Turks mobilize to ensure fair play in tight poll

by Gokan Gunes © Agence France-Presse ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — One hundred people listen to presentations crammed into a room in Istanbul, defying the oppressive summer heat and attentively taking notes. Their aim — to ensure Sunday’s elections in Turkey are not marred by election fraud. Opposition parties, associations and members of the public have united in an unprecedented way to organise monitoring of the polling stations to check for any irregularities. With President Recep Tayyip […]

Trump orders halt to family separations

by Paul Handley © Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump ordered an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents on the US border Wednesday, reversing a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the international community. The spectacular about-face comes after more than 2,300 children were stripped from their parents and adult relatives after illegally crossing the border since May 5 and placed in tent […]

Death toll in Caracas club stampede rises to 18

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuelan authorities on Wednesday revised to 18 the death toll following a stampede at a crowded Caracas club over the weekend. The deaths occurred after a brawl broke out during a middle school graduation party and someone detonated the tear gas, sending more than 500 people rushing for the exits, said Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol. “The tear gas canister did not cause the death of these 18 people,” he told […]

Moon suggests Russian gas be piped to Koreas, Japan

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — New pipelines could be laid to bring Russian gas through North Korea to the South and even on to Japan following the diplomatic thaw with Pyongyang, Seoul’s leader suggested Wednesday. President Moon Jae-in was speaking to Russian news media before a three-day visit to Moscow starting Thursday, with the presidential Blue House releasing the transcript. Russia and South Korea agreed in 2008 to lay gas pipelines through the North to […]

North Korea’s Kim hails ‘unity’ with China in new visit

by Becky Davis Agence France Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — Kim Jong Unwrapped up Wednesday his third visit to China this year, declaring North Korea’s unstinting “friendship” with Beijing in a show of loyalty to his main ally following a landmark summit with US President Donald Trump. The two-day visit was designed to reassure Beijing that Pyongyang will not neglect its interests as Trump and the young autocrat move into uncharted diplomatic terrain. The performance […]

UPDATED: Number missing in Indonesia ferry disaster jumps again to 192: official

by Lazuardy Fahmi Agence France-Presse SIMALUNGUN, Indonesia (AFP) — As many as 192 passengers could be missing after a ferry sank into the depths of a volcanic lake in Indonesia, the search-and-rescue agency said Wednesday, tripling initial government estimates. But the agency’s head cautioned that it was still unclear how many people were aboard the vessel when it capsized Monday in Lake Toba, a popular tourist destination on Sumatra island. The traditional wooden boat may have […]

Nicaraguan security forces move on opposition bastion

  MASAYA, Nicaragua (AFP) — Nicaraguan police and pro-government paramilitaries moved to reassert control over the city of Masaya by force Tuesday after residents of the opposition bastion declared themselves in rebellion against President Daniel Ortega. Bursts of gunfire resounded in three neighborhoods, including the main entrance to the city, where government forces have gained control, the head of the Nicaraguan Human Rights Association Alvaro Leiva said. Three people were killed in this unrest in Masaya, […]

South Sudan foes set to meet after two years

  ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AFP) — The two figures at the centre of the civil war that has ravaged South Sudan are scheduled to meet on Wednesday for the first time in nearly two years. Ethiopia, which has helped broker the meeting, says rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled South Sudan in July 2016, is expected to meet face-to-face with the country’s president, Salva Kiir. The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges […]

North Korea’s Kim hails ‘unity’ with China in new visit

  by Becky Davis © Agence France-Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — Kim Jong Un declared North Korea’s unstinting “friendship, unity and cooperation” with Beijing during his third visit to China this year, in a show of loyalty to his main ally following a landmark summit with US President Donald Trump. The two-day visit which ends Wednesday is designed to reassure Beijing that Pyongyang will not neglect its interests as Trump and the young autocrat move into […]

In impoverished Bolivia, president’s new palace an eyesore for some

  LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — Bolivia’s new presidential palace is certainly an attention-getter, from its heliport to its 29-story tower and its presidential jacuzzi in South America’s poorest nation. President Evo Morales, the Andean nation’s leftist leader, is shrugging off naysayers. This is “wasteful,” opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina claims. The $34-40 million price tag would be better spent on a cancer hospital, he said. Even a Bolivian cardinal, Toribio Ticona, took the time out […]

US withdraws from ‘cesspool’ UN rights body

  by Dave Clark / with Carole Landry at the United Nations © Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States | AFP The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, condemning the “hypocrisy” of its members and its alleged “unrelenting bias” against Israel. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, came to Washington to announce the decision alongside President Donald Trump’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both insisted the United States […]

Toll rises to five after quake in Japan’s Osaka

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The death toll in a powerful earthquake that rocked Japan’s Osaka on Monday has risen to five, with some 370 injured, officials said Tuesday, urging vigilance against landslides ahead of heavy rains. The fifth fatality was a 66-year-old man who was found dead on Tuesday under a number of books and CDs in his home, a local government spokeswoman said. The other casualties were a nine-year-old girl who was killed […]