18 March 2017

Syrian rebels begin evacuation from besieged Homs

Gunmen and family members leave the al-Waer neighborhood bound for a town on the Turkish border, in Homs, Syria, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families have begun leaving al-Waer, the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week. The city was once known as the epicenter of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Scores of Syrian opposition fighters and their families began leaving the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs on Saturday as part of a Russian-backed evacuation deal signed earlier this week.

By sunset, 344 fighters and their families had left the city — once a center of protest during the 2011 uprising — completing the evacuation for the day. They were bound for a town on the Turkish border after the latest in a series of local agreements in which insurgents have relocated to the rebel-held north after months or years under siege in the country's major cities.

Death toll in Peru climbs to 67 from El Nino rains, floods

A woman is pulled to safety in a zipline harness in Lima, Peru, Friday, March 17, 2017. Intense rains and mudslides over the past three days have wrought havoc around the Andean nation and caught residents in Lima, a desert city of 10 million where it almost never rains, by surprise.
The number of people killed in Peru following intense rains and mudslides wreaking havoc around the Andean nation climbed to 67 Friday, with thousands more displaced from destroyed homes and others waiting on rooftops for rescue.

Across the country overflowing rivers caused by El Nino rains damaged 115,000 homes, collapsed 117 bridges and paralyzed countless roadways.

"We are confronting a serious climatic problem," President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a statement broadcast live Friday afternoon. "There hasn't been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998."

Activist: Basque separatist group ETA to disarm by April 8

In this file image made from video provided on Oct. 20, 2011, masked members of the Basque separatist group ETA hold up their fists in unison following a news conference at an unknown location. Spanish media are reporting that ETA are set to announce Friday March 17, 2017 its new initiative to lay down weapons aimed at speeding the stalled process of disbanding.
Basque civil society groups will fully disarm the separatist group ETA by April 8, a French environmental activist with ties to the Basque community promised Friday.

The militants announced a permanent cease-fire in 2011, but the governments of Spain and France have so far refused to take part in its disarmament because ETA tied it to the future of its militants, both in and out of jail. The two countries have demanded that ETA lay down its weapons without conditions and disband.