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Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China

By Matt Spetalnick and Manuel Mogato WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter.

Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China

By Matt Spetalnick and Manuel Mogato WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter.

Clashes at mass eviction in Rome as crisis bites

Riot police dragged away some 350 squatter families from abandoned offices in Rome amid violent clashes on Wednesday -- the latest in a rising tide of forced evictions in Italy fuelled by the economic crisis. Several people were injured as police used truncheons to break through a large group of protesters outside the building, where squatters had barricaded themselves in and taken to the roof.

Egypt jails ex-presidential hopeful for fraud

A court jailed a Salafist leader to seven years for fraud Wednesday for keeping his mother's US citizenship secret when filing candidacy papers in Egypt's 2012 presidential election. The country's electoral law stipulates that a candidate's parents must hold only Egyptian citizenship. Judicial sources said Hazim Abu Ismail was sentenced for not revealing his mother's nationality when he filed to stand in the 2012 election that was won by the Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

Ukraine operation to retake east unravels ahead of talks

An operation by Ukrainian forces to reassert control over its eastern regions floundered Wednesday in the face of pro-Russian resistance, a day ahead of international talks on the escalating crisis. A concerned NATO said it planned to deploy more forces in eastern Europe and called for Russia to stop "destabilising" the former Soviet satellite, which has been in deep turmoil since the ouster of the pro-Kremlin leadership in February.

Pakistani Taliban end ceasefire with government but say talks still on

By Saud Mehsud DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban have formally ended a 40-day ceasefire but are still open to talks with the government, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Shahidullah Shahid said the insurgents were not extending the ceasefire, which began on March 1, because the government had continued to arrest people and had killed more than 50 people associated with them.

Burundi scoffs at U.N. warning on stoking of political violence

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi accused the United Nations on Wednesday of spreading rumors about planned constitutional changes that critics say could upset the country's delicate ethnic power balance and possibly lead to civil war. Government ministers said that warnings last week by the U.N. mission in Burundi (BNUB) about possible violence were baseless and possibly spread to justify an extension of its mandate beyond its December expiration date

Algeria's bloody past, energy wealth keep status quo for now

By Patrick Markey and Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - Cramped with his young wife and three infants in a shack in Algiers' Citi Hofra slum, Amin Kerchach could be forgiven for being angry at missing out on Algeria's gas wealth. But after waiting for years to get a new state-built apartment from President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, his memories of Algeria's bloody past and the promise of state largesse to come are reasons enough to hold out a little longer.

Rape-prevention program cuts sexual assaults in Kenya

By Ronnie Cohen NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Self-defense and empowerment classes designed to arm girls with tools to prevent rape reduced sexual assaults among Kenyan students, a new study shows. The number of rapes dropped 38 percent among adolescents living in high-crime Nairobi settlements 10 months after the classes began, the study found.

Journalists smeared me over Gujarat riots: India's Modi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian opposition leader and general election frontrunner Narendra Modi accused the media on Wednesday of smearing him over sectarian rioting in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on track to win India's general election and promote Modi from his current post as chief minister in Gujarat - his home state where the rioting occurred - to become the next prime minister.
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