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The government noted the scheme had not been withdrawn and that schools could introduce it as they saw fit.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.
23 regime soldiers killed in Homs, according to the Syrian Revolution General Commission.
The biggest international medical aid group in the state was expelled after the treatment of victims of an alleged massacre against Rohingya.
The Gaza Strip at night as seen from the International Space Station.
76-year-old Fuad Masum, who also served as the first prime minister of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in 1992-1993, reportedly emerged as the only candidate of the Kurdish blocs.
A missing Air Algerie plane that lost contact en route from Burkina Faso is an Airbus A320 carrying 110 passengers to Algiers
1,300 tonnes of chemicals removed from Syria were now being destroyed at various locations
Nearly 300 people, 193 of them Dutch citizens, were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine
Ukraine's army has forced the rebels back to their two main strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, taking villages and suburbs around them
Politicians and activists have complained that while Ukraine has a new president, it has yet to elect a new parliament since the toppling of pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich
Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February 2013, and Razvozhayev were accused of coordinating the protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012
PM's resignation paves the way for an interim government to take over in August and a general election in October
Human rights group B'Tselem will petition Israel's supreme court after advert was deemed to be 'politically controversial'
The bus crossed the track at an unmanned crossing in Telangana state without stopping to check if the way was clear, said Indian Railways spokesman
A huge attack on a prisoner convoy in Iraq has reportedly killed at least 60 people.
Salzburg police said on Thursday around 20 people with flags and placards, mostly Austrians of Turkish origin, stormed the pitch shouting slogans about the Gaza conflict
The leaders of rivals China and Taiwan both expressed condolences over the deaths. Ten people were injured and taken to hospital.