DUBAI - Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Basij militia forces sacrificed their lives in "riots" sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in September.
The Basij force, affiliated with the country's Revolutionary Guards, has been at the forefront of the state crackdown on protests that have spread across the country.
"They have sacrificed their lives to protect people from rioters," Khamenei said in a televised speech.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Louise Heavens)...
- Russia is likely removing nuclear warheads from ageing nuclear cruise missiles and firing unarmed munitions at Ukraine, Britain's military intelligence said on Saturday.
The defense ministry said open source imagery shows wreckage of an air launched cruise missile fired at Ukraine which seem to have been designed in the 1980s as a nuclear delivery system, adding that ballast was probably being substituted for the warheads.
Such a system will still produce damage through the missile's kinetic energy and unspent fuel. However, it is unlikely to achieve reliable effects against intended targets, the ministry added in its daily intelligence update posted on Twitter.
"Whatever Russia's intent, this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia's stock of long range missiles", the ministry said.
(Reporting by Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)...
SEOUL - South Korea's transport ministry plans to meet with the striking truckers union on Monday for negotiations, a ministry official said on Saturday.
Thousands of unionised truckers on Thursday launched their second major strike in less than six months seeking better pay and working conditions. The action is already disrupting supply chains across the world's 10th largest economy, affecting automakers, cement and steel producers.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Kim Coghill)...
By Sarah Morland
MEXICO CITY - From Buenos Aires to Bogota, women across Latin America took to the streets on Friday in marches to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, demanding more action from authorities.
In Mexico City, feminist associations marched down Reforma Avenue, one of the capital's main arteries, chanting with loudspeakers and smoke flares, flanked by hundreds of police with riot shields and protective vests.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is hoping to become the country's first female president in 2024, had earlier this week called for a peaceful protest, but some wary activists arrived with helmets and goggles in case of tear gas.
Victims of rape and mothers of women and girls killed across Mexico took to loudspeakers to demand an end to gender violence and better criminal investigations for their loved ones.
According to government data, some 20 women are kill...
MEXICO CITY - A delegation representing the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Mexico City on Friday to sign a "social agreement" with its political opponents, after talks between the two sides have been on ice for more than a year.
Mediated by Norway, the negotiations will resume after months of informal meetings and could ease U.S. oil sanctions on Venezuela while boosting oil major Chevron's activity in the country's energy sector.
The government's delegation is led by congressional leader Jorge Rodriguez of the ruling socialists, and the opposition group is headed by politician Gerardo Blyde.
The talks aim to break a bitter impasse between Maduro's authoritarian regime and the divided political opposition, amid a mass exodus over the past decade of Venezuelans fleeing economic misery.
On Saturday, both sides are expected to sign an agreement that aims to address vital social needs, according to...
SYDNEY - Some 2,500 people took off their clothes on Saturday to pose for U.S. photographic artist Spencer Tunick at Sydney's Bondi Beach in an effort to raise awareness about skin cancer.
Tunick, known for staging mass nude photo shoots at world landmarks, used a megaphone to direct attendees into several poses on the beach before many took a naked dip in the ocean.
The New York-based artist collaborated with a charity on the naked art installation in a bid to raise awareness about melanoma, Australia's fourth most common form of cancer. The federal government estimates that this year 17,756 new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in Australia, and 1,281 Australians will die from the disease.
"We have an opportunity to raise awareness about skin checks and I'm honoured ... to come here, make my art and just celebrate the body and protection," Tunick said at the beach on a crisp spring morning in Sydney.
A participant, Ro...
TAIPEI - Polls opened in Taiwan on Saturday in local elections that President Tsai Ing-wen has framed as being about sending a message to the world about the island's determination to defend its democracy in the face of China's rising bellicosity.
The local elections, for city mayors, county chiefs and local councillors, are ostensibly about domestic issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and crime, and those elected do not have a direct say on China policy.
But Tsai has recast the election as being more than a local poll, saying the world is watching how Taiwan defends its democracy amid military tensions with China, which claims the island as its territory.
China carried out war games near Taiwan in August to express its anger at a visit to Taipei by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and its military activities have continued, though on a reduced scale.
Taiwan's main opposition party the Kuomintang, or KMT, swept the 201...
- Two rockets targeted a U.S. patrol base in northeastern Syria but did not result in any injuries or damage to the base, the U.S. military said on Friday.
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces visited the origin site of the rockets and found a third unfired rocket, the U.S. military said in a statement.
The base was located in al-Shaddadi, Syria.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Daniel Wallis)...
SEOUL - Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that China would be willing to work together with North Korea for regional and global peace, stability and prosperity, North Korea's state media KCNA reported on Saturday, citing Xi's letter to Kim.
KCNA did not mention North Korea's recent missile launches that have heightened tensions around the Korean peninsula following joint military drills between South Korea and the United States.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Daniel Wallis)...
By Elena Rodriguez
MADRID - Thousands of people took to the streets in Madrid and Barcelona on Friday evening in marches to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In Madrid, protesters, many wearing purple, marched down the Gran Via in the city centre carrying banners and chanting "no is no, anything else is rape", and "we women are not goods". In Barcelona people banged drums and lit flares.
Since 2003, when statistics started to officially count fatalities, 1,171 women have died as a result of gender violence in Spain, according to the Ministry of Equality. So far in 2022, 38 women have died.
"I've come here because of the problem of gender violence, because of all the deaths that are occurring, the mistreatment of women..." said teacher and Madrid resident Susana Rita, 42.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked men on Friday to step forward to stop machismo....
- In a rare public spat involving Ukrainian leaders, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday criticised the mayor of Kyiv for doing what he said was a poor job setting up emergency shelters to help those without power and heat after Russian attacks.
In the wake of crushing Russian missile strikes against the power-generating system, Ukraine has established thousands of so-called "invincibility centres" where people can access heat, water, internet and mobile phone links.
In an evening address, Zelenskiy indicated that Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his officials had not done enough to help.
"Unfortunately, local authorities have not performed well in all cities. In particular, there are a lot of complaints in Kyiv ... To put it mildly, more work is needed," he said, saying the level of services available in many Kyiv centres was not good enough.
"Please pay attention – the people of Kyiv need more support ... a lot of (them...
By Vivian Sequera and Luis Jaime Acosta
CARACAS/BOGOTA - Colombia's government and leftist guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN) said on Friday they have agreed to invite Brazil, Chile and Mexico as so-called guarantor countries in peace talks that seek to end nearly 60 years of conflict.
The peace talks, which had been suspended in 2019, resumed in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Monday.
Leftist Colombian President Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 insurgency who took office in August, has promised to bring "total peace" to Colombia after the South American country signed a peace deal at the end of 2016 with the much larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Following a week of discussions, Colombia and the ELN said in a statement they have worked in an "environment of trust and optimism." They agreed to bring in Brazil, Chile and Mexico to join Cuba, Norway and Venezuela, as countrie...
MEXICO CITY - A decision should be made very soon on a dispute pitting Canada and Mexico against the United States on the interpretation of regional trade rules in the auto industry, Canada Minister of International Trade Mary Ng said on Friday.
Canada this year joined Mexico in a complaint against the United States over how to apply automotive sector content requirements under the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, which came into effect in 2020.
"I'm looking forward to a decision. I understand it's pretty imminent," Ng told in Mexico City, where she was attending meetings of the Pacific Alliance trade group.
Under USMCA, a deal crafted at the urging of former U.S. President Donald Trump to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 75% of a vehicle's components are meant to originate in the region to quality for tax-free status.
Mexico and Canada favor a more flexible interpretation of...
By Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun
LIMA -Peruvian opposition lawmakers said on Friday that President Pedro Castillo is trying to dissolve the legislature, as he named a new prime minister after suggesting Congress had fired his previous one despite not holding a vote on the matter.
Castillo named Betssy Chavez as new prime minister, a close ally and lawmaker who has previously served as minister of culture.
Peru is mired in a long-standing clash between its independent state powers, which deepened on Thursday on Castillo's decision to reshuffle his Cabinet after Congress rejected his request for a confidence vote, claiming legal requirements were not met to hold it.
"There is an executive coup underway to shut down Congress," conservative lawmaker Carlos Anderson told .
The confidence vote request was meant to pressure Congress with high-stake consequences including firing the Cabinet and dissolving parliamen...
- Peru President Pedro Castillo on Friday named Minister of Culture Betssy Chavez as the country's new prime minister.
She will replace Anibal Torres, who resigned late on Thursday.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino)...
By Michel Rose and John Irish
PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron will be hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden next week in a rare state visit aimed at highlighting Franco-American friendship rather than the bitter economic competition between the two sides of the pond.
More than a year after Washington, London and Canberra torpedoed a big French submarine contract, pushing Franco-US relations to breaking point, the two countries are expected to put on a show of unity on common threats from Russia and China.
But the elephant in the Oval Room will be the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Europeans say the massive subsidy package to U.S. manufacturers could deal a lethal blow to their industries, which are already reeling from high energy prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Macron will try to convince the United States it is in their interest not to weaken European companies at a time Western allies are facin...
SAO PAULO - Three people were killed and at least eight injured on Friday when a shooter opened fire at two schools in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo, local police said.
The attacks happened around 10 a.m. local time (1300 GMT) in the small town of Aracruz, located some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of state capital Vitoria.
Officials said an unidentified teenager in military attire had opened fire at two schools, one private and one public, and was still missing in the early afternoon.
Local police said they initially suspected the shooter was a student at one of the attacked schools, but Espirito Santo's head of public security Marcio Celante told reporters that had not been confirmed.
The public security office said in a statement that police and rescue workers were taking care of those injured while continuing to search for the shooter.
One injured person had to be taken by helicopter to Serra, a l...
By Luis Jaime Acosta
BOGOTA - Colombia's transitional justice tribunal recommended sentencing seven former FARC guerilla commanders to five to eight years for kidnappings and similar crimes during the country's decades-long armed conflict.
The tribunal gave their recommendation to a court which will decide whether to include detention outside prisons and reparations to victims, such as removing landmines, searching for missing people and environmental restoration.
The tribunal, known as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), was created to prosecute former FARC members and military leaders for alleged war crimes after a 2016 peace deal to end a nearly six-decade armed conflict that left at least 450,000 dead between 1985 and 2018.
Seven former commanders of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including former commander-in-chief Rodrigo Londono, have accepted responsibility for war crimes and cr...
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday said he had spoken to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and discussed cooperation on ensuring energy stability for his country.
Zelenskiy made the comments in a Twitter post but did not give details. He also said he had thanked von der Leyen for starting work on a fresh sanctions package against Russia.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis)...
By Ali Kucukgocmen
ANKARA - Russia's ambassador to Turkey said on Friday that Moscow sends its representatives to more ship inspections in Istanbul per day than mandated under the Black Sea grain deal, rejecting a Ukrainian accusation that Russia is slowing down the process.
Ukraine's grain exports have proceeded more slowly since a U.N.-brokered deal was extended last week to help ease global hunger, reported on Thursday.
Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey, attributed the slowdown to uncertainty last week over renewing the deal and also Russia's refusal to speed up inspections and increase the number of teams from three currently.
Aleksey Erkhov, Russia's ambassador, said Russia "strictly complies with its obligations" under the grain export deal, which requires parties to form three inspection teams.
"Based on this, the number and composition of the Russian delegation to the JCC were established,"...