At least 20 people have been arrested as police dispersed an opposition camp in central Moscow., RIA Novosti reports. Police declared the sit-in at Kudrinskaya Square a “public event” and asked the activists to leave. The sit-in was staged the since Wednesday after an opposition camp in Chistye Prudy area, dubbed “Occupy Abai,” was dispersed.
Eleven Al Qaeda militants have been killed by Yemeni governmental forces on the south of the country on Friday as the army battled their way into the outskirts of a key town controlled by militants. This is according to AP which cited military officials. In the recent weeks, the military has been waging an assault against the insurgents in their stronghold in the south. On Friday, government troops moved in on Jaar in Abyan province, killing eight Al Qaeda fighters. Recapturing Jaar would better position the military to take back Zinjibar, the provincial capital that has been under Al Qaeda control for more than a year.
A German government spokesman has denied that Angela Merkel proposed a referendum on Greece’s exit from the Euro. The announcement was made earlier by the Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras. He said that the proposal was raised by the Germans during a Thursday phone call with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed a referendum in Greece on the euro and the country’s possible exit from Eurozone. Spokesman for the Greek government Dimitris Tsiodras said the idea was brought up in a phone conversation between Merkel and Greek President Karolos Papoulias. Greece is planning to hold elections on June 17.
The Fitch agency has cut credit ratings of five Greek banks following the downgrade of Greece's sovereign debt rating on Thursday. Fitch has downgraded the Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) and Support Rating Floors (SRF) of National Bank of Greece, Efg Eurobank Ergasias, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and Agricultural Bank of Greece down to CCC from B-. The agency also set the Viability Rating (VR) of the five banks to F. The move comes as another crushing blow to the European banking industry after Moody’s ratings agency downgraded the credit ratings of 16 Spanish banks on May 18th.
Around a hundred opposition supporters have organized a literary evening in central Moscow. Police officers are monitoring the gathering, but are not making any moves to disperse the crowd. Many of the people are wearing white ribbons, which have become symbolic of the anti-government movement. Various opposition events have been taking place daily since Vladimir Putin was inaugurated on May 7th.
Tens of thousands of people have spilled out onto the streets of the Bahraini capital Manama, protesting the plans for closer ties between the Gulf Kingdom and neighboring Saudi Arabia. A journalist from the Associated Press estimated the demonstration stretched for 5 kilometers. The huge turnout highlights the people’s unwillingness to unify the decision making between the Sunni rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Gulf leaders earlier this week delayed any decision on the unity plans.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano may visit Tehran next week, diplomats said on Friday. The IAEA chief is expected to seal an agreement that would allow experts to resume a probe of suspicions over Iran’s nuclear program, AP reports. The discussions about a possible trip are ongoing between the IAEA and Iranian officials, diplomats say.
Syrian security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse thousands rallying on Friday in the northern city of Aleppo. Opposition activists say the demonstration saw the largest turnout since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, AP reports. Thousands staged rallies of solidarity with Aleppo across Syria. On Thursday, some 15,000 students demonstrated outside the gates of Aleppo University in the presence of UN observers.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg rang the opening bell as trading in Facebook shares was to start later on Friday. The shares have gone on sale at $38 each, valuing the eight-year-old social network site at $104 billion. Facebook has more than 900 million users. The IPO transforms Facebook into one of the US largest public companies.
Thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday against plans for union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Iran’s state television showed people around the country chanting slogans against the ruling royal families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, cleric Kazem Sediqi said on state radio that Muslims will never tolerate the “ill-fated plot,” Reuters reports. Tehran had criticized a meeting in Riyadh at which Arab heads of state mulled Saudi Arabia's call for joint economic and political policies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
A court in Moscow has sentenced Zeinap Suyunova to 10 years in a penal colony for preparing a terrorist act in Moscow on New Year's Eve 2011. Investigators said Suyunova was a member of an armed gang from Dagestan who allegedly planned to detonate two improvised bombs on Red Square. One of the bombs went off in the hotel and killed another suspected terrorist. Suyunova left Moscow, but was later detained by law enforcement agencies.
German police temporarily detained some 400 demonstrators during largely peaceful protests by Occupy activists in Frankfurt on Friday. About 1,000 people turned out at some of the unauthorized protest rallies across the city, AP reports. Protesters erected barricades, staged sit-ins and tore down traffic signs. The protest group Blockupy plans to stage protests over the weekend. It has called for barring access to the European Central Bank. Some 5,000 police will be deployed to keep the weekend protests in check.
Turkmenistan, a Central Asian state, on Friday unveiled the world's largest Ferris wheel in an enclosed space. The 47.6-metre structure holds 24 six-seat cabins. They revolve inside a massive glass and white-steel casing, decorated with a giant eight-point star, AFP reports. The wheel called The Universe (Alem), is "the world's largest Ferris wheel in an enclosed architectural design," a Guinness World Records representative said. The structure was opened on Day of Revival, Unity and Magtymguly Poetry.
UN human rights experts will visit Libya next week to examine the use of mercenaries to fight the uprising that eventually brought down the Muammar Gaddafi's regime. The UN Human Rights Council panel will also collect information on private companies offering military aid, consultants and security to Gaddafi, the body’s head, Faiza Patel, said, as cited by AP. The Libyan government claims to have evidence linking Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam to the supervision and planning of the recruitment of mercenaries.
Germany's finance minister estimates that Europe's debt crisis could last up to another two years. “In 12 to 24 months we'll have a calming of financial markets,” Wolfgang Schaeuble said, speaking on French radio Europe 1 on Friday. Europe's leaders “weren't good enough” over the past two years of unrelenting crisis in Europe, he said, as cited by AP. It is important “during the G8 to show that Europe can achieve common positions more quickly,” Schaeuble stressed.
All servicemen were evacuated from a burning arms depot in Russian Far Eastern Primorye Region on Friday. The Ministry of Emergency Situations said about 2,000 residents are being evacuated from the nearby area. Two servicemen were slightly injured in the fire, Itar-Tass reports. The blaze on Friday triggered a chain of blasts of artillery shells at the base, close to the Chinese border.
Ankara has threatened reprisals against companies bidding for oil and gas drilling projects off Cyprus, whose government is not recognized by Turkey. Companies which cooperate with the Greek Cypriot administration “will not be included in energy projects in Turkey in the future,” the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, as cited by AFP. Cyprus earlier announced that 29 companies had made 15 bids for exploratory drilling in a second round of licensing to exploit offshore oil and gas deposits.
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are making headway towards a framework deal on how to tackle concerns about its nuclear program, Reuters said, citing Western diplomats. The agreement is needed before Tehran can consider a request by UN inspectors to visit the Parchin military site. The talks in Vienna will be continued on May 21. Two days later Tehran will discuss its program with six world powers in Baghdad. Diplomats say Iran wants to agree an outline of how to deal with the IAEA's questions to have a “tactical” leverage in Baghdad.
The head of a UN observer team Maj. Gen. Robert Mood has called for an end to the violence so that the mission can build on talks between the parties. No amount of observers in Syria can achieve a permanent end to the violence without dialogue, AP quoted the Norwegian as saying at a news conference in Damascus on Friday. The UN has already deployed more than 200 observers around Syria.
Japan has made the country's first commercial launch of a foreign satellite. The HII-A rocket lifted off from a remote southwestern Japan island carrying the South Korean satellite and three Japanese satellites, AP said. The Korean satellite, KOMPSAT-3 will monitor the environment. Japan's Shizuku satellite was designed to monitor climate change.
Spanish stocks dropped sharply on Friday morning after ratings agency Moody's downgraded its credit score of 16 Spanish banks, AP reports. Moody's late Thursday cited banks' load of non-performing loans, their trouble raising financing on capital markets and the government's sovereign debt problems. On Friday, Ibex 35 index was off more than two points shortly after trading began.
Pyongyang has denied a claim that it jammed electronic signals on hundreds of flights and ships in South Korea. The North's Ministry of Post and Telecommunications on Friday described the claim a “smear campaign,” AP said. Seoul earlier said the North interfered with GPS on civilian flights and commercial ships between late last month and earlier this week. The ministry accused South Korea of trying to escalate tension. South Korea's military said its equipment was not affected by the alleged jamming.
Three bombs have struck a bird market in eastern Baghdad, killing four people and wounding dozens, Iraqi officials said. The Friday morning attack targeted a bird market in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, AP reports. More than 30 people were wounded in the explosions.
An insurgent attack in Afghanistan has killed two members of the international military coalition, NATO said on Friday. They died Friday in eastern Afghanistan, AP reports, citing the alliance’s statement. It did not disclose any other information. This year, 154 Coalition service members have been killed, at least 100 of them were Americans.
Thirty-four people have been killed after a bus overturned and crashed into a river in central Vietnam. It smashed through the rails of a bridge and plunged over the side. The bus was travelling from the central highlands to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Twenty others were badly injured.
Gunfire has broken out in a prison in the Venezuelan capital where security forces fired stun grenades and tear-gas at armed inmates. Authorities blamed the violence on a confrontation among prisoners. The Caracas jail has been without guards for several weeks following an uprising over plans to close the overcrowded facility. About 1,500 police officers have been deployed to deal with the crisis.
The Olympic Torch has been handed over to Britain during a Thursday ceremony in Athens. It has been on a week-long relay across Greece since being lit in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient games. The flame will be flown to the UK on Friday, accompanied by football star David Beckham. The torch will be used to officially start London's Olympic Games on the 27th of July.