French police moved Wednesday to clear a food handout centre in the port of Calais occupied by hundreds of migrants biding their time for a chance to illegally cross the Channel to Britain. Smaller squats in Calais itself were also cleared at the same time, charity workers helping the migrants said. The migrants in the centre and the squats were rounded up and driven away by police, the charity workers said. The migrants, many of them from Afghanistan and Syria, had been occupying the food distribution centre for two months, ever since police cleared three makeshift camps holding 650 people at the end of May.
A Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul killed five military officers Wednesday in an attack on an air force bus, Afghan officials said, in the latest strike against the national security forces as US troops withdraw. "A suicide bomber targeted an ANA (Afghan National Army) bus this morning killing five ANA officers and wounding four in the west of Kabul," Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry, told AFP.
Kuwait's public prosecutor on Wednesday ordered opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak to be held in custody after he was questioned for allegedly insulting the judiciary, his lawyer said. "The public prosecutor decided to detain him pending further questioning later today," Humoud al-Hajeri wrote on Twitter after Barrak was questioned for several hours overnight. Mohammad al-Jassem, another lawyer for the former MP, said his client was questioned for alleged slander and insults to the supreme judicial council and its chairman, Faisal al-Marshed. Dozens of activists and former opposition MPs gathered outside the police headquarters where Barrak was held as opposition groups called for a public rally in Kuwait City later Wednesday.
Spain's unemployment queue shrank in June as the economy slowly recovered after emerging in mid-2013 from a two-year recession, the government said Wednesday. The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain's economy, the fourth-largest in the eurozone, fell by 122,684 from the previous month to 4.45 million in June, the Labour Ministry said in a monthly report. Spain's overall unemployment rate rose to 25.93 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from 25.73 percent in the previous three months, according to a broader, household survey.
Dozens of anti-immigrant protesters prevented a group of 140 undocumented Latin Americans from being transferred to a detention center in California, news reports said. They were to have been taken to Murrieta, a town north of San Diego where the border patrol service has a holding facility. The bus turned around and drove instead to San Ysidro, also near San Diego, where the border patrol service has another facility.
Bulgaria appears to have averted a feared banking crisis in the EU's poorest state, but analysts warn of continued instability in the face of ongoing political turmoil. Reports of irregular activities prompted a run on the country's third and fourth largest banks -- First Investment Bank (FIBANK) and Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) -- last month. On Monday, however, the central bank said the banking sector was "functioning normally" after the European Commission approved government plans to buttress the banking system with 3.3 billion leva (1.7 billion euros, $2.3 billion) in state aid.
Bill and Hillary Clinton helped raise more than one billion dollars for politics in the past two decades, a major potential advantage for the former secretary of state as she weighs a 2016 White House bid, The Wall Street Journal reported. The formidable political pair brought in these funds through "campaigns, paid speeches and a network of organizations advancing their political and policy goals," The Journal found. While Republicans can raise funds at similar levels, they fret that Clinton, her Democratic Party's likeliest standard bearer as of now, will get a lucrative early lead "in the next presidential race, which is expected to total well above the $2 billion spent in 2012," the report added.
China's state-run media launched a broadside Wednesday against Japan's move to loosen the bonds on its powerful military, casting it as a threat to Asian security. The harsh criticism came one day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his cabinet had formally endorsed a reinterpretation of a constitutional clause banning the use of armed force except in very narrowly-defined circumstances. "The Japanese government is eager to break through the post-war system," wrote the ruling Communist Party's flagship People's Daily newspaper in an editorial penned under the name "Zhong Sheng", a homophone for "Voice of China". In a commentary late Tuesday, China's official Xinhua news agency challenged Tokyo with a question: "Is China on your military agenda?"
Iraq's leadership was under increased pressure Wednesday to form a new government to deal with a Sunni militant onslaught that has threatened to tear the country apart, after parliament's first session ended in disarray. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bid for a third term has been battered by the jihadist-led offensive that has seized large chunks of five provinces, adding fuel to dissatisfaction over persistent allegations of sectarianism and monopolising power. The crisis has alarmed world leaders, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and polarised Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish populations. Kurdish lawmaker Najiba Najib interrupted efforts to select a new speaker, calling on the government to "end the blockade" and send withheld budget funds to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
Depleted by a blockade and sidelined by a Palestinian unity deal, Hamas is more isolated than ever after Israel crushed its West Bank networks in response to the killing of three teens, experts say. "Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay" for the killings of the Israelis who disappeared in the southern West Bank on June 12, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Monday before his air force pummelled the Gaza Strip. Hamas relinquished administration of Gaza under a unity deal with the Palestine Liberation Organisation that sought to end years of rival governments in the coastal strip and the West Bank. Israel responded to the abductions by detaining 276 Hamas members in a sweeping arrest operation in the West Bank.
The US Navy has promoted a woman to the rank of a four-star admiral for the first time in its 238-year history, a milestone for females in the American military. In a ceremony on Tuesday, Michelle Howard was promoted to vice chief of naval operations, the number two job in the service, after having already shattered barriers in previous posts in the navy. Howard, 54, is known for commanding a counter-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden that oversaw the 2009 rescue of a commercial cargo ship skipper, Captain Richard Phillips, who was abducted by Somali pirates. The rescue involving Navy SEALs was later depicted in a film starring Tom Hanks.
Hong Kong police arrested more than 500 protesters at a sit-in early Wednesday following a huge pro-democracy rally that organisers said mobilised half a million people demanding the right to choose their next leader. The arrests came at the end of a largely peaceful rally on Tuesday that protest leaders said brought the biggest crowds onto the streets since the city was handed over from Britain to China in 1997. Waving colonial-era flags and shouting anti-Beijing chants, protesters carried banners emblazoned with slogans including "We want real democracy" and "We stand united against China". Discontent in the city of seven million people is at its highest level in years over Beijing's insistence that it vet candidates before a vote in 2017 for the semi-autonomous city's next leader.
The National Security Agency's vast data collection program targeting foreign nationals is a largely legal, valuable tool in fighting terrorism, a watchdog panel said. The panel, which earlier this year issued a sharp rebuke of domestic surveillance efforts, said in a preliminary report that the foreign intelligence efforts are generally in line with the US constitution, while raising some concerns about unintentional data gathering of Americans. "The program has proven valuable in the government's efforts to combat terrorism as well as in other areas of foreign intelligence," said the report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a panel created on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The report released as a draft, subject to a vote on Wednesday of the panel, appears to vindicate at least some aspects of the vast NSA data sweep, while sidestepping questions on whether privacy protections of US law should be extended to "non-US persons."
The UN Security Council decided to slap sanctions on Ugandan rebels Allied Democratic Forces, who are active in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, diplomats said. The ADF -- also known as the ADF-Nalu -- is accused of recruiting child soldiers, sexual abuse of women and children, and taking part in "attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers," the UN mission in DR Congo. After their stunning defeat of the M23, the Congolese army and a UN intervention brigade have set their sights on the ADF, a Ugandan Islamist group, and the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia that includes some of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.