Oil prices fell further Friday on easing concerns over supply disruptions, offsetting firm demand for crude in the United States and China, traders said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August dipped 13 cents to stand at $110.87 a barrel approaching midday in London. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August slipped 16 cents to $103.90 compared with Thursday's close. Singapore's United Overseas Bank said in a client note that "supply fears begin to ease after Libya declared an end to an oil crisis that has slashed exports".
Internet hackers briefly took over an Israeli army Twitter account, the military said Friday, posting an alarming message that a nuclear facility had been hit by rocket fire. "#WARNING: Possible nuclear leak in the region after 2 rockets hit Dimona nuclear facility" in the south of the country, it read. Internet hacking group the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility, posting a screen shot of the army's Twitter page with at least two of its fake tweets. The hacking came as Israel's army gave regular updates on rocket fire from Gaza hitting southern Israel, after a brief uptick in the past week in cross-border exchanges, including retaliatory air strikes by Israel.
Israeli police flooded east Jerusalem ahead of the funeral of a Palestinian teenager believed killed by Israelis and the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, who was kidnapped and found dead on Wednesday, was to be buried in east Jerusalem's Shuafat neighbourhood after the midday (0900 GMT) prayers, with tensions running high after two straight days of violence. Israeli commanders meanwhile waited to see if a series of statements by Israeli leaders promising to "meet quiet with quiet" would bring a halt to the latest flare-up of violence on the Gaza border. Media reports spoke of a possible truce in the making after a week of militant rocket fire into southern Israel and retaliatory air strikes against Gaza.
Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Only half of the nine billion dollars in international aid promised to Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010 has been delivered, the prime minister told AFP. So far, 48 percent of that amount has been handed over, mainly in emergency and humanitarian aid, while the country faces colossal rebuilding needs after the 7.0-magnitude quake, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, in power since 2012, said Thursday in an exclusive interview. He called on the members of the international community to "continue to honor their commitments." By 2015, Haiti will build 10,000 subsidized housing units with the help of international donors.
Police patrolled tense streets in Myanmar's second-largest city on Friday as anger and disbelief rippled through violence-hit communities following deadly Buddhist-Muslim clashes that raised fears of spreading unrest. Calm returned to Mandalay after the city was placed under curfew Thursday to quell violence that saw mobs wielding airguns, swords, rocks and other weapons go on a rampage, leaving one Buddhist and one Muslim dead.
Christians and Hindus who fled from a military offensive against insurgents in tribal northwest Pakistan say the Taliban treated them with relative tolerance, contrary to the militants' brutal reputation. Some 2,000 people from the country's often embattled religious minorities have fled an army operation that began in mid-June in the North Waziristan tribal district for the nearby town of Bannu, where many have taken refuge in Christian schools. North Waziristan, on the border with Afghanistan, has been a haven for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants for years.
The United States came out against a call by Iraq's Kurdish leader for an independence referendum, saying the country could only repel Islamic State radicals by staying united. Massud Barzani, leader of the autonomous region, earlier told parliament to make preparations for a "referendum on the right of self-determination." "The fact is that we continue to believe that Iraq is stronger if it is united," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Ukraine shook up its beleaguered army's top brass as clashes raged in the separatist east despite mounting US and German pressure on Russia to force the rebels to halt fire. Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko Thursday named a new defence minister and top general as his forces reported pressing on with an offensive to oust pro-Russian insurgents from the restive country's industrial east. "I am sure that Ukraine will win and believe me that there will be a victory parade," the 46-year-old former police commander told lawmakers. The border service said that nine guards were wounded on Thursday when shells hit a key crossing with Russia that Kiev had celebrated retaking just days earlier.
A bomb blast in a train and clashes between protesters and security forces rocked Egypt, as police quashed demonstrations marking the anniversary of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's ouster. The violence came as the pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood-led Anti-Coup Alliance issued an aggressive rallying cry demanding a "day of anger" to mark the occasion. Nine people were wounded when a bomb hidden in a briefcase near a passenger seat exploded inside a train compartment in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria late Thursday, security officials and state media said. One person was killed by gunshot during clashes in a Cairo district as pro-Morsi supporters fought with police, while a policeman was killed also by gunshot when his checkpoint was torched by protesters late Thursday in the capital, security officials said.
"I am happy my clients are out of prison," lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde said, confirming his clients Robert Mayanja and Norman Tumuhimbise had been released on bail. The men, both unemployed, are members of a protest movement calling themselves the "jobless brotherhood group". Officials said the protestors had painted the animals in the colours of the ruling party of President Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa's longest serving leaders, and had written insulting slogans against MPs on the animals, including the word "MPigs". Uganda has been the subject of frequent criticism from foreign donors over allegations of rampant corruption, although protests in the country by Ugandans are rare.
Sudan is forcing Eritrean refugees to return to their home country, the UN said Friday, warning that their lives and liberty were at risk. Some 74 Eritreans were forcibly sent back on Monday to Eritrea through the eastern Laffa border crossing point, according to information provided by Sudanese authorities to the UN refugee agency. "UNHCR is deeply concerned over recent forced returns, or refoulement, of Eritrean and other asylum seekers and refugees from Sudan," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. While Sudan has sent Eritreans back in the past, the size of the group and the fact that they were forced to return right after crossing into Sudan marked a new trend, she said.
Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric said Friday the failure of the new parliament to elect a speaker at its first session this week was a "regrettable failure," heaping pressure on premier Nuri al-Maliki. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, along with the international community, has called on Iraq's bickering politicians to unify in the face of a Sunni militant onslaught that began last month, but Tuesday's parliamentary session ended in farce. Ahmed al-Safi, a spokesman for Sistani, said in a Friday sermon in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala that "citizens were optimistic that this would be a good start for this parliament."