The left-wing opposition party of Slovakia appears to be winning the early parliamentary election. That is according to Saturday’s exit poll results, which suggest that the Smer-Social Democracy Party of the former prime minister, Robert Fico, could get 39.6 per cent of the vote. That would be enough to secure one half of the 150-seat parliament. If the results are accurate, Fico will need a coalition partner to form a majority government, AP reports. Fico is known for pledging to increase corporate tax and increase income tax for Slovakia’s highest earners.
Russian police have detained 85 protesters who attended an unsanctioned opposition rally in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Most were later released. Authorities estimate that some 100 people took part in the “For Fair Elections” demonstration on Saturday. Only eight protesters are still being detained, a spokesperson for Nizhny Novgorod police told Itar-Tass news agency late on Saturday. The demonstration came as some 10,000 people took to the streets of Moscow to protest the results of recent presidential elections which saw Vladimir Putin winning 63.6 per cent of the vote. The opposition believes the presidential poll was rigged with various techniques to ensure Putin’s landslide victory.
Parliamentary elections in the Republic of Abkhazia have finished and the Central Election Commission has begun counting votes. The turnout in the elections was about 40 per cent and the vote was considered valid. The elections were democratic and up to international standards, said one of international observers. Abkhazia is a breakaway province of Georgia. At the moment only Russia and four other countries recognize Abkhazia as an independent country.
Clashes have erupted in Bahrain after the funeral of a 22-year-old man whose family claim he died of injuries sustained during clashes with police earlier this month. Hundreds of people marched to police station after the funeral service. Reports say protesters threw petrol bombs at police, who in turn fired tear-gas at protesters. More than 45 people have died in 13 months of unrest in Bahrain.
Nigerian authorities have questioned the alleged kidnappers of two Europeans killed during a failed British-Nigerian rescue operation on Thursday. Following the operation eight suspects were flown to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for the investigation. One of the arrested has already confessed to killing Italian Francesco Molinara and Briton Chris McManus, Nigerian security sources report. The two men had been held hostage since May. On Friday Italy lashed out at the UK for not informing Italian authorities about the operation.
Oslo District Court announced it will allow cameras at the upcoming hearings of the case of confessed mass killer Anders Breivik. However, the television cameras will be banned from the key part of the process, including statements made by Breivik and witnesses. Opening and closing remarks by the prosecution and defense lawyers will be shown. The verdict at the end of the trial also to be broadcast. The trial is expected to open on 16 April.
Five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison have agreed to be transferred to Qatar. Afghanistan believes that the move will boost a nascent peace process, President Hamid Karzai's spokesman said on Saturday. "We are hopeful this will be a positive step towards peace efforts," he said. The idea of the transfer belongs to the US, which seeks to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasool will meet with government officials in Qatar to discuss holding negotiations with the Taliban. The meeting is scheduled in under a fortnight. After the Afghan Taliban said it would open political office in Qatar this past January, the potential of the group reconciling itself with Kabul has offered the first glimpse of a political settlement in the war-torn country.
Several government air strikes targeted al-Bayda, southeast of the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday killing at least 15 Al-Qaeda members. Militant leaders were reportedly among the dead. Unverified witness reports said that raids carried out by US aircraft struck three villages close to the provincial capital.
Qatar`s Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani has urged to recognize Syrian National Council as a “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people and called for international troops to be sent to Syria to deal with the current regime. "It is time to send Arab and international troops to Syria," he said at the opening of the 137th session of the Arab League nations in Cairo on Saturday.
The Pakistan Taliban says it will attack government, police and military targets if Pakistani authorities don’t release three widows of the slain al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin laden. "If the family of Osama bin Laden is not released as soon as possible, we will attack the judges, the lawyers and the security officials involved in their trial," Ehsanullah Ehsan of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan told Reuters.Earlier in the week, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the women had been charged with illegally residing in the country.
A bus carrying a wedding party in the Indian state of West Bengal crashed early Saturday morning, killing seven people, including two children. Seventy people were also injured when the driver lost control of the bus, causing it to overturn. Local police say he was speeding.
An international naval blockade of Iranian oil exports should be considered as a measure to curb the country`s nuclear program, Democratic Senator Carl Levin said on Friday. The politician said he believes that such move can be very “effective.” However, Levin, pointed out that before imposing the blockade, alternative oil suppliers should be found to avoid a leap in crude prices. Iran is OPEC's second-largest oil producer and the world's third-largest petroleum exporter.
Iraqi activists say anywhere from 90-100 Iraqi teens with “emo” appearances have been stoned to death by the country’s Moral Police over the past month, Al Arabiya reports.The violent crackdown against “emo” teens follows a statement by the Iraqi interior ministry, who denounced them as “devil worshippers” The statement gave Iraq’s Moral Police the right to enter Baghdad schools and identify students with western appearances. Activists said armed men in plain clothes led the teens to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then left their bodies in dumpsters around the capital.
Army forces in South Korea are conducting security drills ahead of a two-day summit on the use of nuclear power around the world. Leaders from 50 countries are expected to attend, with last year's Fukushima disaster likely to dominate the talks. Discussions will focus on how to strengthen atomic safety and prevent acts of nuclear terrorism.
Massive demonstrations against autonomy for eastern Libya have taken place in Libya’s two largest cities, Reuters reports. Thousands rallied in Tripoli and Benghazi on Friday after the oil-rich eastern Cyrenaica region declared its semi-autonomy from the central government on Tuesday. At Friday prayers clerics warned that autonomy could lead to the break-up of the country. The move by the eastern region poses a challenge to the ruling NTC, which is struggling to keep full control of post-Gaddafi Libya.
A luxurious London mansion belonging to the late Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi, has been reclaimed by the Libyan government after a British court ruled that the estate was bought using stolen Libyan state funds, Reuters reports. "I am satisfied by the evidence put before me that the property was wrongfully and unlawfully purchased using funds belonging to the claimant (the state of Libya)," Justice Popplewell said on Friday. The eight-bedroom house worth some $16 million has a swimming pool, jacuzzi, suede-lined home cinema and flat-screen televisions in every room, in keeping with Saadi's well-publicized taste for luxury. Saadi fled to Niger during the uprising against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi.