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After trekking nearly two hours through dense jungle, Brazilian government environmental special forces burst into a clearing where the trees had been sawed and a muddy crater dug: an illegal gold mine on indigenous land in the heart of the Amazon. The miners and gold were already gone, scattered by the whir of helicopter blades, but armed troopers in camouflage burned the tents and generators.
The five-day operation last week, coordinated by Brazil's environmental agency Ibama and Indian foundation Funai, found 15 air strips and destroyed 20 barges used to transport equipment and supplies by the estimated 5,000 illegal miners in the vast remote region. At more than 29.5 million hectares, the Yanomami people's territory is twice the size of Switzerland and home to around 27,000 indigenous people.
The land has legally belonged to the Yanomami since 1992, but miners continue to exploit the area, sawing down trees and poisoning rivers with mercury in their lust for gold. A study published last month by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a public biomedical research group, found that in some Yanomami villages, 92 percent of residents suffered from mercury poisoning.
High mercury exposure harms the nervous, digestive and immune systems, can lead to impaired vision and hearing, and can be fatal. Last week's raid was considered a success but Ibama's operation leader Roberto Cabral said the miners will probably be back. From a base in the Tepequem mountains on the frontier with Venezuela, three helicopters flew the 35-person team for an hour and a half to the banks of the majestic Uraricoera River. From there it was another hour or two on foot, cutting aside branches and wading through waist-high mud, to reach the mines. For Fiona Watson, who works for the activist group Survival International and has campaigned for the Yanomami since 1990, any long-term solution must be based on having more people on the ground, graver punishments and a focus on those hiring the miners and supplying equipment.
An agent takes cover as an illegal gold dredge burns down on the banks of Uraricoera River during an operation against illegal gold mining in the heart of the Amazon rain forest on April 15. So powerful was the indoctrination during his 20-month captivity in Iraq and Syria that the boy told his mother he wanted to stay at the camp where the Islamic State had trained him to kill "infidels", including his own people. Now in the relative safety of Kurdish-controlled territory, Murad's mother said how she had struggled to persuade her son - like other Yazidi boys being prepared for battle - to escape earlier this month with her and his little brother.
Yazidi boys appear to be part of broader efforts by the IS to create a new generation of fighters loyal to the group's ideology and inured to its extreme violence. The IS captured Murad, his mother and brother in August 2014 at their village near the Iraqi town of Sinjar. The United States launched airstrikes against the militants partly to save the survivors and last month said the attacks on Yazidis, whose faith combines elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam, and other groups amounted to genocide. More than one third of the 5,000 Yazidis captured in 2014 have escaped or been smuggled out, but activists said hundreds of boys are still held.
Murad, wearing a jersey of the Spanish soccer club Real Madrid, sat with his mother on the floor of a Spartan trailer in Qadiya camp, twiddling his thumbs and resisting answering questions. The IS dressed the boys in the same long robes they wore, and trained them how to use guns and knives.
Around 750 other children have escaped in recent months but a few thousand more remain missing. Close to 200 dogs, including Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Rottweilers, Japanese Tosas and Korean Jindo dogs, paced in circles inside the small wire cages, barking furiously at their rescuers.
The dogs in Gong's farm, one of thousands across the country, were bred specifically for consumption and confined in their cages from birth until slaughtered for their meat.
Gong's business is the fifth and the largest dog meat farm to be closed down by the US-based Humane Society International, and Gong said he was happy to get out. A poll conducted by Gallup Korea last year showed that only 20 percent of men in their 20s consumed dog meat in the past year, compared to half of those in their 50s and 60s. Gong also noted that the increasing popularity of dogs as domestic pets had played a large part in reducing demand for their meat. The HSI rescued a total of 225 dogs last year, closing down four farms in what they call a "constructive and collaborative" approach to phase out an industry that has long been criticized by international animal welfare groups.
In return for shuttering his business for good, a farmer receives up to $60,000 - depending on the number of dogs being bred - that can be used as seed money for a more "humane" farm, growing anything from blueberries to green peppers. Through its well-publicized rescues, HSI seeks to raise awareness about the cruelty of dog meat farms and "initiate a conversation with South Korean policymakers," the group's campaign manager Andrew Plumbly said.
South Korea is preparing to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Plumbly said the global publicity surrounding the event provided an opportunity to push for change.
The South Korean authorities are sensitive to the negative publicity attached to the dog meat industry, and dog restaurants in Seoul were shut down ahead of the 1988 Summer Olympics. Gong, who stumbled into the dog meat industry after many failed business attempts, admits he was "never proud" of his farm, which only ever earned him a modest living. In a normal year, he would sell around 200 animals, with an average price - depending on size - of about $200. Running a dog farm in South Korea requires no special license, although Gong said there were regular government checks to ensure neighbors weren't being disturbed and dog waste was being properly disposed of.
Gabriel Wildgen, right, and Abbey Herbert of the Humane Society International transfer a dog from a cage to a crate before transport during a publicized rescue event involving the closure of a dog farm in Wonju, southeast of Seoul, on Wednesday. Australia's hard line immigration policy was thrown into turmoil on Wednesday after Papua New Guinea ordered a processing camp to close, leaving the fate of hundreds of asylum-seekers hanging in the balance. The move to shutter the Australian-funded Manus island facility follows a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday that detaining people there was unconstitutional and illegal. Piling further pressure on Canberra, just weeks out from an expected election campaign, an Iranian refugee set himself on fire during a visit by UN officials to Nauru, the other Pacific nation where Australia sends boat people. Four others on the tiny outpost reportedly attempted suicide by drinking washing powder on Tuesday. Papua New Guinea's former opposition leader Belden Namah had challenged the Manus arrangement in court, claiming it violated the rights of asylum-seekers, leading to the center's closure. In a 34-page finding on Tuesday, the Supreme Court found that detaining them on the island was "contrary to their constitutional right of personal liberty". Despite this, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton remained adamant that none of the 850 or so men held there would come to his country and that the government's policy designed to deter others wanting to make the risky journey would not change.
Canberra currently has an arrangement with Cambodia, along with Papua New Guinea, to resettle those found to be refugees, although only a handful have taken up the option. Australian media have reported that it is also trying to negotiate deals with Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The court ruled that Australia and Papua New Guinea must "take all steps necessary to cease and prevent" the continued detention of asylum-seekers and transferees on Manus. Earlier this month, the gurdwara in Peshawar's crowded Old City opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in 73 years.
On Friday, a Sikh leader and provincial lawmaker was shot and killed outside his home in a remote area in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, some 140 kilometers from Peshawar.
It also added to human rights activists' despair over rising violence against religious minorities in Pakistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting of Sardar Suran Singh, but police disputed their claim, blaming the shooting on political rivalry and saying they had arrested the culprit.
Peshawar is a deeply conservative city at the foot of the mountainous Khyber Pass - once a popular route for traders and tourists traveling to nearby Afghanistan, now the focus of an extremist insurgency. The newly-opened gurdwara has a 24-hour Sikh Security detail as well as police guards, but their Muslim neighbors believe an attack is inevitable. Gohar Iqbal, a bookseller who works at a busy stall opposite the temple was certain the building would be targeted by militants.
President Nicolas Maduro had already given most of Venezuela's 2.8 million state workers Fridays off during April and May to cut down on power consumption. Drought has reduced water levels at Venezuela's main dam and hydroelectric plant in Guri to near-critical levels. Water shortages and electricity cuts have added to the hardships of Venezuela's 30 million people, already enduring a brutal recession, shortages of basics from milk to medicines and soaring prices.
Maduro, 53, who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez in 2013 and is facing an opposition push to remove him through a recall referendum, appealed for understanding and support.
After months of unscheduled outages, the government began programmed electricity rationing this week across most of Venezuela, except the capital Caracas, prompting sporadic protests in some cities. Maduro has also changed the clocks so there is half an hour more daylight in the evening, urged women to reduce use of appliances like hairdryers, and ordered malls to provide their own generators. Regarding the public sector measure, the government is excluding workers in sensitive sectors such as food. UK officials announced on Tuesday that the famous bell of Parliament will fall silent for several months during repairs to its crumbling clock tower. The work, due to begin in January 2017 and last three years, is the biggest repair job on the tower for decades - and Steve Jaggs, Parliament's Keeper of the Great Clock, said it can't wait much longer. Jaggs said the $42 million renovation will include work to repair corrosion to the cast-iron roof and to stop water seepage that threatens to damage the stonework on the 160-year-old building. The huge clock, which has run almost uninterrupted since 1859, will be stopped for several months so that Parliament's clockmakers can work on the spring that holds the 4-meter pendulum and remove the hands from each of the four faces.
The 13.7-ton Big Ben bell will cease to sound the hours while the clock is stopped, and will be cleaned and checked for cracks.
Officially named the Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, the structure is one of London's most famous landmarks.
The sound of the bongs became associated with Britain during wartime BBC news broadcasts, and is still played live each day on BBC radio through a microphone in the belfry. The repair work will use traditional methods and materials as much as possible, but a couple of modernizations are planned. The 28 light bulbs behind each of the four clock faces will be replaced with LED bulbs that can change color, so the clock tower can be tinted to mark major celebrations. A year later, the five experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights are going home without an answer for the desperate parents of the young men missing since September 2014. But they leave behind a blistering account of the government's investigation - a report on Sunday that accused authorities of stonewalling them in their quest for new information and of possibly torturing suspects. Before their mission formally ends on Saturday, two of the experts said they are now concerned about how the parents, who have a tense relationship with the government and wanted the experts to stay, will be treated.
The experts also voiced hope that the government will follow their recommendations and use their conclusions to improve the country's judicial system. Fellow Colombian lawyer Alejandro Valencia said the government has a "duty to guarantee it will investigate this grave human rights case". At the request of the parents, the government invited Valencia and Buitrago, along with a Chilean lawyer, a former Guatemalan attorney general and a Spanish psychologist, to help in the investigation. President Enrique Pena Nieto faced international outrage and protests before his administration invited them to help resolve a case that became a symbol of the tens of thousands of deaths and disappearances in a decade-old drug war. When the experts arrived, the government had already concluded that the students vanished after they were abducted by municipal police in the southern city of Iguala on the night of Sept 26-27, 2014. Prosecutors said the officers delivered the 43 young men to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump. But parents of the students never bought that story, especially after the experts said in a September report that there was no scientific proof that the teachers-in-training were burned at the dump. The parents are from the impoverished state of Guerrero and their sons were in school to become teachers in rural areas.
Pena Nieto has been criticized for only meeting twice with the parents, though other officials have held several meetings with them to give them updates about the investigation.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton rolled up wins in Northeastern states on Tuesday in a major show of strength and immediately turned their fire on each other in a possible preview of a general election matchup. Trump easily defeated rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz in all five states that held contests, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, with his margin of victory rivaling that in his home state of New York a week ago.
Supporters and opponents of Trump clashed in California on Tuesday, and five people, including two little girls, were pepper-sprayed by a demonstrator during the heated confrontation, police said. No serious injuries and no arrests were reported in the clash as about 50 people confronted each other in the Orange County community. Clinton, already in control of the Democratic race, defeated challenger Bernie Sanders in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The two front-runners used their victory rallies to snipe at each other in the kind of back and forth that will take place should they win their party's nominations and face off in the Nov 8 election to succeed President Barack Obama.
Trump criticized Clinton's record as secretary of state and her vote as a US senator from New York in support of the Iraq war. Clinton, in a victory speech in Philadelphia, took aim at Trump for accusing her of trying to "play the woman card". For the Republicans, the Northeastern battles set the stage for a big contest next week in Indiana.
Of 118 committed delegates available on Tuesday, Trump took 105, raising his total delegates to 950.
Clinton's victories on Tuesday gave her 2,141 delegates, pushing her closer to the 2,383 needed for the nomination. Donald Trump's highly anticipated foreign policy speech will test whether the Republican presidential front-runner known for his raucous rallies and eyebrow-raising statements can present a more presidential persona. Trump's campaign said his speech on Wednesday will focus on "several critical foreign policy issues" such as trade, the global economy and national security. Trump has a lot to prove when it comes to calming foreign leaders and policy professionals. The case began when students at Hijla High School in Bagerhat district complained that the assistant teacher of a science class on Sunday dismissed the Quran as the word of Allah and said there was no heaven, Magistrate Anwar Parvez told The Associated Press late on Tuesday. The students, aged 17 to 18, along with others from a nearby Islamic school became incensed when the high school's head teacher backed up his colleague. The magistrate of the quick-ruling court said the assistant teacher pleaded guilty to publicly insulting religion, and the two were sentenced to six months behind bars. The law against insulting religion, imposed when Britain ruled the Indian Subcontinent, is rarely used and aimed at preventing communal clashes and inciting violence.
The Muslim-majority country - politically fractured between secularists and those wanting Islamic rule - has been roiled by an ongoing wave of deadly attacks on atheist writers, religious minorities and activists over the last two years. On Monday, a gang of young men stabbed two men to death in Dhaka, including the editor of a gay rights magazine who also worked for the US Agency for International Development. Eleven men were shot dead in Cape Verde on Tuesday, including eight soldiers, a local civilian and two Spanish citizens, the minister of Internal Administration for the archipelago off the African coast said. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Wednesday announced that the ruling Workers' Party of Korea will hold its 7th Congress in Pyongyang, the capital of DPRK, on May 6, the country's official news agency KCNA reported.
An overloaded truck carrying garment workers swerved and flipped over after a tire exploded on Wednesday, leaving 70 passengers injured, authorities said.


Chile reburied Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda's remains on Tuesday after exhuming them to determine whether he was assassinated by late dictator Augusto Pinochet's government - a mystery that still lingers. Syria peace talks in Geneva will resume on May 10, Russia's RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying on Wednesday.
Bangladeshi Muslims attend the funeral of Xulhaz Mannan who was killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Tuesday. The Bangladeshi prime minister has vowed to hunt down and prosecute those who fatally stabbed two men, including a gay rights activist who worked for the US Agency for International Development. The killings on Monday night were the latest in an ongoing wave of attacks claimed by radical Islamists and targeting the country's outspoken atheists, moderates and foreigners. The victims were identified as USAID employee Xulhaz Mannan, who previously worked as a US Embassy protocol officer, and his friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder.
Mannan, a cousin of former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni of the governing party, was also an editor of Bangladesh's first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan, and Majumder sometimes helped him with the publishing, local media said. US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the "barbaric" murders, issuing a statement from Washington that said the US government would support Bangladeshi efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Police said no arrests have been made in the attack, which involved at least five young men who posed as courier service employees to gain access to Mannan's apartment building.
On the morning of April 26, 1986, no one could yet tell that a meltdown in reactor 4 of the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine was poisoning the air with so much deadly radioactivity that it would become the world's worst nuclear accident. Now, as some survivors returned to their hometown of Pripyat on the eve of the anniversary, memories of confusion and sacrifice abound.
She only realized something might be wrong that day 30 years before when her husband, Valeriy, didn't come back from his night shift as a foreman at the stricken reactor. She left her apartment in Pripyat, a model Soviet town built in the 1970s to house Chernobyl workers and their families, to look for him. He was airlifted to Moscow for treatment, but died 45 days later - one of the 31 to die of acute radiation sickness in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Elena Kupriyanova, 42, was only 12 when she was evacuated from Pripyat, which lies in the 2,600 square km 'exclusion zone' that has remained largely uninhabited by law since the disaster.
Her family and most of the town's 50,000 other residents were transported out of the area in buses on April 27 and told to pack only the bare essentials because they would only be away for three days. A rare inscription found on a stone unearthed near Florence is exciting archaeologists who say it may help reveal the secrets of the Etruscans, one of Italy's earliest and most enigmatic civilizations. The Etruscans flourished in central Italy 2,500 years ago but their culture and language were assimilated into the Roman empire. Etruscans usually wrote longer texts on perishable linen or wax, so archaeologists excavating in Tuscany's Mugello Valley were delighted when they found a 200-kilogram sandstone slab, inscribed with more than 100 characters, in the foundations of a buried temple. The stone has been painstakingly cleaned and, although the inscription is yet to be formally deciphered, experts are starting to understand its full significance. The stone could yield a new perspective because it was found in a religious sanctuary rather than one of the burial sites from which archaeologists have gathered most of their understanding of Etruscan life.
It lay flat in the temple's foundations but appears to have stood upright previously, leaving unanswered questions about its original function. A careful cleanup, applying paper pulp and distilled water, seems to have already revealed the names of the two most important gods in the Etruscan pantheon: Tina and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter and Juno or Greek Zeus and Hera. Unlike many ancient relics which are found out of context, having been illegally dug up or moved from Italy's archaeological sites, the researchers hope the stone can document local history in the tract of land between modern Fiesole and Bologna, once major Etruscan cities. The Philippine military came under increased pressure on Tuesday to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages after their Muslim extremist captors beheaded a Canadian man, but troops face a dilemma in how to succeed and also ensure the safety of the remaining captives. Abu Sayyaf gunmen beheaded John Ridsdel on Monday in the southern densely forested province of Sulu, sparking condemnations and prompting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pledge to help the Philippines pursue the extremists behind the "heinous act". Ridsdel's head, which was placed in a plastic bag, was dumped by motorcycle-riding militants on Monday night in Jolo town in impoverished Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila, where the Abu Sayyaf and allied gunmen are believed to be holding 22 foreign hostages from six countries. It's a politically-sensitive time to carry out major offensives at the height of campaigning in a closely-fought race by four contenders in May 9 presidential elections.
President Benigno Aquino III and opposition politicians have had differences over the handling of the Muslim insurgencies and the poverty and social ills that foster it. The Philippine military and police said "there will be no letup" in the effort to combat the militants and find the hostages, even though they have had little success in safely securing their freedom. About 2,000 military personnel, backed by Huey and MG520 rocket-firing helicopters and artillery, were involved in the manhunt for the militants, who were believed to be massing in Sulu's mountainous Patikul town, military officials said.
Among the 22 hostages are 14 Indonesians who were kidnapped from tugboats in two separate incidences.
In past militant videos posted online, Ridsdel and fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor were shown sitting in a clearing with heavily armed militants standing behind them. A girl does her homdwork by candlelight at home during a power cut in a San Cristobal in the state of Tachira,Venezuela ,on Monday.The government has ordered the rolling blackouts in 18 of 24 states ro save enetgy.
As if daily life in Venezuela wasn't hard enough, people across the crisis-wracked South American country will now have to add electricity to the long list of things they'll have to do without. Even in Caracas, which is being spared the rolling power cuts, outages have become a frequent fact of life as energy supplies have dwindled.
Maduro's socialist administration blames the crisis on a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon and acts of sabotage by its opponents. The daily power cuts are just the latest in a long list of energy-saving measures announced in recent weeks.
The country has seen a bit of rain in recent days, but not enough to signal the end of the dry season. Although the government says that its so-called Electric Load Management Plan will only last for 40 days, areas that will be subjected to the blackouts are bracing for more hardship.
Tais Aponto, an opposition community organizer in Santa Teresa del Tuy, about 60 kilometers southeast of Caracas, says her biggest fear is a spike in crime in a country already battered by some of the world's highest levels of violence. France has beaten Japan and Germany to win a $40 billion deal to build a fleet of 12 new submarines for Australia, one of the world's most lucrative defense contracts, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday. The victory for state-owned naval contractor DCNS Group underscored France's strengths in developing a compelling military-industrial bid and is a blow for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to develop defense export capabilities as part of a more muscular security agenda.
Australia is ramping up military spending, seeking to protect its strategic and trade interests in the Asia-Pacific. Japan's government with its Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries had been seen as early front-runners for the contract, but their inexperience in global defense deals and an initial reluctance to say they would build in Australia saw them slip behind DCNS and Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG. Industry watchers had anticipated a decision to come later in the year, but Turnbull's gamble on a July 2 general election has sped up the process. The contract will have an impact on thousands of jobs in the shipbuilding industry in South Australia, where retaining votes in key electorates will be critical for the government's chances of re-election.
DCNS, which traces its roots to 1624, proposed a diesel-electric version of its Barracuda nuclear-powered submarine.
Australia's Shortfin Barracuda Block1A will be 97 meters long and weight 5,000 tons - 2.5 meters shorter and 200 tons lighter than its French nuclear cousin. Australia's previous prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to pick the sub builder without a competition. When Abbott was ousted by Turnbull in a party coup, however, criticisms of the Japanese bid, its inexperience and dearth of industrial ties grew.
Paul Burton, Defense Industry and Budgets Director at IHS Jane's said it was a surprise from a strategic standpoint that Japan didn't win. Both losing bidders said they were disappointed by decision but remain committed to their Australian businesses.
United States' Raytheon Co, which built the system for Australia's aging Collins-class submarines, is vying for a separate combat system contract with Lockheed Martin Corp, which supplies combat systems to the US Navy's submarine fleet. When the clock ticks down on Barack Obama's presidency, five years will have passed since he officially pulled US combat forces from Iraq.
But little by little, US troops are returning - thanks to the Islamic State group and their hold over parts of the region.
On Monday, Obama said another 250 special forces and support personnel would go to northern Syria, augmenting the 50 or so commandos already training local militias there. Last week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said another 217 US forces would go to Iraq as advisers, pushing the official total count in that country to 4,087. Critics said such "creeping incrementalism" in the counter-IS fight is too little, too late. The IS group emerged in Iraq and Syria in 2014 amid political chaos across the region, fueled by the Syrian civil war, in which more than 270,000 people have been killed. Obama - elected on a promise to pull US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan - does not want to plunge the United States into another ground war in the Middle East. While the troop presence in Iraq is tiny compared to the height of the Iraq War, when the US had nearly 160,000 in-country troops during the "surge", it tests Obama's pledge.
US advisers are not in frontline combat roles, and the Obama administration said it is not committing combat troops, even though US forces have already engaged in limited combat and two US military personnel have been killed in Iraq. The United States began its biggest European deployment of F-22 fighters with a visit to the Black Sea in an exercise.
A Dutchman dubbed the "horror dentist" by French media was sentenced to eight years in jail on Tuesday for mutilating patients' mouths and defrauding social security services. Bacteria from feces has been found in a cup of iced water at a KFC restaurant in Birmingham, Britain, the BBC reported on Monday. Towering over his Kurdish partner at a checkpoint in northern Iraq, US volunteer John Cole cuts an unusual figure on the road to the newest front in the war against Islamic State. Just over 2 meters tall and holding his assault rifle upside down, Cole is among a relatively small band of Westerners who have made their own way to Iraq to take up arms against the militant group - even though Kurdish authorities say they need foreign money and weapons more than men. Exactly how much fighting Cole has done is unclear, but the 23-year-old said that - unlike most regular US soldiers stationed nearby - he has participated in offensives against Islamic State that involved artillery fire and airstrikes.
While these Americans wage war in Iraq, President Barack Obama said on Monday he plans to send as many as 250 additional US troops to Syria, a sharp increase in the US presence working with local Syrian forces fighting Islamic State militants, US officials said. The deployment, which will increase US forces in Syria to about 300, aims to accelerate recent gains against Islamic State and appears to reflect growing confidence in the ability of US-backed forces inside Syria and Iraq to claw back territory from the hard line Sunni Islamist group. Cole, from Charlotte, North Carolina, said he had come for more than excitement after quitting his job transporting biohazardous materials such as medical waste. Thousands of foreigners have flocked to Iraq and Syria in the past three years, mostly to join Islamic State. Cole fell in with Kurdish fighters in neighboring Syria last July and a few months later went to Iraq, where he plans to stay until at least October. He says he had been inspired to come after Islamic State overran the northern town of Sinjar, slaughtering, enslaving and raping thousands of people from the Yazidi minority.
Peshmerga forces of the autonomous Kurdish region, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, retook Sinjar in November while he was back in the United States for a break.
Last week, Cole was manning a roadblock near the town of Makhmour and just outside Camp Swift, a base for US forces helping the Iraqi army and peshmerga in a slow-going offensive aimed at eventually recapturing the northern city of Mosul. The US troops that remain in Iraq are largely on a mission to train and support Iraqi government and peshmerga forces, with those at Camp Swift restricted to their base several kilometers from the front line. John Cole (center), a 23-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, carries his assault rifle at a checkpoint in Makhmour, Iraq, earlier this month.
The Congolese world music legend, renowned as the "king of Congolese rumba" for the fusion of Cuban and electronic rock that he pioneered in the 1970s, was 66. He died after falling ill during a set at the Urban Musical Festival Anoumabo in Abidjan, the first major cultural event in the country since a jihadist attack on a beach resort last month.
Video footage broadcast live on television showed the dramatic moment that Papa Wemba - wearing a bold black and white patterned tunic and oversized bowler hat - slumped to the floor behind a group of dancers, before performers rushed to his aid. Festival organizers expressed "deep sorrow" at the death of a man who has been at the forefront of African music for more than four decades. A'Salfo, lead singer with the Ivorian group Magic System, said he understood Papa Wemba died on the way to hospital and that a journalist who interviewed him earlier in the day had noticed that he appeared unwell. The festival was held just over a month after the Islamist attack on the beach resort of Grand-Bassam on March 13 that left 19 people dead. Papa Wemba was born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba in June 1949 in what was then Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He won international acclaim when the fashion for African and world music took hold in Europe and the United States in the 1980s, and recorded with British rock star Peter Gabriel.
US President Barack Obama is defending his transatlantic trade deal on a visit to Germany though tens of thousands of Germans took to the street to oppose the bill.
In a joint news conference in the German city of Hanover, Obama said it is "indisputable" that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will make both the EU and US economy stronger and more competitive compared to other regions. However, Obama's trip, which was intended to lend momentum to flagging efforts to see the world's biggest trade pact finalized this year, was embarrassed by the march outside Hanover's opera house. A coalition of trade unions, environmentalists and consumer protection groups said they drew a crowd of 90,000 to take part in the demonstration.
Organizers handed out flags saying "Yes we can - stop TTIP," referring to a slogan used during Obama's election campaign.
A recent survey found that public support for the agreement has dropped sharply in both Germany and the United States in recent years. Support for the TTIP, which would create the world's largest free trade area with 800 million people, has eroded among Germans and US citizens. According to a survey done by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation, one in three Germans now rejects the TTIP. Obama said differences between the two sides are narrowing and he's confident that the agreement will be completed finally although he cannot anticipate that the deal will be ratified by the end of this year. Merkel also defended the agreement under negotiations on Sunday, saying the agreement would benefit the economy on both sides of the Atlantic. Protesters wearmasks of US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor AngelaMerkel as they demonstrate against a trade agreement under negotiations in Hanover, Germany, on Sunday. As dusk fell on Saturday evening, a witness saw a group of up to 70 people crossing into Macedonia from Greece, at a point where there is no razor wire fence between the two countries. It was roughly a 20-kilometer, four-hour walk from Idomeni, a sprawling tent city hosting thousands of refugees and migrants stranded by a cascade of border shutdowns throughout the Balkans in February. Others at the campsite were also mulling their options to leave Idomeni and find vulnerable points along the border to cross into the Balkans, the preferred route to western Europe. A million migrants, many fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in conflicts have poured into Europe through Greece since last year. Last month, Turkey and the EU sealed a controversial deal intended to halt the flow of illegal migrants into Greece from Turkey in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.


Australian police have arrested and charged a teenager with planning a terror attack on Monday's commemorations of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli during World War I, which attracted thousands of people in Sydney.
More than 800 al-Qaida militants were killed in an offensive by Yemeni government forces and its Arab allies in the group's main stronghold in the port city if Mukalla, the Saudi-led coalition said. Serbia's ruling Progressive Party won Sunday's parliamentary elections, securing another four years for its leader to push for Serbia's bid to join the European Union. Flooding in India's northeastern state of Assam has affected nearly 100,000 people, officials said on Monday. At least 23 people have died and dozens of others fell ill in central Pakistan after eating sweets which police suspect were tainted with pesticides, officials said on Monday. Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has widened his lead over rivals despite remarks about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary which sparked protests from diplomats, the Catholic church and women's groups. The Kurdish PKK movement is ready to step up its fight against Turkey in response to Ankara's crackdown, its leader said in a BBC interview published on Monday.
A trade deal between Britain and the United States could take five to 10 years to negotiate if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum, US President Barack Obama told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Sunday. Obama, who is in the final nine months of his presidency, has spent the last three days in London urging Britons to stay in the EU as the British public prepares to vote on whether to remain a member of the bloc. Obama's visit and decision to intervene in the EU debate has angered the Eurosceptic "Out" campaign, which has repeatedly argued that Britain could easily negotiate deals and get better terms outside the EU. Answering that criticism, Obama said that his involvement had been justified because of the two countries' special relationship, and that he hoped he had been able to persuade some British voters.
Obama added that Britain would not get preferential treatment over the EU when it came to negotiating a new trade deal. He said he hoped to conclude talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - trade deal between the EU and the United States - the end of his term in office, although he said the agreement may not be ratified by the US Congress before he leaves his post. Obama also said he hoped that his final months in office would see the influence of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria reduced. But the United States and others should use their international influence to persuade allies of Syria, such as Russia and Iran, to broker a political transition, he said. Authorities were still trying on Saturday to find out who targeted the seven adults and teenage boy and why. Kayla Hay said she got to know one of the victims, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, when they both worked as nurse's aides at a nursing home. It appeared some of the family members were killed as they slept, including Hanna Rhoden, who was in bed with her newborn baby nearby, authorities said.
Robin Waddell, who owns the Big Bear Lake Family Resort just south of Piketon, said Christopher Rhoden often did work for him as a carpenter and helped out with his excavation business.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the decision to revoke Vijay Mallya's passport was taken considering the evidence gathered by India's Enforcement Directorate, which has been investigating the tycoon's massive debts.
The ministry was also consulting legal experts on seeking Mallya's deportation from the UK to face charges of money laundering and financial irregularities. The opposition Congress party has accused the government of letting Mallya flee India while being pursued by banks for debts totaling 90 billion rupees ($1.3 billion). India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended Mallya's departure, saying the banks had not initiated the legal process to prevent him from leaving by the time he boarded the flight out of India. The Enforcement Directorate told the government that Mallya was not cooperating with the investigators, after he ignored three dates when he was summoned to give evidence to them. The government last week suspended the businessman's passport, after giving him a week to explain why his passport should not be revoked. The government was committed to bringing Mallya back to India to face justice and was "considering steps for Mallya's deportation", Swarup told reporters. Mallya was once hailed as India's version of British tycoon Richard Branson for his investments in a brewing and liquor company, an airline, a Formula One team and an Indian Premier League cricket club.
His downfall was triggered by the failure of Kingfisher Airlines, which he launched in 2005.
DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un, who witnessed the test, said that submarine-launched ballistic missiles strengthen the underwater operation capability of the navy and that the military is now capable of attacking Republic of Korea forces and the United States at any time. He also urged DPRK scientists and technicians to step up the nuclear program in order to launch nuclear attacks on the US and the ROK. In Seoul, the ROK Foreign Ministry said the launch was in a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, and the test-firing came in less than 10 days after the UN urged Pyongyang to exercise restraint following the country's launch on April 15 of a Musudan ballistic missile. While miners once killed the Yanomami with guns or disease - nearly 20 percent of the population was wiped out in the 1980s - today the threat is the toxic liquid metal used to separate gold from grit. The results shocked experts, who believe mercury is entering the food chain through fish in polluted rivers. We're not able to arrest them, there's no space in the helicopter," he said, sweat pouring down his face in the middle of the steamy jungle. Beyond the equipment, authorities have been hunting for clues on the illicit business interests behind the miners. With Brazil suffering through its worst recession in a century, Funai's budget for 2016 was cut by 24 percent, while Ibama had its spending reduced by 30 percent.
During that offensive, the radical Sunni Muslim group massacred, enslaved and raped thousands of Yazidis, whom they consider to be devil-worshippers.
The group also forced Murad to pray, study the Quran and sit through extremist religious lessons, according to his mother, who said she had been beaten as well as raped by at least 14 men. He kept a watchful eye on everyone who passed him on the narrow street, looking for a suspicious gesture, or a bulge beneath the clothes that hints at a hidden gun or a bomb. The reopening was celebrated by Pakistan's tiny Sikh minority, but security is a constant concern.
The murder of Sardar Suran Singh devastated the Sikh community and heightened their fears of militant attacks.
It is increasingly intolerant," said Zohra Yusuf, chairwoman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Militants have attacked Peshawar schools, killing children as they studied, bombed buses of government workers and attacked Christians in their churches. The vast majority migrated to India in 1947, the year Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent. They are easily identifiable because of their tightly wound and often colorful turbans, and because they share the surname Singh. With all these measures, we are going to save it," he said, adding that the daily drop in water level had slowed to 10 centimeters from 20. Mario Cesar Gonzalez, whose son Julio Cesar is among the missing, said the families "don't trust any authority".
They've been stunned by his often brash policy proclamations, like his vow to bar foreign Muslims from entering the country. A mob including students, parents and villagers attacked the teachers with sticks, forcing them to lock themselves in a room until police intervened, Parvez said. International governments and aid groups have implored the Bangladeshi government to do more to safeguard free speech. The men were killed at a telecommunications site at Monte Tchota, Minister Paulo Rocha said. The congress will be the first major conference in 36 years and the first under the current DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un. The truck was packed with 75 people and far over capacity, which caused the one of its rear tires to explode.
That would mark the first time the nation has been a net importer of the sweetener in four years, with the switch likely to support global prices that have already been rising this year. Three years after they were disinterred to be tested for traces of poison, Neruda's remains were returned to his grave at his former home in the resort town of Isla Negra in line with his last wishes.
The prime minister accused the country's opposition party and allied militants of orchestrating the attack. He said a member of the patrol team briefly caught one of the suspects, but he managed to escape. All the rooms are empty, the glass is gone from the windows and everything's destroyed," said Zoya Perevozchenko, 66. Returning to Pripyat, she found it hard to reconcile the memories of her life there with the derelict ruins of a town abandoned for three decades.
They left behind lavish tombs, pottery and statues but tantalizingly few written documents and patchy evidence of their daily lives. It seems to be "a sacred text that may reveal to us parts of the belief system of the Etruscans". Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Tuesday that his country will host talks with Malaysia and the Philippines to boost maritime security following those hijackings.
The rolling blackouts of up to four hours a day are a last-minute attempt to save energy until water levels stabilize at the Guri Dam, which provides the bulk of the country's electricity.
Over the weekend residents in a poor neighborhood of El Calvario, on the city's outskirts, blocked a major thruway with motorcycles and trash to protest what they said had been 29 hours without service. They also point to generous state subsidies that keep utility prices lowi??i??residential electricity bills are typically less than $1 a monthi??i??for encouraging almost never-questioned habits like keeping TV sets on all night. Maduro has also given public workers Fridays off, declared new national holidays, and said he will shift the country's time zone to help to ease the crisis. Japan was seen as almost certain to secure the submarine contract, helped by a close personal relationship with Abe and with the tacit backing of the United States.
A US KC-135 refueling plane flew with two F-22 Raptor fighters from Britain to Romania's Mihail Kogalniceanu air base on the Black Sea.
Firefighters took more than four hours to douse the blaze, which started on the top floor of the six-story museum. Media relayed gory tales, some from old-age pensioners who spoke of having as many as eight teeth pulled out in one sitting, infections and bills of tens of thousands of dollars. An undercover researcher made the discovery as part of an investigative program on food hygiene of big-name take-aways and coffee shops by the BBC's Rip Off Britain. For all the violence, his fascination with northern Iraq - a mosaic of ethnic and religious groups - was a strong draw too. But smaller numbers - estimated now at several dozen - are with groups fighting the radicals. He said he had received training on field artillery at a base in Oklahoma but quit due to a hip injury and flagging motivation.
Cole insisted he had no regrets about coming to Iraq, where his chores involve checkpoint duty, helping internally-displaced people, and "prisoners". Concerns include declines in consumer and labor protection, and environment standards as well as the secrecy of the negotiations.
Among US citizens, despite growing support for free trade in general, only 15 percent favor it, a sharp decline from more than 50 percent in 2014.
US citizens were among those taking part, holding up a sign reading "Americans against TTIP". Others use traffickers, who charge anything between $350 and $600 per person to smuggle people across the border. Greek authorities have repeatedly urged refugees and migrants to move to organized reception centers elsewhere in the country. The 16-year-old boy was arrested near his Sydney home on Sunday and appeared before a children's court on Monday.
The coalition said in a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA on Sunday night that many militants fled the Hadramout provincial capital they had held for a year after the offensive by supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi backed by Saudi and Emirati special forces. Winning 49.3 percent of votes, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, the party leader, said that "the result is extraordinary, the best in the history of multiparty system" in Serbia.
Umar Hayat, a resident of the Karor Lal Esan area in Punjab province, bought the baked confectionery on April 17 to distribute among friends and family after the birth of his grandson. The candidate, who has promised mass killings of suspected criminals, saw his support rise from 27 percent of respondents in March to 33 percent in April, giving him a nine-point lead over second-placed Senator Grace Poe just two weeks before the vote. Since the collapse of a two-year cease-fire with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, last year, Turkish government forces have been blistering military campaign against the group in the southeast of the country.
Their bodies were found on Friday at four different homes near Piketon, about 60 miles south of Columbus. A search for the killer or killers continued on Saturday, and investigators said they had interviewed more than 30 people.
Michael Preston, of the Ross County Sheriff's Department speaks to the media on Union Hill Road that approaches a crime scene, on Friday, in Pike County, Ohio. The Indian government in 2012 suspended the license of the airline after it failed to pay pilots and engineers for months.
The Sikhs that lived in the area and attended the gurdwara left when it closed in the 1940s. The CIA Factbook estimates that 3.6 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people are non-Muslims, including Sikhs, Christians and Hindus. The Spaniards were telecommunications technicians working at the site and the local civilian was a co-worker.
Damascus said on Tuesday that it had held a final session of talks with de Mistura in a "useful and productive round". He's also suggested that women stop blow drying their hair and that everyone leave off ironing their clothes. Two Russian warplanes flew simulated attack passes near a US guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea in early April. The rainfall state during the past week has been among the highest in several decades and has severely affected the normal life. PKK leader Cemil Bayik said it was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was "escalating this war".
Shootings with multiple fatalities were reported along the road in rural Ohio on Friday morning, but details on the number of deaths and the whereabouts of the suspect or suspects were not immediately clear.



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