World Bulletin/News Desk
The Hong Kong government said on Saturday schools did not have to adopt a China-backed curriculum from 2015 in an apparent backdown following protests by tens of thousands of people who described it as an attempt to brainwash students.
Parents, teachers and students have staged a week-long protest, claiming the curriculum amounts to Communist Party propaganda that glosses over the darker aspects of Chinese rule.
The decision comes on the eve of elections in Hong Kong, a former British territory handed back to China in 1997, that will see a legislature expanded from 60 to 70 seats, with just over half of them to be directly elected.
Hong Kong's embattled new leader Leung Chun-ying called the move on the education plan a "major policy amendment", saying he had heard and understood the public's criticism.
The government noted the scheme had not been withdrawn and that schools could introduce it as they saw fit.
"We don't want the recent controversy to affect the operations of schools, nor do we want to see the harmony of the education environment to be affected (by the scheme)," said Leung.
The Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader has drawn criticism over a series of issues since he took office on July 1, including the national education programme, sky-high property prices and concerns about an influx of mainland Chinese visitors to the former British colony.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in London for medical check-up, will undergo an open-heart surgery on Tuesday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said in Islamabad on Friday.
Pyongyang accuses Seoul of raising tensions after South Korea's warning shots along western maritime border a day earlier
Malaysia has accepted a second batch from Beirut with 18 families adding to three other families that arrived in December.
In a closing statement that urgent and long-term action responding to needs of those hosting must be undertaken
The Russian authorities undertake unprecedented measures on reinforcement on the Kuril islands
Barack Obama on Friday paid moving tribute to victims of the world's first nuclear attack by the US with his visit causing ripples across a region that is turmoil
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Police say speedboat off resort island of Koh Samui was carrying 32 tourists, 4 crew when it hit a ‘rogue’ wave
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Incoming president offered party members posts in new government if leaders return from exile and sit down for peace talks
The floods-hit country is hoping for foreign assistance mostly in the form of grants and loans, but also calls for overseas expertise in urban planning to prevent such disasters
Hour-long clashes in Sulu follow Monday's release of video by ISIL-affiliated group showing foreign hostages pleading for lives
A suicide attack on a bus carrying staff from an appeal court killed 10 people and wounded four on Wednesday west of the Afghan capital, Kabul, an interior ministry spokesman said.
'Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the new leader of the Taliban after a unanimous agreement in the shura supreme council,' a statement says
SKorean authorities deported 8 Indonesian migrant workers in last month after becoming alarmed over social media activities
Police say they've killed the operations head of a major militant group in the Indian portion of Kashmir in an overnight gunbattle.