• EU calls Russia's NGO law a 'worrying step'

    AFP News - 18 hours ago

    The EU said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken a "worrying step" by enacting a law banning what Moscow deems to be undesirable non-governmental organisations. Under the law signed by Putin on Saturday, the Russian authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country. More »EU calls Russia's NGO law a 'worrying step'

  • Spain votes as new forces seek 'historic' change

    AFP News - 18 hours ago

    New left-wing and centrist movements are fighting to end the two-party system of the past four decades and drive the conservative Popular Party (PP) from local and regional government ahead of a general election. "This is the first time we have felt hopeful when coming out to vote," said Eva Quintas, 32, after casting her ballot in central Madrid for the left-wing protest party Podemos and the local group it is backing, Ahora Madrid. Its leader Albert Rivera has described Sunday's vote as "historic". More »Spain votes as new forces seek 'historic' change

  • Thousands flee after landslide blocks Nepal river

    AFP News - 19 hours ago

    Thousands of panic-stricken villagers fled their homes fearing flash floods after an overnight landslide blocked a river in quake-hit Nepal's mountainous northwest, officials said Sunday. The landslide at around midnight sent mud and rocks tumbling into the Kali Gandaki river in Myagdi district, causing water levels to rise by 150 metres (490 feet), said local official Yam Bahadur Chokhal. As fresh landslides dumped debris into the river during the day, the two-kilometre-long artificial lake created by the blockage began to overflow the newly created dam, home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told AFP. More »Thousands flee after landslide blocks Nepal river

  • IS is recruiting, but not operational in Afghanistan: NATO General

    AFP News - 20 hours ago

    The Islamic State group is recruiting fighters in Afghanistan, the commander of foreign forces in country has said, but they are not yet operational. There have been fears of IS group making inroads in Afghanistan since US-led NATO forces ended their combat mission late last year, after 13 years of fighting insurgents. "There's recruiting going on in Afghanistan, there is recruiting going on in Pakistan. More »IS is recruiting, but not operational in Afghanistan: NATO General

  • Indonesia begins search for migrant boats

    AFP News - 22 hours ago

    Indonesia has begun search and rescue operations for stranded migrant boats carrying Bangladeshis and ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, an official said Sunday, after it dropped a hardline policy of refusing them sanctuary. Jakarta sparked international outrage by turning away vessels filled with desperate migrants, among thousands stranded at sea since a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking in early May threw the illicit trade into chaos. Along with neighbouring Malaysia, the government changed approach Wednesday with an announcement that they would take in boat people provided they could be resettled or repatriated within a year. More »Indonesia begins search for migrant boats

  • Ireland 'changed utterly' by gay marriage vote

    AFP News - 22 hours ago

    Ireland's newspapers said Sunday that the country had dramatically changed and confirmed its emergence from the shadow of the traditionally powerful Catholic Church by voting in favour of gay marriage. Tabloids and broadsheets alike carried colourful pictures of partying "Yes" supporters cheering the landslide referendum result Saturday as they reflected on what the decision meant for Ireland. The Sunday Independent, Ireland's biggest-selling newspaper, said the vote was truly "historic". More »Ireland 'changed utterly' by gay marriage vote

  • Myanmar population law raises fears for Rohingya minority

    AFP News - 23 hours ago

    Myanmar has enacted a population law that rights groups said Sunday targets persecuted Rohingya Muslims, a minority group at the centre of a migration crisis that has seen thousands flee the country. Desperate Rohingya, together with Bangladeshi migrants, have been rescued on Southeast Asian shores after harrowing boat journeys since a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking in early May threw the long-standing trade into chaos. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar in recent years, to escape sectarian violence as well as suffocating restrictions preventing them from travelling and working. More »Myanmar population law raises fears for Rohingya minority

  • Liberia struggles with violence along insecure Ivory Coast border

    AFP News - 23 hours ago

    In February last year a gang of men with machetes ambushed two villages in western Ivory Coast, disembowelling a soldier and pulling out most of his organs before slaying three of his colleagues. The attack marked the brutal resumption of a campaign of violence blamed on militants crossing from Liberia that has displaced thousands and claimed dozens of lives in the border area. Experts have warned that the violence could intensify in the months ahead of presidential elections due to take place in Ivory Coast in October. More »Liberia struggles with violence along insecure Ivory Coast border

  • Ethiopia votes with ruling party set to return

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Ethiopia was Sunday holding its first general elections since the death of strongman Meles Zenawi in 2012, with his successor Hailemariam Desalegn all but certain to stay in power. Over 36.8 million Ethiopians registered for Sunday's polls, but analysts say the election in Africa's second-most populous nation falls far short of open competition. Posters of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) dominate the capital. More »Ethiopia votes with ruling party set to return

  • US cop acquitted in shooting death of unarmed black couple

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    A white Cleveland police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car and fired dozens of rounds at an unarmed black couple in 2012 was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter. Just a month ago, riots erupted in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Six officers have been charged. More »US cop acquitted in shooting death of unarmed black couple

  • Spain's 'Indignados' out to conquer city halls

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The Spanish "Indignado" protesters who inspired the worldwide Occupy movement are out to conquer city halls and regional governments across Spain in elections on Sunday. In a key test of Spain's new political dynamic ahead of general elections later this year, new groups formed since the street protests that have swept the country since 2011 are now running for office. "In practically all the main provincial towns there are citizen platforms running for office," said Pablo Simon, a political scientist at Madrid's Carlos III University. More »Spain's 'Indignados' out to conquer city halls

  • Ireland celebrates after huge 'Yes' to gay marriage

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Ireland on Sunday celebrated a historic referendum approving gay marriage, as the once all-powerful Catholic Church reflected on the need for a "reality check" to keep in touch with changing times. The gay community "has given all of Irish democracy one of its greatest days," wrote Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole. It was the first time ever that gay marriage had been approved by popular vote and many supporters of the referendum expressed their joy through Twitter with the hashtag #WeMadeHistory. More »Ireland celebrates after huge 'Yes' to gay marriage

  • Sweden pips Russia in Eurovision pop fest nail-biter

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Sweden narrowly beat Russia on Sunday in a nail-biting 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, winning its sixth crown in Europe's annual anything-goes music extravaganza. Forty-one years after Swedish superstars ABBA took the title, chiseled Mans Zelmerlow won 365 points from voters and juries in 40 countries with his up-tempo crowd-pleaser "Heroes". As the scores came through nation by nation via videolink to Vienna, it looked for a while as though Russian Polina Gagarina would take the title with her paean to world peace "A Million Voices". More »Sweden pips Russia in Eurovision pop fest nail-biter

  • Colombia's Santos presses for peace as FARC death toll climbs

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The president of Colombia called for accelerated peace negotiations with FARC guerrillas, just as eight rebels were killed in an escalating government offensive. Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement amid a push by the Colombian army that began Thursday with a government air strike killing 26 guerrillas in the southwestern Cauca department. The operation against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the northern municipality of Segovia also wounded two more fighters, the military said. More »Colombia's Santos presses for peace as FARC death toll climbs

  • One-sided death toll in Mexico gunfight raises questions

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Puddles of blood and bullet shells are some of the remnants of an intense gunfight on a western Mexico ranch that killed 42 criminal suspects and one police officer. The authorities say superior training and equipment explains the one-sided death toll in one of the bloodiest battles in Mexico's nearly decade-long drug war. The gunfight with suspected henchmen of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel occurred in a region considered a bastion of the gang, which has killed 28 police officers and soldiers since March. More »One-sided death toll in Mexico gunfight raises questions

  • US 'deeply troubled' by Russia's NGO law

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The United States said it was "deeply troubled" after Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning what Moscow deems to be "undesirable" non-governmental organizations. Under the highly controversial law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country. The move has been widely condemned by human rights groups, and critics have said that the vague wording of the law could also allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia. More »US 'deeply troubled' by Russia's NGO law

  • Church reels after Ireland's huge 'Yes' to gay marriage

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The once all-powerful Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms Sunday with the country's overwhelming vote to allow gay marriage and confront the "social revolution" behind it. As jubilant "Yes" supporters nursed their hangovers after partying long into the night following Saturday's referendum result announcement, the faithful were going to mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland. Final results showed 62 percent of votes in favour and 38 percent against introducing gay marriage, in a country where being homosexual was a crime until 1993. More »Church reels after Ireland's huge 'Yes' to gay marriage

  • Syria regime helicopter comes down in Aleppo province

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Islamic State group supporters and a monitoring group said jihadists shot down a government helicopter in northern Syria early Sunday, but state media said the aircraft had suffered technical problems. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS had brought down the helicopter after midnight near the Kweyris air base in the east of Aleppo province. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said at least one crew member had been killed but "the fate of the rest is unknown." Jihadist accounts on Twitter said IS had shot down the helicopter using anti-aircraft missiles. More »Syria regime helicopter comes down in Aleppo province

  • Poles vote in presidential cliffhanger

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Poles were voting Sunday in a cliffhanger presidential run-off with incumbent centrist Bronislaw Komorowski struggling to fend off a challenge from conservative newcomer Andrzej Duda. The Polish president has limited powers but is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, steers foreign policy and has the right to introduce and veto legislation. Komorowski is allied to the ruling centrist Civic Platform (PO), which has been in power for nearly eight years. More »Poles vote in presidential cliffhanger

  • African Union demands South Sudan sanctions, arms embargo

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The African Union has demanded sanctions and an arms embargo be imposed on South Sudan's warring leaders to stem an escalation in the country's 17-month-old civil conflict. "The people of South Sudan have already been devastated by war," said a statement from the AU's Peace and Security Council late Saturday, warning "the current escalation threatens to unleash irreversible consequences for this young nation". President Salva Kiir and his arch-rival, rebel chief Riek Machar, have come in for fierce international criticism for failing to end a civil war that has been seen accusations of gross human rights abuses. More »African Union demands South Sudan sanctions, arms embargo

  • Thousands worldwide march against Monsanto and GM crops

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Thousands of people hit the streets in cities across the world Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto -- begun by the Occupy movement -- was held in upwards of 400 cities in more than 40 countries from the Americas to Africa and Europe. The controversial product's main ingredient was recently classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization. More »Thousands worldwide march against Monsanto and GM crops

  • Rebel commander 'killed in eastern Ukraine'

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    A separatist commander in eastern Ukraine was killed along with several other fighters after their car came under attack Saturday, rebel authorities announced. The defence ministry of the self-proclaimed Lugansk republic confirmed that Alexey Mozgovoy, the commander of a police battalion in the war-torn region, was among the dead and said it was hunting for the assailants behind the attack. "According to the preliminary information, the vehicle carrying Mozgovoy was hit by a bomb and then by machine-gun fire," it said. More »Rebel commander 'killed in eastern Ukraine'

  • Saudi IDs bomber after kingdom's deadliest attack in years

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Saudi Arabia on Saturday confirmed the suicide bomber who killed 21 worshippers at a Shiite mosque had links with the Islamic State group, in what the interior ministry called an attempt to promote sectarian strife. It was the deadliest attack in years to strike the Sunni-dominated kingdom, and marked the first time the jihadist IS group officially claimed an attack in Saudi Arabia. "His name was Salih bin Abdulrahman Salih al-Ghishaami, a Saudi national," the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. More »Saudi IDs bomber after kingdom's deadliest attack in years

  • Gunmen attack Mexico campaign team's car

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    Gunmen have shot at a car carrying a gubernatorial candidate's aides in southern Mexico in a new act of violence ahead of June 7 elections in the state of Guerrero. Jorge Camacho, the candidate of the conservative National Action Party, said Saturday that unknown gunmen hit the car more than 20 times with high-caliber guns after a campaign event late Friday. The attack took place on the road that links the beach resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo when the campaign's operations coordinator and driver stopped for fuel. More »Gunmen attack Mexico campaign team's car

  • 'Kingdom of Enclava' picks new spot on Croatia-Serbia border

    AFP News - Sun, May 24, 2015

    The world's youngest micronation, the self-proclaimed "Kingdom of Enclava", on Saturday announced it would settle on a new spot along the Croatian-Serbian border after learning that its initial chosen location was in fact on Slovenian territory. "We cease all activities related to the establishment of the new state on a strip of land on the Croatia–Slovenia border," Piotr Wawrzynkiewicz, one of the founders of Enclava, said in a statement sent to AFP. Instead, the kingdom will now be located on a portion of unclaimed land along the Danube river "near the Free Republic of Liberland (on the Croatia-Serbia border)," he added. More »'Kingdom of Enclava' picks new spot on Croatia-Serbia border

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