Uganda’s sprawling haven for 270,000 of South Sudan’s refugees

Bidi Bidi camp was opened six months ago but already hosts a fifth of all the South Sudanese fleeing violence and hunger in their home country

Moses Roba still has the scar on his face from when the glass shattered. It runs around the outside of his right eye, starting at the tip of his eyebrow and curving down to the top of his cheekbone. He got it, he says, when rebels opposed to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir attacked his car near his home in the small border town of Nimule. The rebels wanted to steal the vehicle, he claims. But he said no.

“I refused, so they shoot me, they shoot the vehicle,” he says. A piece of glass sliced through the side of his face, missing his eye by a centimetre. His car was torched.
After that, Roba decided to leave his home country and, along with his wife and three children, made the short but perilous journey south into Uganda.

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Bidi Bidi camp was opened six months ago but already hosts a fifth of all the South Sudanese fleeing violence and hunger in their home country

Moses Roba still has the scar on his face from when the glass shattered. It runs around the outside of his right eye, starting at the tip of his eyebrow and curving down to the top of his cheekbone. He got it, he says, when rebels opposed to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir attacked his car near his home in the small border town of Nimule. The rebels wanted to steal the vehicle, he claims. But he said no.

“I refused, so they shoot me, they shoot the vehicle,” he says. A piece of glass sliced through the side of his face, missing his eye by a centimetre. His car was torched.
After that, Roba decided to leave his home country and, along with his wife and three children, made the short but perilous journey south into Uganda.

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‘Global gag rule’ on abortion puts $9bn in health aid at risk, activists say

Donald Trump’s executive order prompts fears for groups fighting Aids and Zika and working against child and maternal deaths

Billions of dollars in US aid to groups combating diseases worldwide could be at risk from Donald’s Trump’s “unprecedented and far-reaching” reversal of abortion-related policy, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday reinstating the “global gag rule”, which bans funding for groups that offer abortions or abortion advocacy, even if they use their own funds to do so.

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Donald Trump’s executive order prompts fears for groups fighting Aids and Zika and working against child and maternal deaths

Billions of dollars in US aid to groups combating diseases worldwide could be at risk from Donald’s Trump’s “unprecedented and far-reaching” reversal of abortion-related policy, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday reinstating the “global gag rule”, which bans funding for groups that offer abortions or abortion advocacy, even if they use their own funds to do so.

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The global fight for women’s rights, and a focus on gender inequality in Africa

The implications of the US’s reinstatement of the global gag rule, plus how African women are joining forces to improve their lot

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Women’s rights have topped the agenda over the past week. Our video explainer spells out the implications of the “global gag rule”, which has just been reinstated by the Trump administration. Campaigners say it will deny access to life-saving family planning and sexual and reproductive health services, and endanger the lives of millions of women around the world.

Across Africa, where one in five women already lacks access to contraception, feminists are forming a united front and championing women’s rights. Our latest podcast highlights those working to bring about gender equality across the continent.

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The implications of the US’s reinstatement of the global gag rule, plus how African women are joining forces to improve their lot

If you are reading this on the web and would prefer to get it in your inbox every two weeks, register for the email edition

Women’s rights have topped the agenda over the past week. Our video explainer spells out the implications of the “global gag rule”, which has just been reinstated by the Trump administration. Campaigners say it will deny access to life-saving family planning and sexual and reproductive health services, and endanger the lives of millions of women around the world.

Across Africa, where one in five women already lacks access to contraception, feminists are forming a united front and championing women’s rights. Our latest podcast highlights those working to bring about gender equality across the continent.

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‘Global gag rule’ jeopardises future of Asia health initiatives, campaigners say

Funding for programmes from sanitation to nutrition will be subject to Trump’s far-reaching order, with huge implications for family planning providers

Women’s health advocates across Asia have said Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate and beef up the “global gag rule” will result in hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies and imperil programmes aimed at improving sanitation, treating Aids and protecting LGBT activists.

Health providers and advocacy groups in Delhi, Phnom Penh, Jakarta and beyond have been holding emergency meetings since Tuesday’s announcement that US aid funding was now contingent on organisations abandoning their abortion advocacy work, services or information.

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Funding for programmes from sanitation to nutrition will be subject to Trump’s far-reaching order, with huge implications for family planning providers

Women’s health advocates across Asia have said Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate and beef up the “global gag rule” will result in hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies and imperil programmes aimed at improving sanitation, treating Aids and protecting LGBT activists.

Health providers and advocacy groups in Delhi, Phnom Penh, Jakarta and beyond have been holding emergency meetings since Tuesday’s announcement that US aid funding was now contingent on organisations abandoning their abortion advocacy work, services or information.

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‘Global gag rule’ could have dire impact in Latin America, activists warn

Reinstatement of policy by Donald Trump could have ‘chilling impact’ in region that already has high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality

Donald Trump’s reversal of abortion-related aid policy will have a “chilling impact” on Latin America, say family-planning campaigners in a region that already has some of the world’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality.

The so-called global gag rule, which was signed into effect by the new US president on Monday, withholds USAid funding from any organisation that offers abortion services or information.

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Reinstatement of policy by Donald Trump could have ‘chilling impact’ in region that already has high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality

Donald Trump’s reversal of abortion-related aid policy will have a “chilling impact” on Latin America, say family-planning campaigners in a region that already has some of the world’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality.

The so-called global gag rule, which was signed into effect by the new US president on Monday, withholds USAid funding from any organisation that offers abortion services or information.

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Dutch respond to Trump’s ‘gag rule’ with international safe abortion fund

  • Up to 20 countries indicate support for fund to plug $600m funding gap
  • Netherlands minister: ‘It’s important to stand your ground’

Up to 20 countries have indicated support for the Netherlands’ plan to set up an international safe abortion fund to plug a $600m funding gap caused by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag rule”, the Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, said on Wednesday.

Ploumen took soundings from a number of her colleagues around the world on Tuesday evening after the Netherlands said it would act to mitigate the impact on hundreds of charities around the world.

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  • Up to 20 countries indicate support for fund to plug $600m funding gap
  • Netherlands minister: ‘It’s important to stand your ground’

Up to 20 countries have indicated support for the Netherlands’ plan to set up an international safe abortion fund to plug a $600m funding gap caused by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag rule”, the Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, said on Wednesday.

Ploumen took soundings from a number of her colleagues around the world on Tuesday evening after the Netherlands said it would act to mitigate the impact on hundreds of charities around the world.

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Will New York get a Brexit boost to cancel out feared ‘Trump slump’?

While European cities led by Paris and Frankfurt wage campaigns for London’s financial business, some experts predict New York could benefit most of all from the fallout of Brexit on the UK capital

New York and London function as two prongs of one global economy. Banks and other financial companies headquartered in New York usually have their second biggest offices in the British capital, and vice versa.

For years, that’s made economic sense. For London-based companies, New York provides an unparalleled density of financial firms, a regulatory framework in which to do business, and access to non-European markets. London provides much of the same for New York-based companies who need access to European markets.

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While European cities led by Paris and Frankfurt wage campaigns for London’s financial business, some experts predict New York could benefit most of all from the fallout of Brexit on the UK capital

New York and London function as two prongs of one global economy. Banks and other financial companies headquartered in New York usually have their second biggest offices in the British capital, and vice versa.

For years, that’s made economic sense. For London-based companies, New York provides an unparalleled density of financial firms, a regulatory framework in which to do business, and access to non-European markets. London provides much of the same for New York-based companies who need access to European markets.

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‘I want to kill these dogs’: question of whether to cull strays divides Yangon

Myanmar’s commercial capital is overrun with an estimated 120,000 stray dogs, which attack children and carry the threat of rabies. Mass culling was recently stopped but spay, neuter and vaccinate programmes have yet to start

Zu May Naing was playing with her brother outside their house in Bago Region, close to Myanmar’s commercial capital of Yangon, last month when a pack of stray dogs rounded on the 18-month-old.

Her mother, San Thar Myint, found her lying prone on the ground, bleeding and in shock. “Her temperature was over 100 [degrees fahrenheit] before they got to the operation room,” she says.

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Myanmar’s commercial capital is overrun with an estimated 120,000 stray dogs, which attack children and carry the threat of rabies. Mass culling was recently stopped but spay, neuter and vaccinate programmes have yet to start

Zu May Naing was playing with her brother outside their house in Bago Region, close to Myanmar’s commercial capital of Yangon, last month when a pack of stray dogs rounded on the 18-month-old.

Her mother, San Thar Myint, found her lying prone on the ground, bleeding and in shock. “Her temperature was over 100 [degrees fahrenheit] before they got to the operation room,” she says.

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The weakening of the ‘alt-right’: how infighting and doxxing are taking a toll

As the far right movement has emerged from obscurity, it has also become a target, facing what Richard Spencer calls ‘a literal and figurative punch in the face’

The on-camera punching of Richard Spencer in DC last weekend launched a thousand memes. It also crystallized a moment of difficulty for the far-right movement whose name Spencer coined – the “alt-right”.

“It was a literal and figurative punch in the face,” Spencer told the Guardian in a telephone conversation, adding that it would change his approach to public appearances. “I didn’t think of myself as someone who needs bodyguards, but I clearly do. Particularly at events – an inauguration or an election. I just can’t do these things alone any more. It wasn’t like that six months ago, and it certainly wasn’t like that five years ago.”

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As the far right movement has emerged from obscurity, it has also become a target, facing what Richard Spencer calls ‘a literal and figurative punch in the face’

The on-camera punching of Richard Spencer in DC last weekend launched a thousand memes. It also crystallized a moment of difficulty for the far-right movement whose name Spencer coined – the “alt-right”.

“It was a literal and figurative punch in the face,” Spencer told the Guardian in a telephone conversation, adding that it would change his approach to public appearances. “I didn’t think of myself as someone who needs bodyguards, but I clearly do. Particularly at events – an inauguration or an election. I just can’t do these things alone any more. It wasn’t like that six months ago, and it certainly wasn’t like that five years ago.”

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The future of the US-Mexican border: inside the ‘split city’ of El Paso-Juárez

One has been called the world’s most violent city. The other, the safest in its nation. Schoolchildren commute daily between the ‘binational’ cities of Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas – but with Trump in office, will border divisions grow?

Unlike most teenagers, Ashley Delgado starts her school day by crossing an international border. She gets up at 5am so her mother Dora can drive through Juárez’s dense traffic to the Paso del Norte bridge, where she follows the caged pathway between Mexico and the United States by foot. Clearing customs takes on average half an hour, but often it’s double that – depending on the line and the guards’ moods.

“Sometimes they put people in a little room for investigation and start to ask questions,” says the 14-year-old as her mum picks her up from the Mexican side at the end of a school day. “Where are you from? What are you bringing? What are you going to do in the US? It’s never happened to me, but to some of my friends it happens every three days.

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One has been called the world’s most violent city. The other, the safest in its nation. Schoolchildren commute daily between the ‘binational’ cities of Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas – but with Trump in office, will border divisions grow?

Unlike most teenagers, Ashley Delgado starts her school day by crossing an international border. She gets up at 5am so her mother Dora can drive through Juárez’s dense traffic to the Paso del Norte bridge, where she follows the caged pathway between Mexico and the United States by foot. Clearing customs takes on average half an hour, but often it’s double that – depending on the line and the guards’ moods.

“Sometimes they put people in a little room for investigation and start to ask questions,” says the 14-year-old as her mum picks her up from the Mexican side at the end of a school day. “Where are you from? What are you bringing? What are you going to do in the US? It’s never happened to me, but to some of my friends it happens every three days.

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Mexico’s president ‘will not pay for any wall’ – but may still visit Trump

Enrique Peña Nieto repeats his refusal to fund border wall but leaves open the question of contentious 31 January trip to meet new US president

Mexico’s president has once again declared that “Mexico will not pay for any wall” but stopped short of cancelling a visit to Washington after Donald Trump signed executive orders that include building the border barrier.

Enrique Peña Nieto reiterated that Mexico would not put a single peso towards the new US president’s signature project. In a televised address he said: “I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall.”

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Enrique Peña Nieto repeats his refusal to fund border wall but leaves open the question of contentious 31 January trip to meet new US president

Mexico’s president has once again declared that “Mexico will not pay for any wall” but stopped short of cancelling a visit to Washington after Donald Trump signed executive orders that include building the border barrier.

Enrique Peña Nieto reiterated that Mexico would not put a single peso towards the new US president’s signature project. In a televised address he said: “I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall.”

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The worst forest fire in Chile’s history – in pictures

Chile is facing the worst forest fires it has ever seen, with more than 600 sq miles of land destroyed and thousands of people evacuated from their homes. The Chilean government has declared a state of emergency in several areas, as people try to save their homes, livestock and land

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Chile is facing the worst forest fires it has ever seen, with more than 600 sq miles of land destroyed and thousands of people evacuated from their homes. The Chilean government has declared a state of emergency in several areas, as people try to save their homes, livestock and land

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Mexican president ‘demands respect’ and rejects US border wall – video

President Enrique Peña Nieto says he rejects the decision by the US president, Donald Trump, to build a border wall and repeats that his country will not pay for its construction. In a recorded address televised nationally, Mexico’s leader says: ‘I am saddened and am against the decision by the United States to continue with the construction of a wall.’ He adds: ‘Mexico offers and demands respect’

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President Enrique Peña Nieto says he rejects the decision by the US president, Donald Trump, to build a border wall and repeats that his country will not pay for its construction. In a recorded address televised nationally, Mexico’s leader says: ‘I am saddened and am against the decision by the United States to continue with the construction of a wall.’ He adds: ‘Mexico offers and demands respect’

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Shark photobombs young surfer’s big wave moment in Australia

Boy, 10, was surfing off Port Stephens when picture-taking father realised son was on collision course with possible great white

A man photographing his 10-year-old son surfing captured more than either of them bargained for when he snapped the boy sharing a wave with a shark.

Chris Hasson was taking pictures of Eden off Samurai beach, Port Stephens, eastern Australia, this week when he realised that he had photographed a twisting shark – thought to be a great white – just below the surface on an apparent collision course with his son.

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Boy, 10, was surfing off Port Stephens when picture-taking father realised son was on collision course with possible great white

A man photographing his 10-year-old son surfing captured more than either of them bargained for when he snapped the boy sharing a wave with a shark.

Chris Hasson was taking pictures of Eden off Samurai beach, Port Stephens, eastern Australia, this week when he realised that he had photographed a twisting shark – thought to be a great white – just below the surface on an apparent collision course with his son.

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Brazil’s former richest man sought by police in vast corruption inquiry

Eike Batista, businessman who made and lost billion-dollar fortune, accused of paying bribes to Rio de Janeiro state governor

Brazilian police have issued an arrest warrant for a businessman famous for amassing and then losing a multibillion-dollar fortune, the latest person caught up in a wide-ranging corruption investigation roiling Latin America’s largest country.

Federal police were working with Interpol to locate Eike Batista, who may be in New York. Batista’s lawyer Fernando Martins told the G1 news portal that his client was travelling and would surrender to police.

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Eike Batista, businessman who made and lost billion-dollar fortune, accused of paying bribes to Rio de Janeiro state governor

Brazilian police have issued an arrest warrant for a businessman famous for amassing and then losing a multibillion-dollar fortune, the latest person caught up in a wide-ranging corruption investigation roiling Latin America’s largest country.

Federal police were working with Interpol to locate Eike Batista, who may be in New York. Batista’s lawyer Fernando Martins told the G1 news portal that his client was travelling and would surrender to police.

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Romania’s corruption fight is a smokescreen to weaken its democracy

Turning a blind eye to this abuse of power risks encouraging other European nations to follow its example

The recent rise of the populist right in Hungary and Poland has raised the alarm about the future of democracy in Europe, as constitutional safeguards, media pluralism and civil society come under sustained attack.

But there is another threat hiding in plain sight: the abuse of anti-corruption laws in Romania, a country often lauded as an example of successful reform in central and eastern Europe.

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Turning a blind eye to this abuse of power risks encouraging other European nations to follow its example

The recent rise of the populist right in Hungary and Poland has raised the alarm about the future of democracy in Europe, as constitutional safeguards, media pluralism and civil society come under sustained attack.

But there is another threat hiding in plain sight: the abuse of anti-corruption laws in Romania, a country often lauded as an example of successful reform in central and eastern Europe.

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Will Trump return USA to dark days of ‘war on terror’ black sites?

President appears to believe ‘torture works’ – raising prospect of reviving techniques the CIA had moved away from

One of the common features of the multiple conflicts that followed the 9/11 attacks on the US was the use of secret prisons. Islamic extremists used them – most notably Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq – and so did a range of states in the Middle East, south Asia and beyond. Many had been doing so for many years.

But one of the most enthusiastic users of secret prisons – and torture – in the years following 9/11 was the USA. Its sites eventually numbered more than 100, it is believed, spanning half the world. It is this network of “black sites” that Donald Trump appears to be considering reviving.

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President appears to believe ‘torture works’ – raising prospect of reviving techniques the CIA had moved away from

One of the common features of the multiple conflicts that followed the 9/11 attacks on the US was the use of secret prisons. Islamic extremists used them – most notably Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq – and so did a range of states in the Middle East, south Asia and beyond. Many had been doing so for many years.

But one of the most enthusiastic users of secret prisons – and torture – in the years following 9/11 was the USA. Its sites eventually numbered more than 100, it is believed, spanning half the world. It is this network of “black sites” that Donald Trump appears to be considering reviving.

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‘Sometimes opposites attract’ – May explains how she can work with Trump – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

5.55pm GMT

Theresa May said she can strike up a strong working relationship with Donald Trump because “opposites attract,” as she prepares to become the first world leader to meet the new US president on Friday.

Amid concerns in the UK about whether she is “grovelling” to Trump, who sparked fresh outrage on Wednesday when he expressed support for the effectiveness of torture, May told reporters on a plane to the US on Thursday that the two would get on.

Conservative MPs I’ve spoken to accept May has little choice but to strike up strong relationship with Trump: but tone on this trip matters.

5.50pm GMT

Labour has released details of the the amendments it will table to the article 50 bill. It is focusing on seven demands. Here is the list from Labour’s press release. The bold type is from the Labour release.

1 -Allow a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final Brexit deal. Labour’s amendment would ensure that the House of Commons has the first say on any proposed deal and that the consent of Parliament would be required before the deal is referred to the European Council and Parliament.

2 – Establish a number of key principles the Government must seek to negotiate during the process, including protecting workers’ rights, securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market.

Labour’s amendments will significantly improve the government’s bill – in particular by ensuring the House of Commons has the first say on the final Brexit deal and that there are regular opportunities to hold the government to account.

Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the prime minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the single market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights. We will also vigorously oppose any plans to reduce powers to tackle tax avoidance or evasion’.

Continue reading…

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

5.55pm GMT

Theresa May said she can strike up a strong working relationship with Donald Trump because “opposites attract,” as she prepares to become the first world leader to meet the new US president on Friday.

Amid concerns in the UK about whether she is “grovelling” to Trump, who sparked fresh outrage on Wednesday when he expressed support for the effectiveness of torture, May told reporters on a plane to the US on Thursday that the two would get on.

Conservative MPs I’ve spoken to accept May has little choice but to strike up strong relationship with Trump: but tone on this trip matters.

5.50pm GMT

Labour has released details of the the amendments it will table to the article 50 bill. It is focusing on seven demands. Here is the list from Labour’s press release. The bold type is from the Labour release.

1 -Allow a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final Brexit deal. Labour’s amendment would ensure that the House of Commons has the first say on any proposed deal and that the consent of Parliament would be required before the deal is referred to the European Council and Parliament.

2 – Establish a number of key principles the Government must seek to negotiate during the process, including protecting workers’ rights, securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market.

Labour’s amendments will significantly improve the government’s bill – in particular by ensuring the House of Commons has the first say on the final Brexit deal and that there are regular opportunities to hold the government to account.

Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the prime minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the single market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights. We will also vigorously oppose any plans to reduce powers to tackle tax avoidance or evasion’.

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Ebola, war … but just two psychiatrists to deal with a nation’s trauma

Overwhelmed counsellors and medical staff in Sierra Leone must contend with suspicion and a collapse in funding

The history of Africa’s oldest psychiatric hospital is written on the walls of its isolation units, desperate messages chiselled into the woodwork like scars. “I came here for I don’t have any money,” reads one note in a corner of the room. “People want me to run from my father’s house,” reads another. “You go nowhere,” announces a third. “Stay out.”

Since the hospital opened in the early 19th century, most Sierra Leoneans have aspired to do exactly that, avoiding this imposing building perched high on a hill above the capital, Freetown.

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Overwhelmed counsellors and medical staff in Sierra Leone must contend with suspicion and a collapse in funding

The history of Africa’s oldest psychiatric hospital is written on the walls of its isolation units, desperate messages chiselled into the woodwork like scars. “I came here for I don’t have any money,” reads one note in a corner of the room. “People want me to run from my father’s house,” reads another. “You go nowhere,” announces a third. “Stay out.”

Since the hospital opened in the early 19th century, most Sierra Leoneans have aspired to do exactly that, avoiding this imposing building perched high on a hill above the capital, Freetown.

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‘My neighbour murdered nearly all of my family, but now we are friends’

Thanks to a pioneering reconciliation project survivors and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide now live side by side

In a leafy, quiet district less than an hour’s drive from Rwanda’s capital, the calmness of the community of Mbyo belies the dark and traumatic past of its inhabitants.

Related: My journey back to Rwanda: confronting the ghosts of the genocide 21 years later

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Thanks to a pioneering reconciliation project survivors and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide now live side by side

In a leafy, quiet district less than an hour’s drive from Rwanda’s capital, the calmness of the community of Mbyo belies the dark and traumatic past of its inhabitants.

Related: My journey back to Rwanda: confronting the ghosts of the genocide 21 years later

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‘Opposites attract’: Theresa May signals strong relationship with Trump

Prime minister launches charm offensive on arrival in Philadelphia, suggesting she will get on well with US president

Theresa May said she can strike up a strong working relationship with Donald Trump because “opposites attract”, as she prepares to become the first world leader to meet the new US president on Friday.

Amid concerns in the UK about whether she is “grovelling” to Trump, who sparked fresh outrage on Wednesday when he expressed support for the effectiveness of torture, May told reporters on a plane to the US on Thursday that the two would get on.

Continue reading…

Prime minister launches charm offensive on arrival in Philadelphia, suggesting she will get on well with US president

Theresa May said she can strike up a strong working relationship with Donald Trump because “opposites attract”, as she prepares to become the first world leader to meet the new US president on Friday.

Amid concerns in the UK about whether she is “grovelling” to Trump, who sparked fresh outrage on Wednesday when he expressed support for the effectiveness of torture, May told reporters on a plane to the US on Thursday that the two would get on.

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Tulsi Gabbard reveals she met Assad in Syria, without informing top Democrats

Hawaiian congresswoman claims she went on a ‘fact-finding’ mission in support of ‘peace’ for Syrian people, but characterized US-backed rebels as ‘terrorists’

Democrats were silent on Thursday as Tulsi Gabbard, one of the party’s sitting lawmakers in Congress, announced that she had met with Bashar al-Assad during a trip to war-torn Syria and dismissed his entire opposition as “terrorists”.

Gabbard, a Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, disclosed her meeting with the Syrian president on Wednesday, during what her office called a “fact-finding” mission in the region.

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Hawaiian congresswoman claims she went on a ‘fact-finding’ mission in support of ‘peace’ for Syrian people, but characterized US-backed rebels as ‘terrorists’

Democrats were silent on Thursday as Tulsi Gabbard, one of the party’s sitting lawmakers in Congress, announced that she had met with Bashar al-Assad during a trip to war-torn Syria and dismissed his entire opposition as “terrorists”.

Gabbard, a Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, disclosed her meeting with the Syrian president on Wednesday, during what her office called a “fact-finding” mission in the region.

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Backed up: New Zealand’s public toilets not coping with tourist influx

Friction between ‘freedom campers’ and local people as visitor numbers surge and infrastructure can’t keep up

New Zealand’s booming tourism industry is creating a nationwide shortage of toilets with locals and tourists clashing over access to lavatories

More than 3.4 million tourists visited New Zealand in 2016, marking a new record for the small island nation of 4.5 million people.

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Friction between ‘freedom campers’ and local people as visitor numbers surge and infrastructure can’t keep up

New Zealand’s booming tourism industry is creating a nationwide shortage of toilets with locals and tourists clashing over access to lavatories

More than 3.4 million tourists visited New Zealand in 2016, marking a new record for the small island nation of 4.5 million people.

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‘Do I regret it? Not for a second’: Swedish journalist goes on trial for helping refugees

Fredrik Önnevall is in court this week facing charges of people smuggling after helping 15-year-old Abed travel to Sweden

The suggestion sounded like an innocent joke, but it turned out to be deadly serious.

“Take me with you!” Abed asked Fredrik Önnevall.

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Fredrik Önnevall is in court this week facing charges of people smuggling after helping 15-year-old Abed travel to Sweden

The suggestion sounded like an innocent joke, but it turned out to be deadly serious.

“Take me with you!” Abed asked Fredrik Önnevall.

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Chile battles devastating wildfires: ‘We have never seen anything on this scale’

The world’s largest firefighting aircraft has flown in from the US, alongside help from France, Peru and Mexico, as fires continue to ravage Chilean lands

The world’s biggest aerial firefighting aircraft has joined beleaguered firefighters in Chile as they battle the worst wildfires in the country’s recent history.

More than 90 blazes have scorched 180,000 hectares, razed hundreds of homes, turned village schools to ashes and destroyed cattle herds and vineyards.

Continue reading…

The world’s largest firefighting aircraft has flown in from the US, alongside help from France, Peru and Mexico, as fires continue to ravage Chilean lands

The world’s biggest aerial firefighting aircraft has joined beleaguered firefighters in Chile as they battle the worst wildfires in the country’s recent history.

More than 90 blazes have scorched 180,000 hectares, razed hundreds of homes, turned village schools to ashes and destroyed cattle herds and vineyards.

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Raúl Castro: Cuba won’t compromise sovereignty to normalize US relations

President said Cuba hopes to continue to repair relations but made it clear that Trump administration should not expect concessions affecting independence

Raúl Castro has said Cuba hopes to continue to normalize relations with the United States but made it clear that the Trump administration should not expect concessions affecting the country’s sovereignty.

Before taking office, Donald Trump threatened to torpedo the still fragile detente between the former cold war foes unless a “better deal” could be struck, without providing details. His aides have said current policy is under review.

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President said Cuba hopes to continue to repair relations but made it clear that Trump administration should not expect concessions affecting independence

Raúl Castro has said Cuba hopes to continue to normalize relations with the United States but made it clear that the Trump administration should not expect concessions affecting the country’s sovereignty.

Before taking office, Donald Trump threatened to torpedo the still fragile detente between the former cold war foes unless a “better deal” could be struck, without providing details. His aides have said current policy is under review.

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May’s meeting with Trump: a collision of contrasting world views

The PM’s visit could be seen as a diplomatic coup, but her vision of a free-trading Britain could crash into ‘America First’

Theresa May travels to the US on Thursday to try to forge a personal and political relationship with the least predictable and, in European terms, most unpopular US president in modern times.

For all the British diplomatic pleasure that their prime minister is once again the first foreign leader through the door of a newly elected president, as John Major managed in the case of Bill Clinton in 1993, there will be wariness in Downing Street. For the first time since the second world war, the US appears to have a president who displays indifference to supporting his allies or shoring up an alliance framework.

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The PM’s visit could be seen as a diplomatic coup, but her vision of a free-trading Britain could crash into ‘America First’

Theresa May travels to the US on Thursday to try to forge a personal and political relationship with the least predictable and, in European terms, most unpopular US president in modern times.

For all the British diplomatic pleasure that their prime minister is once again the first foreign leader through the door of a newly elected president, as John Major managed in the case of Bill Clinton in 1993, there will be wariness in Downing Street. For the first time since the second world war, the US appears to have a president who displays indifference to supporting his allies or shoring up an alliance framework.

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Doctors save Canadian woman’s life by removing her lungs for six days

Melissa Benoit’s terminal lung infection called for risky and unprecedented procedure while she waited for double transplant at Toronto hospital

In what is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in the world, doctors in Canada have saved a young mother’s life by resorting to a radical solution – they removed her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

In April, Melissa Benoit arrived at a Toronto hospital with a severe lung infection. Doctors soon realised that Benoit, who had been born with cystic fibrosis, had just hours to live, leading them to consider the unprecedented approach.

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Melissa Benoit’s terminal lung infection called for risky and unprecedented procedure while she waited for double transplant at Toronto hospital

In what is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in the world, doctors in Canada have saved a young mother’s life by resorting to a radical solution – they removed her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

In April, Melissa Benoit arrived at a Toronto hospital with a severe lung infection. Doctors soon realised that Benoit, who had been born with cystic fibrosis, had just hours to live, leading them to consider the unprecedented approach.

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The Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow returns home

Return ends anxious wait after crisis sparked by predecessor Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down

The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, has returned home, ending a prolonged political crisis sparked by disputed elections that forced him to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Dressed in flowing white robes and cap, Barrow stepped off the plane as heavily-armed troops from Senegal and Nigeria stood by. He was accompanied by his two wives and some of his children, and welcomed by military officials and senior members of his coalition government.

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Return ends anxious wait after crisis sparked by predecessor Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down

The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, has returned home, ending a prolonged political crisis sparked by disputed elections that forced him to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Dressed in flowing white robes and cap, Barrow stepped off the plane as heavily-armed troops from Senegal and Nigeria stood by. He was accompanied by his two wives and some of his children, and welcomed by military officials and senior members of his coalition government.

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Can ‘man of the people’ Martin Schulz oust Angela Merkel?

Former president of European parliament offers hope to Germany’s ailing SPD, but has his work cut out against current chancellor

He had been well on his way to becoming a professional footballer when a meniscus tear put paid to his dreams and he fell into a state of depression, alcoholism and chain-smoking. Now, more than 42 years on, Martin Schulz is presenting the fiercest opposition yet to Angela Merkel’s attempts to win a fourth term as German chancellor.

The 61-year-old, who is returning to his homeland after 23 years in the European parliament – acting as its president since 2012 – is seen as offering the Social Democratic party (SPD) the best chance in years to reverse its fortunes, following a period of falling membership and poor electoral performances.

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Former president of European parliament offers hope to Germany’s ailing SPD, but has his work cut out against current chancellor

He had been well on his way to becoming a professional footballer when a meniscus tear put paid to his dreams and he fell into a state of depression, alcoholism and chain-smoking. Now, more than 42 years on, Martin Schulz is presenting the fiercest opposition yet to Angela Merkel’s attempts to win a fourth term as German chancellor.

The 61-year-old, who is returning to his homeland after 23 years in the European parliament – acting as its president since 2012 – is seen as offering the Social Democratic party (SPD) the best chance in years to reverse its fortunes, following a period of falling membership and poor electoral performances.

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Makhado mine: flashpoint for tensions over South Africa’s pro-coal policies

A campaign by locals and farming businesses to halt a large opencast mine highlights a far wider conflict over South Africa’s continued addiction to coal

On the horizon are the mountains, verdant rainforest on their well-watered, shaded southern slopes and arid scrub on the dry reverse slopes. Then there is the plain, studded with baobab trees and outcrops. Finally there is the river Limpopo. Beyond is another country: troubled, restive Zimbabwe.

But here in the far north-east of South Africa, there is tension, too. In the Soutpansberg range and on the flat lands beyond, an improbable coalition of local farmers, villagers, big agricultural businessmen and activists are fighting to halt the development of a large opencast mine which, they say, would cause massive harm to the region.

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A campaign by locals and farming businesses to halt a large opencast mine highlights a far wider conflict over South Africa’s continued addiction to coal

On the horizon are the mountains, verdant rainforest on their well-watered, shaded southern slopes and arid scrub on the dry reverse slopes. Then there is the plain, studded with baobab trees and outcrops. Finally there is the river Limpopo. Beyond is another country: troubled, restive Zimbabwe.

But here in the far north-east of South Africa, there is tension, too. In the Soutpansberg range and on the flat lands beyond, an improbable coalition of local farmers, villagers, big agricultural businessmen and activists are fighting to halt the development of a large opencast mine which, they say, would cause massive harm to the region.

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Mexican president cancels US visit over Trump’s order to build border wall

Enrique Peña Nieto has said Mexico will not pay for the wall, as US Congress faces questions about budgetary impact of its construction

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington next week to meet with Donald Trump, after the US president signed an executive order to move forward on construction of a border wall and repeated his claim that Mexico would be forced to pay for it.

Peña Nieto tweeted on Thursday that he had informed the White House that he would not attend the meeting with Trump that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

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Enrique Peña Nieto has said Mexico will not pay for the wall, as US Congress faces questions about budgetary impact of its construction

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington next week to meet with Donald Trump, after the US president signed an executive order to move forward on construction of a border wall and repeated his claim that Mexico would be forced to pay for it.

Peña Nieto tweeted on Thursday that he had informed the White House that he would not attend the meeting with Trump that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

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Germany’s Merkel to meet Erdogan in Turkey next week – government official

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey on Feb. 2 before travelling on to Malta to participate in a meeting of European Union leaders, a German government official said on Thursday.

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey on Feb. 2 before travelling on to Malta to participate in a meeting of European Union leaders, a German government official said on Thursday.


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Britain might be viewed as winner from Brexit, Hungary’s Orban says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned fellow EU leaders on Thursday that they were failing to address Europe’s problems and risked seeing Britain gain from its exit from the bloc.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned fellow EU leaders on Thursday that they were failing to address Europe’s problems and risked seeing Britain gain from its exit from the bloc.


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French candidate Fillon’s lawyer says he confident, but supporters worry

PARIS (Reuters) – A lawyer for Francois Fillon went to the financial prosecutor’s office on Thursday to defend the French presidential candidate against press allegations that his wife had received a salary for a fake job, a charge that could harm his bid for the Elysee.

PARIS (Reuters) – A lawyer for Francois Fillon went to the financial prosecutor’s office on Thursday to defend the French presidential candidate against press allegations that his wife had received a salary for a fake job, a charge that could harm his bid for the Elysee.


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Even with new leader, Germany’s SPD will struggle to take power

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) may look reinvigorated with a new leader, Martin Schulz, set to take on conservative Angela Merkel in September’s election, but their chances of leading a left-wing coalition to oust the chancellor remain slim.

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) may look reinvigorated with a new leader, Martin Schulz, set to take on conservative Angela Merkel in September’s election, but their chances of leading a left-wing coalition to oust the chancellor remain slim.


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