Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has pressed her country’s claim to the Falkland Islands, taking the case to the United Nations on Thursday. On the thirtieth anniversary of the Falklands War, Fernandez appeared at the annual meeting of the UN Decolonization Committee, reiterating Argentina’s criticism of Britain’s actions in the area and slamming a British PM’s decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag over his official residence. While accusing the UK of acting like a "bully,” Fernandez also said she came to the UN “without rancor.” “We're not asking for much,” she said. “We're just asking to talk. ... We're not asking anyone to say, `yes, the Malvinas are Argentina's.'” Meanwhile, in London, UK Prime Minister David Cameron stressed that Britain is “ready and willing” to defend the Falklands and accused the Argentine government of “aggression,” saying there will be “absolutely no negotiation” over the sovereignty of the archipelago.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been testifying in front of a UK media ethics inquiry, saying press regulations need to improve. Cameron has come under fire following the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid. British officials were accused of helping the media giant avoid investigation. Cameron has also been criticized for the way he handled Murdoch's bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting.
The Polish fans initiated clashes with Croatian national team supporters after the later played Italy to a draw in the second round of the Euro 2012 championship. There were no current reports of injuries. On Tuesday, 15 people were injured after Polish hooligans attacked thousands of Russian fans marching through the capital in the run up to Poland’s match with Russia on the same day.
Russian helicopters, which are on their way to Syria as claimed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are actually returning after being refurbished, the State Department admits. Though these are not new tools, the US is still concerned that Damascus may use them against the opposition. Earlier, Clinton accused Russia of escalating the Syrian crisis by selling combat helicopters. Russia replied that it did not sell combat choppers to the Arab country, but fulfilled old contracts supplying Syria “with something that Syria would need in the event of an armed attack on it from without."
Two Polish football hooligans have received jail sentences following mass arrests of football fans after violence in Warsaw. One was sentenced to three months, and another to five months, of jail time. On Tuesday, Russian football fans in Warsaw held a march to celebrate Russia's Day when a group of Polish fans attacked them. Police arrested some 150 Polish fans and about 20 Russians. The march was taking place ahead of the football game between Russia and Poland.
The mother of Anders Breivik, who confessed to committing mass murder in Norway last summer, says that a lot of the information he has told police is not true. The woman, whose name has not been disclosed due to Norwegian privacy rules, provided a statement for the court where she claims that "half of what he's told police is a lie." She did not appear at the hearings because of health-related problems. Breivik is accused of being behind a bombing in Oslo that claimed the lives of eight, and of killing 77 others at a youth camp on Utoya Island last July.
Police on Thursday evicted Occupy London protesters from Finsbury Square near the city’s financial district. The move follows eight months of demonstrations against income inequality. Some 100 officers fulfilled a court ruling that the area must be returned to community use. London’s Metropolitan Police Service said there were no detentions or incidents during the operation. The enforcement action was “peaceful and low-key,” police said.
The whole of the lower house of Egypt's parliament will be dissolved and a new election will be held after a constitutional court ruling on Thursday. “The ruling regarding parliament includes the dissolution of the lower house of parliament in its entirety because the law upon which the elections were held is contrary to the rules of the constitution,” the court's head Farouk Soltan told Reuters. He added the ruling was binding on all institutions of state. The court also ruled on Thursday that Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, is eligible to compete in the run-off in the country's presidential election this week.
The European Parliament said on Thursday it would suspend its cooperation with the European Council on five issues, including fighting cyber crime and helping national police forces to cooperate, AP said. The parliament explained it had not been consulted on a proposal the European Council made earlier this month on curbing the free movement of people across national borders. The council, composed of representatives of the 27 EU national governments, proposed that in some cases national authorities be allowed temporarily to close borders.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry said on Thursday that it has arrested the terrorists who assassinated two of the country's nuclear scientists and a policeman. The assassins of Majid Shahriari, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and policeman Reza Qashqaei were arrested, Fars news agency said, citing the ministry. Iran has so far arrested several suspects in relation to the assassination of its scientists.
A suicide bomber detonated his van filled with explosives in a Damascus suburb on Thursday, injuring 14 people. One of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines was damaged, witnesses said. Shiite pilgrims from around the world converge on the suburb of Sayyida Zainab every year to visit the complex of the same name. It is believed to house the remains of the granddaughter of Islam's Prophet Mohammed. It was not clear whether the bomber targeted the shrine or a police station nearby, AP said.
Tunisia's Interior Ministry on Thursday banned demonstrations in the face of several calls for protests to uphold sacred values after Friday prayers. “No march has been authorized by the ministry,” spokesman Khaled Tarrouche told AFP. “The law will be applied against all acts of violence,” the spokesman said. Tunisia's leaders condemn extremists after recent riots by Islamists left one person dead and 62 injured.
Japan moved closer to restarting two nuclear reactors for the first time since last year's earthquake and tsunami after the mayor of Ohi approved the plan on Thursday. Work to restart the reactors in the western town could begin as soon as this weekend now, AP said. The governor of the Fukui prefecture, in which Ohi is located, will meet with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to inform him that the local governments are willing to accept the restart plan. Noda is to give final approval, expected on Saturday.
Hundreds of police and troops backed by armored vehicles set up a security ring around Egypt's highest court on Thursday ahead of a ruling on the country's presidential election. The Supreme Constitutional Court is to decide whether Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq can take part in the presidential runoff vote on Saturday and Sunday against Islamist Mohammed Morsi. The court is also to review the legality of rules that governed a parliamentary election earlier this year in which Islamists got the majority of seats.
Thirteen new political parties have been registered with the Russian Justice Ministry after a law on political parties was liberalized recently. There are 20 officially registered parties now, the ministry said on Thursday. The number includes the People’s Party for Women of Russia, the Alliance of the Green – Popular Party, the Union of City Dwellers, the Party of Social Networks and others, Itar-Tass said. As of today, a total of 177 initiative groups have applied for registration of their political parties.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met in Kabul on Thursday, ISNA news agency said. They discussed Iran’s nuclear negotiations with world powers and bilateral issues. The meeting, on the sidelines of a conference in the Afghan capital, is the highest level diplomatic contact between the two nations since the storming of the British embassy in Tehran late last year. After the incident, Britain shut its embassy in Tehran and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London, accusing Iran’s government of “some degree of consent” in the attack.
An earthquake shook southeastern Turkey on Thursday, injuring about six people who jumped off buildings in panic, officials said. The Kandilli Observatory seismology center said a magnitude 5.5 quake struck at a depth of 5.4 kilometers on Thursday morning, AP reports. The epicenter was in the village of Pinaronu in Sirnak province, near the borders of Syria and Iraq. The quake toppled the top of a minaret of a mosque and caused cracks in a second minaret in the center of Sirnak.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday urged Libya to release delegates representing the International Criminal Court (ICC). They were detained in Zintan last week on allegations they had smuggled documents to the son of toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The ICC delegation, led by Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and which includes Lebanese-born translator Helene Assaf and two male colleagues, was visiting Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Zintan, southwest of Tripoli. Rasmussen said in Canberra that he hoped “certain groups in Libya” will release the ICC members “as soon as possible.”
A United Nations monitors’ convoy has arrived in the Syrian town of Haffeh, a UN spokeswoman said on Thursday. “Our observers entered al-Haffeh,” Reuters quoted spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh as saying. Two days earlier, the monitors were forced to turn back from the site due to attacks by angry residents. UN envoy Kofi Annan said on Monday he was worried residents were trapped in Haffeh.
A court in Bahrain has sentenced nine medics to prison terms ranging from five years to one month in a retrial on charges of aiding the country’s uprising. Nine other doctors and nurses were cleared of charges on Thursday, AP said. Fifteen-year sentences against two doctors who fled Bahrain also stood. The group of 20 people had been sentenced to prison terms by a now-disbanded security tribunal. A retrial in civilian court was ordered earlier this year. Staff at the state-run Salmaniya Hospital was accused of siding with protesters, but medics deny the allegations.
The possible failure of the Syrian peace plan of UN envoy Kofi Annan will be the fault of the international community, not Damascus, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday. He said the Syrian authorities want the plan to be fulfilled and “a political solution to be found,” Interfax said. The envoy also said that Russia does not supply combat helicopters to Syria. The arms Russia sells to Syria “do not fall under any sanctions,” he stressed.
Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns has officially inaugurated the first United States consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat. During a ceremony on Wednesday he described the city as a vital place for a US diplomatic presence, the US Embassy in Kabul said. The ceremony was attended by Afghan governors representing three of the four provinces comprising the Herat consular district. The consulate facility opened on March 12.
Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves, restricting fishing and oil and gas exploration. The country will protect 3.1 million square kilometers of ocean, Environment Minister Tony Burke said on Thursday. The reserves will encompass a third of the island continent's territorial waters, which sustain more than 4,000 species of fish, AP reports. Previously only 800,000 square kilometers of Australian waters were protected. Environmental group WWF welcomed the expansion, saying this hopefully will inspire other countries.
A car bomb exploded on Thursday in a suburb of the capital Damascus, wounding at least two people, Syria's SANA news agency said. The car bomb reportedly detonated in a parking lot near the Imam Sadr Hospital in Sayyida Zainab. The Damascus suburb is home to a Shiite Muslim shrine popular with Iranian and other Shiite pilgrims. The bomb reportedly caused substantial material damage. It was not clear what the target of blast was.
Twenty-eight people have been killed and 53 wounded in several days of sectarian clashes in western Myanmar, government officials said on Thursday. A state of emergency has been declared for Rakhine state, which has been rocked by a wave of rioting and arson. Also, 10 Muslims were killed on June 3 by a Buddhist mob in apparent revenge for the rape and murder of a woman. The case sparked the violence in Rakhine. About 800,000 stateless Muslim Rohingya live in Myanmar. Many citizens see them as illegal immigrants.
An explosion has struck a steel plant in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, killing at least 11 people, say local police. The blast happened as workers were installing new equipment in the complex causing a massive fire that wounded at least 16 other plant workers. Police say they expect the death toll to rise as some of the injured are currently in critical condition.
A major United Nations conference on sustainable development has kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, the Associated Press reports. The Rio+20 Conference is expected to draw an estimated 50,000 participants including delegates, environmental activists, business leaders and members of indigenous groups. About 130 leaders from countries around the globe are expected to take part. Rio+20 is a follow-up to an environmental summit held in Rio in 1992.
A Tunisian court has sentenced ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to life in prison in absentia over the bloody crackdown on the anti-government uprising last year, AFP reports. The sentence came shortly after a military court sentenced, in absentia, the toppled leader to 20 years behind bars on charges that included incitement to murder. The former interior minister, Rafik Belhaj Kacem, and other members of the former regime on Wednesday received sentences of up to 15 years in prison. However, other key figures saw their charges dismissed, which angered victims’ families. Wednesday's convictions were the first passed on senior personnel following the killing of hundreds of protesters during the Tunisian revolution. Unlike his counterpart in Egypt, Ben Ali managed to flee the country during the uprising and find refuge in Saudi Arabia, where he remains for now.
US space agency NASA has launched an X-ray space telescope to study black holes and other hard-to-see objects in our own and other galaxies in more detail. Following Wednesday’s launch, mission control center received a signal from the spacecraft when it reached orbit 350 miles (563 kilometers) above Earth, AP reports. The telescope was boosted into orbit by a Pegasus rocket released from a carrier aircraft that took off from a Pacific island between Hawaii and Australia. NASA chose to air-launch the spacecraft as it was a cheaper option than using a land-based launch-pad. The cost of the mission is US$170 million.