Somalia's national security minister has resigned in the wake of a brazen attack by Shebab militants on the country's parliament, officials said Sunday. Abdikarim Hussein Guled had already come in for mounting criticism over a spate of high profile Shebab attacks inside Mogadishu in recent months, including against heavily-guarded sites including the presidential palace and airport. No official death toll was given after the attack but police said eight attackers were killed, and AFP reporters at the scene also counted four dead security guards. The Shebab were pushed out of fixed positions in Mogadishu, the capital and seat of the country's internationally-backed government, by African Union troops but have continued to strike inside the city.
Colombians vote Sunday in a presidential election held up as a test for peace talks between the government and Marxist guerrillas to end a half-century-old civil war. President Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking a second four-year term, has presented his re-election as a referendum on his negotiations to end the conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). His main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, has vowed to take a harder line and freeze the 18-month-old negotiations until the guerrillas stop their "criminal actions against Colombians." The two rivals are running neck-and-neck in a field of five candidates after a late surge in the polls by Zuluaga, setting up a likely run-off on June 15.
Two of the three people shot dead in an attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels were Israeli tourists, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said on Sunday. "An Israeli couple in their 50s from Tel Aviv, who were visiting Brussels as tourists, were among the victims," Yigal Palmor told AFP, in reference to the deadly attack in the Belgian capital on Saturday. "We have confidence in the Belgian authorities, in the justice system and the police to look into this horrible crime," he said. Three people were killed and one was critically wounded when a gunman attacked the Jewish Museum in central Brussels on Saturday afternoon in an apparently anti-Semitic act that shocked the country.
The World Cup will cost Brazil more than $11 billion, a sum that sparked outraged protests and sent economists dashing for new data on an old question: is hosting global sports events worth it? The protesters who have taken to the streets, sometimes violently, say Brazil would be better off spending on education, health and transport -- areas where the gaping divide between rich and poor is most conspicuous in this sprawling country of 200 million people. But Brazil's leaders say hosting the tournament is about more than building stadiums and throwing a party. "It was a key factor behind Brazil finally overhauling its infrastructure."
Lithuanians go to the polls on Sunday in a presidential runoff with incumbent "Iron Lady" Dalia Grybauskaite the frontrunner in this EU and NATO state dominated by security concerns over a resurgent Russia. Nicknamed for her Thatcheresque-resolve, Grybauskaite is tipped by most analysts to win a second five-year term as many here who remember Soviet times see her as a their best hope amid Europe's worst standoff with Moscow since the Cold War. A former EU budget chief, the tough talking 58-year-old won round one two weeks ago, scoring 46 percent of the vote, while rival Zigmantas Balcytis, an MEP with the governing Social Democrats, took just over 13 percent. While Grybauskaite has focussed largely on national security, Baclytis has campaigned on bread and butter issues as Lithuania gears up to join the eurozone in January.
The nine-year-old boy dressed in blue lay listlessly on the pavement in the scorching Mumbai summer afternoon, his ankle tethered with rope to a bus stop, unheeded by pedestrians strolling past. Lakhan Kale cannot hear or speak and suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, so his grandmother and carer tied him up to keep him safe while she went to work, selling toys and flower garlands on the city's roadsides. He can't talk, so how will he tell anyone if he gets lost?" said homeless Sakhubai Kale, 66, who raised Lakhan on the street by the bus stop shaded by the hanging roots of a banyan tree. Lakhan's father died several years ago and his mother walked out on the family, his grandmother told AFP.
In swiftly punishing Thailand's military for seizing power, the United States is looking beyond short-term interests as it braces for prolonged strife in its oldest Asian ally. Within hours after the army took control of Thailand on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the coup as having "no justification" and urged the quick restoration of democracy and press freedom. The United States suspended $3.5 million in defense assistance, or about a third of its total aid to Thailand, and canceled ongoing military exercises with the kingdom -- a vital US ally for decades, including in the Vietnam War. Washington also scrapped planned visits by senior officials, as well as a US government-sponsored firearms training program for the Royal Thai Police that had been scheduled to start Monday.
A Chinese blogger who called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to push for Internet freedom in China has been fired by his employer, he told AFP on Sunday. Journalist Zhang Jialong was one of four bloggers who met with Kerr in February, where he urged the United States to help "tear down the great Internet firewall". Beijing tightly censors the Internet, banning websites including Facebook and Twitter with a system labelled the "Great Firewall of China", and ordering domestic Internet firms to delete content that government officials deem "sensitive". Zhang's employer Tencent dismissed him on Friday for "leaking business secrets and other confidential and sensitive information”, he said, calling it a reprisal for his meeting with Kerry.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came under pressure Sunday to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats after the party took a pounding in local elections. Two would-be Lib Dem parliamentary candidates -- staring at a much-reduced prospect of winning a seat at next year's general election -- have put heir names to an online letter, signed by more than 200 party members, calling for Clegg to step aside. The unashamedly pro-EU party is expected to take another battering when the European Parliament election results are announced later Sunday. The anti-EU, anti-mass immigration United Kingdom Independence Party is now the chief beneficiary of protest votes, while many of the Lib Dems' left-leaning voters are disgruntled at the current coalition with the Conservatives.
All eyes will be on potential gains by Europe's increasingly popular anti-EU parties when a mammoth four-day election for the next five-year European Parliament winds up Sunday. After kicking off in Britain and the Netherlands, then taking in five more European Union nations, voters in the remaining 21 countries go to the polls Sunday with initial results expected after 2100 GMT. In Denmark, France and Italy, anti-EU parties are poised to take first or second place Sunday, shaking up national politics and preparing to battle Brussels from the inside. In Britain, the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) led by Nigel Farage -- a party without a single seat in the national parliament -- surged Thursday in local council polls held in parallel with the EU vote, rocking the establishment.