Geneva, Feb 8 (AP/UNB) — An independent U.N. human rights expert says authorities in Saudi Arabia quietly held a second court hearing for 11 people facing charges over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, says she learned of the hearing during her first visit to Turkey last week to investigate the murder.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. His remains have not been found.
Callamard told The Associated Press that the second hearing took place on Jan. 31.
She criticized the fact that that there is "insufficient public attention placed on the proceedings" and that the media are not present at the hearings.
Rio de Janeiro, Feb 8 (AP/UNB) — Officials in Rio de Janeiro say torrential downpours and strong winds have killed at least five people and left a trail of destruction.
The press office of the Rio de Janeiro fire department announced the death toll Thursday.
Rio's Mayor Marcelo Crivella decreed three days of mourning for the victims.
Crivella said: "In two hours the amount of rain that fell on the city was equivalent to the rainfall for the entire month."
He added: "Meteorologists never imagined that the storm would be as violent as it was."
The Rio Operations Center said that strong winds of up to 68 mph (109 kph) knocked down trees and caused heavy flooding in several streets.
The center monitors weather, traffic, trash collection, electricity, water, gas and emergency situations, among other things.
New Zealand (AP) — About 700 residents are being evacuated from a New Zealand town as a forest fire threatens the area.
Civil defense authorities on Friday decided to evacuate parts of Wakefield on the South Island. Authorities opened up a sports stadium as a welfare center and said they can accommodate people who don't have friends or family to stay with elsewhere.
Others in the town of 3,000 are waiting to hear if they will also be evacuated, and many are choosing to leave.
The wildfire has been burning since Tuesday and has spread to about 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres). It has burned down one house. Authorities believe it was started by sparks from farm equipment.
Other, smaller fires have also flared up in the dry region, including in the city of Nelson.
Haiti, Feb 8 (AP/UNB) — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Haiti's capital on Thursday to demand the ouster of President Jovenel Moise amid months of protests.
Demonstrators want Moise to resign for not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan subsidized energy program.
They pledged to continue demonstrations through the weekend unless the president resigns.
Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said one person had been killed, apparently in a shooting near a protest, 36 people arrested and four police cars burned.
Protester Valckensy Dessin said he was protesting corruption that enriched a few at the expense of the majority who are poor and hungry.
"It's impossible," he said. "That's one of the main reasons we decided to stand with the people, with the working-class."
The protesters marched, chanted and held banners in the streets of Port-au-Prince saying, "Where is the Petrocaribe money?"
Protesters lit car tires in the middle of the streets while police in riot gear were seen firing tear gas canisters.
Opposition leader Moise Jean Charles said protests will continue in the coming days until Moise resigns, something Haiti's president says he will not do.
"We will not stop, we will continue on the 8th and 9th of February to finish with President Jovenel Moise," the opposition leader said. "If Jovenel Moise does not want to step down from power we are going to name an interim president in the coming days."
Tripoli, Feb 4 (Xinhua/UNB) -The United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Sunday said it evacuated more than 4,000 refugees from Libya from 2018 to the end of January 2019.
The commission said it resettled or evacuated 4,080 refugees from Libya and provided 34,505 medical consultations during last year up until the end of last month.
It also said that 6,219 families have received cash assistance, and 1,311 shelter kits have been distributed to internally displaced Libyans.
UNHCR confirmed that 56,643 refugees and asylum seekers have been registered in Libya so far.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of illegal immigrants rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services.