The autopsy on Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot dead by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, has found evidence of marijuana in his system, prosecutors revealed on Thursday, according to AP. The report was part of a large amount of evidence turned over to prosecutors. Also included were the pictures of a bloodied Zimmerman taken the night after the fight. “Bleeding tenderness to his nose and a small laceration to the back of his head; all injuries have minor bleeding,” paramedic Michael Brandy wrote about Zimmerman’s injuries in the report. The neighborhood watch volunteer is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming that he acted in self-defense. The package of documents also included an investigator's recommendation to prosecutors that George Zimmerman be arrested on manslaughter charges. The investigator, Christopher Serino, said the fight could have been avoided if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement.
A gay pride march in Georgia has ended in clashes with members of the religious group Union of Orthodox Parents. Around 20 people tried to march on one of Tbilisi's main streets, marking the International Day Against Homophobia. There are no reports of casualties, but arrests were made on both sides.
Police are continuing to arrest protesters at an opposition camp in central Moscow. At least six people have been detained, some for giving out food to campers, Interfax news agency reports. Police consider this to be unauthorized action and, just as the day before, have confiscated boxes with supplies of food and water. Environmentalist Evgenia Chirikova is also among those detained. She has reportedly suffered from police actions. Some State Duma deputies are expected to arrive at the scene on Thursday night for negotiations with the opposition. On Wednesday up to 30 protesters were detained for not obeying police orders to stop giving out food. Demonstrators damaged police buses while preventing them from transporting those detained to police stations.
Prominent Russian opposition leader, Ilya Yashin, has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for disobeying police officers. Yashin was arrested Wednesday night during an anti-government demonstration, along with 30 others. The protests in Moscow have been ongoing for several weeks following the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin.
The US will give Israel an extra $70 million this year for short-range missile defense, the defense secretary, Leon Panetta, said on Thursday after meeting his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak. President Obama ordered Israel's request for extra money for the Iron Dome system be met. The US has already provided $205 million for the system, which is designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortars. Panetta said that additional help would be provided, though he gave no figures.
Fitch credit ratings agency has downgraded Greece to CCC due to the “heightened” risk that the country may be forced out of the eurozone. Fitch named the success of parties with anti-austerity policies in Greece’s May 6 elections and the failure to form a coalition government as the main reasons for the downgrade. Greece is due to hold another round of elections on June 17.
US Senate Republicans have not approved a revised packaged of new economic sanctions on Iran's oil sector. Republican leader Mitch McConnell explained that his staff had no time to review the draft of the bill, because they got it late on Wednesday evening. This disappointed Senate Democrats, who had expected a unanimous Senate vote of approval ahead of Iran talks on May 23.
The estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. died of asphyxiation due to hanging, said a medical examiner in suburban New York. Fifty-two-year-old Mary Richardson Kennedy was found dead on May 16 at a family property in Bedford, New York. An architect and designer by profession, she married Robert Kennedy Jr. in 1994. The couple had four children, the youngest of whom was born in July 2001. In recent years, Mary had struggled with drug and alcohol problems and her husband filed for divorce in 2010. "We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister, Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her," the family said in a statement issued by attorney Kerry Lawrence.
Celebrated US singer Donna Summer has died of lung cancer at the age of 63. Although her career spanned four decades, Summer reached the peak of her popularity in the 1970s through a string of hits that helped define disco music. She was reportedly working on a new album at the time of her death.
Israeli officials are outraged by the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to hold a special tribute to the 11 Israeli team members killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games. Instead of launching an official minute of silence, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he would personally attend the Israeli delegation's traditional tribute. He added that the IOC has repeatedly paid tribute to the victims' memory. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, said such a response “rejected the central principles of global fraternity” of the Olympic Games.
A passenger bus has collided with a truck on the Sochi-Krasnaya Polyana road in Russia. At least two people have died and some 12 more suffered injuries as a result of the accident, Interfax news agency reports.
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney and his party raised a combined $40.1 million in April, AP reports. They nearly match $43.6 million that President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party raised last month. The fundraising totals do not include money being spent by independent “super” political committees. They can raise and spend unlimited sums of cash.
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday that he will attend the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago. The invitation was given after Islamabad indicated it plans to end its six-month blockade of supplies meant for coalition troops in Afghanistan. Hardline Islamist leaders on Thursday threatened to block the supply route if it reopens, AP said. Pakistan closed its Afghan border to NATO supplies in November after American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that he would like to attend the Olympic Games in London. “I would like to be next to our young athletes at the 2012 Olympics but the host has a problem with this,” Ahmadinejad said. He held a meeting with Iranian athletes who have qualified for the Olympics, IRNA news agency said. He did not say whether the official request has been submitted.
A suspected armed robber was killed when explosives his gang was transporting accidentally went off in Nigeria's city of Port Harcourt on Thursday, police said. The blast ripped through a minibus carrying at least three suspected robbers, four AK-47 rifles and ammunition, Reuters reports. Police say they were going on an operation. Two people in the bus and a woman who was nearby were injured in the explosion.
Italian security officials have increased security at 14,000 potential targets, ordering to deploy 16,000 law enforcement officers, AP reports. The Interior Ministry said on Thursday the enhanced measures would include assigning bodyguards to 550 individuals. The Informal Anarchist Federation group earlier claimed responsibility for shooting Ansaldo Nucleare CEO Roberto Adinolfi in the leg and for sending letter bombs aimed at Equitalia tax collection agency last December.
The head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Burhan Ghalioun, said on Thursday that he is stepping down. “I declare my resignation as soon as a replacement is found through elections or consensus,” Ghalioun told Al Arabiya. He also called on the Syrian opposition “to break the cycle of conflicts and preserve unity.” On Tuesday, Ghalioun was reelected head of the exiled opposition group. He has been widely criticized for errors and “deteriorating situation" in the SNC.
Paris will not ratify the European pact on fiscal discipline unless it is amended, France’s new Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday. “What we've said is the treaty will not be ratified as it stands,” Moscovici told BFM TV. The pact “must be fleshed out with a part on economic growth,” he said, as cited by Reuters. The new president, Francois Hollande, discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in person within hours of his swearing-in.
Troops fighting Al-Qaeda in the south have forced the militants to retreat, Yemeni military officials said on Thursday. They said, however, that the push in a major southern city is going slowly. The advancement inside the city of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan is slowing down because troops fear a sudden counterattack, AP reports, citing officials. The city was captured by Al-Qaeda during last year's political turmoil.
Turkey's warplanes chased an Israeli aircraft that allegedly violated the airspace of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, the military said on Wednesday. The Israeli plane violated the airspace five times on Monday, a Turkish military statement said, as cited by AP. Later, two Turkish F-16 jets reportedly forced it to leave the area over the Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island. Turkey earlier dismissed a Cypriot-Israeli deal demarcating their maritime borders and signed exploration deals with the Turkish Cypriots.
The presiding judge in the UN trial of Gen. Ratko Mladic has delayed indefinitely the presentation of evidence. Alphons Orie said he was delaying the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal case due to "significant disclosure errors" by prosecutors, AP reports. They are obliged to share all their evidence with Mladic's lawyers. The presentation had been scheduled to start later this month. The judges are still analyzing the "scope and full impact" of the errors, admitted by prosecutors. They are laying out Srebrenica massacre case against Mladic on the second day of the trial.
Tehran has said it will sue Google over dropping the name of the Persian Gulf on Google Maps. If Google does not restore the name of the Persian Gulf, it will face "serious damages," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, as cited by AP. The famous search engine earlier left the body of water between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula nameless on its online map service. Tehran has already warned Google of possible legal action, Mehmanparast said. Iranians has had tensions with some Arab states which insist on calling the body of water the Arabian Gulf.
Kuwait's ruler has blocked a proposal by 31 of the 50 MPs to amend the constitution to make all legislation comply with Islamic law. The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was “not in favor” of the proposal that had been put forward by the Islamic Justice Bloc, Mohammad al-Dallal, an Islamist MP, said, as cited by Reuters. The approval of Kuwait's ruler is needed for any constitutional change. Al-Dallal argued that “a lot of people request” that laws comply with Sharia law. The deputies may try to submit the proposal in another format.
Kurdish rebels have killed three Turkish soldiers in a clash in southern Turkey, officials said on Thursday. The clash broke out in a mountainous area on Thursday, according to the governor's office for Hatay province, near Turkey's border with Syria. An army major and two lieutenants were killed, AP said. It was not clear if there have been any casualties among the rebels.
Sniper fire reportedly killed a 13-year-old boy and wounded several people in north Lebanon on Thursday. The army responded to sporadic sniper fire in several neighborhoods of Tripoli, Lebanese media say on Thursday. Tensions remained high after three days of clashes between neighborhoods in the north of the country which are supporting or opposing the Syrian regime. Three rocket-propelled grenades were also fired on Syria Street separating the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods. Snipers were spotted in the Talaat al-Omari area between the rival areas.
The late Yasser Arafat's powerful moneyman is the target of the highest-profile Palestinian corruption probe. Mohammed Rashid faces allegations that he siphoned off millions of dollars in public funds, AP said. The case against the former shadowy economic aide was lauded by anti-corruption campaigners. The Iraqi citizen of Kurdish ancestry, who befriended top Palestinian leaders in the 1980s, has in the past denied wrongdoing.
A group of militants has attacked a government compound in western Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least seven people. Officials say the gunmen first fired a grenade at the gate of the governor’s complex in Farah province, then stormed into it, AP reports. Officials say six police and a civilian have been killed and 10 were wounded. At least three militants were in the compound battling with security forces.
Iran's top negotiator has warned the West against pressure in next week's nuclear talks in Baghdad. Saeed Jalili said Iran was seeking "cooperation" from world powers. But he stressed the talks in the Iraqi capital have to recognize Iran's rights to a nuclear program, AP reports. Tehran will not yield to any "pressure strategy," the negotiator said. After talks in Istanbul last month, Iran and six world powers will hold the second round on May 23 in Baghdad
North Korean authorities have demanded payment before they will release Chinese fishing boats with a total of 29 men on board, Chinese media said on Thursday. The boats were seized by a North Korean gunboat on May 8 in the Yellow Sea between China and North Korea, Reuters said. In a rare public spat between the neighbors, Pyongyang fist demanded payment of 1.2 million yuan (US$189,800) to release the boats, then cut their price to 900,000 yuan and set a deadline of Thursday.
A student demonstration in Chile has turned violent after hundreds of people poured onto the streets of Santiago demanding free education and sweeping school reforms. Protesters threw rocks at riot police who responded with water cannons. Fires were also started in parts of the city. Mass protests have been staged repeatedly since last year, but so far little has been achieved.
PACE representatives have paid a visit to Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, who is now hospitalized in the city of Kharkov, in the north-east of the country. Tymoshenko and her visitors discussed her treatment conditions, Itar-Tass reports. The group will present its position on Thursday at a press conference in Kiev. Earlier, a number of German politicians proposed bringing Tymoshenko to Berlin for treatment. Europe says the imprisonment of Ukraine’s former PM is politically motivated, but Kiev dismisses these accusations. Tymoshenko has been found guilty of abusing her powers as prime minister by pushing through a gas deal with Russia in 2009 – a charge she denies.