Yahoo (International News)

· Islamic State says it has beheaded second Japanese hostage Goto

People walk past television screens displaying a news program, about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, in TokyoBy Kiyoshi Takenaka and Nobuhiro Kubo TOKYO (Reuters) - Islamic State militants said they had beheaded a second Japanese hostage, journalist Kenji Goto, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to vow to step up humanitarian aid to the group's opponents in the Middle East and help bring his killers to justice. The hardline Islamist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, released the video showing a hooded man standing over Goto with a knife to his throat, followed by footage of a head put on the back of a human body. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the video appeared to be genuine. The video was released exactly a week after footage appearing to show the beheaded body of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.

· Hong Kong police take no chances at repeat democracy protest
By Donny Kwok HONG KONG (Reuters) - Several thousand pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in the first large-scale rally since protests rocked the global financial hub late last year. "We want to make it clear to the government that ... we want true universal suffrage," said Daisy Chan, one of the organizers. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and enjoys wide-ranging freedoms under a so-called "one country two systems" arrangement. The situation is being closely watched internationally, a reflection of Hong Kong traditional importance as a free commercial center and port.
· Ukraine peace talks collapse, Kiev and separatists trade blame

Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk arrives to take part in peace talks in MinskBy Andrei Makhovsky and Richard Balmforth MINSK/KIEV (Reuters) - Peace talks on Ukraine collapsed on Saturday after just over four hours with no tangible progress towards a new ceasefire but with Ukraine's representative and separatist envoys angrily accusing each other of sabotaging the meeting. Ukraine's representative, former president Leonid Kuchma, left the talks in Minsk, Belarus, telling Interfax news agency that separatist officials had undermined the meeting by making ultimatums and refusing "to discuss a plan of measures for a quick ceasefire and a pull-back of heavy weapons". Denis Pushilin, one of the separatist officials, told the Russian news agency RIA that they were ready for dialogue "but not ready for ultimatums from Kiev while shelling by their forces is going on in the background of towns in the Donbass (industrialised eastern Ukraine)". The meeting of the "contact group", which also involves a Russian envoy and an official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, took place in the Belarussian capital even as fighting between Kiev's forces and the Russian-backed rebels raged on in Ukraine's east, claiming more civilian and military lives.

· North Korea says U.S. rejects invitation to Pyongyang
North Korea said on Sunday the United States had rejected an invitation to send one of its top diplomats to Pyongyang, accusing Washington of trying to shift the blame for the deadlock in denuclearisation talks on the North. Sung Kim has been meeting with officials of the countries that had been part of the so-called six-party talks in the past week in Tokyo and Beijing, where he said it was up to the North to show it was serious about ending its nuclear programme. "(We) invited Kim Sung to visit Pyongyang as he expressed his willingness to meet with his counterpart of the (North) during his visit to Asia this time," the North's KCNA news agency quoted an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman as saying. "However, the U.S., in disregard of this, is working hard to shift the blame onto the (North), misleading public opinion by creating impression that dialogue and contacts are not realized due to the latter's insincere attitude." Kim said in Beijing on Friday that Washington was "open to engagement, substantive dialogue with North Korea about the issue of denuclearisation".
· China's Tibet to reward tips on 'terror attacks'
Authorities in China's Tibet will offer rewards up to 300,000 yuan ($48,000) for tips on "violent terror attacks", state media reported, in an effort to "promote stability" in the region beset by ethnic tensions. China has stressed that it is facing a serious and complex struggle against terrorism, and other provinces and regions have offered similar payouts for information on what authorities deem terrorism crimes and suspects. In Tibet, the government will give rewards for tip-offs on "overseas terrorist organizations and their members' activities inside China", and the "spreading of religious extremism", the official Xinhua news agency said late on Saturday. Information on "terror related propaganda, those producing, selling and owning weapons, activities that help terrorists cross national borders and terror activities via the Internet," will also be eligible for rewards, Xinhua said, citing a document from Tibet's public security officials.
· Crucial week for under-fire Australian PM after 'catastrophic' poll

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New YorkBy Morag MacKinnon PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Australia's conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott came under renewed leadership pressure on Sunday, a little over a year into office following a voter backlash in a state poll and a slump in his personal approval rating. Abbott said he was determined to stay on as leader, adding government was "not a popularity contest", but conceded Saturday's rout of the Liberal-National party (LNP) in the Queensland election had delivered a jolt. "The people of Australia elected me as prime minister and they elected my government to get on with the job of governing our country," he told reporters in Sydney. "I accept that we need to learn from the difficulties that we've had, but in the end, government is not a popularity contest, it is a competence contest." In an embarrassing result for the Queensland LNP, closely aligned to Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition, the party surrendered the largest political majority in Australia's history after just one term in office.

· Australia, Britain slam IS hostage killing at defence talks

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop talk to the media in Sydney on February 1, 2015The Australian and British foreign ministers Sunday slammed the killing of a Japanese journalist by the Islamic State (IS) group as they vowed to tackle the jihadist threat at defence talks in Sydney. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond is in Australia for the annual meeting with his counterpart Julie Bishop, with efforts to counter terrorism and foreign fighters high on the agenda. "I wanted to extend Australia's deepest condolences to the people and government of Japan," Bishop told reporters.

· Saints get Ward-Prowse boost ahead of Swansea clash

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse (3R) fights off a challenge from Ipswich Town's Kevin Bru (R) during their English FA Cup Third Round match at Portman Road on January 14, 2015James Ward-Prowse has added to the upbeat mood at Southampton by agreeing a new five-and-a-half-year contract ahead of the visit of Swansea City to St Maryâ s Stadium on Sunday. The midfielder, 20, has been rewarded for his impressive efforts during a campaign that left Saints in third spot, five points adrift of second-placed Manchester City, heading into the latest round of Premier League matches. Ronald Koemanâ s side have defied expectations in overcoming the loss of former manager Mauricio Pochettino and several key players during pre-season. Ward-Prowse, tipped as a future England international, credits Dutch great Koeman with improving a Southampton side that was already on the up.

· Cadel Evans finishes 5th in final race
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has finished fifth in his farewell race, the 174-kilometer (108-mile) Great Ocean Road Race.
· Family of Jordanian pilot held by Islamic State demands word

Members of Al-Kaseasbeh, the tribe of Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by the Islamic State group militants, light candles by posters with his picture and Arabic that reads "we are all Muath," at the captured pilot's tribal gathering divan, in his home town of Karak, Jordan, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. An online video released Saturday night purported to show an Islamic State group militant behead Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, ending days of negotiations by diplomats to save the man. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Worried relatives of a Jordanian fighter pilot asked their government Sunday to be more open about negotiations for his release, after a second Islamic State group hostage was shown beheaded in a video purportedly from the militants.

· Top Asian News at 8:00 a.m. GMT
TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese, who inhabit one of the safest countries in the world, have been reminded in brutal fashion that the world is a dangerous place. In a shock to a country that can feel insulated from distant geopolitical problems, two of their own have reportedly been killed by Islamic radicals in Syria, the latest apparently beheaded in a video posted online this weekend by militant websites.
· African leaders to court: Drop cases against top Africans

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit, held on the eve of the heads of state meeting of the African Union summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The threat posed by Boko Haram, Nigeria's Islamic extremist rebels, will be a focus of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he attends the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a spokesman said. (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The International Criminal Court should drop or suspend charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto until African concerns about the court and proposals to change its founding treaty are considered, African leaders say.

· Boko Haram launches new assault on key Nigeria city Maiduguri

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - Boko Haram fighters on Sunday stormed the northeast Nigeria city of Maiduguri, sparking an hours-long battle with troops for control of the strategically crucial Borno state capital, witnesses said.

· Analysis: The world's problems enter Japan's psyche, again

In this Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 photo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks up during a Diet session at the upper house of Parliament in Tokyo as his government is working closely with Jordan to save a Japanese hostage taken by the Islamic State group. The Japanese, who inhabit one of the safest countries in the world, have been reminded in brutal fashion that the world is a dangerous place. In a shock to a country that can feel insulated from distant geopolitical problems, two of their own have reportedly been killed by Islamic radicals in Syria, the latest apparently beheaded in a video posted online this weekend by militant websites. Abe, in a bid to restore Japan’s position in the world, has been driving his country to play a larger international role, most controversially seeking to loosen constitutional restraints put on its military after World War II. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese, who inhabit one of the safest countries in the world, have been reminded in brutal fashion that the world is a dangerous place.

· Horror in Japan as video purports to show hostage beheaded

Junko Ishido, mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, speaks during a press conference at her home in Tokyo, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 after the release of an online video that purported to show an Islamic State group militant beheading her son. Japan condemned with outrage and horror on Sunday the video posted on militant websites late Saturday Middle East time. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO (AP) — Appalled and saddened by news Sunday of journalist Kenji Goto's beheading, apparently by Islamic State extremists, Japan ordered heightened security precautions, but vowed not to give in to terrorism.

· Australia sets England 279 to win tri-series final
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Glenn Maxwell made 95 and shared a 141-run partnership with Mitch Marsh to steer Australia to 278-8 after being sent in to bat by England in Sunday's one-day tri-series final at the WACA Ground.
· Indonesia resumes search for AirAsia crash victims

Members of an Indonesian rescue team point a finger at the location where they found a victim and debris of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 accident, in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on January 30, 2015Indonesian rescuers on Sunday resumed their search for 86 victims still missing from the AirAsia plane that crashed on December 28 with 162 people on board, an official said. National search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo last week said search and rescue teams were being given two days' break after weeks searching in inhospitable conditions. Sixty-eight divers from the national search and rescue agency as well as others from companies and clubs would focus on scouring the fuselage of Flight QZ8501 and the seabed for remaining bodies, he said. Our focus today is to find bodies that could be trapped in the fuselage, or buried in mud," S.B. Supriyadi, a search and rescue agency official who has been coordinating the hunt, told AFP.

· China's manufacturing gauge falls to 28-month low

In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, a worker walks past an assembly line at a General Motors joint venture in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. A gauge of China's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in January amid economic slowdown, according to official data Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, although January typically is a month of slower activities as China's factories prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. (AP Photo) CHINA OUTBEIJING (AP) — A gauge of China's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in January amid economic slowdown, according to official data Sunday, although January typically is a month of slower activities as China's factories prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

· Hingis, Paes win Australian Open mixed doubles title

Martina Hingis of Switzerland, left, and Leander Paes of India pose with the trophy after defeating Kristina Mladenovic of France and Daniel Nestor of Canada in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Martina Hingis won her first Grand Slam title since returning from retirement, combining with Leander Paes of India to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Kristina Mladenovic of France and Daniel Nestor of Canada.

· Myanmar coffee scene fuelled by middle class caffeine high

Customers enjoy their drinks at a coffee shop in downtown Yangon, one of around two dozen speciality coffee shops that have opened up in Myanmar's biggest city in recent years, January 27, 2015Behind a wooden counter in downtown Yangon's Coffee Club, the unmistakable hiss of a barista steaming milk briefly drowns out a funky soundtrack piped through a store filled with students glued to their smartphones. Long absent from the region's booming cafe culture, Myanmar's commercial capital is now witnessing a surge in swish coffee bars providing an alternative to the treacly instant coffee served by thousands of street carts. It is a trend that points both to the changing tastes of Myanmar's emerging middle-class but also the widening gap between them and the nation's poor. Nyi Nyi Tun, a doctor, is typical of the newly aspirant customers relishing consumer goods that were either far beyond their reach or simply unavailable under Myanmar's brutal and economically incompetent military dictatorship.

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