U.S. says China has placed mobile artillery on reclaimed island
The United States said on Friday that China had placed mobile artillery weapons systems on a reclaimed island in the disputed South China Sea, a development that Republican Sen. John McCain called "disturbing and escalatory." Brent Colburn, a Pentagon spokesman traveling with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said the United States was aware of the weapons. McCain, chairman of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, said the move would escalate tensions but not lead to conflict. "It is a disturbing development and escalatory development, one which heightens our need to make the Chinese understand that their actions are in violation of international law and their actions are going to be condemned by everyone in the world," he said at a news conference in Ho Chi Minh City.
Fri, 29 May 2015 06:34:20 -0400
Special Report: Russian fighters, caught in Ukraine, cast adrift by Moscow
Alexandrov, 28, says he's a Russian soldier who was captured in east Ukraine after being sent there on active duty with Russian special forces to help separatists fighting Kiev. "I was carrying out my orders." Yet Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the face of widespread evidence to the contrary, has repeatedly said there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine only volunteers who have gone to help the separatists of their own accord.
Fri, 29 May 2015 06:11:24 -0400
Islamic State claims blast killing four at Saudi mosque
By Maha El Dahan and Sami Aboudi ABU DHABI/DUBAI (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed four people at a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia on Friday, the second attack claimed by the Sunni militant group in a week in the world's top oil-exporting country. The Interior Ministry said a car exploded outside al-Anoud mosque in Dammam during noon prayers on Friday, while witnesses said a suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up in the mosque's parking lot when guards stopped him from entering. Residents circulated pictures of the body of a man believed to be the suicide bomber as well as pictures of black clouds of smoke billowing over a parking lot outside the mosque.
Fri, 29 May 2015 08:45:05 -0400
Insurgents advance in areas around captured Syrian town: monitor
Insurgents who captured the last government-held town in Syria's Idlib province celebrated inside on Friday and made more advances in surrounding areas, in a further blow to the stretched army and allied militia. The "Army of Fatah" alliance which includes al Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra Front, the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham group and other factions, captured Ariha town on Thursday night as the Syrian military pulled back. The army has lost large parts of the northwestern province to insurgents since late March, when the provincial capital fell to Army of Fatah, a name which refers to Islamic conquest.
Fri, 29 May 2015 08:53:33 -0400
Islamic State claims responsibility for Baghdad hotel bombs
Islamic State claimed responsibility on Friday for bombings outside two heavily fortified five-star hotels in the Iraqi capital that killed 10 people. In a statement, Islamic State said a suicide bomber called Abu Qutaiba had parked a car outside the Ishtar hotel in central Baghdad late on Thursday before driving another vehicle laden with 230 kg of explosives to the nearby Babylon hotel. Iraqi authorities lifted a decade-old night-time curfew on Baghdad early this year, seeking to restore a sense of normality to the capital as security forces battle Islamic State insurgents who have overrun large parts of the country.
Fri, 29 May 2015 09:49:06 -0400
SE Asia vows to rescue 'boat people'; Myanmar seizes migrant vessel
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Kanupriya Kapoor BANGKOK (Reuters) - Southeast Asian nations agreed on Friday to intensify search and rescue efforts to help vulnerable "boat people" stranded in the region's seas, as Myanmar said its navy had seized a vessel off its coast with more than 700 migrants aboard. More than 4,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh since Thailand launched a crackdown on people-smuggling gangs this month. Around 2,000 may still be adrift in boats on the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, the United Nations said.
Fri, 29 May 2015 08:38:37 -0400
Al-Azhar says met French far-right head to 'show true Islam'
Al-Azhar, the highest seat in Sunni Islam, on Friday defended its meeting with France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen as an opportunity to show her the religion's "true face". Al-Azhar's grand imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb, used the surprise meeting on Thursday during a Cairo visit by Le Pen to voice concerns over her party's "hostile positions towards Islam and Muslims" as reported by the international media. Tayeb urged the National Front president in their talks at the institution's Cairo headquarters "to review and correct her positions", Al-Azhar said in a statement on its website.
Fri, 29 May 2015 10:11:41 -0400
Tighter border controls block African migrants in Italian Alps
By Steve Scherer BOLZANO, Italy (Reuters) - Some 200 mostly Eritrean migrants heading northwards from Italy were turned back by police in the Italian Alps on Friday and left sleeping in train stations as European countries tightened frontier checks before a global summit in Germany. EU countries are struggling to stem the flow of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East and to share the burden more evenly across the continent, after more than 35,000 people reached Italy so far this year and hundreds more died at sea. Migrants often head north after landing in boats on Italy's southern shores, hoping to make it to Germany or Scandinavian countries with stronger economies and generous welfare benefits.
Fri, 29 May 2015 10:08:31 -0400
Laborers toiling in Indian heat wave say have little choice
By Sankalp Phartiyal and Tommy Wilkes GURGAON, India (Reuters) - In India's upmarket "Millennium City", laborers building luxury homes say they have little choice but to toil in the extreme heat, despite government warnings not to venture outside after this week's heat wave killed 1,700 people. This week's heat wave, the deadliest in a decade, has exposed the vulnerability of millions of Indians who work outside in extreme temperatures that meteorologists say are increasingly common. While temperatures regularly top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in May and June, parts of the south and east of India have baked under heat as high as 47C for seven straight days.
Fri, 29 May 2015 10:03:06 -0400
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