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Obama leaves for Asia to boost trade, cooperation

By Nancy Benac, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama is leaving on a weeklong, 16,000-mile trip to Asia as part of his effort to pay more attention to the region and boost economic and security cooperation. He'll spend three days in Vietnam, with stops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, for meetings with top leaders, a speech on US-Vietnam relations, visits to cultural treasures and sessions with civic leaders and entrepreneurs. From Vietnam, he heads to Japan for a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and a historic visit to Hiroshima. Along the way, Obama will make a big push for the 12-nation trans-Pacific trade agreement, which includes the U.S., Vietnam, and Japan. The deal is stalled in Congress, but Obama hopes it will one day increase …

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Indonesia volcano eruption kills three: official

JAKARTA, May 21, 2016 - Three people died and four others were critically injured Saturday after a highly active volcano in western Indonesia erupted violently, shooting hot ash and gases into the atmosphere, an official said.   The victims were all farming on the slopes of Mount Sinabung, a rumbling volcano on Sumatra island, when they were consumed by clouds of hot gases, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. ''Seven people were exposed to the hot clouds, killing three and leaving four others in a critical condition,'' he said in a statement, adding the injured had been taken to hospital. Several houses were also destroyed during the eruptions, which sent hot gases and columns of ash three kilometers (1.9 miles) into the sky, he added. The victims were farming within the ''red …

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Mexico approves extradition of druglord “El Chapo” Guzman to U.S.

MEXICO CITY, May 21 (PNA/Xinhua) -- Mexican druglord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will be extradited to the United States, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Friday.   The ministry said it has notified Guzman, who was recently moved to a prison close to the U.S. border, that it had approved an extradition request filed by a federal district court of Texas in the United States. "Today, Mr. Joaguin Guzman was notified of the agreements with which the Mexican government grants his international extradition to the government of the United States to be tried by the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas," the ministry said. Guzman was charged with "the crimes of criminal conspiracy, crimes against public health, organized crime, possession of arms, homicide and money laundering," according to the ministry. Guzman …

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Gone Too Far: US lawmakers want Obama impeached over transgender restrooms

MOSCOW, May 21 (PNA/Sputnik) -- The Oklahoma Legislature has filed a measure asking the US Congress to impeach US President Barack Obama as his administration recommended that schools allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choosing, the measure reads.   Last week, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that there was no room in the US schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex. "The members of the United States House of Representatives elected from this state are hereby requested to file articles of impeachment against the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, and any other federal official liable to impeachment who has exceeded his or her constitutional authority," …

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EgyptAir plane wreck found

Cairo — Egypt found wreckage including seats and luggage Friday from the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, as investigators tried to unravel the mystery of why it swerved and plummeted into the sea. Search teams spotted personal belongings of passengers and parts of the Airbus A320 about 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Egypt's coastal city of Alexandria, the military said. The country's aviation minister has said a "terrorist attack" was a more likely cause than technical failure for the plane's disappearance on a flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board. But French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said there was "absolutely no indication" on why the plane came down. "We're looking at all possibilities, but none is being favored over the others," he said. The tragedy raised fears of a …

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Gun rights group endorses Trump

Washington — The National Rifle Association on Friday endorsed Donald Trump for US president, saying it was time to unite behind the Republican or ''kiss your guns goodbye'' if Hillary Clinton is elected. ''We have to unite and we have to unite right now,'' Chris Cox, head of the NRA's lobbying arm, said at the gun rights group's annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky. ''So on behalf of the thousands of patriots in this room, the five million NRA members across this country, and the tens of millions who support us, I'm officially announcing the NRA's endorsement of Donald Trump for president.'' The NRA's endorsement of a Republican nominee is no surprise. But the timing is notable because it came months earlier than in the previous two election cycles, suggesting the nation's largest gun-rights advocacy …

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Int’l aid pours into Sri Lanka

By PNA/Xinhua Colombo — International assistance has poured into Sri Lanka as the government continued efforts to provide relief to tens of thousands of people affected by severe floods and landslides due to heavy rains. The United States provided 50,000 U.S. dollars for emergency humanitarian aid to meet the urgent needs of victims of the ongoing landslides and flooding. The officials said two Indian naval ships with aid supplies were also expected to reach the country on Saturday. Other countries which had pledged assistance included China, Pakistan ,and Australia. Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland called on Friday the Commonwealth member countries to provide support to Sri Lanka through coordinated operation in the aftermath of devastating landslides which struck in Sri Lanka's Kegalle District. Evacuation efforts continued in the capital of Colombo Friday as houses remained underwater due …

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Former envoy to S. Korea Sung Kim nominated as ambassador to Philippines

By Lee Jin-myung, Maeil Business News Korea United States President Barack Obama has nominated Sung Kim, special representative for North Korea policy and former envoy to South Korea, as the ambassador to the Philippines, the White House announced Wednesday. Kim’s nomination is subject to Senate confirmation. If confirmed, Kim would become the first Korean American to hold the ambassador position to U.S. major allies two times. It may take a while before nomination because the Republican-dominated Senate delays action as President Obama nears the end of his final term in office. Kim, who was born in Seoul, Korea, immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned a J.D. degree from Loyola Law School and an LL.M. degree from the London School of Economics and …

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Dutch climber dies on way back from Everest summit

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A 35-year-old Dutch man suffering from high-altitude sickness died on his way back from Mount Everest's summit in the first death reported this year on the world's highest mountain, an expedition organizer said Saturday (May 21, 2016). Eric Arnold died near the South Col on Friday night, said Pasang Phurba of the Seven Summit Treks agency in Kathmandu. Arnold had enough bottled oxygen with him as well as climbing partners, but he complained of getting weak and died before he was able to come down to a lower altitude, Phurba said. He said that more details were not available because of poor communication with the crew on the mountain, and that it would take days and several people to bring Arnold's body down the slopes. Arnold was from the Dutch city …

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Ailing Thai king treated for water on brain

BANGKOK, May 21, 2016 (AFP) - Thailand's hospital-bound monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej is being treated for water on the brain and has had the excess fluid drained, the palace said in a statement late Friday. Bhumibol, 88, is the object of an intense personality cult and his frail health is a subject of significant public concern. The wheelchair-confined king is rarely seen in public and has spent most of the past two years hospitalized for a series of ailments, including previous bouts of hydrocephalus (water on the brain).   The Royal Household Bureau said in a statement that doctors adjusted a tube used to drain excess fluid after they noticed facial twitching. ''It was detected that his facial muscles had irregular movements and the doctor conducted a computer x-ray and found there was …

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