Asia

Australia Joins Saudi Arabia and China on UN Human Rights Council

Australia has been elected unopposed to the United Nations' Human Rights Council, despite the U.N.'s consistent criticism of Canberra’s policies on asylum seekers and indigenous people.

The United Nations' Human Rights Council was set up in March 2006.  It is made up of 47 states which are responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of individuals around the world.

Australia this week was one of 15 new members, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Qatar.  They will sit alongside existing members, among them Saudi Arabia, China and the United Kingdom.

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Chinese Leader's Call for Democracy, Justice, Clashes With Crackdown on Dissent

China's increasingly powerful leader Xi Jinping has pledged to make the Communist Party more responsive to public demands and to calls for democracy, fairness and justice in a lengthy address to the 19th Party Congress.

But at least three cases involving the harassment of lawyers this week and an online crackdown as the party hosts top level political meetings raise serious questions about how he might do that.

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Kabul Suicide Attack Kills at Least 15 Outside Military Academy

A suicide blast Saturday outside the Afghan military academy in Kabul killed at least 15 cadets and wounded several others, said the defense ministry.

The attack came a day after an Islamic State suicide bomber stormed a crowded Shi’ite Muslim mosque in the city, killing 50 worshipers and wounding dozens more.

Afghan police and witnesses said Saturday’s attack occurred when a bomber on foot blew himself up near a minibus packed with cadets at the main entrance to the capital city’s Marshal Fahim Military Academy.

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Era Ends: Hong Kong Stock Trading Floor to Close

Hong Kong’s last remaining stock market floor traders are taking their final orders as the exchange prepares to shut its trading hall.

The bourse’s operator, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, says it will close the trading hall by the end of the month and turn the space into a showcase for the city’s financial markets.

Yip Wing-keung, a trading manager at brokerage Christfund Securities, donned his red trading jacket for the last time Friday, his final day on the floor. He and the other few floor traders left have been moving out ahead of the closure.

Suicide Bombers Kill 72 at Two Afghan Mosques

Suicide bombers struck two mosques in Afghanistan Friday, killing at least 72 people.

At a Shi’ite mosque in Afghanistan’s capital, at least 39 people died and at least 41 were injured. Women and children were among the victims.

“This is absolute barbarism,” said Ibrahim, a man who rushed to the mosque after the blast.

Security officials told VOA the bomber walked into the Imam Zaman Mosque Friday evening in the western Dashti Barch area of Kabul and blew himself up.

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