NEWSLINE

China warns Japan not to ‘play with fire’
China on Thursday warned Japan against ‘playing with fire’ in the contested waters of the South China Sea, after Tokyo announced it may patrol alongside the US in the region. China also sent fighter planes for the first time over a strait near Japan on Monday as part of a group of more than 40 jets headed to train in the West Pacific. The move followed remarks by Japanese defence minister Tomomi Inada this month that Tokyo would increase its engagement in the South China Sea through joint training with the US Navy, exercises with regional navies and capacity-building assistance to coastal nations. — AFP, Beijing

Colombia tipped for Nobel Peace Prize after deal to end war
A Colombian peace accord ending a half-century of war is widely tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize next week, returning the award to its roots after a run of wins for organisations including the European Union. The prize might be shared by president Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist FARC rebel leader Timochenko – the nom de guerre of Rodrigo Londono – after they signed a deal on September 26 to end a war that killed a quarter of a million people. ‘The agreement … is one of the most obvious peace prize candidates I’ve ever seen,’ said Asle Sveen, a historian who tracks the awards. — Reuters, Oslo

Spain’s Socialists on brink of ‘civil war’
Spain’s Socialist Party was on the verge of ‘civil war’ Thursday after half its leadership staged a coup, in what could turn out to be good news for those desperate to end the country’s political deadlock. ‘A sad spectacle’, ‘War’ – read headlines in Spanish newspapers awash with news that 17 members of the party’s executive resigned Wednesday evening in a bid to oust leader Pedro Sanchez, unhappy about the way he was navigating the Socialist ship through this year’s choppy politics. ‘The Socialists had already gone through other stormy periods in the past decades but never had we seen something like this: a coup… to depose a secretary general elected democratically by grassroots members,’ wrote the right-wing El Mundo daily. — AFP, Madrid

US may consider lifting sanctions on Afghan warlord
The United States may consider lifting sanctions on one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords after a peace accord was signed in the Afghan capital on Thursday, a US official said. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani formalised the controversial arrangement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in a deal the government hopes will lead to more peace agreements. Surrounded by hundreds of Afghan officials, many former warlords and rivals themselves, Ghani signed a pact that opens the door to the militant faction of Hezb-i-Islami, led by Hekmatyar, playing an active role in politics. — Reuters, Kabul

3 injured in US school shooting
A teenage gunman, who injured three people at a South Carolina elementary school before being arrested, carried out the attack after killing his father, local officials said Wednesday. The teen, whom the authorities did not identify, shot two boys – one in the leg, the other in the foot – as well as a teacher in the shoulder at Townville Elementary in the west of the southeastern US state, area officials told reporters. — AFP, Miami

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