World News

Mandela's widow says Ebola wake-up call for Africa

 Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel on Friday said the Ebola epidemic should be a wake-up call for African leaders, saying it had exposed the "extreme weakness" of African institutions.

UN blasts Thai junta for 'Hunger Games' detentions

The United Nations criticised Thailand's junta on Friday for detaining people caught throwing a three-fingered protest salute inspired by "The Hunger Games" movies, as the prime minister warned that people using the defiant gesture could "jeopardise their future".

US, Iran in last-ditch bid to clinch historic nuclear deal

Iran and the United States on Friday intensified efforts to overcome deep divisions in talks on Tehran`s nuclear programme days ahead of a deadline for agreement.

Ukraine coalition agrees to make NATO membership a priority

Ukraine`s pro-Western political parties on Friday agreed to make joining NATO a priority in a coalition deal that will give them a parliamentary majority.

Ukraine accuses Russia of cross-border shelling

Ukraine Friday accused Russia of carrying out cross-border shelling against Ukrainian positions in the eastern part of the country even as pro-Russian separatists put the toll in the ongoing conflict at 5,000.

All victims identified in Air Algeria crash

The identification of victims from a mysterious Air Algeria crash in Mali in July has been completed, allowing the remains to be returned to their families, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

Bahrain opposition urges end to power 'monopoly'

Bahrain's Shiite opposition warned on Friday on the eve of elections that failure by the kingdom's Sunni rulers to loosen their grip on power could trigger a surge in violence.

Indonesian Muslim pageant challenges Western beauty contests

An eclectic mix of women from around the world will compete in the finale of a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia, seen as a riposte to Western beauty contests.

19-year-old Dutchwoman remanded after mum rescues her from IS

A blonde, blue-eyed Dutch 19-year-old who was rescued by her mother after marrying an Islamic State fighter in Syria, was ordered on Friday to be detained pending possible terror charges.

Jihadists launch major attack on Iraq's Ramadi

The Islamic State group launched a major attack on the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Friday, attempting to seize one of the last urban pockets under government control in troubled Anbar province.

French minister resigns over favouritism probe in fresh blow to Hollande

 A junior French minister resigned on Friday as a scandal implicating him in the awarding of lucrative public contracts to members of his family hit President Francois Hollande`s Socialist government with another bruising.

Al Qaeda in Yemen denounces Islamic State group

Yemen's al Qaeda branch today denounced the Islamic State group for declaring a caliphate on territory it seized in Syria and Iraq and for aggressively seeking to expand its area of influence.

`Still very significant gap` in Iran talks: Britain

 There is still a "very significant gap" in nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Britain`s foreign secretary said Friday before leaving intense talks underway three days before a deadline for a deal.

Islamic State targeted in 30 air strikes by US, allies

The United States and its allies have staged 30 air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since Wednesday, the US Central Command said on Friday.

Slovakia says freed Guantanamo inmates `pose no risk`

The Guantanamo Bay prisoners released to Slovakia as part of efforts to empty the controversial US military detention centre pose no security risk, the Slovak interior ministry said Friday.

Western New York residents now face rain, flooding

A snowfall that brought huge drifts and closed roads in the Buffalo area finally ended today, yet residents still couldn't breathe easy, as the looming threat of rain and higher temperatures through the weekend and beyond raised the possibility of floods and more roofs collapsing under the heavy loads.

Islamic State attacks Iraq provincial capital: Officials

Islamic State fighters attacked a government complex in the heart of an Iraqi provincial capital on Friday, local officials said, in an apparently coordinated effort to seize full control of the city.

Dutch re-arrest Qaeda suspect for US extradition

 Dutch authorities have re-arrested a Dutch-Pakistani al Qaeda suspect wanted by the United States, saying on Friday that all obstacles in his long-running extradition case had been cleared.

Turkey to open mosques `in every university`

Turkey`s top religious body said on Friday that there are plans to build a mosque in every state university, adding to concerns over what critics say are creeping efforts to force Islamic values on the society. 

Russia risks more isolation over Ukraine aggression: Biden

 US Vice-President Joe Biden on a visit to Kiev warned on Friday that Russia risked further isolation over its "unacceptable" aggression in Ukraine.

UN airlifts winter aid to desperate Iraqis

The UN said Friday it had begun airlifting tent isolation kits into Iraq to help some of the around two million people displaced in the conflict-torn country get through the harsh winter.

Suspected Ebola blood samples stolen by bandits in Guinea

In what could be termed as an alarming situation, bandits in Guinea robbed a vehicle carrying suspected blood samples of Ebola victims.

Merkel aide raps Russia after report on aid to Ukraine rebels

German Chancellor Angela Merkel`s spokesman accused Moscow on Friday of actively stoking the conflict in eastern Ukraine after a senior separatist in the region was quoted as saying the rebels were receiving "a lot" of Russian money.

Iran minister cancels plan to leave nuclear talks for Tehran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday canceled plans to depart from nuclear talks with six world powers in Vienna and return to Tehran for consultations with top officials in Iran four days ahead of a deadline for a final agreement.

Lebanon scraps independence rally in first since civil war

 Lebanon`s government has decided to cancel Independence Day celebrations for the first time since the 1975-1990 civil war because of the country`s presidential vacuum, the Information Minister said Friday.

Myanmar Catholics celebrate 500 years in the country

Thousands of Myanmar Catholics marked 500 years of the Church`s presence inside the country in a lively celebration at a Yangon cathedral held four years late because of religious restrictions under the former junta. 

11 die in Zimbabwe church stampede: Police

At least 11 people have died and several others have been injured during a stampede at a church service in the Zimbabwean mining town of Kwekwe, police said on Friday.

Kerry to leave Iran talks in Vienna for Paris later Friday: US

 US Secretary of State John Kerry will return Friday to Paris for consultations amid talks in Vienna aimed at settling a dispute over Iran`s nuclear programme, days before a deadline.

Urgent action needed to avoid Nigeria poll violence: Crisis Group

 Nigeria`s General Election is on track to be "volatile and vicious", the International Crisis Group (ICG) said Friday, warning that "an increasingly violent" political climate must be checked to avoid widespread unrest. 

A year after Kiev protests, Ukraine vanishes in rebel east

 The symbols of Ukraine have been hidden somewhere in the school in the country`s war-torn east -- but the headmistress will not say exactly where.