South Sudanese rebels who travelled to Uganda pleading for Kampala to pull troops out of the war-torn nation left without meeting officials, the foreign minister said Tuesday. Ugandan troops are in South Sudan backing government forces, and their withdrawal is a key demand of the rebels. "They never communicated they were coming, they just arrived," Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem told AFP, who said the team had arrived on Monday and then left. Fighting broke out mid-December between government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, rebel leader Riek Machar.
By Kevin Drawbaugh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As more U.S. corporations do deals to cut taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday focused on these transactions known as inversions. Nine such deals have been agreed to this year by companies ranging from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International, Inc to drugmaker AbbVie Inc and more are being considered. Witnesses at the Senate Finance Committee's hearing will include government officials and academics. Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, is expected to call for stand-alone legislation to respond to the flurry of inversions that has Washington on edge.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has stopped talking to US President Barack Obama on the phone, amid growing strains between Ankara and Washington over Syria and the Gaza conflict. Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an open supporter of armed rebel fighters, felt betrayed when the United States backed away from military action against Damascus in September. "In the past, I was calling him (Obama) directly. Because I can't get the expected results on Syria, our foreign ministers are now talking to each other," Erdogan said in a live interview on pro-government ATV channel late Monday.
Mexico's Senate has approved legislation to implement historic constitutional reform that would open the country's oil and gas industry to foreign investment for the first time since 1938. In an 85-26 vote, lawmakers passed the last of four packages of laws Monday to end the monopoly held by state oil company Pemex for 75 years in the exploration and exploitation of energy resources. The Chamber of Deputies must now vote on the measures, which the leftist opposition had tried to modify. President Enrique Pena Nieto hailed the marathon voting that began Thursday as an example of Mexico's "political civility and maturity".
Turkish authorities on Tuesday arrested 55 senior police officers in a criminal probe over alleged corruption and abuse of office, the latest apparent crackdown on opponents of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of presidential polls. Forty serving and former top police officers were arrested in Istanbul, including the former head of the anti-terrorism unit of Istanbul police, Omer Kose, television reports said. Fifteen others were arrested elsewhere, in what the reports said was a new sweep against the movement of Erdogan's former ally Fethullah Gulen in the wake of a vast corruption scandal implicating the prime minister and his inner circle. In the huge operation conducted in the early morning, police in Istanbul alone raided almost 200 addresses.
In the villages that line the border with Nigeria, even those charged with protecting Cameroonians from Boko Haram fighters fear the fall of darkness. The Nigeria-born Islamist group has stepped up raids into northern Cameroon in recent days, murdering and stealing with impunity despite military efforts to clamp down on their bloody insurgency. On Sunday local police said one of their officers was killed during an attack on the village of Nariki, 500 metres from Boko Haram's Nigerian stronghold of Tarmoa, adding to scores of deaths from raids on local towns this month. The militants have long used Cameroon to launch attacks on Nigeria as the border between them is extremely porous, with no buffer-zone clearly separating the two countries.
An Australian senator who told breakfast radio she would only date men who were rich and "well-hung" apologised Tuesday, saying she had tried to hide her embarrassment with a joke. Jacqui Lambie, who took her seat in the national parliament's upper house earlier this month, told Tasmania's Heart 107.3 that she had not been in a relationship for more than a decade. "I'm just a bit concerned because you're so young, I'm not sure you'd be able to handle Jacqui Lambie," the outspoken politician, who served a decade in Australia's armed forces, said.
President Daniel Ortega on Monday slammed as a "massacre" an attack on his political supporters that killed five people and left 28 more hurt. "This was a genuine massacre, one that has been condemned by the nation," the leftist president said at a memorial for the dead at a convention center, carried on state and pro-government media. Unidentified assailants opened fire late Saturday, in Matagalpa department, on buses bringing supporters back from a party in Managua to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 1979 revolution. The civilian Sandinista party supporters "were ambushed on a highway with rifles (by men) who fired on buses bringing some of the families that had come (to the capital area) for the event," Ortega added.
Japan on Tuesday cut its fiscal year growth forecast for the world's number three economy, blaming weak exports and rising imports as well as the impact of April's sales tax hike on consumer spending and business confidence. The Cabinet Office said it now expects expansion of 1.2 percent in the year to March, compared with a previous estimate of 1.4 percent. The announcement comes a week after the Bank of Japan also lowered its outlook to 1.0 percent from an earlier 1.1 percent. Japan has seen widening trade imbalances since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011 forced it to switch off its atomic reactors and turn to pricey fossil fuel imports to plug the energy gap.
The United Nations Security Council has denounced militant persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, warning such actions can be considered crimes against humanity. The Islamic State, which last month declared a "caliphate" straddling large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, has threatened a Christian presence in the region spanning close to two millennia. Over the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, a once-cosmopolitan city that is the country's second largest. In a unanimous declaration adopted late Monday, the Council's 15 member countries condemned "in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of individuals from minority populations and those who refuse its extremist ideology in Iraq by ISIL and associated armed groups," it said, referring to the group's former name of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Silvio Berlusconi's acquittal in a high-profile sex-for-hire case has boosted the former Italian prime minister's determination to revive his political career, despite his growing isolation in the corridors of power. The media magnate is now rumoured to be attempting to rekindle relations with his former right-hand man and prodigy, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who broke ties in November to set up his own party, the "New Centre Right" (NCD). "In a certain sense Berlusconi has never been out of the game. A friendship deal would boost the right wing -- which fared badly in the European elections -- and possibly help put Berlusconi back on the political map after a series of legal scandals which saw him ousted from parliament last year.
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced plans to send 1,000 military reservists to the state's border with Mexico, to tackle a surge in immigrant children flooding into the United States. Perry, a Republican seen as a potential candidate for the 2016 presidential race, has taken a hard line against immigrant children seeking to enter the United States from Central America. "I directed adjutant general John Nichols to immediately prepare for deployment of up to 1,000 of his troops," Perry told a press conference in Austin. Perry said the decision to deploy troops was taken after repeated requests to the federal government to secure the US border.