World briefs: Iraq refugee crisis worsens

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WASHINGTON — The United Nations refugee agency launched a land, air and sea aid push to address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, one that the organization says is one of the worst it has seen in recent years. About 100 tons of supplies landed in Irbil on Wednesday, which included tents, sheets and other supplies.

Although situations in Syria, Congo and other parts of the world have been extremely grim and have had higher numbers of refugees, the rapid rise of the Islamic State and instability in the region have intensified the crisis in Iraq.

The rate at which the situation in Iraq has deteriorated is the largest reason why it is being called one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent years.The situation in Syria has been deteriorating for more than three years. In comparison, conflicts in Iraq mostly started this year, and the worst of it commenced in June, when the Islamic State (then ISIS) took Mosul.

Sect members on trial

HONG KONG — Five defendants stood trial in eastern China on Thursday, accused of beating and kicking a woman to death in a McDonald’s restaurant after she resisted their attempt to recruit her into a sect that has been condemned by the government as a malignant cult.

The trial, in the Shandong province city of Yantai, has been widely publicized by the Chinese news media and has served as the government’s main exhibit in a renewed campaign to eradicate the Church of Almighty God, a homegrown offshoot of Christianity that believes Jesus Christ has returned as a Chinese woman who will save followers from apocalyptic destruction.

U.S. reporter expelled

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government lashed out Thursday at criticism of its expulsion of an American journalist, the first such action since the ouster of the Taliban, denouncing him as a spy in an official statement.

Both the U.S. ambassador and the top U.N. representative here sharply criticized the Afghan government’s expulsion of the journalist, New York Times correspondent Matthew Rosenberg, 40, who left Kabul on Thursday, within a 24 hour deadline imposed by the Afghan attorney general’s office. The order came after an article written by Mr. Rosenberg, published Tuesday, reported on efforts by some officials to resolve an electoral crisis.

Tthe Government Media and Information Center, an agency controlled by the president’s office, saiding that it “considers Mr. Rosenberg’s report more of an espionage act than a journalistic work..”

Election results upheld

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected claims by Prabowo Subianto, who lost the country’s presidential election in July, that the voting had been rigged, a widely expected ruling that cleared the way for the populist governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, to become the country’s next leader on Oct. 20..

The court ruled that Mr. Prabowo, a former army general, had failed to produce evidence backing his claim that the election was marred by “massive, structured and systematic fraud.”

Military coup completed

BANGKOK, Thailand — The army general who led the overthrow of Thailand’s elected government in May was named prime minister Thursday by a rubber-stamp legislature, sealing the military’s acquisition of near-absolute power in a country once considered a regional beacon of political freedom.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha was chosen as prime minister by the National Legislative Assembly, whose members were handpicked by the junta last month.


-- Compiled from news services


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