Thailand's junta-leading Army Chief has dismissed allegations he plotted to seize power for years before May's coup, issuing an apparent rebuke to the leader of the protests that crippled the former government. "It is not true" General Prayut Chan-O-Cha said, addressing accusations that he had discussed uprooting the divisive Shinawatra clan from politics with firebrand protest chief Suthep Thaugsuban. Supporters of ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra have blamed a coalition of establishment-linked forces -- including the army and judiciary -- for colluding to overthrow the government, the second such army putsch in eight years. He has imposed martial law on the kingdom, suspended the constitution, muzzled dissent and detained or arrested hundreds of people -- mainly supporters of the former government.
One year into congressional efforts to overhaul US immigration reform, the nation's 11 million undocumented migrants are no closer to legal status, with a swelling humanitarian border crisis only highlighting the system's dysfunction. Reform efforts are dead in gridlocked Washington, and fingers of blame are pointing every which way. Republican opponents of President Barack Obama say his administration has failed to seal the porous US-Mexico border. Democrats accuse House Republicans of sabotaging the US Senate's bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed with great fanfare one year ago Friday.
A Panamanian judge acquitted and ordered the immediate release of three North Koreans detained last year for trying to transport undeclared Cuban weapons through the Panama Canal. The North Korean freighter Chong Chon Gang was stopped last July and discovered to be carrying 25 containers of Cuban military hardware, including two Soviet-era MiG-21 aircraft, air defense systems, missiles and command and control vehicles. Panama initially released all crewmembers except three senior officers charged with arms trafficking. On Friday, Judge Carlos Villarrea finally acquitted and freed that last group, named as Ri Yong Il, Hong Yong Hyon and Kim Yong Gol.
Sarajevo marks 100 years since the assassination that triggered World War I on Saturday, but without the leaders of Europe and with its people still torn over the legacy of that fateful day. Five weeks after a Bosnian Serb nationalist shot dead the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Europe's great powers were sucked through a complex network of alliances into four horrific years of war. "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.
Scottish and English fighters will meet again on the battlefield Saturday to mark 700 years since their legendary clash at Bannockburn, in an anniversary laden with symbolism just months before Scotland votes on whether to leave the UK. For many Scottish nationalists, the victory of King Robert the Bruce's small force over the mighty English army of King Edward II was a decisive moment in Scotland's fight for independence from its overbearing southern neighbour. Up to 15,000 people are expected at the site in Stirling on Saturday and Sunday to watch a re-enactment of key moments from the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, performed by the group behind the epic scenes in Hollywood movies "Gladiator" and "Robin Hood". The anniversary falls three months before Scotland holds a referendum in September on whether to stay or leave the United Kingdom, and critics of the nationalist government in Edinburgh say the timing of the vote was deeply cynical.
Syrian rebels can help weaken jihadists fighting in Iraq, US Secretary of State John Kerry said as Washington unveiled plans to boost Syria's opposition with $500 million in arms and training. The top US diplomat flew to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for talks with the Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba before meeting for more than three hours with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria.
By Lesley Wroughton SHANNON Ireland (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah briefly discussed global oil supplies during a meeting on the crisis in Iraq on Friday, a senior State Department official said. During the talks, Kerry referred to recent comments by a Saudi oil official that the world's largest oil producer would increase supplies should crises in Iraq or Syria disrupt supplies, the official said. The official said Kerry believed the Saudi official's comments were "constructive." U.S. officials have expressed the belief that concerns in oil markets will ease once a more inclusive government is formed in Baghdad that can deal with a Sunni insurgency threatening to break apart Iraq.