english news

Kabul suicide bomber kills 48 at education centre

kabul

At least 48 people have died after a suicide bomber targeted an education centre in a minority Shia area of western Kabul, in the latest assault in Afghanistan’s war-weary capital. “We can confirm the attack was caused by a suicide bomber on foot. The bomber detonated himself inside the education centre,” said a police spokesman, Hashmat Stanikzai.

The health ministry said 48 people had died, with another 67 wounded. There was no immediately claim of responsibility. The Taliban quickly denied involvement. In a separate incident a Taliban attack on an Afghan military outpost in the northern province of Baghlan killed up to 44 policemen and soldiers. The attacks underlined how hard militants have been pressuring badly stretched local security forces, and came as the central city of Ghazni struggles to recover from five days of intense fighting.(theguardian)…[+]

Turkish lira rallies as Ankara increases tariffs on US imports

turkish

The lira has continued its recovery against the dollar on Wednesday as Turkey increased tariffs on US goods and introduced measures to restrict bets against the embattled currency. After rising as high as 5.9 to the dollar, the lira was up 3.8% to $6.16 shortly after 1pm on Wednesday. The currency’s climb followed retaliatory tariffs by Ankara against US goods including rice, coal and cars. The tariff increases followed Donald Trump’s decision last week to double US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium, deepening Turkey’s economic crisis.

Turkey’s trade minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, said: “The United States is an important trading partner but it is not our only partner. We have other partners and alternative markets.” In an effort to defend the lira, Turkey’s central bank tightened its rules on currency swaps and other foreign exchange transactions, limiting the ability of banks to supply lira to foreign financial companies.(theguardian)…[+]

Facebook buys rights to show La Liga games in India

la liga

Facebook has bought the rights to show Spanish top-flight football in the Indian subcontinent in the latest move by a US technology company into sports rights.

The company has signed an exclusive agreement to show La Liga games featuring Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and other stars for the next three years. The deal will allow Facebook to show all 380 matches for the new season, which starts on Friday, to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Facebook will show the games for free to its 348 million users in the region, including 270 million in India. The company did not disclose how much it was paying for the rights, which cost Sony Pictures Network $32m (£25m) last time they were for sale in 2014.

Facebook and other US technology companies have been buying up rights to popular sports for streaming services. Competition from cash-rich US tech companies is a threat to cable and satellite TV broadcasters, which have used sport as a way to attract and keep customers. Facebook pays about $1m a game to show 25 Major League Baseball games worldwide for no fee, supported by advertising. From next season in the UK, Amazon will bundle 20 English Premier League matches with its Prime subscription service. Sky and BT currently share the rights to show live games on TV.(theguardian)…[+]

Erdoğan says Turkey will boycott US electronic products

erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey will boycott electronic products from the US, as he issued another defiant response to the US sanctions imposed in a dispute over the detention of an American evangelical pastor. The US measures have accelerated a currency crisis in Turkey, though the lira rallied slightly on Tuesday, from a low of 7 against the dollar on Monday night to about 6.5 at noon (1000 BST) in Istanbul.

“We will boycott US electronic products,” the Turkish president said. “If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung. In our country there is Venus, Vestel [the Turkish smartphone brands].” Erdoğan also railed against what he called a larger and deeper operation against Turkey. “They do not refrain from using the economy as a weapon against us, as they tried in the areas of diplomacy, military, or efforts for social and political instability,” he said. Meanwhile, the American pastor Andrew Brunson, whose continued detention over espionage allegations provoked the latest crisis, said through his lawyer that he was appealing against his house arrest and travel ban.(theguardian)…[+]

Australian senator calls for ‘final solution to immigration problem’

austria

An Australian crossbench senator has invoked the term “the final solution” in an inflammatory speech calling for a plebiscite asking voters whether they want to end all immigration by Muslims and non-English speaking people “from the third world”.

Fraser Anning, formerly of the far-right Pauline Hanson One Nation party, and now a member of the Katter’s Australia party, used his maiden speech in the Senate to call for “a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, and particularly whether they want any Muslims”.

He also invoked the white Australia policy, suggesting Australians may want “to return to the predominately European immigration policy of the pre-Whitlam consensus”. The white Australia policy, which restricted non-European immigration, ran from 1901 until it began to be dismantled in the late 1960s. He said neither the former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam, nor any subsequent government, had asked Australians what kind of immigration they wanted. “What we do need a plebiscite for is to decide who comes here.”(theguardian)…[+]

Aristocrat sues France for €351m in row over Monaco throne

legal

A French-born aristocrat is suing France for €351m (£313m) in damages, claiming it tricked his family out of inheriting the throne of Monaco. Louis de Causans alleges that he and his relatives would have been in the line of succession if not for a “sleight of hand” by the French state more than a century ago. De Causans says that by falsifying the rules of succession, France gained control over the Mediterranean principality, robbed his family of its birthright and installed another branch of the Grimaldis on the throne.  He insists his legal action is not aimed at Monaco’s current ruler, Prince Albert, but the French state.

The aristocrat, whose full name is Louis Jean Raymond Marie de Vincens de Causans, told Le Parisien newspaper: “I want the truth to come out and this injustice perpetrated by France on my family to be put right. “In reality, my cousin Prince Albert acceded to the throne by a sleight of hand … France found a solution to get its hands on Monaco. Afterwards, they managed business on the Rock as they wished.”(theguardian)…[+]

Hundreds injured as platform falls into sea at festival in Vigo

hundreds

More than 300 people have been injured, nine of them seriously, after a wooden platform collapsed during a music festival in Vigo in north-west Spain. The incident happened close to midnight as the Mallorcan rapper Rels B was about to begin his performance at O Marisquiño festival. Most of the injuries were fractures and head wounds as festivalgoers fell several feet to the ground. Some fell into the sea.

Alicia Ulloa, 19, who was at the festival, told the website El Confidencial: “Suddenly everyone disappeared and everyone was trampling on everyone else as they tried to escape. “I was with a group of friends when the people beside us fell, as though something had dragged them down. It’s a miracle it wasn’t worse because the concert had just begun and lots of my friends hadn’t arrived yet.”

Marcos Rodríguez told the radio station SER: “People fell in the water, on rocks, on top of each [other], people bleeding. It was horrible. People were screaming and running.” Rescue efforts continued throughout the night. Divers searched for people in the water and thermal imaging cameras were brought in to look for anyone trapped in the rubble. By Monday morning, everyone was accounted for.(theguardian)…[+]

Fukushima residents complain over statue of child in radiation suit

japan

Residents of Fukushima have demanded the removal of a statue of a child in a protective suit from outside the city’s railway station, saying it gives the impression that the area is unfit for human habitation as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The statue, by Kenji Yanobe, depicts a child dressed in a yellow Hazmat-style suit, with a helmet in one hand and an artistic representation of the sun in the other. Yanobe said his Sun Child, which was installed by the municipal government after appearing at art exhibitions in Japan and overseas, was intended to express his desire for a nuclear-free world. The artist said he did not mean to give the impression that local children needed to protect themselves from radiation more than seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi plant became the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.(theguardian)…[+]

Mali votes in runoff election amid heavy security presence

mali

Millions of Malians were voting on Sunday in an unprecedented run-off presidential election, which has been overshadowed by widespread allegations of fraud and the threat of Islamist extremist violence. The current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, is the favourite in the poll, having won 41% of the vote in the first round two weeks ago while challenger Soumaïla Cissé took only 18%.

Extra security forces have been deployed after around 250,000 people, 3% of the electorate, were unable to vote because of insecurity during the first round. Armed attacks and other incidents were recorded at about a fifth of polling stations. Mali is key to the battle against Islamic extremism in the Sahel region and to efforts to restrict illegal immigration to Europe.  French, US and United Nations troops have been fighting militants in the unstable and impoverished country since 2012 when ethnic and Islamist groups seized swaths of territory and the city of Timbuktu.

However, government authority is still weak in many places and observers say militants, some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State, have regrouped since French troops intervened in 2013 to push them back. They are now expanding their influence across Mali’s desert north and into the fertile centre.(theguardian)…[+]

More than 100 large wildfires in US as six new blazes erupt

us

Six large new wildfires erupted in the United States, pushing the number of major active blazes nationwide to over 100, with more expected to break out sparked by lightning strikes on bone-dry terrain, authorities said on Saturday. More than 30,000 personnel, including firefighters from across the United States and nearly 140 from Australia and New Zealand, were battling the blazes that have consumed more than 1.6m acres (648,000 hectares), according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

“We are expecting that there will be more fire-starts today,” Jeremy Grams, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, said in an interview on Saturday. He said dry thunderstorms, which produce lightning but little rain, are expected for parts of the Rocky Mountain region, while the US north-west has critical fire weather conditions that include strong winds and low relative humidity. Firefighters were battling another day of extremely hot temperatures and strong winds on Saturday, the National Interagency Coordination Center said. The fires have scorched states from Washington to New Mexico, with California among the hardest hit.(theguardian)…[+]