Africa

Du Plessis urges Australia to keep the aggression

Australia have clearly toned down their sledging since a ball-tampering scandal broke, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said Friday, but urged them not to totally sacrifice their confrontational approach.

S.Africa coding clubs plug township youth into future

It's Wednesday, 2:00 pm sharp in the densely-populated South African township of Ivory Park on the outskirts of Midrand -- time for about 60 11-year-olds to duel at their local coding club.

International

Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide in landmark ruling

Two top leaders of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime were found guilty of genocide on Friday, in a landmark ruling almost 40 years after the fall of a brutal regime that presided over the deaths of a quarter of the population.

Hockney sells for $90.3mn, smashes living artist record

A masterful swimming pool painting by British legend David Hockney sold for $90.3 million in New York on Thursday, smashing a new auction record for a living artist.

Middle East

Head of the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, pictured centre, was among the top Libyan invitees

Italy's Libya talks lay bare deep divisions

Italy's Libya talks this week laid bare deep divisions between the key power brokers, threatening attempts to resolve the country's ongoing crisis, analysts say.

US studying Turkey's demands to extradite preacher

The United States is studying Turkey's demands for the extradition of preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup attempt, the State Department said Thursday.

International

Representative Eliot Engel, the presumptive next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee after Democrats triumphed in midterm elections, vowed that the incoming Congress would question the executive branch

Next US House foreign affairs chief vows to check Trump, warns Russia

The incoming head of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee warned Thursday of election-related sanctions against Russia and vowed oversight of Donald Trump's diplomacy, which he said had made Americans "laughingstocks."

El Salvador posts highest rate of women murdered in Latin America

El Salvador has earned a grim distinction: it is the country with the highest rate of femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017, with more than 10 killings for every 100,000 women.

Middle East

Bahrain is seen as an important ally of the United States, whose military base in the strategically located gulf state hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet

US Senate votes against blocking Bahrain arms sale

The US Senate on Thursday rejected a long-shot effort to block $300 million in arms sales to Bahrain, as the bill's opponents stressed the island nation was a critical ally hosting an American naval base.

Kuwait halts flights as torrential rains lash region

Kuwait on Thursday halted flights at its international airport after heavy rains flooded the Gulf state's capital, diverting incoming flights to neighbouring countries not affected by deadly storms.

Africa

US soldiers train in Senegal in 2016

Pentagon to trim Africa forces as focus shifts to Russia, China

The Pentagon will trim the number of US troops deployed across Africa as it concentrates more on countering threats from "Great Power" competitors Russia and China, officials said Thursday.

Three Nigerian soldiers in Boko Haram attack on military base

At least three soldiers were killed and several missing after a Boko Haram attack on a military base in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, military and militia sources told AFP Thursday.

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Punch-up in Sri Lankan parliament as thousands rally

Sri Lanka's political crisis descended into farce Thursday with MPs throwing punches and projectiles in parliament, a day after voting the disputed prime minister out of office and leaving the country without a government.

Trump pushes out senior advisor at start of expected White House reshuffle

An angry Donald Trump pushed out a senior advisor Wednesday after First Lady Melania Trump demanded her sacking, with more heads set to roll in a White House reshuffle triggered by infighting and setbacks in the midterm elections.

International

Fiji PM on track for election win

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama appeared set for a comfortable election victory Thursday after only the second vote in the South Pacific island nation since a military takeover in 2006.

El Chapo was co-leader, informant tells US drugs trial

Drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman co-headed the Sinaloa cartel, a drug trafficker turned cooperating witness told his US trial Wednesday, skewering defense claims that the defendant is little more than a scapegoat.

Africa

UN chief revives bid opposed by US to fund Sahel force

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is renewing his call for UN financing to shore up a regional force fighting an insurgency in the Sahel, despite opposition from the United States.

France, Russia, US wrangle at UN over C. Africa

France, Russia and the United States were locked in negotiations Wednesday to overcome differences over peace efforts in the Central African Republic ahead of a deadline for renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission there.

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Brexit deal caps Barnier's return from the wilderness

The tentative Brexit deal grudgingly approved by the British cabinet on Wednesday could yet fall apart, but for one man it is already a personal victory.

UK's May takes Brexit deal to cabinet as MPs revolt

British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek her cabinet's approval Wednesday for a long-awaited divorce deal with the EU but hardline Brexiteer MPs warned they will seek to block it in parliament.

Middle East

Amnesty condemns Iran's 'abhorrent' executions of trader, accomplice

Rights group Amnesty International condemned Iran's execution on Wednesday of a gold trader and his accomplice as "abhorrent" and said it followed a "grossly unfair show trial".

Christian ex-warlords reconcile in Lebanon

Two rival Christian leaders in Lebanon, Sleiman Frangieh and Samir Geagea, reconciled Wednesday after four decades of enmity dating back to a massacre during the country's 1975-1990 civil war.

International

Coup-plagued Fiji goes to the polls

Long queues formed Wednesday as polling opened in Fiji for the Pacific island nation's second election since a 2006 military coup.

Mexican presidents accused as defense opens El Chapo trial

Drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's defense told his New York trial Tuesday that his cartel bribed Mexican presidents, painting the absent co-defendant as a ruthless criminal who murdered in cold blood.

Top Stories

Russian lawmakers say  registration of US media groups is retaliation for a similar demand by Washington for the state-controlled Russia Today television

Russia to make US media register as «foreign agents»

Russian lawmakers raced Friday to draft measures requiring US media outlets to register as foreign agents, saying they could be adopted as early as next week.

Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, immediately declared the allegations 'disqualifying' for Moore

Republicans run from Senate hopeful accused of sexual contact with minor

Several Republicans on Thursday urged their party's candidate for a vacant US Senate seat to quit the race if an explosive report that he had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl is true.

Pandas have a notoriously low reproductive rate and are under pressure from factors such as habitat loss

Melania Trump meets China's furry diplomats: pandas

US First Lady Melania Trump spent some time with a couple of China's most prominent diplomats on her last day in Beijing on Friday: the pandas Meng'er and Gu Gu.

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