Netanyahu in Washington with Golan Heights recognition on tap

by Jim Mannion with Mike Smith in Jerusalem WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington on Sunday, looking for an electoral boost from Donald Trump amid expectations the US president will formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Trump broke longstanding international consensus last week over the status of the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, saying the US should recognize […]

Xi meets Macron as French president seeks united EU front on China

by Vincent-Xavier MORVAN / Julie Pacorel BEAULIEU-SUR-MER, France (AFP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron met for dinner in the south of France Sunday ahead of official talks with the host leader seeking to forge a united European front to contend with Beijing’s advances. “Very happy to welcome President Xi Jinping and his wife to France,” Macron wrote in a tweet. “This visit will strengthen our strategic partnership and affirm […]

Moroccan police disperse protesting teachers with water cannons

RABAT, Morocco (AFP) – Baton-wielding riot police used water cannons to disperse teachers protesting in the Moroccan capital on Saturday night to demand better conditions. Several thousand young teachers calling for permanent work contracts had marched peacefully through the streets of central Rabat chanting slogans such as “freedom, dignity, social justice”. As night fell, demonstrators held aloft candles and used their mobile phones as torches, before setting up a makeshift camp in front of parliament. […]

Strong 6.1-magnitude quake jolts eastern Indonesia

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of North Maluku province in eastern Indonesia Sunday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued. The quake was 150 kilometres (92 miles) northwest of the coastal town of Ternate at a depth of 37 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was felt in Ternate but residents were unconcerned, a local said. “I was watching TV when the earthquake suddenly happened, the jolt was […]

‘Never seen anything so frightening’: Norway rescuers airlift passengers off cruise ship in storm

by Pierre-Henry DESHAYES Rescuers were working into the night on Saturday to airlift 1,300 passengers and crew off a cruise ship after it got into difficulty in rough seas off the Norwegian coast. The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon two kilometres (1.2 miles) off More og Romsdal, prompting the captain to send out a distress call. The crew managed to restart one of the engines and drop anchor but authorities decided it […]

NZ to hold national remembrance for Christchurch next Friday

New Zealand will hold a national remembrance service on March 29 for the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacre and their families, the prime minister’s office announced on Sunday. The interfaith service will take place in Christchurch two weeks after an Australian white supremacist shot and killed 50 Muslims who had arrived for Friday prayers at two mosques in the city on March 15. “The national remembrance service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians (Christchurch-area residents), […]

Thais go to polls in first general election since 2014 coup

by Sippachai KUNNUWONG / Joe Freeman Polls opened Sunday for the first Thai election since a 2014 coup, with a high turnout expected among a public who received a cryptic last-minute warning from the Thai king to support “good” leaders to prevent “chaos.” All television stations repeated the rare statement by King Maha Vajiralongkorn moments before polls opened across the politically turbulent country. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and the palace is ostensibly above the […]

6.1 magnitude quake hits SW Colombia: USGS

A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook southwest Colombia on Saturday afternoon, the USGS said, though there were no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage. The quake hit at 2:19 pm local time (1921 GMT), seven kilometers (four miles) northwest of the town of El Dovio in the Department of Valle del Cauca, at a depth of 113.3 kilometers (70.4 miles), the US Geological Survey said. Marta Lucia Calvache, a spokeswoman for the Colombian Geological […]

Millions malnourished in Pakistan despite abundance of food

by Ashraf KHAN A frantic mother cradling her seven-month-old baby rushes towards the special paediatric ward in a desolate Pakistan town, his eyes are blank and he is smaller than most newborns. He is starving in a country that has no shortage of food, but which has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and where malnutrition is rife. The infant weighs just 2.5 kilograms — the average for a healthy child […]

Emotional Muslims return to Christchurch mosque as NZ works to move on

  by Chris Foley / Glenda Kwek Agence France Presse CHRISTCHURCH,New Zealand (AFP) — Muslims held emotional prayers inside Christchurch’s main mosque on Saturday for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there, as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy. The Al Noor mosque had been taken over by police for investigations and security reasons after alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant gunned down Muslims gathered there and at a smaller […]

Priest stabbed live on TV at Canada’s biggest church

  by Julien Besset Agence France Presse MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) — A priest was stabbed in front of his congregation live on television during morning mass on Friday at Canada’s biggest church, in what police described as an isolated incident. Footage broadcast on a Catholic television station and picked up by the top-rated CTV network showed a man in jeans, parka and white baseball cap approach Claude Grou at St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, in […]

Mozambique cyclone death toll climbs to 417: government

  BEIRA, Mozambique (AFP) — The death toll in Mozambique has climbed to 417 after a cyclone devastated swathes of the southern African country, flooding thousands of square kilometres (miles), the government said Saturday. Cyclone Idai smashed into the coast of central Mozambique on Friday last week, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rains that flooded the hinterland and drenched eastern Zimbabwe. “At this time 417 deaths have been recorded,” Lands and Environment Minister Celso Correia told […]