Russian Supreme Court scraps conviction of opposition activist

Russia on Wednesday overturned the conviction of anti-Kremlin activist Ildar Dadin, who was the first person sent to jail under new rules that made staging some forms of non-violent protest a criminal offence.

Dadin was sentenced in December 2015 to three years in jail – later reduced on appeal to two and a half years – for conducting a series of peaceful, one-man protests against Kremlin rule.

Conducting protests without official permission was previously punishable by a fine. But new rules adopted after mass protests in Moscow that followed President Vladimir Putin’s 2012 election made it a criminal offence, punishable with jail term, to stage the protests more than twice in 180 days.

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Second-in-command of Yemeni army, 7 soldiers killed by Houthi rebels

The second-in-command of Yemen’s army and another seven soldiers were killed in a rocket attack carried out by Houthi rebel forces, a military official told EFE.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Seif al-Yafai was killed after the rebels targeted his vehicle near the Red Sea city of Mocha.

Al-Yafai is the first senior military official killed in Yemen, where there has been an armed conflict for more than two years, while Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition against the Houthi rebels.

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South African court slaps down bid to leave ICC

A South African court on Wednesday ordered the government to withdraw its “unconstitutional” bid to pull out of the International Criminal Court, in a boost to the embattled Hague-based institution.

The decision was a blow to President Jacob Zuma but a welcome piece of good news for the ICC, which has been rocked by threats of withdrawal amid complaints of an alleged bias against Africa.

South Africa announced it had lodged its decision to pull out with the United Nations in October, following a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visiting the country in 2015.

South African authorities refused to detain Bashir despite him being the subject of an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes, saying he had immunity as a head of state.

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Hong Kong ex-leader Donald Tsang jailed for corruption

A former leader of Hong Kong was sentenced to 20 months in prison for misconduct after failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment for his retirement from a businessman applying for a broadcasting licence.

High Court Judge Andrew Chan said on Wednesday that it was a stunning downfall for Donald Tsang, 72, who served as Hong Kong’s leader, or chief executive, from 2005 to 2012.

He becomes the highest-ranking current or former official sent to prison for wrongdoing in the Asian financial hub, which prides itself on a reputation for clean governance.

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2017-02-18

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ummary:

01. Scientists want recognition for new “Zealandia” continent in southwest Pacific;
02. Finnish parliament confirms same-sex marriage law;
03. Even a dead Robert Mugabe could stand in Zimbabwe election: wife;
04. Antique busts ruined in Palmyra will return to Syria;
05. Hundreds of migrants storm fence to reach Spanish enclave of Ceuta;
06. German Social Democrat candidate would beat Merkel in chancellor vote: poll;
07. Syria jihadist infighting kills nearly 70: monitor.

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2017-02-17

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ummary:

01. Four famines mean 20 million may starve in the next six months;
02. Venezuela Supreme Court upholds sentence for opposition leader: lawyer;
03. Samsung heir arrested on bribery charges in corruption probe;
04. Scuffles, tear gas as anti-police protests reach Paris;
05. Cyclone bears down on Mozambique coast;
06. Firefighters battle to contain New Zealand wildfire as 1.000 evacuated;
07. Nine migrants feared drowned off Spain’s Canary Islands;
08. Rebels kill 32 people in Central African Republic town;
09. Baghdad car bomb claimed by Islamic State kills 55;
10. 8 women, 1 child killed in air raid near Yemen capital: medics;
11. Suicide attack on Pakistani shrine kills 72, claimed by Islamic State.

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2017-02-16

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ummary:

01. Russia tells White House it will not return Crimea to Ukraine;
02. Lebanon annulled law allowing marriage between rapists and victims;
03. Kremlin denies allegations it violated U.S. missile treaty;
04. Senate blocks Obama-era rule tightening checks on mentally ill gun buyers;
05. Burundi govt again refuses crisis talks with opposition;
06. Irish government survives confidence vote, pressure on PM rises.

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2017-02-15

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ummary:

01. Trump expects Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine: White House;
02. Michael Flynn resigns as Trump’s national security adviser;
03. Brother of Kim Jong-Un “assassinated” in Malaysia;
04. Forbidden love: Valentine’s Day banned for some in Asia;
05. Russia deploys missile, violating treaty and challenging Trump;
06. Record numbers of couples living in sexless marriages in Japan, says report;
07. Czech president, chain smoker, approves smoking ban in bars;
08. Clashes leave over 100 dead in Congo;
09. Dozens killed in fighting among jihadists in Syria.

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2017-02-14

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ummary:

01. Russian video raises alarm: New IS damage in Syria’s Palmyra;
02. Gambia announces plans to stay in International Criminal Court;
03. Judge denies request to halt Dakota Access pipeline work;
04. Rights group says Pakistan has “forced” mass Afghan refugee returns;
05. Turkmenistan’s leader wins presidential election;
06. Malaysian aid ship to help Rohingyas arrives in Bangladesh;
07. Romania: Protests after Parliament oks anti-graft referendum;
08. Signs of hope at Oroville dam, after overflow sparked large evacuation Sunday;
09. Hamas names shadowy militant as new leader in Gaza;
10. Islamic State leadership targeted in air strike, Baghdadi fate unclear: Iraqi military;
11. Taliban suicide bomber strikes Pakistan rally, killing 13;
12. Ethnic clashes in central Mali kill at least 13;

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We are back!

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ummary:

01. R&B, jazz legend Al Jarreau dies aged 76;
02. Centre-left Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected president of Germany;
03. Yale University to drop pro-slavery namesake from college;
04. Venezuela now leads US asylum requests as crisis deepens;
05. Romania protests enter 13th day with calls for government of “thieves” to resign;
06. North Korea confirms “successful” ballistic missile test;
07. U.N. air strikes in Central African Republic kill several: militia;
08. Switzerland votes to ease citizenship process;
09. Israel says will not allow former Peru president Toledo to enter;
10. WWII bomb defused in Greece; 70,000 evacuees heading home;
11. Cambodia opposition names acting leader after shock resignation;
12. Congolese music festival for peace draws tens of thousands;
13. Blockades remain as some Brazilian police return to work;
14. Famed church in Israel reopens 2 years after arson attack;
15. South Sudan general quits over “ethnic cleansing” regime;
16. Seven killed in militant battle in India’s Kashmir.

This Week in Science:

Environment:

– Construction resumes on Dakota pipeline despite tribe’s challenge;
– Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces;
– Climate change adds to pressures on endangered African penguins: study;
– Yellow fever kills 600 monkeys in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest;
– Winter migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico drops after one-year recovery;
– Global sea ice at record low;
– EU must shut all coal plants by 2030 to meet Paris climate pledges, study says;
– Canada reintroduces bison to Banff National Park;
– Orangutan squeaks reveal language evolution, says study;
– New Zealand beached whale crisis “over”, say rescuers;
– Oldest captive fish euthanized in his mid-90s by Chicago aquarium;
– Almost 90% of new power in Europe from renewable sources in 2016.

Space:

– Astronomers just found more evidence of a new type of black hole;
– Scientists optimistic about prospects for LISA gravitational wave mission;
– Black hole meal sets record for length and size;
– SpaceX to hit fastest launch pace with new Florida site – executive;
– NASA’s Curiosity rover sharpens paradox of ancient Mars;
– SpaceX is about to send a lethal superbug into orbit;
– NASA Glenn demonstrates electronics for longer Venus surface missions;
– Mysterious white dwarf pulsar discovered.

Technology:

– New York Times to offer subscribers free Spotify access;
– Sony’s latest smartphone camera sensor can shoot at 1,000fps;
– Intel will invest $7 billion to finish a factory it started in 2011;
– Device storage will get a huge capacity bump from new 512 gigabit 3D NAND chips;
– U.S. visitors may have to hand over social media passwords: DHS;
– Google Brain super-resolution image tech makes “zoom, enhance!” real;
– Sony confirms new PS4 Pro “Boost Mode” will help some older games run faster and smoother.

Comics:

– Buni;
– Berkeley Mews;
– Dami Lee.

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