Egypt Independent: World-Main news en California gets go-ahead to vote on legalization of marijuana <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Californians are set to decide whether to make recreational marijuana use legal, as other Western states have done, after the California Secretary of State&#39;s office said on Tuesday the issue could be put to voters in the November ballot.<br /><br />The proposed so-called &quot;Adult Use of Marijuana Act,&quot; which is supported by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom among others, would allow people aged 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana for private recreational use and permit personal cultivation of as many as six marijuana plants.<br /><br />&quot;Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,&quot; initiative spokesman Jason Kinney said in a statement.<br /><br />The measure would also establish a system to license, regulate and tax sales of marijuana, while allowing city governments to exercise local control over or disallow commercial distribution within their borders.<br /><br />The initiative required just over 402,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot and exceeded that number on Tuesday, the Secretary of State&#39;s office said. Secretary Alex Padilla is slated to certify the initiative on June 30.<br /><br />Opinion polls show attitudes have shifted more in favor of liberalized marijuana laws since California voters defeated a recreational cannabis initiative in 2010.<br /><br />California led the way in legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, with 22 other states and the District of Columbia following suit, although cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under U.S. law.<br /><br />Voters in four states &mdash; Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska &mdash; plus the District of Columbia, have gone a step further since 2012 in permitting recreational use for adults. Voters in several more states will consider similar legislation in November as well.<br /><br />Opponents of liberalized marijuana laws have argued that such measures carry public safety risks and would make pot more accessible to youngsters.<br /><br />A new survey out last week showed however that marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped slightly since the state first permitted recreational cannabis use by adults.</p> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:52:00 +0000 Reuters 2470726 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/29/504802/marijuana.jpg India arrests five suspected of plotting Islamic State attacks <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText"><span class="focusParagraph">Indian counter-terrorism officials on Wednesday arrested five men on suspicion of plotting a series of attacks across the country on behalf of Islamic State, two intelligence officials said.</span></span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and local police raided 11 locations in the southern city of Hyderabad at dawn, seizing ammunition, explosive materials and cash.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Nine men were detained and five of them were arrested for conspiracy to wage war against the Indian state, one of the officials said, on the condition he was not named. If a suspect is arrested, police have 90 days to present charges.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;We have ample proof to show that the suspects were working for ISIS (Islamic State) and also had direct connection with Syrian leaders,&quot; the first official told Reuters.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The second official, NIA Inspector General Sanjeev Kumar, said the men were recruited by an Islamic State handler operating outside of India, but declined to say how many of those detained would be charged.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Islamic State has struggled to win over many recruits in India, which is home to the world&#39;s third-largest Muslim population.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">However, Indian police arrested 29 men last year for establishing bases to recruit men to the Islamist militant group. All men were charged with conspiracy to wage war against the state.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">A handful of Indians are also suspected of having traveled to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic State, where the group is fighting to install an Islamic caliphate. </span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">In a video circulated in May, a group of Indian fighters vowed to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed in riots in Prime Minister Narendra Modi&#39;s home state of Gujarat and elsewhere.</span></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:45:00 +0000 Reuters 2470724 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/01/03/503194/7f3e8b248ccd78008c0f6a7067008a58.jpg China's Xi urges caution over US missile deployment in South Korea <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText"><span class="focusParagraph">Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged South Korea to pay attention to China&#39;s concerns about the deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system to the country and &quot;cautiously&quot; address the plan.</span></span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The United States and South Korea have begun talks on possible deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system after North Korea tested its fourth nuclear bomb on January 6 and conducted missile tests.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">China and Russia have urged the United States to back off, saying THAAD&#39;s deployment could also affect their security.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">South Korea should &quot;attach importance to China&#39;s legitimate concern on security and cautiously and appropriately address the United States&#39; plan&quot; to deploy THAAD in South Korea, Xi told visiting South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the official Xinhua news agency reported.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">North Korea&#39;s drive to develop a nuclear weapons capability has angered China, Pyongyang&#39;s sole major diplomatic and economic supporter. But Beijing fears THAAD and its radar have a range that would extend into China.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Xi added that China and South Korea should continue to work for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, work together to maintain peace and stability and solve problems through dialogue and consultation.</span></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:29:00 +0000 Reuters 2470723 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/29/505021/south_korean_pm_chinese_president.jpg Balkans fear Brexit will delay EU dream <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Balkan countries hoping to join the European Union fear their journey to membership of a club they see as offering prosperity and stability will face delays and uncertainty now that Britain has voted to leave.<br /><br />Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, which endured war and upheaval in the 1990s, are all at different stages in joining the 28-nation EU.<br /><br />The immediate reaction in Balkan capitals to Britain&#39;s referendum decision last Thursday was that EU membership efforts would continue undiminished.<br /><br />Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia would stick to its &quot;European path&quot;, aiming to complete accession talks by 2019.<br /><br />Bosnia should not be discouraged by the British vote and must press on with EU integration, said Denis Zvizdic, chairman of Bosnia&#39;s council of ministers.<br /><br />But there is now acceptance that the Brexit upheaval, which came with the EU already showing less enthusiasm about enlargement, is likely to delay accession for the Balkan hopefuls. Some felt they had lost a champion in London.<br /><br />&quot;Our fear is that following Brexit the enlargement process could be slowed down,&quot; said Maja Bobic, secretary-general of the European Movement in Serbia, a group that promotes EU values.<br /><br />She said that as the EU negotiates Britain&#39;s departure, Brussels will be focused on how the bloc can be consolidated rather than enlarged.<br /><br /><strong>Difficulties emerge</strong><br /><br />Difficulties for Serbia emerged as early as Monday when it failed to gain the support it needed from Britain for the next stage in accession negotiations. Serbian officials said technical reasons related to Brexit were the cause.<br /><br />Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic said aspiring members must accept that joining the EU will be delayed by Brexit &quot;because it will take several years for the EU to consolidate and carry out the reforms it should have done years ago to prevent such things from happening&quot;.<br /><br />Analyst Igor Gavran said Bosnia could expect political fallout from Brexit &quot;because Britain was one of the countries that most openly supported the integration of Bosnia into the EU&quot;.<br /><br />In Kosovo, European Integration Minister Bekim Collaku said that his country, which seceded from Serbia in 2008, had also lost a strong supporter of its EU bid.<br /><br />&quot;We know the big contribution Great Britain made towards building Kosovo&#39;s statehood and it will be difficult for another country to fill this vacuum,&quot; he told local media.<br /><br />An Albanian official said his country had learnt that big crises such as the migrant issue, the euro and Greece distracted EU leaders from paying attention to the Balkans.<br /><br />Montenegro&#39;s EU negotiator, Andrija Pejovic, was optimistic that membership negotiations could move forward as planned, but acknowledged matters were unclear.<br /><br />&quot;In the coming days we will see what position the EU bodies will take regarding this issue,&quot; he said.<br /><br />For Macedonia, nothing has changed post-Brexit. Its EU bid remains blocked by a dispute with Greece over its name, which Athens says should belong only to its own province of Macedonia.</p> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:27:00 +0000 Reuters 2470683 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/28/504802/balkans.jpg