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World in brief: 27/05/2014

IRISH REPUBLIC: Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said yesterday he was resigning after voters hammered his party in local and European Elections, with its share collapsing to just 7 per cent.

The decision by Mr Gilmore, who is also foreign minister and deputy prime minister, raises new doubts over whether the two-party coalition will survive to 2016.

Mr Gilmore said he would quit rather than face a no-confidence vote.

 

CHINA: The government today announced plans to take six million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year in its campaign to clean up smog-choked cities.

The plan also calls for petrol stations in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities to only sell the cleanest grades of fuel.

The order comes after China missed official pollution goals for 2011-2013. Vehicles registered before 2005 that fail to meet emissions standards will be “phased out.”

 

 

SYRIA: A convoy of chemical weapons inspectors were attacked by rebels today while travelling to the site of a suspected chlorine gas attack.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had sent 11 people, including six members of a UN fact-finding mission.

It said “all team members were safe and well and travelling back to base.”

Syria’s government said it was unable to provide protection but the team decided to continue without security force guards.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND: Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson became the first MEP elected in the region after topping the poll.

Ms Anderson said: “I am very honoured and proud that almost 160,000 people throughout the north have voted for me.”

The former Stormont junior minister hailed her party’s success as it was poised to take four seats across the island.

“For the first time, every voter in Ireland is going to be represented by Sinn Fein,” she said.

 

LIBYA: Unidentified gunmen fired grenades at new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq’s home in Tripoli today and at least one assailant was killed by his guards.

Mr Maiteeq, a businessman appointed earlier this month in a contested parliament vote, was not hurt in the early morning attack.

Gunmen claiming loyalty to a renegade former general attacked the parliament a week ago just as MPs were preparing to vote on approving Mr Maiteeq’s new cabinet.

 

EGYPT: The election commission has extended voting in the presidential election for a third day amid a reported low turnout.

Today was supposed to be the final day of the vote but officials said they were worried that turnout was weaker than expected.

The commission extended the voting one more day, citing complaints that migrant workers had been unable to vote where they reside because of laws that made it difficult to do so.

 

MYANMAR: The government is pondering a religious conversion Bill put forward by nationalist Buddhist monks that would require anyone who wants to convert to another faith to get permission from local authorities.

It would force would-be converts to ask a conversion registration body comprised of local religious and immigration officials, a local administrator, women’s affairs official and a local education officer.

 

SPAIN: The International Monetary Fund claimed yester day that the country’s economic recovery was here to stay, hailing a return to growth and job creation.

“Spain has turned the corner,” the IMF declared, despite admitting that “the Spanish people are still suffering from the legacy of the economic crisis.

“Most importantly, 5.9 million people are unemployed, more than half of them for more than a year.”

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