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Hourly News 2014-12-18
   2014-12-18 13:54:31    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Han

 

 

US, Cuba to normalize relations

The United States and Cuba are re-establishing their diplomatic and economic relations after decades of hostility.
The historical announcement was announced simultaneously by both U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.
It follows the release by Cuba of US contractor Alan Gross.
Obama's new approach towards Cuba includes re-establishing an embassy in Havana early next year and carrying out high-level exchanges and visits between the two governments.
The Obama administration is also planning to ease a travel ban for US citizens, ease financial restrictions and increase telecommunications links.
President Obama also pledged to discuss with lawmakers the lifting of the half-century-old trade and economic embargo against Cuba, a

EU Court Removes Hamas from Terror List

A European Union court in Luxembourg has ordered the Palestinian group Hamas be removed from the EU "terrorist list" for procedural reasons.
The court ruled the listing of Hamas as a "terrorist organization" was based on media reports, not analysis.
But the bloc's second highest tribunal says member states can keep Hamas's assets frozen for three months to give time for further review or for an appeal.
The Islamic militant group, which calls for the destruction of Israel, has hailed the decision.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the ruling showed "staggering hypocrisy" toward a Jewish state.
Most Western countries say the Hamas is a terrorist organization, pointing to years of rocket strikes out of Gaza and waves of suicide attacks, primarily between 1993 and 2005.


China, CEE Nations Sign Deal for Land-Sea Express Passage

China has secured a deal to construct a high-speed train link between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals as part of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the region.
The new land-sea express passage will cut the travel time between Belgrade and Budapest from eight hours to less than three.
The 400-kilometre railway will be "an extension and upgraded version" of the planned Hungary-Serbia railway running through Budapest and Belgrade.
It is also part of China's plans to speed up the delivery of its exports to central Europe that pass through the Greek port of Piraeus.
The train link is expected to enhance regional connectivity.


Pakistan ends death penalty moratorium after school attack

Pakistan's Prime Minister has approved use of the death penalty for convicted terrorists.
Nawaz Sharif made the decision ahead of a meeting of top political leaders in the northwestern city of Peshawar where Taliban militants attacked an army school and killed 141 people including 132 children.
Pakistan imposed a moratorium on capital punishment in 2008 and officials say dozens of death penalties have been pending since then.


Iran nuke talks resume in Geneva

Talks over Iran's nuclear program have resumed in Geneva, the first gathering on this issue since the last round of talks failed to happen some three weeks ago.
Bilateral and trilateral meetings have been held to help pave the way for progress at the main bargaining table.
Iranian diplomats say all nuclear issues are to be discussed during this round of talks.
Wang Qun, head of the Chinese delegation at the meeting, says there are difficulties to be overcome but negotiators will try their best to resolve those differences.
Along with China, the US, UK, France, and Russia have representatives at the talks, plus Germany.
They are offering to permanently reduce or eliminate sanctions against Iran if that country curbs its nuclear program in a way that prevents the development of nuclear weapons.


Greek fails to elect a President in the first round of voting

The Greek Parliament has failed to elect a new President in the first round of voting, leaving another two tries before the government falls and early elections have to be called.
The conservative-led government's candidate, former European Commissioner Stavros Dimas, received 160 votes, far short of the 200 needed for an outright win.
A second round, which also would require 200 for a victory, will be held on Tuesday, while a third round, if needed, will take place on the 29th, when a tally of 180 votes will suffice.
The government falls and elections are called if that third round of voting fails.
The votes come amid stalled negotiations between bailed-out Greece and its international creditors.

bjh-hourly 10pm: 1 Chinese tourist killed, many injured in hard landing of hot air balloon in Turkey

A Chinese tourist has been killed and a number of others injured in the hard-landing of a hot air balloon in central Turkey.
The balloon belongs to a private Turkish company.
The Chinese embassy in Ankara has confirmed the death of the Chinese tourist and injury of another Chinese national.


North China police rescue hostage at KFC

Chinese police have managed to overwhelm a hostage-taker and free a woman being held at knife-point at a KFC restaurant in Tianjin, the municipality neighboring Beijing.
A man with a knife took a pregnant woman hostage early Wednesday morning.
Authorities eventually persuaded the man to let a medical worker check the woman's condition.
They then used the distraction to bring the suspect down.
The hostage wasn't hurt.

 

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