A Zambia air force plane crashed on Monday during a routine training exercise, killing two people including the force's second-in-command, the country's defence minister said. Edgar Lungu said the plane was being flown by deputy ZAF commander Muliokela Muliokela, who was partnered by Colonel Brian Mweene. "It is with deep sorrow and grief that we announce the a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) SAAB MFI-15 plane crashed in Lusaka west killing two crew members" Lungu said.
Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's tough-talking but uncharismatic rebel-turned-leader, looked set to remain prime minister after results on Monday from April's general election put his party in the lead. Maliki's State of Law alliance won 92 out of 328 seats in parliament, with other blocs tallying between 19 and 29 seats, meaning he will need his rivals' support in order to keep the top job. Throughout, he has been seen as a rarity agreeable to both the United States, Iraq's former occupier, and Iran, its powerful Shiite-majority neighbour. Former US president George W. Bush has called Maliki "a good man with a difficult job", and Maliki himself has said he is "a friend of the United States, but... not America's man in Iraq".
More than 3,500 Chinese citizens were evacuated from riot-hit Vietnam by sea on Monday, as Hanoi stifled fresh protests over a territorial dispute and foreign investors counted the cost. Passenger ships Wuzhishan, Tongguling, Zijing 12, and Baishiling collected a total of 3,553 Chinese nationals and were headed home, China's official news agency Xinhua reported. The vessels, each with a capacity of about 1,000 people, had left the central Vietnamese port of Vung Ang and were en route to the southern Chinese port city of Haikou, Xinhua added. Relations between the communist neighbours have plummeted following Beijing's move earlier this month to send a deep-water drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea.
Guinea-Bissau election officials tallied votes on Monday after a post-coup presidential poll in the fragile west African state, saying they expected a clear picture of who was leading the race within 24 hours. Almost 800,000 voters had a choice between former finance minister Jose Mario Vaz, who won the first round on April 13 but failed to get an outright majority, and runner-up Nuno Gomes Nabiam, an independent. The army, long accused of involvement with drug cartels, stopped the 2012 election with a coup between rounds, and analysts had described its influence this time as "the big unknown". Counting in the capital took place in an atmosphere of calm in the capital Bissau, with military vehicles patrolling the streets.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted last week under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and makes conversions of faith punishable by death. "This outrageous conviction must be overturned and Ms. Ibrahim must be immediately released," insisted the UN experts on a range of issues, including on the human rights situation in Sudan, violence against women, minorities and the freedom of religion or belief.
When Pope Francis arrives in the Holy Land on his "pilgrimage of prayer," Israelis and Palestinians will both be looking to use the visit to score a few political points. Although the Vatican has said the emphasis of the pope's visit is to heal a centuries-old rift between the Catholic and Orthodox worlds, every gesture he makes is likely to come under close scrutiny by both sides. For Israel, it will be a chance to draw world attention for something other than its ongoing settlement activity. "The very fact of the visit is a success," an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, as the tourism ministry said it was hoping the papal pilgrimage would drive a 10 percent increase in Christian tourism.
Almost 2,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated from riot-hit Vietnam by sea on Monday, with another two ships following, as Hanoi stifled fresh protests over a territorial dispute and foreign investors counted the cost. The passenger vessels Wuzhishan and Tongguling left the central Vietnamese port of Vung Ang, each with more than 900 evacuees on board, China's official news agency Xinhua reported. They were among four Chinese ships -- each with a capacity of about 1,000 people -- sent to Vietnam, Xinhua said, with another two on standby. Relations between communist neighbours Vietnam and China have plummeted following Beijing's move earlier this month to send a deep-water drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea.
A dramatic spike in lawlessness in Libya's two largest cities has edged the country closer to civil war between heavily armed rival militias, stirring concern abroad and on oil markets. Gunmen stormed parliament in southern Tripoli on Sunday, hot on the heels of an anti-Islamist offensive by a rogue general in the eastern city of Benghazi. With interim authorities failing to build a regular army and police force, militias have ruled the roost since they ousted longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 revolution. After the attack on parliament, a colonel claiming to speak on behalf of the army declared that the General National Congress (GNC) had been suspended.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - The rapidly changing climate poses a threat of sparking greater global conflict, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday told the graduating class of Boston College, urging the graduates to play a role in pushing for new energy policies. Citing recent reports from the United Nations and White House showing that a rising emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels in contributing to a warming world, he warned of the possibility of climate-related conflict. If there are stronger more powerful storms, things will change in a hurry," Kerry said at Boston College, where he received his law degree in 1976. "Climate change is directly related to the potential of greater conflict and greater instability.
The United States on Monday charged five members of a shadowy Chinese military unit for allegedly stealing trade secrets as it vowed to ramp up the fight against hacking. In the first-ever prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage, a federal grand jury indicted the five on charges they broke into US computers to benefit Chinese state-owned companies, leading to job losses in the United States in steel, solar and other industries. Attorney General Eric Holder called on China to hand over the five men for trial in the steel city of Pittsburgh and said the United States would use "all the means that are available to us" if, as expected, Beijing refuses. President Barack Obama's administration "will not tolerate actions by any nation that seek to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition," Holder told reporters.
Israeli lawmakers will elect a successor to outgoing President Shimon Peres on June 10, parliamentary speaker Yuli Edelstein told reporters on Monday. Edelstein's announcement marks the official start of the race for the position, which has been held by Peres since 2007. Candidates must receive the backing of at least 10 other MPs, and formally present their requests in writing to the speaker on May 27, Edelstein said. In Israel, the post of president is largely ceremonial and executive power rests with the prime minister.
A Somali politician was wounded Monday in a bomb blast in the latest in a string of attacks in the war ravaged capital Mogadishu, a local official said. "The bomb was attached to his car... seriously injuring him," local district commissioner Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir told AFP. The politician, former city commissioner Farah Dahir Jimale, was rushed to hospital. No group claimed immediate responsibility, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels carry out regular attacks, and have vowed to topple the internationally-backed government.
Cassino (Italy) (AFP) - Prince Harry stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans of the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy on its 70th anniversary on Monday, honouring the British soldiers who fell by laying a wreath at the Commonwealth War Cemetery. The 29-year-old Harry, a captain in the British army who has served two tours in Afghanistan, also walked among the white graves near Cassino, some 140 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of Rome, before going for a tour of the Colosseum. "It's important that the sacrifice that was offered here is not forgotten," Jonathan Boardman, the Church of England's archdeacon for Italy, said on the sidelines of the event.
Vice President Joe Biden will underscore a firm US commitment to defend NATO partners and rally support for tougher potential sanctions against Russia on a trip to Romania and Cyprus this week. Biden will arrive in Bucharest on Tuesday at what one senior official called a "complicated and challenging time in Europe" fostered by Russia's "destabilizing" actions in Ukraine. Biden's primary mission in Romania is to reassure leaders of the former Warsaw Pact state, and now a member of NATO, that nobody should doubt Washington's commitment to Article Five of the alliance's charter, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all. US defense guarantees have taken on heightened importance in eastern Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its massing of troops on Ukraine's borders and what Washington sees as Moscow's support for pro-Kremlin militia groups during unrest in eastern Ukraine.
Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni on Monday defended a decision to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas after peace talks collapsed, in a move that drew sharp criticism from ministers. "I would like to remind everyone that the conflict isn't over," Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told her HaTnuah party at a weekly meeting, according to a statement. Livni came under fire for holding talks in London with Abbas on Thursday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and ministers distancing themselves from the meeting, insisting it was private and did not signal official intention to resume talks. Israel pulled out of the talks in mid-April, saying it would not negotiate with any Palestinian government supported by Hamas after the leadership in the West Bank signed a unity deal with the rival Islamist rulers of Gaza, who are committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.
Mediators announced Monday a two-week pause for South Sudan's struggling peace talks as the civil war raged despite a ceasefire agreement and warnings of famine. On Monday, mediators from the regional East African bloc IGAD said the two negotiation teams in the Ethiopian capital had drawn up "working documents" on how to implement the ceasefire and solve the crisis, as they announced a break until June 4. Aid agencies have warned the young nation faces catastrophe if fighting continues amid famine and genocide warnings, while health officials last week reported at least two deaths from a much-feared cholera outbreak. South Sudan President Salva Kiir told the BBC he "cannot deny" there will be famine if the war continues, which has now entered its sixth month.