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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.

Mustafa Akinci has won the presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Standing as an independent, leftist Mustafa Akinci, 67, won 60.3% of the votes in Sunday’s runoff, according to election commission figures.

He defeated incumbent conservative President Dervis Eroglu, a conservative elected five years ago.

Mustafa Akinci has said he would work with renewed urgency to find a peace deal on Cyprus after four decades of division.

The island was divided in 1974 by a Turkish invasion staged in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup staged to secure a union with Greece.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Peace negotiations came to a halt last October, when Greek Cypriots walked out in protest over Turkish rights to explore natural gas off northern Cyprus.

Correspondents say that Mustafa Akinci is viewed as a moderate who can push forward the stalled reunification talks that are expected to resume next month.

The new president capitalized on a wave of discontent against Dervis Eroglu, who failed to unite right-wing supporters.

“We achieved change and my policy will be focused on reaching a peace settlement,” Mustafa Akinci told thousands of joyful supporters at a victory rally.

“This country cannot tolerate any more wasted time.”

Mustafa Akinci said that he had already spoken to Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and that they had agreed to meet soon.

“[Nicos] Anastasiades and I are [of] the same generation… If we can’t solve this now, it will be a tremendous burden on future generations,” he said, pointing out that the strength of his victory was a riposte to those who accused him of selling out to Greek Cypriots.

Mustafa Akinci earned his political colors during a 14-year term as mayor of the Turkish-Cypriot half of the capital Nicosia from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.

According to the Nepalese authorities, at least 3,218 people are now known to have died in a massive earthquake which hit the country on April 25.

Rameshwor Dangal, head of Nepal’s disaster management agency, said another 6,500 people had been injured.

Dozens of people are also reported to have been killed in neighboring China and India.

Thousands have spent a second night outside after the 7.8-magnitude quake, which also triggered deadly avalanches on Mount Everest.

Vast tent cities have sprung up in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, for those displaced or afraid to return to their homes as strong aftershocks continue.

Rescue missions and aid have started arriving to help cope with the aftermath of the earthquake, the worst to hit Nepal for more than 80 years.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The weather cleared on April 27 and helicopters are heading out to the Mount Everest base camp to try to bring down 210 stranded climbers.

The roads to the earthquake’s epicenter, northwest of the capital, have also been cleared and rescue teams are on their way.

Efforts to dig victims out from under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kathmandu are also continuing.

Home ministry official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told Reuters rescuers were “in a really bad shape” after working non-stop for two days.

Meanwhile, officials have warned that the number of casualties could rise as rescue teams reach remote mountainous areas of western Nepal.

Initial reports suggest that many communities – especially those close to mountainsides – suffered significant quake damage.

“Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides, and it’s not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls,” World Vision spokesman Matt Darvas said.

In Dhading district, 50 miles west of Kathmandu, people were camped in the open, the hospital was overflowing, the power was off and shops were closed, Reuters news agency reported.

A powerful aftershock was felt on April 26 in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest.

The 6.7-magnitude tremor, centered 40 miles east of Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city.

It brought down some houses that had been damaged in the initial quake.

At hospitals rattled by the aftershocks, staff moved sick and injured patients outside on Sunday afternoon.

Both private and government hospitals have run out of space and are treating patients outside, officials say.

Deepak Panda, a disaster management official, said medical services were “overwhelmed with rescue and assistance requests from all across the country”, Reuters reports.

Foreign climbers and their Nepalese guides around Mt Everest were caught by the tremors and a huge avalanche that buried part of the base camp in snow.

At least 18 people were killed and 60 more injured; many people are still missing.

At least four out of seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley – three of them ancient city squares – were severely damaged.

In Bhaktapur, until now Nepal’s best preserved old city, reports say half of all homes have been destroyed and 80% of temples damaged.

Nearly 2,000 people were killed on April 25 in the worst earthquake that struck Nepal in more than 80 years.

More than 700 have died in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu alone.

Rescue efforts in Nepal are intensifying as many countries and charities have offered aid to deal with the disaster.

Seventeen people have been killed on Mount Everest by avalanches – the mountain’s worst-ever disaster.

Meanwhile a powerful aftershock was felt on April 26 in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest.

The 6.7 magnitude tremor, centered 40 miles east of Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city.

Screams and the sound of an avalanche could be heard as an Indian mountaineer was interviewed by phone from near Everest by Reuters news agency.

The death toll from the original earthquake could rise, as the situation is unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access.

Many mountain roads are cracked or blocked by landslides.

Scores of bodies have been ferried to hospitals in Kathmandu, many of which are struggling to cope with the number of injured.

More than 1,000 people have been reported dead in Nepal after a powerful earthquake struck the country on April 25.

More than 1,700 people had been injured.

Many more are feared trapped under rubble, officials say.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest.

The government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

Nepali Information Minister Minendra Rijal said there had been “massive damage” at the epicenter, from where little information is emerging.

“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” he said.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The US is sending a disaster response team to Nepal and has released an initial $1 million to address immediate needs, the USAid has said.

Rescuers are digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital trying to reach survivors, as thousands prepare to spend the night outside as darkness fell.

A number of historic buildings have been destroyed.

Among those wrecked was the landmark Dharahara tower, with many feared trapped in its ruins.

After the earthquake struck, frightened residents came out into the streets. Mobile phones and other communications have been disrupted.

There are also reports of damage to Kathmandu airport which could hamper relief operations.

With little known about the extent of the damage around the earthquake’s epicenter, there are fears the death toll could rise.

Aftershocks continued to ripple through the region hours later.

The tremor triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least eight people, and another five in Tibet, officials and reports say.

At least 35 people have been killed in India, Indian officials say, with one death also reported in Bangladesh.

India’s PM Narendra Modi has met his ministers to review the situation. Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif has pledged help for the Nepalese authorities.

Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud has been killed in a drive-by shooting in Karachi after hosting a talk on allegations of torture in the province of Balochistan.

Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead as she drove home with her mother, who was also attacked.

She had been the subject of death threats before.

Tributes were paid to her on social media as soon as news of her death emerged.

Sabeen Mahmud was a director of the charity The Second Floor, also known as T2F.

T2F regularly holds seminars on human rights issues. It houses a cafe and book shop where Karachi’s liberal activists and students can meet.

The seminar on torture in Balochistan was held at T2F, having been cancelled by university authorities in Lahore, where it had been due to take place in the last few weeks.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr

Taliban militants, Baloch separatists and other groups fight in Balochistan, which borders Iran.

Shortly after leaving the event, Sabeen Mahmud and her mother were shot.

According to Dawn newspaper, Sabeen Mahmud died on her way to hospital, and that she had been shot five times.

The newspaper reported that Sabeen Mahmud’s mother is in a critical condition in hospital.

No group has yet said it carried out the attack, though Sabeen Mahmud is believed to have been the subject of threats by the Pakistani Taliban in the past.

Sabeen Mahmud set up T2F having already established a charity, PeaceNiche, in Karachi.

She said she “maxed out seven credit cards” to keep the centre going.

Sabeen Mahmud also helped promote the importance of learning computer skills among Pakistani youth, and hosted hundreds of events at T2F.


Poland has banned The Night Wolves biker gang backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin from entering the country.

The Night Wolves had planned to enter next week as part of a ride across Europe to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War Two.

Poland’s PM Ewa Kopacz had called the plan a “provocation”.

The Night Wolves’ vice-president, Felix Chernyakhovsky, has insisted the bikers still intend to make the trip.

“Everything remains the same. We’re starting tomorrow as planned,” he told Interfax news agency.

The Night Wolves are subject to US sanctions for alleged active involvement in Crimea and for helping to recruit separatist fighters for Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.Vladimir Putin biker gang The Night Wolves

Russia’s foreign ministry said it was “outraged” at Poland’s decision.

A Facebook page entitled “No to the Russian bandits’ ride through Poland” quickly gained support from more than 10,000 people.

Warsaw has been a strong critic of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

The Polish foreign ministry said three other Russian biker groups would be allowed into the country.

The ministry said it was notified of the group’s plans only on April 20, and without details of the route or number of participants.

It added that it had informed the Russian embassy in Warsaw that the lack of information meant “it could not ensure proper security for the participants”.

However, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “It is clear that the decision that was taken has a political motive.”

The Night Wolves intend to cross several countries, following a path taken by the Red Army in World War Two, with the aim of arriving in Berlin in time for May 9 Victory Day celebrations in Moscow.

The 3,720 mile road trip would take them through Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, before reaching Germany.


According to a new survey, Switzerland is the world’s happiest country.

The country of chocolates and clocks topped the third annual World Happiness index produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an initiative under the United Nations.

Switzerland was closely followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada.

Togo, Burundi, Benin and Rwanda, with civil-war wracked Syria, were least happy.World Happiness Report 2015

The survey was released on the eve of presidential elections in Togo, where one family has been in power for 48 years.

The World Happiness Report examined 158 countries and is aimed at influencing government policy.

The study bases its rankings on data from the Gallup World Poll and takes into account variables such as real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, corruption levels and social freedoms.

“Increasingly happiness is considered a proper measure of social progress and goal of public policy,” the report said.

“A rapidly increasing number of national and local governments are using happiness data and research in their search for policies that could enable people to live better lives.”

The SDSN is comprised of people from academia, government and the private sector and was first launched in 2012.

World’s Happiest Countries Top 5:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Iceland
  3. Denmark
  4. Norway
  5. Canada

World’s Least Happy Countries Top 5:

  1. Togo
  2. Burundi
  3. Syria
  4. Benin
  5. Rwanda


The centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, one of the bloodiest of World War One, is marked with series of events held around the world.

Princes William and Harry have met relatives of veterans on HMS Bulwark, ahead of a service on the Turkish peninsula.

Australia, New Zealand and Turkey leaders will also attend the events.

About 131,000 people – 45,000 Allied forces and 86,000 from Turkey – died in the campaign, which began in 1915.

The fatalities included about 25,000 British forces, 10,000 from France and 10,000 from Australia and New Zealand.

The series of events – to mark the 100th anniversary of the landings – will begin with a Commonwealth and Irish commemoration.

Warships from Allied nations will fire a salute in honor of the sailors who died.

There will also be an international ceremony organized by Turkey and a service to mark France’s participation in the battle.Gallipoli centenary

The events will commemorate the World War One campaign when allied forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in modern-day western Turkey – then part of the Ottoman Empire – in April 1915.

However, the invasion failed, with the Allied forces unable to advance more than a few miles inland.

A bloody stalemate ensued which lasted until Allied troops evacuated the peninsula eight months later in January 1916.

Events will continue on April 25 with services to mark ANZAC Day, which is widely marked in Australia and New Zealand.

The centenary is expected to be the largest ever commemoration of the battle, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Australian PM Tony Abbott, New Zealand PM John Key and Prince Charles leading the ceremonies.

Thousands of Australians, New Zealanders and Turks are also expected to make the journey to Gallipoli for the anniversary, including relatives of those who fought and died at Gallipoli.

There are no longer any surviving veterans of the campaign.

In London, Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh – who is patron of the Gallipoli Association – and Prince William will be joined by senior government and military figures to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.


Armenia marks the centenary of the start of mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande joined other leaders at the memorial for the victims on the outskirts of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died, a figure disputed by Turkey.

Turkey objects to the use of the term “genocide” to describe the killings.

The issue has soured relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Turkey accepts that atrocities were committed but argues there was no systematic attempt to destroy the Christian Armenian people. It says many innocent Muslim Turks also died in the turmoil of war.

A memorial service will also be held in Turkey on April 24 and PM Ahmet Davutoglu has said the country will “share the pain” of Armenians.

However, Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated Turkey’s stance that the killings were not genocide.

Turkey is also hosting ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli.Armenian genocide centenary

However, the actual fighting in Gallipoli began on April 25, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has accused Turkey of “trying to divert world attention” from the Yerevan commemorations.

After the flower-laying ceremony in Yerevan, Serzh Sargsyan addressed the guests, saying: “I am grateful to all those who are here to once again confirm your commitment to human values, to say that nothing is forgotten, that after 100 years we remember.”

France’s President Francois Hollande said: “We will never forget the tragedies that your people have endured.”

April 24 marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Ottoman Turkey authorities arrested several hundred Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, most of whom were later killed.

The Armenians regard this as the beginning of the Ottoman policy of mass extermination of Christian Armenians suspected of supporting Russia, the Ottoman Empire’s World War One enemy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is also among those attending the ceremonies.

President Barack Obama issued a carefully worded statement for the anniversary, referring to “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century”, without using the term “genocide”.

During his 2008 presidential election campaign, then senator Barack Obama had vowed to “recognize the Armenian genocide” and in his new statement said: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed.”

However, Barack Obama’s phrasing has angered Armenian Americans.

Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said in a statement: “President Obama’s exercise in linguistic gymnastics on the Armenian genocide is unbecoming of the standard he himself set and that of a world leader today.”

On April 23, the Armenian Church canonized the 1.5 million people it says were killed in the massacres and deportations.

The church said it wanted to proclaim the martyrdom of those who died for their faith and homeland.

After the ceremony, bells tolled in Armenian churches around the world.

Also on April 23, German President Joachim Gauck described the killings as genocide, on the eve of a debate in the German parliament on the issue.

Earlier this month, Turkey recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis also used the word “genocide” in a reference at a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica.

France has been a strong advocate of recognizing the killings as genocide and President Francois Hollande has pushed for a law to punish genocide denial. The issue has strained Franco-Turkish relations.


Former CIA Director David Petraeus has been put on probation and fined for leaking material to his mistress Paula Broadwell.

David Petraeus resigned from his post at the CIA in 2012 after it emerged he was having an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

The retired four-star general could have faced a year in prison, after his guilty plea two months ago.David Petraeus sentence

David Petraeus led the 2007 troop surge in the Iraq war and served as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

He reached a plea bargain with prosecutors after admitting to leaking sensitive material to Paula Broadwell while she was working on a book about him.

Prosecutors said that he gave her eight binders of classified material in 2011, which he had improperly kept from his time leading the war in Afghanistan.

In a federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, David Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000.

Prosecutors recommended the same length of probation, but a smaller fine of $40,000.

Judge David Kessler raised the fine to “reflect the seriousness of the offence”.

Appearing in court before the sentencing, David Petraeus apologized for his actions.

Michael Brown’s parents are suing Ferguson authorities over their son’s death.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead by Ferguson police in August 2014.

The wrongful-death suit seeks a minimum of $75,000 compensation.

The shooting of the unarmed Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri became a national cause and sparked protests, some violent.

The shooting was reviewed by a grand jury, which decided in November not to charge Darren Wilson.

However, Michael Brown’s parents say they have new forensic evidence that raises questions about the police version of events.Michael Brown parents sue Ferguson

“The narrative of the law enforcement all across the country for shooting unarmed people of color is the same: That they had no other choice,” attorney Benjamin Crump said.

“But time and time again, the objective evidence contradicts the standard police narrative.”

Along with seeking punitive damages from the City of Ferguson, the suit also calls for a court order prohibiting the use of police techniques “that demean, disregard, or under-serve its African-American population”.

A St Louis County grand jury and the Department of Justice had declined to prosecute Darren Wilson, who resigned in November. Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.

This is not the only current civil case involving the police killing of an unarmed black man. In New York, the family of Eric Garner is seeking $75 million in damages.


Baltimore protests have increased day by day since April 21 after last week’s death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Freddie Gray, 25, died a week after being chased and arrested from a fatal spine injury under unexplained circumstances.

The US Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation.

A thousand people gathered on April 21 at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, kicking off seven days of protests against what they believe is excessive police force.

Photo AP

Photo AP

As people raised their hands, Pastor Jamal Bryant, one of the demonstrations organizers, said the gesture was not an act of surrender.

“It’s a sign of strength, of one unity and one commitment that we will not rest until we get justice for Freddie Gray,” he said.

Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12. Officials said that he ran away after he “made eye contact” with officers on patrol.

Officers pursued him and took him into custody minutes later. The officers’ reasoning for detaining Freddie Gray is not clear.

“There is no law against running,” Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters on April 20.

“Running while black is not probable cause,” Billy Murphy, a lawyer hired by Freddie Gray’s family, said.

Mobile phone video shows police pinning Freddie Gray to the ground before a detention van arrives to transport him to a police station.

In the video, officers are seen dragging Gray’s limp body into the van. It is not known whether Freddie Gray’s body was limp because of a deliberate act of defiance or because of a medical condition.

Freddie Gray was in the van for approximately 30 minutes. At one point, police stopped to put Gray into leg shackles after determining he had become irate.

He asked officers for medical care on multiple occasions, Anthony Batts said.

Freddie Gray was eventually rushed to hospital where he lapsed into a coma and died a week later.

A national debate over the use of police force has been going on since August 2014, when black teenager Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.


Michele Marie Leonhart, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will resign following allegations that agents attended parties funded by cartels.

Michele Leonhart’s retirement was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder.

The move follows a justice department report last month alleging that drug agents attended parties with prostitutes, some funded by local drug cartels, in a foreign country.

The DEA said the incidents had happened in Colombia.DEA Chief Michele Leonhart resignation

Correspondents say Michele Leonhart, who has run the agency since 2007, had been under pressure to resign since testifying to a congressional committee last week.

Following her appearance, a majority of the committee said they had lost confidence in her.

“Michele has led this distinguished agency with honor, and I have been proud to call her my partner in the work of safeguarding our national security and protecting our citizens from crime, exploitation and abuse,” Eric Holder said.

Eric Holder added that Michele Leonhart would leave the agency in mid-May.

According to the justice department report, the sex parties were held at government-leased quarters where the phones and laptops of agents were present.

It said that DEA investigators at the time had not reported the allegations because they “did not believe that the special agents’ conduct rose to the level of a security risk requiring a referral”.

The report said that several agents were also provided with money, expensive gifts and weapons.

One DEA official told investigators: “Prostitution is considered part of the local culture and is tolerated in certain areas called <<tolerance zones>>.”

Seven agents who admitted attending parties were given suspensions ranging from two to 10 days. One was cleared of wrongdoing.

The investigation had been instigated by Congress following reports from 2012 that Secret Service agents had hired prostitutes while protecting the president during a summit in Colombia.

John Hinckley Jr.’s lawyer has told a court his client should be permanently released from his mental health facility.

John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan, who survived, and three others outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington in 1981.

He was found not guilty by reason of insanity but was sent for treatment to a Washington hospital.

Currently, John Hinckley Jr. spends 17 days per month at his mother’s home in the nearby state of Virginia.

John Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry Levine, told a federal court on April 22 that the would-be assassin is “clinically ready” to leave St Elizabeth’s Hospital permanently because he has been in “full and stable remission” for more than two decades.John Hinckley Jr mental health

The lawyer is asking a judge to grant his client “convalescent leave”, which would allow him to live outside the hospital with regular visits to mental health professionals.

Prosecutor Colleen Kennedy disagreed and said more restrictions and conditions are necessary to keep John Hinckley Jr. and others safe.

His mother is 89 years old and lives near Williamsburg, Virginia.

While living with her, John Hinckley is allowed to live a normal life that includes unsupervised shopping and dining out, and occasional contact with the US Secret Service.

Ronald Reagan was just 69 days into his presidency when the attempt was made on his life.

The former president suffered a punctured lung, but survived after being rushed to a nearby hospital.

Three others were wounded, including White House aide James Brady who was shot in the head and suffered brain damage and partial paralysis.

A Secret Service agent and a police officer suffered lesser wounds.

A gun control law passed in 1993 was nicknamed The Brady Bill and the White House press briefing room bears James Brady’s name. He died in August of last year at the age of 73.


New York City’s buses must display a controversial advertisement that refers to Muslims killing Jews, a judge has ruled.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had opposed the advertisement, arguing it could incite terrorism and violence.

Judge John Koeltl rejected the argument and said the ad was protected under the US constitution, which enshrines the principle of free speech.

The ad, a parody paid for by the controversial American Freedom Defense Initiative, lead by notorious anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Gellar and author Robert Spencer, depicts a man wearing a scarf around his face, accompanied by this quote: “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.”

The quote adds that his actions are attributed to “Hamas MTV,” and then states: “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?“, with “Hamas TV” being a reference to Palestinian Media Watch’s translation of a hateful, anti-Israel music video released online.NYC buses must display Killing Jews ad

The ad includes a disclaimer that the ad’s statement does not reflect the MTA’s stance. It’s also not the first time the Authority will run an ad from the AFDI, which touts itself as a pro-Israel organization.

The ad has already been displayed on public transport in Chicago and San Francisco.

Judge John Koeltl said that although he was sensitive to security concerns, the MTA had underestimated the tolerance of New Yorkers and overestimated the potential impact of the ad.

“It strains credulity to believe that New Yorkers would be incited to violence by ads that did not incite residents of Chicago and San Francisco,” he said.

Judge John Koelt delayed enforcing his ruling for 30 days so the MTA could decide whether to appeal.

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said they were “disappointed in the ruling and are reviewing our options”.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is run by controversial blogger and activist Pamela Geller. It is listed as an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group.

South Korean PM Lee Wan-koo has offered to resign after facing accusations of accepting bribes.

President Park Geun-hye has not said if she will accept Lee Wan-koo’s resignation, but has expressed sympathy for him.

State news agency Yonhap said Park Geun-hye had called for a “thorough investigation” into the scandal.

Lee Wan-koo denies accepting 30 million won ($27,700) in illegal campaign funds in 2013, but has come under pressure to stand down.

Under South Korean law, politicians cannot accept more than 100,000 won in contributions.

The scandal erupted when businessman Sung Wan-jong was found dead earlier this month in a suspected suicide.

Sung Wan-jong was about to be questioned by authorities over allegations that he embezzled company money to bribe politicians.

Investigators found a note in his pocket listing the names of several people, including Lee Wan-koo, and numbers which appeared to indicate amounts paid to them.

An opposition party then called for Lee Wan-koo’s impeachment.

Referring to Lee Wan-koo’s resignation, Park Geun-hye said in a written statement: “I find it regrettable. I also feel sympathy for the agony of the prime minister.”

The president is currently in Peru on a four-day state visit. Yonhap reported that she would decide on whether to accept Lee Wan-koo’s resignation by next week.

Lee Wan-koo has been in the job for only two months.

He filled the position after a protracted hunt for a candidate to replace his predecessor, Chung Hong-won.

Chung Hong-won resigned shortly after the Sewol ferry disaster in April 2014 that killed more than 300 people.

A teacher at a school in Barcelona, Spain, has been killed by a 13-year-old student armed with a crossbow, local media say.

The suspect has been detained. His motive is unclear. Police have not confirmed the weapon used or whether he was a student at the Instituto Joan Foster.

At least four other people were injured in the attack.

The teacher killed was protecting another during the incident, El Mundo newspaper reports.Spain teacher killed with crossbow

According to Spanish media reports, the boy, said to be also armed with a knife, arrived at a class on Monday morning when he injured a teacher and her daughter, who was a student of hers.

Hearing screams, a male teacher who was there as a substitute entered the classroom and was killed.

Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias tweeted that he was appalled by the incident and has pledged his support for those affected.

Spain’s ANPE teachers union says it is the first documented case of a student killing a teacher in the country.

If the attacker is confirmed as a 13-year-old, he would not face charges as the age of criminal responsibility in Spain is 14.

Leaders of far-right Golden Dawn party are among 69 people who have gone on trial in Greece on charges including murder and being part of a criminal group.

The session began at a top security prison in Athens, without some of the key defendants present.

Security forces are braced for trouble, with party supporters and anti-fascist groups vowing to stage protests.

Golden Dawn polled third in the January general election.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Critics describe the anti-immigrant party as a neo-Nazi group.

All 18 of the far-right party’s lawmakers in the previous Greek parliament are among the defendants, but only a handful of them were in the specially-built courtroom for the start of the trial.

Leader Nikos Michaloliakos, 57, who was released recently from prison, is being kept under house arrest and was not in court on April 20.

The trial follows a lengthy investigation into the 2013 murder of anti-racist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a Golden Dawn supporter.

Golden Dawn has also been linked to the murder of a Pakistani immigrant and beatings of political opponents.

US Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull has been summoned over Holocaust comments made by FBI director James Comey.

Poland’s foreign ministry said James Comey had suggested in a Washington Post article that some Poles were accomplices.

After the summons, Stephen Mull said he made it clear the US believed “Nazi Germany alone” was responsible.

Six million Polish citizens were killed by the Nazis during World War Two, half of them Jewish.James Comey Holocaust Poland

In the Washington Post article on April 16, aimed at raising education about the Holocaust, James Comey wrote: “In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil.

“They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”

The words sparked a storm of protest in Poland.

Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski told Polish television the comments were an “insult to thousands of Poles who helped Jews”.

PM Ewa Kopacz said: “To those who are incapable of presenting the historic truth in an honest way, I want to say that Poland was not a perpetrator but a victim of World War Two. I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter.”

Ambassador Stephen Mull, who on April 19 attended ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis, said that any suggestion that “Poland, or any other countries other than Nazi Germany, bear responsibility for the Holocaust, is a mistake, harmful and insulting”.

After the summons, Stephen Mull said: “I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States.

“Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility. I now have a lot of work before me to make things right in this situation.”

However, Stephen Mull also said he believed the wider message of the article was that many people had either aided the Nazis or not done enough in response to the atrocities, including in the US.

The Washington Post on April 19 published a column criticizing James Comey’s comments.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has climbed Mount Paektu, the country’s highest mountain, KCNA reported.

Photos of Kim Jong-un show him standing on a snowy mountaintop, with the sun behind him.

His father, Kim Jong-Il, is said by the state to have been born on the mountain, however many historians say he was actually born in Russia.

Reports say Kim Jong-un reached the 2,750-metre peak alongside hundreds of fighter pilots and party officials.

“Climbing Mount Paektu provides precious mental pabulum more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon,” the Rodong newspaper quoted Kim Jong-un as saying to troops.

The purpose of the visit is said to have been to see pilots from the Korean People’s Army who have completed a tour of battle sites in the area.Kim Jong-un climbs Mount Paektu

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “pabulum” as “bland or insipid intellectual matter, entertainment”.

The peak of the volcanic mountain, lying on the border with China, is considered a sacred place in Korean folklore.

It is also part of the propaganda which glorifies the Kim family, who are said to have a “mount Paektu bloodline”.

Recently it has been claimed that Kim Jong-un could drive by the time he was three years old.

The regime also says that Kim Jong-Il, who ruled until his death in 2011, scored 11 holes-in-one the first time he ever played golf.

Like his father before him, Kim Jong-un makes many “field guidance trips” to army bases, factories and other important sites.

Analysts say this is his way of showing himself as an energetic man of the people.

North Korea has a troubled economy, with two-thirds of the population, approximately 16 million people, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, according to the UN.

A boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea killing hundreds of people, the Italian coastguard says.

A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying “between 500 and 700 migrants” capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

So far 28 people have been rescued.Mediterranean migrants

Earlier this week, 400 people are feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of Libya.

Maltese PM Joseph Muscat said that many people were feared dead.

Italian ships, the Maltese Navy and commercial vessels are all involved in the rescue operation in Libyan waters.

According to The Times of Malta, the migrants fell overboard when they rushed to draw the attention of a passing merchant ship.

The Italian coastguard’s spokesman said the fishing boat capsized about 130 miles off the coast of Lampedusa and 17 miles from the Libyan coast.

Twenty ships and three helicopters were currently involved in the rescue, he added.

Polls have opened in Finland, amid hopes that a new government will pull the country out of its three-year economic slump.

PM Alexander Stubb and his conservative National Coalition Party face a strong challenge from former businessman Juha Sipila and his centre-right Centre Party.

Juha Sipila has pledged create more than 200,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Finland’s economy has been the main issue during the election campaign.PM Alexander Stubb and Juha Sipila

A year of stagnation in 2014 was preceded by two years of recession and unemployment now stands at 9.2%.

The governing coalition has struggled to push through reforms, leading to a reduction in support for Alexander Stubb ahead of polling day.

A poll published on April 16 by public broadcaster YLE put support for the National Coalition at 16.9%, behind the Centre Party at 24%.

Juha Sipila, an IT millionaire, was relatively unknown in Finland until he became leader of the Centre Party three years ago.

He has publicly criticized Alexander Stubb’s plans to cut 6 billion euros from budget deficits over the coming four years, dismissing the proposal as unrealistic.

It is unclear clear who Juha Sipila will choose to form a coalition with, if he is elected prime minister.

Polls put the Social Democrats at 15.1% and the eurosceptic right-wing Finns Party at 16.7%.

At least two Cuban dissidents will be standing for the first time in municipal elections on April 19.

Hildebrando Chaviano is an independent journalist and lawyer, and Yuniel Lopez a member of an outlawed political party, the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party.

Yuniel Lopez and Hildebrando Chaviano are standing for places on local councils in Havana.

Their election would be unprecedented in Cuba’s single-party system.

Both Hildebrando Chaviano and Yuniel Lopez told foreign press agencies they thought the government was caught off guard by the strength of their support in the opening round.

Like half of the 27,000 candidates for municipal posts, the two were selected by a show of hands in a local neighborhood meeting. The final round of the elections is by secret vote – there is no campaigning.Cuba municipal elections 2015

“We have to take advantage of the moment,” Hildebrando Chaviano said.

“No-one from the government was expecting us to be nominated and even less that we would become candidates.”

Yuniel Lopez said: “Some people say that there is fear in Cuba, and I say that people have lost their fear.”

They are running for seats on municipal assemblies that oversee local matters that include water supplies, street repairs and insect fumigation.

Municipal assemblies also nominate candidates for half the representatives on provincial assemblies.

The provincial assemblies then nominate candidates for half the members of the National Assembly, which elects Cuba’s ruling Council of State, which in turn elects the president.

The other half of the candidates at municipal and provincial level are selected by a government electoral commission, ensuring continued Communist Party control.

President Raul Castro began introducing gradual but wide-ranging economic reforms in 2010.

He also promised changes to the electoral system, but has yet to provide details.

Observers say the fact that dissidents are on the ballot is the first indication that at least in appearance, Cuban authorities may be softening their control on politics.


US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert could face a “bigger mishap” than the knife attack to his face last month if he does not stop insulting North Korea with “laughable” accusations, a North Korean propaganda unit said.

Ambassador Mark Lippert said in a speech on April 15 that if North Korea improves its human rights record and takes steps to end its nuclear program, it will be rewarded with prosperity and better ties with the outside world, including the US.

North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Mark Lippert’s remarks were proof that Washington was intent on hostility.

Photo Yonhap

Photo Yonhap

“Lippert needs to drop the bad habit of rashly engaging in scheming chatter distorting the truth and instigating war by taking issue with us,” the committee said in a commentary published on April 16 on the Uriminzokkiri propaganda web site.

“Otherwise, next time, he could face a bigger mishap than getting cut in the cheek by a South Korean citizen,” it said.

North Korea frequently rails at the US, South Korea’s biggest ally, accusing it of preparing for imminent invasion.

A US State Department spokesperson said: “We have seen the statement which is unfortunately consistent with the nature of the regime and its rhetoric.”

Mark Lippert was slashed in the face with a fruit knife by a South Korean man with a history of erratic behavior at a breakfast forum in central Seoul that left a gash that required 80 stitches. He also suffered injuries to his arm.

South Korean police charged Mark Lippert’s attacker with attempted murder. He was not charged with any North Korea-related crime after being questioned over his multiple visits.

North Korea previously called the attack “deserved punishment” but denied any role in it.


Martin Richard’s parents have called on federal authorities to drop the death penalty as a possible punishment for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Martin William Richard, 8, was the youngest victim in the 2013Boston Marathon bombings.

Bill and Denise Richard’s son was one of three people killed in the explosions two years ago.

The Richards said an execution sentence “could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last week.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Martin Richard’s parents made their plea in a front-page piece in the Boston Globe on April 17.

“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” they wrote.

The Richards were injured in the attack and their daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs in one of the explosions.

“The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” they said.

Throughout the piece, the Richards never mention Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by name, electing instead to refer to him as “the defendant”.

“I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors,” US Attorney for Boston, Carmen Ortiz, said. She refused to go into specifics.

Families of other victims have expressed support for the death penalty.

The court will begin the penalty phase of the trial on April 21, one day after this year’s Boston Marathon.