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Last updateSun, 18 Feb 2018 2pm

World News

Cyclone Debbie: 'Monster' storm batters Australia

A powerful cyclone has pummelled the north-east Australian coast, causing major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.
Cyclone Debbie made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland as a category four storm, whipping up gusts of 263km/h (163 mph).
It is moving inland as a category three but could cause damage for hours yet. One serious injury has been reported.
PM Malcolm Turnbull told parliament he had activated a disaster response plan.
The extent of Cyclone Debbie's devastation may not be known for some time, authorities said.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said: "We are going to get lots of reports of damage, and sadly I think we will also receive reports of injuries, if not death."

World nuclear ban 'not realistic', says US ambassador to UN.

A worldwide nuclear ban is simply not "realistic", the US ambassador to the UN has said, as nearly 40 countries stayed away from talks on the subject. The US, Britain and France were among the countries that skipped a UN meeting to discuss a new treaty. More than 120 others endorsed a plan for a legally binding nuclear ban.

But US envoy Nikki Haley said national security required nuclear arms because of "bad actors" who could not be trusted. She told reporters that there is nothing anyone want more for his family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But things have to be realistic," 

Donald Trump's US healthcare bill withdrawn.

US President Donald Trump has withdrawn his healthcare bill after it failed to gain enough support to pass in Congress. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he and Mr Trump agreed to pull the vote, after it became apparent it would not get the minimum of 215 Republican votes needed. The last minute move was seen as a huge blow to Mr Trump. Repealing and replacing the programme known as Obamacare was one of his major election pledges.

  US healthcare bill: Trump issues today's vote ultimatum.

US President Donald Trump has demanded a make-or-break Friday vote on a new health care bill in the House of Representatives. The American Healthcare Act is intended to replace parts of President Barack Obama's signature law. But yesterday's vote was delayed because of opposition from some Republicans - despite Mr Trump's repeated attempts to persuade them to back the legislature. He now says he wants to move on and vote - whatever the result today.

Khalid Masood identified as London killer.

Police have identified Khalid Masood as the man who carried out the Westminster attack, as the death toll rose to five. Masood, 52, was born as Adrian Elms in Kent and was shot dead by police. He had not been the subject of any current police investigations. PC Keith Palmer, 48, Aysha Frade and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, were killed on Wednesday, while a 75-year-old man died on Thursday evening. The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack.

London attack: Police have identified the British-born attacker.

The Westminster attacker was British-born and known to the police and intelligence services, the prime minister has revealed. In a statement to the Commons, Theresa May said he had been investigated some years ago over violent extremism but had been a "peripheral figure". Eight arrests have been made following the attack on yesterday that left four dead. Those that died are PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade who worked at a London college, a man in his 50s and the attacker.

The UN commissioner for Human Rights acknowledged positive advances of securing human rights in Sri Lanka.

UN high commissioner for Human Rights zeid Rad Al Hussein acknowledges some positive advances on human rights and constitutional reform in Sri Lanka. Issuing a report on Sri Lanka yesterday, he said, he welcomes the constructive engagement of the government with the UN resolutions.


Sushma Swaraj steps in to rescue Indian woman facing domestic abuse in Pakistan.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj directed Indian High Commission to renew the passpart of an Indian woman married to Pakistani man, and facilitate her return. Mohammadia Begum hailing from Telangana was living with her husband in Sialkot, Pakistan.

Ms. Begum complained to her parents that she was being harassed and beaten up by her husband and in-laws and that she wanted to come back to India. Mohammad Akbar, the victim's father appealed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who in turn asked officials of Indian Embassy to meet Ms. Begum.

US and UK ban cabin laptops on some inbound flights.

The US and UK are banning laptops from cabin baggage on flights from certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Turkey. The US ban on electronic devices larger than a smartphone is being imposed as an anti-terrorist precaution. It covers inbound flights on nine airlines operating out of 10 airports. Phones are not affected. The British ban, announced hours after the American measure, is similar but applies to different airlines.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye faces prosecutors.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye is being questioned by prosecutors over a corruption scandal that brought her down. After arriving at the office, she told reporters she was "sorry". Ms Park resisted efforts to question her when she was president, but lost her immunity when judges upheld parliament's decision to impeach her. She could be charged for allegedly allowing close friend Choi Soon-sil to extort money from large firms. Ms Choi has been charged with bribery and corruption.

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