Mozambique's revived rebel movement Renamo has called off a truce with government forces, warning Thursday that armed attacks would spread from the main north-south highway across the country. "Across the entire national territory, there is no more ceasefire," said the group's spokesman Antonio Muchanga, amid reports of strikes against vehicles travelling in central province Sofala. The movement, which is also the official opposition, earlier this week called off the truce leader Afonso Dhlakama announced only last month. Protracted peace talks with the Frelimo-led government are currently deadlocked over Renamo's demand for its members to occupy half the positions in the police and military.
With a week to go before the World Cup kicks off, Brazilian authorities are bracing for waves of public protests over the cost of staging the event. Caught out by the scale of demonstrations which accompanied last year's Confederations Cup dress rehearsal event, authorities have made detailed plans to counter anything from street protests to full-blown terrorist attacks. "We are ready," government state secretary for major events Andrei Rodrigues told AFP. In addition, 120 police officers from 40 countries will collaborate with the Brazilian authorities as they jointly collate and assess intelligence.
Yemeni forces have killed 500 suspected Al-Qaeda militants in an all-out offensive against them in their southern strongholds that began on April 29, the army spokesman said Thursday. Forty soldiers were killed and another 100 wounded in the operation in the provinces of Shabwa and Abyan, in which 39 militants were captured, Colonel Saeed al-Fakeih told reporters. "We will press on with our war against Al-Qaeda, especially in the regions that (militants) fled to," he said. The army launched the offensive against Al-Qaeda in Shabwa and neighbouring Abyan in a bid to expel its forces from smaller towns and villages that escaped a previous sweep in 2012.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to visit Turkey on Monday, for the first time since he was elected last year, a Turkish official said. The Iranian leader is expected to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara for talks on bilateral ties and the broader Middle East, the official told AFP on Thursday. Ankara and Tehran are trying to mend relations strained over the Syria conflict, with Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing the rebels seeking to oust him. Iran's contentious nuclear programme is also expected to figure high on the agenda of Ankara talks.
A Venezuelan opposition leader has been ordered to stand trial on charges of instigating violence at an anti-government demonstration, prosecutors said Thursday. A judge ruled that Leopoldo Lopez, who has been in custody for three months, should stand trial, the prosecutor's office said. Lopez is charged specifically over violence that broke out during a rally against the government of Nicolas Maduro on February 12.
The row over the top EU job escalated Thursday after officials said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron had "candid" talks on the hotly debated issue. London objects to Merkel's favoured candidate to become the next European Commission chief, former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker, on the grounds that he supports further political union in the 28-member bloc. A spokesman for Cameron said he met Merkel at Britain's EU office in Brussels after a dinner for leaders of the Group of Seven industrialised nations. "Their discussions focused on the next European Commission -- the issues it should focus on and the appointment of the next president," the spokesman said.
Samarra (Iraq) (AFP) - Militants launched a major attack on the Iraqi city of Samarra on Thursday, killing six people and occupying neighbourhoods, in the latest display of their reach and the weakness of security forces. The militants, travelling in dozens of vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, attacked a major checkpoint on the southeast side of Samarra, killing the security forces guarding it and burning their vehicles, witnesses said. They then took control of several areas of the city, north of Baghdad, according to witnesses, who reported seeing the bodies of both security forces and gunmen in the streets. The police officer said security forces have withdrawn from other areas to defend a revered Shiite shrine in central Samarra, which was bombed in February 2006, sparking a brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday accused the Group of Seven of "cynicism" for backing Ukraine's military operation against armed pro-Russian insurgents. "The so-called G7 even talks about the measured actions of the Ukrainian army against its own people," Medvedev told ministers, quoted by the Interfax news agency. "This is cynicism without limit." In a joint communique released at a G7 summit in Brussels on Wednesday, world leaders encouraged Ukraine to "maintain a measured approach in pursuing operations to restore law and order."