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Venezuelan Congress declares that Maduro has staged a coup

Venezuela’s Congress on Sunday, October 23 (Monday, Philippine time) declared that the government had staged a coup by blocking a drive to recall President Nicolas Maduro in a raucous legislative session that was interrupted when his supporters stormed the chamber. Opposition lawmakers vowed to put Maduro on trial after a court friendly to his socialist administration on Thursday suspended their campaign to collect signatures to hold a referendum on removing the deeply-unpopular president. Lawmaker Julio Borges said the opposition-led congress is now in open rebellion after a majority of its members voted that the decision constituted a coup with government participation. “We will bring a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro to get to the bottom of his role in the break with democracy and human rights here,” Borges said. A day of fiery …

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Prince Albert buys Philadelphia home of mom Grace Kelly

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia home where Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly grew up and accepted a marriage proposal from Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1955 is now in the hands of the royal family. Her son, Prince Albert of Monaco, has confirmed to People Magazine that he was the recent purchaser of the six-bedroom, 2.5-story Colonial home in the city's East Falls section. He said in an interview on the magazine's website posted Friday that the house is "very special to our family." He said he was happy to have saved it "from a near certain death or development." The property last made headlines in 2014 when its 81-year-old former owner pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges for keeping cats and dogs in unsanitary conditions. Officials with the Pennsylvania Society for the …

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Qatar’s former emir dies

DOHA -- Qatar's former emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani died at the age of 84, the Emiri Diwan announced on Sunday. Sheikh Khalifa ruled Qatar from 1972 until 1995. He was then ousted in a bloodless coup by his son Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani while on holiday in Switzerland. He lived in France until he returned to Qatar 12 years ago. Three days of national mourning will be observed in honor of Sheikh Khalifa, who was the grandfather of the current emir, Qatar' s state news agency QNA reported.

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Pope Francis condemns mass killing of children in Iraq

MOSCOW -- Pope Francis is concerned about the developments in Iraq, especially in Mosul, where civilians, including children, are reported to be killed, local media reports. “In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul … I was saddened to hear news of the killing – in cold blood – of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children: this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words,” Pope Francis said, as cited by the Vatican Radio. Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis called on Iraqi people not to lose hope for the safe future, reconciliation and peace. On October 17, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the US-led international coalition, started the military operation to retake Mosul from the …

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5.8-magnitude quake jolts Japan’s Hokkaido Prefecture, no tsunami warning issued: JMA

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck the Hokkaido Toho-oki region just off the east coast of Japan's northernmost prefecture on Monday, the weather agency here said. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the magnitude-5.8 temblor occurred at 5:25 a.m. local time with the epicenter located at a latitude of 43.8 degrees north and longitude of 147.2 degrees east and at a depth of 10 kilometers. The quake, which registered 2 on Japan's seismic scale which peaks at 7, jolted the eastern seaboard of Hokkaido and was felt mainly in the northeastern region. The agency said it had not issued a tsunami warning as a result of the temblor, and there have been no immediate reports of injury or damage as a result of the quake.

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Calais’ “Jungle” dismantling to start Oct. 24

French authorities say the closure of the slum-like camp in Calais will start on Monday, October 24, and will last approximately a week in what they describe as a “humanitarian” operation. According to officials at France’s Interior ministry, all of the 6,486 migrants they have counted in the camp—where refugees have been living in appalling conditions for years—will be offered relocation, either in reception centers across the country or abroad. The dismantling of the wretched camp—known as “the jungle”—is a major issue for French President Francois Hollande and his Socialist government ahead of next year’s presidential election. Hollande, who is eyeing a re-election bid, is facing harsh criticism from conservative and far-right rivals, who say the camp symbolizes his failure to deal with Europe’s migrant crisis. Interior Ministry officials say more than 7,500 …

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Junko Tabei, 1st woman to climb Everest, dies at 77

TOKYO — The first woman to climb Mount Everest didn't stop there. Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, who died Thursday at 77, devoted her adult life to scaling peaks, climbing the tallest mountains in more than 70 countries. Her philosophy was to live life to the fullest. "I want to climb even more mountains," she said in a 1991 interview with The Associated Press, 16 years after conquering Everest. "To think, 'It was great,' and then die." To do so required defying stereotypes, and a supportive husband, in a country that thought a woman's place was in the home. She founded the Ladies Climbing Club in 1969 with the slogan "Let's go on an overseas expedition by ourselves," and reached the summit of Everest on May 16, 1975, as the leader of the climbing …

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172 inmates escape Haiti prison, 2 dead: report

At least 172 inmates escaped a Haitian prison near the capital Port-au-Prince during an armed mutiny, killing one guard and many escaping with police weapons, local media reported. Le Nouvelliste newspaper quoted Arcahaie prison manager Heurtelou Paul Colson on Saturday as saying a guard was shot dead and two other police officers were wounded. One prisoner climbed over a wall and fell to his death, while two other detainees were wounded and in hospital. The prison manager told Le Nouvelliste that Yvener Carelus, who was serving time for kidnapping, was the mastermind behind the escape. He was arrested. "He planned the escape from the inside with a few accomplices," Justice Minister Camille Edouard Junior told the newspaper, adding that security was being boosted at prisons across the country. Human rights activist Pierre Esperance noted that …

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US warns citizens of ‘attack, kidnapping risk’ in Istanbul

The United States has warned its citizens of the potential risk of terror attack or attempted kidnapping of foreigners in Istanbul, which has been rocked by several bombings this year. The consulate in Istanbul said in a message late Saturday that extremist groups continued their "aggressive efforts" to attack Americans and other foreigners in the city. "These attacks may be pre-planned or could occur with little or no warning, and include, but are not limited to: armed attack, attempted kidnapping, bombing, or other violent acts," it said in an online notice. The consulate did not specify which group was believed to be plotting such acts, but in the past year the city has suffered multiple bombings by the Islamic State group (IS) and Kurdish militants. In June, 47 people were killed in a triple …

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Indonesian nationalism takes a bite out of Apple

Apple is battling to gain a foothold in Indonesia after nationalistic regulations hit the US tech giant's efforts to compete in the booming emerging market against Samsung and other rivals. The iPhone 6S and 7 are yet to be released in Southeast Asia's top economy as Apple struggles to fulfill requirements that phone makers must have 20 percent "local content" for 4G handsets sold in the country. South Korea's Samsung has been able to meet the demands and gain a share of the market in Indonesia -- a country of 255 million people, with an army of young consumers -- more than 25 times bigger than Apple. Officials say the regulations that came into force this year are aimed at supporting the growth of the local manufacturing industry, which lags behind its Asian …

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