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Rising anti-Russia sentiment threatens Europe stability

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday warned that European stability was being threatened by rising anti-Russian sentiment over the Ukraine crisis.

AP Analysis: Ruling that scrapped Antarctic whaling gives Japan face-saving way to end program

TOKYO - The international court ruling against Japanese whaling last week may have given the government a convenient political out. The Antarctic program was nearly bankrupt, but if the government had overhauled it on its own, it would have incurred the wrath of a strong anti-whaling lobby, and could have been criticized for caving in to foreign anti-whaling activists. Now officials can say the court forced their hand.

Powerful 7.3 quake hits off Papua New Guinea

A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Friday, US officials said, while ruling out any threat of a tsunami. The US Geological Survey said the quake was measured at a depth of around 50 kilometres (30 miles) and was about 52 kilometres from the town of Panguna on Bougainville island. mfc/bp/ac

Conflict could push Sudan hungry to 4 million

The UN food agency on Thursday said Sudan has around 3.3 million people suffering from food insecurity and warned the number could rise to four million in months because of an upsurge in the conflict in Darfur. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the movement of refugees from South Sudan, poor harvests and the rise in food prices could also increase food insecurity in the war-torn country. "Sudan is a forgotten crisis that is only getting worse," Abdi Adan Jama, FAO's representative in the country, was quoted as saying in a statement.

El Nino more than 50 percent likely by summer: U.S. weather forecaster

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chances have increased over the past month that the much-feared El Nino phenomenon, which has the potential to wreak havoc on global crops, would strike by summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the federal U.S. weather forecaster said Thursday. In its monthly report, the Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, pegged the likelihood at more than 50 percent.

In Mongolia, Hagel looks to bolster US military ties

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel flew to Mongolia Thursday to endorse stronger military ties with a government eager for US partnership as a counterweight to its powerful neighbours, Russia and China. Hagel's trip to Mongolia, only the second by a US defence secretary and the first in nine years, will feature the signing of a "joint vision" statement between the two sides that calls for expanding military cooperation through joint training and assistance, US officials said.

Flood threat receding in parts of Saskatchewan: Water Security Agency

REGINA - The overall threat of flooding from spring runoff in Saskatchewan is receding. The Water Security Agency says in its April spring runoff forecast that water levels could still be well above normal in the Prince Albert area and above normal in pockets around Lloydminster and Rosetown. Earlier forecasts said a band stretching across the entire central part of the province faced a threat of above-normal water levels. "The challenge we are going to be facing is the local streams and water bodies," Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said Tuesday.

Tunisia battles to save Star Wars desert set from sand

Tunisia on Tuesday announced a new international fundraising campaign to reclaim the set where numerous Star Wars scenes were filmed from the encroaching desert. The set for Mos Espa -- hometown of Anakin Skywalker, the protagonist in the blockbuster film series who later becomes Darth Vader -- was built at Ong Jmel in southern Tunisia in the 1990s for the filming of "Star Wars Episode One - The Phantom Menace."

French prosecutor wants British ski instructor in prison

A French prosecutor called Monday for a one-year sentence and a 10,000-euro ($14,000) fine for a British ski instructor charged with teaching without proper qualifications in one of France's poshest ski resorts. The case against Simon Butler, who has been teaching clients how to ski in the French Alps for more than 30 years, goes to the heart of Europe's labour laws and has sparked outrage in his native country.

French prosecutors urge prison term for British ski instructor

French prosecutors on Monday called for a year sentence and a fine of 10,000 euros for a British ski instructor charged with teaching without proper qualifications in one of France's poshest ski resorts. The case against Simon Butler, who has been a ski instructor in the French Alps for more than 30 years, goes to the heart of Europe's labour laws and has sparked outrage in his native country.
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