Beirut, Sept 9 (AP/UNB) — Syrian troops and Russian forces resumed their bombing of the opposition's last stretch of territory in the country, killing an infant girl on Sunday and damaging a hospital, rescuers and a war monitoring group say
The Syrian Civil Defense, first responders known as the White Helmets, says the girl was killed in bombing on Hobeit, in Idlib province.
Mustafa al-Haj Youssef, of the White Helmets, says government helicopters dropped unguided barrel bombs on the village.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Russian and Syrian government airstrikes on the towns of Latamneh and Kafr Zeita in the neighboring Hama province. It says a hospital in Latamneh was damaged in airstrikes and was taken out of operation.
Majuli, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — Every morning, on an island in the Brahmaputra River, centuries-old monasteries come alive with the sounds of rhythmic chants and the footsteps of young monks closely watched by their teachers.
Majuli island is home to more than 20 Vaishnavite monasteries, traditional prayer halls belonging to an offshoot of Hinduism dedicated to the god Vishnu. Inside the monasteries, thousands of monks are keeping alive an ancient tradition that melds worship with the arts.
Vaishnava monks believe the way to salvation is through dance, drama and music. Their work centers around dance dramas, based on ancient Indian texts that often focus on the god Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. The young monks, many of whom come from poor families, perform the dances at Krishna festivals across India and around the world.
The monasteries, called satras, are outposts of traditionalism. No girls are permitted to live inside them, and teachers and students live together, following the ancient Indian teaching tradition.
Apart from training in the arts and praying, the young monks also get a secular education and learn to cook and farm.
Kabul, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — An Afghan official says insurgents have attacked a checkpoint in the western Herat province, killing at least nine Afghan security forces and wounding another six.
Gelani Farhad, the provincial governor's spokesman, says the attack late Saturday ignited a gunbattle in which around 10 insurgents were killed and five wounded. He says the attack was likely carried out by the Taliban, who are active in the district and frequently target security forces and government officials.
Afghan forces have struggled to combat both the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate since the U.S. and NATO formally ended their combat mission in 2014.
Pyongyang, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — North Korea staged a huge military parade on Sunday to mark its 70th anniversary as a nation but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the parade to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy.
The strong emphasis on the economy underscores leader Kim Jong Un's new strategy of putting economic development front and center.
Kim attended the morning parade but did not address the assembled crowd, which included the head of the Chinese parliament and high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North.
Senior statesman Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea's parliament, set the relatively softer tone for the event with an opening speech that emphasized the economic goals of the regime, not its nuclear might.
After a truncated parade featuring tanks, fewer than the usual number of missiles and lots of goose-stepping units from all branches of the military, along with some students and others, the focus switched to civilian groups, ranging from nurses to construction workers, many with colorful floats beside them.
Although North Korea stages military parades almost every year, and held one just before the Olympics began in South Korea in February this year, Sunday's parade came at a particularly sensitive time.
Kim's effort to ease tensions with President Donald Trump have stalled since their June summit in Singapore. Both sides are now insisting on a different starting point. Washington wants Kim to commit to denuclearization first, but Pyongyang wants its security guaranteed and a peace agreement formally ending the Korean War.
With tensions once again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump last year, and led to a dangerous volley of insults from both leaders, could be seen as a deliberate provocation.
The North displayed its latest missilery in the February parade, however, and Washington hardly batted an eye.
Soon after the Sunday celebrations end, Kim will once again meet in Pyongyang with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss ways to break the impasse over his nuclear weapons.
The "new line" of putting economic development first has been Kim's top priority this year. He claims to have perfected his nuclear arsenal enough to deter U.S. aggression and devote his resources to raising the nation's standard of living.
This year's celebrations also mark the revival of North Korea's iconic mass games after a five-year hiatus.
The mass games involve tens of thousands of people holding up placards or dancing in precise unison and are intended to be a display of national unity. This year's spectacle — tickets start at just over $100 and go up to more than $800 per seat — also has a strong economic theme.
The economy was also a big part of a concert held on the eve of the anniversary for foreign dignitaries and a large foreign media contingent allowed in for the events.
Tokyo, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — Japanese authorities say 37 people have been confirmed dead from a powerful earthquake that struck the northern island of Hokkaido last week.
The Hokkaido government said Sunday that two people remain missing and one other person has no vital signs. Rescue workers are using backhoes and shovels to search for the missing in a tangle of dirt and the rubble of homes left by multiple landslides in the town of Atsuma. All but four of the victims are from the community of 4,600 people.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a hard-hit area of Sapporo, the main city in Hokkaido.
The magnitude 6.7 earthquake before daybreak Thursday knocked out power and train service across Hokkaido. It took two days to restore electricity to most of the island of 5.4 million people.