NEWS OF THE DAY

From Around the World

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD -

1 Afghan con­fer­ence: Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov on Fri­day voiced hope that a con­fer­ence on Afghanistan tak­ing place in Moscow could help pave the way for peace talks. “The Moscow for­mat of talks is aimed at es­tab­lish­ing an in­clu­sive in­ter-Afghan di­a­logue in the in­ter­ests of ad­vanc­ing the process of na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” Lavrov said as he opened the meet­ing that has brought to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Afghan au­thor­i­ties and the Tal­iban. The con­fer­ence is Moscow’s ef­fort to get the Afghan au­thor­i­ties and the Tal­iban to­gether at a ta­ble. The U.S. Em­bassy has sent a diplo­mat to ob­serve the dis­cus­sions, and envoys from China, In­dia, Pak­istan and the ex-Soviet na­tions of Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Tajikistan and Uzbek­istan also at­tended the meet­ing. 2 Par­lia­ment dis­solved: The pres­i­dent of Sri Lanka dis­solved the coun­try’s Par­lia­ment Fri­day night, state me­dia re­ported, deep­en­ing a two-week con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis over who is the le­git­i­mate ruler of the is­land na­tion. The move, which crit­ics said vi­o­lated the na­tion’s constitution, came two weeks af­ter Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena dis­missed Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe and re­placed him with a pop­u­lar for­mer leader. That leader, Mahinda Ra­japaksa, was ac­cused of hu­man rights abuses, nepo­tism and ex­ces­sively close ties to China when he gov­erned the coun­try. Wick­remesinghe and many mem­bers of Par­lia­ment had chal­lenged the le­git­i­macy of Ra­japaksa’s ap­point­ment, and for­eign gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing the United States, had urged Sri Lanka’s gov­ern­ment to al­low law­mak­ers in Par­lia­ment to de­cide who the prime min­is­ter should be.

3 Rape ac­cu­sa­tions: Po­lice in Thai­land have ar­rested an HIV-in­fected sol­dier who al­legedly black­mailed and raped more than 70 teenage boys be­tween the ages of 13 and 18. Po­lice said in a state­ment Fri­day that they re­ceived a com­plaint that the sus­pect was us­ing fake so­cial me­dia pro­files on Face­book and the gay dat­ing app Blued to win the trust of his vic­tims so they would send him nude pho­tos be­fore agree­ing to meet him. When they found out he was not who he pre­tended to be on­line, he would threaten to make their nude pho­tos pub­lic if they re­fused to have sex with him. Po­lice Lt. Col. Nacharot Kaew­petch said the po­lice dis­cov­ered medicine for treat­ing HIV when they ar­rested the 43-year-old sus­pect, Sgt. Maj. Jakkrit Khom­s­ing, at his home in the north­east­ern prov­ince of Khon Kaen. They said tests con­firmed he was in­fected with HIV.

4 Ha­mas funds: Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers lauded on Fri­day what they de­scribed as a gain of their weekly protests along Gaza-Is­rael perime­ter fence, which have of­ten turned deadly, af­ter re­ceiv­ing $15 mil­lion from Qatar to help pay the salaries of the ter­ri­tory’s civil ser­vants. Since March, the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group has or­ches­trated weekly demon­stra­tions along the fence, in large part against a block­ade Is­rael and Egypt im­posed when it seized Gaza in 2007. The Qatari grant is part of in­di­rect Ha­mas-Is­rael un­der­stand­ings to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions for Gaza’s 2 mil­lion peo­ple and sub­se­quently scale down the bor­der protests, in which 170 Pales­tini­ans and an Is­raeli sol­dier have been killed since they be­gan in March. For the sec­ond week in a row, the Pales­tini­ans kept Fri­day’s protests care­fully re­strained, re­frain­ing from breach­ing the fence to avoid draw­ing a lethal re­sponse from the Is­raeli mil­i­tary. How­ever, a 28-year-old who was in­jured by Is­raeli fire dur­ing the marches later died.

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