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Trump turns on Supreme Court nominee’s accuser

by Sebastian Smith The woman whose sexual assault allegation threatens to bring down Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee rejected an ultimatum Friday for testifying in the Senate after the US president turned against her, claiming her accusation could not be true. The increasingly ugly fight over the fate of Trump’s bid to put conservative judge […]

Pope to honour Baltic martyrs amid abuse crisis

by Vaidotas BENIUSIS Pope Francis kicks off a Baltic tour in Catholic Lithuania on Saturday where he will honour victims of the region’s Nazi and Soviet occupations as the Church reels from fresh clerical abuse scandals. The four-day trip to the northeastern edge of the European Union and NATO alliance brings him geographically close to […]

Hollande fuels Rafale fighter jet controversy in India

by Alexandre MARCHAND   Former French president Francois Hollande has fuelled controversy over India’s multi-billion-dollar 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, saying that France was given no choice on the Indian partner for manufacturer Dassault. His comments on Friday stoked debate over a subject which has gained significant traction in India in recent weeks, […]

Tanzania president orders arrests over ferry disaster

by Tristan MCCONNELL   Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the management of a ferry that capsized in Lake Victoria, as the death toll climbed to 131 and rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned. The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many […]

US criticizes treatment of Uighurs in latest China row

by Francesco FONTEMAGGI   The United States on Friday denounced China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslims in unusually strong terms, adding to a growing list of disputes in increasingly turbulent relations between the two powers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced alarm after a United Nations report described the mass internment of Uighurs under the […]

Yemeni children brave new school year as war rages on

  by Jamil Nasser with Mohamad Ali Harissi in Dubai   The walls are crumbling, the windows shattered, and the boys sit three to a desk. But by being enrolled in classes at all, the pupils are among the luckiest children in war-torn Yemen. In the rebel-held capital Sanaa, students in olive green uniforms lined […]

Moon’s nuclear diplomacy a ‘dangerous gamble’: analysts

by Sunghee Hwang South Korean President Moon Jae-in has embarked on a “dangerous gamble”, analysts said, after he secured only minimal concessions from Kim Jong Un to reboot the North’s nuclear negotiations with Washington. Moon flew to Pyongyang this week for his third summit with Kim seeking a concrete gesture to rekindle the stalled denuclearisation […]

Most nations to miss UN target on chronic diseases: study

by Marlowe HOOD   More than half of all countries will likely fail to hit the UN target of reducing premature deaths from a quartet of chronic diseases by a third before 2030, researchers said Friday. Cancers, heart and blood-vessel disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease combined to kill 12.5 million people aged 30 to […]

Crime in the vines: Alsace fights grape theft on horseback

by François D’ASTIER Few places are more peaceful than the gentle slopes of France’s Alsace wine region — but should any heinous crimes like grape theft occur, Jason the horse is on hand to catch the perpetrators. Jason, a handsome black-maned chestnut, is part of a “green brigade” charged with environmental protection in the Haut-Rhin […]

Lithuanian Soviet, Nazi victims await pope’s ‘never again’

  by Vaidotas Beniusis   Thirty-five years ago, Father Sigitas Tamkevicius was detained and repeatedly interrogated at a KGB prison for protesting Soviet religious discrimination. On Sunday, Pope Francis will visit the Lithuanian Catholic priest’s cell in what is now a museum in central Vilnius to pay tribute to those who challenged the Soviet regime. […]

Regional ‘burqa ban’ up for vote in Switzerland

  by Agnès PEDRERO   A second Swiss canton will vote Sunday on whether to introduce a regional “burqa ban”, a controversial law that would prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces. The ballot in northeastern St. Gallen is to be held as voters across the country also determine whether a moratorium on genetically modified […]

Toll jumps to 22 in Philippine monsoon landslide

The death toll from a monsoon landslide in the central Philippines has risen to 22, officials said Friday, as rescuers dug through the night in a frantic search for survivors of the latest tragedy in the storm-hit nation. Dozens were still missing after part of a massive hillside collapsed Thursday on several rural communities near […]

At least 44 dead in Tanzania as ferry capsizes in Lake Victoria

At least 44 people died and scores were feared missing after a ferry capsized in Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, with a desperate search for survivors set to resume in Tanzania on Friday. There were “more than a hundred passengers” on board the vessel when it sank Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island in the southeast of […]

Afghan journalists dying in record numbers to report the war

by Allison JACKSON Moments after Afghan journalist Samim Faramarz wrapped up his live report on the latest suicide attack in Kabul, a car bomb exploded just metres away, killing him and his cameraman Ramiz Ahmadi. Their colleagues at Tolo News choked back tears as they reported the deaths live on air — cracking open a […]

Scandal-hit Australia vow ‘hard but fair’ series against Pakistan

Skipper Tim Paine vowed Australia will play “hard but fair” against Pakistan they embark on their first Test tour since a ball-tampering scandal and with fresh controversy raging following allegations by England’s Moeen Ali. The squad jetted out late Wednesday for their first Test series since the ill-fated tour of South Africa early this year, […]