Philippines and Rebels Agree on Peace Accord to End Insurgency
By FLOYD WHALEY
The Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim insurgency group negotiated the final details of a peace accord on Saturday that many hope will end more than 40 years of violence that has killed tens of thousands of people and helped nurture Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia.
The agreement will create an autonomous Muslim-dominated region in the restive south of the predominantly Christian country, handing much of the responsibility for security there to local authorities as well as a large share of revenues from the region’s wealth of natural resources. The militants have agreed to disarm, with many expected to join Philippine security forces.
China jails activist Xu Zhiyong for four years for ‘disturbing public order’
Lawyer of high-profile dissident describes guilty conviction as ‘illegal and unfair’ following closed-door trial
Tania Branigan in Beijing
theguardian.com, Sunday 26 January 2014 05.23 GMT
A Chinese court has jailed leading activist Xu Zhiyong for four years for public order offences related to his role in a social justice and transparency movement.
Xu is a legal scholar and advocate who has been at the forefront of campaigns for rights in China for a decade. Several others from the New Citizens Movement which he co-founded have stood trial already or will appear on Monday.
The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People’s Court said on its microblog on Sunday morning that it had found Xu guilty of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” following his closed-door trial on Wednesday.
Racism in India blamed for unrest in the streets as African migrants claim they are victims of discrimination
ANDREW BUNCOMBE Sunday 26 January 2014
The young man stood in the half-light of the stairwell, not willing to give his full name, not willing either to remain entirely silent about the discrimination he had suffered. He was shivering, perhaps from the cold, perhaps from anxiety.
“We get a lot of problems here from some of the Indians,” he said, glancing around him as people passed him. “I know that not everyone is like that…But any African living in India always feels tension.”
He added: “As soon as my college course is completed, I will leave. The next day.”
Snowden NSA economic espionage claim broadcast as teaser to first TV interview
German public broadcaster ARD will air a half-hour interview with NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden on Sunday. The first snippet, aired late Saturday, accuses the NSA of conducting industrial espionage.
The first extract of Edward Snowden’s first television interview since laying a string of NSA practices bare last summer were broadcast on ARD on Saturday night, ahead of Sunday’s full-length interview conducted by ARD’s regional NDR partner.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the editorial decisions of journalists but what I will say is there is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying,” Snowden told veteran NDR journalist Hubert Seipel. “If there is information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they’ll take it.”
Thai protesters disrupt early voting for disputed election
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre
Protesters trying to force Thailand’s prime minister from office swarmed polling stations in Bangkok on Sunday, chaining doors shut and halting advance voting in nearly all centers ahead of a disputed election next week.
A deputy prime minister said 45 of 50 polling stations in the capital had been closed down and advance voting was disrupted in 10 of Thailand’s 76 provinces.
On Saturday, a government minister said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was prepared to discuss cancelling the February 2 election if activists ended more than two months of often unruly protests. The government said it was ready to delay the vote if its opponents agreed not to boycott or disrupt a rescheduled poll.
Al-Qaeda group says Lebanese Shia are targets
Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon says “all bastions” of Hezbollah are legitimate attack sites and tells Sunnis to stay away.
Last updated: 26 Jan 2014 06:58
A Sunni group with links to al-Qaeda has warned that all areas of Lebanon where the Shia Hezbollah movement operates are “legitimate targets” for attack, and told Sunnis to avoid them.
Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon said in a statement on Sunday that it announced that Iran’s party [Hezbollah] and all its bases and… bastions are legitimate targets for us, wherever they are.”
The statement comes three days after the group – an affiliate of al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra – said it carried out a car bomb attack in Beirut’s southern suburbs that killed four people.
It also said it carried out a deadly car bomb attack in the heart of Hermel town in eastern Lebanon, which killed three people.