EU agrees on permanent bailout fund

EU agrees on permanent bailout fund

The European Union leaders have agreed on the final terms of its permanent bailout fund to use it as a mean to rescue any member country that may face financial crisis in the future.

The decision came at a meeting of the EU heads of state in Brussels on Thursday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The permanent bailout instrument will be put in place in 2013 to rescue, if necessary, the countries using the euro currency.

The leaders agreed that eurozone nations will start contributing to the fund in 2013 over the course of five years.

They also decided on the exact amount the fund will be able to loan.

“We will make sure that 500 billion euro is available with a tipple A status. we have agreed to ensure that the temporary facility as an effective lending capacity of 440 billion euro will be in place in June,” European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters.

The leaders also agreed to increase economic coordination in the eurozone in areas such as taxation and retirement policy.

Currently, the 17 nations that use the euro have different rules on those things, making it hard for them to sustain a common currency.

The meeting also led to an agreement for greater economic surveillance of the EU’s national economies.

The eurozone’s temporary rescue facility, which currently has 250 billion euros, will expire in 2013.

The temporary instrument was established last year to rescue two eurozone members – Greece and Ireland. Economists agree that having these bailout funds is important.

Libya says ready to accept AU mediation

Libyan opposition fighters try to cover from tank shelling near the eastern town of Ajdabiya. Senior Liby

Senior Libyan officials say the country’s longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi is ready to accept an African Union-mediated political solution to the unfolding crisis in the country.

“We are ready to implement the Road Map envisaged [by] the High-Level Committee mandated by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union,” the Libyan delegation to AU talks said in a statement in Addis Ababa on Friday.

This comes after the African leaders gathered in the Ethiopian capital to discuss the ongoing Libyan crisis.

Gaddafi had also dispatched a high-level delegation to join the African Union talks.

The talks also included EU, UN and Arab League representatives.

It could not immediately be confirmed if representatives from the Benghazi-based National Libyan Council were present at the talks.

The council, headed by Libya’s former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, plans to lead the country to an election.

Jalil was among the first high-profile Libyan figures to join protesters following the Gaddafi regime’s brutal crackdown on the opposition.

Latest reports say US-led Western warplanes have struck Libyan ground forces for a seventh consecutive day near strategically-important towns.

The US and its Western allies have carried out a bombing campaign against Libya since the Security Council ratified the no-fly zone over the African nation.

Libya says many civilians have been killed in the airstrikes.

The developments also come as revolutionary forces are gearing up for a new attack on troops loyal to Gaddafi to win back the eastern city of Adabiyah.

Myanmar quake death toll hits 75

earthquake

The death toll from a strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake that jolted Myanmar has risen to 75 with one woman killed in neighboring Thailand.

Officials say there are fears that the death toll could further increase as remote areas remain cut off.

An area close to Myanmar’s borders with Thailand and Laos is believed to be the epicenter of the strong quake.

So far, six large aftershocks have been registered following the initial quake late on Thursday.

Dozens of people have been wounded and more than 200 buildings have collapsed.

The military and rescue teams are struggling to reach affected areas, but roads are still closed.

The quake was felt as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok, and in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi as well as southwest China.

Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement Friday that the earthquake affected more than 6,500 people in southwest Yunnan Province.

Obama challenges Miranda rights

Obama

The Obama administration has introduced new interrogation rules that allow investigators to keep terrorism suspects in detention for an extended time without informing them of their Miranda rights.

According to an FBI memo revealed by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, interrogations are now allowed to be carried out without suspects being notified of their rights in order to “collect valuable and timely intelligence.”

The Miranda rights is a legal document that constitutionally obligate US law enforcement officers to read out to all criminal suspects before subjecting them to any interrogations.

Among other things, the document reminds individuals in custody of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during the interrogation.

President Barack Obama tried to alter the constitutionally mandated Miranda rights last year but was rebuffed by Congress. This time, Obama plans to effect the change administratively rather than through the legislative process in Congress.

The new policy is the latest in a series of controversial measures Obama has taken to limit the civil rights of American citizens and legal immigrants.

Despite criticizing the Bush administration for rights violations and its treatment of terrorist suspects, Obama has been embracing many of the same policies, in addition to new ones such as restricting the Miranda rights.

Recently, the Obama administration has also instituted official procedures for indefinitely detaining foreign suspects at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, barring them from access to any legal representations.

Bahraini senior killed with teargas

Bahraini senior killed with teargas

One person has been killed after Bahraini security forces fired teargas to break up an anti-government protest rally near the capital, Manama.

Bahrain’s leading Shia opposition group al-Wefaq said on Friday that Isa Abdullah, 71, died from asphyxiation inside his home in Maameer village after teargas fumes leaked into his house.

“His village Maameer was attacked heavily by teargas. His family called the emergency room but there was no response from Salmaniya hospital,” Reuters quoted al-Wefaq leader Mattar Ibrahim Mattar as saying.

His death brought the number of those killed since the start of the protests to at least 24.

Despite heavy security presence and a ban on demonstrations, thousands of anti-government protesters poured into the streets across Bahrain following the Friday Prayers, demanding an end to almost 200 years of the Sunni-led monarchy.

Bahraini security dispersed the crowds using teargas, buckshots and stun grenades. Many protesters are reported to be injured.

A prominent Shia cleric said their campaign for political reforms would not be silenced by “brutal force” and that they would continue their protest rallies until their demands are met.

“The brutal force and abusive language being deployed against us will never destroy our will and desire to achieve our rights and dignity,” Sheik Isa Qassim said in a sermon in Duraz — an opposition stronghold northwest of Manama.

Meanwhile, Bahrain authorities dismissed suggestions for an international investigation into the deaths of protesters or the police attack on wounded protesters at the country’s main hospital, AP reported.

Bahrain’s acting health minister, Fatima al-Balooshi, said in Geneva that Bahrain is conducting its own investigation into the violence and denied reports that some protesters who were injured in the government crackdown were questioned and beaten by police while recovering in Salmaniya Hospital.

 

New Zealand beat South Africa to reach World Cup semis

New Zealand beat South Africa to reach World Cup semisDHAKA: New Zealand beat South Africa by 49 runs to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on Friday.
The Africans have now lost five successive World Cup knockout matches dating back to 1992.
New Zealand will face either co-hosts Sri Lanka or England in the last-four match in Colombo next Tuesday.

Singh invites PM, President to watch semi-final

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited President Asif Ali Zardari
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday invited Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to watch semi-final match between Pakistan and India in Mohali, Indian TV quoted.

According to the Indian TV channel, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will witness the semi-final match to be played at Punjab Cricket Association ground in Mohali.

“I propose to be at Mohali to watch the World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan to be held on 30th March,” Dr Singh said in a letter to President Zardari.

“There is huge excitement over the match and we are all looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to visit Mohali and join me and the millions of fans from our two countries to watch the match,” he said.

Dr Singh wrote a similar letter to Mr Gilani, inviting him and his wife to join him at Mohali.

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