Plan is blocked to place Prophet Mohammad cartoon on Washington transit system

The transit system in the nation’s capital on Thursday (May 28) suspended all “issue-oriented” advertisements after getting a request to allow a Metro subway ad featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. The ban, approved unanimously by the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), prohibits political, religious and advocacy ads through the end of the year. The WMATA had been asked by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) to run […]

Rebels capture last Syrian town in Idlib province

The Syrian army has pulled back from the northwestern city of Ariha after a coalition of insurgent groups seized the last city in Idlib province in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border that was still held by the government. A coalition of rebel groups called Jaish al Fateh, or Conquest Army, said it had taken over the city. Syria’s al Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front is a major part of the coalition. The coalition said it […]

Blatter defies calls to quit as FIFA scandal widens

(Reuters) The corruption charges engulfing world soccer’s governing body have heaped shame and humiliation on the game, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Thursday, although he flatly rejected calls to resign over the widening scandal. With FIFA facing the worst crisis in its 111-year history, Michel Platini, who heads Europe’s soccer confederation UEFA, said he had told Blatter to go “with tears in my eyes”, but the 79-year-old had refused. “I said, ‘I’m asking you […]

Oklahoma gets hit by floods after torrential rains

(Reuters) — High water levels caused damage near Lake Texoma in Bryan County, Oklahoma on Wednesday (May 27). Water rose past 640 feet (195km) and is now covering Cartwright bridge, according to reports. The bridge was rebuilt following a flood in 2007 and local media reports that officials said it wasn’t supposed to flood again. . The high water levels come as torrential rains battered Oklahoma and Texas, where at least 15 people have been […]

Pentagon chief urges end to island-building in South China Sea

MAY 28 (Reuters) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday (May 27) called for an immediate end to island-building by China and other countries near the South China Sea, urging the participants to stop militarizing the dispute and find a peaceful solution. Carter said China’s island-building efforts were “out of step” with the regional consensus and that U.S. military aircraft and warships would continue to operate in the area as permitted under international law. […]

Heat wave in India kills more than 1,400; maximum temperature hits 47 Celsius

(Eagle News) — A deadly heat wave in India has killed more than 1,400 people as temperatures soar above 47 Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit), Reuters said that more than 1,100 died this week.  CNN reported the national death toll at 1,424.  It got so hot that even roads in Delhi had started showing signs of melting. May and June are India’s hottest months, with temperatures regularly pushing above 40 Celsius. But meteorologists say the number of […]

Malaysian authorities exhume bodies at abandoned trafficking camp in jungle

MAY 27 (Reuters) — Malaysian police forensic teams, digging with hoes and shovels, began pulling out the remains of dozens of suspected victims of human traffickers on Tuesday (May 26) from shallow graves discovered at a jungle camp near the border with Thailand. The government said it was investigating whether local forestry officials were involved with the people-smuggling gangs believed responsible for nearly 140 such graves discovered around grim camps in the country’s northwest. The […]

Nearly 800 die in Indian heat wave

MAY 27 (Reuters) — A scorching heat wave sweeping India has now killed nearly 800 people, with most of the victims in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. People are doing all they can to cope with the sweltering heat as temperatures soar to near 50 degrees Celsius in some places. The most severely affected states – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – have witnessed 333 and more than 200 people die respectively, according […]

Danish radio station defends killing baby rabbit live on air

MAY 27 (Reuters) — A Danish radio station is defending a show during which the host killed a baby rabbit by hitting it with a bicycle pump, live on the air, saying it was intended to show the hypocrisy of animal lovers. The host, Asger Juhl, killed the rabbit, called Allan, “according to careful instructions by a professional animal caretaker from a Danish zoo”, station 24/7 said on Tuesday (May 26). He later took the […]

Construction begins on lighthouses on disputed island in South China Sea

MAY 27 (Reuters) — Chinese state television showed footage of a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed waters of the South China Sea on Tuesday (May 26). China’s Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratlys islands on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the Philippines for a […]

White House, US officials concerned over China’s building of lighthouses in disputed waters

(REUTERS) — U.S. officials expressed concerns on Tuesday (May 26) over China’s maritime ambitions after the ceremonial opening of two lighthouses in disputed waters, developments likely to escalate tensions in a region. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama considered the security situation in the South China Sea. “The president has often talked about how critically important the security situation is in the South China Sea. It’s critical to the national security of […]

Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

MAY 26 (Reuters) — The Philippines is seeking a “stronger commitment” from the United States to help its ally, its defense minister said on Monday (May 25), as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had […]