Sri Lanka will clamp down on Internet hate speech following deadly anti-Muslim riots said to have been fuelled by social media sites, the military said Monday. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has asked the law and order ministry to deal with racial and religious hatred being spread using Facebook and Twitter, military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. "There are some Facebook pages against Buddhism, but more pages against Islam," Wanigasooriya told AFP. He said Rajapakse, the powerful younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, had asked law enforcement authorities to work out a "practical way" of dealing with online hate speech.
Jordan's King Abdullah II on Monday appealed for international support to help his country deal with regional turmoil after jihadists in neighbouring Iraq and Syria declared an "Islamic caliphate". "It is important that the international community continue to support Jordan to deal challenges and developments in the region," a palace statement quoted the king as telling a Japanese parliamentarily delegation. A Sunni militant offensive spearheaded by the Sunni jihadists in Iraq has sparked fears in Amman that they will take their fight to the kingdom. The militants, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on Sunday declared a "caliphate", or Islamist state, straddling parts of Iraq and Syria.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that jihadists spearheading a militant offensive in Iraq have sold oil from captured areas to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Fabius said the sale was evidence of the "confusing" nature of the escalating conflict in the Middle East in which Assad and the jihadists are in theory on opposing sides. The rebels, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), declared a "caliphate", or Islamist state, straddling Iraq and Syria at the weekend.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged "retribution" after two police officers were killed defusing bombs outside his Cairo palace Monday, almost a year after he overthrew his predecessor. An Islamist militant group, one of several that have carried out attacks since president Mohamed Morsi's ouster on July 3 last year, warned several days ago that it had planted bombs near the east Cairo palace. It was not immediately clear whether Sisi, who was the defence minister when he toppled Morsi and then won a May presidential election, was in the Ittihadiya palace at the time.
Bulgaria on Monday scrambled to reassure savers its beleaguered banking system was "functioning normally" after Brussels extended a credit line to stop a run on two banks turning into a full-blown crisis. Non-eurozone Bulgaria has blamed the situation, which has raised fears of a repeat of the country's devastating banking crisis of 1996-97, on "criminals" spreading false rumours. On June 20 the central bank closed temporarily the fourth-largest private lender, Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), after doubts about its solvency led panicked customers to try to empty their accounts. Late last week, more rumours online and via mobile phones sparked a run on First Investment Bank (FIBANK), the third-largest, provoking scenes of near-hysteria outside branches.
Hundreds of riot and other police were deployed in French towns and cities Monday as authorities braced for possible unrest linked to World Cup showdowns involving France and its former colony Algeria. Right-wing mayor Christian Estrosi issued a decree temporarily outlawing what he termed the "ostentatious display of foreign flags" in the centre of the Riviera city, which is home to many people of Algerian heritage. "Since the start of the World Cup we have sadly seen intolerable behaviour that severely disrupts public peace," Estrosi added. Some celebrations of Algeria's historic qualification for the second round of the World Cup spilled over into violence last week with more than 70 people arrested for rioting or looting across France.
Senegal President Macky Sall's party has been beaten in the capital Dakar and in a number of key cities across the country, preliminary results from municipal and provincial elections showed on Monday. The polls on Sunday were seen as a key test for the president whose Alliance for the Republic (APR) party is riven by divisions two years after winning a bitterly disputed election. Early results published by local media showed that in Dakar the APR had been beaten by a coalition led by the outgoing mayor of the city, Khalifa Sall, from the Socialist Party (PS). The PS, which led Senegal from 1960 to 2000, is part of the ruling coalition, but leaders failed to agree on shared party lists for the local elections.
On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby on the company's challenge to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, ruling that the mandate, as applied to "closely held" businesses, violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Addressing the majority of her colleagues — including all but one of the six men sitting on the Supreme Court — Ginsburg wrote: In the Court’s view, RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith—in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ.
By Amanda Becker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Illinois healthcare worker's legal challenge of mandatory union dues from public employees reaches a climax on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule in the case at the final session of its nine-month term. If the justices agree with the sweeping argument made by home healthcare worker Pamela Harris that compulsory union dues are forced association and speech prohibited by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, it would essentially establish a national right-to-work law and deliver a blow to public employee unions. Such provisions require public-sector employees to pay the portion of union dues covering non-political activities such as contract negotiations. Union-represented public employees can already opt out of paying dues that finance political activities.
The deaths of 30 boat migrants sparked anger and frustration in Italy on Monday, as critics accused the government of failing to deal with an immigration crisis which has seen over 5,000 people rescued in the last 24 hours. Rescuers had found the bodies stuffed into the hold of a fishing boat from north Africa when they boarded the vessel to help the most vulnerable of almost 600 migrants in the vessel. A navy doctor said the migrants had "likely suffocated" in the tiny space, and "advised against removing the bodies" as it was not yet clear whether there were poisonous gases in the hold which might affect others. The League has warned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government that plucking asylum seekers and immigrants to safety from their rickety boats only encourages more people to set out across the Mediterranean for Europe.
At least two people were killed when a bomb exploded on Monday in a busy market in Somalia's capital Mogadishu at the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab have carried out a string of similar bombings, and have vowed to increase attacks during the fasting month of Ramadan. The roadside bomb ripped through Mogadishu's Karan market, in the north of the capital, where people were busy buying food to celebrate the breaking of the fast with their families at sunset. "The market was very busy when a heavy explosion rocked the area where fruits and vegetables are sold, I saw several injured people, it was a large blast," said Ali Mohamed, a witness.
Inflation across the 18-nation eurozone was steady in June at 0.5 percent, but remained far below target against a background of concern about deflation, official data showed on Monday. Deflation is such a threat that the European Central Bank has moved into negative interest rates to get cash flowing, and authorities are closely watching inflation rates in the hope that it will edge up towards the bank's target of nearly 2.0 percent. This means that inflation is at the lowest level since the financial crisis of 2008-2009 nearly froze the market on which banks lend to each other and caused recession in several advanced economies. Inflation has been far below the ECB's target of just under 2.0 percent, threatening its statutory obligation to ensure price stability.