The number of registered unemployed in France climbed by 0.04 percent in April to a record of 3.36 million, the labour ministry said Wednesday, in a further setback for the government. The government of President Francois Hollande has so far be unable to deliver on his key campaign pledge of halting the rise in unemployment.
A top US military official on Wednesday called for better missile defense cooperation between Japan and South Korea, in the face of strained ties between America's two closest Asia allies and a belligerent North Korea. "We're encouraging our allies and partners to acquire their own missile defenses and to strengthen regional missile defense cooperation that will result in better performance than individual countries acting alone," said James Winnefeld, vice-chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff. "We will continue to emphasize the importance of developing regional ballistic missile defense systems," Winnefeld said during a speech at the Atlantic Council think tank. "This is a very politically sensitive topic for several of our regional allies, but progress in this area would only increase our confidence in the face of persistent North Korean provocations," Winnefeld said.
Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Results from Malawi's controversial presidential elections will be withheld until a raft of court challenges to the disputed ballot have been resolved, an official said Wednesday. The outcome in the election was thrown into chaos last week when outgoing President Joyce Banda called the vote "null and void", saying it was marred by "serious irregularities". Court orders and injunctions have flown back and forth ever since, as supporters of rival Peter Mutharika urge the release of results that show Banda a clear loser. "The positions have not changed," said the official who is close to the electoral commission but spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to preliminary results announced last Friday after about a third of the votes had been counted.
Attacks across Iraq killed 22 people Wednesday, the latest in a months-long surge in violence that has left more than 4,000 people dead this year. The shootings and bombings struck in Baghdad and restive parts of the north and west, leaving dozens more wounded, security and medical officials said. The protracted spike in bloodletting has fuelled fears that Iraq is slipping back into the all-out conflict that plagued it in 2006 and 2007, when a brutal sectarian war left tens of thousands dead. In the deadliest attack, a suicide car bomb exploded in north Baghdad, killing at least eight people and wounding 49 others, interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said.
Taliban insurgents Wednesday denounced US plans to keep troops in Afghanistan up to the end of 2016, threatening to wage war against the "occupation" until the very last foreign soldier pulls out. But outgoing President Hamid Karzai welcomed the timetable for the US's complete withdrawal and called on the insurgents to seize a "historic" opportunity to seek peace after more than a decade of war. Outlining the US strategy to end America's longest war, President Barack Obama confirmed on Tuesday that the 32,000-strong US deployment in Afghanistan would be scaled back to around 9,800 by the start of 2015. But underscoring the instability still roiling Afghanistan, two Americans were slightly wounded in an attack on a US consulate vehicle in Afghanistan's western city of Herat on Wednesday.
Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general who led the UN mission in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide, is retiring from politics, Canada's public broadcaster reported Wednesday. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Senator Dallaire said he planned to spend more time on post-traumatic stress disorder and promoting various international causes. The former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, Dallaire was named to Canada's Senate in 2005 after more than four decades in the military. In the lead-up to the Rwanda genocide, Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, but permission to intervene was denied and the UN peacekeepers were withdrawn after Belgian members of the force were murdered.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday lashed out at fugitive spy Edward Snowden urging him to "man-up" and do his patriotic duty by returning to face trial for leaking intelligence secrets. Kerry's comments came only hours after Snowden revealed that he was not just a low-level contractor working for the CIA, as the White House has consistently portrayed him. "I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas -- pretending to work in a job that I'm not -- and even being assigned a name that was not mine," he told NBC. In his first interview in US media, Snowden said he had worked covertly as "a technical expert" for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, and as a trainer for the Defense Intelligence Agency.