World News

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Locals warn tourists to stay away from Shimla, the summer capital of the British Raj, after severe water shortages. https://t.co/myOGOj8waX

Small Bavarian town linked to British Royal family takes stand against new law enforcing display of crosses

A small town in Germany with deep historic links to the Royal family is taking a stand against an order from the Bavarian regional government to display cross in all public buildings.<p>The local council in Coburg, birthplace of both Queen Victoria’s mother and her beloved consort, Prince Albert, says …

Europe

Bashar al-Assad warns US troops to leave Syria as he raises prospect of clash

The US should learn the lesson of Iraq, President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday, threatening to expel American troops from Syria and retake areas from its Kurdish allies.<p>In the interview with RT, the Russian state's international broadcaster, Assad raised the prospect of conflict with US forces …

Chinese police officers go on patrol in Venice for the first time

Seven centuries after the Venetian explorer Marco Polo set out on the Silk Route for Cathay, Venice has for the first time invited Chinese police officers to patrol its canal banks and winding alleyways.<p>Two Chinese police officers – one from near Shanghai, the other from the region around Beijing – …

Thai court dismisses criminal defamation charges against British activist Andy Hall

A Thai appeals court has quashed criminal defamation charges against British labour rights activist, Andy Hall, who was sued by a fruit packaging company after alleged human rights violations at its factory.<p>Ahead of today’s successful appeal, Mr Hall, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, had been facing …

China’s ‘dream of hegemony’ biggest threat in Asia, says US admiral appointed as ambassador to South Korea

A US admiral who is expected to become Washington's next ambassador to South Korea warned that China's "dream of hegemony" was the greatest threat to America in Asia.<p>Admiral Harry Harris said that while North Korea was the most urgent concern, China's growing power in Asia would provide the …

Valet accidentally parks Porsche under SUV at upmarket Sydney hotel

A valet at Sydney's Hyatt Regency hotel had a bad day at work on Thursday after he accidentally parked a Porsche Carrera underneath another vehicle.<p>While attempting to park the Porsche, the car reportedly accelerated and ended up under an orange sports utility vehicle (SUV).<p>Police were called to …

North Korean 'spymaster' Kim Yong-chol meets Mike Pompeo in New York ahead of planned Trump summit

Kim Jong-un's envoy had dinner with Mike Pompeo in New York on Wednesday night to try to reinstate plans to hold a summit between Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.<p>Kim Yong-chol, a 73-year-old general described as the ultimate regime insider, is the highest North Korean official to visit the …

Donald Trump expresses regret at picking Jeff Sessions as attorney general amid clashes over Russia probe

Donald Trump has said he wished he had chosen someone other than Jeff Sessions as his attorney general as details of the pair’s behind-the-scenes clashes emerged.<p>The New York Times reported that Mr Trump once attempted to make Mr Sessions take back control of the Russia election meddling …

Eight million bottles' worth of Champagne grapes wiped out by freak hailstorms

Champagne has become the latest French wine growing region to feel the wrath of the heavens after freakishly violent hail storms wiped out the equivalent of eight million bottles of grapes and roughly €125 million (£110m) of fizz.<p>The extent of the damage emerged barely a week after hailstones “the …

French police clear out Paris migrant camp

Police have evacuated the largest illegal refugee camp in Paris days after homeless charities warned that the situation was heading for “tragedy” following a stabbing and two drownings.<p>The evacuation of more than 1,000 migrants, mainly from Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, came a day after France …

How Facebook became the 'tool of dictators' in Asia's teetering democracies

As Facebook continues to fend off searing criticism over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, it is now coming under fire in Asia over claims it is being exploited by political strongmen and dictatorial regimes, intent on crushing dissent and manipulating public opinion.<p>An obscure …

Japanese whaling programme slaughtered 122 pregnant minke whales on ‘barbaric and illegal’ hunt

Animal rights activists have expressed outrage after a report on Japan’s “scientific whaling” programme showed that more than two-thirds of the female minke whales harpooned in the Southern Ocean earlier this year were pregnant females.<p>The report, submitted to a meeting of the scientific committee …

Animal rights activists hail possible end to South Korean dog farms, as Olympic skier mourns death of adopted pet Beemo

Animal rights activists have welcomed moves by the South Korean parliament to ban farms breeding dogs for human consumption.<p>A new bill, introduced to the National Assembly earlier this month by Lee Sang-don, a member of the centre right Bareunmirae party, would remove the legal basis for …

British Putin critic Bill Browder released after arrest in Spain

Bill Browder, the UK-based financier and anti-Putin campaigner, was taken to a Madrid police station on Wednesday morning after being detained on a Russian warrant.<p>Mr Browder, who describes himself as "Putin's number one enemy", tweeted that he had been arrested by Spanish police on a Russian …

British fans could face whips when Vladimir Putin's 'storm troopers of the tsar' patrol the World Cup

An officer barked, and the 18 uniformed riders took off down the rain-splattered sand along the Don River, the flags of Russia and the Don Cossack host fluttering behind them.<p>“Reins in hand! At a trot, march!”<p>It was the day of the match between FC Rostov and FC Ural, and Cossacks on horse and foot …

Italy renews attempts to form a populist coalition after three months of turmoil

Italy’s tangled political crisis continued on Wednesday as signs emerged that a government consisting of the country’s two populist parties might be formed after all.<p>Carlo Cottarelli, a former IMF economist, had been on the brink of trying to cobble together a technocrat government, after …

Kim Jong-un unlikely to give up nuclear weapons but may open burger joint, according to CIA assessment

American intelligence officers assessing North Korea intentions ahead of a possible nuclear summit believe the regime has no intention of giving up its weapons but might be amenable to opening a burger restaurant in the capital Pyongyang.<p>This is among the pessimistic conclusions in a CIA report …

Skeleton of Roman beheaded by giant flying rock slab found at Pompeii

The skeleton of a Roman man who was decapitated by a giant slab of rock has been discovered by archeologists in Pompeii.<p>They believe the man, aged in his thirties, was attempting to flee the eruption of Mt Vesuvius when the 300kg rock slammed into him, beheading him and killing him instantly.<p>He had …

How Italy faces a long summer of political turmoil as furious populists demand fresh elections

It is going to be a long, hot summer in Italy. With efforts to form a populist government breaking down amid acrimony and recriminations on Sunday, the country is likely heading for fresh elections in September or October.<p>Long-suffering Italians, who had thought that a new government consisting of …

Donald Tusk tells EU officials to 'stop lecturing Italian voters' for supporting Eurosceptic parties

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, has told senior EU figures in Brussels to stop lecturing the Italian people for voting for Eurosceptic parties.<p>Mr Tusk issued a withering put-down after it was reported that Gunther Oettinger, the EU’s Budget Commissioner, had suggested economic …

Why Kim Yong-chol, the loyal former North Korean spy chief holding talks in US, may have blood on his hands

When Kim Jong-un’s right-hand man, General Kim Yong-chol, arrived in New York on Wednesday, he was the most senior North Korean to visit the US since 2000.<p>The former spy chief turned top nuclear negotiator is considered to be one of the most influential North Korean officials outside of the Kim …

Death threats made against Italy's president after he blocks populist government

Death threats have been made against Italy’s president after he scuppered the formation of a populist government by refusing to approve the appointment of a eurosceptic economy minister.<p>The threats emerged as the country’s new interim prime minister, former IMF economist Carlo Cottarelli, prepared …

Belgium shooting: 'Radicalised' prisoner on day release kills two female police officers in Liege

A suspected terrorist on day release from prison executed two female police officers with their own guns and shot dead a trainee teacher before he was killed in a shootout after taking two women hostage at a school in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege.<p>The bloody rampage on Tuesday morning, …

Family of saved boy thank Malian 'Spider-Man' Mamoudou Gassama, as 'true hero' receives French residency

The family of a small boy found hanging from a balcony in Paris have expressed heartfelt thanks to the Malian migrant who saved him.<p>"He's truly a hero," the boy's grandmother said of Mamoudou Gassama, who climbed four floors before a crowd of well-wishers to pluck the child from danger.<p>The …

Starbucks to close over 8,000 coffee shops in the US for racial bias training

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 shops in the US on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished image as a hangout where all are welcome.<p>After the arrests of two black men in Philadelphia last month at one of its stores, …

Walk-outs as Syria takes over as chair of global disarmament body

The United States led protests on Tuesday as Syria took over the rotating presidency of the Conference on Disarmament at a time when Damascus is widely accused of using chemical weapons.<p>The US ambassador to the UN in Geneva said it was "a travesty" that Syria would head the Conference on …

Catalonia independence fight spills onto the beaches of Barcelona

Beach towel wars were once the preserve of red-faced tourists standing off over sunbeds. But on the coast of Catalonia, a new type of confrontation is breaking out, as the region’s independence crisis begins playing out on the sands.<p>In the past week, groups of protesters and locals have clashed on …

Japan's Buddhist temples to offer rooms to rent after law change

The words “spiritual” and “spartan” are not often used to describe properties listed on Airbnb. They are, however, more likely to crop up following the launch of a service devoted to providing accommodation in temples across Japan.<p>Terahaku aims to become the Airbnb of temples when it starts …