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Toll in Venezuela’s violent protests reaches 62

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Venezuela's violent

Caracas, June 3: The death toll in the violent Venezuelan protests has increased to 62 amid escalating tensions provoked by the government’s call to rewrite the Constitution.

The latest victim of the violence that started in April, is a woman killed at a protest in Lara state, the Public Ministry said on Friday.

VENEZUELA-CRISIS-OPPOSITION-PROTEST

Opposition activists clash with riot policemen during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on May 22, 2017.
Doctors rallied in Venezuela Monday in the latest street protests against President Nicolas Maduro, as a young man lay in hospital after being set on fire by an angry crowd. Fresh clashes also broke out between protesters and police on the outskirts of Caracas, where demonstrators blocked streets with barricades. / AFP PHOTO / Federico PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

VENEZUELA-OPPOSITION-PROTEST

Demonstrators clash with the police during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 19, 2017.
Venezuela braced for rival demonstrations Wednesday for and against President Nicolas Maduro, whose push to tighten his grip on power has triggered waves of deadly unrest that have escalated the country’s political and economic crisis. / AFP PHOTO / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

“The ministry has commissioned the Lara state prosecutor to investigate the death of Maria Rodriguez, who was shot during a demonstration on Thursday in Iribarren town,” Xinhua news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

Some 1,187 people have been injured in the protests since Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launched an initiative to elect a Constituent Assembly to reform the Constitution.

It has been badly received by the opposition which claimed it was another attempt by the executive to hold onto power.

IANS

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Middle East

Italy backs stronger ties, enhanced dialogue with Qatar

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Qatar Italy

Rome, June 22 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi on Friday said that his country wanted to strengthen bilateral relations and to deepen dialogue with Qatar.

He was speaking at a meeting with his Qatar counterpart Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim al-Thani here.

“During cordial discussions, Minister Moavero Milanesi confirmed the Italian government’s commitment to intensifying political dialogue and bilateral relations in the economic and trade spheres as well as in terms of cultural cooperation,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

The talks between Milanesi and al-Thani also covered key regional issues including turmoil-wracked Libya, the migration crisis and war-torn Syria, the statement said.

“A detailed exchange of views also took place on the Gulf diplomatic crisis in respect of which Minister Milanesi reiterated Italy’s support for a negotiated solution based on dialogue between the various sides,” the statement added.

Qatar has been locked in a bitter year-long rift with a Saudi-led alliance including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt which abruptly severed ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism and of backing Iran.

Qatar claims the blockade is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy. Diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait and the US to end the rancorous dispute have so far stalled.

At a meeting in Brussels with al-Thani on Thursday, the European Union’s Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini underlined the bloc’s continued support for “an intra-Gulf mediated solution and Kuwait’s mediation in this regard,” the European Commission said in a statement.

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Business

Nepal, China to enhance cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative

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Belt and Road initiative

Beijing, June 22 (IANS) Nepal and China have agreed to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity that encompasses ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

In a joint statement issued during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the two sides agreed to take practical measures to promote cooperation in all fields mentioned in the MOUs that included conducting a feasibility study of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, reconstruction of two friendship fridges, protocol on the utilization of Tibetan highways for cargo transport and investment and cooperation on production capacity.

On the railway pact that aims to extend the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, the joint statement said: “Nepal and China underscored it as the most significant initiative in the history of bilateral cooperation and believed that it would herald a new era of cross-border connectivity.

Other pacts reached during Oli’s visit from June 19-24 were setting up of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in the Himalayan nation, MOUs on strengthening cooperation between their Foreign Ministries, cooperation in fields of energy and human resource development.

Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to work together in areas of economy, trade, investment, industrial capacity, post-disaster reconstruction and other mutually beneficial areas, according to the statement.

Another takeaway of the visit was an early finalization of the joint feasibility study on the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement (FTA), establishing cross-border economic cooperation zones and an agreement on completing the post disaster recovery of two frontier inspection stations on Nepal-China border.

Beijing agreed to support the Chinese-funded banks for opening their branches in Nepal. It said that it was ready to negotiate the financing modalities of the projects on road, railway connectivity, hydropower and transmission lines, among others, proposed by Nepal.

The two sides will also boost cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on information exchanges, capacity building and training. They will negotiate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Treaty on Extradition to fight against illegal border crossing and transnational crimes.

There will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Nepal in areas of education, culture, tourism, media, think tanks, youth and people-to-people relations.

China said it will provide more government scholarships every year to Nepal, whereas Kathmandu said it will facilitate the teaching programme of volunteer Chinese language teachers.

“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral forums and to safeguard common interests of developing, least developed and landlocked developing countries in particular,” the joint statement added.

The two countries will also view and support each other’s participation in the regional cooperation process and enhance coordination and cooperation within the SCO, SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms within the agreed frameworks and guidelines.

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World

London tube station evacuated after bomb threat

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London attack

London, June 22 : A London tube station was evacuated on Friday following reports of a man claiming to have a bomb.

The man reportedly went on the tracks of the Charing Cross station, sparking panic and the evacuation as the emergency services went to the scene, reports the Guardian.

British Transport Police have arrested the man and said: “We are now working to reopen the station as soon as possible and would like to thank passengers and rail staff for their patience and understanding during this incident.”

All services from the station were cancelled.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Scotland Yard said: “Officers are currently assisting the British Transport Police at Charing Cross train station following a report of a man acting suspiciously. The station has been evacuated as a precaution and is currently closed.”

Photos on social media showed multiple police vehicles and armed officers outside the station, close to Trafalgar Square.

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