Europe

16 hurt fleeing false terror alert in London’s Oxford St

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Police rushed to London’s busy Oxford Street shopping district on Friday after reports that shots had been fired, sparking fears of a terror incident and leaving 16 people hurt in the panic. Armed officers locked down the area for more than an hour before the Metropolitan Police said it had not found “any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or casualties.” British Transport Police said they believed the security scare […]

Incident at London’s Oxford Circus station over: police

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Police rushed to London’s Oxford Circus on Friday, sparking fears of a terror attack, but they have now stood down after finding no evidence to support reports of shots fired, the Metropolitan Police said. “Our response on #OxfordStreet has now been stood down. If you sought shelter in a building please now leave, and follow the direction of police officers on the ground if you need assistance,” the force said on Twitter. […]

British PM in crunch Brexit deal talks with EU chief

by Danny Kemp Agence France Presse BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May holds a crunch meeting with European Union President Donald Tusk on Friday as hopes mount that she will offer compromises to secure a Brexit deal in December. The talks, on the sidelines of a summit with ex-Soviet states in Brussels, come a week after Tusk gave May until the start of December to make “much more progress” on divorce terms […]

Germany seeks way out of crisis after govt talks collapse

by Frank ZELLER Agence France Presse BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany’s president was to lead a push from Tuesday to save the EU’s top economy from the political turmoil sparked by the collapse of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition talks. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who takes centre stage because he can call snap elections, was to use his diplomatic skills as former foreign minister to persuade parties to return to the negotiating table. The head of state, who […]

Germany in political turmoil as coalition talks fail

by Hui Min Neo and Deborah Cole © Agence France-Presse BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel was left scrambling for ways to drag Germany out of crisis Monday after high-stakes talks to form a new government collapsed, potentially forcing Europe’s top economy into snap elections. Germany now faces weeks, if not months of paralysis with a lame-duck government that is unlikely to take bold policy action. With no other viable coalition in sight, Germany may be […]

Lebanon’s Hariri in Paris after Saudi ‘hostage’ rumours

by Katy Lee Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia, where his shock resignation announcement two weeks ago sparked accusations that he was being held there against his will. Hariri is in Paris at the invitation of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon’s fragile democracy. Lebanese President […]

Ousted Caracas mayor flees house arrest, heads to Madrid

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) —  Fugitive Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, a key opponent of President Nicolas Maduro, traveled to Madrid on Friday after escaping house arrest in the Venezuelan capital. Ledezma, 62, had hours earlier crossed the border into neighboring Colombia, saying he intended to fly to Europe to organize resistance against Maduro’s rule, which has left millions of Venezuelans facing food and medicine shortages. The opposition leader boarded an Avianca flight from Bogota to Madrid, where he […]

Greece in mourning, several still missing after deadly flood

by Angelos Tzortzinis Agence France-Presse MANDRA, Greece (AFP) — Greece was in mourning Thursday as rescue crews tried to locate several people missing in a flood that killed 16 people near the capital, with more thunderstorms forecast until the weekend. Authorities said at least four people were still unaccounted for in Mandra, one of three towns about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Athens hit by a freak flood early Wednesday. The latest victim, a 50-year-old man, […]

State of mourning in Greece after deadly flood: PM

by Will Vassilopoulos Agence France Presse ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday declared a state of mourning after a freak overnight downpour with the force of a “waterfall” flooded three towns near Athens, killing at least 15 people. “At this time, declaring a state of national mourning over this great tragedy is the least we can do,” Tsipras said in a televised address. “I pledge that we will stand next […]

Venezuela, in ‘selective default’, signs debt deal with Russia

by Andrea Palasciano with Maria Isabel Sanchez in Caracas Agence France-Presse MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) – Venezuela signed a debt restructuring deal with major creditor Russia on Wednesday, as ratings agencies declared Caracas in partial default. The country is seeking to restructure its foreign debts, estimated at around $150 billion, after it was hit hard by tumbling oil prices and American sanctions. A Venezuelan delegation led by Finance Minister Simon Zerpa signed the deal restructuring $3.15 billion of […]

Lebanon’s ‘detained’ premier to travel to France

  by Anuj Chopra and Valerie Leroux Agence France-Presse RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Lebanon’s premier Saad Hariri will travel to France “in the coming days,  a French presidential source said Wednesday, after Beirut accused Saudi Arabia of detaining him following his shock resignation. International pressure has been mounting for Hariri to return to Beirut after his prolonged stay in the kingdom since he announced in a televised speech from Riyadh on November 4 that he would […]

Russia says May’s criticism an attempt to distract Britons

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday dismissed Prime Minister Theresa May’s biting criticism, saying she was vilifying Moscow in an attempt to distract the British public from domestic problems. “British society is not going through the best of times due to the process of the country’s departure from the European Union and an internal schism,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement published on the ministry’s website. “It is quite clear that […]