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    After dramatic video surfaced of a North Korean guard defecting across the border into South Korea, Kim Jong Un’s government has replaced nearly all of the soldiers who were stationed at the site where the escape took place Nov. 13, CNN reported. >> Read more trending news “North Korea replaced almost all of its troops, if not all, at the Joint Security Area for their failure to prevent the defection,” said Kim Young-woo, chairman of the South Korean National Assembly's defense committee. “It was obviously a part of punishment for failing their mission to deter the North Korean soldier's escape. North Korea has always punished those responsible for similar failures.” North Korea, meanwhile, planted trees and dug a trench at a section of the Military Demarcation Line, according to Marc Knapper, the chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Seoul. Knapper tweeted a photo of dramatic video released by the United Nations Command on Wednesday. The video showed a North Korean soldier's daring dash to freedom while being fired upon by his former comrades. After the defector's vehicle got stuck in a gutter close to the border, he jumped out and ran toward the South Korean side, CNN reported. >> WATCH: North Korean guard makes dramatic defection The 24-year-old soldier, known only by his last name -- Oh -- has regained consciousness after being shot and was undergoing treatment, CNN reported. Oh is the third member of the North Korean armed forces to defect this year. More than 40 bullets were fired at him from pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle, South Korea's military said last week. South Korean troops did not return fire. Oh had lost more than 50 percent of his blood by the time he arrived by air at Ajou University Hospital, his surgeon Lee Cook Jong told reporters Wednesday.
  • The United States will cut off its supply of arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria, a move by President Donald Trump that is sure to please Turkey but further alienate Syrian Kurds who bore much of the fight against the Islamic State group.In a phone call Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said he'd 'given clear instructions' that the Kurds will receive no more weapons — 'and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago,' said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The White House confirmed the move in a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of 'pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria.'The White House called the move 'consistent with our previous policy' and noted the recent fall of Raqqa, once the Islamic State group's self-declared capital but recently liberated by a largely Kurdish force. The Trump administration announced in May it would start arming the Kurds in anticipation of the fight to retake Raqqa.'We are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return,' the White House said, using an acronym for the extremist group.The move could help ease strained tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, two NATO allies that have been sharply at odds about how best to wage the fight against IS. Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, known by the initials YPG, to be terrorists because of their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels that have waged a three decade-long insurgency in Turkey. Yet the U.S. chose to partner with the YPG in Syria anyway, arguing that the battle-hardened Kurds were the most effective fighting force available.Cavusoglu, who said he was in the room with Erdogan during Trump's call, quoted the U.S. president as saying he had given instructions to U.S. generals and to national security adviser H.R. McMaster that 'no weapons would be issued.'Of course, we were very happy with this,' Cavusoglu said.Yet for the Kurds, it was the latest demoralizing blow to their hopes for greater recognition in the region. Last month, the Kurds in neighboring Iraq saw their recent territorial gains erased by the Iraqi military, which seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas from the Kurdish regional government in retaliation for a Kurdish independence referendum that the U.S. ardently opposed.Trump's decision appeared to catch both the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department off guard. Officials at both agencies, who would normally be informed of changes in U.S. policy toward arming the Syrian Kurds, said they were unaware of any changes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.It was unclear whether the Trump administration notified the Kurds of the move before telling the Turks. Nor was it how much significance the change would have on the ground, considering the fight against IS is almost over.The United States has been arming the Kurds in their fight against IS through an umbrella group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which is comprised of Kurdish as well as Arab fighters. But the retreat of IS, which has lost nearly all its territory in Syria, has altered the dynamics in the region and a U.S. defense official said he was unaware of any additional arms scheduled to be transferred to the Kurds, even before the Turkish announcement.Last week, Col. Ryan Dillon, the chief spokesman for the U.S. coalition that is fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, said there has yet to be any reduction in the number of U.S. advisers working with the SDF. His comments appeared to suggest the possibility that changes in the level and type of U.S. military support for the Syrian Kurds could be coming.As the fight against IS has waned in recent months, the U.S. has pledged to carefully monitor the weapons it provides the Kurds, notably ensuring that they don't wind up in the hands of Kurdish insurgents in Turkey known as the PKK.Both Turkey and the U.S. consider the PKK a terrorist group. But the United States has tried to draw a distinction between the PKK and the Syrian Kurds across the border, while Turkey insists they're essentially the same.In both Syria and Iraq, the U.S. relied on Kurdish fighters to do much of the fighting against IS, but those efforts have yet to lead to a realization of the Kurds' broader aspirations, most notably an independent state.Washington's support for the Syrian Kurds, in particular, has been a major thorn in U.S.-Turkish relations for several years, given Turkey's concerns about the Kurds' territorial aspirations. In particular, Turkey has feared the establishment of a contiguous, Kurdish-held canton in northern Syria that runs along the Turkish border.Relations between NATO allies Turkey and the United States have also soured recently over a number of other issues, including Turkey's crackdown on dissent following a failed coup attempt last year. Ankara has also demanded that the U.S. extradite a Pennsylvania-based cleric that it blames for fomenting the coup, but the U.S. says Turkey lacks sufficient proof.___Lederman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
  • A Zimbabwean High Court judge has ruled that the military action leading to Robert Mugabe's resignation was legal, a key decision as the military has sought to show that its moves were not a coup.Experts said it sets a dangerous precedent for the military to step in again.High Court Judge George Chiweshe on Friday ruled that the military's actions 'in intervening to stop the takeover' of Mugabe's constitutional functions 'by those around him are constitutionally permissible and lawful.'The military stepped in almost two weeks ago after Mugabe's firing of deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa amid fears that the 93-year-old Mugabe's unpopular wife was positioning herself to take power.The judge said the military's actions ensured that non-elected individuals do not exercise executive functions, an apparent reference to then-first lady Grace Mugabe.Separately, the judge said Mugabe's firing of Mnangagwa as vice president was illegal. Mnangagwa was sworn in as president on Friday in a whirlwind reversal of fortunes, becoming just the second leader of Zimbabwe after Mugabe's 37-year-rule.The judge's decisions were quickly criticized both by legal and rights experts and by close allies of Mugabe and his wife.'If these breathtaking High Court Orders granted in Harare yesterday represent what is being peddled as a 'new path,' then please pray for Zimbabwe,' tweeted minister of higher education Jonathan Moyo, the most vocal of the Mugabes' allies.The southern Africa director for Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, called the rulings 'incredible' and said on Twitter: 'Strange, captured judiciary?'Zimbabwe's military sent tanks into the streets overnight on Nov. 14, taking control of the state broadcaster and announcing that Robert Mugabe had been put under house arrest. It said it was pursuing 'criminals' close to Mugabe accused of harming the country's economy.The military's move led the ruling party to turn against Mugabe, launching impeachment proceedings before Mugabe on Tuesday announced his resignation, while tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets in a military-backed demonstration urging Mugabe to step aside.Mnangagwa, who fled the country shortly after his firing, said upon his return that he had been in 'constant contact' with the military during his absence.Many in the international community avoided calling the military's actions a coup, instead urging that Zimbabwe's authorities respect the rule of law during the turmoil. Some Zimbabweans have congratulated the military, taking selfies with soldiers on the streets and sending up a big cheer for army commander Constantino Chiwenga at Friday's inauguration.Zimbabwean lawyer Alex Magaisa said the rulings by the High Court judge 'may come to haunt Mnangagwa's government' by setting a precedent in 'effectively legalizing military intervention in the affairs of government.'He also wrote Saturday that 'it is interesting to note that the order was granted by 'consent' which suggests that Mugabe agreed to it. If he did, it could be that it was part of Mugabe's exit deal.'Mugabe has not been seen in public since his speech to the nation on Sunday that defied calls to resign. He will remain in Zimbabwe, and Mnangagwa met him on Thursday and assured him of 'maximum security,' the state-run Zimbabwe Herald reported.Mugabe did not attend the swearing-in on Friday of Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old former defense and justice minister who has been blamed for a number of crackdowns under Mugabe's rule.In his first speech as president, Mnangagwa spoke of reuniting the country and reaching out to the world after years of international condemnation and sanctions over rights abuses and allegedly rigged elections. Let 'bygones be bygones,' he said. He has warned against 'vengeful retribution.'A number of Cabinet ministers have not been seen publicly since the military swept in, while rights activists have begun sharing worrying details of assaults and raids on their homes amid concerns about possible retaliation.Also Saturday, Finance Minister Ignatious Chombo was to appear in court after accusations of corrupt land deals dating back to his time as minister in charge of local government, his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told The Associated Press.Chombo was assaulted after the military moved in, the lawyer said. He was detained by the military but now is in police custody.Charges against the minister were read out Thursday while he lay in bed at a government-run hospital, the lawyer said.
  • The Latest on developments in Egypt (all times local):10:55 a.m.Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has ordered the construction of a mausoleum in memory of the 235 people killed by Islamic militants inside a mosque in northern Sinai.A presidential statement did not say where the mausoleum would stand or who would be commissioned to build it, but the decision to have one reflects the depth of grief felt by the government over the death of so many people in Friday's attack, the deadliest by Islamic extremists in Egypt's modern history. The mosque was frequented by Sufis, followers of a mystic school of Islam.No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the extremist Islamic State group has repeatedly declared that it views Sufis as heretics and vowed to rid Sinai, and Egypt, of them. Millions of Egyptians practice Sufi rituals, like reciting poetry, dancing and singing as means to be closer to God.___9:05 a.m.Egypt's military says warplanes have struck several vehicles used in the attack on a northern Sinai mosque that killed 235 people, destroying and killing all passengers.The military's Saturday statement said the vehicles were hit in the vicinity of the previous day's attack on a mosque in the Sinai town of Bir al-Abd, the deadliest by Islamic extremists in Egypt's modern history.No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the extremist Islamic State group has in the past vowed to rid Sinai, and Egypt, of Sufis. A local IS affiliate is spearheading the insurgency in Sinai, where government forces have battled militants for years.The mosque was frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam that's viewed by extremists as heretic.___7:15 a.m.Militants assaulted a crowded mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula during prayers in the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt.They blasted helpless worshippers Friday with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocked their escape routes. At least 235 people were killed before the assailants got away.The attack in the troubled northern part of the Sinai targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam.Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.The startling bloodshed in the town of Bir al-Abd also wounded at least 109, according to the state news agency. It offered the latest sign that the Egyptian government has failed to deter an IS-led insurgency.
  • Egypt was hit by its deadliest ever militant attack on Friday, when gunmen opened fire and set off explosives at a mosque in the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing more than 200 people.Egypt has been battling an insurgency in the Sinai led by an affiliate of the Islamic State group that intensified after the military's 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Hundreds have been killed in what has become a grinding stalemate in Sinai. The militants have expanded their attacks to other parts of Egypt, carrying out deadly bombings of churches to terrorize the Christian minority and deadly gunbattles with security forces.A generation earlier in the 1990s, Egypt faced a campaign of violence by Islamic militants largely based in the south of the country. The militants attacked Christians and security forces and sought to undermine Egypt's economy by striking tourists. It took years but the government was able to crush it with a heavy-handed crackdown that entrenched the long-term power of security agencies in the country. Some of the campaign's militant leaders, from Islamic Jihad and the Gamaa Islamiya, would later be prominent in al-Qaida.Here is a look at some of the deadliest attacks seen in Egypt.HATSEPSUT'S TEMPLE:In November 1997, gunmen opened fire on tourists, killing 62 people, at the Temple of Hatshepsut in the southern city of Luxor, site of many of the country's most dramatic and popular pharaonic monuments. It was the deadliest attack of the 1990s insurgency.___SINAI ATTACKS:In the mid-2000's, newly formed Sinai militant groups carried out a series of bombings against beach resorts. A suicide truck bomber hit a Hilton in Taba on the border with Israel in October 2004, and near simultaneous bombings hit two other Sinai resorts, killing a total of 34 people, mostly Egyptians and Israelis.In July 2005, bombings hit multiple sites including a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh, the biggest of Egypt's Sinai resorts, killing 88 people. The following April, bombs detonated at several locations in Dahab, killing 23 people.___NEW YEAR'S CHURCH BOMBINGA bomb explodes at the al-Qadeeseen Coptic Christian Church, hitting worshippers as they leave a midnight Mass on New Year's 2011, killing more than 20 people in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. No suspects have ever been named and the crime is still unsolved.___METROJET FLIGHT 9268A Russian Metrojet passenger airline crashes in Sinai after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015, killing more than 220 people on board, mostly Russian tourists. The Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State group said it blew up the plane with a bomb smuggled on board, and Russia said the aircraft was likely downed by explosives.___ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANSIS-linked militants have carried out multiple attacks on Egypt's Christian minority. In December 2016, a bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo killed 30 people and wounded dozens during Sunday Mass.In April 2017: Suicide bombers hit two churches in the coastal city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta during services for Palm Sunday, killing at least 43 people and wounding dozens. The next month, masked militants killed 28 people when they opened fire on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, heading to the remote monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor near the southern town Maghagha.___ATTACKS ON SECURITY FORCESThe IS affiliate has also succeeded in striking heavy and embarrassing blows on Egypt's police and military. In July 2014, gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a post in Egypt's western desert near the Libyan border, killing 21 soldiers. In Sinai only a few months later in October, the IS affiliate struck military checkpoints with surprise attacks that killed more than 30.In July this year, gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a military checkpoint in northern Sinai, killing 23 soldiers.
  • In the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt, militants assaulted a crowded mosque Friday during prayers, blasting helpless worshippers with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocking their escape routes. At least 235 people were killed before the assailants got away.The attack in the troubled northern part of the Sinai Peninsula targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.The startling bloodshed in the town of Bir al-Abd also wounded at least 109, according to the state news agency. It offered the latest sign that, despite more than three years of fighting in Sinai, the Egyptian government has failed to deter an IS-led insurgency.President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed that the attack 'will not go unpunished' and that Egypt would persevere with its war on terrorism. But he did not specify what new steps might be taken.The military and security forces have already been waging a tough campaign against militants in the towns, villages and desert mountains of Sinai, and Egypt has been in a state of emergency for months. Across the country, thousands have been arrested in a crackdown on suspected Islamists as well as against other dissenters and critics, raising concern about human rights violations.Seeking to spread the violence, militants over the past year have carried out deadly bombings on churches in the capital of Cairo and other cities, killing dozens of Christians. The IS affiliate is also believed to be behind the 2016 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 226 people.Friday's assault was the first major militant attack on a Muslim congregation, and it eclipsed past attacks, even dating back to a previous Islamic militant insurgency in the 1990s.The militants descended on the al-Rouda mosque in four off-road vehicles as hundreds worshipped inside. At least a dozen attackers charged in, opening fire randomly, the main cleric at the mosque, Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Fatah Zowraiq told The Associated Press by phone from a Nile Delta town where he was recuperating from bruises and scratches suffered in the attack.He said there were explosions as well. Officials cited by the state news agency MENA said the attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades and shot men as they tried to run from the building. The militants blocked off escape routes with burning cars, three police officers on the scene told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.Abdullah Abdel-Nasser, 14, who was attending prayers with his father, said the shooting began just as the cleric was about to start his sermon, sending panicked worshippers rushing to hide behind concrete columns or whatever shelter they could find. At one point, a militant shouted for children to leave, so Abdel-Nasser said he rushed out, though he was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel and a bullet.'I saw many people on the floor, many dead. I don't think anyone survived,' he said at a hospital in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where around 40 of the wounded were taken, including many children.Mohammed Ali said 18 members of his extended family were killed in the attack. The mosque belonged to a local clan, the Jreer, so many of its members worshipped there.'Where was the army? It's only a few kilometers away. This is the question we cannot find an answer to,' he said.The attackers escaped, apparently before security forces could confront them.Afterward, dozens of bloodied bodies wrapped in sheets were laid across the mosque floor, according to images circulating on social media. Relatives lined up outside a nearby hospital as ambulances raced back and forth. The state news agency MENA put the death toll at 235.Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt mine who had come for Friday services at the mosque.'Local people brought the wounded to hospital on their own cars and trucks,' he said by telephone.No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack. But the IS group affiliate has targeted Sufis in the past. Last year, the militants beheaded a leading local Sufi religious figure, the blind sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz, and posted photos of the killing online.Islamic State group propaganda often denounces Sufis. In the January edition of an IS online magazine, a figure purporting to be a high level official in the Sinai affiliate of the group vowed to target Sufis, accusing them of idolatry and heretical 'innovation' in religion and warning that the group will 'not permit (their) presence' in Sinai or Egypt.Millions of Egyptians belong to Sufi orders, which hold sessions of chanting and poetry meant to draw the faithful closer to God. Sufis also hold shrines containing the tombs of holy men in particular reverence.Islamic hardliners view such practices as improper, even heretical, and militants across the region often destroy Sufi shrines, saying they encourage idolatry because people pray to the figures buried there for intercession.El-Sissi convened a high-level meeting of security officials as his office declared a three-day mourning period.In a statement, he said the attack would only 'add to our insistence' on combatting extremists. Addressing the nation later on television, he said Egypt is waging a battle against militancy on behalf of the rest of the world, a declaration he has often made in seeking international support for the fight.President Donald Trump denounced what he called a 'horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshippers.'The world cannot tolerate terrorism' he said on Twitter, 'we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!' He later tweeted that he would call el-Sissi and said the attack showed the need to get 'tougher and smarter,' including by building the wall he has promised along the U.S. border with Mexico.Islamic militants stepped up their campaign of violence in northern Sinai after the military ousted the elected but divisive Islamist Mohammed Morsi from power in 2013 and launched a fierce crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group.The result has been a long, grinding conflict centered on el-Arish and nearby villages. The militants have been unable to control territory, but the military and security forces have also been unable to bring security, as the extremists continuously carry out attacks.The attacks have largely focused on military and police, killing hundreds, although exact numbers are unclear as journalists and independent investigators are banned from the area. The militants have also assassinated individuals the group considers spies for the government or religious heretics.Egypt has also faced attacks by militants in its Western Desert.___Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Ismailia and Ashraf Sweilam in el-Arish contributed to this report.
  • Pope Francis heads to Myanmar and Bangladesh with the international community excoriating Myanmar's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims as 'ethnic cleansing' but his own church resisting the label and defending Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the only hope for democracy.Francis will thus be walking a fraught diplomatic tightrope during the Nov. 27-Dec. 2 visit, which will include separate meetings with Suu Kyi, the powerful head of Myanmar's military as well as a small group of Rohingya once Francis arrives in neighboring Bangladesh.Francis has defined his papacy by his frequent denunciations of injustices committed against refugees, and he would be expected to speak out strongly against the Rohingya plight. But he is also the guest of Myanmar's government and must look out for the well-being of his own tiny flock, a minority of just 659,000 Catholics in the majority Buddhist nation of 51 million.'Let's just say it's very interesting diplomatically,' Vatican spokesman Greg Burke responded when asked if Francis' 21st foreign trip would be his most difficult.The Rev. Thomas Reese, an American Jesuit commentator, was more direct: 'I have great admiration for the pope and his abilities, but someone should have talked him out of making this trip,' Reese wrote recently on Religion News Service.Reese argued that Francis' legacy as an uncompromising champion of the oppressed will come up against the harsh reality of blowback for Myanmar's minority Christians if he goes too far in defending the Rohingya against the military's 'clearance operations' in Rakhine state.'If he is prophetic, he puts Christians at risk,' Reese said. 'If he is silent about the persecution of the Rohingya, he loses moral credibility.'Francis isn't known for his deference to protocol and he tends to call a spade a spade. But he has already been urged by the Catholic Church in Myanmar and his hand-picked cardinal, Charles Bo, to refrain from even using the term 'Rohingya,' which is rejected by most in Myanmar.'The pope clearly takes this advice seriously,' Burke said. 'But we'll see together.'Francis has used the term 'Rohingya' in the past, when he condemned the 'persecution of our Rohingya brothers,' denounced their suffering and called for them to receive 'full rights.'Myanmar's government and most of the Buddhist majority don't recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. It has denied them citizenship, even though they have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for generations.The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Francis would likely call for a lasting solution for the Rakhine Muslims that takes into account 'the importance for the people of having a nationality.' He declined in a Vatican Radio interview to use the term 'Rohingya.'Francis had originally intended his 2017 itinerary to involve a visit to India and Bangladesh. But preparations fell apart in India, and Myanmar was added in late, after Myanmar and the Holy See established diplomatic relations during a visit by Suu Kyi to Rome in May.Since then, the situation on the ground has deteriorated badly, after Rohingya militants attacked security positions in poverty-wracked Rakhine in August. Myanmar security forces responded with a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages that the U.N., U.S. and human rights groups have labeled as textbook 'ethnic cleansing.'More than 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they are living in squalid refugee camps. This week, the U.N. envoy on sexual violence in conflict said the widespread gang rapes and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls by the Myanmar military could amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.Burke demurred when asked if the spasm of violence had complicated the Vatican's plans, saying only that 'stuff happens' and 'the trip was going to happen in any case.'Bo, whom Francis named as Myanmar's first cardinal in 2015, has resisted terming the violence 'ethnic cleansing,' saying the military response was disproportionate but that it was 'premature' and unhelpful to put a label on it.He defended Suu Kyi as Myanmar's only hope for democracy, saying criticism against her was 'unfair' and that she was working to implement recommendations by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to improve opportunities for all religious minorities, Christians among them.The Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of the AsiaNews news agency that closely covers the Catholic Church in Asia, said he expected Francis would use the visit to help shore up Suu Kyi, whose international stature has suffered as a result of the crisis even though she is limited constitutionally in what she can say or do against the military.'The question of the Rohingya is a 'casus belli' to eliminate the government of Aung Sang Suu Kyi,' Cervellera said. 'If we take away Aung San Suu Kyi, the military dictatorship returns, which means setting all the minorities on fire.'Francis will host an interfaith peace meeting in the garden of the Dhaka archbishops' residence, at which a small group of Rohingya are expected.Other highlights of the trip include Francis' meeting with Myanmar's Buddhist monks and encounters with Catholic youth capping the visit in each country.The youth encounters 'demonstrate that it's a young church with hope,' Burke said.
  • Poles held demonstrations in cities across the country Friday to protest plans by the ruling party to push through laws that would give it greater control over the courts and the national election commission.The protesters rallied under the slogan 'free courts, free elections, free Poland,' after lawmakers voted earlier in the day to give preliminary approval to the changes. Protests were also held abroad, including in Chicago, London and Dublin.The ruling Law and Justice party has already pushed through two laws which have given it greater power over the Constitutional Tribunal and ordinary courts.Two other bills on the judicial system that sparked large protests in the summer were blocked by the president but have returned to the legislature in modified form. The lawmakers sent them for fine-tuning to a specialized commission and a vote on a final version could be held in early December. It would then need approval from the Senate and from President Andrzej Duda.The European Union says that if passed, the bills would undermine the separation of powers, while Polish critics see these and other changes as a power grab that has nothing to do with improving the justice system.The ruling party, however, says it is making needed reforms that have not been tackled yet since communism fell in 1989. It says the protests are the work of post-communist elites seeking to hold onto their privileges.
  • A senior separatist official in eastern Ukraine on Friday announced the resignation of the beleaguered rebel chief in an apparent palace coup, ending a four-day showdown between rivaling factions.Leonid Pasechnik, state security minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, said in a statement on Friday evening that the republic's chief Igor Plotnitsky has resigned on health grounds. Pasechnik said he would be the acting chief until an election is called.More than 10,000 people have been killed and a million displaced in a long-simmering conflict between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in Luhansk and in parts of the neighboring Donetsk region since 2014. The region has been plagued with infighting between various armed groups and warlords. Political and military leaders in Luhansk have been unseated and died in suspicious circumstances.Pressure mounted on Plotnitsky earlier this week after he fired Interior Minister Igor Kornet. The influential minister refused to resign and enlisted help from the separatists in the neighboring Donetsk region to deny Plotnitsky's order. Dozens of armed people loyal to Kornet blocked the access to the main administrative buildings in the regional capital, Luhansk, on Tuesday. A convoy of armed vehicles entered the city in the middle of the night in a show of support.Plotnitsky in a video message on Wednesday accused Kornet of trying to unseat him while the minister himself lashed out at Plotnitsky, suggesting in a televised statement that 'the republic's leadership' is under the influence of Ukrainian spies.Plotnitsky came to power in August 2014 after he unseated a warlord who later fled to Russia.There was no immediate statement from Plotnitsky who has not appeared in public since Wednesday. The 53-year old former Ukrainian bureaucrat was spotted arriving at a Russian airport on Thursday with a carry-on bag.Several high-profile commanders have been killed in the Luhansk region in suspicious circumstances in recent years in what was widely viewed as power struggle. While the unruly commanders were dying in car bombings, the leadership of the rebel-controlled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions came to be dominated by bureaucrats with ties to ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.The rebels originally sought to join Russia but the Kremlin stopped short of annexing the area or publicizing its military support for the rebels. It is widely assumed that Moscow provides the rebels with weapons and funding.Fighting has intensified in the Luhansk region this week. The press office of the Ukrainian armed forces said on Friday that at least five Ukrainian troops had been killed there in the past 24 hours in what it called the biggest loss of life since July.The European Union on Friday blamed Russia for the deaths, calling it 'just the latest proof of the tragic consequences of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.'The EU condemns Russia's aggression and will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea,' EU Council President Donald Tusk said after a summit with six eastern European nations, including Ukraine.____Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.
  • Police in Paris say a tiger escaped from a circus in the city and roamed the streets of the French capital for 'some time' before being killed.Police said that the big cat was 'neutralized' by a staff member from the circus near a bridge over the River Seine, about two kilometers (1.24 miles) from the Eiffel Tower.Police authorities tweeted 'all danger is over' alongside a tiger emoticon.A Paris police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the tiger had been loose for 'some time' Friday but said there had been no reported injuries or casualties.Residents in the 15th district where the tiger was shot circulated photos of the beast's limp corpse on social media — many angry that it had been killed.
  • A naked couple, having sex in their car while their baby was in the back seat, crashed while driving, the said. >> Read more trending newsThe man was driving on Highway 7 near La Grande in Pierce County, naked and having sex with a woman who also was naked, when he missed a curve, went off the road and struck a tree, State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. The crash occurred Wednesday at 6 p.m. troopers said. Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car, The Everett Herald reported. Troopers said they were also both impaired. The woman wasn't wearing a seat belt. She was taken to the hospital with several broken bones. The 3-month-old child in the back seat was not injured. The man was arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular assault and child endangerment, the Herald reported. Troopers said the man has three prior DUI convictions.
  • A high school English teacher has been arrested after she was secretly filmed by her students while appearing to cut up and snort what police suspect to be cocaine in an empty classroom, . >> Read more trending news Samantha Cox, 24, was taken away from Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, in handcuffs after students showed the video to their principal, who informed the authorities. Junior Will Rogers captured the footage, which appeared to show Cox cutting up a white, powdery substance on a binder, then turning her back to the door and leaning over. Rogers had recorded the video through a locked classroom door at around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22. “She’s in the corner, hiding with a chair and a book and what appears to be cocaine, putting it into lines,” he said. “I actually watched the footage again and again, and I just realized that my English teacher just did cocaine,” Rogers told WGN. The video, posted to YouTube, quickly spread around the campus. When Cox’s fellow staff members discovered it, they notified St. John police. Cox, 24, was arrested on charges possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, according to a St. John Police Department statement. The drugs involved appear to be a mix of cocaine and heroin, Police Chief James Kveton told The Northwest Indiana Times. “School officials and police want to recognize and praise the student witness that brought this information to the principal very quickly,” the police statement read. “Their actions showed a tremendous amount of fortitude and integrity.” Parents were informed of the arrest via a robocall from Lake Central Superintendent Larry Veracco. “Earlier today, Lake Central administration was made aware of a situation regarding a teacher at Lake Central High School. Swift and forceful action was taken,” Veracco said in the robocall. “I’m grateful that they found out when they did, and they were quick-acting,” parent Shannon McGrath told WGN. “You’re told as a child to listen to them, respect them and stuff like that … But it’s kinda hard to respect somebody who does cocaine in a classroom,” junior Anthony Rios told the station.
  • A top Republican Oklahoma House leader is back to the drawing board trying to shore up the state's budget and generate funding for a teacher pay raise. Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said Friday work already is underway on potential changes to a broad tax-increase plan. Echols says he's remaining in touch with the governor's office and that he's working on potential 'tweaks' to the plan that could garner the necessary 76 votes in the House.  A sweeping package of tax hikes on tobacco, fuel, alcohol and oil and gas production fell five votes short in the House after an eight-week special session. Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a backup budget plan approved by lawmakers that would have further slashed agency budgets and implored them to return for a second special session.  No date has been set.
  • Lindsay Weiss once lost her cellphone and got it back, so she and a friend knew what they had to do when they discovered a camera under a pew during a festival in the Nevada desert - even though it meant giving up their coveted, shady seat for a musical performance. The friends snapped a quick selfie and took the device to the lost-and-found, so the owner could claim it and the pair could “forever be a part of their journey,” Weiss said. “Losing something out there on the playa makes its mark on your trip,” she said of the sprawling counterculture gathering known as Burning Man. “Kinda makes you feel like a loser.” Cameras and IDs are among the more common belongings that end up in the lost-and-found after the event billed as North America’s largest outdoor arts festival. Other items left behind in the dusty, 5-square-mile encampment include shoes, keys, stuffed animals - even dentures. Still missing are a marching band hat with gold mirror tiles, a furry cheetah vest, a headdress with horns and a chainmail loincloth skirt. “As of mid-November, we’ve recovered 2,479 items and returned 1,279,” said Terry Schoop, who helps oversee the recovery operation at Burning Man’s San Francisco headquarters.
  • An 86-year-old Philadelphia woman allegedly pushed her walker into a bank Tuesday afternoon and . >> Read more trending news Bank employees told police the woman, identified as Emily Coakley, brandished a gun and demanded $400, CBS Philly reported. It didn’t take long for the police to arrive, and they arrested the senior citizen. Authorities say the woman had a .38-caliber revolver. They said the gun was not loaded, but, she did have bullets in her purse, according to The Morning Call. University of Pennsylvania police responded to a robbery call at the TD Bank at 3735 Walnut St. around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Coakley has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and other related offenses. According to witnesses, Coakley had visited the bank the day earlier and was under the impression she had been shorted $400 from her withdrawal that was the specific total she demanded from the teller. Her family later arrived and tried to defuse the situation. Despite this, people near the bank weren’t happy. “Someone could have got shot, even accidentally. You have to have concerns. People bring their kids here,” customer Will Duggan told Fox 29 in Philadelphia. The Morning Call said she did not offer comment as police escorted her from the bank.