New Round Of Ukraine Peace Talks Open
New Round Of Ukraine Peace Talks Open
AirAsia Plane Carrying 162 Lost; 3rd Malaysia Airline Shock
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Pro-Russian separatist leaders and mediators for the Kiev government met in the city of Donetsk on Friday in new consultations on ending the fighting in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east, a spokeswoman for the rebels said. Interfax news agency said the rebels were talking to the so-called "contact group" which includes former President Leonid Kuchma, Moscow's ambassador to Kiev and representatives of the OSCE rights and security watchdog. A first round of talks was held last Monday and ended with a rebel commitment to honor a ceasefire earlier declared by government forces and which is due to end at 10 p.m.
An astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia turned worse Sunday when an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappeared over stormy Indonesian waters, with no word on its fate despite several hours of searching by air and sea. AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished in airspace possibly thick with dense storm clouds, strong winds and lightning on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. Searchers had to fight against heavy rain. The Malaysia-based carrier's loss comes on top of the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine. At the Surabaya airport, shocked family members pored over the plane's manifest, crying and embracing when they learned the news. Nearly all the passengers and crew are Indonesians, who are frequent visitors to Singapore, particularly on holidays.
France said on Friday it would push the United Nations Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the International Criminal Court for possible prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United Nations has also said the group, which last year seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, may have committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq. Iraq and Syria are not members of The Hague-based international court, which means its prosecutor is unable to open an investigation unless a referral is made by the 15-member Security Council.
Roughly 1,800 stranded sea lion pups have been found on California beaches through the first two-and-a-half months of 2015. According to Nate Mantua, a scientist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California, that's well above the 100 or so that usually turn up through the end of March and "at least as high as anything in the historical record." One of the main causes has been the unusual and in some cases, record setting — warm water off the West Coast of the U.S. and stretching all the way to the Gulf of Alaska. The warm water is less rich in nutrients and the types of microscopic organisms and fish upon which sea lions usually feed. That has forced sea lion moms and pups alike to forage further for food, a tiring proposition for young sea lions.
Rio de Janeiro's hotel bed shortage was eased on Friday, as online home share startup Airbnb inked a deal to be the official "alternative accommodations" sponsor of the 2016 Olympic games. The deal, which saw Airbnb pay an undisclosed amount to local Olympic organizers, means official Olympic sites will feature a link to Airbnb's site and encourage spectators traveling to Rio for the games to use the service to rent space in private homes and apartments.
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