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Michelle Obama tours Beijing's Forbidden City

US First Lady Michelle Obama took her daughters and mother to Beijing's former imperial palace Friday, on a China tour the White House emphasises will be light on politics and heavy on personal diplomacy. Obama, her daughters Malia and Sasha, and her mother Marian Robinson along with China's own first lady Peng Liyuan took a guided tour of the sprawling Forbidden City, waving to onlookers outside the central pavilion known as the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

US police rescue 100 people held in 'stash' house

US police rescued more than 100 suspected illegal immigrants Thursday believed to have been held against their will in a filthy Texas "stash" house. While the 94 men, 14 women and two children discovered in the house were tired and hungry, they did not appear to be seriously injured. A pregnant woman was taken to hospital for evaluation. "It's a classic sign of a smuggling... operation in which people are treated like animals, more so than human beings," Houston police spokesman John Cannon told reporters.

Urban-rural migration reaches record high in 2013

SEJONG, March 20 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Koreans moving away from cities to rural areas reached a record high last year, although fewer people were freshly taking up farming as their profession, government tally showed Thursday. In 2013, the number of urban households moving to provincial regions jumped 20 percent on-year to a new high of 32,424, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Refugees in Nepal condemned to 'hilly prison' by visa fines

Amir Hussain, a Rohingya Muslim, lost a dozen members of his family to sectarian violence in Myanmar last year. He fled to Nepal where the country's policy on refugees has left him among hundreds trapped, jobless and mired in debt. He lives with his family in a tiny room in a house where walls have collapsed, water drips through holes in the roof and an open concrete stairwell is a potential deathtrap for his two young children. "If I go back to Burma (Myanmar), I will be killed," he said. "When I came to Nepal, I felt safe but we found many problems."

Seven migrants drown off Greek island after boat capsizes

ATHENS (Reuters) - Seven migrants drowned early on Tuesday and two were missing after their boat capsized off the eastern Greek island of Lesbos, the shipping ministry said, the latest in hundreds of deaths this year of people attempting the perilous crossing. Greece is a major gateway into the European Union for migrants from Africa and the Middle East, who often cross the sea in unsafe boats. The civil war in Syria has increased the human traffic.

Michelle Obama looks to ease mistrust on China trip

Michelle Obama will look to dispel growing mistrust between the United States and China through a weeklong tour of the Asian power focused deliberately on soft issues, officials said Monday. Accompanied by her two daughters and mother, the US first lady will head Wednesday on a tour to some of China's most celebrated sites including the Great Wall, the ancient terracotta warrior sculptures of Xian and a panda preserve.

China announces plans to expand cities, railways to support economic growth, raise incomes

BEIJING, China - China has announced plans to expand its cities and improve public services to support economic growth by allowing millions more rural residents to migrate to urban jobs. The Cabinet plan issued Sunday calls for raising the share of China's population of almost 1.4 billion people living in cities to 60 per cent from 53.7 per cent now, a shift of about 90 million people.

US urges Thailand to protect 'Uighur' asylum seekers

The United States on Friday urged Thailand to protect some 200 asylum seekers who are reportedly from China's Uighur minority, after police said they discovered them at a secret camp. Thai police said Thursday that they discovered the families in a raid in the kingdom's deep south and that the asylum seekers, who appeared to be preparing to head elsewhere, said they were Turkish. US broadcaster Radio Free Asia, quoting relatives, said that the asylum seekers were actually Uighurs -- a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim group from China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open results - 4th update

Results on Wednesday from the ATP Masters and WTA BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells (x denotes seeding): Men 4th rd Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR x28) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x13) 6-2, 6-4 Milos Raonic (CAN x10) bt Andy Murray (GBR x5) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 Kevin Anderson (RSA x17) bt Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x3) 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-1 Roger Federer (SUI x7) bt Tommy Haas (GER x11) 6-4, 6-4 John Isner (USA x12) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x30) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3 Ernests Gulbis (LAT x20) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP) 7-6 (7/0), 4-6, 6-2

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open results - 5th update

Results on Wednesday from the ATP Masters and WTA BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells (x denotes seeding): Men 4th rd Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR x28) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x13) 6-2, 6-4 Milos Raonic (CAN x10) bt Andy Murray (GBR x5) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 Kevin Anderson (RSA x17) bt Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x3) 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-1 Roger Federer (SUI x7) bt Tommy Haas (GER x11) 6-4, 6-4 John Isner (USA x12) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x30) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3 Ernests Gulbis (LAT x20) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP) 7-6 (7/0), 4-6, 6-2
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