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30 July, 2014

16:37

Iraqi Shi’ite militias execute, hang 15 Sunni Muslims

Shi’ite militias shot 15 Sunni Muslims and then hung them in a public square Wednesday in Baquaba, a mixed Shi’ite and Sunni town 65 km north east of Baghdad, according to police sources, Reuters reports. A police source said that the action against the victims, who were kidnapped over the last week, was designed to deter Sunnis from supporting the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, which has seized swathes of land in northern Iraq. Shi’ite militias are seen as a vital line of defense in Iraq and have stepped into the breach to challenge the hardline Islamist Sunni insurgents after the US-funded Iraqi army crumpled in the face the Islamic States’ onslaught and extreme violence.

16:01

Rival militias agree to Tripoli airport ceasefire amid chaos

Rival militias fighting for control of Tripoli airport agreed Wednesday to a temporary ceasefire. The move was prompted by the need to allow firefighters to try to control a huge blaze at a fuel depot hit by a rocket, Reuters said. There has been a fortnight of the worst fighting since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. Most Western governments have followed the US and UN pulling their diplomats out of the North African country.

15:25

34 people dead in Guinea concert stampede

At least 34 people have died and dozens injured in a stampede in Guinea, West Africa, during a concert by local rap group Instinct Killers to mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The concert took place Tuesday evening on a beach in Ratoma, a northern suburb of the capital, Conkary. Eyewitnesses told Reuters that up to 10,000 people were at the event. The president’s office has declared a national day of mourning.

15:25

Two former Khmer Rouge leaders stand trial for genocide

Khieu Samphan, the Khmer’s former head of state, and Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s deputy, the Maoist regime’s infamous leader, are beginning their second trial in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. The pair are already on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The cases are being tried separately to accelerate the proceedings because both defendants are elderly. The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with an iron fist between 1975 and 1979, during which time up to 2 million people are thought to have died of starvation, overwork or were executed. Pol Pot died in 1997 and only one senior official from the Khmer Rouge has been convicted and jailed for the crimes the Maoist regime committed. The second trial will address the roles of Chea, 88, and Samphan, 83, in the killing of tens of thousands of people from Cambodia’s ethnic minorities.

14:59

US imposes visa restrictions on ‘number’ of Venezuelan govt officials

The US State Department announced Wednesday it was imposing travel restrictions on “a number of Venezuelan government officials” who it said were involved in human rights abuses. “While we will not publicly identify these individuals because of visa record confidentiality, our message is clear: those who commit such abuses will not be welcome in the US,” Reuters quoted State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as saying. She cited “arbitrary detentions, excessive force and judicial intimidation” against Venezuelan protesters.

14:06

Kurdistan lays claim to oil cargo in letter to US court

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Wednesday it had sent a letter to a court in Texas over a seized cargo of Kurdish crude oil in the US. The aim is to counter claims from Iraq's central government in Baghdad which maintains the oil was illegally exported, Reuters said. Kurdish authorities say that Baghdad has failed to fulfill its obligations in Kurdistan, boosting the region's need to export oil. The region contends with the influx of more than 1 million refugees in recent months due to violence sparked by Islamic State insurgents.

13:15

Russia could build Mistral-class ships on its own – deputy PM

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday that Russia has the capability to build Mistral-class helicopter carriers on its own if France cancels the existing contract, RIA Novosti reported. “The French must prove they are serious partners and reliable contractors,” Rogozin said after a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and government ministers. “If they fail to do so, we will build the [Mistral] ships on our own. We are finally capable to do it,” Rogozin said. On Monday, he expressed doubts that France would cancel the contract, which he said would be worse for France than for Russia.

12:51

N. Korea fires 4 short-range 'projectiles'

North Korea fired four short-range projectiles towards the sea Wednesday, the South's Defense Ministry said. The launches began at 22:30 GMT at a site near Mount Myohyang, northeast of Pyongyang, AFP said. The two were fired in the morning and another two in the afternoon, all towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea), according to the ministry. “The test of two projectiles launched in the morning appeared to be unsuccessful because they just flew for several seconds, while two other projectiles fired in the afternoon traveled for up to 210km,” according to the military in Seoul. The ministry has not confirmed a Yonhap report that the North might have tested new 300mm multiple rocket launchers.

12:24

Argentina to hold further debt talks – sources

Argentina will hold further debt talks with ‘holdout’ investors in New York on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing a government source. The negotiations are being held to avoid a second default in little over a decade. It was not clear whether the Argentine negotiators would meet face-to-face or talk through mediator Daniel Pollack.

11:16

Islamists shoot dead Somali woman for not wearing veil - reports

Islamist gunmen in Somalia have shot dead a Muslim woman for refusing to wear a veil, the BBC said, citing her relatives. The nomadic woman was reportedly killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the Al-Shabab group. An Al-Shabab spokesman denied the group had killed the woman, adding that the group does not fully control the area where she was living.

10:49

France evacuates nearly 50 French, British citizens from Libya

France has evacuated nearly 50 French and British citizens from Libya by ship, AFP reported, citing French officials. A French diplomatic source said Wednesday that 40 French nationals, including the ambassador, were evacuated along with seven British nationals. The evacuation came as Islamist groups seized the headquarters of the Libyan army’s special forces in the second-biggest city, Benghazi, after days of fighting. Witnesses also saw a huge blaze raged at a fuel depot near Tripoli’s airport.

08:39

Up to 150 people feared trapped after landslide in western India

Up to 150 people were feared trapped by a landslide triggered by heavy rains in western India on Wednesday, Reuters said. The landslide hit an area 60km from the western city of Pune. The inspector general of the national disaster, Sandeep Rai Rathore, said difficult terrain was affecting the mobility of the rescue teams at the site.

07:42

3 killed in car bomb blast in Cairo

Three people were killed in a car bomb blast on Wednesday in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Reuters said, citing a report by Egypt’s state-run Nile Television. Those killed had been inside the car and were likely to have been on their way to carry out a “terrorist operation,” Al-Ahram newspaper quoted Brigadier Mahmoud Shawki, a police officer, as saying. The car was ripped in two by the blast.

06:24

Suicide bombers attack Nigeria mosques, kill at least 6

Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in northeast Nigeria's Yobe state late Tuesday killing at least six people, AFP reported. Several others were injured, witnesses say, blaming the Boko Haram Islamists. The first explosion rocked an open air mosque belonging to a Shiite Muslim sect in the Dogo Tebo area of the town of Potiskum around 1855 GMT leaving four people dead. Five minutes later, the second blast at a mosque within the compound of the chief imam in the town's Anguwar Bolawa area killed at least two worshippers.

02:43

​N. Korea grounds MiG19s - report

North Korea has suspended all flight drills of Soviet made MiG-19, after three fighters have crashed this year, South Korea's military sources told Yonhap news. “At least three of the MiG-19s crashed during training missions -- one earlier this year, the others last month and earlier this month -- apparently due to their aged fuselages," a source said. The supersonic MiG-19 was developed in USSR in 1953. Some 400 MiG models are still believed to be in service by Pyongyang.

01:52

​At least 20 dead, dozens missing after migrant ship sinks off Libya

More than 20 people were killed while dozens are considered missing unaccounted when a vessel carrying illegal migrants capsized off the Libyan coast, authorities announced, Itar-tass reports. According to Libyan navy spokesman, Colonel Ayub Kassem, the incident occurred near Humes (100 km east of Tripoli). The ship was carrying 150 people from central and southern Africa to Italy. The search for survivors continues.

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