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INDIA

Obama, India agree on nuclear power

NEW DELHI – Opening a three-day visit, President Obama on Sunday announced “a breakthrough understanding” that could clear the way for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in India.

A nuclear deal would help reduce India’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels, potentially bringing within grasp a commitment by the world’s major polluters to combat climate change.

“Today we achieved a breakthrough on two issues that were holding up our ability to advance our civil-nuclear cooperation, and we’re committed to moving toward full implementation,” Obama said at a news conference with Prime Minster Narendra Modi. Indian news media reported the United States had agreed to drop a requirement for strict tracking of all nuclear material produced by U.S.-built reactors, which India had long argued was costly and redundant. Indian officials have also offered to create an insurance pool to shelter nuclear suppliers from liability in case of an accident, overcoming a key concern of U.S. companies.

– Tribune News Service

JAPAN

Islamic State seeks prisoner exchange

TOKYO (Bloomberg News) – Islamic State militants dropped their demand for a $200 million ransom and are now seeking a prisoner exchange after the release of a video that purported to show the corpse of one of two Japanese hostages held by the group. The video had images of hostage Kenji Goto holding a blurred photo purported to be the headless corpse of Haruna Yukawa, a self-styled security contractor, who was captured in Syria by Islamic State last summer. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that analysis showed the video was “highly likely” to be credible.

On the soundtrack, a man claiming to be Goto, a war correspondent, pleads in English for his life and asks for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi. The Iraqi woman is on death row in a Jordanian prison for her part in the 2005 attacks on three hotels in Amman.

YEMEN

Meeting on president’s resignation is canceled

SANAA, Yemen – Yemen’s parliament on Sunday called off a meeting that was supposed to discuss the resignation of U.S.-backed-President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, extending the state of political deadlock and exacerbating tensions in the streets. “Members aren’t allowed in, and no one will attend,” Yehia al-Mathari, a member of parliament, said by telephone as he walked away from the building and back to his car.

“Al-Sayyid will decide what happens next,” he continued, referring to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Shiite-led rebel group now in control of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital.

At Change Square in the capital, the symbolic center of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, Houthi rebels fired live ammunition in the air to disperse an opposition protest. The demonstration, which started with only 20 protesters, drew more support as soon as gunshots were heard. The United States U.has cut its diplomatic staff in Yemen, though the embassy remains open, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Saturday.

– New York Times

NIGERIA

Boko Haram terrorists attack major city

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Maiduguri, the major city in Nigeria’s northeast, came under sustained attack from Boko Haram terrorists Sunday morning, with officials here calling it the group’s most audacious assault on the city to date.This city of more than 2 million people was attacked beginning late Saturday night from at least two directions by the militants from the Islamist insurgency, which effectively controls the territory surrounding the city. Loud explosions were heard in the center of the city, and small-arms fire and artillery in its suburbs.

By late Sunday morning, the attack appeared to have been repulsed by the Nigerian military.

The attack on Maiduguri coincided with a visit by Secretary of State John F. Kerry to Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.

– New York Times