Thousands of Iraqi men, women and children of all ages massed in Baghdad to demand US troops leave the country

Thousands protest in Iraq to demand ouster of US troops

AFP Thousands of supporters of populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr gathered in Baghdad on Friday for a rally to demand the ouster of US troops, putting the protest-hit capital on edge. The march rattled the separate, months-old protest movement that has gripped the capital and Shiite-majority south since October, demanding a government overhaul, early elections

Authorities in Beijing have cancelled massive gatherings that usually attract throngs during the New Year holiday, while the historic Forbidden City will close from Saturday

China shuts down 13 cities as virus toll climbs

AFP Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on Friday to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed to 26. While the World Health Organization (WHO) held off on declaring a global emergency despite confirmed

Donald Trump

Trump ‘should be removed’: impeachment trial

AFP Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff called dramatically for the Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office Thursday, saying the US leader cannot be trusted to put the country’s interests ahead of his own. “The American people deserve a president they can count on, to put their interest first,” said Schiff. His impassioned

New CEO stands by 737 MAX, eyeing reset at troubled Boeing

AFP Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun sought to pivot from a bruising period of crisis and scandal on Wednesday, pledging a renewed commitment to safety and transparency and endorsing the long-term viability of the 737 MAX plane. “I commit to you to be more accessible than the team has been,” Calhoun said at the outset

China coronavirus: Fear grips Wuhan as lockdown begins

BBC A sense of anxiety is growing in Wuhan as the Chinese city goes into lockdown in an effort to control the spread of a new virus which has left 17 dead. The authorities have suspended planes and trains in and out of the city of 11 million people, as well as buses, subways and

China says virus spreading between humans as WHO set to meet

AFP China has confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission in the outbreak of a new SARS-like virus as the number of cases soared and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would consider declaring an international public health emergency. The coronavirus, which has spread to three other Asian countries and infected more than 200 people in

Iran confirms two missiles fired at Ukraine airliner

AFP Iran’s civil aviation authority confirmed two missiles were fired at a Ukrainian airliner that was brought down earlier this month, in a preliminary report posted on its website late on Monday. “Investigators… discovered that two Tor-M1 missiles… were fired at the aircraft,” it said, adding an investigation was ongoing to assess the bearing their

Donald Trump

Historic Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate

AFP The historic impeachment trial of Donald Trump opened Thursday in the US Senate, as lawmakers took a solemn oath to be “impartial” in deciding whether to force the 45th US president from office. For just the third time in American history, the hushed Senate chamber was transformed into a court of impeachment, presided over

Heavy rain fell across parts of bushfire-ravaged eastern Australia, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change

Relief as rain falls over Australian bushfires

AFP Heavy rain fell across parts of fire-ravaged eastern Australia on Thursday and more wet weather was forecast, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change. The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of duration and intensity, have claimed 28 lives and killed an estimated billion animals. Sustained hot weather and

Prince Harry

Prince Harry to resurface after royal bombshell

AFP Britain’s Prince Harry was to make his first public appearance on Thursday since he and his wife Meghan’s bombshell decision to quit as full-time royals. The Duke of Sussex was to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace, with all eyes on whether he will address the still-unresolved royal crisis.

Minute of silence at UN for 89 Niger troops

AFP UN Security Council ambassadors stood for a minute of silence on Monday in memory of 89 soldiers killed last week during a jihadist assault on a Niger military base. The 15 members of the council “strongly condemn” the attack, said Dan Dinh Quy, the ambassador for Vietnam which holds the council’s rotating presidency for

Anger in Iran over jet’s downing; gunfire disperses protests

AP Popular anger swelled Monday in Iran over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner and the government’s attempt to conceal its role in the tragedy, as online videos appeared to show security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests in the streets. Iranians, already suffering under crippling U.S. sanctions, expressed shock

Flamboyant entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa said he agreed to the idea due to loneliness in middle age

Wanted: Girlfriend to fly to the Moon with Japanese billionaire

AFP A Japanese billionaire has launched an online wanted ad for a girlfriend who will fly around the Moon with him on a SpaceX rocket. Yusaku Maezawa, who recently announced his break-up with a Japanese actress, is accepting applications from “single women aged 20 or over” who want to enjoy life to the fullest. The

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen gathers royals for crisis meeting with Prince Harry

AFP Queen Elizabeth II and other senior British royals were gathering for a meeting Monday with Prince Harry in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his bombshell announcement that he and wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal frontline. Harry’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained

Pope Benedict (R), who retired in 2013, said he could not remain silent on the issue of priestly celibacy

Retired Pope Benedict warns Francis against relaxing priestly celibacy rules

BBC Retired Pope Benedict XVI has issued a defence of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church as his successor considers easing a ban on married men serving as priests. Pope Benedict made the appeal in a book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah. It comes in response to a proposal to allow married men to be

Part of the plane wreckage shot down 'by mistake'

Protests erupt in Iran after govt admits forces downed jet carrying 176 passengers

BBC Iran’s leaders are facing growing calls to dismiss senior officials after a Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down killing all 176 people on board. Thousands of protesters demanded accountability on Saturday after the military said it had mistakenly downed the jet, having earlier denied it. Riot police have been deployed and there are reports

Iran plane crash: Ukrainian jet was ‘unintentionally’ shot down

BBC Iran has admitted “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board. An investigation found that “missiles fired due to human error”, President Hassan Rouhani said. He described the crash as an “unforgivable mistake”. The military said the jet turned towards a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and