Israel's security cabinet on Tuesday accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a government spokesman said, after a week of the deadliest violence in and around Gaza in years. "The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting 9am today," Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Twitter. Ministers in the security cabinet had begun meeting early on Tuesday to consider the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to start immediately from 0600 GMT. Army radio noted that there had been no parallel acceptance of the initiative by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.
Leaders of the BRICS group of emerging powers meet Tuesday to launch a new development bank and a reserve fund seen as counterweights to Western-led financial institutions. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hosts the leaders of Russia, India, China and South Africa in Fortaleza on Tuesday before talks with South American leaders the next day in Brasilia. The summit will mark the first face-to-face meeting between India's new Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Bulgaria announced on Monday that it would seek to join a new EU set of rules known as the 'banking union' after poor bank supervision led to the collapse of its fourth-biggest lender. "There is full consensus for an immediate start of procedures for Bulgaria's entry into the Single Supervisory System of the European Union as a first step to joining the EU's 'banking union'," President Rosen Plevneliev said on Monday. The new oversight system is expected to become operational in November under the European Central Bank to supervise the eurozone banks and prevent bank failures. Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, still remains outside the eurozone but it operates an IMF-led currency board arrangement that pegs its lev currency to the euro at a fixed rate.
Port-au-Prince (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Monday, vowing to help the country end a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 8,500 people since 2010 and that some blame on UN peacekeepers. There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced by Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent there in the wake of the devastating January 2010 earthquake. The source of the cholera epidemic was traced to a river that runs next to a UN camp in the central town of Mirebalais, where Nepalese troops had been based, and the strain is the same as the one endemic in Nepal. The United Nations has up to now denied any responsibility over the outbreak and has so far not offered an apology or compensation for the outbreak, even as three different lawsuits have been filed in US courts.
The Indian government has announced a new penalty of $579 million on the country's largest private company, Reliance Industries, for failing to meet commitments to supply gas for the fourth year in a row. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told parliament on Monday that Reliance supplied only 9.77 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from its KG-D6 gas field in the Bay of Bengal last year, a fraction of its target of 80 million. Under the terms of the contract, Reliance can deduct all of its capital and operating expenses before sharing profits with the government. The penalty reduces the amount of expenses Reliance can deduct by $579 million, with total fines of this kind now totalling $2.4 billion since 2010, the minister was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday he wants U.S.-Chinese relations defined by more cooperation and a constructive management of differences during a phone call in which Iran and North Korea were discussed. Escalating tensions between China and some countries in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea, as well as U.S. charges over hacking and Internet spying, have provoked anger on both sides of the Pacific in recent months. A White House statement about the Obama-Xi conversation did not get into the details of U.S.-Chinese tensions. It came after two days of talks in Beijing that were an opportunity for the world's two biggest economies to lower tensions after months of bickering over a host of issues.
President Bashar al-Assad on his inauguration on Thursday is expected to play the role of "victor" while trying to win over war-weary Syrians and those fearful of jihadist advances. Analysts say Assad, who was swept back to power in a June 3 election slammed as a "farce" by the opposition, will also try to convince the West his regime is a bulwark against the extremist Islamic State (IS) which is sowing terror in Syria and Iraq. "Assad wants to consolidate his image as the victor" in the regime's bid to crush a three-year rebellion, said Khattar Abou Diab, Paris-Sud University professor of international relations. The inauguration "will be a show of defiance against countries that demanded his ouster" ever since the outbreak of a popular revolt in March 2011, Abou Diab told AFP.
William Hague's surprise resignation as foreign secretary is the latest twist in a political career that has seen soaring highs and deep lows. Now 53, Hague began as a prodigy who first caught public notice when he gave a rousing speech to a Conservative Party conference aged 16. Speaking in his native flat Yorkshire accent, the fair-haired Hague drew hearty applause from then-opposition leader Margaret Thatcher as he spoke of how people "want to be free" from government interference.
Qatar will buy US Patriot missiles for the first time in a major arms deal worth $11 billion, officials said Monday, as Washington awaits a decision by the Gulf state on a lucrative fighter jet contract. The sale will provide Qatar with roughly 10 batteries for Patriot systems designed to knock out incoming missiles, as well as 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. Qatar was investing in missile defense systems to counter what it sees as the threat from Iran across the Gulf, as Tehran has built up its missile arsenal, officials said. The weapons deal was the biggest for the United States in 2014 and came as Qatar weighs proposals in a fighter jet competition, with US aerospace firm Boeing vying against British BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation of France.
US President Barack Obama welcomed Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying he hoped it could restore calm. At an Iftar dinner marking the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, Obama also said Israel had a right to defend itself against "inexcusable" rocket attacks but described the deaths of Palestinian civilians in the conflict as a "tragedy."
Secretary of State John Kerry voiced deep concern to Bahrain for expelling an American envoy and making "unacceptable demands" that foreign ministry personnel attend his private meetings, the State Department said Monday. Kerry also told Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa in a "frank" phone call Sunday that Washington was displeased that the Gulf state charged two leaders of Bahrain's largest Shiite opposition movement who met with the US official earlier this month, a senior State Department official said. Bahrain ordered Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tom Malinowski, out of the country last week, accusing him of meddling in the country's internal affairs.
Arab foreign ministers in Cairo early Tuesday called on "all parties" to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas, after the Palestinian militant group signalled its rejection of the truce. The ministers, meeting for an extraordinary Arab League session, also backed a Palestinian demand for "international protection." Hours before the meeting, Cairo announced a proposal for a ceasefire that would begin Tuesday, saying it was willing to host high-level Israeli and Palestinian delegations for talks after a truce went into effect. At least 186 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip as the conflict entered its eighth day.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday expressed his deep concern to Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled al-Khalifa over the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat for meeting with an opposition leader and over charges brought against the politician. A senior State Department official said Kerry, who was in Vienna for talks between Iran and major powers over curbing Tehran's nuclear program, spoke by telephone with the Bahraini minister. Bahrain expelled Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, last week, saying he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs by holding the meeting. The official said Kerry also expressed concern about charges against al-Wefaq party leader Sheikh Ali Salman and his political assistant, Khalil al-Marzouq for holding an illegal meeting.