Al-Qaeda's Syria branch on Monday claimed responsibility for two car bomb attacks a day earlier in the central city of Homs that according to the governor killed 12 people. "God generously made it possible for the jihadists of Al-Nusra Front in Homs... to break through the strongholds of the regime's shabiha (militia)... despite the many obstacles, security barriers and checkpoints," the jihadist group said on Twitter. The statement also said the first car bomb was parked in the district of Zahraa, in eastern Homs, and the second in the west of the city. Both suicide car bomb attackers, said the Al-Nusra Front, "were detonated at the same time, in order to secure the highest death toll possible."
Billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko faces a formidable task to end the crisis which has brought Ukraine to the brink of collapse as he prepared Monday to be formally declared the country's president. But just hours after his apparent victory, there was a sharp reminder of the huge challenges ahead for Poroshenko as armed separatists who refuse to recognise Kiev's legitimacy forced the closure of the main airport in the rebel-held eastern city of Donetsk on Monday. "My first decisive step will be aimed at ending the war, ending chaos, and bringing peace to a united and free Ukraine," he said after polls closed in a vote billed as the most important since Ukraine's independence in 1991. The latest results put Poroshenko far ahead of his nearest rival, the divisive former prime minister and Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko with 13 percent.
Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - The main airport in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk shut down on Monday after being raided by dozens of armed separatists who vowed to keep up their resistance a day after presidential polls. There was no shooting and they demanded that soldiers guarding the perimeter of the airport be withdrawn," spokesman Dmytro Kosinov told AFP. Kosinov said the airport halted operations at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) and now appeared to be under control of gunmen who identified themselves as "representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic" that has proclaimed independence from Kiev. Separatists in the heavily-Russified eastern rust belt of the ex-Soviet nation launched an insurgency against Kiev's rule in early April that saw them seize about a dozen cities and towns in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions neighbouring Russia.
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — For much of President Barack Obama's tenure in the White House, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have provided a well-defined framework for his foreign policy philosophy. He ran for the White House pledging to bring the conflicts to a close and promised the American people that he would seek to avoid unnecessary war.
Egyptians are going to the polls Monday in a presidential election that ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted the elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, is expected to easily win amid calls for stability. Sisi is expected to trounce his only rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, amid calls for a strong leader who can restore stability in the Arab world's most populous country and shore up the economy. But true democracy, the ideal millions rallied and fought for in a 2011 uprising that overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak, will have to wait, perhaps for a couple of decades, Sisi has said. Sisi has called for a high turnout in the election, billed by the military-installed authorities and the West as a milestone toward elected rule in the country of 86 million people.
Narendra Modi will be sworn in as India's prime minister Monday, with the pro-business leader already signalling bold intentions by slashing his cabinet and welcoming his Pakistani counterpart to the ceremony. After a decade of left-leaning Congress party rule, the 63-year-old Hindu nationalist is set to steer India firmly to the right in the next five years, armed with a powerful mandate after a landslide election victory. Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, paid a visit to the memorial of India's independence hero Mahatma Gandhi early Monday, before then stopping to meet Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his party's only previous premier, who is now confined to his home in Delhi at the age of 89.
A long-standing Australian senator on Monday brought what he said could be a pipe bomb to the national parliament to demonstrate his view that new security regulations are unsafe. Senator Bill Heffernan, a member of the ruling conservative Liberal Party, held up the pipe and what appeared to be some sticks of dynamite during a committee hearing in Canberra. "Clearly you can do what you bloody well like," said Heffernan, an outspoken former farmer who became a member of the national parliament in 1996.
Thailand's king has formally appointed the army chief as head of the nation's new military junta following a recent coup. "To restore peace and order in the country and for sake of unity, the king appointed General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as head of the National Council of Peace and Order to run the country," according to a royal command seen by AFP on Monday.
Abdul Sesay used to carry an AK-47 in jailed Liberian warlord Charles Taylor's notorious "Demon Forces" militia, which tortured, killed and raped its way through the country's second civil war. But those who could not hand in a gun or ammunition were excluded, so children who had been recruited for domestic or sexual services received no help.
The White House inadvertently included the name of the top CIA official in Afghanistan on a list of participants in a military briefing with President Barack Obama that was distributed to reporters on Sunday, the Washington Post reported. The newspaper said the official, identified as "Chief of Station" in Kabul, was named as being among those at a briefing with Obama during the president's trip to Bagram Air Base near the Afghan capital. The list of names was sent by email to reporters traveling with Obama on his surprise Afghanistan visit and included in a "pool report" shared with correspondents and others not on the trip. The Post said the White House issued a revised list deleting the CIA official's name after it recognized the mistake.
A quarter of a century after Communist authorities crushed the Tiananmen Square demonstrators and their hopes of reform, protest leader Wuer Kaixi still lies awake at night, haunted by the dead and their unrealised dreams. But after seven weeks in the square their aspirations were abruptly shattered by an overnight military crackdown that ended on June 4, 1989, leaving hundreds of people dead -- by some estimates, more than 1,000 -- and a ruling party hell-bent on preventing any future such challenges to its power. "During the time it did seem quite promising that the Chinese authorities may yield, may actually answer to our call for Chinese political reform," said Wuer, then a charismatic 21-year-old activist, who became number two on the government's most-wanted list of student leaders. Students began to pour into Tiananmen Square.