The Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's efforts to encourage peace in Pakistan ended in an armed attack, but he still believes dialogue is the best path with the Taliban. The globe-trotting yogi, known for his flowing hair and beard and perpetually sunny disposition, had brought his Art of Living Foundation to Pakistan in 2004 in hopes of encouraging stress relief through breathing exercises and non-denominational meditation. Armed gunmen burned down the center in Islamabad in March after charges by some in Pakistan that yoga, rooted in the spiritual history of historic rival India, conflicted with Islamic values. Dialogue is the way," Shankar, clad as always in white robes, told AFP on a visit to Washington.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law a bill that clears away possible state-level obstacles to alternative currencies such as bitcoin. The legislation repeals what backers said was an outdated California law prohibiting commerce using anything but U.S. currency. Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the bill's author, said earlier this week the bill reflects the popularity of forms of payment already in use in California like bitcoin and that even rewards points from businesses, such as Starbucks Stars, could technically be considered illegal without an update to currency law in the nation's most populous state. California lawmakers approved the measure on Monday, just days after the failed Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox received court approval to begin bankruptcy proceedings in the United States as it awaits approval of a settlement with U.S. customers and a sale of its business.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Libyan militant accused of masterminding the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks that have become a flashpoint in U.S. politics appeared briefly for the first time in an American courtroom, pleading not guilty Saturday to a terrorism-related charge nearly two weeks after he was captured by special forces.
Police in Brazil fired tear gas Saturday to break up hundreds of protesters outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium, where Colombia and Uruguay were playing a World Cup knock-out-stage match. About 350 anti-World Cup protesters marched toward the Maracana closely guarded by about 250 police, who fired tear gas to disperse them just as they came within sight of the stadium. An AFP correspondent saw police detain at least three demonstrators and frog march them away from the crowd. Mass protests erupted just over a year ago in Brazil, at first drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to condemn the record $11 billion spent on the World Cup and shoddy schools, hospitals and public transport.
The US Supreme Court will rule Monday on whether an employer can cite religious beliefs as a reason to limit employees' access to birth control. Saving the most sensitive issue for its last day of the current term, ahead of a three-month recess, the Supreme Court is also expected to be the site of protests from both sides of the issue as the hearing gets underway. The decision, hotly awaited since arguments on March 25, is the first related to President Barack Obama's signature health care reform since the court upheld the law two years ago. The controversy relates to four of the 20 contraception methods that the law requires be 100 percent reimbursed by insurance: two types of morning-after pills and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.
Pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine on Saturday released four European monitors after being pressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet the terms of a tenuous truce with Kiev. Both Ukraine and its Western allies have been seeking concrete steps from Russia to back up the ceasefire Kiev extended with the militias on Friday in the hope of calming a deadly insurgency sparked by the country's new westward course. "Our Lugansk-based team of 4 monitors have been released after 1 month in captivity," the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said on its Facebook page.
Rebels in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan region shelled the state capital Saturday during what they called a counter-attack on an area the government said it had seized in early June. "Two rockets or mortars from SPLM-North" were fired into Kadugli town, the resident told AFP, asking for anonymity. A statement from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North said "our artillery unit shelled military positions inside Kadugli city" as well as in the Daldako and Al-Hamra areas outside it. The strike on Kadugli occurred as rebels launched an offensive against government forces in the Al-Atmur area east of Kadugli, SPLM-N said, adding the rebels had destroyed a tank.
A look at how the legal process may play out in the case against Ahmed Abu Khattala. The Libyan militant faces criminal charges connected to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. An initial court appearance at the federal courthouse in the nation's capital was scheduled for Saturday afternoon:
Gunmen killed four Egyptian policemen in the restive northern Sinai on Saturday, a security source said, with police blaming the attack on "takfiri" jihadist militants. Militants in the Sinai Peninsula have stepped up attacks on troops and police since the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July. A security source said the men were killed "on the road between the towns of Rafah and El-Arish in north Sinai when takfiri elements forced the pick-up they were driving to stop, made the four policemen get out and opened fire on them". Most militant attacks have hit the north of the mostly desert Sinai Peninsula, but they have also extended their reach to Cairo and the Nile Delta.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Saturday sacked the deputy defence minister, Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, just a month and a half after appointing him. A royal decree cited by the official SPA news agency said the decision was taken at the request of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who also holds the defence portfolio. The reasons for the move were not immediately known, and no successor was announced for Prince Khaled, who was named to the post on May 14. Saturday's move comes amid fears in Saudi Arabia of a spillover of the violence in neighbouring Iraq from a Sunni militant offensive in the Shiite-majority country.
Brasília (AFP) - Hackers broke into the Brazilian federal police's Twitter account on Saturday and posted a message about a bomb threat at the stadium hosting the Brazil-Chile World Cup game. "The (Twitter) account of the Federal Police was hacked," the agency said in a statement. "The information about a bomb scare at Mineirao Stadium on Saturday afternoon during the Brazil-Chile game was false," it said.