News in Brief
LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) -- The alleged mastermind of a deadly attack on India’s financial capital over a decade ago has been jailed in Pakistan for nearly six years on separate terror charges, his lawyer said Wednesday. Hafiz Saeed was found guilty of "being part of a banned terrorist outfit” and for "having illegal property”, his lawyer Imran Gill told AFP. He is wanted in India for allegedly planning the shocking 2008 attack in Mumbai, when 10 militants armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and other weapons killed 166 people and injured hundreds more. It took the authorities three days to regain full control of the city. The firebrand cleric -- with a $10 million bounty on his head -- is the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity. Its militant wing Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is believed to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
 
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CAIRO (Reuters) -- Forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar have blocked flights carrying United Nations staff to and from Libya, hampering humanitarian and mediation efforts, the UN mission said on Wednesday. Haftar’s eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) has on several occasions in recent weeks refused to grant permission for the regular UN flights to land, the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement. We are not receiving security assurances from the LNA for the landing of aircraft in western Libya and it’s been going on for at least three weeks,” UNSMIL spokesman Jean Alam said, adding that this was affecting the mission’s flights and humanitarian ones. A humanitarian source said that Haftar was imposing a "no-fly zone” for Tripoli and there were concerns that UN flights could be a possible target. The LNA has been trying since last April to capture the capital Tripoli from the internationally recognized government but has failed to breach the city’s defenses.

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HANOI/BANGKOK (Reuters) -- Cambodia has agreed to let a cruise ship that has been turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard may have the coronavirus dock and disembark its passengers, the Holland America Line said on Wednesday. For nearly two weeks, the MS Westerdam, a ship of healthy passengers, had been sailing throughout Asia after being turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears that someone on the cruise could have the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 1,100 people, almost all of them in China. The ship is expected to arrive in Cambodia around 7 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Thursday, he said. The latest country to shun the ship, which has 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, had been Thailand, where the health minister refused to grant the Westerdam permission to dock.

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SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Australia is on track to meet just two of its targets aimed at improving the lives of its Indigenous people, including increasing life expectancy and improving literacy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday. In 2007, Australia introduced seven targets designed to address inequalities that see the country’s 700,000 Indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25 million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator. But Morrison said Australia’s government is policy is failing and will be replaced. "We perpetuated an ingrained way of thinking passed down over two centuries and more, and it was the belief that we knew better than our Indigenous peoples. We don’t,” Morrison told Australia’s Parliament. "We also thought we understood their problems better than they did. We don’t. They live them. We must see the gap we wish to close, not from our viewpoints, but from the viewpoint of Indigenous Australians.” Morrison said new Indigenous polices will be designed following consultation with its first people, with whom Australia has struggled to reconcile following hundreds of years of brutal segregation.

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DUBLIN (Reuters) -- Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday it was likely he would be the next leader of the opposition after government formation talks but that his Fine Gael party would be willing to help form a government if Sinn Fein fails to. Left-wing Irish nationalists Sinn Fein surprisingly secured the most votes at the weekend’s election, but its low number of candidates meant it finished marginally behind the center-right Fianna Fail and just ahead of Fine Gael by number of seats. Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party "won the election” and would try to form a leftist-led government with smaller parties and independent lawmakers — technically possible but a task even some of her senior colleagues said was highly unlikely to succeed. Fine Gael has strongly ruled out governing with Sinn Fein, citing policy differences and the nationalist party’s role as the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Republican lawmakers on Wednesday proposed legislation setting a goal for the United States to plant a trillion trees by 2050 to fight global warming, a plan intended to address climate change by sucking carbon out of the air instead of by cutting emissions. The proposed legislation reflects an acknowledgement in the Republican party of rising voter demand for action on climate change, even as it seeks to preserve the economic benefits of an historic drilling boom that has made the United States the world’s biggest oil and gas producer. Other elements of the plan, which will be released in additional bills over the coming weeks, will focus on sequestering carbon from power plants, recycling plastics and boosting "clean” energy, including natural gas and nuclear, according to congressional staff.