Ukraine comedian Zelensky wins presidency in landslide

by Dmytro Gorshkov and Anna Smolchenko A comedian with no political experience won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, drawing congratulations from global leaders while dealing a stunning rebuke to his country’s political establishment. Volodymyr Zelensky, whose only previous political role was playing the president in a TV show, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to partial official results. Poroshenko garnered just 24 percent, losing to […]

Eight arrested in connection with Sri Lanka blasts: PM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — Eight people have been arrested in connection with a string of deadly blasts that killed more than 200 people in Sri Lanka on Sunday, the country’s prime minister said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said “so far the names that have come up are local,” but that investigators would look into whether the attackers had any “overseas links”. He also acknowledged that “information was there” about possible attacks. “While this goes […]

Haftar forces press offensive on Libyan capital

by Imed Lamloum TRIPOLI, Libya (AFP) — Forces backing Libya’s unity government battled to push back an offensive by strongman Khalifa Haftar on Sunday as his troops approached the gates of Tripoli after air raids overnight. Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, galvanized by victories in its eastern stronghold and in the country’s desert south, announced an offensive early this month to seize the capital from the UN-recognised administration of Fayez al-Sarraj. But his forces have […]

Sudan protest leaders halt talks with military

by Menna Zaki and Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP) — Sudanese protest leaders Sunday suspended talks with military rulers, after the army failed to meet their demand for an immediate transfer to civilian rule. The protest leaders had planned to name members of a civilian body to take over from the ruling military council which took power on April 11 after ousting veteran leader Omar al-Bashir. The momentum had been building all day […]

Mudslide kills 14 in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) — At least 14 people were killed and five others injured by a mudslide that buried eight houses early Sunday in southwestern Colombia, authorities said. A search was underway for any others who might be trapped under rubble. The injured were being treated at hospitals near the scene of the disaster in Rosas, in the department of Cauca, the national risk management agency said. The agency attributed the mudslide to the heavy […]

Dozens of foreigners among nearly 160 dead in series of blasts on churches, hotels in Sri Lanka

  by Ishara Kodikara in Colombo and Lakruwan Wanniarachchi in Batticaloa Agence France Presse COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing nearly 160 people, including dozens of foreigners. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks — the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago — as “cowardly”, […]

World leaders react to deadly Sri Lanka blasts

  COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — World leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 150 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners — with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them. Hospital sources also said Japanese citizens were among those injured by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services. Here is a summary of the reactions: – Britain: ‘Stand together’ […]

Horrific scenes unfold in Sri Lanka after blasts in churches and hotels that killed at least 156

  Horrific scenes unfolded in Sri Lanka after deadly blasts that ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks as “cowardly” and said the government was working to “contain the situation”. The Catholic Church in Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the blasts. “We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy […]

Unidentified gunmen kill 13, including child, at Mexican party

  MINATITLÁN, Mexico (AFP) — Thirteen people, including a child, were killed Friday when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on a party in the violence-wracked eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, officials said. The Secretariat of Public Safety said the gunmen arrived at a family reunion in Minatitlan asking to see someone named “El Becky’ — the owner of a local bar — before opening fire. It said seven men, five women, and a […]

Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talks

DAMASCUS, Syria (AFP) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday called for progress on a stalled buffer zone deal around jihadist-dominated Idlib region ahead of fresh talks aimed at ending his country’s eight-year war. Assad met envoy Alexander Lavrentiev from key ally Russia in Damascus to discuss the negotiations due April 25-26 in Kazakhstan. Iran and Russia are the major supporters of the Syrian regime, and along with rebel backer Turkey have sponsored repeated rounds […]

Blind Japanese sailor completes non-stop Pacific voyage

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A blind Japanese sailor completed his non-stop Pacific voyage on Saturday, local media reported, becoming the first sightless person on record to navigate a vessel across the vast ocean. Mitsuhiro Iwamoto arrived at port in Fukushima in his 12-meter (40-foot) sailboat on Saturday morning, around two months after he left California. Iwamoto, a 52-year-old San Diego resident, sailed from the US city on February 24 with Doug Smith, an American navigator […]

US ‘House of Horrors’ parents jailed for torture, abuse

by Javier TOVAR RIVERSIDE, United States (AFP) — A California couple were handed life sentences Friday after admitting to imprisoning and torturing 12 of their 13 children in a grisly “House of Horrors” case that shocked the world. David Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Anna Turpin, 50, had pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts — including cruelty, false imprisonment, child abuse and torture of their children aged three to 30 — and will […]