Romania’s president defends anti-graft body after abuse allegations

  BUCHAREST, Romania (AFP) — Romania’s centre-right President Klaus Iohannis defended on Thursday the country’s anti-corruption body and its head Laura Codruta Kovesi, who is facing dismissal calls from the left-wing majority over alleged “abuses”. “The DNA (anti-graft organisation) and its management are doing a good job and the attack on them by people in conflict with the law only confirms it,” Iohannis said at a press conference. He said he would soon be meeting with justice […]

Oxfam faces South Sudan abuse claim as sex scandal widens

  by Dario Thuburn Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling Tuesday after fresh claims of sexual assault and cover-up in South Sudan, as Haiti’s president condemned the behavior of some of its staff in his country as “undignified and dishonest”. The latest revelations by Helen Evans, former global head of safeguarding, heaped pressure on chief executive Mark Goldring just hours after his deputy resigned over a scandal […]

Saakashvili forced out of Ukraine, but for how long?

by Ania Tsukanova Agence France-Presse KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) – By deporting him to Poland, President Petro Poroshenko may have managed to get rid of his arch-enemy Mikheil Saakashvili for now. But the speed and brutality of the former Georgian president and current opposition leader’s arrest and exile may damage the Ukranian government’s reformist image in the West. Putting an end to the latest chapter of a high-profile, months-long saga, Saakashvili was arrested Monday by masked men at […]

In German political chaos, ‘rubble woman’ to the rescue

by Frank Zeller Agence France-Presse BERLIN, Germany (AFP) – Germany’s chaos-wracked Social Democrats have named Andrea Nahles as their designated next leader, meaning women will soon be in the driver’s seats of the two biggest parties and shifting a long-skewed gender balance in politics. Alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nahles is set to join a growing band of women heading, or co-leading, German political parties despite the fact that female lawmakers still account for fewer than one third […]

Boris Johnson warns against Brexit ‘betrayal’

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will on Wednesday use a major speech to warn that attempts to frustrate Brexit would lead to “ineradicable feelings of betrayal.” Johnson, who was one of the leading campaigners behind Brexit, will also urge those who voted to leave the European Union to make peace with those who wanted to stay in the bloc, with the issue still the cause of deep divisions in British society. During […]

Prince Henrik, husband of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, dies

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) — Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, has died, the palace announced Wednesday. He was 83. “His Royal Highness Prince Henrik died Tuesday, February 13 at 23:18 at Fredensborg Castle,” a royal residence about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Copenhagen, surrounded by his wife and their two sons, the palace statement said. The palace had warned Tuesday that the prince, who had been in hospital since January […]

Macron sticks by plan for compulsory national service

PARIS, France (AFP) – Two decades after it scrapped its compulsory military service France will introduce a mandatory “national service” for all young people, the government said Tuesday, confirming a campaign pledge by President Emmanuel Macron. Macron took the country by surprise a year ago when he announced that, if elected, he would make all young people spend a month getting “a direct experience of military life with its know-how and demands.” He billed it as a […]

Investigators search snow for clues to deadly Russian plane crash

by Andrei Borodouline and Vasily Maximov © Agence France-Presse STEPANOVSKOYE, Russia (AFP) — Investigators on Monday begun examining a black box containing flight data about the Russian passenger plane which crashed near Moscow minutes after take-off, killing all 71 people on board. Rescuers searched through deep snow for body parts and debris following the disaster, the country’s deadliest air crash since 2016. The Antonov An-148 plane went down in a snow-covered field, making it difficult to access, […]

Azerbaijan opposition vow to boycott snap presidential vote

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AFP) – Leaders of Azerbaijan’s main opposition parties pledged Monday to boycott a snap presidential election which is expected to extend the autocratic rule of President Ilham Aliyev. “The Popular Front party and the National Council of the Opposition took a decision to boycott the snap presidential election,” the Popular Front chairman, Ali Kerimli, told AFP. “The conditions for a democratic and competitive election in Azerbaijan are not in place, and there is no independent […]

Investigators hunt for clues over Russian passenger plane crash

  by Anna Malpas with Thibault Marchand in Moscow Agence France Presse STEPANOVSKOYE, Russia (AFP) — Investigators will examine Monday numerous possible causes of one of Russia’s worst ever aviation accidents that saw a passenger plane carrying 71 people crash near Moscow minutes after take off, killing everyone on board. Russia’s Investigative Committee said it would consider explanations including human error, technical failure and weather conditions, as the country has experienced record snowfall in recent […]

Gerry Adams: pariah turned peacemaker

by Julien LAGACHE Agence France-Presse DUBLIN, Ireland (AFP) – Gerry Adams went from being the political voice of the Irish Republican Army, reviled by the British government and Northern Ireland’s Protestants, to playing the peacemaker in bringing the province’s Troubles to an end. As he hands over the reins of power of Sinn Fein to Mary Lou McDonald, Adams has more recently become an anti-austerity figurehead and an opponent of Brexit while cultivating an avuncular image […]

Airbus to pay 81 mn euros to end German corruption probe

by Michelle FITZPATRICK Agence France-Presse FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Friday said it had agreed to pay a fine of 81.25 million euros ($99 million) to end a German corruption probe into the 2003 sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria. Prosecutors in Munich said in a statement that their investigation did not find evidence of bribery to secure the lucrative contract. But they said Airbus management had failed in […]