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The government noted the scheme had not been withdrawn and that schools could introduce it as they saw fit.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.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which – due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege – represents Gaza's only window to the outside world.
The Al-Nour clinic was raided and shut down by Mauritanian authorities on Friday and one of its workers was arrested.
Far-right Orthodox groups in Bulgaria have been calling on volunteers to fight in Ukraine for Russian forces.
Turkey close to finishing the long-awaited project that will supply water to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
During the meeting, the Jordanian monarch urged the international community to support efforts to achieve a "just and comprehensive" peace in the region based on a two-state solution leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) as its capital.
In an interview with a private news channel on Friday, US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal said that Washington is ready to do business with Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi if he ascends to the top job.
All 176 passengers and six crew on board the IndiGo flight from New Delhi were evacuated through the emergency doors and are safe, Airport General Manager Rishikesh Sharma said. There were no reported injuries.
"The consignment brings to nearly 29% the amount of Syria’s chemical stockpile that has now been removed for destruction outside the country," the watchdog said.
Acting foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsia vowed to defend Crimea from falling to Russia.
Rebels who declared independence from the Tripoli government have started exporting oil.
The Brotherhood asserted that it adheres to moderate Islamic teachings without "extremism or radicalism," citing previous remarks by Saudi clerics and officials praising the decades-old Islamist group.
Paramilitary rangers confessed to firing on Muslim man and his family, but local villagers remain sceptical of police explanation.
India recently charged 67 Kashmiri students with sedition for cheering for the Pakistani national cricket team.
If the report is confirmed, it would mark the U.S.-built airliner's deadliest crash since entering service 19 years ago.
Abdullah al-Bashir has officially been confirmed as the new replacement for ousted commander Salim Idriss.