Britain's new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed Sunday he would vote to leave the EU unless London can repatriate powers from Brussels. Hammond said without changes to Britain's relationship with the European Union, he expected the country would vote to leave the bloc in a referendum, which Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold in 2017 if his Conservatives are reelected next year. "If there is no change at all in the way Europe is governed, no change in the balance of competences between the nation states and the EU, no resolution of the challenge of how the eurozone can succeed and co-exist with the non-eurozone; Hammond said there had to be a "repatriation of powers to the nation states" and things should only be done on a European level where "absolutely necessary".
Kozarac (Bosnia-Hercegovina) (AFP) - Thousands gathered on Sunday for a final farewell to 284 people killed in Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, after their remains were exhumed from one of the largest mass graves found in the country. "I hope it will be easier now," said 48-year-old Suad Tatarevic, who came to bury some 40 family members lost to the mass killing, including his father and six brothers. His family were executed by Bosnian Serb forces as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing at the beginning of the war. Their bodies were among hundreds dumped in a huge mass grave found last year in a disused mine in the northwestern village of Tomasica.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reappointed Najah al-Attar as his vice president but made no mention of his other deputy, the veteran diplomat Faruq al-Sharaa. Attar, 81, the only woman to reach that post, took the oath on Sunday, a day after Assad issued a decree re-appointing her as his deputy, the official SANA news agency reported. In fact the 75-year-old Sharaa seems to have disappeared from the political limelight since Assad replaced him in the ruling Baath Party's leadership in July 2013, without officially sacking him. Sharaa was the only top Syrian official to speak out against Assad's military campaign to crush dissent and to advocate a political compromise to the country's bloody civil war, now in its third year.
Islamist-led militiamen stepped up their assault Sunday on Libya's main airport, two days after the collapse of a truce with rival ex-rebels who control the facility, a security official said. The renewed fighting, which killed at least five civilians, was condemned by the European Union, which urged restraint and dialogue. A coalition of militias led by Islamist fighters launched an assault on Tripoli international airport, with clashes later spreading to the road leading to the capital. "The airport was attacked this morning with mortar rounds, rockets and tank fire," airport security official Al-Jilani al-Dahesh told AFP.
Three years to the day since a famine that eventually killed more than a quarter of a million people was declared in Somalia, aid agencies warned Sunday the country faced a new catastrophe without urgent aid. A joint statement issued by a group of charities and aid agencies said there were more than 300,000 malnourished children in Somalia and a total of 2.9 million people in need of life-saving help. "Aid agencies today caution, again, that the signs of a drought are re-emerging in Somalia and urge for these not to be ignored in order to avoid a relapse into the conditions of the 2011 catastrophe," the statement said, warning that without funding, aid programmes were likely to be forced to shut down. "Most affected people are still recovering from the massive losses of the 2011 drought and famine.
Israel and Hamas have agreed to observe an immediate two-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza's Shejaiya neighbourhood, halting a blistering bombing campaign in the area, sources on both sides said Sunday. Hamas also said its militants would abide by the truce, which both sides said was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. "The population is urged to evacuate within this timeframe to areas west of Shejaiya," the army said on its official Twitter page. Hamas said it had agreed to the Red Cross proposal although it spoke of a three-hour lull.
The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility Sunday for the deadliest spate of bombings to strike the Iraqi capital in weeks, saying a "Baghdad cell" helped carry out the attacks. Seven different explosions in six mainly Shiite districts of Baghdad killed at least 24 people on Saturday, with IS claiming four of the blasts -- two suicide attacks and two car bombs. "Two knights of the knights of Islam and heroes of the caliphate were launched, Abu Qaqa al-Almani and Abu Abdulrahman al-Shami, to destroy checkpoints and dens of the ... government," it said in an unverified statement posted online. The Sunni extremist group, which controls large parts of north and western Iraq since a June 9 offensive, carries out frequent attacks in Baghdad.
A top Ukrainian rebel leader said on Sunday that the pro-Russian fighters will guarantee the safety of international monitors at the Malaysian jet's crash site if Kiev agrees to a truce. "We declare that we will guarantee the safety of international experts on the scene as soon as Kiev concludes a ceasefire agreement," the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's deputy premier Andrei Purgin said in a statement. He urged Kiev to "immediately conclude such an agreement" with the rebels. Purgin's statement came as the international community piled pressure on Russia to get the Moscow-backed rebels to grant investigators full access to the crash site of the Malaysian MH17 jet.
Huddled around a table at a university canteen, six Thai students draft a newsletter celebrating democracy -- a meeting that would have barely attracted a glance two months ago, but could now land them in jail. They are part of a small but growing troop of undergraduates uniting in Bangkok to resist the curtailment of civil liberties under military rule. "We should write about what isn't being reported," says Achara, a 24-year-old languages student spurred into action by the junta's censorship of domestic media. These small and sporadic acts of resistance by students -- from launching alternative publications to group readings of George Orwell's anti-authoritarian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" -- are among the few public expressions against the takeover.
Markets are keeping a wary eye on the future of Turkey's two key economic policymakers if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is elected president in August polls. Erdogan is credited with overseeing a transformation of the Turkish economy into a fast-growing emerging market in over a decade in power. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, who designed the economic policies of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), have reassured financial markets that the government will pursue stable policies.
Israel's army said Sunday it was expanding its ground offensive against the Gaza Strip, as the bloodiest conflict since 2009 entered its 13th day with a death toll of over 350. "This evening, the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge expands, as additional forces join the effort to combat terror in the Gaza Strip and establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security," the army said in a statement. Since the ground operation began, three Israeli soldiers have been killed, including two in a firefight with Hamas militants inside Israeli territory. Army Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant Colonel Benny Gantz warned Friday that as Israel expanded the ground operation there would be "moments of hardship," alluding to the possibility of further Israeli casualties.
Top US diplomat John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Washington was "deeply concerned" that international investigators were being denied access to a passenger jet's crash site in Ukraine. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have expressed outrage and demanded Russia's full cooperation with what is becoming a monumentally challenging probe into the shooting down of a Kuala Lumpur-bound Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam with 298 people from a dozen countries on board.