World briefs

CHINA The British Embassy in Beijing said it will offer a 24-hour super priority visa service for visitors from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou starting from August 11. The price for the service will be 600 pounds (about 6,600 yuan). The Super Priority Service will be open to all business visitors, family visitors and general visitors who have evidence of compliant travel to the UK, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or Schengen Countries within the last five years, according to the British Embassy.

HONG KONG A popular pro-democracy website closes, citing political pressure, the latest sign of mounting tensions as the semiautonomous Chinese city braces for a possible shutdown of its financial center by activists fighting Beijing’s desire to limit democratic reforms. In a letter posted on the House News website over the weekend, one of the site’s founders said he and his family were “terrified” by the political atmosphere.

Philippines RamadanPHILIPPINES Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked Filipino civilians traveling to celebrate the end of Ramadan with their families yesterday, killing 21, including at least six children, in a brazen road attack that was the bloodiest in recent years by the violent militant group, police and military officials said.

PAKISTAN Police said a mob has burned down several homes belonging to minority Ahmadi Muslims in the country’s east, killing a woman and her two granddaughters following rumors about blasphemous postings on Facebook.

Ukraine Japan Russia SanctionsJAPAN-RUSSIA Tokyo says the country is stepping up sanctions against Russia over the unrest in Ukraine. The sanctions include the freezing of assets held in Japan by individuals and groups supporting the separation of Crimea from Ukraine, as well as a ban on Crimean imports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. He noted that the steps are in line with measures taken by the European Union and Group of Seven nations.

GAZA STRIP The U.N. Security Council called for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas at an emergency meeting yesterday. The pressure for a cease-fire followed new attacks launched by Israel and Hamas despite back-and-forth over proposals for another temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting.

Britain Commonwealth Games Weightlifter AssaultSCOTLAND A weightlifter from Papua New Guinea who competed at the Commonwealth Games faces trial over an alleged sexual assault at a Glasgow supermarket. The Glasgow Sheriff Court says Toua Udia pleaded not guilty and will go on trial Friday. Police say the 22-year-old lifter was arrested after officers received a report of an incident last week at a supermarket near the athletes’ village.

USA Virgin America’s next destination is Wall Street. The California-based airline filed yesterday for an initial public offering of shares. Virgin America Inc., which operates out of Los Angeles and San Francisco, flies to 22 airports in the United States and Mexico and has a fleet of 53 planes. It is known for offering a variety of perks on its jets, including live TV, movies, leather seats and purple mood lighting.

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