Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - US Vice President Joe Biden will begin a two-day visit to Ukraine on Monday, hours after a fragile Easter truce was shattered and pro-Kremlin rebels in the country's east appealed for help from Russian "peacekeepers". Biden's arrival in Kiev comes after a deadly gunfight gunfight killed at least two pro-Russian militants, an incident which sparked "outrage" in Moscow. But the Western-backed authorities in Kiev claimed the violence was a set-up by Russia to create a pretext for it to send in troops. The attack, near the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, undermined an accord worked out in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine and Western powers on Thursday under which "illegal armed groups" were to surrender their weapons.
Several thousand people came out in Canada's biggest cities to call for the legalization of marijuana -- a yearly protest that happens internationally on April 20. The demonstrations -- dubbed the "420" rallies after the date, 4/20 in North American style, and the code-term popularly used to refer to pot consumption -- took place in Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. In each city, including the capital, Ottawa, where protesters gathered on the lawn near the parliament building, music groups played for the crowds. In Montreal, a strong police presence surrounded the demonstrators, while in Ottawa and Vancouver, a pizza chain offered a free slice to any participant in the rally celebrating a drug known to prompt the munchies.
A Malaysia Airlines plane with 166 people aboard was forced to make an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur early Monday in another blow to its safety image after the loss of flight MH370. Flight MH192, bound for Bangalore, India, turned back to Kuala Lumpur after it was discovered that a tyre had burst on take-off, the airline said. "As safety is of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)," the airline said in a statement. The airline said tyre debris discovered on the runway had led to the decision to bring the Boeing 737-800 aircraft back.