SHANGHAI The death toll from an explosion at a chemical plant in China's Shandong province late on Monday has risen to five, state news agency Xinhua reported, as China still seeks answers to a far larger blast in the port city of Tianjin earlier last month. The latest blast happened close to midnight in a county roughly 275 km (170 miles) south of Tianjin, where explosions at a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals devastated an industrial park on Aug.
ATHENS Greece's Syriza party is on course to win 26 percent of votes in a snap election in September, just one point ahead of the conservative New Democracy party, a poll published by the Pulse for Action 24 television channel said on Tuesday. Former premier Alexis Tsipras resigned in August to seek a new mandate for a bailout deal he clinched with the country's international creditors. But opinion polls show his Syriza party's lead is slipping, suggesting his decision to call a snap election could backfire.
DUBLIN Northern Ireland's first minister will ask Britain's Prime Minister to suspend the Northern Irish Assembly for four weeks to facilitate talks to save the power-sharing executive threatened by a crisis over an IRA-linked murder. Peter Robinson's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) sought the permission of a parliamentary committee to extend the summer recess by a month earlier on Tuesday but their motion was voted down by the nationalist Sinn Fein, whom they share power with. The DUP last week said it wanted Sinn Fein, the one-time political wing of the IRA, thrown out of government after police said a rump of the militant group that formally disbanded in 2005 may have been involved the recent killing of a former member
BRUSSELS The EU executive will outline new plans next week to share out refugees across European states as well as to speed deportations of unwanted migrants, the 28-nation bloc's migration commissioner said on Tuesday. Dimitris Avramopoulos told Reuters that new EU systems for processing asylum claims in Italy, Greece and possibly Hungary could involve detaining those rejected until they return home, as European governments strain to balance obligations to provide refuge with hostility among the public to mass immigration
BEIRUT Dozens of protesters occupied the environment ministry in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday calling on minister Mohamad Al Machnouk to resign over a rubbish disposal crisis, the latest in a wave of protests against the paralysed political system. Hundreds of other protesters gathered outside the building as riot police took up positions in surrounding streets and the "You Stink" anti-government campaign called for a new rally in a nearby square in the afternoon. Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said protesters had 30 minutes to leave the building, al-Jadeed and al-Manar television stations said, without saying what would happen if they did not
Rebekah Brooks will return to Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corp as chief executive of its UK division, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
PARNDORF, Austria As many as 50 refugees were found dead in a parked lorry in Austria on Thursday, and another migrant ship sank off Libya, deepening a crisis that is overwhelming Europe and throwing up new tragedies by the day. The abandoned refrigerated lorry was found by an Austrian motorway patrol near the Hungarian border, with fluids from the decomposing bodies seeping from its back door
ANKARA Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called for fresh parliamentary elections, his office said on Monday, in a widely anticipated move after two months of coalition talks failed to produce a coalition government ahead of a deadline.
MOSCOW A Russian government agency on Monday ordered Internet providers block access to a page on the Russian-language version of Wikipedia for containing banned information on a type of cannabis. The move could lead to the Russian-language version of Wikipedia becoming totally inaccessible, the organisation that supports the website warned, since Wikipedia uses a protected protocol which means providers cannot block separate pages on the same site. Since President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, Russia has passed legislation banning sites that contain child pornography, drug-related or militant material, or which advocate suicide.
PARIS The gunman who was disarmed by passengers on a train in France two days ago looked weak and malnourished and said he had only meant to rob people, a lawyer who interviewed him after the attack said on Sunday. "(I saw) somebody who was very sick, somebody very weakened physically, as if he suffered from malnutrition, very, very thin and very haggard," the lawyer, Sophie David, told BFMTV. David said the 26 year-old Moroccan expressed surprise when he was told that European authorities suspected him of being an Islamist militant
ZURICH Two light planes collided in flight at an air show in Dittingen, Switzerland, on Sunday, killing one of the pilots, police said. The aircraft, in a German flying group of three planes, crashed at around 0915 GMT, Basel-Landschaft police said in a statement.
KIEV Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on all political forces in the country on Sunday to rally behind his plans for constitutional change aimed at ending a separatist conflict in the east and defeating what he termed the "Russian aggressor". Poroshenko used a flag-raising ceremony in Kiev on the eve of Independence Day to make a clear pitch to his coalition allies to overcome their doubts and vote in favour of amendments to the constitution that will allot special status to separatist-minded parts of eastern Ukraine
MINSK Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko has pardoned six jailed opposition figures, including Nikolai Statkevich who was imprisoned after running against him for the presidency in 2010, his administration said on Saturday. Lukashenko, who has been in power in the ex-Soviet republic since 1994 and is running for a fifth consecutive term in an election in October, had been motivated by humane principles, his press service said. Statkevich, 59, is the last to be released of about 10 politicians who were rounded up and detained after running against Lukashenko in an election in 2010 dubbed fraudulent by the West
MINSK Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko has pardoned six jailed opposition figures, including Nikolai Statkevich who was imprisoned after running against him for the presidency in 2010, his administration said on Saturday. Lukashenko, who has been in power in the ex-Soviet republic since 1994 and is running for a fifth consecutive term in an election in October, had been motivated by humane principles, his press service said
TEHRAN Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran on Sunday, a historic step in the thawing of relations between the Islamic state and Western powers, a Reuters witness said. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond declared the embassy open and raised the Union Jack flag in the garden of the nineteenth-century residence in the Iranian capital that was stormed by protesters nearly four years ago. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Writing by Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
SEOUL Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea resumed talks on Sunday after negotiating through the night in a bid to ease tensions involving an exchange of artillery fire that brought the peninsula to the brink of armed conflict. The meeting at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) began on Saturday evening, with both sides on military alert, shortly after North Korea's deadline for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts or face military action.
SAN SALVADOR Fourteen members of one of El Salvador's most powerful street gangs were killed in a prison on Saturday in what appeared to be an internal gang purge, authorities said. El Salvador has been racked by rising violence over the past year, with murders surging since the breakdown of a gang truce between the Barrio 18 group and their rivals, the Mara Salvatrucha
KABUL Three U.S. civilian contractors were among those killed by a car bomb that targeted their NATO convoy, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said, making the attack that killed 12 people one of the most lethal to target U.S. citizens in recent years
JERUSALEM Israel's political leaders pushed to attack Iran at least three times in the past few years but had to back down on the advice of the military and due to concerns about its ally the United States, former defence minister Ehud Barak said. In interviews to his biographers aired late on Friday by Israel's Channel Two, Barak said he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wanted military operations against Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010, 2011 and 2012
BRASILIA Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, a key ally of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, might end his role managing her unwieldy coalition in Congress but he is not planning to leave her government, members of his party said on Friday. "The vice president has not taken any decision on quitting the political liaison role," a spokesman for Temer told Reuters. Valor Econômico newspaper reported on Friday that the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, which is Brazil's largest party and controls both houses of Congress, is preparing to leave Rousseff's government due to disagreements over handling an ongoing political crisis