Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday hit back at Chinese media criticism of an unofficial democracy poll in the city, softening his previous stance on the ballot after more than 700,000 people voted. The turnout for the informal referendum has gone far beyond organisers' expectations, as fears grow that Beijing will backtrack on its promise to allow Hong Kong's voters to choose the leader they want. Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying said Tuesday that voters had "expressed their hopes and demands" for elections of the city's leader in 2017. He hit back at an editorial in China's state-run Global Times newspaper condemning the poll as "an illegal farce" and saying that China's massive 1.3 billion population outweighed opinions in Hong Kong.
The United States on Monday said it was boosting its humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic to $118 million in fiscal 2014. The new allotment of an additional $51 million is aimed at people in the CAR as well as those who have fled to neighboring nations such as Chad and Cameroon, the State Department said. "More than half of CAR’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance," said spokeswoman Marie Harf. Harf said the United States "applaud(s) the hospitality of neighboring host countries in welcoming the nearly 140,000 refugees who have fled since December 2013."
A bomb blast at a public health college in Nigeria's second city of Kano killed at least eight people on Monday, in the latest violence to hit an area repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram. It was not yet clear who carried out the attack but initial suspicion fell on Boko Haram, the Islamist extremists who have bombed many educational targets during a five-year uprising. "So far 20 were taken to hospital and of that eight have been confirmed dead," Kano state police chief Aderele Shinaba told journalists at the scene. Attacks blamed on Boko Haram were once a near-daily occurrence in Kano, but the security services have had some success in containing the violence in recent months.
At least five people have been killed in a new attack on Kenya's coast, officials said Tuesday, one week after some 60 people died in twin massacres nearby. The attack took place overnight on a small village near the town of Witu, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) on the mainland west of the tourist island of Lamu. Lamu County Commissioner Stephen Ikua confirmed there had been a new "unfortunate attack", the third in the area this month, but said he could not confirm casualties. Attacks last week on the nearby coastal Mpeketoni district left at least 60 dead and were claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, though President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed "well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence" carried out by "local political networks".
By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Facing a potential Republican surge at November’s midterm elections, Democratic candidates are clamoring for Hillary Clinton to join them on the campaign trail. In contrast, President Barack Obama is expected to have a muted role due to his dropping popularity. While Clinton undoubtedly wants to see her party do well on Nov. 4, a return to town halls and diners will give her a chance to test speech themes and flex her retail politics muscles ahead of her own likely run for president in 2016. Clinton's last campaign was in 2008 and she has looked rusty as she promotes her memoir "Hard Choices," stumbling over media questions about her personal wealth and lucrative speeches.
These are among the economic costs that climate change is expected to exact in the United States over the next 25 years, according to a bipartisan report released on Tuesday. Commissioned by a group chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs alum Henry Paulson, and environmentalist and financier Tom Steyer, the analysis "is the most detailed ever of the potential economic effects of climate change on the U.S.," said climatologist Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University. The report lands three weeks after President Barack Obama ordered U.S. regulators to take their strongest steps ever to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including requiring power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
White House officials and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will meet with billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer on Wednesday to discuss climate change, a White House official said. The meeting will include former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, and Cargill Chief Executive Greg Page, who have worked together on a forthcoming "Risky Business report," which studies the economic consequences of climate change.
A South Korean soldier who killed five comrades was in a stable condition on Tuesday after an apparent suicide bid, doctors said, as details emerged of a final note he wrote regretting his actions. The 22-year-old sergeant, surnamed Lim, was captured Monday after a 24-hour standoff with thousands of troops ended when he shot himself in the chest. "He is in a stable condition and is fully conscious," Kim Jin-Yup, a doctor at Gangneung Asan Hospital told reporters.
Ukraine's pro-Russian insurgents have agreed to a temporary ceasefire and talks with the new Western-backed president, as US President Barack Obama warned Russia it risks fresh sanctions over its support for the separatists. The surprise ceasefire announcement from the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly threw his weight behind Kiev's peace overtures and urged the separatists to halt fire. Ukraine's security services confirmed on Monday evening that militia strikes in the two heavily-Russified industrial regions that have been at the heart of the insurgency came to an abrupt halt in the late afternoon.