Burundi's government on Thursday rejected reports the ruling party is carrying out a crackdown against the opposition ahead of elections, calling an Amnesty International report "biased and partisan." Amnesty has said the ruling CNDD-FDD party's youth wing, known as the Imbonerakure, has strong links to the security service, accusing it of "perpetrating human rights abuses with impunity."
Australia's human rights commissioner said Thursday the government must come clean about conditions at offshore asylum-seeker camps after an inquiry heard of an alleged cover-up of mental health problems. The facilities have been under the spotlight in recent weeks following reports that up to a dozen mothers had attempted suicide at a detention centre on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. The women did so under the belief that their babies would have a better chance of being settled in Australia if they were orphans, reports said. A leading psychiatrist alleged at a national inquiry into the mandatory detention of children seeking asylum that figures showing the extent of mental health issues had been covered up by the immigration department.
Fugitive US intelligence agent Edward Snowden marked on Thursday one year of political asylum in Russia, where he continues to live a life shrouded in mystery amid a dearth of public appearances. Little has been heard on the movements of the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor since he first obtained provisional leave to remain in Russia after spending -- according to the official version -- a month in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. The popular website LifeNews also published an image of Snowden pushing a supermarket trolley while out shopping, which his lawyer, Anatoli Kucherena, confirmed to be genuine. In April, Snowden made a shock appearance on an annual question and answer session with President Vladimir Putin, probing the Kremlin strongman on the surveillance of Russia's population.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.
Field Marshal Hindenburg, a decorated hero of World War I but also the president who paved the way for Hitler's rise, still divides Germany 80 years after his death. The legacy of the stocky and moustachioed Prussian war horse and statesman is as complicated as his full name -- Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg. Many cities declared him an honorary citizen, and his name was later used for a giant zeppelin airship, now best remembered for spectacularly exploding after a transatlantic journey in New Jersey in 1937. The question that keeps flaring in Germany is whether his memory should be honoured, or whether he must be primarily remembered as an enabler of Nazi terror, world war and the Holocaust.
NATO is not prepared to deal with a military threat from Russia and must adjust to be able to respond to an "unconventional attack", British lawmakers warned on Thursday. "The risk of attack by Russia on a Nato member state, whilst still small, is significant. We are not convinced that Nato is ready for this threat," said Rory Stewart, chair of the cross-party Defence Committee. It came as the European Union and the United States imposed their toughest sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, accusing Moscow of failing to de-escalate conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Taiwan's economy grew a higher-than-expected 3.84 percent on-year in the three months to June, official data showed Thursday, thanks to increased exports and domestic consumption. The figure is much higher than the 2.79 percent forecast in May and is the best since the final three months of 2012, as strong demand for electronics, machinery and metals offset declines in other products, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. Growth in Taiwan's export-reliant economy has been buoyed by a steady economic recovery in developed countries as well as improved domestic consumption. Full-year growth for 2014 was estimated to be 2.98 percent, putting Taiwan on course to enjoy its best 12 months since 2011.
The Republican-led House of Representatives voted Wednesday to sue President Barack Obama for allegedly overstepping his powers, a move swiftly denounced by his Democratic allies as a cynical election-year stunt. By a party-line vote of 225 to 201, the House voted to resort to the unprecedented move of taking the president to court for not having stringently followed the letter of the law while implementing his signature "Obamacare" health care reform bill. The measure, which would empower House Speaker John Boehner to start the legal proceedings, is meant to rein in a president besotted by power, the top House Republican said from the floor of the chamber. Boehner told his fellow lawmakers that Obama violated the country's founding document by not adhering rigidly to the wording of the law when implementing the health reform law.
The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel's supplies of ammunition, hours after issuing a strong condemnation of an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza. The Israeli military requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, the Pentagon said. The US Defense Department approved the sale just three days later. "The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
South Korea's ruling party celebrated Thursday after sailing through a key by-election test that increased its parliamentary majority despite lingering public anger over the handling of April's Sewol ferry disaster. President Park Geun-Hye's Saenuri Party won 11 of an unprecedented 15 by-elections contested on Wednesday, leaving it with 158 legislators in the 300-seat National Assembly. The result will boost Park's push to restructure South Korea's export-dependent economy through economic stimulus and regulatory reform.