Pope Francis on Saturday denounced those who profit from the "madness" of war at a ceremony in the north west of Italy to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Around him, neat rows of graves lined Italy's largest military graveyard in the region of Veneto, near the Slovenian border, home to the more than 100,000 soldiers killed during the Great War. Pope Francis said the same "greed, intolerance (and) the lust for power" was driving conflicts in the world today.
The National Security Agency was unable to find evidence that leaker Edward Snowden ever raised concerns internally about its sweeping surveillance programs, after an exhaustive search that included deleted emails, court documents showed. NSA Associate Director for Policy and Records David Sherman said that the agency had launched a "comprehensive" investigation after media reports were published about classified NSA spy programs based on information leaked by Snowden. As part of last year's probe, the NSA collected and searched Snowden's "sent, received and deleted email," including that "obtained by restoring back-up tapes" Sherman said in a sworn declaration filed Friday. "The search did not identify any email written by Mr Snowden in which he contacted agency officials to raise concerns about NSA programs."
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Saturday in Cairo on the latest leg of a regional tour to forge a coalition against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria. Kerry is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi. Relations between Washington and Cairo have been strained since the military's overthrow of elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, but the Egyptian government sees the fight against IS as its cause as well.
Leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood exiled in Qatar will leave the Gulf country after it came under enormous pressure to cut support for the Islamist group, a Brotherhood official said. Amr Darrag, a leader of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said several members were relocating to "spare Qatar embarrassment", in a statement posted on his Facebook page late Friday. Two Brotherhood officials in Qatar reached by AFP confirmed Darrag's statement. Egypt designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation" after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamad Morsi in July 2013.
Lugansk International Airport used to offer flights to Turkey, Egypt and other sunny tourist spots as well cities in Ukraine and Russia, handling as many as 10,000 passengers a day. Kiev's men remain in control of the airport in neighbouring Donetsk -- also out of action after a massive battle in May.
A Canadian Islamic preacher detained for being a security threat in the Philippines has agreed to be deported, an immigration official said on Saturday. Jamaican-born Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips will be flown back to Canada as soon as possible, said immigration spokeswoman Elaine Tan. She said that the government hoped to fly Philips out quickly, but could not yet give a specific date. He also denied the allegations he was involved with extremists, expressing hope he might eventually be allowed back into the Philippines.
The US Supreme Court this week made plans to revisit gay marriage, less than 15 months after its landmark decision that same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals. While courts across the United States have been hearing gay-marriage cases, the Supreme Court said it will use a September 29 private conference to consider appeals that concern whether gay marriage can be legal in some states but not in others. Whether for or against gay marriage, concerned US parties seem to be forming a consensus on at least one point: it's time for the Supreme Court to decide. "It's crystal-clear that the court needs to take up the freedom to marry issue again," said James Esseks, from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The United States denied threatening the family of executed reporter James Foley with prosecution had they raised a ransom for his release, insisting the government did everything possible to bring him home. Foley's mother, Diane, had told US media her family was warned it could be charged if it had tried to raise the money to free their son. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House had been "in regular touch with the Foley family" to give updates and to communicate that the captured reporter's "return and his rescue continued to be a priority of this administration." Secretary of State John Kerry also responded to the remarks, saying he was "really taken aback," and that he was "totally unaware and would not condone anybody" at the State Department making any threatening statements.
By Arshad Mohammed and Bill Trott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hit Russia's largest bank, a major arms maker and arctic, deepwater and shale exploration by its biggest oil companies with new sanctions on Friday to punish Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine. The sanctions, coordinated with similar European Union steps, were triggered by what the West sees as Moscow's recent effort to destabilize eastern Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists with troops, heavy arms and cross-border shelling.. They are the latest economic penalties imposed by the West since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March. The sanctions target companies including Sberbank, Russia's largest bank by assets, and Rostec, a conglomerate that makes everything from Kalashnikovs to cars, by limiting their ability to access the U.S.
Swedish politics seems set for the biggest change in nearly a decade in elections Sunday, with the Social Democrats likely to win narrowly while the far right vote could soar. Stefan Loefven, a 57-year-old former union leader with a working-class background and no parliamentary or senior governmental experience, is favourite to become the next prime minister. According to the latest poll by Demoskop, published on Friday, the Social Democrats will win 29.2 percent of the votes. Such a result would be among the worst ever for his party, which has largely dominated Swedish politics in the post-war period and modelled its social and economic model, under the leadership of figures like Olof Palme.
Scotland votes on whether to become independent of Britain in a close-fought referendum on Thursday. "No one, absolutely no one, will do a better job of running Scotland than the people who live and work in Scotland. First Minister Alex Salmond, who is leading the "Yes" to independence campaign, in a TV debate on August 5.
Recession-hit Argentines are flocking to buy dollars, nervous over the government's latest debt default and pressure from the business community to devalue the peso for the second time this year. President Cristina Kirchner has tried to convince Argentines to stop hoarding greenbacks and spend their pesos instead. Rioting and the government crackdown that followed left 33 people dead. Despite persuading the vast majority of its creditors to accept 70-percent losses on the face value of their bonds, Argentina lost a court battle against two US hedge funds demanding full payment.