More than 6,000 Mexican children and teens who crossed unaccompanied and illegally into the United States were repatriated in the first four months of this year, Mexican officials said Saturday. The children make the grueling journey of hundreds of miles (kilometers) through Mexico to escape dire economic conditions and violence in their home countries, and to join relatives in the United States. Once intercepted by US border agents, "the unaccompanied minors are transported to border patrol stations and are placed in holding rooms" before being turned over to Mexican immigration agents. In recent months, a surge of unaccompanied children has flooded the southwestern US border, most from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
President Barack Obama renewed his campaign to curb carbon emissions Saturday, saying the debate over climate change is over. Obama, who made the battle against climate change a core promise of his 2008 election campaign, has been stymied at the federal level by opposition from lawmakers. Congress "is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence," Obama told a crowd of more than 30,641 people, including thousands of graduates at the University of California, Irvine. "They'll tell you climate change is a hoax, or a fad.
Less than a day before voters choose their next president in a run-off, joy over Colombia's World Cup win in Brazil was sweeping the campaigns Saturday, with fans in the streets. After being sidelined from the event for 16 years, Colombia overcame the absence of injured striker Radamel Falcao and scored a decisive 3-0 win against Greece in their first Group C match. Supporters might need to be forgiven for momentarily forgetting their need to pick a new leader Sunday between center-right President Juan Manuel Santos and more conservative Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. "Let's go, Colombia.
Supporters of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists two months ago vowed Saturday to scale up the pressure on the Nigerian government to rescue them. Noisy street demonstrations in Abuja and other cities have become a regular feature of the campaign to keep the issue in the public eye two months after the girls were abducted from a school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14. The coordinator of the "BringBackOurGirls" campaign, Hadiza Bala Usman, regretted the lack of progress in efforts to rescue the hostages from Boko Haram extremists. We still see a situation where ... not one girl has been rescued by the Nigerian military," she told AFP during a new protest in Abuja.
Hundreds of people on Saturday joined Greece's annual gay pride parade in a long-standing demand for equal rights to civil union and adoption. Titled "A Family Affair", the 10th Athens Pride held on central Klafthmonos Square was supported by nearly a dozen embassies including those of Britain, the United States and Canada. "This year, we focus on the concepts of equality and freedom of choice from the perspective of family life as defined by every LGBT person, and specifically on the legal recognition of all LGBT families," the organisers said.
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A seven-year-old Gaza boy wounded in an Israeli air raid on the northern Gaza Strip died on Saturday, a spokesman for the Palestinian health services said. Ali al-Awour was wounded in Wednesday's strike targeting his uncle, radical Salafist Mohammed al-Awour, who was killed. The Israeli military said on Wednesday it had targeted "terrorists affiliated to the international jihad", its designation for Al-Qaeda inspired groups in Gaza.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) (AFP) - Leaders of developing nations plus China meet Saturday to draft a global anti-poverty agenda at a summit that also showcases Latin America's burgeoning relationship with the Asian giant. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Bolivia's President Evo Morales were scheduled to inaugurate the G77 summit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the group's founding. "This summit is not purely commemorative, it will propose new social policies," said Morales, a leader of Latin America's radical left and the group's current president. The summit closes Sunday with a document that Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera described as "the first draft of the post Millennium Development Goals," a set of UN goals that are approaching their 2015 expiration date.
Nigeria's main opposition party has taken up the issue of insecurity, slamming President Goodluck Jonathan's party for failing to stem the rising violence, ahead of what it calls "watershed" elections next year. Africa's most populous country and biggest economy will go to the polls in February 2015 to elect a new president and parliament, overshadowed by a five-year insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists who have killed thousands and whose abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls two months ago sparked global outrage. Former governor of southern Edo state John Oyegun emerged as the new chairman, while the party slated November for the selection of its presidential candidate. "Our country is at its lowest moment since the end of the unfortunate civil war in 1970," former APC interim chairman Bisi Akande told thousands of party supporters at the convention, recalling the 30-month war that broke out when the southeast Igbo people attempted a secede from Nigeria and form a Republic of Biafra.
Iran is serious in seeking a comprehensive nuclear deal with world powers despite lingering differences, President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday, insisting negotiations could succeed before a July 20 deadline expires. But Rouhani added that should Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany not strike a deal next month, the process will continue until all differences are resolved. The P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany) talks with Iran resume in Vienna on Monday with the aim of transforming an interim deal into a lasting accord. The West wants to ensure that Iran's nuclear activities are purely peaceful.
Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and jihadist groups battling to oust him stand to benefit from a lightning offensive by militants across the border in Iraq, analysts believe. Fighters from the powerful jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began an offensive in Iraq on Monday, taking a swathe of mostly Sunni Arab territory in the north. The attack led by ISIL, which operates in both countries, has brought Iraq's army to the brink of collapse. Analysts say their advance could deliver not just a military boost to jihadists in Syria, but also political gains for Assad.
The United States condemned an attack on Russia's embassy in Kiev on Saturday and called on Ukraine to provide adequate security for the diplomatic mission. The US reaction came after a crowd, inflamed by the downing of a Ukrainian military transport plane, tore down the embassy's flag and overturned vehicles as a dozen police looked on. "The United States condemns the attack on the Russian Embassy in Kiev, and calls on Ukrainian authorities to meet their Vienna convention obligations to provide adequate security," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Nine top officers from the moderate Free Syrian Army resigned Saturday over shortages and mismanagement of military aid from donor countries to their uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Some Western military aid has trickled into Syria in recent weeks, but overall the United States has been reticent to arm rebels over fears advanced weapons could end up in jihadist hands. Weapons shipped to Syria from the West, but more significantly from Gulf countries, are usually sent to specific groups, rather than to the Supreme Military Council, which was meant to coordinate the rebel military effort. Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Abboud told AFP he and the eight other rebel officers resigned because the "SMC has no role any more.
Italian sailors have recovered 10 bodies of migrants after a rubber dinghy sank off the Libyan coast, Italy's navy said Saturday. Thirty-nine migrants were rescued after the vessel sank Friday some 40 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, the navy said, adding that the search for survivors continued on Saturday. An Italian resupply ship, which has picked up some 700 migrants from stricken vessels in recent days, along with the 10 bodies, is headed towards Sicily where it is expected early Sunday, the navy said. A Libyan navy spokesman said Friday's shipwreck occurred outside Libyan waters and came under Italian jurisdiction.