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Diane A. Wade

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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.

Al passengers and crew members on board of Air Algerie flight AH5017 died after the aircraft crashed in Mali, says the French President, Francois Hollande.

Francois Hollande said one flight data recorder had been recovered, after French troops reached the crash site near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday after pilots reported severe storms.

The 116 passengers on the Air Algerie flight included 51 French citizens.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had been chartered from Spanish airline, Swiftair. It was flying from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, to Algiers.

There are no survivors from the Air Algerie AH5017 passenger jet that crashed in Mali photo

There are no survivors from the Air Algerie AH5017 passenger jet that crashed in Mali

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told French radio network RTL that “the aircraft was destroyed at the moment it crashed”.

“We think the aircraft crashed for reasons linked to the weather conditions, although no theory can be excluded at this point,” he said.

A team of 100 French soldiers, with 30 vehicles, had travelled to the crash site on Friday, a French defense ministry official said.

The team was part of a force that was deployed to Mali last year to combat an insurgency backed by al-Qaeda.

“French soldiers who are on the ground have started the first investigations,” Francois Hollande said on Friday.

“Sadly there are no survivors.”

Contact with Flight AH 5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou early on Thursday morning, Air Algerie said.

The pilot had contacted Niger’s control tower in Niamey at around 01:30 GMT to change course because of a sandstorm, officials say.

Burkina Faso authorities said the passenger list comprised 27 people from Burkina Faso, 51 French, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, two from Luxembourg, five Canadians, four Germans, one Cameroonian, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Swiss, one Nigerian and one Malian.

The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union.

The wreck of Air Algerie plane that disappeared with 116 people on board on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has been found in Mali, officials say.

The Burkina Faso army said Air Algerie flight AH 5017 had crashed about 30 miles from the Burkinabe border.

The wreckage has been found south of the Malian town of Gao.


Air Algerie flight AH 5017 had crashed about 30 miles from the Burkinabe border 640x359 photo

Air Algerie flight AH 5017 had crashed about 30 miles from the Burkinabe border

The searchers mission is complicated by the vast scale and daunting terrain of Mali. The area where the flight is suspected to have crashed is a sparsely inhabited region of scrubland and desert dunes stretching to the foothills of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. Much of it lies in the hands of Tuareg separatist rebels, who rose up against the government in early 2012, triggering an Islamist revolt that briefly seized control of northern Mali.

The Malian government has only a weak presence in the region and relies on French and U.N. peacekeepers for aircraft and logistical support.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday after pilots reported severe storms.

The passengers included 51 French citizens.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had been chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam, has met Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag flew to Rome with her family after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.

There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court.

Meriam Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.

She was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag has met Pope Francis at the Vatican 640x426 photo

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag has met Pope Francis at the Vatican

Welcoming her at the airport, Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi said: “Today is a day of celebration.”

Meriam Ibrahim met Pope Francis at his Santa Marta residence at the Vatican soon after her arrival.

“The Pope thanked her for her witness to faith,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quoted as saying.

The meeting, which lasted around half an hour, was intended to show “closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer for their faith,” he added.

There was no prior indication of Italy’s involvement in the case.

Lapo Pistelli, Italy’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, accompanied Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag on the flight from Khartoum.

He posted a photo of himself with Meriam Ibrahim and her children on his Facebook account as they were about to land in Rome.

“Mission accomplished,” he wrote.

Air Algerie flight AH 5017 crashed on July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said.

There were few clear indications of what might happened to the aircraft, or whether there were casualties, but Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago said it asked to change route at 01:38 GMT because of a storm in the area.

“I can confirm that it has crashed,” the Algerian official told Reuters, declining to be identified or give any details about what had happened to the aircraft on its way north.

Almost half of the passengers were French citizens, an airline official said.

“Currently we have no news of flight AH5017. Thank you”

Air Algerie flight AH 5017 crashed on July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board 640x368 photo

Air Algerie flight AH 5017 crashed on July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board

Two French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the airliner along its probable route, a French army spokesman said. Niger security sources said planes were flying over the border region with Mali to search for the flight.

Algeria’s state news agency APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso, but other officials gave differing accounts of the times of contact, adding to confusion about the plane’s fate.

Swiftair, the private Spanish company that owns the plane, confirmed it had lost contact with the MD-83 operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew.

A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country – which lies on the plane’s likely flight path – was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.

An Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso, Kara Terki, told a news conference that all the passengers on the plane were in transit, either for Europe, the Middle East or Canada.

Kara Terki said the passenger list included: 50 French, 24 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, four Algerians, two from Luxembourg, one Belgian, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian, one Ukrainian and one Romanian.

Lebanese officials said there were at least 10 Lebanese citizens on the flight.

A spokeswoman for SEPLA, Spain’s pilots union, said the six crew were from Spain. She could not give any further details.

Air Algerie has lost contact with one of its planes flying from Burkina Faso.

Contact was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou, Algeria’s national airline is quoted by state news agency as saying.

The passenger airliner, last seen at 01:55 GMT, was bound for the Algerian capital Algiers, it added.

The contact with Air Algerie AH 5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take off from Ouagadougou Burkina Faso 640x427 photo

The contact with Air Algerie AH 5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Flight AH 5017 had 110 passengers and six crew on board, officials said.

“In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan,” Air Algerie officials, quoted by APS news agency, said.

The plane is chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.

Swiftair said in a statement that the aircraft was an MD83 and that they were unable to establish contact with the plane. The plane was originally scheduled to land at 05:10 local time, it said.

Flight AH 5017 flies the Ouagadougou-Algiers route four times a week, AFP news agency reported.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese woman who was spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam, has flown to Italy after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family flew on an Italian government plane, accompanied by Italian minister Lapo Pistelli.

Her father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family flew on an Italian government plane accompanied by Italian minister Lapo Pistelli photo

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family flew on an Italian government plane, accompanied by Italian minister Lapo Pistelli

Lapo Pistelli, Italy’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, posted a photo of himself with Meriam Ibrahim and her children on his Facebook account as they were about to land in Rome.

“Mission accomplished,” he wrote.

Meriam Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, also a Christian, is from South Sudan and has US nationality.

Their daughter Maya was born in prison in May, shortly after Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to hang for apostasy – renouncing one’s faith – sparking global outrage.

Under intense international pressure, her conviction was quashed and she was freed in June.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag was given South Sudanese travel documents but was arrested at Khartoum airport, with Sudanese officials saying the travel documents were fake.

These new charges meant she was not allowed to leave the country but she was released into the custody of the US embassy in Khartoum.

Last week, her father’s family filed a lawsuit trying to have her marriage annulled, on the basis that a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects.

The judges said Poland had co-operated with the illegal transfers in 2002-2003, allowing two suspects to be interrogated on its territory.

It is the first such case concerning a CIA “black site” prison in Poland.

Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian, was arrested in Pakistan and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi, in Dubai.

Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects 640x429 photo

Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects

The court held that “the treatment to which the applicants had been subjected by the CIA during their detention in Poland had amounted to torture”.

The two men are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

They complained to the court that they had been tortured at a US-run facility in Poland called Stare Kiejkuty, where Nashiri was held for six months and Abu Zubaydah for nine.

The ECHR, in its press release on the case, said that “the Polish state, on account of its acquiescence and connivance in the HVD [extraordinary rendition] Program, had to be regarded as responsible for the violation of the applicants’ rights committed on its territory”.

It added that Poland had been aware that the men’s transfer to and from its territory had been carried out by the process of “extraordinary rendition”.

“Consequently, by enabling the CIA to transfer the applicants to its other secret detention facilities, the Polish authorities exposed them to a foreseeable serious risk of further ill-treatment and conditions of detention in breach of Article Three [prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment],” it said.

The court ordered the Polish government to pay each of the men 100,000 euros ($135,000) in damages. It also awarded Abu Zubaydah 30,000 euros to cover his costs.

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Two jets carrying bodies from crashed Malaysia Airlines plane have landed in the Netherlands where a day of mourning for the 298 victims has been declared.

Experts there will begin to identify the dead, most of whom were Dutch.

Pro-Russian rebels have been widely accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17.

UK government sources say intelligence shows rebels deliberately tampered with evidence, moving bodies and placing parts from other planes in the debris.

As fighting continued in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, officials in Kiev said that two aircraft, thought to be military jets, had been downed just 20 miles from the MH17 crash site.

The officials had no information on the cause of the crashes, or the fate of the pilots.

Planes carrying bodies from crashed MH17 flight have landed in the Netherlands 640x369 photo

Planes carrying bodies from crashed MH17 flight have landed in the Netherlands (photo EPA)

US intelligence officials had earlier released evidence to the media that they said showed the separatists’ involvement in bringing down flight MH17.

Rebels have also been accused of exaggerating the number of bodies transported from the crash site to the town of Kharkiv on Tuesday.

They had claimed 282 bodies had been loaded on to a train, but experts said only 200 could be verified.

The two military planes – one Dutch and the other Australian – carrying the first 40 coffins landed at Eindhoven air base to be met by members of the Dutch royal family, PM Mark Rutte and hundreds of victims’ relatives.

Churches around the Netherlands rang their bells for five minutes before the planes landed.

A fleet of hearses was standing by to convey the bodies to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks south of the city of Hilversum for identification.

PM Mark Rutte said that process could take months.

Earlier, the coffins had been slowly loaded on to the planes by a military guard of honor at Kharkiv airport in eastern Ukraine.

Ambassadors, officials and soldiers gathered to see off the planes.

Australian government envoy Angus Houston said the ceremony was intended to give the victims the “respect and dignity they deserve” after a “tragedy of unspeakable proportions”.

In a separate process, the “black box” flight-data recorders from MH17 have arrived in the UK, where they will be examined at the headquarters of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in Farnborough.

A rebel militiaman told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he had been ordered to the crash site minutes after the MH17 plane had gone down.

He said his commanders had told him: “We’ve just shot down one of the Kiev fascists’ planes.”

The militiaman said: “We thought we were looking for baled-out Ukrainian pilots but instead we found dead civilians.”

Earlier in Washington, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence presented evidence they had gathered on the involvement of the rebels.

“It’s a solid case that it’s an SA-11 [missile] that was fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create,” said the officials, who requested that their names not be reported.

They said the “most plausible explanation” for the shooting down of the plane was that rebels mistook it for another aircraft.

The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship is being towed on its final journey to the port of Genoa for scrapping.

Its removal is one of the biggest ever maritime salvage operations.

Costa Concordia struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people.

It was re-floated nine days ago and is being kept above the surface by giant buoyancy chambers. Over a dozen vessels will help to tow the ship.

The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship is being towed on its final journey to the port of Genoa for scrapping 640x422 photo

The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship is being towed on its final journey to the port of Genoa for scrapping (photo Getty Images)

The wreck was hauled upright in September last year but was still partially submerged, resting on six steel platforms.

The cruise ship is being towed to Genoa at two knots, almost at walking pace, with an escort of more than a dozen tug boats.

The journey, which is expected to take four days, began shortly before 09:00 local time.

Senior salvage master Nick Sloane said early on Wednesday that everything was going according to plan.

However, French ecology minister Segolene Royal has said she will monitor the ship’s movement from Corsica. Residents on the island fear that any oil leak from the cruise ship could cause significant environmental damage.

The Concordia is set to sail 15 miles from Corsica and close to the islands of Elba and Capri before its expected arrival in Genoa late on Saturday.

Investigators are still looking for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose body is the only one not to have been found.

The Costa Concordia’s owners, Costa Crociere, estimate the operation to remove the wreck from the reef and tow it for scrapping will cost 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) in total.

The first remains recovered from Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane that crashed in Ukraine last week are to be flown to the Netherlands for identification.

The Netherlands is holding a day of mourning for the 298 killed in the July 17 crash, 193 of whom were Dutch.

Meanwhile, US intelligence officials say pro-Russian rebels shot down the jet by mistake, but they have not found any direct link to Russia.

The plane crashed in a rebel-held area after apparently being hit by a rocket.

A refrigerated train carriage carrying about 200 bodies from the crash site arrived in the government-held city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.

About 50 coffins were laid out at the airport on Wednesday morning in preparation for the flight.

Investigators said they would continue to search the crash site for more bodies.

The first remains recovered from MH17 plane that crashed in Ukraine are to be flown to the Netherlands for identification 640x426 photo

The first remains recovered from MH17 plane that crashed in Ukraine are to be flown to the Netherlands for identification

The first bodies from flight MH17 are due to arrive in Eindhoven at 16:00 local time after a farewell ceremony attended by Ukrainian officials in Kharkiv.

Members of the Dutch royal family and PM Mark Rutte will meet the plane.

The bodies are then due to be taken to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks for identification.

Mark Rutte said that process could take months.

In a separate process, the “black box” flight-data recorders from MH17 have been handed to Dutch authorities by Malaysian officials.

The devices will be sent to Farnborough in the UK for analysis.

In Washington, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence presented evidence they had gathered on the involvement of the rebels.

“It’s a solid case that it’s an SA-11 [missile] that was fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create,” said the officials, who requested that their names not be reported.

They said the “most plausible explanation” for the shooting down of the plane was that rebels mistook it for another aircraft.

The evidence they presented included:

  • Satellite images of a facility allegedly used to train rebels near the Russian city of Rostov
  • Other images purportedly showing a surface-to-air missile launcher in the area
  • Analysis of voice recordings of pro-Russian rebels apparently admitting bringing the airliner down
  • Photos and messages from social-media sites pointing to rebel involvement

The US and other nations have accused rebels of blocking access to the crash site, putting valuable evidence at risk.

In Australia, former President Bill Clinton paid tribute to six HIV/Aids campaigners who were on board MH17.

Bill Clinton said their lives had been “overpowering in their contribution to a shared future”.

At least 67 police officers have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of spying and illegal wire-tapping.

The allegations involve police who were part of a corruption investigation that targeted PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle.

Among those arrested in raids that took place across Turkey are two former heads of Istanbul’s anti-terror police.

One of the two men, Yurt Atayun, told reporters: “They handcuffed me from behind. It’s all political.”

At least 67 Turkish senior police officers have been arrested over Recep Tayyip Erdogan spying allegations photo

At least 67 Turkish senior police officers have been arrested over Recep Tayyip Erdogan spying allegations

The Istanbul prosecutor said that thousands of people had had their phones tapped, including PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, senior ministers and the head of Turkish intelligence. Arrest warrants had been issued for more than 100 suspects, he said.

Two police commissioners and one department chief were detained in the capital, Ankara, Anatolia news agency reported.

The corruption inquiry emerged last December and led to the sons of three ministers being detained and, ultimately, four ministers leaving their jobs.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleges the investigation was orchestrated by supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, once his rival in Turkey.

The prime minister and his son, Bilal, were then caught up in February in a subsequent wire-tap which appeared to show them talking about hiding a large sum of money.

One of those arrested on Tuesday was the former deputy head of Istanbul’s financial crimes unit who was on duty at the time of the February operation, reports say.

European and US airlines have suspended flights into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport after a rocket landed one mile away.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered three US carriers that fly to Israel – Delta, United and US Airways – to halt flights for 24 hours.

European carriers Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France have also cancelled flights to Tel Aviv.

The move comes amid heightened scrutiny over flights near conflict zones.

Israel’s Transportation Ministry asked the airlines to reverse their decision, saying the airport was “safe for landings and departures”.

“Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” it said in a statement.

The FAA ordered three US carriers to halt Israel flights for 24 hours 640x426 photo

The FAA ordered three US carriers to halt Israel flights for 24 hours

The FAA’s prohibition only applies to US airlines. The agency has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.

However, Lufthansa – which includes Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines – said it had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days.

Air France and KLM also said they had suspended flights scheduled to depart on Tuesday.

However, Air France said a flight scheduled for Wednesday is still scheduled to depart.

Delta said a flight from New York City to Tel Aviv was diverted to Paris on Tuesday after Israeli police confirmed that a rocket landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion airport.

Both and United said they had suspended operations in Israel for the near future – beyond the FAA’s 24-hr period.

US Airways said it had not yet made a decision.

British Airways wrote on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring the situation. Our flights are currently operating as scheduled.”

The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza, and as airlines around the world re-think their flight paths over conflict areas in the wake of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Joko Widodo has been declared the winner of Indonesia’s highly contested presidential election.

The election commission said Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo – widely known as Jokowi – won 53.15% of the vote with his rival, ex-general Prabowo Subianto, on 46.85%.

Earlier, Prabowo Subianto alleged widespread electoral fraud and vowed to challenge the result.

Joko Widodo has promised a decisive break with Indonesia’s authoritarian past and better social welfare for the poor.

Before the official results were confirmed, the chairperson of Joko Widodo’s PDI-P party, Megawati Sukarnoputri, claimed victory on behalf of the candidate and his running-mate Jusuf Kalla.

“I want to declare that we, the party that supports and puts forward Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla, has won,” Megawati Sukarnoputri told reporters on Tuesday evening.

Indonesia’s politics has traditionally been dominated by establishment figures from the political elite and military.

Joko Widodo has been declared the winner of Indonesias highly contested presidential election 640x368 photo

Joko Widodo has been declared the winner of Indonesia’s highly contested presidential election

A former furniture-maker who grew up in a small village, Joko Jokowi, 53, is seen as a clean politician in touch with the masses. The Jakarta governor has proved to be particularly popular with urban and rural youth.

Joko Jokowi’s rival Prabowo Subianto is a former general closely associated with the traditional elite. He had the backing of media tycoons.

A former son-in-law of Indonesia’s ex-leader Suharto, Prabowo Subianto has faced multiple questions over alleged human rights abuses.

Jubilant supporters took to Twitter with congratulatory messages for Joko Widodo, using the hashtag #presidenbaru (New President).

Meanwhile about 100 supporters of Prabowo Subianto held a peaceful protest about 1,000ft from the election commission building in Jakarta, declaring Prabowo Subianto the real president, the Associated Press reports.

Prabowo Subianto said earlier on Tuesday that his camp would not resort to violence as it challenges the results.

Security was tight for the announcement, with more than 250,000 police officers on duty across the nation, amid fears that supporters from both camps would clash.

About 130 million votes were cast on July 9 following an intense election campaign.

It was followed by a controversial vote-counting period in which both candidates raised concerns about voting irregularities.

But Joko Widodo’s winning margin of 6% win is seen as decisive by analysts.

They say that even if Prabowo Subianto’s claim of electoral fraud in certain areas proved to be true, this would be unlikely to change the overall results.

Prabowo Subianto has three days to file an appeal with Indonesia’s constitutional court. The court has till August 22 to make a ruling on the results.

Indonesia will name its new president, following a hotly-contested election that saw both candidates claiming victory.

Most “quick counts” after the July 9 election placed Joko Widodo, the popular Jakarta governor, in the lead.

However, his rival Prabowo Subianto, a former general under dictator Suharto, said other polls showed he had won.

The Election Commission has since been tallying votes. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged both parties to respect the result.

Security will be tight for the announcement, with more than 250,000 police officers on duty across the nation.

There are fears the result could trigger violence between rival groups of supporters.

Both candidates Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo claim victory in Indonesia’s presidential election 640x397 photo

Both candidates, Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo, claim victory in Indonesia’s presidential election

Both candidates have raised concerns about voting irregularities during the past two weeks, as ballots from nearly 500,000 polling stations have been tallied.

Reliable polls point to a win for Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, by about five percentage points.

Official results from the sub-district and provincial levels that have been released so far also indicate Joko Widodo has won by between three and five percentage points.

But Prabowo Subianto’s camp have said they will not accept official results until allegations of cheating are probed.

Prabowo Subianto told reporters on Sunday that if the Election Commission did not investigate possible voting fraud, that was a “crime” that “very much calls into question the legitimacy of the whole process”.

He called on the Election Commission to delay announcing the result – a request the commission rejected.

The outgoing leader, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has called for calm, urging all Indonesians “to safeguard the final chapter of the election process”.

“It is important to value our unity, brotherhood and togetherness. When a nation is divided, to reunite is not easy,” he said at a meeting on Sunday with both candidates.

On Monday Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – whose party backs Prabowo Subianto – also appeared to suggest that he should accept the results, saying: “Conceding defeat is noble.”

Candidates have two weeks to appeal to the constitutional court following the announcement of official results.

About 130 million votes were cast on July 9 following an intense election campaign.

The race has been seen as a contest between new and old-style politics. Joko Widodo draws his support from the grass-roots and is unconnected to the traditional elite.

Prabowo Subianto, meanwhile, is the son-in-law of Suharto and has faced multiple questions over alleged human rights abuses under his regime.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico to protect against what he described as criminals, human traffickers and drug cartels.

Republican Rick Perry said he had to act because the federal government had failed to secure the border.

He said the troops would work alongside law enforcement.

The move comes after a surge of unaccompanied Central American children crossed the border illegally.

More than 57,000 children, many fleeing gang violence and extreme poverty at home, have crossed the border since October.

In a news conference, Rick Perry said criminals would see the influx of children as an opportunity to be exploited. And he said that more than 203,000 “criminal aliens” had been held in Texas jails since 2008.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico photo

Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico

“There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government’s failure to secure our border,” said Rick Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and has been named as a possible contender in 2016.

“The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America.”

The Texas National Guard deployment will cost the state of Texas as much as $12 million per month.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has called for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide some path to legal status for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the US as well as strengthen security at the border.

In response to the recent flood of illegal-immigrant children, Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to hire extra immigration judges, provide drone surveillance of the border, and fund medical services. Republicans in Congress rejected the request.

In Texas, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party accused Rick Perry of “photo-op politics” that ignored the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Local law enforcement, elected officials, and faith and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley have expressed concerned about militarizing the border, the need to create a short-term humanitarian solution, and solving the long-term need for comprehensive immigration reform,” Emmanuel Garcia said.

“Today, Governor Rick Perry ignored those voices.”

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South Korean police has confirmed that a body they found in June is that of Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive boss of the operator of Sewol ferry that sank in April, killing more than 300 people.

Billionaire businessman Yoo Byung-eun went missing shortly after the disaster, sparking a massive manhunt.

DNA samples from the body matched those of Yoo Byung-eun’s brother, police spokesman Woo Hyung-ho said.

Police had wanted to question Yoo Byung-eun on possible criminal negligence charges.

Yoo Byung-eun, 73, was head of the family that owned ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Yoo Byung eun went missing shortly after the Sewol ferry disaster sparking a massive manhunt photo

Yoo Byung-eun went missing shortly after the Sewol ferry disaster, sparking a massive manhunt

He went on the run shortly after the Sewol ferry, whose passengers were mostly schoolchildren, went down near Jindo island.

Yonhap news agency reported that police found a heavily decomposed body last month in a plum field in Suncheon, a city 186 miles south of Seoul.

Yoo Byung-eun was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate whether the disaster was caused by mismanagement.

Many of his family members have been arrested and his daughter, who lives in France, is currently fighting an extradition bid. His eldest son is still on the run.

In June, some 6,000 police officers stormed a church complex in Anseong city belonging to Yoo Byung-eun.

Four church followers were detained on charges of assisting his escape and police said they were looking for several more who had helped the billionaire.

Outside the church, supporters held up a large banner that read: “We’ll protect Yoo Byung-eun even if 100,000 church members are all arrested.”

A reward of 500 million won ($490,000) had been offered for information leading to Yoo Byung-eun’s capture and 100 million won for that of his son, Yoo Dae-Kyun.

The sinking of the Sewol triggered widespread grief and anger at the government, which has promised to overhaul its bureaucracy and improve emergency response.

Two separate trials, one for Sewol ferry’s captain and crew, and another for Chonghaejin Marine Co officials, began last month.

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John Kerry appeared to criticize Israel in candid remarks caught on an open microphone between television interviews Sunday.

The secretary of state was heard talking about Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza to a State Department official identified as Jonathan Finer just before appearing on the Fox News Sunday political talk show.

“I hope they don’t think that’s an invitation to go do more,” John Kerry says.

“That better be the warning to them.”

A frustrated John Kerry then says: “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation, it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” in apparent frustration over the civilian toll in the Israeli operation.

John Kerry appeared to criticize Israel in candid remarks caught on an open microphone between television interviews 640x430 photo

John Kerry appeared to criticize Israel in candid remarks caught on an open microphone between television interviews

The Palestinian death toll topped 500 on Sunday as Israel pressed a ground offensive into the densely packed Gaza Strip after two weeks of aerial attacks.

“We’ve got to get over there,” John Kerry is heard saying on the Sunday recording.

“I think, Jon, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around. Let’s go.”

When confronted over the remarks by Fox host Chris Wallace, John Kerry reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense.

“I think it’s very, very difficult in these situations, obviously very difficult,” he said.

“You have people who’ve come out of tunnels. You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We completely support that. And we support Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets that are continuing to come in. Hamas has started this process of rocketing, after Israel was trying to find the people who killed three young – you know, one American kid, three young Israeli citizens. It’s disgraceful,” John Kerry said.

“It’s tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that … anybody does with respect to young children and civilians.

“But war is tough, and I’ve said that publicly and I’ve said it again. We defend Israel’s right to do what it is doing in order to get at those tunnels,” John Kerry said.

He then urged Hamas to “step up and be reasonable and understand that you accept the cease-fire, you save lives.”

John Kerry traveled to Cairo early Monday for crisis talks on Gaza, following President Barack Obama’s call for an “immediate ceasefire” between Israelis and Palestinians in the conflict.

0 50

According to the UN nuclear agency, Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.

The conversion of its stock of 20%-enriched uranium was part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

The US said last week it would unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds in return for Iran’s compliance.

A four-month extension to talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions was agreed on Friday between Iran and world powers.

The talks are aimed at persuading Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms 640x359 photo

Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms

The six world powers involved in the talks – the US, France, China, Russia, Germany and the UK – suspect Iran seeks atomic weapons, which Iran denies.

The country insists that it is enriching uranium for use in nuclear power stations and for medical purposes.

Correspondents say Iran’s completion of eliminating its most worrying uranium stockpile is a promising sign that its leaders do not want to derail the diplomatic process.

A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran is observing all of its other commitments as well.

Iran had more than 200 kg of 20%-enriched uranium when the preliminary agreement to convert it was reached last November.

At 20%, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon and experts said 200kg was enough to make one nuclear warhead.

Negotiations between the six powers and Iran are set to resume in September, with the deadline for an agreement on November 24.

The parties have been unable to reach agreement on imposing long-term restrictions over Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium production – processes that could yield material for nuclear warheads.

In a joint statement after last week’s talks, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “There are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort.”

A deal could see the lifting of oil and trade sanctions on Iran.

Bolivia has passed a law allowing children to work from the age of 10 as long as they also attend school and are self-employed.

The law also permits 12-year-olds to be contracted to work for others. But they need parental authorization.

Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera said the new legislation reflects the needs of Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America.

It also sets harsher punishment for violence against children.

The law sets a sentence of 30 years in jail for child homicide.

Bolivia has passed a law allowing children to work from the age of 10 photo

Bolivia has passed a law allowing children to work from the age of 10 (photo UNICEF)

The measure, approved by Congress earlier this month, was signed into law by Alvaro Garcia Linera in the absence of President Evo Morales, who was travelling to Brazil.

“President Evo [Morales] intervened to make sure we found a balance between the reality and the law, between rights and international treaties,” added Alvaro Garcia Linera.

More than 500,000 children already work to supplement the family income in Bolivia according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Many work cleaning shoes and selling food in stalls in La Paz and other Bolivian cities. But others face extreme conditions in mines and in agriculture fields.

Evo Morales’s socialist government hopes the law will help eradicate extreme poverty in Bolivia.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) says children under the age of 15 should not be allowed to work.

However, the ILO allows a minimum working age of 14 for developing countries.

“It would have been easier to pass a law in line with international conventions, but it would not be enforced because Bolivia’s reality has other needs and characteristics,” said Alvaro Garcia Linera.

The ILO says it is studying the legislation to decide whether Bolivia breaches international regulations on child labor.

0 9

President Vladimir Putin has denied reports that Russia made a deal with Cuba to reopen an electronic listening post on the Caribbean island.

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War.

Speaking at the BRICS summit in Brazil, Vladimir Putin said Russia could “meet its defense needs without this component”.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper had earlier reported that Russia and Cuba had agreed to reopen the spy facility.

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War photo

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War (photo Reuters)

Vladimir Putin closed the base in 2001, citing concerns over its cost.

The paper said the deal to make the base operational again had been reached during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cuba last week.

A Russian security source quoted by Reuters news agency had confirmed the Kommersant report, saying “a framework agreement” had been agreed.

The Lourdes base began operations in 1967 and provided intelligence for Soviet state security bodies. It also handled secret communications for the Soviet navy.

In Soviet times some 3,000 specialists worked there, then in the 1990s Russia reduced the staff by about half. Kommersant said staffing on that level would not be required now, because of improvements in technology.

When Russia shut the base in 2001 the annual cost – the rent paid to Cuba – was $200 million.

Cuba was a Cold War hotspot. The crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962 almost escalated into nuclear war.

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Thailand’s ousted PM Yingluck Shinawatra has received approval to travel abroad for the first time since the military coup.

A military spokesman said the request had been approved because Yingluck Shinawatra had “kept a low profile” since her government was overthrown on May 22.

Reports suggest Yingluck Shinawatra will travel to France for the birthday of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted ahead of the military coup by Thailand’s Constitutional Court 640x435 photo

Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted ahead of the military coup by Thailand’s Constitutional Court

The military seized power after months of anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Thaksin Shianwatra, who turns 65 on July 26, was ousted in a coup in 2006.

He was removed by the military, kicking off a cycle of political instability in Thailand. Convicted of corruption by a Thai court, he has been living in self-imposed exile overseas.

Yingluck Shianwatra had asked to travel to Europe from July 20 to August 10, the military said.

They agreed because she had not “violated any orders of the NCPO [military junta] or any agreements, being the ban from politics or the ban on overseas travels” and had “given good co-operation all along”, spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree told a press conference.

At least 28 people died in the anti-government protests that brought Yingluck Shinawatra’s government down.

Yingluck Shinawatra herself was ousted ahead of the coup by a Constitutional Court ruling that said she had illegally transferred her national security head. She is currently facing charges linked to a controversial government rice subsidy scheme.

The US has announced it is increasing sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, targeting major banks, defense and energy companies.

Among those on the list are Gazprombank and Rosneft as well as senior officials in Russia and the self-declared rebel entities in eastern Ukraine.

The US has steadily escalated its sanctions against Russia over what it says is Moscow’s backing of the rebels – a claim denied by the Kremlin.

The EU also agreed to tighten its own sanctions against Russia.

The leaders of the 28-member bloc are currently holding talks in Brussels.

The new round of US sanctions announced by the US treasury department significantly expands previous penalties by Washington, which were limited to individuals in Russia and Ukraine and a number of companies.

President Barack Obama said the US sanctions were imposed because Russia had failed to fulfill it promises to de escalate the crisis in Ukraine 640x409 photo

President Barack Obama said the US sanctions were imposed because Russia had failed to fulfill it promises to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine

This time they include the giant oil firm Rosneft and two major banks – Gazprombank and Vnesheconombank.

The weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern is also on the list.

Two self-proclaimed rebel entities in eastern Ukraine – the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic – are also targeted.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama said the sanctions were imposed because Russia had failed to fulfill it promises to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

Barack Obama also stressed America’s support for Ukraine, saying that “Ukrainians deserve to forge their own destiny”.

The US penalties stop short of a complete disengagement with sectors of the Russian economy – a step that US officials said was being held in reserve in case Moscow launches a military invasion of Ukraine.

Russia denounced the US move. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia would take measures “that will be felt quite painfully in Washington”, Interfax news agency reports.

In Ukraine itself, heavy fighting continued in the east.

Ukrainian officials said 11 soldiers died in the space of 24 hours. The number of casualties among pro-Russian separatists was not immediately known.

[youtube gIKeuFp0nzE 650]

Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people, Russian investigators have announced.

The track supervisor and his assistant are suspected of using inadequate wiring during works on the line in May, the Investigative Committee said.

They have been questioned and charges are expected to be brought soon, it said in a statement.

A power surge is said to have caused the crash, which injured 162 people.

Wednesday has been officially declared a day of mourning in Moscow.

Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed killing 21 people photo

Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people (photo AP)

The two men arrested, named as track supervisor Valery Bashkatov and assistant supervisor Yury Gordov, are suspected of failing to properly monitor work carried out on a track switch mechanism in an underground tunnel.

“The switch mechanism was fixed with ordinary 3-mm wire, which snapped,” the Investigative Committee said.

The Moscow metro, one of the world’s busiest, is a vital transport artery for the city, transporting more than nine million people on weekdays below its traffic-clogged streets.

The train derailed between Slaviansky Boulevard and Park Pobedy (Victory Park) stations in the west of the city.

More than 1,100 people were evacuated.

The packed commuter train was travelling from the north-west of Moscow to the city centre at the time of the crash.

The tunnel where crash happened was built about 10 years ago.

Critics accuse the authorities of spending too much on extending the metro system, and not enough on maintenance.

Park Pobedy is the deepest metro station in Moscow, 84m (275ft) underground, which made the rescue operation particularly hard.

No foreigners were among the injured, the Interfax news agency said.

Militant attacks on Russia’s railways and transport networks have killed dozens of people in the past, but the emergencies ministry said there was no suspicion of such a cause in this case.

0 22

Former attorneys general in Utah, John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff, have been arrested on bribery charges, authorities say.

John Swallow, 51, and Mark Shurtleff, 56, are accused of accepting cash or campaign contributions from people facing potential scrutiny by the attorney general’s office.

Both men are also accused of attempting to cover up the alleged schemes.

If convicted, they face more than 15 years in prison. Both men have publicly maintained their innocence.

“This is a sad day for Utah,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert wrote in a statement.

Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow are accused of accepting cash or campaign contributions from people facing potential scrutiny by the attorney generals office 640x408 photo

Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow are accused of accepting cash or campaign contributions from people facing potential scrutiny by the attorney general’s office (photo Tribune)

“The entire situation, regardless of how the legal process plays out, is a black eye for our state.”

Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow were arrested at their homes on Tuesday morning, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told reporters, adding the investigation was ongoing and more charges may be filed.

John Swallow currently faces 13 charges including felony bribery, and Mark Shurtleff faces 10 charges.

Both are accused of accepting more than $50,000, as well as using personal property including a luxury jet and houseboat owned by a businessman in trouble with regulators.

They also allegedly stayed at an expensive beach resort, and accepted meals, clothing and massages paid for by another man charged with fraud by the Utah attorney general’s office months ago.

Mark Shurtleff was dogged by allegations of corruption while in office, departing in 2013 when John Swallow, his chief deputy, took the helm.

John Swallow resigned later that same year, claiming the scrutiny was too much for his family.

Probes by the US Department of Justice, the state bar and Utah elections officials were launched, and an investigation conducted by Utah lawmakers found John Swallow destroyed or fabricated records while in office.

“I absolutely maintain my innocence. We refute the charges,” John Swallow told reporters on Tuesday as he left jail.

“This finally gives us the opportunity to start to respond back.”

The death toll of this morning’s Moscow metro crash has risen to 19, the Russian emergency ministry has announced.

Scores were injured, some seriously, when a packed commuter train braked abruptly between stations in the west of the city in the morning rush hour.

Some of those hurt were carried out of the tunnel on stretchers, with the most serious cases airlifted to hospital.

The cause of the crash – one of the worst incidents ever on the metro – is reported to be a power surge.

The train derailed between Slaviansky Boulevard and Park Pobedy (Victory Park) stations in the west on the city.

The death toll of this mornings Moscow metro crash has risen to 19 640x450 photo

The death toll of this morning’s Moscow metro crash has risen to 19

Some 50 people were in a serious condition, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported, quoting a health official.

“The train slowed down abruptly, the lights went off, and then there was a spark of fire and smoke. We were blocked in,” one passenger told Russian TV.

Another, quoted by Reuters news agency, said: “We were trapped and only got out by some miracle. I thought it was the end. Many people were hurt, mostly in the front carriage because the cars ran into each other.”

A number of bodies were recovered from the wrecked carriages but some remained underground, officials said.

More than 1,100 people were evacuated.

The packed commuter train was travelling from the north-west of Moscow to the city centre at the time of the crash.

The tunnel where crash happened was built about 10 years ago.

Critics accuse the authorities of spending too much on extending the metro system, and not enough on maintenance.

Park Pobedy is the deepest metro station in Moscow, 84m (275ft) deep, which is making the rescue particularly hard.

No foreigners were among the injured, the Interfax news agency said.

Militant attacks on Russia’s railways and transport networks have killed dozens of people in the past, but the emergencies ministry said there was no suspicion of such a cause in this case.

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