Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Oct 17 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud here on Wednesday.
The meeting was held at the Royal Palace in Riyadh in the evening.
During the meeting, they discussed different bilateral issues as well as issues of mutual interests.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister had an audience with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Royal Palace.
Sheikh Hasina arrived here on Tuesday afternoon on a four-day bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Athens, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias resigned Wednesday following a disagreement with the defense minister over the handling of a recent deal which would change Macedonia's name in exchange for Greece dropping its objections to the country joining NATO.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he had accepted Kotzias' resignation and said he would take over the foreign ministry himself in order "to help with all his powers in the successful completion" of the name change deal, his office said.
Kotzias's move came a day after a cabinet meeting during which he reportedly had a heated argument with Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over the name deal and felt he didn't receive sufficient support from his colleagues and the prime minister in return.
"The PM and a series of ministers made their choices in yesterday's (cabinet) meeting, and then I made mine," Kotzias said in a tweet. His resignation letter was not immediately made public.
Kammenos, who heads the governing coalition's junior party, has long objected to the deal and threatened to leave the coalition if the agreement comes to parliament for ratification.
Greece has long argued that use of the term Macedonia by its northern neighbor harbored territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name. Under the agreement, the country would change its name to North Macedonia in return for NATO membership.
But Kammenos' small right-wing Independent Greeks had vowed to oppose the deal and vote against it in parliament, which would leave the government dependent on the support of opposition parties to see it approved.
Kotzias had been angered by statements made by Kammenos during a recent trip to the United States, where the defense minister had raised the possibility of an alternate plan to the name deal — something which would go counter to current Greek and U.S. policy.
Asked earlier Wednesday during an interview on Alpha TV about reports Kotzias was deeply annoyed with Kammenos, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said: "I can't believe that. Because the government's policy . on (the name deal) is the policy that Mr. Kotzias agrees with. So there is no reason for discontent."
Without directly referring to Kotzias, Tzanakopoulos had previously said that "the government train is carrying on."
"Whoever doesn't want to reach the destination, or feels discontent during the journey, can get off the train," he added.
Tzanakopoulos said Tuesday's cabinet meeting involved "an open political discussion" on Kammenos' disagreement with the name deal.
"Of course we know there is a specific political disagreement that Mr. Kammenos has expressed ten months ago," he added.
Moscow, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — A Russian official said a student attacked a vocational college Wednesday in Crimea, a rampage that killed 17 other students and left more than 40 people wounded, before killing himself.
The comments by Sergei Aksyonov, the regional leader in Crimea, were the latest in a series of shifting explanations by Russian officials as to what exactly happened at Kerch Polytechnic College in the Black Sea city of Kerch.
Russian officials at first reported a gas explosion, then said an explosive device ripped through the college canteen about lunchtime in a suspected terrorist attack. But witnesses, however, reported that at least some of the victims were killed in an attack by a gunman or gunmen.
Aksyonov said on television that the student, a local man acting alone, killed himself after the attack.
The Investigative Committee identified the attacker as Vladislav Roslyakov, 18. It said he was caught on security cameras entering the college with a rifle and firing at students. The committee said all the victims have died of gunshot wounds, contrasting with previous statements by other officials saying they had wounds resulting from an explosion.
After the attack, local officials declared a state of emergency on the Black Sea peninsula that they had annexed from Ukraine in 2014. They also beefed up security at a new 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) bridge that links the peninsula with Russia that opened earlier this year.
Military units were deployed around the college.
Earlier, Russia's Investigative Committee, the nation's top investigative agency, said an explosive device that went off at the college's canteen was rigged with shrapnel. It was not immediately clear if the alleged attacker had detonated the explosive device.
Sergei Melikov, a deputy chief of the Russian National Guard, said the explosive device was homemade. Explosives experts were inspecting the college building for other possible bombs, according to Anti-Terrorism Committee spokesman Andrei Przhezdomsky.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that officials are looking into a possible terrorist attack. He did not elaborate. Peskov said Putin has instructed investigators and intelligence agencies to conduct a thorough probe and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
Witnesses did not speak of an explosion but said one or more armed men attacked the school.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted student Semyon Gavrilov, who said he fell asleep during a lecture and woke up to the sound of shooting. He said he looked out and saw a young man with a rifle shooting at people.
"I locked the door, hoping he wouldn't hear me," the paper quoted Gavrilov as saying.
He said police arrived about 10 minutes later to evacuate people from the college and he saw dead bodies on the floor and charred walls, presumably from some fire or explosion.
Another student, Yuri Kerpek, told the state RIA Novosti news agency that the shooting went on for about 15 minutes.
Olga Grebennikova, director of the vocational college, told KerchNet TV that men armed with automatic rifles burst into the college and "killed everyone they saw." Grebennikova, who said she had left the grounds shortly before the attack occurred, said students and staff were among victims.
Russia's Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova headed to the area to help coordinate assistance to the wounded and helicopters carrying emergency medical teams flew to the area.
Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine triggered Western sanctions. Russia has also supported separatists fighting the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has left at least 10,000 people dead since 2014.
Over the past few years, Russian security agencies have arrested several Ukrainians accused of plotting terror attacks in Crimea, but no attacks have occurred.
New Delhi, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — M.J. Akbar, India's junior external affairs minister, resigned Wednesday amid accusations by 20 women of sexual harassment during his previous career as one of the country's most prominent news editors, becoming the most powerful man to fall in India's burgeoning #MeToo movement.
Akbar said in a statement that he would "challenge false accusations" in a personal capacity, referring to a criminal case he filed Monday against the first woman to accuse him.
Akbar, 67, first served as a lawmaker for India's then-ruling India National Congress party between 1989 and 1991. He then edited The Telegraph, The Asian Age and other newspapers and wrote several books of nonfiction, becoming one of the most influential people in the Indian news media.
He returned to public life in March 2014, when he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and was appointed national spokesman during the 2014 election that brought the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power.
Akbar maintained a low profile after joining India's Ministry of External Affairs in July 2016 as its junior minister, representing India overseas at multinational conferences.
On Wednesday he thanked Modi, who had remained silent about the allegations, for the opportunity to serve in public office.
In India's deeply conservative society, the #MeToo movement began belatedly but has picked up steam in recent weeks. Since September, Indian actresses and writers have flooded social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault by their superiors and colleagues.
The string of accusations against Akbar began when journalist Priya Ramani identified him on Twitter on Oct. 8 as the unnamed editor that she had described in a story about newsroom sexual harassment published in Vogue last year.
Other women in media have alleged that Akbar interviewed job candidates in hotel rooms at night; groped, massaged and forcibly kissed young interns and employees; and offered young women choice out-of-town postings so that he could go visit them there.
On Sunday, returning from an official visit to West Africa, Akbar denied the allegations as "false, baseless and wild."
The following day, dozens of members of the Congress Party's youth wing clashed with police outside Akbar's New Delhi home, demanding his resignation.
Akbar then filed a criminal case against Ramani and released a statement in which he questioned his accusers' motives.
"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election," he asked.
Modi is hoping to remain in power in elections due early next year.
On Tuesday, 20 women signed a statement asking the court hearing Akbar's case against Ramani to allow them to give their own testimonies against him.
Ramini wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar's resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #MeToo"
Arti Jerath, a journalist and political commentator who is not among Akbar's accusers, said his resignation should have come earlier.
"The fact that he chose to brazen it out, he became an embarrassment to himself and an embarrassment to the government," she said. "I am glad that he is finally gone."
Dubbo, Oct 17 (AP/UB) — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked for bringing England's notoriously inclement weather to a drought-stricken Outback town on Wednesday in a rain-drenched visit to Dubbo during their Australian royal tour.
The former Meghan Markle brought banana bread that she baked in Sydney on Tuesday as a gift to a farming family outside Dubbo who were struggling to feed their cattle and sheep through two years of below-average rain.
"When she heard she was coming to a family home, she had to bring a plate, so it was lovely," farmer Elaine Woodley said, referring to a dish to be shared.
The pregnant American former actress and her husband, Prince Harry, got their hands dirty throwing cotton seed onto hay used to feed the cows because of a lack of pasture.
Heavy rain started falling when the royal couple arrived later at a Dubbo park for a community picnic, but thousands of cheering well-wishers remained enthusiastic.
"As your royal highnesses are aware, our region has been hit by a terrible drought," Mayor Ben Shields told the drenched crowd draped with waterproof ponchos and holding umbrellas, who erupted in laughter.
"So we're very pleased that you can bring some of that English weather with you today, and hopefully it will bring some relief to the farming families," Shields added.
While rain in recent weeks has been welcome, much more is needed to repair the economic and environmental ravages of the extended dry spell.
Drought conditions in New South Wales state this year have been the most widespread since 1965.
Meghan held an umbrella over Harry as he gave a speech, acknowledging the hardships the drought brought to the rural community and urging drought victims not to suffer in silence.
The crowd applauded when Harry touched on his own mental health struggles following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a car crash in a Paris tunnel in 1997. He was 12 at the time. Harry, now 34, revealed in an interview last year that he did not seek counseling until he was in his late 20s.
"You are all in this together and, if I may speak personally, we are all in this together," Harry said. "Because asking for help was one of the best decisions that I ever made. You will be continually amazed how life changes for the better."
The prince ended by thanking Dubbo for its invitation and for sharing its stories, adding, "And the rain was a gift."
Drought relief charity Drought Angels director Natasha Johnston commended the couple for their empathy.
"To have them recognize that our farmers are hurting, and show up here, it's an honor," Johnston said.
"It's been unbelievably tough. We've had families who can't put food on the table, who can't afford everyday basics, who can't afford water to fill their tanks," she added.
On arrival at Dubbo airport, the couple appeared delighted when 5-year-old Luke Vincent, who has Down Syndrome, hugged them both and ruffled Harry's hair and beard.
Luke's school principal Anne van Dartel said she had told the students that they were not to reach out to the royals. She suspected Harry's beard reminded Luke of his favorite celebrity, Santa Claus.
"I was very concerned once he started rubbing Prince Harry's face and his hair, but Prince Harry was completely gracious and was so polite and realized what was happening and (Luke's) infatuation with his beard," van Dartel told Seven Network television.
Luke told later told Nine Network television that Harry had surpassed Santa in his estimation.
Harry and Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
The main focus of the tour is the Invictus Games, which start in Sydney on Saturday. The sporting event, founded by Harry in 2014, gives sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball.