At least 47 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in tribal clashes in the last three days in southern Libya, according to local sources. The fighting arose between Toubou and Zwai tribesmen, the latter reportedly supported by the so called “Libya Shield brigade” deployed by the interim government to act as a peace-keeping force. Former rebels often engage in clashes with rival groups as the country is full of weapons seized by citizens during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.
Police have used tear-gas as crowds protested against new austerity measures in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Hundreds of demonstrators showed their anger with recent subsidy cuts and rising prices for basic goods and fuel following last year's breakaway of oil-rich South Sudan. In total, nearly 1,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured in clashes with police in student-led anti-government protests in the last two weeks.
Former Prime Minister of Israel Yitzak Shamir has died at the age of 96 in a care home in Tel Aviv. He had long suffered from poor health. The leader of the right-wing Likud party, Shamir served as the Prime Minister twice – in 1983-1984, and between 1986 and 1992.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is prepared to share any observation data it recorded of the flight of the Turkish reconnaissance plane that was hit by Syria. Speaking at an international conference on Syria in Geneva, Lavrov said that it was crucial not to assign blame for the incident. A Turkish Phantom plane was shot after violating Syria’s airspace on June 22.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was handed a humiliating defeat by other European countries during this week’s EU summit, according to newspapers both in her homeland and elsewhere in the Eurozone. Merkel was “blindsided” by the other leaders, wrote German tabloid Bild, and forced to make concessions that will make it easier to France, Spain and Italy to access the bailout fund without implementing further austerity measures. "The southern euro countries are taking the north hostage," summed up Dutch financial paper Het Financieele Dagblad.
Andrey Pochobut, a Belarusian correspondent for the Polish newspaper GazetaWyborcza, was released on Friday, pending trial. Pochobut was officially charged with "smearing the president", and if convicted, he could face up to 5 years in jail. The journalist pleaded not guilty and refused to cooperate, saying he was criticizing Lukashenko, but not slandering him, Itar-Tass news agency reported.
Iran says it is having no trouble selling crude despite US sanctions imposed over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Thanks to countries being given waivers by the US, Tehran is "easily" able to go on with oil exports, Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani told the semiofficial Mehr news agency. Earlier in the week, Washington added China, Iran’s major oil buyer, to a list of19 other nations who have received waivers in exchange for "significantly reducing" oil trade with the Persian country.
Sudan has conceded to let humanitarian aid be delivered to two of its rebel-controlled and war-torn border states, the African Union said on Saturday. Fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has forced hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their homes since last year. Hostilities have reduced the usual harvests in the two states, which could face massive food shortages as stocks dwindle.
Egypt would work to end bloodshed in Syria, the country’s newly elected President Mohamed Morsi pledged on Saturday. "Egypt today is a supporter of the Palestinian and Syrian people. Spilling the Syrian people's blood has to stop. We will exert efforts to achieve that in the near future," he said. Morsi also vowed to uphold international agreements, in an apparent response to Israel’s worries about the future of the 33-year-old peace treaty between the two countries.
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake that rocked China’s far-western frontier has now left 34 people injured, according to the Associated Press. The quake that hit the Xinjiang region triggered landslides and shook residents early Saturday morning. No fatalities have been reported so far.
President-elect Mohamed Morsi was sworn into office before the High Constitutional Court on Saturday afternoon. After the ceremony, Morsi will address the Egyptian public. It was originally unclear where the ceremony was to be held after the lower house of the Egyptian parliament was dissolved, although a constitutional amendment provided for the ceremony to be held at the High Court.
A Hong Kong reporter surprised Chinese authorities at a carefully scripted press conference with Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao on Saturday. The reporter, Hon Yiu-ting, asked “President Hu, have you heard that Hong Kong people hope to reverse the verdict of June 4? Have you heard?" before being detained for 15 minutes by security officers, AP reports. Many in Hong Kong have called on Beijing to admit to its brutal suppression of the movement in which hundreds were killed on June 4th, 1989.
The teachers union in Quebec is ready to join the long running student protests. Students have been protesting a government decision to raise tuition, as well as a bill banning the protests. The teachers are threatening to join the students if new substitute teachers are not hired in time for the fall term to compensate for the additional workload resulting from the missed semester. "We're ready to do our part in all of this," Micheline Thibodeau, vice-president of the teachers’ federation said. "We’re just trying to provide the resources so that our students succeed."
A Salvador Dali painting that was stolen from a Madison Avenue art gallery has been returned via mail, arriving in a box at JFK airport, the New York Post reports. The painting was worth approximately 15,000 dollars and was in ‘pristine condition’ when it was found.
The Arab League’s Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi was quoted on Saturday as saying that Kofi Annan’s Syria plan will exclude Assad. The Arab League has contributed in the process of drafting the plan, Arabi was also reported as saying. Opposition leaders may also be excluded, along with any presence that might serve to destabilize peace efforts.
British Foreign Minister William Hague has asked Russia and China to agree with Western powers on a political transition plan in Syria as world powers meet in Geneva on Saturday. Hague also admitted that the agreement remained difficult. Kofi Annan will likely propose a draft plan that will exclude those “whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation.”
A series of dangerous storms after a record heat wave in the Washington DC area has left 2 dead and 1.5 million homes without power. Wind gusts of up to 82 miles per hour and intense lightning storms downed trees across the area, crashing into homes, power lines, vehicles, as well as blocking roads. Local utilities say it may be days before electricity can be restored to all residents.
The UN has published a report revealing Iranian weapons shipments to Syria in violation of international sanctions. The report focuses on three large illegal Iranian arms shipments, two of which were bound for Syria. “Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments,” the report read. “Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers." Western diplomats hope that the report will add pressure on Iran to comply with UN sanctions aimed at curtailing its nuclear program, which Iran claims is peaceful, but the west fears may be used to develop weapons.
A mudslide caused by torrential rain in China’s Sichuan province has left 4 dead and 37 missing, Chinese State Television CCTV reports. The mudslide hit the construction site of the Baihetan Hydropower Station in Ningan County early Thursday morning. 557 people from 117 households near the mudslide site have been evacuated as the search continues for the missing construction workers.
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay declared that Paraguay would be temporarily suspended from the South American trading bloc Mercosur at their summit in Argentina. The decision comes on the heels of what South American leaders are calling a political coup to replace former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo. Lugo's replacement, former Vice President Federico Franco, was barred from attending the summit. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said that the “democratic order was broken” in Paraguay, and Mercosur will reevaluate their member status in after new elections in April. Paraguay is a founding member of the trade bloc.
Latvia’s Security Police have found no laws were infringed in a patriotic education lesson conducted by men in Nazi uniform in a Riga kindergarten, Itar-Tass news agency reports, citing an official. Police said the men dressed in Waffen-SS uniforms did not violate the arms law by showing weapons to children aged between 3 and 4 years. The controversial lesson took place on March 16, the date which commemorates the Latvian Waffen SS legion. The incident came to light only in May sparking a public outcry in the former Soviet republic, which often finds itself in scandals involving its Nazi past.
The United Nations has published a report on North Korea’s sanctions violations, which include reports of possible arms deals between Pyongyang and the Syrian regime, Reuters says. The report states that North Korea "continues actively to defy the measures in the (UN sanctions) resolutions." One of the violations – the suspected illicit arms trade with Syria - was reported to the council's sanctions committee earlier this year. The report also cited a 2007 shipment of propellant usable for Scud missiles and other items that could be used for ballistic missiles. "Although the [sanctions] have not caused the DPRK to halt its banned activities, they appear to have slowed them and made illicit transactions significantly more difficult and expensive," the panel's report added. The report was released on Friday after more than a month’s delay due to China’s objections.