World News

Malaysia charges Australian mum with drug trafficking

An Australian mother-of-four was charged in Malaysia with the capital crime of drug trafficking on Friday, but her lawyers insisted she was innocently duped into carrying a bag that appeared to contain only clothing.

US Marine in Philippine murder case makes first court appearance

A United States Marine accused of killing a transgender Filipino appeared in a Philippine court for the first time on Friday, as his lawyers sought the suspension of the trial, in a case that could test the strength of security ties between the two allies.

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, says Chinese official

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is drawing less and less attention in the West and manages to win eyeballs only with pointless suggestions that his title will die out with him, a top Chinese official told state media.

Pilot jailed over China air crash disaster

 The pilot of a passenger plane, which crashed in northeast China four years ago resulting in the death of 44 passengers, was today sentenced to three years in prison for violating rules.

Vietnam `Rat King` helps rice farmers fight costly vermin

Grinning widely, Tran Quang Thieu brandishes the day`s haul: 10 kilos of rats caught in rice paddies near Hanoi. A menace to Vietnam`s rice crop, the vermin are regularly trapped -- and sometimes eaten.

In Serbia`s remote east, ancient `gold rivers` still offer hope

Since ancient times the "gold rivers" of a rural corner of eastern Serbia have drawn prospectors hoping to strike it rich by teasing the precious metal from the area`s waterways.

Conflicting loyalties among Afghans at Mullah Omar`s mosque

 At the mosque where Mullah Omar founded the Taliban movement 20 years ago, villagers are weighing up whether to side with the insurgents or the government as the United States ends its long war in Afghanistan.

Gulf of Guinea: Africa`s new pirate paradise

A year after vowing to banish buccaneers from their waters, countries in the Gulf of Guinea -- the new epicentre of piracy in Africa -- are struggling to get their act together.

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing

 Eight children have been killed and a woman injured, police said on Friday, during what media outlets reported was a mass stabbing in Australia`s tropical northern city of Cairns.

South Korea far-left party dissolved for `backing North Korea`

South Korea`s nascent far-left political party was disbanded Friday in a rare decision by the constitutional court which condemned it as a pro-North Korean group.

China's top judge urges swift, severe sentences in Xinjiang

China must crack down "harshly and quickly" on cases involving terror attacks, national security and social stability in its restive region of Xinjiang, the country`s top judge said, in comments likely to further worry rights groups and exiles.

Russia is a strategic problem for the EU: Tusk

Russia`s approach to Ukraine and to the European Union is a challenge to the 28-nation bloc, which does not make European leaders too optimistic, but rather realistic, the new president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said on Thursday.

China to set up satellite, radar network to strengthen maritime power

China will set up an offshore observation network, including satellite and radar stations, to strengthen the country`s maritime power, the official China Daily reported on Friday, in a move that could exacerbate tensions in the region.

Leaked CIA document reveals setbacks of targeted killings

The US government`s program to capture and kill insurgent leaders can backfire, a leaked CIA report said Thursday, citing "limited" results in Afghanistan in particular.

US-Cuba ties thaw, White House open to Castro visit

A US visit by Cuban President Raul Castro is a possibility, the White House said Thursday, a day after he and US President Barack Obama announced a historic bilateral rapprochement.

Death threats to Sydney siege gunman`s lawyers, magistrate

Lawyers who defended the Sydney siege gunman on a string of charges and the magistrate who bailed him have received deaths threats, officials said Friday, amid growing anger that he was on the streets.

Three top Islamic State leaders killed in air strikes: US officials
Three top Islamic State leaders killed in air strikes: US officials

US-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq have killed three of the militant group`s top leaders but not senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, US officials said on Thursday.

US Republicans look for ways to block normal ties with Cuba

 Republicans in Congress searched on Thursday for a strategy to sink or at least slow President Barack Obama`s plan to normalize US relations with Cuba, drawing a shrug from the White House.

Obama signs bill targeting Venezuelan officials

 US President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law a bill slapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the South American country.

South Sudan peace talks resume in Ethiopia

 The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body of eight east African states, launched the multi-stakeholder peace talks here Thursday to discuss the year-long conflict in South Sudan.

Washington tries to tackle hackers behind Sony attack

Washington made the woes of cyberattack victim Sony Pictures its own on Thursday as the White House acknowledged that the devastating strike against the big Hollywood studio was a matter of national security that would be met by a forceful government response.

EU needs years-long Russia strategy, new leader warns

The European Union must thrash out a strategy for Russia that lasts for many years, and looks past sanctions that have hammered Moscow`s economy, the bloc`s new leader Donald Tusk warned Thursday.

Sierra Leone's leading doctor dies of Ebola

Sierra Leone`s leading doctor died of Ebola on Thursday, hours after the arrival in the country of an experimental drug that could have been used to treat him, the government`s chief medical officer said.

Boston suspect makes rare court appearance

Shaggy-haired, bearded and attentive, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev today made his first public appearance in 17 months, attending a brief court hearing before his trial begins January 5.

Iraqi Kurds liberate besieged Sinjar mountain, freeing hundreds

Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq`s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighters, a Kurdish leader said on Thursday.

Iraqi Kurds liberate besieged Sinjar mountain, freeing hundreds

Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq`s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighters, a Kurdish leader said on Thursday.

Colombia rejects FARC's verification demand for ceasefire

Colombia on Thursday welcomed an offer by Marxist rebels for a ceasefire but rejected their demand for independent monitoring, putting the plan to stop hostilities on uncertain ground hours before it was to start.

Thailand welcomes China's Li Keqiang as US ties cool over coup

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be the most high-profile foreign leader to visit Thailand on Friday since a May coup, signalling, Thailand says, its return to normal and a boost for trade in a region where the United States and China vie for influence.

Thailand welcomes China's Li Keqiang as US ties cool over coup

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be the most high-profile foreign leader to visit Thailand on Friday since a May coup, signalling, Thailand says, its return to normal and a boost for trade in a region where the United States and China vie for influence.

Italy's 89-year-old president to step down soon

Italy's president says he will resign soon, keeping a promise he made last year when he accepted an unprecedented second term as head of state when squabbling lawmakers couldn't agree on a successor.