German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute on Saturday to the army officers who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler towards the end of the Second World War. "It showed how men in an extremely difficult situation were able to take a decision in accordance with their conscience, to not be guided by unconditional loyalty but form their own idea of what was necessary for Germany," she said during her weekly podcast. The "20 July plot", as it came to be known, saw German army officers from Hitler's inner circle team up with members of the resistance to try to blow up the Nazi leader at his headquarters in Rastenburg, Eastern Prussia, now part of Poland. The Wehrmacht officers aimed to seize political control of Germany and make peace with the Allied forces.
Egypt's prosecution service on Saturday referred nearly 100 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to trial for alleged murders, a bombing and torching a university building, in two separate cases. Morsi's Islamist supporters have faced a brutal police crackdown since his ouster by the army last July that has left more than 1,400 people dead and over 15,000 in jail. Seventy-six students from Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar university were referred to trial for torching the building of the university's faculty of commerce, the prosecutor general's office said, adding the group included 14 women and a Turkish national. Morsi's student backers have staged regular demonstrations on university campuses as the police crackdown has weakened their ability to hold large street protests.
Fierce clashes broke out Saturday between pro-government tribesmen and Shiite Huthi rebels near the Yemeni capital, as the president vowed that authorities will not tolerate any violence. The Huthis -- also known as Ansarullah -- have advanced from their northern mountain strongholds towards the capital in a suspected attempt to expand their sphere of influence as Yemen is reorganised into six regions. Fighters from the two sides clashed, using machine guns and medium weapons, in the villages of Darwan, Bani Maymun, Al-Jaef and Al-Maamar, in the northern town of Hamdan, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from Sanaa International Airport, tribal and army sources said. Further north in Amran province, tribal and military sources said "fierce clashes" pitting troops against Huthi militants raged late on Friday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Damascus on Saturday that his country "will not remain passive" as jihadists push an offensive in Syria's neighbour Iraq. "Russia will not remain passive to the attempts by some groups to spread terrorism in the region," Ryabkov told journalists after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad. Sunni militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which is active in both Syria and Iraq, have seized vast territory north and west of Baghdad since launching their offensive two weeks ago.
Fierce clashes broke out Saturday between pro-government tribesmen and Shiite Huthi rebels near the Yemeni capital, as the president vowed that authorities will not tolerate any violence. The Huthis -- also known as Ansarullah -- have advanced out of their northern mountain strongholds towards the capital in a suspected attempt to expand their sphere of influence as Yemen is reorganised into six regions. Clashes using machine guns and medium weapons raged in the villages of Darwan, Bani Maymun, Al-Jaef and Al-Maamar, in the northern town of Hamdan, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from Sanaa International Airport, tribal and army sources said. Further north in Amran province, tribal and military sources said that "fierce clashes" pitting troops and Huthi militants raged late Friday.
Ghana's sports minister and his deputy were reassigned to other ministerial duties on Saturday following the Black Stars disappointing performance at the World Cup, which saw two key players suspended and the team fail to qualify for the second round. A statement from President John Dramani Mahama's office said that Minister of Youth and Sports Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah would become a junior minister at the presidency. Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Joseph Yammin has been reassigned to be a deputy minister in the Ashanti Region. Despite high hopes in Ghana and a talented squad including AC Milan’s Michael Essien and Al Ain’s Asamoah Gyan, the Black Stars failed to advance beyond the group stage after losing to the United States and Portugal and an honourable draw with eventual group winners Germany.
Two bombs exploded Saturday in a Cairo suburb killing a teenager and wounding a woman, officials said, the latest in a string of blasts to hit the Egyptian capital this week. Militants have stepped up attacks in Egypt after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and a deadly crackdown by authorities on his supporters. Saturday's blast comes after five makeshift bombs exploded at four Cairo metro stations on Wednesday, while a sixth one blew up at a courthouse.
Ukraine on Saturday sought concrete steps from Russia to back up a tenuous truce it extended with pro-Moscow rebels in the hope of calming a deadly insurgency sparked by its new westward course. President Petro Poroshenko returned triumphant from Brussels on Friday having opened the way to Ukraine's eventual membership in the European Union by signing the final chapters of a landmark free trade and political association accord.
Syrian rebels and Al-Qaeda launched a counter-offensive Saturday to expel the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Albu Kamal town on the Iraq border, a monitor said. The operation came just days after some fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syria franchise, Al-Nusra Front, pledged loyalty to ISIL in Albu Kamal, after it led an offensive in Iraq and seized chunks of territory
An explosion in the red light district of northern Nigeria's Bauchi city has killed 10 people and injured 14 others, police said Saturday. The cause of the late Friday blast was not immediately clear, but Boko Haram Islamists have attacked Bauchi repeatedly during their five-year uprising aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in the north. Bauchi state police spokesman Mohammed Haruna said the targeted building in the Bayan Gari neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city was widely known as a brothel. "Ten people were confirmed dead, while 14 others sustained various degrees of injury," Haruna said, adding that the explosion went off at roughly 10:00 pm (2100 GMT).
Morocco is promoting its moderate version of Islam as a counterweight to the widening jihadist threat in the Sahara, training hundreds of imams from affected countries, but analysts question its motives. Islamist violence is plaguing Libya and Nigeria, Mali is still recovering from an Islamist takeover of half the country, and Tunisia is increasingly nervous about the return of battled-hardened nationals fighting for Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria and Iraq. Morocco has kept a tight grip on the religious sphere, which is closely tied up with the monarchy's legitimacy. King Mohamed VI, who claims descent from the Prophet Mohammed, is accorded the title "commander of the faithful" and has a religious TV and radio station named after him, has been busily burnishing Morocco's image as a model Muslim state.
Sarajevo on Saturday marked 100 years since the assassination that triggered World War I, plunging Europe into the bloodiest conflict it had ever seen and redrawing the world map. It was in on a Sarajevo street corner on June 28, 1914, that a Bosnian Serb nationalist shot dead the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, setting off a chain of events that sucked Europe's great powers into four years of violence unprecedented in its scale and intensity. "It would have been impossible to bring everyone (Serbs, Muslims and Croats) together on June 28 in Sarajevo," said the Bosnian Serb historian and diplomat Slobodan Soja.
The onslaught by Sunni Arab militants in northern Iraq has prompted the country's Kurds to deploy the famed peshmerga security forces in defence of their autonomous region. The move affects both young and old, with regional President Massud Barzani even calling on retired fighters to volunteer to take up arms again. At a peshmerga base outside Arbil, the capital of the three-province Kurdistan region, training has a new urgency. They will graduate as the region faces what the secretary general of the ministry responsible for the peshmerga says is a major military challenge -- tackling the insurgents, led by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who have seized a large chunk of neighbouring territory.