South Korea's military on Sunday pursued a massive manhunt near the tense border with North Korea for a soldier who shot dead five comrades in a rare shooting incident. The army sergeant, surnamed Lim, opened fire on other soldiers at a guard post on the eastern section of the heavily guarded inter-Korea border Saturday night. The shooting spree left five dead and seven injured -- all members of Lim's own unit at the 22nd infantry division in the western province of Gangwon. Another official told AFP that Lim was due to be discharged in the next few months after completing his compulsory military service.
Canada announced economic sanctions and travel bans on 11 Russians and Ukrainians, as well as a Crimean oil company, saying they facilitated the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. The move came as a unilateral ceasefire in the ex-Soviet state hung in the balance with clashes engulfing the separatist east and Russian President Vladimir Putin putting troops on "full combat alert." "Russia's illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and provocative military activity remains a serious concern to the international community," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. "The measures we are announcing today against additional Russian and Ukrainian individuals and an entity that have facilitated the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial sovereignty will continue to increase economic pressure on those responsible for the crisis in Ukraine."
Israel's foreign minister said Saturday the UN's special envoy could be declared persona non grata for offering to help transfer Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip, Channel Two television reported. Avigdor Lieberman said Robert Serry, the world body's special envoy on the Middle East peace process, had first tried to convince the Palestinian Authority (PA) to transfer $20 million (14.7 million euros) from Qatar to resolve a pay crisis for Hamas employees in Gaza. Serry's spokesman Murad Bakri told AFP it was the PA that approached the UN envoy over the issue, and insisted that no decision would be taken without Israeli agreement. "The UN position is clear -- there will be no assistance (in making a transfer) without the agreement of all parties concerned, including Israel," he said.
After the devastating debt crisis of 2001, Argentines have become rather sanguine about economic strife. "That doesn't interest us," said Rolando Perez, a 58-year-old newspaper merchant in Buenos Aires. "What's important for Argentina right now is the money in our pockets, our children, security and the World Cup." Sociologist Jorge Giacobbe explained that at the moment, the 40-million-strong population is turning a blind eye toward the latest twists and turns in the lengthy legal battle, with the end result still unknown.
Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is seeking a new term in a vote Saturday, has become known for his iron rule and a relentless campaign against Al-Qaeda extremists. The former general, 57, seized power in the largely desert northwest African nation in a 2008 coup, ousting Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, whom he had served as presidential chief of staff. A quiet career soldier, Abdel Aziz criticised his predecessor for being too soft on Islamist extremists behind attacks and kidnappings. He soon won renown and Western support for decisive action against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The board of directors of French power-to-rail group Alstom on Saturday unanimously approved US conglomerate General Electric's 12.35 billion euro ($16.8 billion) bid to acquire its energy business. The statement comes a day after the French government stepped firmly into the battle over Alstom, saying it favoured General Electric's bid, chosen over a rival offer from Germany's Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The GE bid still hangs in the balance while the government negotiates to acquire that 20 percent stake, which it plans to do by purchasing two-thirds of the shares owned by another French group, Bouygues. Discussions on the price were ongoing between the government and Bouygues on Saturday night after a long day of negotiations.