At least 10 militants have been killed as government forces backed by warplanes have stormed the Taliban hideouts in the western Afghan province of Farah since Saturday, a provincial police spokesman said on Sunday.
In the ongoing crackdown on militants, the warplanes pounded Taliban hideouts in Raj and Shorabad villages outside the provincial capital of Farah city, killing seven insurgents, spokesman Mohibullah Mohib said.
Three more militants have also been killed in Garji and Mahajiran villages as the cleanup operation has been ongoing outside the provincial capital and its vicinity, Mohib added.
Taliban militants who have presence in parts of the troubled Farah province over the past few years have not commented on the report.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said China's people's democracy is a type of whole-process democracy.
Xi made the remarks Saturday during his inspection tour in Shanghai, where he visited a residential community's civic center at a time a consultation meeting on a draft law was being held. Xi talked to both the Chinese and foreign residents attending the meeting and asked in detail about the work of soliciting opinions on the draft.
Xi said China is on the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics, where all major legislative decisions are made after going through procedures and democratic deliberations to make sure the decision-making is sound and democratic.
He called on more efforts to develop socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics.
Tens of thousands of Islamists at a massive protest camp in Pakistan's capital awaited a Sunday deadline set by their leader calling for the prime minister resign.
Authorities in Islamabad strengthened security around the camp as the protest entered its third day, including walls of shipping containers blocking roads leading into and out of the protest area, as well as deploying riot police and paramilitary forces.
Firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman had led a caravan of supporters to Islamabad last week in a bid to pressure Imran Khan to step down, calling him an "illegitimate" ruler. He claims the 2018 election that brought Khan to power was rigged, and has implied — without naming names — that Pakistan's powerful army supported Khan. The military denies the allegations, saying it remains impartial.
Rehman, who heads the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, has agreed with authorities that the protesters will not leave the government-designated area.
But he has also hinted he could lead a march on the "Red Zone," the seat of Pakistan's government, to force Khan's resignation. The prime minister says he has no plans of quitting.
It's unclear what Rehman's next move will be once his deadline expires Sunday evening.
Negotiations to defuse the standoff were taking place between members of Khan's government and opposition lawmakers.
Authorities have said they won't try to stop the protests as long as they remain in the designated area, which stretches over a kilometer (mile) along a highway and into an open area.
Some protesters in the all-male encampment seemed prepared for a long stay, and had even begun turning the shipping containers into living spaces.
"I want the government to bring more of these containers, they're now serving as our little homes here, as the weather is getting colder every night," said Gul Aman, a protester from the western Baluchistan province. Others were seen cooking meals and washing clothes outside their tents Sunday.
Several thousand volunteers dressed in head-to-toe yellow uniforms have been handling security, according to protest organizers. Many supporters also carried the black and white striped flag of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party.
Rehman had attempted to ban female journalists from accessing the camp, but was forced to reverse his decision after sparking outrage on social media.
The hard-line cleric has campaigned for regressive legislation targeting women, and opposed legislation to eliminate of violence against women. He has also refused to allow women members of his party to participate in the demonstration.
The mass rally comes after Pakistani businesses observed a nationwide strike last week against recently enacted taxes, which the opposition says were imposed as part of the International Monetary Fund's $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan.
A report by the World Economic Forum released last month says Pakistan ranks 110th on the international organization's annual Global Competitiveness Index. The report said Pakistan's 2019 ranking dropped three places due to poor performance in key areas of press freedoms, governance, innovation, corruption, life expectancy, productivity and human development.
Is stealing a presidential portrait a prison-worthy crime? Or a laudable act of civil disobedience?
Courts around France are grappling with this question in response to an unusual new environmental movement that's aiming to push French President Emmanuel Macron to do more to fight climate change.
One by one, environmental activists around France have removed Macron's official portraits from more than 130 town halls this year, from the foothills of the Alps to the Left Bank of Paris.
Their point: Even as Macron portrays himself on the global stage as Mr. Climate , the centrist, business-friendly president isn't acting boldly enough to change his own country's planet-damaging ways. They're notably angry that France has lagged on its international commitments to increase use of renewable energy and reduce emissions. France remains well behind its European neighbors in its use of renewable energy.
The portrait-removers have been facing trials around the country , with some fined, others acquitted. An appeals trial of the first court case was held last week in Lyon with the ruling still pending, and a new trial is scheduled later this month.
The protesters don't fit a single mold — one's a math teacher, another works for the SNCF national rail company, another's an organic vegetable farmer.
At last week's trial, defendant Helene Lacroix-Baudrion argued that the portrait removal was "an act aimed at taking care of life and our environment."
"We just want Macron, who holds himself up as a climate defender, to respect France's commitments under the COP21 (the 2015 U.N. climate agreement signed in Paris)," she told The Associated Press.
An expert working for the U.N. climate change agency testified as a defense witness at the trial, and climate activists gathered for a boisterous protest outside the courthouse.
The trials themselves have turned into public debates on civil disobedience, France's rich tradition of protest — and of course, the environment.
France is divided over how, and how fast, to cut emissions blamed for worsening climate change. Macron argues that he's doing more than most, and has stood up to U.S. President Donald Trump on the need for countries and corporations to cooperate to cut emissions.
However, Macron backed down on a fuel tax last year meant to help wean France off fossil fuels, because the tax triggered the yellow vest protest movement against economic injustice, which saw months of violent protests that devastated some major shopping streets in Paris.
So activists started targeting Macron's portraits, symbolically dethroning him to demand action.
Several brought stolen portraits to a march at the Group of Seven summit Macron hosted in Biarritz in August, to try to embarrass him at the global event . They brandished the pictures upside down, arguing that his climate policy is the opposite of what the planet needs.
French law says the acts can be considered "group theft," which can be punishable by several years in prison. No court seems willing to go as far as locking up the portrait-removers, but the verdicts have been mixed.
Six portrait-removers were convicted in the first trial, in Bourg-en-Bresse in June, but five were only given suspended fines. The sixth was fined 250 euros ($280) because he already had a criminal record.
The court ruling said it wasn't clear how removing the portraits would "save humanity from ecological disaster" and argued that "other avenues were open to the defendants to defend their cause."
The protesters themselves, from the Non-Violent Action COP21 activist group, accepted the ruling, but the prosecutor appealed, seeking tougher punishment.
In September, a Lyon court acquitted two activists, ruling that they had a "legitimate motive" and that "climate upheaval is a constant fact that seriously affects the future of humanity."
"Faced with the lack of respect by the state" for its climate commitments, the ruling reads, "the citizens' means of expression in a democratic country cannot be reduced to the votes cast in elections."
A few weeks later, a Paris court fined eight activists 500 euros ($560) each.
Nine more trials are scheduled in coming months, all over France.
China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency denounced the attack on its office in Hong Kong by pro-democracy protesters as "barbaric" during a melee that marked nearly five months of unrest in the Chinese territory.
More protests are being planned in seven districts Sunday in a sustained push for political reform and genuine autonomy, after the ruling Communist Party vowed to tighten the grip on one of the world's freest financial hubs.
Xinhua in a brief statement late Saturday strongly condemned the "barbaric acts of mobs" that had vandalized and set fire to the lobby of its Asia-Pacific office building in the city's Wan Chai neighborhood.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association also deplored "any act of sabotage against the media" and called for an end to violence against the press.
It was the first strike against the official Chinese news agency in a show of anger against Beijing, which many in the city fear is infringing on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.
On Friday, the Communist Party in Beijing vowed to "establish and strengthen a legal system and enforcement mechanism" to prevent foreign powers from sowing acts of "separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage" in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China, has tried to enact anti-subversion legislation before but failed amid public opposition. Beijing may be indicating it is preparing to take matters into its own hands by having the National People's Congress — a ceremonial legislature — issue a legal interpretation to enact such legislation.
Hong Kong's government said Sunday its Chief Executive Carrie Lam, currently in Shanghai, will head to Beijing on Tuesday. She is due to hold talks with Vice Premier Han Zheng and join a meeting on the development of the Greater Bay Area that aims to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China.
Protesters have frequently targeted Chinese banks and businesses. In July, demonstrators threw eggs at China's liaison office in Hong Kong and defaced the Chinese national emblem in a move slammed by Beijing as a direct challenge to its authority.
Police said that more than 200 people were detained during Saturday's protests in multiple areas on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon district. This included five youths found with 188 gasoline bombs, pepper sprays and protest gear such as helmets and goggles.
A bomb disposal robot was used to detonate two suspicious parcels on different roads late Saturday, said a police spokesman, who declined to be named as he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.
After police stymied an unauthorized rally with tear gas and water cannons, groups of hardcore protesters regrouped with gasoline bombs and attacked shops and subway exits. Police responded in street battles late into the night in familiar scenes that had besieged the financial hub since June.
The protests were sparked by a now-shelved plan to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since swelled into a movement seeking other demands, including direct elections for the city's leaders and an independent inquiry into police conduct. Lam last month invoked emergency powers to impose a face mask ban that further enraged protesters for crimping their right to assemble.
More than 3,000 people have been detained and the city has slipped into recession for the first time in a decade as it grapples with the turmoil and the impact from the U.S.-China trade war.