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.
One Ukraine’s national guardsman has been killed and about 100 injured in violent protests outside Ukraine’s parliament, the interior ministry said.
Clashes between nationalists and riot police erupted after members of parliament gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east.
National guardsmen were pelted with fire crackers and petrol bombs as explosions were heard.
The reforms are part of a peace plan to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Protesters led by the populist Radical Party and the ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party – who fear the loss of the east to Russian-backed separatists – gathered outside parliament on August 31.
After a rowdy debate, 265 members of parliament out of 450 backed the first reading of the decentralization bill, granting more powers to areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said some 30 people have been detained, including a Svoboda member who confessed to throwing a grenade.
He bitterly criticized Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, writing on Facebook that several explosive devices had been thrown by people wearing Svoboda T-shirts.
A policeman’s leg was torn off below the knee in the blast, Interfax Ukraine reported, while journalists at the scene were also reported injured.
Almost 7,000 people have died since the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in March 2014, after Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
Pushing through greater autonomy for the rebel-held areas is a key part of the Minsk peace deal, originally signed in February.
During the summer, fighting between Ukrainian army forces and the rebels has escalated. But the two sides agreed last week to halt the violence on September 1, the day children in the region return to school.
Although the number of ceasefire violations appears to have fallen in recent days, OSCE monitors have warned that neither side was respecting the truce.
Under the draft constitutional changes going through parliament, there will be a special law covering local government in rebel-held areas.
However, parliament speaker Volodymyr Hroysman was adamant that would not mean special status for Donetsk and Luhansk, which rebel leaders have declared republics.
If President Petro Poroshenko is to succeed in pushing through the reforms, he will need the support of 300 members of parliament, seen as a tall order for the Ukrainian leader.
Petro Poroshenko is due to address the nation on the proposals and the violence outside parliament on August 31.
The name of Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, has been changed back to its original native Alaskan, Denali, President Barack Obama announced.
The mount’s name change comes after decades of controversy.
Denali translates to High One and is used widely by locals.
The 20,237ft (6,168m) peak was named by a gold prospector in 1896 after he heard that William McKinley had been nominated to become the US president.
Barack Obama announced the change ahead of a three-day visit to Alaska to highlight climate change.
“With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement announcing the change.
The statement went on to note that McKinley had never set foot in Alaska.
Alaska has been attempting to change the name to Denali for decades. However, its attempts to change it at a federal level have been blocked by Ohio, William McKinley’s home state.
It is unclear if Ohio will attempt to stop this name change.
William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States. He was assassinated early in his second term in 1901.
Speaking in a public address to mark Malaysia’s National Day, PM Najib Razak said he refuses to resign after mass protests, calling for national unity.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets at the weekend, urging the prime minister to step down over allegations he took hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds.
Najib Razak said such protests were “not the proper channel to voice opinions in a democratic country”.
He has denied pocketing $700 million of public money.
The payments, first revealed by the Wall Street Journal, came from the 1MDB state investment fund, which Najib Razak set up on coming into office in 2009.
Najib Razak has removed several leading officials who had criticized his handling of the scandal.
Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency has effectively cleared the prime minister, saying the money was from foreign donors.
Police says about 25,000 people took part in the two-day demonstration at their peak, though Bersih [Clean] – the pro-democracy group behind the rallies – put the figure at 300,000.
During his National Day speech, Najib Razak said it was clear the rest of Malaysia backed the government.
“We will never allow anyone from within or from outside, [to] simply walk in and steal, ruin or destroy all that we have built so far,” the state news agency Bernama quoted the prime minister as saying.
“Let us all remember, if we are not united, lose our solidarity and cohesion, all problems will not be resolved, and everything we have laboriously built will be destroyed just like that.”
Najib Razak said protests which “disrupt public order and only inconvenience the people” did not reflect maturity and were “not the proper channel to voice opinions in a democratic country”.
His coalition, Barisan Nasional, has governed Malaysia since independence 58 years ago.
However, the coalition’s support has declined in recent elections, and its critics have accused it of arrogance.
The movement against Najib Razak has been driven by influential former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed who was also at the rally in Kuala Lumpur on August 30.
Mahathir Mohamed, who led Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and was formerly a Najib razak ally, said it was untenable for him to continue in his position.
“There’s no more rule of law. The only way for the people to get back to the old system is for them to remove this prime minister,” he said.
“We must remove this prime minister.”
The rally in Kuala Lumpur was deemed illegal, but was allowed to go ahead, and ended peacefully late on Sunday.
Previous rallies held by the Bersih movement have been dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannon.
New Orleans marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with multiple events across the city.
At a memorial service, Mayor Mitch Landrieu recalled how residents had turned to each other for support.
Former President Bill Clinton later spoke at a concert in New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and displaced one million in 2004. It was the most expensive natural disaster in US history and caused destruction along the Gulf coast.
In New Orleans, the failure of the levee system left about 80% of the city under water.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu led a sombre tribute to the 83 unidentified victims whose bodies lie in mausoleums at the city’s Hurricane Katrina Memorial.
Photo Getty Images
“Though they are unnamed, they are not unclaimed because we claim them,” he said.
“We saved each other,” the mayor added.
“New Orleans will be unbowed and unbroken.”
Residents and community activists also gathered at the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward, where storm waters broke through and flooded the district.
After speeches, a parade took place through the neighbourhood, with some participants in colourful Mardi Gras dress.
Throughout the day, thousands took part in traditional musical parades through the city’s streets.
Former President Bill Clinton later spoke at a free concert at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center.
He said the sheer magnitude of what had been accomplished in rebuilding the city should not be underestimated, but that more work needed to be done so that the lines that divided communities – such as race and wealth – could be erased.
A ceremony was also held at the Superdome arena that housed thousands of displaced people after the storm.
President Barack Obama visited the Lower Ninth Ward on August 27, praising “the extraordinary resilience of this city and its people”.
Although New Orleans has largely recovered from the disaster, some – particularly from the African-American community – feel left behind.
On August 28, former President George W. Bush visited the city. His administration was criticized at the time over its slow response and the issue remains a source of deep resentment in New Orleans.
Thousands of Lebanese people took Beirut streets in protest at a government they say is corrupt and ineffective.
Security was high amid fears the demonstrations could turn violent, as similar protests did last weekend.
Organizers of Saturday’s mostly peaceful rally demanded the environment minister resign within 72 hours.
The government’s failure to solve the crisis over the disposal of rubbish led to the “You Stink” campaign.
The protesters have been calling on the government to hold snap parliamentary elections, and also want the interior minister held to account for excessive force by police at least week’s protests.
They poured into a major square in central Beirut, waving Lebanese flags and shouting anti-government slogans.
Many wore t-shirts with the words “You Stink”. Some were playing music and singing.
The rally was mostly peaceful although a small group of masked youths tried to break through barbed wire to reach the prime minister’s office. They set fire to rubbish and pelted police officers with stones and plastic bottles.
Barricades and barbed wire were installed around government buildings as security was increased ahead of the rally.
Amnesty International urged the security services to show restraint and called for an investigation into last week’s violence.
Rubbish has been piling up on the streets of Beirut since Lebanon’s largest landfill shut down last month with no ready alternative.
This led to the creation of the You Stink movement, which blames political paralysis and corruption for the failure to resolve the crisis.
The cabinet failed to reach agreement on August 25 on a way forward, saying the fees quoted by private waste management companies were too great.
Lebanon has been without a president for more than a year, while members of parliament have extended their own terms until 2017 after failing to agree on a law on fresh elections.
The conflict in neighboring Syria has also exacerbated political and sectarian divisions, and resulted in the arrival of 1.1 million refugees, putting a strain on the economy and public services.
Tropical Storm Erika hit the island of Dominica, in the eastern Caribbean, killing at least 20 people.
The storm caused floods and mudslides that have set the country back 20 years, Dominica’s PM Roosevelt Skerrit said.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic are now expecting 53mph winds.
A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, where the storm is expected on August 30.
PM Roosevelt Skerrit said in a televised address on August 28 that hundreds of homes, bridges and roads had been destroyed.
He said: “It is with heavy heart that I address you, you can well imagine the hell that it has been for me since I heard of the passing of Tropical Storm Erika and the damage it has done to our dear people and beloved country. But we all have to pull ourselves together.
“The extent of the devastation is monumental. We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica.”
Erika dumped 15in of rain.
At least 31 people on the island of 72,000 people have been reported missing, according to officials with the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency.
Other Caribbean nations have issued tropical storm warnings.
In Puerto Rico, Erika knocked out power to more than 200,000 people and caused more than $16 million of damage to crops including plantain, bananas and coffee, AP reported.
The US National Hurricane Centre said the system was expected to move north across the island of Hispaniola – shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic – where the high mountains would weaken it to a tropical depression on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as a precaution with officials urging people to prepare by stockpiling food and water and fuelling their vehicles.
Separately, in the Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Ignacio strengthened into a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90mph, centered south-east of Hilo in Hawaii, and moving north-west.
Vassiliki Thanou, Greece’s top Supreme Court judge, has been appointed caretaker prime minister ahead of early elections next month.
Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos named Vassiliki Thanou after efforts to form a coalition failed.
Last week, Alex Tsipras resigned as prime minister to seek a new mandate for office.
Vassiliki Thanou, 65, becomes Greece’s first female prime minister.
Elections are expected to be scheduled for 20 or 27 September.
Vassiliki Thanou’s appointment ends a week of fruitless negotiations as opposition party leaders tried unsuccessfully to form a government.
Alexis Tsipras stepped down as prime minister and called early elections after 25 of his members of parliament quit Syriza over the bailout he agreed with European creditors and formed the left-wing Popular Unity party.
In a statement live on television on August 20, Alexis Tsipras said it was now up to the Greek people to give their verdict on whether to continue with his government’s program.
Alexis Tsipras is expected to win the next election although it is unclear whether he will secure a majority government.
However, he has ruled out a coalition with any of the more centrist opposition parties: centre-right New Democracy, the socialist Pasok party or the small centrist The River (To Potami) party.
Earlier this week an opinion poll for Greece’s Vergina TV suggested support for Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party had declined to 24%, down from 34% in July.
New Democracy was in second with 22%, while the far-right Golden Dawn ranked third with 6%.
Popular Unity, which split from Syriza, was put on 4.5%.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, who formed Popular Unity, was the last of three party leaders who were given the chance form a government in the past week.
He used the opportunity to air his anti-bailout message before handing back the mandate to the president on Thursday.
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis decided not to join Popular Unity despite his opposition to the €86 billion ($96 billion) eurozone bailout agreed by his successor Euclid Tsakalotos.
More than 20 migrants have been found dead in a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, local authorities say.
The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose.
The truck has been moved to an undisclosed location for detailed examination.
The shocking find comes as a summit focusing on migration takes place in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Tens of thousands of migrants from conflict-hit states in the Middle East and Africa have been trying to make their way to Europe.
Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann said the tragedy showed once again “how necessary it is to save lives by combating criminals and people traffickers”.
The vehicle – a refrigerated truck with Hungarian license plates – was parked off the A4 highway between Parndorf and Neusiedl am See, according to Burgenland police chief Hans Peter Doskozil.
Officers had found at least 20 bodies inside the truck, but there could be 30, 40 or even 50 inside, he told Austrian TV.
The truck was found late on Thursday morning, August 27, but had been there since at least August 26, Peter Doskozil said.
The victims had been dead for some time.
At 15:30 local time the truck was towed away, and was due to be taken to a hall in the local area for further examination, Austrian media report.
Only there would the truck be opened and the recovery of the bodies begin, the authorities said.
The truck bears the logo of a Slovakian poultry company, Hyza, which said in a statement that the vehicle no longer belonged to the firm – but the new owners had not removed the branding.
Hungarian police are working with Austrian police on the investigation, a spokesman for the Hungarian prime minister said.
Hungary had been informed that the driver was Romanian, the spokesman said.
In Vienna, Serbia and Macedonia have told the summit on migration that EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe.
Austria has complained that the EU has failed to address the problem of people entering via the Western Balkans.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today’s find “reminds us to tackle the issue of migration with European spirit and find solutions”.
A record number of 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month and on August 26 police counted more than 3,000 crossing into Serbia.
Meanwhile migrants are continuing to die as they try to reach Europe via the central Mediterranean route. The bodies of at least 51 people were found on August 26 in the hold of a stricken ship off the coast of Libya.
President Barack Obama apologized to Japan after WikiLeaks claimed Washington had spied on Japanese politicians, a government spokesman said.
Barack Obama held a telephone conversation with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe on August 26, spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, adding that the pair agreed to work together on global economic issues in the wake of a stock market meltdown sparked by fears over China.
“President Obama said he was very sorry… as the case caused a big debate in Japan,” Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference, without confirming the spying claims.
He added that PM Shinzo Abe reiterated his “serious concern” over the case.
“Prime Minister Abe told [Barack Obama] that, if the Japanese people concerned were subject to these activities, it would risk jeopardizing trusting relations between allies,” Yoshihide Suga said.
In an earlier conversation with VP Joe Biden, Shinzo Abe voiced similar concerns if the spying claims were confirmed.
Last month, WikiLeaks said it had intercepts revealing years-long espionage by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Japanese officials and major companies.
Tokyo’s response has been widely seen as muted compared to the anger expressed in France and Germany following similar NSA spying allegations.
Japan is one of Washington’s key allies in the Asia-Pacific region and they regularly consult on defense, economic and trade issues.
According to a French prosecutor, the Thalys train attack on August 21 was premeditated and well prepared.
Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25, was carrying 270 bullets for his assault rifle and a bottle of petrol, prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters on August 25.
The suspect’s phone showed that he had watched a jihadist video shortly before launching the attack, Francois Molins added.
Ayoub El-Khazzani was overpowered by passengers on the Thalys train. No-one died.
Three Americans and one Briton who tackled the gunman were awarded medals for their bravery.
“Ayoub El-Khazzani had watched YouTube audio files whilst already on the Thalys train in which an individual called on the faithful to fight and take up arms in the name of the Prophet [Muhammad],” Francois Molins told a news conference.
Francois Molins said a formal terrorism investigation had been opened, adding that other European authorities had passed on information about the suspect’s travels and links to radical Islam.
French President Francois Hollande presented three Americans and a British man who foiled a suspected terror attack on a train with the Legion d’honneur at the Elysee Palace, France’s top honor.
Two other unnamed passengers will receive the honor at a later date.
Americans Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Briton Chris Norman and two other passengers overpowered a suspected radical Islamist on a high-speed train bound for Paris on August 21.
French authorities are questioning the suspect, Moroccan national Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25.
President Francois Hollande pinned the medals on the chests of the four passengers at the ceremony in Paris on August 24.
Before the awards, the president said: “We are here to honor four men who, thanks to their bravery, managed to save lives. They showed what could be done in terrible circumstances.
“In the name of France, I would like to thank you. The whole world admires your bravery. It should be an example to all of us and inspire us. You put your lives at risk in order to defend freedom.”
Francois Hollande added: “A terrorist decided to commit an attack. He had enough weapons and ammunition to carry out real carnage, and that’s what he would have done if you hadn’t tackled him at a risk to your own lives.
“You gave us a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope.”
Belgian PM Charles Michel and the US Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, attended the ceremony, along with the head of the French rail firm, SNCF.
The Legion d’honneur was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The award is divided into five categories and the passengers are expected to receive the chevalier, the most commonly awarded.
A French-American passenger who was wounded in the attack, and a French citizen who first encountered the gunman and tried to overpower him, will receive the honor later.
Francois Hollande named the French-American as 51-year-old Mark Moogalian, who is still in hospital. The other man wishes to remain anonymous.
The Americans spoke on August 23 about the incident.
Spencer Stone, an off-duty US airman, said he had just woken from a deep sleep when he saw the gunman and moved to restrain him.
He was the first of the three to reach the gunman. He was cut in the neck and on the eyebrow, and his thumb was almost sliced off.
Spencer Stone also tended to Mark Moogalian, who had been shot in the neck.
Alek Skarlatos, a member of the US National Guard, said his initial reaction was “mostly just gut instinct”, and that military training had only played a role in providing medical help and making sure there were no accomplices.
Anthony Sadler said: “The gunman would have been successful if my friend Spencer had not gotten up. I want that lesson to be learned, in times of terror like that, to please do something. Don’t just stand by and watch.”
British Chris Norman, an IT expert, said he helped the Americans subdue the gunman because he thought he was “probably going to die anyway”.
Under French law, authorities have until Tuesday evening to question the suspect.
Sophie David, a lawyer assigned to the case for Ayoub El-Khazzani, said the Moroccan was “dumbfounded that his act is being linked to terrorism” and that he had said he found the weapons in a Belgian park and wanted to rob passengers.
Ayoub El-Khazzani’s father, Mohamed el-Khazzani, told the Daily Telegraph in Algeciras, Spain, that his son was a “good boy” interested in “football and fishing”.
The suspect was flagged up to French authorities by Spanish counterparts in February 2014.
He is reported to have lived in France, Spain, and Belgium and to have travelled to Syria.
Security aboard the high-speed Thalys service on which the incident took place is being stepped up. The trains link major cities in the Netherlands and Belgium to Paris.
Patrols and security checks will also be boosted at international train stations.
Macedonia has allowed some migrants to board a train north overnight, as many more remain trapped on the country’s border with Greece.
Crowds of people – many refugees from the war in Syria – are continuing to build up after Macedonian authorities sealed their southern border.
Manny refugees wish to travel through Macedonia and Serbia to reach northern Europe, via Hungary.
Large numbers, including children, spent the night in the open.
According to new reports, Macedonian security forces plan to let several hundred migrants in at a time on August 22 to coincide with train departures north towards Serbia and the rest of Europe.
Migrants were beaten back with truncheons and riot shields by Macedonian security forces on August 21. Tear gas was fired.
Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, has declared a state of emergency to cope with the situation.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, has expressed concern for “thousands of vulnerable refugees and migrants, especially women and children, now massed on the Greek side of the border amid deteriorating conditions”.
The UNHCR urged Macedonia to “establish an orderly and protection-sensitive management of its borders” while appealing to Greece to “enhance registration and reception arrangements” on its side of the border.
It also said it had been assured by Macedonia the border “will not be closed in the future”, but did not elaborate.
Greece itself has seen almost 160,000 people landing on its shores since January, the UN estimates, with 50,000 arriving in the past month alone.
Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said all migrants had to register on entering the country and they had 72 hours to decide whether they would apply for asylum or pursue their route north.
Macedonia and its northern neighbor Serbia are not part of the European Union.
However Hungary, to the north of Serbia, is an EU member and is part of the Schengen area. This means that once in Hungary people can travel onwards throughout much of Europe (excluding Britain and Ireland) without needing to show documents at international borders.