25 May 13
China, Switzerland sign off on preliminary free trade deal
China has signed the framework for a free trade deal with Switzerland - a deal which could become Beijing's first with a major Western economy.
China's Premier Li Keqiang said the landmark agreement underscored Beijing's growing openness to the world.
Arrests as tensions rise over Woolwich killing
Concern grew Saturday that the slaying of a British soldier by attackers who claimed they were acting to avenge the deaths of Muslims overseas has prompted a swell in anti-Muslim sentiment in Britain.
2 men arrested after flight from Pakistan diverted in UK airspace
Police arrested two men Friday on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after a flight from Pakistan to the United Kingdom was diverted to Stansted Airport, outside of London.
'Assad has enough sarin to wipe out Damascus'
The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has enough of the nerve gas sarin to "eradicate the whole of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo," a former Syrian chemical weapons scientist told Al Jazeera on Friday.
"If the regime is to fire a Scud-B with a chemical warhead filled with sarin, the missile would create a chemical cloud in the atmosphere that is 3km long and 500m wide, which could be fatal to all people under it," the scientist, that asked to remain anonymous, said.
Blistering heat wave leads to violent protests in India
A blistering heat wave has swept across most parts of north and western India, causing massive electricity cuts and leading angry residents to protest and even attack power company officials and property.
6.8-magnitude quake hits Sea of Okhotsk
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted the Sea of Okhotsk at 10:56 p.m. Friday (Beijing Time), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
The epicenter, with a depth of 630 km, was monitored at about 52.2 degrees north latitude and 151.6 degrees east longitude, the center said in a statement.
Hezbollah, Syria government forces push for advance in Qusair
Syrian government forces and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah launched a fierce campaign to seize more rebel territory in the border town of Qusair on Saturday, sources on both sides of the conflict said.
Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad said additional tanks and artillery had been deployed around opposition-held territory in Qusair, a Syrian town close to the Lebanese border.
The Legality Of Israeli Settlements
As a result of criticism, the Church of Scotland has agreed to change its controversial report of its committee which called for political action, including boycotts and disinvestment in Israel, because of “illegal settlements in the occupied territories.” Though the Church has made clear that it has never challenged the right of Israel to exist, it has raised once again two issues: the claim of Israel to possess particular territory by the establishment of settlements; and the concerns faced by Palestinians in the “occupied Palestinian territories.”
Feds fight ruling on access to morning-after pill in New York
Department of Justice lawyers filed court papers Friday again asking a federal appeals court to delay lifting age restrictions and prescription requirements on an emergency contraceptive popularly known as the morning-after pill.
Obama's drone rules leave unanswered questions
President Barack Obama left plenty of ambiguity in new policy guidelines that he says will restrict how and when the U.S. can launch targeted drone strikes, leaving himself significant power over how and when the weapons can be deployed.
Report: US traces cyber attack wave to Iran
American officials and corporate security experts examining a new wave of potentially destructive computer attacks striking American corporations, especially energy firms, say they have tracked the attacks back to Iran, the New York Times reported on Friday.
24 May 13
Hague: Time Running Out for a 'Two-State Solution'
"The prospects of a two-state solution cannot be kept alive forever as the situation changes," he told reporters in Ramallah, according to the AFP news agency. "The two-state solution does not have much longer, there is not much more time in which it could be brought about," he emphasized.
PM to Kerry: Let's Get Talks With PA Going
At a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday morning, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel was very interested in reopening negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. A spokesperson in the Prime Minister's office said that the discussions were “positive,” and that Israel had urged Kerry to do what he could to convince the PA to return to the negotiating table.
What's up in space STORM WARNING
A CME propelled into space by the M5-class explosion of May 22nd is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 24th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives.
Pope Francis promises redemption for ‘good atheists’
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!
Israel gearing up for ‘surprise war’ with Syria if Assad falls – general
The unrest engulfing the Middle East could result in Israel becoming involved in a “surprise war” with Syria, according to the head of the Israeli air force.
"When you look [around] today I think that a surprise war can be born in very many configurations," Major General Amir Eshel said at a conference near Tel Aviv.
Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys
After lengthy and wrenching debate, local leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have voted to open their ranks to openly gay boys for the first time, but heated reactions from the left and right made clear that the BSA's controversies are far from over.
The Scouts' longstanding ban on gay adults remains in force, and many liberal Scout leaders...plan to continue pressing for an end to that exclusion...
War against terrorism must end, Barack Obama says
In a major speech to military and political leaders, Mr Obama said the US could not wage "a boundless global war on terror" but must face a new reality where threats come from regional jihadists and home-grown extremists.
"Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organisations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end," Mr Obama said. "That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands."
Biden: Gun control to wait for immigration
Joe Biden on Monday acknowledged what everyone involved in gun control has been saying privately for weeks: Any votes for expanded background checks must wait at least through the summer while the Senate debates immigration reform. Biden offered the White House timeline to a group of about 20 representatives from faith-based organizations, three people who attended the meeting told POLITICO. The vice president’s words mark the first time the White House has revealed a timeline that has been widely discussed among gun control advocates and senior aides to senators who are pushing background checks.
7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes off Tonga
The quake hit at 5.19 am local time (2249 IST yesterday), and was centred 282 kilometres southwest of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa and 171 kilometres deep. It was followed four hours later by a second powerful 6.6 tremor 84 kilometres northwest of the town and 103 kilometres deep. "A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said of each quake.
M8.3 earthquake hits Sea of Okhotsk, Russia
M 8.3 earthquake hits Sea of Okhotsk, Russia today, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Following Russian news agencies, tremors lasted for about five minutes in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka peninsula. Several residential buildings and schools were evacuated.
-Tremors were also felt in Moscow. The Agency of Hydrometeorological and Environmental monitoring said very weak tremor with MMI I was felt in Moscow. Tremors are rare in Moscow.
US could see seven to 11 hurricanes in 'active' season
US weather forecasters have predicted an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season of seven to 11 hurricanes.
There is a 70% chance 13-20 named storms will form, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
This is above the average of 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, in the six-month season beginning in June.
CA earthquake today 2013
M 5.7 strong earthquake shakes California today, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake's epicenter was located 11km (7mi) WNW of Greenville and 43km (27mi) SW of Susanville. It was 1 km deep.
Analysis: Sinai is becoming a major threat to Egypt
There was a happy ending for the six policemen and the soldier kidnapped last week in the Sinai Peninsula. They were released unhurt after marathon negotiations that lasted until dawn Wednesday between a representative of military intelligence, a Salafi sheikh and a representative of the Swarka tribe, one of the largest in the peninsula.
Holder signed warrant to seize Fox reporter's private email
Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the search warrant that named Fox News reporter James Rosen as a potential criminal "co-conspirator," a law enforcement official told NBC News on Tuesday. That controversial warrant, revealed for the first time earlier this week, enabled federal law enforcement officials to seize Rosen's private emails as they sought to determine who leaked the journalist confidential intelligence about North Korea.
Clashes in Lebanon feed fear of Syria spillover
Lebanese supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad fired heavy machine guns and lobbed mortar shells at each other Thursday in some of the worst fighting in the port city of Tripoli in years.
Syria crisis: Government 'to attend Geneva conference'
Russia says Damascus has agreed "in principle" to attend an international conference on the Syria crisis set to be held in Geneva in June.
Its foreign ministry said the Syrian government would participate "in order for Syrians themselves to find a political path to a solution".
Japan's Great Economics Experiment Is Facing Its First Real Test
This week's turbulence in Tokyo markets exposes a key risk of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's all-in strategy to revive Japan's economy - if investor confidence falters, the government and the Bank of Japan may be left with few options to turn the tide.
23 May 13
IAF Chief: S-300 is En Route to Syria; Surprise War is Possible
"A surprise war can come about through many scenarios at present," he said at a conference of the Fisher Institute for National Security in Herzliya. Isolated incidents can escalate very quickly, he explained, and added that "we are committed to being ready in a matter of hours and to operate up to the end of the spectrum."
Supreme Court could give landmark ruling on public prayer
In a move that could have national consequences for prayer in public life, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a federal case challenging the constitutionality of opening prayers at the town council meetings of Greece, New York.