Italy and Malta on Sunday said they had been "forgotten" by Europe amid a massive influx of migrants -- an accusation rejected by Brussels which admitted however that other countries could do more to help. Thousands of migrants -- mainly from Eritrea and Syria but also sub-Saharan Africa -- have arrived or are on their way in what Malta said was the "biggest" search and rescue operation in recent years. Italy said that more than 50,000 migrants have landed since on its shores the start of the year -- around the same numbers as for the whole of last year. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat criticised the European Union in an interview with One Radio saying: "Europe has forgotten everyone.
Former UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has warned that the war-torn country was heading toward becoming "another Somalia" ruled by warlords, in an interview published in a German weekly this weekend. Brahimi, the former special representative on Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League, resigned in frustration last month after making little progress towards ending the brutal civil war, now in its fourth year. When asked what he predicted would ultimately become of Syria, the veteran Algerian diplomat told der Spiegel: "It will become another Somalia. Brahimi also painted a grim picture for the countries neighbouring Syria.
Herzliya (Israel) (AFP) - A Palestinian unity deal with the Islamist Hamas movement must be supported, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told an Israeli security conference on Sunday. His remarks came just days after a Palestinian unity government, comprised of political independents but backed by Hamas, was sworn in -- a move welcomed by the international community but rejected by Israel as a major stumbling block to peace. "In the interest of a future peace deal and of a legitimate and representative government, intra-Palestinian reconciliation... should be supported," Barroso told delegates at a conference in the coastal city of Herzliya. Any Palestinian government should uphold the principle of non-violence, be committed to a two-state solution and a negotiated settlement of the conflict, which would imply accepting existing agreements as well as recognising Israel's right to exist, he said.
One person was killed Sunday in the Sudanese capital as police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration over water shortages, police and witnesses said. Hanan Omar Jadallah, a demonstrator, said that men, women and children took part. Several areas of Khartoum have been hit by water cuts for the past month, a situation exacerbated by rising summer temperatures.
Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights, officials said. Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar said the militants were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security personnel. Abid Qaimkhani, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed the attack, adding all flights had been suspended. There has so far been no claim of responsibility, but Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for more than a decade that has claimed thousands of lives.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is "doing very well" after being admitted to hospital for exhaustion, one of his four wives said on Sunday. A senior official of the ruling ANC earlier said Zuma was expected to be discharged on Sunday, a day after he was admitted for tests following reports of exhaustion. But there was no update from Zuma's office by Sunday evening.
South Africa's ruling party claimed "foreign forces" may be behind a lengthy platinum strike that has battered the continent's most developed economy, a top party official said on Sunday. The ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, said a meeting of the party's highest decision-making body had looked into the causes behind the wage dispute, now in its fifth month. "It is a signal, small as it may sound, of foreign forces taking an active interest in destabilising South Africa and its economy," he said. He also alleged that a senior official of the opposition leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, had been directly involved in the wage negotiations between the platinum mine owners and the union.
A court on Sunday ordered Sao Paulo subway workers to pay a daily fine if they continue a strike threatening to disrupt the World Cup's opening game in Brazil's biggest city. The ruling came as more teams arrived in Brazil, with Germany greeted by several hundred people at its northeastern base and England landing in the picturesque city of Rio de Janeiro. Eighteen of the 32 teams are now on the ground, including the hosts, but the chaos gripping Sao Paulo -- the latest in a wave of strikes and protests ahead of the tournament -- has distracted the usually passionate footballing nation from the World Cup build-up. "The court ruled the strike was abusive," said union spokesman Thiago Marcelino Pereira.
Secretary of State John Kerry defended Sunday the swap of five Guantanamo detainees for American Bowe Bergdahl, amid reports the captive US soldier was kept at times in a metal cage and in total darkness. Kerry doubled down on President Barack Obama's controversial decision to make the trade in exchange for the release of Bergdahl, who the top US diplomat said was at risk of being tortured by his captors. Bergdahl was released to US troops in Afghanistan last Saturday in exchange for the five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Hillary Clinton won't make her intentions known about a possible White House bid before year's end, she said in an interview broadcast Sunday. Clinton's remark came as she embarks on a sweeping book tour for her latest memoir "Hard Choices." Clinton, 66, who lost to President Barack Obama in their 2008 battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, is mulling a second White House run.
Spanish police on Sunday arrested a member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA suspected of belonging to a unit that killed several police officers in the 1980s, the interior ministry said. Police detained Maria Jesus Elorza Zubizarreta, 66, at Madrid's Adolfo-Suarez Barajas airport under a European arrest warrant issued by France in 2006, the ministry said in a statement.
Spain's Juan Carlos, who announced plans to abdicate last week, presided Sunday over his last military ceremony as king before he cedes the throne to his more popular son Prince Felipe. Hundreds of onlookers applauded and chanted "Long live the king!" as the 76-year-old monarch, dressed in a brown military uniform, reviewed troops at Spain's annual armed forces day ceremony in central Madrid. The king, who walks with a cane after multiple hip operations, was flanked by his wife Queen Sofia, and Felipe, who wore a white navy uniform, and his wife Princess Letizia, a former TV news reader.
Israel on Sunday signed a key European-funded scientific research programme despite guidelines barring funding to settlement-linked projects, officials said. The signing of the Horizon 2020 agreement took place at a ceremony in Jerusalem presided over by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Under terms of the agreement, Israel will have the same access to the programme as EU member states," the European Commission said. Signing the deal, which makes Israel the only non-European country to benefit from the programme, was made possible after the sides reached a compromise over guidelines which bar all funding for entities operating on land seized during the 1967 Six Day War.
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - The Palestinian foreign ministry on Sunday summoned Australia's diplomatic representative after a top judicial official said Canberra would no longer refer to annexed east Jerusalem as "occupied." Israel hailed the remarks as "refreshing", but the Palestinian leadership denounced them as "disgraceful and shocking", with the ministry making a formal diplomatic protest on Sunday. "The Palestinian foreign ministry summoned the Australian representative Thomas Wilson over the recent comments by the Australian attorney general asking to stop referring to east Jerusalem as occupied territories," a ministry statement said. Speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, foreign minister al-Malki said he was "worried" about the remarks which contravened the position of the international community.
Tens of thousands of Basques held hands in a 123-kilometre (76-mile) human chain across their region on Sunday to press the Spanish government to let them vote on breaking away and forming their own country. Demonstrators, many draped in red, white and green Basque flags, raised their linked hands in the air along country roads and through towns in the Basque region as a helicopter flew over.
Anti-racism campaigners reacted with outrage on Sunday to an apparent anti-Semitic pun by France's former far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen that even his own party and daughter were quick to criticise. SOS Racisme denounced as "the most anti-Semitic filth" a pledge by the founder of the National Front (FN) party to put his critics in their place using a pun suggesting Nazi gas chambers. The remark was contained in a video clip posted on the FN website and since removed. In the video, Le Pen railed against a number of critics including pop star Madonna and Yannick Noah, the French singer and former tennis champion.