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Diane A. Wade

Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

Twelve young women have tried to leave Melbourne to join the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.

According to Australian police, the women, aged between 18 and 29, have been recruited on social media.

Five of them are now living with ISIS militants in the conflict zones, according to a special investigation by Victoria Police.

Concern has been rising since mid-2014 about Australians going to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.

Australia’s government will soon introduce legislation allowing it to strip dual citizens fighting in Iraq or Syria of their Australian citizenship.

People working in Australia to support militant groups will also be targeted by the changes.Women join ISIS

Task Force Pax was established in April to monitor Victorians believed to be involved with insurgents.

Officials from the task force told local media on May 29 that another four Melbourne women made it as far as Turkey before being turned back by authorities.

One other was stopped by customs officers in Australia while two remain unaccounted for.

The young women are all from Melbourne’s northern and south-eastern suburbs.

According to Assistant Commissioner Tracy Linford, two forensic psychologists had been embedded in the task force to help investigators understand why the young women were trying to join IS.

“The use of psychologists provides us with a far more comprehensive risk assessment and also assists in identifying early intervention opportunities,” she said.

“This gives us the chance to focus on identifying those youths most at risk of radicalization and to engage with them or their families directly.”

Police said the young women were being sold a romantic view of life with ISIS, and had lied to their families about their travel plans.

Authorities were warning parents and friends of young women about the lure of ISIS, saying the women could end up in arranged marriages, or forced into s**ual servitude in the Middle East.

The Australian government believes at least 100 Australians are fighting with militant groups in the Middle East.

Another 150 people in Australia are known to be supporting such groups, while Australia’s intelligence agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), is investigating about 400 high-priority terrorist cases.

According to South Africa’s police minister Nathi Nhleko, President Jacob Zuma will not have to repay state money spent to upgrade his private home in Nkandla.

Nathi Nhleko said that the upgrades, including a pool costing almost 4 million rand ($328,000) were in fact security features.

In 2014, an independent inquiry found Jacob Zuma had “unduly benefited” from the upgrades.

Jacob Zuma has been heavily criticized over the issue.Jacob Zuma Nkandla controversy

In February, the Nkandla controversy prompted chaotic scenes in parliament as leftist lawmakers scuffled with security.

They had been interrupting a key annual speech by Jacob Zuma and demanding answers over the row.

In 2014, a report by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog found Jacob Zuma had “unduly benefitted” from the renovations and recommended he pay back some of the money.

However, Jacob Zuma has maintained he would only pay money back if ordered to do so by Nathi Nhleko.

At a news conference Nathi Nhleko justified his decision not to make Jacob Zuma pay back any of the money by saying the upgrades were security features.

For example, Nathi Nhleko explained the pool was in fact intended for use in fighting fires, and he even had a video of four policemen demonstrating how this security feature worked.

A chicken run, a cow enclosure, an amphitheatre and visitors centre were also all classed as security features by Nathi Nhleko.


Nebraska became first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty after a veto-override was passed through its Legislature.

The lawmakers defied their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it.

The measure was backed by a coalition of conservatives who oppose execution as a form of punishment.

After more than two hours of emotional speeches at the Capitol here, the Legislature, by a 30-to-19 vote that cut across party lines, overrode the governor’s veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law. After the repeal measure passed, by just enough votes to overcome the veto, dozens of spectators in the balcony burst into celebration.Nebraska abolishes death penalty 2015

Nebraska joins 18 other states and the federal district of Washington, DC, in banning capital punishment, and is the first traditionally conservative state in four decades to do so.

The state has not executed an inmate since a 1997 electrocution.

Some of the lawmakers said that they support the death penalty in principle, but said that legal obstacles meant the state would be unable to carry out executions in the future.

A Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman said her agency was investigating death threats made against a state senator who supported the measure.

Ten men are on currently Nebraska’s death row.

The state has never executed a prisoner using lethal injection – the current method for carrying out the death penalty in the state.

The state lost its ability to carry out an execution in December 2013, when one of the three lethal injection drugs used in the procedure expired.

North Dakota, another traditionally conservative state, abolished the death penalty in 1973.

The most recent state to eliminate the death penalty is Maryland, which ended capital punishment in 2013.

European Union states have been asked to take in 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea who land in Italy and Greece over the next two years.

Under the European Commission’s latest plan, Germany, France and Spain would receive the most migrants.

The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states.

The UK government says that it will not take part in such a system.

France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have also all voiced concerns, and a final decision will be taken by EU governments after a European Parliament vote.

Denmark has the right to opt out of the plan while Ireland and the UK can decide whether they wish to opt in.EU migrant quotas 2015

The plan applies to Syrian and Eritrean nationals who arrive in Italy or Greece after April 15, 2015. The European Commission said it could also apply to Malta if it also faced a sudden influx of migrants.

This is in addition to moves announced earlier this month by the EU for a voluntary scheme to settle 20,000 refugees fleeing conflict who are currently living outside the EU.

Of the 40,000 migrants considered “in clear need of international protection”, the Commission says:

  • Germany would take in 8,763 (21.91%)
  • France would take in 6,752 (16.88%)
  • Spain would take in 4,288 (10.72%)

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the home affairs commissioner, said it was not proposing “the fixing of quotas… for migration in general” and but it was “up to each member to decide how many refugees they will grant refugee status [to]”.

“We only propose – and we insist on that – a fair distribution of a concrete number of migrants in clear need of international protection across the European Union,” he said.

Countries would receive €6,000 ($6,600) for every person relocated on their territory under the latest proposal, the commission said.

More than 1,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean in 2015 – a 20-fold increase on the same period in 2014.

Some 60,000 people have already tried to make the perilous crossing this year, the UN estimates.

Many are trying to escape conflict or poverty in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia.

The European Commission said Italy and Greece were facing an exceptional level of migration, with Italy seeing a 277% rise in irregular border crossings from 2013 to 2014 and Greece seeing an increase of 153%.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has also urged Europe to do more to help migrants, calling for search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean to be “further strengthened”.

Earlier this month, EU ministers backed plans for a naval force to set up to combat smuggling gangs, if necessary by military force, inside Libyan territorial waters.

Queen Elizabeth II delivered her speech at the UK’s annual State Opening of Parliament on May 27.

It was the Queen’s first speech under a majority Conservative government since 1992.

Queen’s Speech revealed that an EU referendum by the end of 2017 is among Conservative government’s program of new laws.

The packed program of laws also includes more free childcare, an income tax freeze and the right-to-buy for housing association tenants.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the 26-bill package was a “program for working people” that would create full employment and “bring our country together”.

The measures were unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II amid the usual pomp and ceremony.

The proposed legislation includes:

  • A ban on income tax, VAT and national insurance increases for five years
  • A freeze on working age benefits, tax credits and child benefit for two years from 2016/17
  • 30 hours free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds by 2017
  • Cutting the total amount one household can claim in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000
  • More devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and “English votes for English laws” at Westminster
  • 500 more free schools and more failing and “coasting” schools tuned into Academies
  • A ban on so-called legal highs
  • A “truly seven day” NHS by 2020

Many of the proposed new laws were promised by the Conservatives during this year’s general.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Queen’s Speech 2015 transcript:

“My Lords and members of the House of Commons.

My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country. It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.

My government will continue with its long-term plan to provide economic stability and security at every stage of life. They will continue the work of bringing the public finances under control and reducing the deficit, so Britain lives within its means. Measures will be introduced to raise the productive potential of the economy and increase living standards.

Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. New duties will require my ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships. Measures will also be introduced to reduce regulation on small businesses so they can create jobs.

Legislation will be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax, and to ensure there are no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years.

Measures will be brought forward to help working people by greatly increasing the provision of free childcare.

Legislation will be introduced to support home ownership and give housing association tenants the chance to own their own home.

Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration. My government will bring forward legislation to reform trade unions and to protect essential public services against strikes.

To give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, my government will expand the Troubled Families program and continue to reform welfare, with legislation encouraging employment by capping benefits and requiring young people to earn or learn.

Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies.

In England, my government will secure the future of the National Health Service by implementing the National Health Service’s own 5 year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care, and ensuring the National Health Service works on a 7 day basis. Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.

Measures will also be brought forward to secure the real value of the basic State Pension, so that more people live in dignity and security in retirement. Measures will be brought forward to increase the rights of victims of crime.

To bring different parts of our country together, my government will work to bring about a balanced economic recovery. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a northern powerhouse.

My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.

My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales. Legislation will be taken forward giving effect to the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland.

My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations on the basis of mutual respect.

My government will bring forward changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons. These changes will create fairer procedures to ensure that decisions affecting England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of Members of Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of our United Kingdom.

My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states.

Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.

Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremism. New legislation will modernise the law on communications data, improve the law on policing and criminal justice, and ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs.

My government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.

Members of the House of Commons.

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My Lords and members of the House of Commons

My government will continue to play a leading role in global affairs, using its presence all over the world to re-engage with and tackle the major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges.

My ministers will remain at the forefront of the NATO alliance and of international efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat terrorism in the Middle East.

The United Kingdom will continue to seek a political settlement in Syria, and will offer further support to the Iraqi government’s program for political reform and national reconciliation.

My government will maintain pressure on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and will insist on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

My government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India and China.

Prince Philip and I look forward to our state visit to Germany next month and to our state visit to Malta in November, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. We also look forward to welcoming His Excellency the President of The People’s Republic of China and Madame Peng on a state visit in October.

My government will seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change, including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year.

My government will undertake a full strategic defense and security review, and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our courageous armed forces can keep Britain safe.

My government will work to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and terrorism.

Other measures will be laid before you.

My Lords and members of the House of Commons

I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.”

The temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s plans to shield almost five million illegal immigrants from deportation has been backed by an federal court.

The hold was imposed after 26 states launched a legal challenge against the executive action, alleging it was unconstitutional.

The appeals court has now denied a government request to overturn it.

The White House said the action was essential to fix a “broken immigration system”.Barack Obama Immigration Executive Action 2015

Under the plans, announced in 2014, people who entered the US illegally as children and parents of children who are US citizens would be offered temporary protection from deportation.

Aside from arguing President Barack Obama acted outside his authority, the states say the move forces them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling keeps the plans on hold while the states’ legal challenge proceeds.

It is not clear yet whether the Obama administration will appeal.

The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who has been a persistent critic of the president’s immigration policies, tweeted: “The constitution wins.”

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s trial has begun in Tehran, Iran, behind closed doors.

Jason Rezaian, a US-Iranian citizen, was detained in Iran for almost 10 months on charges that include “espionage”.

He has been accused of passing information to “hostile governments”.

Washington Post‘s editor Martin Baron described the trial as “shameful” and criticized the decision to hold it in private.

Jason Rezaian could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Iran has not recently commented on the case, but the Washington Post has spoken out forcefully.

“The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of [Jason] Rezaian,” a statement by the newspaper’s Executive Editor Martin Baron says.

“Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves.

“There is no justice in this system, not an ounce of it, and yet the fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance.”Jason Rezaian and wife Yeganeh Salehi Iran trial

The newspaper points out that Jason Rezaian was arrested without charge and imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison – placed in isolation for many months and denied medical care he needed.

It says that Jason Rezaian was given only an hour-and-a-half to meet a lawyer approved by the court and “no evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges”.

US officials have repeatedly raised Jason Rezaian’s case during months of nuclear negotiations with Iran, but have declined to link the two.

Jason Rezaian’s family has taken heart from recent comments by President Barack Obama, who said that the White House would not rest until the journalist was brought home safely.

The case is all the more sensitive because it has unfolded during nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West.

Some analysts have suggested the arrest was related to internal power struggles in Iran over the outcome of the nuclear talks.

Iran and six major world powers, including the US, have set a June 30 deadline for a conclusive nuclear deal to end a 10-year impasse.

Jason Rezaian had been the Washington Post‘s Tehran bureau chief since 2012.

The journalist’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was arrested alongside him in July but later bailed, and a third person have also been summoned to appear in court.

Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to eight months in jail for fraud and breach of trust, a Jerusalem court rules.

Ehud Olmert was convicted at a retrial in March of accepting illegal payments from an American businessman while he served as mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister.

In 2014, Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes.

Ehud Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and will remain free until his appeals against both convictions are heard.Ehud Olmert sentenced in Israel

A Supreme Court decision on the first appeal is expected in the next couple of months.

If he is unsuccessful, Ehud Olmert will become the first former head of government in Israel to be jailed.

Ehud Olmert served as Israel’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

He was forced to resign amid a flurry corruption allegations, which ended his political career and disrupted the peace process with the Palestinians.

In 2012, Ehud Olmert was acquitted of fraud, concealing fraudulent earnings and breach of trust in connection with donations received from a New York-based financier, Morris Talansky between 1997 and 2005.

However, a retrial was ordered after a former aide, Shula Zaken, accepted a plea bargain and testified against Ehud Olmert. Shula Zaken gave prosecutors diary entries and tape recordings of conversations in which Ehud Olmert referred to receiving the money.

Ehud Olmert, 69, was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust in March and on May 25 was sentenced to eight months in jail. He was also given a suspended sentence of an additional eight months and fined 100,000 shekels ($25,000).

The Jerusalem District Court said the sentence recognized Ehud Olmert’s contributions to Israeli society, but noted that “a black flag hovers over his conduct”.

Ehud Olmert’s lawyer Eyal Rozovsky said they were “very disappointed” by the sentence.

The former prime minister has always insisted that he is innocent and has described the allegations against him as “a brutal, ruthless witch-hunt”.

He is also appealing against the six-year sentence he was given in May 2014 in connection with a real estate deal at took place when he was mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s.

Ehud Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in return for speeding up a controversial residential development, known as Holyland, in Jerusalem.

Poland’s Incumbent President Bronislaw Komorowski has conceded election defeat to challenger Andrzej Duda following the release of exit polls.

The exit polls suggested conservative Andrzej Duda had taken the run-off vote by 53% to 47%.

Andrzej Duda had edged Bronislaw Komorowski, who had been the favorite, in the first round but did not gain the 50% needed to win outright.

Poland’s president has limited powers, but is head of the armed forces and can veto new laws.

The exit polls had been delayed after a woman died at a polling station on May 24.

Official results are expected on May 25.

Bronislaw Komorowski told voters at a gathering of his supporters: “I respect your choice.

“I wish my challenger a successful presidency.”Andrzej Duda wins Poland presidency

Speaking to supporters in Warsaw, Andrzej Duda said: “Thank you President Bronislaw Komorowski for the rivalry of this presidential campaign and for your congratulations.

“Those who voted for me voted for change. Together we can change Poland.”

The victory will be a wake-up call to PM Ewa Kopacz, an ally of Bronislaw Komorowski, ahead of parliamentary elections this autumn.

Bronislaw Komorowski, 62, took office five years ago after his predecessor, Lech Kaczynski, died in a plane crash.

He had been the favorite according to previous opinion polls and had been looking for a second term.

Andrzej Duda, 43, is from the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party, which is led by former President Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw.

In the first round Andrzej Duda attracted most support in the more conservative eastern regions of the country, near the border with Ukraine and Belarus.

Polish voters are going to the polls on May 24 to choose its new president in a run-off vote.

In the first round on May 10, neither Conservative challenger Andrzej Duda nor incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski gained the 50% needed to win outright.

Andrzej Duda edged Bronislaw Komorowski, who had been the favorite and is looking for a second term, by 34.7% to 33.7%.Poland Elections 2015 Andrzej Duda and Bronislaw Komorowski

Poland’s president has limited powers, but is head of the armed forces and can veto new laws.

Bronislaw Komorowski, 62, took office five years ago after his predecessor, Lech Kaczynski, died in a plane crash.

The incumbent president is an independent allied with the centre-right Civic Platform, which has been in government since 2007.

Opinion polls before the first round had put him comfortably in the lead and Bronislaw Komorowski said the result was “a serious warning for the entire team in power”.

Andrezj Duda, 43, is from the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party, which is led by former President Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw.

He attracted most support in the more conservative eastern regions of the country, near the border with Ukraine and Belarus.

The presidential vote comes ahead of parliamentary elections this autumn.


President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill which allows foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be banned from operating in Russia.

The new law allows the Russian authorities to prosecute foreign NGOs or companies designated as “undesirable” on national security grounds.

Individuals working for NGOs could face fines or up to six years in prison.

Critics say it is a Kremlin move aimed at stifling dissent.Vladimir Putin foreign NGO law

The definition of “undesirable” is open to interpretation, but the Interfax news agency said it would apply to organizations deemed to pose a threat to the “foundations of Russia’s constitutional order, defensive capacity and security”.

Organizations linked to politics in Russia already face restrictions under a 2012 law requiring them to register as “foreign agents”.

The new bill’s supporters say it is essential to prevent Russia from outside interference, amid ongoing tensions due to the country’s involvement in Ukraine.

There was concern from Western governments and NGOs about the implications.

The US State Separtment said it was “deeply troubled” by the law.

State Department’s spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement: “We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

Amnesty International said the bill would “squeeze the life” from civil society, while Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned it would be locals who would be worst-hit.


The beatification of Oscar Romero, Latin America’s martyr and hero, is attracting hundreds of thousands of people at the El Salvador ceremony.

The Roman Catholic archbishop murdered during the 1980-1992 civil war.

At least 250,000 people are expected to fill the streets of the capital San Salvador for the ceremony.

It is the last step before Archbishop Oscar Romero is declared a saint.

Oscar Romero was shot dead by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel on March 24, 1980. No-one has been prosecuted for the murder.Oscar Romero beatification 2015

About 80,000 people died and 12,000 disappeared during the war in El Salvador.

The Archbishop of San Salvador, Luis Escobar Alas, and Vatican envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato are expected to preside over Saturday’s beatification ceremony.

The event will begin with a procession from the cathedral – where Oscar Romero’s remains lie in a crypt.

A letter will then be read proclaiming the archbishop “blessed”.

Giant TV screens have been placed across the capital so that those away from the stage can watch the ceremony.

Thousands of police officers have also been deployed.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was not just a churchman. He took a stand during El Salvador’s darkest moments.

When the US-backed Salvadorean army was using death squads and torture to stop leftist revolutionaries from seizing power, Oscar Romero was not afraid to speak out in his weekly sermons.

“The law of God which says thou shalt not kill must come before any human order to kill. It is high time you recovered your conscience,” he said in his last homily in 1980, calling on the National Guard and police to stop the violence.

“I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression.”

That was a sermon that cost him his life. A day later, while giving mass, he was hit through the heart by a single bullet.

Several conservative Latin American cardinals in the Vatican had blocked his beatification for years because they were concerned his death was prompted more by his politics than by his preaching.

Pope Benedict XVI finally reversed this in 2012.

More than 40 people have been killed in a shootout between Mexican security forces and an armed gang in the western state of Michoacan.

The large scale gunfight took place in Tanhuato near the Jalisco state border on May 22.

According to local reports, almost all the 43 dead were suspected criminals. At least one police officer was killed in the shootout.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

The area between Michoacan and Jalisco states is known as a stronghold of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, which has mounted several large-scale attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks.

The majority of those killed at a ranch are believed to have been members of the cartel, said National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.

He told reporters that the gunfight had lasted for about three hours and that a number of weapons had been recovered from the scene, including more than 30 rifles.

The gunbattle began when the police and security forces were checking reports of an “invasion” of the 277 acres ranch by a group of armed men.

The authorities later called in air and ground support.

Two years ago vigilante groups formed in Michoacan to drive out the Knights Templar drugs cartel. However, last week a former vigilante leader running for mayor in next month’s elections was shot dead.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel has increased its presence in the area, with Michoacan and Jalisco becoming among Mexico’s most violent states. Gang members are believed to have killed at least 20 police and soldiers since March.

The Senate has blocked the USA FREEDOM Act – a bill that would have ended the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA.

It also failed to authorize a temporary extension of the current legislation, the PATRIOT Act. Senators are to meet again on May 31 – a day before the bill is due to expire.

A US appeals court has already ruled the bulk collection illegal.

The NSA’s spying was leaked by its former contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

Edward Snowden has since fled to Russia.

Photo Chicago Tribune

Photo Chicago Tribune

The NSA has collected data about numbers called and times, but not the content of conversations. It also allegedly spied on European companies.

Among individuals targeted was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House has pressed the Senate to back the bill passed by the House of Representatives. Domestic phone records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review.

The 57-42 Senate vote fell short of the 60-vote threshold.

Another vote held over a two-month extension to the existing programs – Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act – also failed to reach the threshold.

Supporters of the proposed FREEDOM Act, including privacy and civil rights advocates, say it protects privacy while preserving national security powers.

The PATRIOT Act was passed after the 9/11 attacks and which will expire on June 1.

Edward Snowden’s revelations in June 2013 caused an international outcry, despite US administrations insisting the program has been fully authorized.

The measures have been repeatedly approved in secret by a national security court since 2006.

Hundreds of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server – many relating to the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya – have been released by the State Department.

The emails were previously provided to a congressional committee.

The former secretary of state has constantly defended her use of the private account since the launch of her presidential campaign.

More of Hillary Clinton’s emails are set to be released in the coming weeks.

This first batch is just a fraction of the approximately 55,000 emails that the State Department is currently reviewing for release.

Photo Facebook

Photo Facebook

The State Department and Hillary Clinton have been subject to intense scrutiny by a congressional committee which is investigating the attack on a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, during which Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement ahead of the release: “The emails we release today do not change the essential facts or our understanding of the events before, during or after the attacks.”

The New York Times has reviewed some of the emails ahead of the release and reported that they “appear to back up Mrs. Clinton’s previous assertions that she did not receive classified information at her private email address”.

The newspaper said that many of the emails detail Hillary Clinton’s concerns following the attack.

They also offer a snapshot of Hillary Clinton’s private life, including her radio listening preferences and compliments she received from a colleague regarding a photo in the press.

According to the State Department, Hillary Clinton did not have a government email address from 2009 to 2013.

Two migrant boats holding more than 200 people have been rescued in Myanmar’s waters near the border with Bangladesh.

It was the first such rescue by Myanmar which has faced strong criticism for not doing enough to aid those stranded at sea and stem the migrant crisis.

Most are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, while others are economic migrants from Bangladesh.

More than 3,000 migrants have landed in neighboring Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, which have offered aid.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, said the migrants were rescued on May 22.Myanmar migrant boat rescue 2015

Photos posted on the information ministry’s Facebook page showed scores of bare-chested men crammed in the hull of at least one boat.

The posts referred to the migrants as “Bengalis” – Myanmar’s term for Rohingya Muslims – and said the boats were in Bangladeshi waters off Myanmar’s Rakhine state, waiting for more to arrive in smaller vessels.

The government has promised humanitarian assistance to those who have suffered at sea, but ministers have stressed that only verified Myanmar citizens will be allowed to stay.

The rescue came after Myanmar officials met Malaysian and Indonesian foreign ministers, and the US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on May 21 to discuss the situation.

Malaysia also began searching for migrant boats on May 22, a day after PM Najib Razak announced that they would conduct rescue missions.

Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to stop towing boats out to sea and will provide temporary shelter to those who have landed. Thailand only said it would stop rejecting boats.

Former Indian actress Jayaram Jayalalitha is set to return as the chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu after the state governor invited her to form a new ministry.

Jayaram Jayalalitha’s conviction in a corruption scandal in 2014 had cut short her fourth term as the chief minister, but earlier this month, an appeals court cleared her.

Her replacement O Panneerselvam quit on May 22, paving the way for her return.

Jayaram Jayalalitha is one of India’s most colorful politicians and she has been a leading figure in south Indian politics for three decades.Jayaram Jayalalitha to return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

She was convicted and sentenced for four years by a trial court last September.

Jayaram Jayalalitha was found guilty of amassing unaccounted-for wealth of more than $10 million and had to quit as the chief minister.

The appeals court ruling earlier this month paved the way for her returning as the head of Tamil Nadu government.

On May 22, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah’s office said in a statement that O Panneerselvam, party leader and loyalist who was heading the government in her absence, resigned along with his cabinet ministers.

The governor accepted the resignations and invited Jayaram Jayalalitha to form a government “at the earliest”, the statement added.

Earlier, legislators belonging to her regional AIADMK party met and elected Jayaram Jayalalitha as the leader of the legislature party.

According to local reports, Jayram Jayalalitha will make her first public appearance later during the day, and then form her government.


Korean Air’s former head of in-flight service Heather Cho, who was jailed for an outburst over macadamia nuts, has been freed after winning a court appeal.

Heather Cho was jailed for a year in February but the court on May 22 ruled she should serve a suspended sentence.

The daughter of Korean Air’s chairman was convicted of violating plane safety after ordering a taxiing plane back to the gate to offload a steward who had served the nuts the wrong way.South Korea nut rage Heather Cho

However, the appeal court ruled Heather Cho, also known as Cho Hyun-ah, did not cause a change in the flight path.

The court gave Heather Cho a reduced sentence of 10 months and suspended the prison term for two years.

She remains guilty of using violence against flight attendants.

On December 5 last year, Heather Cho became angry while onboard a Korean Air flight in New York after she was served macadamia nuts which she did not ask for, and which were still in a bag, not in a bowl.

She confronted both the flight attendant who served her and chief steward Park Chang-jin about the presentation, at one point jabbing Park with a service manual.

Heather Cho then ordered the plane, which was taxiing at JFK Airport, to return to the terminal to offload Park Chang-jin.

She had been in custody since she was arrested on December 30. In February she was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail.

One of the judges on the appeal panel said on May 22 that they had taken into consideration that she was a first time offender.

“It appears that she will have to live under heavy criticism from society, and stigma,” he said.

The case attracted intense attention in South Korea, reopening a national debate about the Korean business system, which is dominated by family companies known as chaebols.


Six Baltimore police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray have been all indicted by a grand jury.

On May 21, State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced the revised charges, but the most serious charges – including second-degree murder – remained.

Freddie Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody in April and died a week later.

The black man’s death sparked weeks of protests and later riots and looting in Baltimore.

Marilyn Mosby said: “As is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence.”

The grand jury did not return charges on the false imprisonment charges that were brought against some of the officers.

Marilyn Mosby brought the false imprisonment charges earlier claiming that Freddie Gray’s arrest was unjustified and illegal.Baltimore police officers indicted

However, the grand jury did return new reckless endangerment charges that were not part of the original charges announced three weeks ago.

Marilyn Mosby has said that Freddie Gray’s neck was broken while he was being handcuffed and placed into a police van. She also said that police repeatedly ignored his pleas for medical attention.

The officers are scheduled to appear in court on July 2.

A lawyer for the six Baltimore police officers said they “did nothing wrong”, after criminal charges were announced by Marilyn Mosby earlier this month.

Lawyer Michael Davey said the officers “at all times acted reasonably and in accordance with their training” and accused Marilyn Mosby of an “egregious rush to judgement”.

He also said that the defense team had “grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers”.

Marilyn Mosby rejected a police union request to step aside and appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case.

The grand jury’s decision to bring charges largely similar to Marilyn Mosby’s may quiet calls for her to step aside.

Freddie Gray’s death is the latest in a string of high-profile cases in the US where unarmed black men have died after contact with the police.

After Freddie Gray’s funeral, riots broke out in sections of West Baltimore, prompting city and state officials to deploy thousands of extra law enforcement officers and National Guard troops to keep the peace and enact a citywide curfew.

Baltimore police officers charges:

  • Officer Caesar Goodson: 2nd-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree negligent assault, manslaughter by vehicle by means of gross negligence, manslaughter by vehicle by means of criminal negligence, misconduct in office for failure to secure prisoner and failure to render aid, reckless endangerment
  • Officer William Porter: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Lieutenant Brian Rice: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree [second of two similar charges], misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Officer Edward Nero: Assault in the 2nd degree (intentional), assault in the 2nd degree (negligent), misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Sergeant Alicia White: Involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree assault, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Officer Garrett Miller: Intentional Assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree, negligent misconduct in office, reckless endangerment

North Korea claims it made progress on nuclear miniaturization by creating warheads small enough to fit on a missile.

A North Korean defense official said in a statement on May 20 that its nuclear program had “long been in the full-fledged stage of miniaturization”.

However, analysts say while there is evidence the program is advancing, it is difficult to assess its true extent.North Korea miniaturized nuclear warheads

The claim comes hours after North Korea cancelled a planned visit by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-moon was due to visit an industrial complex in the Kaesong economic zone run jointly by the North and South and would have been the first UN chief to visit North Korea in more than 20 years.

Speaking at a forum in Seoul, Ban Ki-moon said the move was “deeply regrettable” and that no explanation was given.

North Korea previously claimed it had miniaturized a device for the nuclear test it conducted in 2013 but experts have continued to debate how far along that process it is.

The latest announcement on nuclear advances follows the publication earlier this month of pictures apparently showing a missile being launched from a submarine. Some experts have said the images may have been doctored.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to North Korea has been canceled by the secretive country without explanations one day before he was due to arrive.

Ban Ki-moon, who was previously South Korea’s foreign minister, was due to visit an industrial complex in the Kaesong economic zone run jointly by the North and South.Ban Ki moon visit to North Korea

Speaking at a forum in Seoul, Ban Ki-moon said the move was “deeply regrettable” and that no explanation was given.

Ban Ki-moon would have been the first UN chief to visit North Korea in more than 20 years.

The UN secretary general said he wanted to promote reconciliation.

When he first announced the meeting on May 19, Ban Ki-moo said he would “urge North Korea to co-operate with the international community for the Korean Peninsula and for peace and stability”, reported Yonhap.

Ban Ki-moon was also due to meet South Korean business leaders and North Korean workers on his trip to Kaesong.


All Germanwings air crash victims have been identified and the remains will be returned to their families, a French prosecutor says.

The plane crashed in the French Alps on March 24 with 150 people on board.

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane after locking the pilot out of the cockpit, investigators say.

Experts have spent six weeks conducting DNA tests on the remains.

“The 150 death certificates can now be signed, as well as the 150 burial permits,” said Brice Robin, Marseille’s city prosecutor.Germanwings plane crash 2015

Brice Robin had previously said it was Andreas Lubitz’s “intention to destroy [the] plane”, which was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

Among the victims was a group of 16 students, 14 girls and two boys, and two of their teachers, from Joseph-Koenig school in Haltern, western Germany.

They were travelling back from a Spanish exchange program on the Germanwings flight.

The victims were from 18 countries, including Australia, Argentina and Japan, but most of those on board were either Spanish or German.

The plane, which took off from Barcelona, made its last contact with air traffic control half an hour later, before descending over the following ten minutes.

The Airbus plane crashed in a remote, snow-covered region in the French Alps.

On March 26, French investigators said information from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) found at the crash zone revealed that Andreas Lubitz had taken over the controls of the plane and sent it into a dive intentionally.

A full investigation report is expected to be completed in a year.

Hillary Clinton’s emails from her private server will be released in January 2016, the State Department has told a federal court.

Since launching her presidential bid, Hillary Clinton has been on the defensive about her use of the server to conduct official business while she was secretary of state.

The timing for the release could prove tricky for her campaign.Hillary Clinton email scandal 2015

The State Department says it will publish some of the 55,000 pages of emails online.

It proposed the date in court documents filed on May 18. The documents were in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by Vice News.

The proposed date falls just a few weeks before the Iowa caucuses and other early state primary elections.

John Hackett, the state department official in charge of handling FOIA requests, said the 55,00 pages of emails were delivered in paper form and would require time to review before their release.

“Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments,” he said.

Hillary Clinton, who voluntarily turned over emails from the server after discarding the ones she deemed personal, has said she wants the department to release the emails as soon as possible.

Lindsey Graham has confirmed that he will run for the White House in 2016.

The South Carolina Republican senator has told CBS This Morning that he would make an official announcement on June 1st in his home town of Central.

When asked why he was considering it, Lindsey Graham said “I’m running” because “the world is falling apart” and he would make the best commander-in-chief.

Lindsey Graham becomes the seventh leading Republican to join a crowded field.Lindsey Graham White House 2016

He has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East.

Lindsey Graham wants US ground troops to be sent into Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS, to prevent terror attacks in the US.

When asked by CBS whether he thought the Republican field was weak, Lindsey Graham revealed his intention to run himself.

“I’m running because of what you see on television, I’m running because I think the world is falling apart, I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy,” he said.

Lindsey Graham added: “It’s not the fault of others, or their lack of this or that that makes me want to run, it’s my ability in my own mind to be a good commander-in-chief and to make Washington work.”


Thailand’s ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra has pleaded not guilty in a brief hearing at the start of her trial on charges of negligence.

Yingluck Shinawatra, 47, faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of dereliction of duty over her role in a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

The former prime minister told crowds outside the court in Bangkok she would prove her innocence.

Yingluck Shinawatra was forced to step down last year shortly before a military coup.

She maintains that the charges she faces are intended to keep her out of politics. The next hearing in the trial has been scheduled for July 21.Yingluck Shinawatra negligence trial Thailand

Meanwhile Yingluck Shinawatra’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra – himself ousted as prime minister by a previous coup in 2006 – has made a rare public appearance in Seoul, South Korea, saying he believed “democracy will prevail” in Thailand.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court forced Yingluck Shinawatra from office in early May 2014 after finding her guilty of abusing her power. Weeks later, the military seized power saying it needed to restore order following months of street protests.

In January 2015, Yingluck Shinawatra was retroactively impeached by a military-appointed legislature for her role in the rice subsidy scheme. She was also banned from politics for five years.

The scheme paid rice farmers in rural areas – where Yingluck Shinawatra’s party has most of its support – twice the market rate for their crops, in a program that cost the government billions of dollars.

Arriving at the Supreme Court on May 19, Yingluck Shinawatra told journalists she was confident of her innocence.

“I prepared myself well today and am ready to defend myself,” Reuters quoted the former prime minister as saying.

“I hope that I will be awarded justice.”

A small group of her supporters outside the court chanted “Yingluck, fight, fight!” as she arrived, though political gatherings are illegal under Thailand’s military rule.

Yingluck Shinawatra says she was not involved in the scheme’s day-to-day operations and has defended it as an attempt to support the rural poor.

Thaksin Shinawatra was removed by a previous coup in 2006. He now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

However, the influence of the family persists, with parties allied to the Shinawatras winning every election since 2001.

They are loved in the rural north for their populist policies, but hated by Thailand’s elite who accuse them of corruption.