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World

    The sight of two preteen boys pummeling each other with fists, elbows and feet as a boisterous crowd shouts wagers at each other is considered good, clean sport in Thailand. However, the death earlier this month of a 13-year-old Muay Thai contender may spark changes to protect other youngsters in Thai kickboxing. Anucha Tasako died of a brain hemorrhage two days after being knocked out in a Nov. 10 bout, his 174th match in a career started at age 8. His death was a fluke, said some of the sport's boosters. They said the referee didn't stop the fight soon enough and no doctor was available. But even those boys who can carry on fighting are almost guaranteed long-term health damage, according to a new report by a Thai doctor.
  • Three protest leaders and six others went on trial Monday for their involvement in the 'Occupy Central' demonstration that paralyzed Hong Kong's financial district for more than two months in 2014. Fanned by more than 100 supporters, some holding the yellow umbrellas that came to symbolize the movement, the nine defendants pumped their fists in the air and chanted 'Shame to political prosecution!' before entering the West Kowloon courthouse. Two university professors and a pastor, who together spearheaded the campaign to press for free elections of Hong Kong's top leader, are charged with conspiracy to commit a public disturbance and incitement to commit public nuisance. The other defendants — two current and one former lawmaker, two student leaders and a political activist — face charges of incitement to commit a public nuisance. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years. Three university students prosecuted in 2016 for their leadership role in the protests received community service. But Hong Kong judges have since faced mounting pressure from Beijing to hand down heavier sentences to deter future protests. Some in the semi-autonomous Chinese city fear that central government meddling will erode judiciary independence, a bedrock value that undergirds the city's standing as a global business capital. The protesters, in what was also known as the umbrella movement, laid siege to government headquarters for 79 days but failed to win any concessions. Thousands staked out encampments on major thoroughfares in the financial district. Several hundred were arrested. Ranging in age from 30 to 74 years old, the nine defendants span generations of Hong Kong citizens who have been agitating for full democracy as the former British colony transitions to Chinese sovereignty under a 'one country, two systems' arrangement that is supposed to preserve the city's civil liberties. The trial is expected to last 20 days.
  • Cambodia has reiterated it intends to end the work of the U.N.-backed tribunal that last week convicted the last two surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said the tribunal's work had been completed and there would not be any additional prosecutions for acts that led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people in the 1970s. The only other person convicted was the regime's prisons chief. He cited the terms under which the tribunal, staffed jointly by Cambodian and international prosecutors and judges, had been established, limiting its targets to senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime that was in power from 1975 to 1979. The rules also allow prosecuting those most responsible for carrying out atrocities. Sar Kheng spoke Saturday at a government ceremony in the northern province of Oddar Meanchey and his remarks were reported Sunday. On Friday, the tribunal convicted and gave life sentences to Nuon Chea, 92, the main Khmer Rouge ideologist and right-hand man to its late leader Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, 87, who was the regime's head of state. The sentences were merged with the life sentences they were already serving after an earlier conviction for crimes against humanity. In nine years of hearings and at a cost exceeding $300 million, the tribunal has convicted only one other defendant, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who as head of the Khmer Rouge prison system ran the infamous Tuol Sleng torture center in Phnom Penh. Cases of four more suspects, middle-ranking members of the Khmer Rouge, had already been processed for prosecution but have been scuttled or stalled. Without the cooperation of the Cambodian members of the tribunal, no cases can go forward. Long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly declared there would be no more prosecutions, claiming they could cause unrest. Hun Sen himself was a midlevel commander with the Khmer Rouge before defecting while the group was still in power, and several senior members of his ruling Cambodian People's Party share similar backgrounds. He helped cement his political control by making alliances with other former Khmer Rouge commanders. In his remarks, Sar Kheng sought to reassure former Khmer Rouge members that they would not face prosecution. 'Because there are some former Khmer Rouge officers living in this area, I would like to clarify that there will be no more investigations taking place (against lower-ranking Khmer Rouge members), so you don't have to worry,' said Sar Kheng, who is also interior minister. He acknowledged that even without more prosecutions, the tribunal still had to hear the appeals expected to be lodged by Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, but aside from that task, its work was finished.
  • Hundreds of Tijuana residents congregated around a monument in an affluent section of the city south of California on Sunday to protest the thousands of Central American migrants who have arrived via caravan in hopes of a new life in the U.S. Tensions have built as nearly 3,000 migrants from the caravan poured into Tijuana in recent days after more than a month on the road, and with many more months ahead of them while they seek asylum. The federal government estimates the number of migrants could soon swell to 10,000. U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana's main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived. On Sunday, displeased Tijuana residents waved Mexican flags, sang the Mexican national anthem and chanted 'Out! Out!' in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the U.S. border. They accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an 'invasion.' And they voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group. 'We don't want them in Tijuana,' protesters shouted. Juana Rodriguez, a housewife, said the government needs to conduct background checks on the migrants to make sure they don't have criminal records. A woman who gave her name as Paloma lambasted the migrants, who she said came to Mexico in search of handouts. 'Let their government take care of them,' she told video reporters covering the protest. A block away, fewer than a dozen Tijuana residents stood with signs of support for the migrants. Keyla Zamarron, a 38-year-old teacher, said the protesters don't represent her way of thinking as she held a sign saying: Childhood has no borders. Most of the migrants who have reached Tijuana via caravan in recent days set out more than a month ago from Honduras, a country of 9 million people. Dozens of migrants in the caravan who have been interviewed by Associated Press reporters have said they left their country after death threats. But the journey has been hard, and many have turned around. Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, told the AP on Saturday that 1,800 Hondurans have returned to their country since the caravan first set out on Oct. 13, and that he hopes more will make that decision. 'We want them to return to Honduras,' said Rivera. Honduras has a murder rate of 43 per 100,000 residents, similar to U.S. cities like New Orleans and Detroit. In addition to violence, migrants in the caravan have mentioned poor economic prospects as a motivator for their departures. Per capita income hovers around $120 a month in Honduras, where the World Bank says two out of three people live in poverty. The migrants' expected long stay in Tijuana has raised concerns about the ability of the border city of more than 1.6 million people to handle the influx. While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants' plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at them. The cold reception contrasts sharply with the warmth that accompanied the migrants in southern Mexico, where residents of small towns greeted them with hot food, campsites and even live music. Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants' arrival an 'avalanche' that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx. Mexico's Interior Ministry said Saturday that the federal government was flying in food and blankets for the migrants in Tijuana. Tijuana officials converted a municipal gymnasium and recreational complex into a shelter to keep migrants out of public spaces. The city's privately run shelters have a maximum capacity of 700. The municipal complex can hold up to 3,000. At the municipal shelter, Josue Caseres, 24, expressed dismay at the protests against the caravan. 'We are fleeing violence,' said the entertainer from Santa Barbara, Honduras. 'How can they think we are going to come here to be violent?' Some from the caravan have diverted to other border cities, such as Mexicali, a few hours to the east of Tijuana. Elsewhere on Sunday, a group of 200 migrants headed north from El Salvador, determined to also find safety in numbers to reach the U.S. Edwin Alexander Gomez, 20, told AP in San Salvador that he wants to work construction in New York, where he hears the wages are better and the city is safer. U.S. President Donald Trump, who sought to make the caravan a campaign issue in the midterm elections, used Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor of Tijuana and try to discourage the migrants from seeking entry to the U.S. Trump wrote that like Tijuana, 'the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!' He followed that tweet by writing: 'Catch and Release is an obsolete term. It is now Catch and Detain. Illegal Immigrants trying to come into the U.S.A., often proudly flying the flag of their nation as they ask for U.S. Asylum, will be detained or turned away.' ___ Guthrie reported from Mexico City. Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this story from Tijuana and Marcos Aleman contributed from San Salvador.
  • Singer-songwriter and albino activist Salif Keita assembled an international forum on protecting albino people in Africa and dedicated a benefit concert to a 5-year-old albino girl who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Mali in May. More than 100 politicians, diplomats and albinos attended the forum on Friday. Keita described how albinos in Mali and other African countries have been ridiculed and worse because the genetic disorder that affects the color of their skin, hair and eyes were seen as curses or bad luck. 'Never again,' he said at the event. 'I have the strong hope that people will understand that we are born in the same way and we have the same rights as everyone else.' On May 12, 2018, a five-year-old albino girl named Ramata was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in her hometown of Fana, located around 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Bamako. Her murder ripped through the Malian public and drew international outrage. After Keita left the podium, the mother of Ramata, the girl who was kidnapped and killed, replaced him there. Hawa Toure Diarra described how a man abducted her daughter while the family slept outside, a common custom among Malians in the hottest summer months. 'As the man was getting ready to leave our home with my daughter, I woke up. I moved my hand to look for Ramata, but she was not next to me. It was at that moment that I realized what had happened,' Diarra said. To the listening attendees, she described in horrifying detail how she chased the man down the street, her young son strapped hastily to her back, screaming for neighbors. Police arrived when daytime had returned. Ramata had been found dead, disemboweled and decapitated. Two suspects were arrested. At the forum, a representative of Mali's justice minister vowed they would be judged. Keita knows what it is like to be an albino person in Mali. Born in 1949, he says he faced bullying, rejection and humiliation in the remote village where he grew up. He spent 10 years struggling to find success as a musician and firm footing before his first Afro-pop album, 'Mandjou,' was released. 'When I was a child, I had to give up school because I had vision problems caused by the albinism,' Keita said at the forum. 'So, I got a guitar.' The benefit concert on Saturday night featured songs from Keita's new album, 'Another White,' which the four-time Grammy nominee dedicated to fellow albinos and says will be his last. In 2006, he created The Salif Keita Global Foundation, which provides free health care to people with albinism, advocates for their protection and works to end their persecution with education.
  • The Latest on the political developments in Israel (all times local): 8:35 p.m. Israel's prime minister says he will also take over as defense minister and is rejecting calls to hold early elections. Netanyahu announced on national TV Sunday that he would take over the defense post following the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman stepped down last week to protest a cease-fire with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. He had demanded tougher action against the militants. Lieberman's resignation has left Netanyahu with a narrow majority in parliament, and his remaining partners have demanded he hold early elections. In his address, Netanyahu said now is not the time for new elections and he is committed to protecting his country's security. Another coalition partner, the Jewish Home, has scheduled a press conference Monday. If it leaves the coalition, Netanyahu will lose his parliamentary majority. ___ 11:48 a.m. Israel's prime minister says he is making a 'last effort' to prevent the collapse of his government. Benjamin Netanyahu says Sunday that it would be wrong to go to early elections during a sensitive time for Israeli security. The sudden coalition crisis was sparked by the resignation of Israel's hard-line Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who stepped down in protest over a cease-fire reached last week with Gaza militants. Lieberman had demanded a far stronger response to the most massive wave of rocket attacks on Israel since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. The departure of Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party leaves the coalition with a one-seat majority in the 120-member parliament. Two other key coalition partners say that makes governing untenable. Netanyahu is trying to convince them to stay.
  • Turkey's Foreign Ministry has cautioned an international energy company against cooperating with the government of Cyprus in its search for gas. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Sunday that the exploratory drilling ExxonMobil has started in the eastern Mediterranean 'did not contribute to the region's stability' and could change 'sensitive balances.' Turkey strongly objects to Cyprus searching for gas on its own. The Turkish government says any potential wealth must be shared with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in ethnically divided Cyprus. Aksoy noted he was repeating 'warnings' to energy companies about the 'Greek Cypriots' one-sided exploration and extraction.' He says Turkey plans to begin drilling in areas off the northern coast of Cyprus' coast along with exploring the continental shelf of Turkey, which began last month.
  • French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, standing firm against a wave of grassroots protests, said Sunday that fuel tax hikes would remain in place despite nationwide agitation. 'The course we set is good and we will keep it,' Philippe said during an interview on TV station France-2, 'It's not when the wind blows that you change course.' Nearly 300,000 protesters paralyzed traffic at more than 2,000 strategic sites around France on Saturday in a bid to force the government to lower taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline. Other issues, like buying power, melted into the main demand as the demonstrations unfolded. A protester was struck and killed Saturday when a panicked driver facing a roadblock in the eastern Savoie region. French press reports Sunday said the driver was charged with manslaughter and released. At last count, at least 409 people had been injured — 14 seriously, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Sunday on RTL radio. Holdouts refusing to end the protests continued to slow traffic Sunday. Blockades were counted at 150 scattered locations Sunday, Castaner told RTL radio. Protesters were notably in Rennes, in western France, Avignon, in the south, and Nancy, in the east, where police moved in to clear them. The situation throughout the night was 'agitated,' Castaner said, with 'aggressions, fights, knife-slashing' taking place, including among the protesters. Overall, 157 people were detained for questioning - double the number reported Saturday night. The upstart movement behind the weekend protests represents middle-class citizens and those with fewer means who rely on their cars to get to work. The protesters called themselves 'yellow jackets' after the safety vests French drivers are obliged to keep in their cars for emergencies. While it was unclear if the weekend's momentum would continue, the movement is posing a challenge to French President Emmanuel Macron. 'I hear what the French are saying. It's very clear,' the prime minister said Sunday. 'But a government that ... zigzags according to the difficulties, what too many past governments have done, that won't lead France to where it must be.' Macron wants to close the gap between the price of diesel fuel and gasoline as part of his strategy to wean France off fossil fuels. A 'carbon trajectory' calls for continued increases, particularly on diesel. Philippe said more explaining is needed 'and we will do that,' while adhering to the plan. He vowed that results would be in at the end of Macron's mandate in 2022 - and good for the French. Taxes on diesel fuel have gone up 7 euro cents (nearly 8 U.S. cents) and are to keep climbing in the coming years, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne has said. The tax on gasoline is to increase 4 euro cents. Macron, whose popularity ratings are sliding regularly, has not commented. 'I don't think silence is the right answer,' said Troyes Mayor Francois Baroin, a former mainstream right minister and senator before the prime minister spoke. The Troyes prefecture was invaded and damaged by protesters on Saturday. 'It's a very powerful message sent from the depths of France,' he said on BFMTV.
  • Iran's state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that the country's authorities have detained four workers protesting not having been paid their salaries for months in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. The Sunday report says that in recent days many people have attended the demonstrations at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill in solidarity with striking workers there. IRNA quotes Khuzestan governor, Gholamreza Shariati as saying, 'workers have rights, we are looking into their issues and demands.' The factory is about half a century old and began seeing labor problems when it was privatized almost 10 years ago. Iran is in the grip of an economic crisis and has seen sporadic protests in recent months as officials have tried to downplay the effects of the U.S.'s restored sanctions.
  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman received Iraq's president in Riyadh on Sunday, a day after the Iraqi official visited the kingdom's rival, Iran. Barham Salih's back-to-back visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia reflect the delicate balance Iraq seeks to maintain in a region where its two powerful neighbors are battling for supremacy. Salih was received at the airport in Riyadh by the province's governor and other Saudi officials. King Salman held a lunch in honor of the Iraqi president with ministers and high-level princes in attendance. The state-run Saudi Press Agency released few details about Salih's talks with the monarch. On Saturday, Salih was in Tehran where he pledged to improve trade ties less than two weeks after the U.S restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord. Iran has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, and is a key supplier of electricity, gas and goods to Iraqi markets. The two countries on Saturday vowed to expand trade to $20 billion a year, from $8.5 billion in 2018, despite the punishing U.S. sanctions against Iran. Iraq is Iran's second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas. But Saudi Arabia has been steadily courting Iraq in recent years, following a quarter-century estrangement brought about by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia's oil minister was in Baghdad to discuss stabilizing oil prices in the wake of the latest U.S. sanctions against Iran. A flurry of meetings between Saudi officials and the new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi Riyadh in recent weeks suggest the Gulf kingdom is aiming to counter Iran's economic footprint in Iraq. __ Associated Press writer Philip Issa in Baghdad. Contributed to this report.