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  • Cornish people win minority status

  • The remains of a tin mine sit on the cliffs overlooking Porthtowan Bay near Truro in Cornwall, southwestern England on August 7, 2013Cornish people are to be recognised as a national minority group for the first time, giving them the same rights as the country's other minorities, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander announced Thursday. They will now be classified under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities along with the Celts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland.



  • Lib Dems 'to fight for EU cause'

  • Nick Clegg will pledge to speak "loudly, passionately and unequivocally" against "isolationists" when he launches the Liberal Democrat campaign for the European elections.
  • Syria eyes end of chemical arms monitoring mission; West disagrees

  • A woman receives treatment at Bab al-Hawa hospitalBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria declared on Wednesday that it is looking ahead to the dismantling of the international mission overseeing the destruction of the conflict-torn country's chemical arsenal, though Western officials say they want the team to keep working. The statement came after Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Security Council that the Syrian government should be able to meet an April 27 deadline to hand over all declared chemical agents. But inside the council chamber, U.S. and European delegations told Kaag that they are concerned about fresh allegations that Syria's government has deployed chlorine gas and expressed their view that a full investigation was necessary, diplomats said. After the closed-door session, which Kaag participated in via video link, Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari was asked what should happen to the U.N.-OPCW mission once declared materials linked to the Syrian chemical weapons were shipped out of the country and all installations were shut down.



  • U.S. will allow just 'days' for implementation of Geneva deal

  • By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia has not fulfilled its part of an international agreement to defuse tension in Ukraine and Washington will only wait "days" more for the accord to be implemented, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. "Russia has not taken the steps that it needs to take" under the agreement reached in Geneva last week, Daniel Baer, the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said. Under the deal, the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and the United States agreed that illegal armed groups in Ukraine would go home in a process to be overseen by Europe's OSCE security watchdog.
  • Reluctant Kosovo approves war crimes court

  • Kosovo's lawmakers attend a parliament session in Pristina on April 23, 2014Kosovo's parliament on Wednesday approved the creation of an international war crimes court to investigate allegations against ethnic Albanian guerrillas during their conflict with Serbia in the late 1990s. Pristina has been under pressure from the European Union to create the special court ever since a 2011 Council of Europe report alleged crimes including abductions, summary executions and -- most controversially -- the trafficking of prisoners' organs by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998-99 war. The report by the Council's special rapporteur Dick Marty said the KLA, which fought Serbian armed forces during the conflict, had abused, tortured and killed 500 prisoners, mostly ethnic Serbs and Roma. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who was a commander during the war, had strongly opposed the creation of the court, calling it "unjust and the greatest insult" to Kosovo.



  • Q&A: A French economist's grim view of wealth gap

  • This undated photo provided by Harvard Press shows French economist Thomas Piketty. In his new book, Piketty, who helped popularize the notion of a privileged 1 percent, sounds a grim warning: The U.S. economy is beginning to decay into the aristocratic Europe of the 19th century. (AP Photo/Harvard Press, Emmanuelle Marchadour)NEW YORK (AP) — In a new book, Thomas Piketty, the French economist who helped popularize the notion of a privileged 1 percent, sounds a grim warning: The U.S. economy has begun to decay into the pattern of aristocratic Europe of the 19th century. Hard work will matter less, inherited wealth more. The fortunes of the few will unsettle the foundations of democracy.



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  • U.S. sharply criticizes Iran's election to U.N. committee

  • The United States on Wednesday sharply criticized the election of Iran to the United Nations' committee on non-governmental organizations, saying it was a "troubling outcome." The harsh U.S. rebuke of the world body follows Washington's decision to deny entry to Tehran's proposed U.N. ambassador Hamid Abutalebi over his suspected links to students who held U.S. embassy workers hostage for 444 days in 1979-1981, a move Iran has vowed to fight. "The unopposed candidacy of Iran, where authorities regularly detain human rights defenders, subjecting many to torture, abuse, and violations of due process, is a particularly troubling outcome of today's election," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said in statement. The committee decides on which NGOs will be accredited at the United Nations. The United States was also re-elected to the 19-nation NGO committee.
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  • France, US back sanctions against S.Sudan

  • This picture taken on January 12, 2014 shows a man carryring a bed walking past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) national army soldiers patrolling the town of BentiuUnited Nations (United States) (AFP) - France and the United States called Wednesday for the UN Security Council to consider sanctions against South Sudan over spiraling violence in the country's civil war, diplomats said. US ambassador Samantha Power relayed Washington's position in a closed-door meeting of the 15-member Council, diplomats said, and France's Gerard Araud told reporters before the session that it was time to think about sanctions against those responsible. "I think we should consider sanctions because it is horrendous," he said.



  • Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

  • A pro-Russian masked gunman mans his post on a street in the center of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine admitted on Wednesday that they are holding American journalist Simon Ostrovsky, saying he was suspected of unspecified "bad activities." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008.



  • Canada, France face off again over island claims

  • General view of St Pierre in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, on April 21, 2007A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled Wednesday, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon. France had filed an application with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf last week, seeking a vast economic zone around the islands' coastlines. France's claim aimed "to assert its rights, in compliance with international law," foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said last week. But Canada had already filed an overlapping claim, and on Wednesday it vowed to fight France's efforts to extend its territory in North America.



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  • Valcke 'happy' with Cuiaba stadium despite delays

  • FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks during a news conference after inspecting the unfinished Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The stadium will host the World Cup opener match between Brazil and Croatia in June. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA's top World Cup official is satisfied with the pace of work at the stadium in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba even though a delay in the delivery of seats prompted the venue's inauguration to be postponed this week.



  • All the world's a stage for Shakespeare's 450th birthday

  • Members of the cast of a new touring production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" perform at the Globe theatre in London on April 23, 2014William Shakespeare's plays are to be performed in mid-air as Britain celebrates the 450th anniversary of his birth this week, while a tour of "Hamlet" aims to reach every country on Earth. Shakespeare, the English language's greatest playwright, was baptised on April 26, 1564, and his birthday is traditionally observed on April 23. The Reduced Shakespeare Company comic troupe was to attempt to set a world record on Wednesday by performing a one-hour version of his complete works at 37,000 feet (11,300 metres). They were to perform on an easyJet flight from London to Verona in Italy -- where some of Shakespeare's plays were set.



  • Italy's Berlusconi to start community service work next week

  • Forza Italia leader Berlusconi gestures during meeting in RomeFormer Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday he would start doing community service with the elderly next week as part of a one-year tax fraud sentence. A court ruled earlier this month that Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, must spend four hours a week in a Catholic old people's home on the outskirts of Milan. After completing the first six months, Berlusconi's one-year sentence will automatically be reduced to 10 and a half months. The 77-year old media tycoon showed up at a judicial office in Milan to sign documents related to the ruling.



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  • Hungary remembers Holocaust amid boycotts, protests

  • A person searches her siblings on the wall of Holocaust victims at the Holocaust Musem in Budapest on April 16, 2014Pécs (Hungary) (AFP) - Hungary bean 70th anniversary commemorations of the Holocaust on Wednesday amid boycotts and protests by Jewish groups which accuse the government of whitewashing the country's role in the mass deportations of Jews in 1944. Marking the day when Hungarian Jews were first placed in ghettoes in 1944, ceremonies were held around the country as part of "Holocaust 2014", a programme of events organised by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government. In Budapest, President Janos Ader and Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics lit candles at a monument by the Danube commemorating the thousands of Jews shot into the water in 1944-1945 by the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross militia. A ceremony was also to be held at Budapest's Holocaust Museum, with trees planted and candles lit to remember the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust.



  • Serbia eyes renewed coalition of center-right and Socialists

  • Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of Serbian Progressive Party Vucic toasts with champagne at the party headquarters in BelgradeBy Ivana Sekularac BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's center-right Progressive Party, which won the March election by a landslide, said on Tuesday it had offered a place in a coalition government to the Socialists of outgoing Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, despite deep differences over austerity. The two parties have been in government together since mid-2012, but the Progressives forced a snap election last month saying they needed a stronger mandate to overhaul the bloated public sector and stabilize Serbia's shaky finances. The Socialist Party (SPS) has opposed radical belt-tightening, fearing a backlash from its support base among public sector workers and pensioners. Nevertheless, Progressive Party (SNS) leader and Serbia's next prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said he had offered a place in a new coalition cabinet to the Socialists and a party of ethnic Hungarians.



  • Hungary's Orban retains two-thirds legislative majority

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his first international press conference after the parliamentary election, in the Delegation Hall of the parliament building in Budapest on April 7, 2014Budapest (AFP) - Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban retained his controlling two-thirds majority in parliament following last week's election, a final ballot count revealed early Sunday, giving him free legislative rein for the next four years.



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  • Valcke 'happy' with Cuiaba stadium despite delays

  • FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks during a news conference after inspecting the unfinished Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The stadium will host the World Cup opener match between Brazil and Croatia in June. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA's top World Cup official is satisfied with the pace of work at the stadium in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba even though a delay in the delivery of seats prompted the venue's inauguration to be postponed this week.



  • All the world's a stage for Shakespeare's 450th birthday

  • Members of the cast of a new touring production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" perform at the Globe theatre in London on April 23, 2014William Shakespeare's plays are to be performed in mid-air as Britain celebrates the 450th anniversary of his birth this week, while a tour of "Hamlet" aims to reach every country on Earth. Shakespeare, the English language's greatest playwright, was baptised on April 26, 1564, and his birthday is traditionally observed on April 23. The Reduced Shakespeare Company comic troupe was to attempt to set a world record on Wednesday by performing a one-hour version of his complete works at 37,000 feet (11,300 metres). They were to perform on an easyJet flight from London to Verona in Italy -- where some of Shakespeare's plays were set.



  • Italy's Berlusconi to start community service work next week

  • Forza Italia leader Berlusconi gestures during meeting in RomeFormer Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday he would start doing community service with the elderly next week as part of a one-year tax fraud sentence. A court ruled earlier this month that Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, must spend four hours a week in a Catholic old people's home on the outskirts of Milan. After completing the first six months, Berlusconi's one-year sentence will automatically be reduced to 10 and a half months. The 77-year old media tycoon showed up at a judicial office in Milan to sign documents related to the ruling.



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  • Ukraine crisis persists

  • A contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers arrived in Poland on Wednesday, the first of what will be a "persistent presence" of U.S. troops as the crisis in nearby Ukraine continues to unfold.
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  • Twin dangers of the Ukraine crisis

  • Newt Gingrich says the stakes are high, and the U.S. needs to develop an approach that checks Russian expansion but doesn't blunder into war
  • Dutch fighter jets intercept 2 Russian bombers

  • Dutch fighter jets scrambled Wednesday to intercept a pair of Russian military aircraft that entered their airspace, a fairly routine action that comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and NATO, a Dutch official said.
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