Pompeo expects N.Korea diplomacy to be ‘bumpy’

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he expected “bumpy” talks ahead with North Korea but that he still hoped to reach a potentially landmark denuclearization deal. US President Donald Trump in February cut short a summit in Hanoi with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with Pyongyang later blaming Pompeo for a pushing a hard line and calling for his exclusion from future negotiations. In an interview with […]

51 killed, 1,000 people displaced by floods in S.Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — Devastating floods in South Africa have left 51 dead and forced more than a thousand people from their homes, according to an updated toll issued Wednesday as President Cyril Ramaphosa flew to the deluged region. Heavy rains have lashed the southeast of the country, tearing down homes and ravaging infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces. Speaking to the affected Amanzimtoti community in Durban, after returning from emergency African Union […]

Saudi faces rising criticism after mass execution

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — Saudi Arabia faced worldwide criticism Wednesday for its mass execution of a group made up mostly of people from the kingdom’s Shiite Muslim minority, some of whom the UN said were minors when charged. UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned Riyadh’s Tuesday execution of 37 Saudi nationals, saying “it was particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing”. The EU […]

Road accident kills 19 wedding guests in Nigeria

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — Nineteen wedding guests in the northern Nigerian state of Jigawa died when their bus lost control and burst into flames, police said Wednesday. The 18-seater was carrying 40 women and children returning from a wedding when its front tyre burst, causing it to skid off the road. The crash happened on Tuesday in Gwaram Sabuwa, a village around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the state capital Dutse. “Nineteen people were killed […]

North Korea’s Kim arrives in Russia for summit with Putin

by Anna MALPAS VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un crossed the border into Russia Wednesday for the first summit with Vladimir Putin, as Pyongyang seeks closer ties with its traditional ally amid a nuclear deadlock with the United States. The meeting on Thursday in the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok will be Kim’s first face-to-face talks with another head of state since his talks with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi […]

Saudi in mass execution of 37 convicted of ‘terrorism’

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed 37 of its citizens convicted of terrorism, three years after another mass execution that ultimately led to a break in relations with Iran. The latest executions were carried out in Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the predominantly Sunni province of Qassim, and in the Eastern Province, home to the country’s Shiite minority. The men were executed “for adopting terrorist and extremist […]

Islamic State group claims Sri Lanka suicide bombings

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — The Islamic State group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a devastating series of suicide attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people. The claim, accompanied by a photo and video of the men the group said had unleashed the carnage, emerged more than 48 hours after the near-simultaneous blasts ripped through three high-end hotels popular with foreigners and three churches packed with Christians marking […]

UN says over 260 killed in Libya battle as African leaders meet

TRIPOLI, Libya (AFP) — At least 264 people have been killed and over 1,200 wounded in weeks of fighting on the outskirts of Libya’s capital, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, as African leaders called for an immediate ceasefire. The WHO used Twitter to urge “a temporary cessation of hostilities, and for all parties to respect humanitarian law”. Eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital on April 4, as his self-styled Libyan […]

N.Korea’s Kim heads to Russia for Putin summit: KCNA

by Sunghee Hwang SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un departed for Russia Wednesday for a first summit with Vladimir Putin, as Pyongyang seeks closer ties with its traditional ally amid a nuclear deadlock with the United States. The meeting will be Kim’s first face-to-face talks with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump, which broke down without a deal on the North’s nuclear […]

Strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake rocks NE India: USGS

NEW DELHI, United States (AFP) — A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh early Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said. The epicenter of the shallow quake was about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Along, and 180 kilometers southwest of the state capital Itanagar. It struck at 1:45 am (2015 GMT Tuesday). Arunachal Pradesh is India’s least densely populated state, but is still home to more than 1.2 million people, according […]

Toll in Sri Lanka blasts rises to 310: police spokesman

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — The toll from a string of deadly suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka has risen to 310, with several people dying of their injuries overnight, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Around 500 people were wounded in the blasts, Ruwan Gunasekera said in a statement. He added that 40 people were now under arrest in connection with the attacks, which Sri Lanka’s government has blamed on a previously little-known local Islamist […]

Bodies of three mountaineers found in Canada

MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) — The bodies of three world-renowned professional mountaineers — two Austrians and an American — were found Sunday after they went missing during an avalanche on a western Canadian summit, the national parks agency said. American Jess Roskelley, 36, and Hansjorg Auer, 35, and David Lama, 28, of Austria went missing late Tuesday at Banff National Park. Authorities launched an aerial search the next day. The three men were attempting to climb […]