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Indian school fire toll rises to 20
AFP, Surat
 Indian police on Saturday charged the owners of a private school which turned into an inferno that killed 20 teenagers, some who died jumping from the building in a desperate bid to escape the flames, officials said.
Sixteen of the dead were young women who had been preparing for exams at the tuition centre illegally set up on the top of a commercial building in the western city of Surat, the officials said.

Egypt frees ex-diplomat who called for referendum
AP, Cairo
 An Egyptian rights lawyer says a former diplomat who called for a referendum on Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government has been released from jail.
Khaled Ali says his client, Masoum Marzouk, was released earlier this week along with four activists.

Maltese navy rescues more migrants
AFP, Valletta
 The Maltese navy said Saturday it had rescued 216 more migrants, including pregnant women and minors, from two small craft in the Mediterranean.
Malta, which was holding a vote for the European Union parliament Saturday, has appealed to the EU for help in dealing with the flow of migrants, which much larger neighbour Italy has begun to turn away.

Ex-US Marine alleges "threats, abuse" in Russian jail
AFP, Moscow
A former US Marine arrested on spying charges in Moscow says he is subjected to abuse and harassment in jail, but a diplomat warned Saturday a potential prisoner swap will not happen before a conviction.
Paul Whelan has been held under arrest in Russia since late December and is accused of being caught red-handed "carrying out an act of espionage".

Mount Everest death toll reaches 10
Agencies ,Kathmandu
The deaths of an Irish and a British climber on Mount Everest took the toll from a deadly week on the world's highest peak to 10, expedition organisers said Saturday.
British climber Robin Fisher, 44, reached the summit Saturday morning but collapsed when he had got just 150 metres back down the slope.

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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong leaves jail, vows to join protests

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong leaves jail, vows to join protests

AFP, Hong Kong :Leading Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong walked free from prison Monday and vowed to join historic anti-government protests rocking the finance hub, as activists kept up

Vatican formally opens debate on married priests in Amazon

Vatican formally opens debate on married priests in Amazon

AP, Vatican City :The Vatican formally opened debate Monday on letting married men be ordained as priests in remote parts of the Amazon where priests are so few that Catholics

Indian doctors’ strike over violence from patients and families

Indian doctors’ strike over violence from patients and families

AFP, New Delhi :Tens of thousands of Indian doctors went on strike Monday calling for more protection against violence by patients and their families, as parliament met for the first

"Khashoggi death painful, stop exploiting case": Saudi Crown Prince

 AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned against "exploiting" the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared to be a veiled attack on

Pakistani blogger, activist, known for criticism of army, killed

Pakistani blogger, activist, known for criticism of army, killed

PTI, Islamabad :A 22-year-old Pakistani blogger and journalist known for criticising the country's military and the spy agency ISI was killed by a man in Islamabad, the police said today.Muhammad

News In Brief

Israel to attend US ME peace conferenceAFP, JerusalemIsrael will attend an upcoming conference on the economic aspects of Washington's peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Minister Israel

Over 40pc of newly elected Indian lawmakers facing criminal charges

Over 40pc of newly elected Indian lawmakers facing criminal charges

AP, New Delhi :India's recent national election delivered a historic victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, but also exposed the influence of money, power and questionable morality

Trump in new attack on London's Mayor calls Sadiq Khan a ‘disaster’

Trump in new attack on London's Mayor calls Sadiq Khan a ‘disaster’

US President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack Saturday on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling for him to be replaced as soon as possible."LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan

Saudi Crown Prince lashes out at arch-rival Iran over tanker attacks

Saudi Crown Prince lashes out at arch-rival Iran over tanker attacks

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused arch-rival Iran of attacks on oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he "won't hesitate" to tackle any threats

Far-right seeks control of German town favoured by Hollywood

Far-right seeks control of German town favoured by Hollywood

AFP, Gorlitz :The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is battling to win the mayor's office in a bellwether election on Sunday at a town in the former East Germany