A German news magazine reported on Sunday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is unhappy with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi for apparently proposing a greater emphasis on fiscal stimulus over austerity in order to boost growth in Europe. Der Spiegel reported, without citing any sources, that she and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had both called the ECB president last week to take him to task about comments he made in a speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Aug 22. A German government spokesman contradicted Spiegel's version of events, however, saying that "the assertion that the chancellor took President Draghi to task does not correlate to the facts in any way". Draghi told a conference of central bankers that it would be "helpful for the overall stance of policy" if fiscal policy could play a greater role alongside the ECB's monetary policy.
By Syed Raza Hassan and Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan ordered his supporters on Sunday to take to the streets and stand up against security forces after at least three people were killed in clashes between protesters and police in the capital overnight. Pakistan has been shaken by weeks of anti-government demonstrations, with violence erupting late on Saturday after thousands tried to march on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's residence, prompting police to fire tear gas to stop them.
MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez returned to winning ways with a thrilling 11th victory of the season after a British Grand Prix battle with fellow-Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo on Sunday. Marquez, who had put his works Honda on pole position for the 10th time this season, lost out to Lorenzo at the start but seized back the lead from Yamaha's double champion with seven laps to go. Italian Valentino Rosso, making a record 246th start in the top category, finished third on his Yamaha after another enthralling battle with Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.
By Leila Abboud, Pamela Barbaglia and Stephen Jewkes PARIS/LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia has lost a promising path to earnings growth by failing to secure Brazilian broadband business GVT and may now turn from hunter to hunted in a fast-consolidating telecoms industry. Winning the auction for French media company Vivendi's GVT was vital for both Telecom Italia and its rival, Spain's Telefonica, as their European markets have been shrinking. Italy was gripped by a mobile price war for much of last year, revenue is falling and competition remains tough. Telecom Italia lost out to Telefonica as it could not afford to top its 7.45-billion-euro offer for GVT.
It is the biggest offensive success for the Iraqi government since militants led by the Sunni Islamic State (IS) jihadist group overran large areas of five provinces in June, sweeping security forces aside. The breakthrough came as America carried out limited strikes outside north Iraq for the first time since its air campaign against militants began more than three weeks ago, and aircraft from several countries dropped humanitarian aid to Amerli. "Our forces entered Amerli and broke the siege," Iraqi security spokesman Lieutenant General Qassem Atta told AFP, an account confirmed by a local official and a fighter from the town. The operation was launched on Saturday after days of preparations in which Iraqi security forces, Shiite militiamen and Kurdish fighters deployed for the assault and Iraqi aircraft carried out strikes against militants.
Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years and a Palestinian official said would cause only more friction after the Gaza war. Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June. Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank - territory Palestinians seek for a state, said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement. Construction of a major settlement at the location, known as "Gevaot", has been mooted by Israel since 2000.
North Korea Sunday slammed a new British TV drama series revolving around its nuclear weapons programme, urging the British government to scrap the "slanderous farce" if it wants to maintain diplomatic ties. "Opposite Number" -- a series commissioned by Channel 4 -- features a British nuclear scientist captured in the North during a covert mission and forced to help weaponise its nuclear technology. The 10-part series will take viewers inside the "closed worlds of North Korea" with "opposing CIA and MI6 agents secretly deployed on the ground in Pyongyang, as the clock ticks on a global-scale nuclear crisis", Channel 4 said on its website. The TV show is "nothing but a slanderous farce" to insult and distort the North's nuclear capability, said the country's top military body, the National Defence Commission (NDC).
By Michael Martina and James Pomfret BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's parliament said on Sunday it will tightly control the nomination of candidates for a landmark election in Hong Kong in 2017, a move likely to trigger mass protests in the city's Central business district by disappointed democracy activists. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) said it had endorsed a framework to let only two or three candidates run in a 2017 vote for Hong Kong's next leader. All candidates must first obtain majority backing from a nominating committee likely to be stacked with Beijing loyalists. The relatively tough decision by the NPC - China's final arbiter on the city's democratic affairs - makes it almost impossible for opposition democrats to get on the ballot.
By Marafaela Mohloboli and John Mkhize MASERU (Reuters) - Lesotho's Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has taken charge of the government after the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fled the country accusing the army of staging a coup, a minister said on Sunday. Thabane, who has been in a fractious coalition government with his political rival Metsing, left for neighboring South Africa on Saturday after the army surrounded his residence and police stations in Lesotho's capital, Maseru. "For now there hasn't been any arrangement, but it goes without saying the deputy prime minister will still oversee other issues that need to be taken care of until the prime minister returns." Relations have been stormy between Thabane's All Basotho Convention party and Metsing's Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) group, which formed a coalition with another party after elections in 2012.
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Iceland's Meteorological Office raised its ash warning level for aviation to red - the highest level - on Sunday after a new fissure eruption in an ice-free area north of the Bardarbunga volcano. "A small eruption started at 0600 this morning," the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said in a statement. "The Icelandic Met Office has raised the aviation color code to red for Bárðarbunga/Holuhraun." (Reporting by Robert Robertsson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus are set to re-sign Kostas Mitroglou on loan from English second tier club Fulham after the striker arrived in Athens for talks on Sunday. An Olympiakos spokesman told Reuters the Piraeus club were scheduled to hold talks with their former player and that an agreement could be completed within 24 hours. Mitroglou signed for Fulham on the last day of the January transfer window for a reported fee of £12.4 million pounds ($20.6 million) after scoring three hat-tricks at the start of the Greek campaign and firing his country to the World Cup.