Taliban raise death toll to 6 in gun attack on Western tourists

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban government said Saturday that the death toll from an overnight gun attack on Western tourists in central Afghanistan had risen to at least six, including three Spaniards. Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul Mateen Qani said in a video statement that the Friday evening shooting in Bamiyan city by unknown assailants left three Afghans …

Court orders suspect in Slovak PM shooting be detained

PEZINOK, Slovakia — The man accused of attempting to assassinate Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was ordered to remain behind bars Saturday. Fico is in serious but stable condition after surviving multiple gunshots, officials said. Slovakia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered the detention of the suspect after prosecutors said they feared he could flee or carry out …

Vatican moves to adapt to hoaxes, Internet

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Friday overhauled its process for evaluating alleged visions of the Virgin Mary, weeping statues and other seemingly supernatural phenomena that have marked church history, putting the brakes on making definitive declarations unless the event is obviously fabricated. The Vatican’s doctrine office revised norms first issued in 1978, arguing that they …

Dabney Coleman, actor who specialized in curmudgeons, dies

new york — Dabney Coleman, the mustachioed character actor who specialized in smarmy villains such asd the chauvinist boss in “9 to 5” and the nasty TV director in “Tootsie,” has died. He was 92.  Coleman died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, his daughter, Quincy Coleman, said in a statement to The Associated Press. …

English fishing village told to boil water after a parasite outbreak

LONDON — A scenic fishing village in southwestern England was under instructions to boil its tap water for a third day on Friday after a parasite sickened more than 45 people in the latest example of Britain’s troubled water system. Around 16,000 homes and businesses in the Brixham area of Devon were told to boil water …

Turkey sends Syrian mercenaries to Niger to secure strategic interests

washington — Hundreds of Syrian mercenaries have been sent by Turkey to Niger in recent months to protect Ankara’s economic and military interests in the West African nation, a rights group and experts said.  The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has researchers throughout Syria, reports that recruitment of Syrian fighters for deployment to Niger …

Turkish court hands pro-Kurdish politicians lengthy sentences over deadly protests

Diyarbakir, Turkey / Washington — A Turkish court gave several lengthy prison sentences to pro-Kurdish politicians for instigating protests in southeastern Turkey in 2014 when the Islamic State group attacked the Syrian border town of Kobani. Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, the former co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Thursday received the longest …

Journalists covering opposition to Georgian law receive threats

Washington — Two figures dressed in black and with their faces covered are caught on security camera vandalizing the Media Development Foundation office in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.   The video, taken in the early hours of May 9, shows the individuals putting up posters that falsely claim the nongovernmental organization’s executive director, Tamar Kintsurashvili, is a …

Annual rich list says Paul McCartney is Britain’s 1st billionaire musician

LONDON — Paul McCartney is a billionaire Beatle. According to figures released Friday, the former member of the Fab Four is the first British musician to be worth 1 billion pounds ($1.27 billion). The annual Sunday Times Rich List calculated that the wealth of the 81-year-old musician and his wife, Nancy Shevell, had grown by 50 million …

China and Russia reinforce partnership to counter US influence

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded his two-day trip to China Friday after Beijing and Moscow reaffirmed their “strategic relationship” by signing a joint statement and vowing to cooperate against “destructive and hostile” pressure from Washington. During meetings between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Russian president said Moscow is willing to work …

French police kill man trying to set fire to synagogue

PARIS — French police on Friday shot dead an armed man who was trying to set fire to a synagogue in the northern city of Rouen. “National police in Rouen neutralized early this morning an armed individual who clearly wanted to set fire to the city’s synagogue,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on X, formerly Twitter. …

Putin focuses on trade, cultural exchanges in China

BEIJING — Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on trade and cultural exchanges Friday during his state visit to China that started with bonhomie in Beijing and a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping that deepened their “no limits” partnership as both countries face rising tensions with the West. Putin praised China at a China-Russia Expo in …

Ukraine hits Russia in overnight drone wave; 2 dead

MOSCOW — Ukraine launched a wave of drones at Russia and the annexed Crimea peninsula overnight, killing two people, including a child, and setting an oil refinery ablaze, officials said Friday. The attack was Ukraine’s largest aerial offensive in weeks and comes as Russian forces advance along the frontline, making their biggest territorial gains in 18 …

Scholar called ‘Putin’s brain’ attacked on Chinese internet

Washington — Aleksander Dugin, a Russian nationalist ideologue and strong supporter of President Vladimir Putin, has been bombarded with attacks on Chinese social media, where netizens criticized and mocked his Russian expansionist views that had once included the dismembering of China. Two years after Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine, pro-Russia sentiment has been prevalent on …

Russia sees ‘window of opportunity’ as Ukrainian forces await US weapons

Russian forces are expanding their attacks on Ukrainian border settlements close to the northeastern city of Kharkiv, opening up a new front in the war. With U.S. and European weapons finally due to arrive on the front lines in the coming weeks following delays, can Ukraine hold back Moscow’s invading troops? Henry Ridgwell has more …

South Africa urges UN’s top court to order cease-fire in Gaza

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — South Africa urged the United Nations’ top court on Thursday to order a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip during hearings over emergency measures to halt Israel’s military operation in the enclave’s southern city of Rafah. It was the third time the International Court of Justice held hearings on the conflict in Gaza …