Action against Hindraf justified, Malaysia tells diplomats

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14 (IANS) The Malaysian government has told foreign missions here that the arrest of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) was to prevent chaos and racial division of society.

On Thursday, prominent ethnic Indian and Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar and four other associates were detained on sedition charges under the controversial ISA that allows for detention without trial. Uthayakumar had been released on bail Wednesday and rearrested the next day.


U.S. braces for new winter storms

NEW YORK, December 14, SPA -- U.S. weather forecasters said a new storm was expected to travel Friday from the Rocky Mountains toward the Plains states, the United Press International (UPI) reported.

The snowstorm is expected to reach toward the mid-Mississippi Valley Friday night before moving on into the northern Ohio River Valley.

Heavy snows were expected Saturday night and Sunday morning in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southeastern New York and southern New England.


UN Worried over Gitmo Judicial Processes

United Nations, Dec 13 (Prensa Latina) A high United Nations official confirmed the concern of this organization on the difficulties of the judicial processes in the US base of Guantanamo, Cuba.

Martin Scheinin, UN special ombudsman on human rights in the struggle against terrorism, told the Human Rights Council the judicial processes do not fulfil the parameters of international laws.

The 2006 Military Law of Commissions, under which the judicial processes are being regulated, is not compatible with international laws, said the UN specialist.


Rich Not Helping Poor Fight Climatic Change

Bali, Indonesia, Dec 13 (Prensa Latina) Latin American countries demanded rich countries increase their financial support to help the world"s poorest nations adapt to the effects of climate change.

During the 13th UN Lecture on Climatic Change, Ministers of the environment of Latin America demanded industrialized countries to help them mitigate the consequences of global warming.


Rise in number of visitors to UK

LONDON, Dec 14 (KUNA) -- The number of overseas visitors to the UK increased last October following falls in the previous three months, according to official figures released here Friday.
Foreign residents made 2.74 million visits to the UK last October compared with 2.51 million in the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The rise came despite fewer visits from North Americans, which was made up for by a rise in the number of European tourists.


"Share the burden in Afghanistan", Defence Secretary

LONDON, Dec 14 (KUNA) -- Britains Defence Secretary Des Browne Friday called on other countries to help "share the burden'' of dealing with Afghanistan.
Browne spoke as defence and foreign ministers from eight countries gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss the latest situation there.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, the Defence Secretary said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had already made it clear the UK wanted to see "fairer burden sharing across the NATO countries".


Think-tank calls on EU leaders to accept Ahtisaari plan on Kosovo

BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (KUNA) -- The European Union has a historic opportunity to send an unequivocal message of readiness to take a leading role in Kosovo, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) said Friday.
Kosovo is to dominate an EU summit meeting here Friday.


UK''s anti-terror plans attacked by MPs

LONDON, Dec 14 (KUNA) -- The British Government's controversial anti-terror plans came under sustained attack from MPs and peers here Friday.

Two separate Parliamentary committees criticised British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's proposal to extend the time limit on detaining terror suspects from 28 to 42 days.
The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) demanded that the measures should be withdrawn.

Yesterday, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said neither police nor the Government had proved the case for an extension.


S. Korean troops pull out of Afghanistan despite US request

TOKYO, Dec 14 (KUNA) -- South Korea withdrew all of its troops from Afghanistan Friday, ending its six-year military presence in the war-ravaged Islamic country as part of a US-led coalition force, local media reported.

About 200 South Korean troops returned home to much fanfare but also remembering the death of a comrade killed in an attack at a US military base in Bagram, some 80 km north of Kabul, in February, said Yonhap News Agency.

Despite a US request, the Seoul government did not extend the stay of about 50 medics and 150 engineers in the central Asian state.


Russia accuses U.K. of breaking law in British Council affair

MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign minister accused Britain on Friday of violating international law in the latest row over the British Council in Russia.

"In the situation with the British Council, our British colleagues are trying to manipulate international law, which they violated themselves just like they have violated Russian laws," Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Moscow.