, Bruno Araujo (center), celebrates with fellow congressmen after his vote in favor of the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff was enough to confirm the process, in Brasilia, on Sunday. At least 27 people were killed and 13 others injured after a bus carrying members of an opera troupe plunged into a gorge in Odhisa state, officials said on Monday. Storms and floods in Uruguay have killed seven people and driven 3,600 from their homes in recent days, authorities said on Sunday. Israel's military said on Monday it has discovered a new infiltration tunnel, built by Hamas militants, stretching from the Gaza Strip several hundred meters inside Israeli territory. A British Airways plane struck an object believed to be a drone on Sunday as it was coming in for landing at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, police said. Turkish police have detained 101 people suspected of having financial links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
Singapore state prosecutors on Monday appealed against a high court decision acquitting a woman of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl because the law applied only to men, citing public interest.
Nearly 500 students have reportedly been diagnosed with health problems ranging from dermatitis to leukemia since the Changzhou Foreign Languages School in East China's Jiangsu province moved to its current campus in September. The students' families claim this is due to seriously polluted plots of land across the road, citing a test report that says the concentrations of chlorobenzene in the underground water and soil at the former sites of chemical plants were respectively 95,000 times and 79,000 times above safe levels.
A news release from the Changzhou government reported by Xinhua News Agency on Monday insisted the site had passed an environmental evaluation and was safe, and the school is in normal order with only several students on sick leave. Since, more likely than not, such an episode could end up as another example of the dereliction-of-duty-then-cover-up formula revealed in similar scandals. A joint investigation team has been set up by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and authorities in Jiangsu province to look into the pollution-related illnesses among the school's students. Yet under the current rules, construction of the new campus should not have begun until the project passed an environmental assessment. Not to mention the evaluation did not even take into account poisonous pesticide residues, the suspected culprits for the students' health problems.
The same report, which approved the project, warned of health and ecological risks, stating both the soil and underground water nearby "were polluted", and development projects would cause air pollution. Therefore, the investigation by the joint team is the only way to come up with authoritative, convincing answers to the public's suspicions. Kenya's recent repatriation to the Chinese mainland of 45 telecommunication fraud suspects from Taiwan has triggered a fierce outcry across the island, with some, including "president-elect" Tsai Ing-wen, arguing "the mainland has no right to handle the repatriation case on behalf of Taiwan", and others asking for "the most solemn protest to be filed".
However, following Taiwan judiciary's recognition of the mainland's right of jurisdiction over the case, the outcry has subsided, with some suggesting that "since Taiwan cannot properly handle the fraud case, it should transfer it to the mainland". Some on the island have attempted to interpret the case as the mainland trying to dwarf Taiwan and used it as an opportunity to manipulate public opinion.
Others have argued that since the mainland has sent a total of 446 Taiwan suspects to the island over the past six years under a pact to jointly fight crimes and promote judicial assistance, it can also send the fraud suspects to the island. Those convicted of telecom fraud have a record of being given lenient punishments in Taiwan, with less than 10 percent returned to the island having been extended criminal penalties.
Any attempt to politicize the case will only set up barriers to cross-Straits exchanges and alienate the island from the mainland. FAN CHANGLONG, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, visited the country's Nansha Islands, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry on Friday.
In fact, since last year, Washington has made several muscle-flexing attempts to challenge Beijing on the South China Sea issue. Accompanied by his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin, Carter landed aboard a US aircraft carrier navigating in the South China Sea, in a clear attempt to display the strategic alliance and closeness shared by the two countries. It is self-evident that these orchestrated efforts are only in the interest of the US, which aims to interfere with China's lawful activities in the South China Sea. Though pledging to avoid picking sides in the territorial disputes between China and some neighbors like the Philippines in the South China Sea, the US often turns a blind eye to the latter's provocations yet gives China a hard time.
That Washington is intentionally playing up a so-called China threat and trying to contain Beijing's rise, has a lot to do with its declining leadership in Asia-Pacific affairs and some of its allies' requests for its presence. In response, a top Chinese military officer has made a rare visit to some of the islands in the South China Sea, showcasing China's determination to protect its lawful interests and sovereignty in the waters, safeguard regional stability, and offer public goods to the international community. The US should not misinterpret China's goodwill, and it should live up to its "peacekeeping" commitment to the regional powers. Hong Kong Disneyland will face even greater challenges, as the tourism industry in Hong Kong is still experiencing a downturn. As far as Hong Kong is concerned, it shouldn't put all its eggs in one basket and rely on mainland tourists.
We must not equate the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort with a death sentence for Hong Kong Disneyland. The fall in the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong is partially due to the impression that Hong Kong is not welcoming of them.
THE AUTHORITIES recently released a document that in principle prohibits the children of stars from appearing on TV programs. Many netizens expressed their dissatisfaction with the new document because they think child stars perform better than their parents.
Also many parents compare their children with the child stars; some even spend a whole year's income to pay for training courses for their children in the hope that they will appear on television and become famous. The recovery in sales was to be expected, given the significant relaxation of policy and the presence of some pent-up demand.
Nonetheless, we remain skeptical whether the pick-up in construction can be sustained, given the still high inventories of unsold housing, as a share of sales.

While it is hard to generalize, the average property developer in the large cities tends to be relatively sophisticated and disciplined because of the demand prospects. This matters because smaller cities are where most of the construction is taking place these days. The real estate construction pick-up supported overall growth in the first quarter of this year and should do so in (at least the start of) the second quarter. For some time now, studies have observed family planning officials in some large cities actively encouraging couples to take advantage of their rights to have a second child.
Governments across the Asia-Pacific region have been introducing increasingly far-reaching policies in recent years to support and encourage childbearing in an attempt to stem extremely rapid aging resulting from very low fertility rates. Yet in each of these settings fertility has stayed resolutely low; not least in Singapore which has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Costs are further exaggerated by expectations of huge investment in education and other activities, sometimes called "education fever".
There is now a broad agreement that it is not just the one-child policy which pushed-and kept-fertility down in China. Assuming, though, that many of the other reasons for low fertility are common to both China and elsewhere in Asia, and given the limited success in other countries and regions in turning birth rates around, we might question how effective policies to support childbearing will be at increasing the Chinese fertility rate. Switching from the world's most restrictive family planning regime to offering incentives for childbirth is a remarkable turnaround. The author is an associate professor of social policy, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford. The ministries of Civil Affairs, Education and Public Security will jointly start a survey on the general situation of the left-behind children in China's rural areas.
Children separated from their parents during their formative years face many problems in terms of education, security and mental health.
Realizing the gravity of the problem, the central and local authorities have taken measures to safeguard migrant workers' basic rights and to provide protection for left-behind children.
But the national survey announced by the three ministries is the first substantive step to comprehensively carry out the care and protection work for the left-behind children. Providing proper care and protection for the left-behind children is a large-scale and long-term endeavor that requires a huge amount of resources. In this regard, the three ministries' nationwide survey will not only present a clear picture of the real situations the left-behind children have to live in different regions, but can also reveal their specific individual conditions. Although it is not difficult to conduct a national survey on the left-behind children, local authorities can ensure the results are accurate by helping the process with their inputs and efficient work. One of the most important steps would be to establish a specific working system that enables social workers to play their role in the process, and providing the necessary funds for this work.
Moreover, care and protection services for the left-behind children work should be combined with the rural social welfare and rural social and economic development. Only when city authorities allow migrant workers to become permanent urban residents and enjoy all social welfare services can left-behind children's problems be truly solved. The author is a professor at the Institute of Social Development and Administration, Nankai University, Tianjin. This Friday, politicians from across the world will meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to sign an agreement to keep global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius, which UN members agreed in Paris in December last year. Representing China at the signing ceremony will be Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, who delivered a speech at a UN climate meeting in New York in September 2014 at a time when the world body was desperate to expedite the process to reach a deal in Paris.
Zhang's presence at the UN Headquarters reflects just a tiny part of Beijing's commitment to fighting climate change as a global leader. Since the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, two subjects have often hit the headlines: questioning of China's conviction in fighting climate change and developed economies' failure to transfer funds and technologies to poor countries to help them combat and adapt to climate change which is the result of the greenhouse gases emitted mostly by industrialized nations. China, despite being a developing country, has always joined global efforts to combat climate change. After Xi Jinping assumed office as president in 2013, China has become even more active in meeting global climate challenges by offering cooperation-oriented solutions. Apart from bilateral commitments with the European Union, Ranee, the United Kingdom and India, China has also signed three climate deals with the United States in the past three years. This Friday, China and the US win once again take the lead at the signing ceremony, signaling the one-year period for the agreement's signature by all UN members. But all this is easier said than done, because for most global players, it remains a challenge to put words into action. Besides, China is committed to realizing its carbon peak by 2030, which will be a historic achievement. But the rich countries have not kept the promises they made in Copenhagen or their vow in Paris to work out a road map to provide $100 billion as climate assistance by 2020 for poor countries to fight climate change And thus they risk facing a 'lost decade" if they continue to violate their promise to help poor countries fight climate change. There were the countless hours competing against the hustlers in city parks, and the serious players at chess clubs in Manhattan. All that playing has led the 50-year-old Ashley to some trailblazing accomplishments - the first African-American to be designated as a chess grandmaster, and last Wednesday, the first African-American to be inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in St.
When he got the call in January that he was being inducted, for his contributions as a player, coach and commentator, Ashley said tears came to his eyes. Born in Jamaica, Ashley came to the tough Brownsville section of Brooklyn with two siblings when he was 12, reuniting with the mother who had left her children a decade earlier to carve out a better life, working as a nanny and later in a string of office clerk jobs. Ashley got serious about chess during his high school years and continued at New York's City College. The process of becoming a grandmaster is done under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym FIDE, and involves earning overall points and performing particularly well in chess tournaments. Ashley, who makes a living from the game as a player, coach and author, wants to inspire others. Overall, Ashley said his experiences in the chess world have been good, with only a few moments in which his race became an issue.
He recalled one incident when he was playing at a club and an older player came by and asked his opponent why he was letting Ashley beat him, using a slur to describe him. A gifted mountaineer who had summited Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest in the West, by the age of 22, she is part of a new generation of Sherpa women who are climbing peaks that have traditionally only been scaled by their men. Generations of men from Nepal's famed Sherpa community have climbed the Himalayas, while their wives and daughters have traditionally kept the home fires burning. But in a sign of changing times, a string of Sherpa women are now breaking records themselves, not only on 8,848-meter high Everest but other dangerous peaks. Some are now planning new summits during Nepal's spring climbing season, which started this month.
In the year since Nepal's massive earthquake, which triggered avalanches and landslides that killed almost 9,000 people, they have also led rescue and relief efforts. Raised in the Himalayan town of Lukla, known as the gateway to Everest, she had long wanted to climb the mountain, inspired by the late Pasang Lhamu Sherpa - the first Nepali woman to summit the peak in 1993.
After her parents died, leaving her orphaned at 15, she worked on trekking expeditions to earn money. Sherpa Akita soon won a scholarship to train in the French Alps before returning to climb Everest. But her toughest test came when the 7.8-magnitude quake ripped through her country on April 25. Sherpa Akita lost a friend in the subsequent Everest avalanche, her Katmandu home suffered damage, and the sight of thousands of Nepalis huddling under tarps for shelter broke her heart. She spent the next few months raising funds and traveling to remote villages to deliver emergency supplies and help run medical camps.
National Geographic magazine named her 2016's "Adventurer of the Year" for her efforts, the first Nepali woman to win the accolade. Although Sherpa women have faced a long wait for their turn in the mountaineering spotlight, they are making up for it by snatching world records. In 2012, Chhurim Sherpa became the first woman to scale Everest twice in one week, while 42-year-old Lhakpa Sherpa holds a record for the most Everest summits by a woman, with six. The daughter of a yak herder, Lhakpa Sherpa worked as a porter and kitchen hand on trekking and mountaineering expeditions when she was young, before climbing solo. The mother-of-three is now preparing a comeback - 16 years after she first scaled Everest - determined to summit the mountain twice in a single season. Dozens of protesters were taken into police custody for refusing to leave the steps of the Capitol building, bringing the total number of arrests made this week to about 800.
Protesters argue that the interests of big campaign donors and lobbyists are favored over the needs of the public, calling the current "pay-to-play" system in the US "out of control".
They also took turns to address the crowd, targeting big corporation and interests groups as well as mainstream US media that have paid little attention to their dissatisfaction and demands.
Later, more than 10 protesters entered the Capitol building as part of a tour group and tied themselves to the scaffolding in the rotunda before being taken into custody. Friday's demonstration came as the Democracy Spring movement is gaining strength after a march from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and four-day peaceful protest in the national capital city. Many of the protesters said the issue, though long-standing, began to gain more public awareness as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders denounced the "corrupt campaign finance system" in the country.
During the current campaign cycle, Sanders said, billions of dollars from the wealthiest people in this country are already flooding the political process.
US Capitol Police arrest protesters participating in a sit-in at the US Capitol to protest big money in politics on Friday in Washington. A US Air Force reconnaissance plane was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 jet in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner while in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
It came shortly after Russian aircraft repeatedly buzzed the USS Donald Cook this past week, including an incident on Tuesday in which a Russian Su-24 flew 30 feet above the war ship in a "simulated attack profile", according to the US military's European Command.
Russia has denied the actions were reckless or provocative but they have been seen as exacerbating tensions between the rival powers. The US aircraft in question was an RC-135 and the Pentagon said it had been flying a routine route. On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry had strong words about the recent warship flyby. The Russian maneuvers began on Monday while the destroyer was located about 70 nautical miles from the Russian base in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea. In a keynote address at the seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, which opened on Saturday, Castro said the island's economic model would not break with the ideals of social justice adopted by the 1959 Revolution.
In a wide-ranging speech, Castro reviewed the nation's major political and economic developments since the last PCC congress in 2011, and set out the tasks ahead for the country. Cuba's complex dual currency system, slated to be gradually phased out, has been an obstacle to implementing some of the economic reforms, Castro said.
As a result of the economic reforms, the island has a budding private sector that has become an important source of jobs, now employing about half a million workers, noted Castro, urging the PCC and legislators to pass laws to protect and benefit this segment of the population.
However, he added the government will continue to administer the country's key industries and strategic production sectors. The reforms have not been without their problems, he noted, saying officials need to stay alert to a growing wealth gap.
The island's gross domestic product as grown an average of 2.8 percent a year in the last five years, said Castro, despite such obstacles as the US-led trade embargo. Still, he defended the country's one-party system as promoting stability, and noted that while the US has a two-party system, both parties are accountable to the wealthy, not the common people. Castro said the nation's constitution should be amended to reflect "the new era" of modernization, and to set term limits on political leaders. Castro proposed all top political leaders be eligible for one-time re-election to a second five-year term, then leave office to make way for younger generations. He also proposed an age limit to enter the party's Central Committee and its top decision-making bodies.
The renovation of the leadership, said the president, will take place over the next five years leading up to the party's next congress in 2021, though Castro himself will be stepping down earlier. An armed group attacked and killed 208 people in Gambella regional state of Ethiopia, on the border with South Sudan.
The second night of a major electronic music festival being held in Argentina's capital was canceled on Saturday following the deaths of at least five people of suspected drug overdoses. Four million people in Santiago were without tap water on Sunday after unusually heavy rain pounding central Chile triggered landslides that fouled the city's water supply and forced the closure of the world's biggest copper mine, officials said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday his country will never with draw from the Golan Heights and the strategic plateau bordering Syria will forever stay in Israeli hands. Scotland should have the right to hold a new referendum on independence if the country is taken out of the European Union "against our will", the leader of the Scottish National Party said on Sunday. Two figures from the main Syrian opposition team to the peace talks in Geneva said on Saturday that they have rejected a suggestion that was put forward by the UN special envoy to Syria in which President Bashar Assad would stay in power during a transitional period and the opposition would choose three vice presidents. The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said it was not an offer but one of many ideas put forward in the attempt to find a solution for Syria's five-year crisis. The two officials told The Associated Press that the offer is not even worth considering, adding that Assad should not have any role in Syria's future or during the 18-month transitional period during which a new constitution is to be drafted and elections held.
The announcement came after a new round of indirect peace talks resumed in Geneva on Wednesday in which the opposition's High Negotiations Committee and the government delegation met separately with De Mistura.
Assad's future has been a main point of disagreement with the opposition demanding that he has no role in Syria's future even during the transitional period while the government delegation saying any talk about the president's future is a red line. Opposition official Yahya Kodmani said in Geneva that De Mistura told them that an expert suggested to the envoy that Assad stays and in return "the three vice-presidents will be from the opposition. The strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades flattened buildings and buckled highways along its Pacific coast, sending the Andean nation into a state of emergency. He encouraged her, but the reaction from the rest of her conservative Pashtun family was hostile. While two were recovered over 30 years ago, there had been no sign of the others until this one was submitted to a New York auction house this month and authenticated. While other stamps are rarer, the Jenny is one of few that is readily recognized even by non-collectors, Eveleth said. Some were printed with the Curtiss JN-4H "Jenny" biplane inverted, and a savvy customer bought a 100-stamp sheet before anyone realized the error. But the gathering ended in tragedy when a collapsing building crushed 17-year-old Sayira Quinde, her mother, father and toddler brother in their rusting Chevy Blazer. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador's normally placid Pacific Ocean coast, buckling highways, knocking down an air traffic control tower and flattening homes and buildings. The Quinde family drove there from their home hours north up the coast to drop off Sayira at Estupinan's house a week before she was to start classes at a public university on a scholarship to study medicine. With makeshift shelters in short supply, many hunkered down to spend a second straight night outdoors huddled among neighbors.

Forecasts for heavy rains, which would make land and collapsed buildings even more unstable, added to the urgency. The American military played a large role in rescue and relief during the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake disasters in northeastern Japan. There were no safety issues at the Sendai nuclear station, which has two reactors and is about 120 kilometers south-southwest of Kumamoto city, close to where the quakes struck, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a news conference. A conviction on the illegal importation counts could have sent the actress to prison for up to 10 years. The condition means she will have to pay a $765 fine if she commits any offenses in Australia over the next month. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.
One newspaper ran a doggy death countdown ticker on its website that marked the hours remaining before the dogs had to flee the country, and comedian John Oliver dedicated a more than 6-minute segment to lampooning the ordeal. It's a coup," the 23-year-old university student said, repeating Rousseff's claim that the impeachment process amounts to a putsch. I had confidence that we'd have the votes against impeachment," said Edilonson Oliveira, 19, a law student from Parana state.
I know the Workers Party is not the only corrupt party, but it's the one in power and it has to leave," said Daniel Quagleliato, 27, an agronomy student from Sao Paulo.
The accident took place on Sunday evening in Deogarh, about 260 kilometers northwest of Bhubaneswar city, the capital of Odisha. Four people were killed when a storm struck the western city of Dolores on Friday and three others were later found to have died when trying to cross flooded rivers in the region, according to a government toll. Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, had no immediate comment on the discovery, which could ratchet up tensions along a frontier that has been largely quiet since the end of a 2014 war. An investigation has been launched into the incident, which follows a string of near misses involving drones and is believed to be the first case of a collision in Britain. The government has declared Gulen's Islamic movement a terrorist organization and has clamped down on his supporters, seizing newspapers, television stations and other businesses associated with the cleric. Zunika Ahmad, 40, a woman who lives as a man, was acquitted last week of six counts of sexual assault despite pleading guilty to the charges, sparking strong reaction from women's and gay rights activists. The local environmental protection agency says their tests of the campus found nothing unusual. Unless pollution is excluded categorically as the cause, it is essential to determine to what extent the students' health problems may be due to it. But given that most of victims are mainland residents, the mainland enjoys the right of jurisdiction over the case. In saying this, they have ignored the fact that Taiwan has failed to offer evidence that these suspects were already declared fugitives.
The weak punishments have caused more and more people to engage in such illegal activities.
The statement was released shortly before a visit by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter to the US aircraft carrier John C.
In October, the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed through the 12-nautical-mile waters around a Chinese isle in the name of "freedom of navigation". It even questions the Chinese lighthouses on its Nansha Islands, which are built to better serve the neighboring coastal countries and the ships passing through the waters. This explains its increasing interventions in the South China Sea, including the latest military exercise with Manila, whose air and naval forces would be of little help to the US.
The theme park reported a loss of about HK$150 million last year, and visitor numbers dropped by almost 10 percent to 6.8 million, with a 23-percent decline in mainland tourists visiting the park. In stark contrast, Shanghai Disney Resort looks set to become the most popular theme park worldwide, with tickets sold out in advance for the first three months after its opening. Hong Kong should make efforts to address this issue if it wants to compete with the mainland's developing domestic tourism industry. This will mean popular shows such as Where are we going dad?, which features celebrities traveling with their children, will no longer be made.
Most of the children are 5 to 8 years old, and being exposed to the public at such an early age might hurt their personal development and distort their psychological health. What parents should do is to find that uniqueness and educate their children accordingly, instead of trying to get their children on TV. After a pronounced fall in 2014, housing sales have been on the rise since early 2015, largely because of policy support - including an easing of house purchase restrictions, lower interest rates and rapid credit growth. What is more surprising to us (at Oxford Economics) is that housing starts and construction picked up early this year.
Within China, it seems to be a key reason behind the tentative bottoming out of the overall growth momentum recently. The ratio of inventories of housing on which construction has started but are unsold, as a share of sales, declined through 2007, but then rose to reach the equivalent of two years of sales in 2014. Traditionally, housing starts, housing under construction, completions and sales have all broadly grown in line with each other.
In particular, it is not really an issue in first-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. In contrast, developers in smaller cities have often been less astute, undertaking projects if the financing was available without necessarily doing serious research into the underlying demand prospects.
The share of third- and fourth-tier cities in nationwide real estate sales and construction has risen steadily from 44 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014, and nowadays 95 percent of nationwide real estate sales are outside of first-tier cities. However, we do not think that the pick-up will translate into a sustained recovery of construction and investment until housing sales grow healthily for a prolonged period and inventories of unsold housing come down more significantly. However, we think it is likely that the property construction cycle will ease again and that the government will need to continue to rely on other drivers, including infrastructure investment, to meet its ambitious growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016. For a country famous for having the most comprehensive sets of policies designed to limit births, it is now introducing new policies to support parents who have a second child - from a planned tax relief to possible extension of maternity leave and expansion of free education. In this way, local governments could become ever more proactive in designing policies to support couples to have a second child.
This is because the financial subsidies simply do not come close to offsetting the high costs of childbearing in these countries.
These policies are also not able to adequately address some of the more fundamental reasons for limiting family sizes, such as fragile employment and the "triple burden" placed on women to work and take primary responsibility for both children and elderly parents. If the new policies were set out to encourage childbearing in order to achieve certain key population "goals", then they may well not succeed.
If the new policies are designed to support citizens to be able to meet their aspirations in terms of family, work and life, then their success should be judged on this rather than the birth rate in years to come.
But it may well be that the truly revolutionary aspect of this policy change is the switch from "shaping" citizens' actions to meet the needs of the nation toward "supporting and enabling" them to meet their own personal aspirations. After the launch of reform and opening up, many rural residents have left their homes to work in cities, leaving their underage children in the care of grandparents or to fend for themselves.
For example, the Third and Fifth Plenums of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China announced measures to improve the care services for the left-behind children, women and senior citizens in rural areas. To effectively implement such a project, the authorities should make scientific planning and arrangements, and get a clear idea about the actual situations that the left-behind children live in. The survey could thus offer the basis for making decisions both at the national and local levels. And after the completion of the general survey, the central and local authorities should analyze the actual difficulties and needs of the left-behind children and devise specific action plans to help them, including targeted services for key groups and key areas, setting up mechanisms and regulations, investing resources and evaluating the processes based on actual situations.
Also, solving the left-behind children problem should be linked to the protection of migrant workers' rights and interests in urban areas. China is also helping set rules of global governance by synergizing the efforts of all countries to overcome problems in other areas too. In 1992, then premier Li Peng signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro. Also, China has invested ample political capital and efforts to reduce emissions and promote clean energy.
It is indeed heartening to see the two largest economies speaking the same language on dealing with a critical human challenge. The agreement win come into force after 55 countries, which account for at least 55 percent of the global emissions, ratify the deal Partly due the leading efforts of China and the US, the process of signing and ratifying the deal win gain momentum and it is likely that it win become effective in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. He lost badly, but it sparked a love affair that started him playing nearly nonstop ever since. There were the years spent against increasingly tougher competition in college, and ultimately against the best of the best at tournaments around the country and abroad.
In 2004, she signed up for a local mountaineering course, where she was one of only two women in a class of dozens of men.
She also joined two Sherpa women and together they became the first female team to summit K2, the world's second-highest mountain, in 2014. It only represents rich people who could afford to buy lobbying influence," said 46-year-old Rachel Perkins, who came to join the protest by taking a four-day train journey from California.
The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the armed group infiltrated into Ethiopia through the South Sudan border. The heavy rain flooded parts of the massive El Teniente mine, leading the state-owned copper company Codelco to halt operations there for at least three days.
In a ceremonial Cabinet meeting in the Golan marking the one-year anniversary of his current government's formation, Netanyahu said he doubts Syria will ever return to what it was before the devastating civil war that has gripped it for more than five years. Nicola Sturgeon said her party's manifesto before a local election next month would say there should be a referendum "if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people". Speaking from Portoviejo late on Sunday he said the earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit Ecuador since a 1949 earthquake in the Andean city of Ambato, which took over 5,000 lives. Officials expect the death toll and number of injured to rise as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
Under British legislation, drones cannot be flown near planes, helicopters and airports and must be kept below 122 meters.
Accompanying the booming telecom fraud sector on the island are the huge economic losses sustained by families and enterprises on the other side of the Straits. Shanghai Disney Resort, which is three times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, is due to open on June 16. While the Shanghai theme park is likely to attract a lot of visitors from northern and central China, people in the Pearl River Delta and neighboring areas will likely still visit Hong Kong. We had not expected this because, in our view, the incentives for new construction are still weak given the large inventories of unsold housing. Internationally, the recovery in China's real estate sector, and in its economy more generally, has been a key driver of the recent recovery in raw commodity prices and commodity-related asset prices, including currencies of commodity-exporting countries. From around 2002 until 2007 housing sales accelerated, reducing the stock of unsold housing. There the demand-supply situation has remained fairly tight because of healthy demand trends, the maintenance of relatively strict restrictions by local governments on house purchases in their areas and the relatively disciplined behavior of property developers.
With ill-disciplined developers, strong supply and weaker demand trends (people tend to prefer the large cities as places to work, live and invest), inventories of unsold housing have not fallen enough in the smaller cities in recent years, even as the market has remained tight in first-tier cities. Thus, while real estate developments in high profile first-tier cities tend to receive a lot of attention in the media, and probably affect sentiment economy-wide, second- to fourth-tier cities are the key drivers of nationwide property construction trends and their macroeconomic implications.
And even then the recovery in construction is unlikely to turn into the kind of boom that China has seen in the past.
Elsewhere, policies to support childbearing both financially and in terms of childcare and parental leave have been introduced in Japan and the Republic of Korea. The problem of the left-behind children should be seen as part of the greater problem of migrant workers in China. And the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) has made the protection of the left-behind children in rural areas a basic public service item. True, some research organizations have done some sample surveys of the left-behind children in the past.
And in 2009, then premier Wen Jiabao made every effort possible to reach a comprehensive deal in Copenhagen. In feet, it was because of such efforts between China and the US and other global players that the successful conclusion to the Paris climate change conference was achieved. For instance, the Communist Party of China has written "ecological civilization" into its leading guidelines for good governance. He received his honor as the US Chess Championship got under way, with Ashley taking on commentating duties. Communications Affairs Office Minister Getachew Reda said the attackers were members of South Sudan's Murle tribe. Health officials in Buenos Aires said that two people in their 20s died during the Time Warp festival on Friday and three others died in an ambulance or at a hospital. The mine, located in the foothills of the Andes 150 kilometers south of Santiago, is being closed to let engineers and crews clean up landslides and divert streams that have "caused damage" to machinery.
Deadly road accidents in India are often caused by overloading, bad road conditions and reckless driving. National Bureau of Statistics' data on the stock of housing "waiting for sale" only include inventories that are (officially) completed.
However, since 2008 housing starts and construction were ramped up, initiated by the stimulus package in November 2008, when liquidity quickly spread through China's economy. Indeed, while housing prices have been rising strongly in first-tier cities since early 2015, they have only recently started to increase again on a month-on-month basis in third-tier cities.
This is because the speed of urbanization has slowed down somewhat and the demand for housing as an investment vehicle is less strong than it used to be. In a break from the "old" way of talking about family planning, the "new" language is much more about "supporting" than "encouraging". And in February, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline for improving care services for the left-behind children.
But they have only drawn deductive conclusions without offering a clear picture of the specific situations in which the left-behind children live. And the government, on its part, has put green development high on its agenda to devise its economic, social and environmental blueprint for the next five years. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down," Kerry told CNN Espanol in Miami.

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