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  • Exclusive: Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push - sources

  • U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka guesthouse in TokyoBy Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said. Disagreements among European Union nations on whether to impose new economic sanctions on Russia have held up punitive steps by the United States, said the sources on condition of anonymity, but Washington could also act on its own. U.S. ...



  • Ex-junior Springbok Melck relishing Germany debut

  • Saracens flanker Justin Melck (R) catches the ball during a European Cup rugby match in Watford, England on April 8, 2012Making an international debut in your 30s is rare, but South African-born Saracens flanker Justin Melck is relishing his chance to help minnows Germany qualify for the Rugby World Cup. When his Saracens team-mates take on Clermont Auvergne in Saturday's European Cup semi-final, Melck has been released to pull on the jersey of his ancestors in a test against Sweden in the unlikely rugby outpost of Stockholm. Cape Town-born Melck, 31, who has a German passport and whose mother hails from Gondelsheim, near Karlsruhe, admits he knows little about his new team-mates and has taken some teasing from within the Saracens squad. "There has been some banter from the Saracens boys, you could hear the German national anthem at a training session for example.



  • EU should halve meat, dairy consumption to cut nitrogen-report

  • By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - People in the European Union, who according to a United Nations body eat way more protein than necessary, could prompt big cuts in nitrogen pollution if they halved their meat and dairy consumption, a U.N.-backed report said on Friday. Nitrogen is used in fertilizer to replace nutrients which are removed by soils during plant growth but excess nitrogen can harm the environment by polluting water, air and soil. That represents around 80 percent of nitrogen emissions from all sources, said the study by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE) Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen. "If all people within the EU would halve their meat and dairy consumption, this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 25 to 40 percent, and nitrogen emissions by 40 percent," lead author Henk Westhoek, program manager for Agriculture and Food at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, said in a statement.
  • Former Rangers star Jardine dies, aged 65

  • The Glasgow Rangers football club is pictured in Glasgow, Scotland on February 14, 2012Former Rangers and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine has died at the age of 65 after losing his battle with cancer. Jardine, one of Rangers' most decorated players, was diagnosed with liver cancer 18 months ago and the Glasgow club announced his death on Thursday. Jardine, who also played for Hearts and served as joint manager of the Edinburgh outfit from 1986 to 1988, established himself as an Ibrox legend in more than 400 appearances for Rangers. He won the European Cup Winners Cup with Rangers in 1972 and also helped the team win the Scottish title three times, the Scottish Cup on five occasions and the Scottish League Cup five times.



  • Sevilla takes 2-0 lead against Valencia in Europa

  • Sevilla's Carlos Bacca, left, and Valencia's Javi Fuego, right, fight for the ball during their Europa League semifinal first leg soccer match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, in Seville, Spain on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Miguel Angel Morenatti)SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Stephane Mbia and Carlos Bacca scored within four minutes of each other as Sevilla beat Valencia 2-0 in the first leg of an all-Spanish Europa League semifinal on Thursday.



  • US slams new Russian military exercises near Ukraine

  • The Pentagon sharply criticized Russia's announcement on Thursday that it was starting military drills near the border with Ukraine and called on Moscow to take steps to lower, not escalate, tensions. Moscow has said the drills were a response to Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe. "The Russian announcement of additional exercises on the Ukrainian border is exactly opposite of what we have been calling on the Russians to do, which is to de-escalate the situation," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters. "So we again call on them to act responsibly, to de-escalate this situation and to help all parties bring this crisis to a peaceful resolution." The Kremlin has built up forces on Ukraine's border, estimated by NATO officials at up to 40,000 troops.
  • Wage talks fail to end S.Africa's platinum mining strike

  • AMCU members march in Johannesburg on March 27, 2014A new round of talks on a new wage offer between the world's top platinum producers and union leaders on Thursday failed to end a crippling 13-week strike, the companies said. "Unfortunately, no resolution has yet been achieved in resolving the three-month strike relating to wages and benefits," Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin said in a statement. In a bid to break one of the longest strikes in South Africa's recent history, the world's three biggest platinum firms made an offer last week that will increase the remuneration package of radical union AMCU's members to 12,500 rand (850 euros/$1,200) a month by 2017. While urging the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to "recommend" the offer to its members, the producers said they would now communicate "directly" with their employees with the details of the offer.



  • Algeria seizes 8 tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco

  • A general view shows the city of Oran on December 14, 2008Algerian security forces have seized more than eight tonnes of cannabis in the port city of Oran, smuggled from neighbouring Morocco, and arrested six traffickers, the police said Thursday. Those arrested were all Algerian, between 30 and 45 years old, with one of them considered the "baron," police chief Salah Nouasri said, adding that the quantity seized was a record for Algeria's second-largest city. Morocco is one of the world's top cannabis producers and Europe's main source.



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  • Ex-junior Springbok Melck relishing Germany debut

  • Saracens flanker Justin Melck (R) catches the ball during a European Cup rugby match in Watford, England on April 8, 2012Making an international debut in your 30s is rare, but South African-born Saracens flanker Justin Melck is relishing his chance to help minnows Germany qualify for the Rugby World Cup. When his Saracens team-mates take on Clermont Auvergne in Saturday's European Cup semi-final, Melck has been released to pull on the jersey of his ancestors in a test against Sweden in the unlikely rugby outpost of Stockholm. Cape Town-born Melck, 31, who has a German passport and whose mother hails from Gondelsheim, near Karlsruhe, admits he knows little about his new team-mates and has taken some teasing from within the Saracens squad. "There has been some banter from the Saracens boys, you could hear the German national anthem at a training session for example.



  • Canada's FM denounces Russia's actions in Ukraine

  • Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird walks past the gate of the World War II Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland Thursday, April 24, 2014. Between 1940-45, the German Nazis killed over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, in Auschwitz and in neighboring Birkenau. Baird also visited an exhibition that documents the atrocities and preserves the memory of the victims. He placed white and red roses at the Executions Wall, where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were shot. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Thursday that the international community should not accept Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine and committed to help the country develop its democracy.



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  • Exclusive: Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push - sources

  • U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka guesthouse in TokyoBy Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said. Disagreements among European Union nations on whether to impose new economic sanctions on Russia have held up punitive steps by the United States, said the sources on condition of anonymity, but Washington could also act on its own. U.S. ...



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  • France to send four Rafale fighter jets on Baltic security duty

  • France will send four Rafale fighter jets to Poland next week as part of a show of NATO commitment to Central Europe and the Baltic states, which have been rattled by the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission: to train the Polish air force and stand ready for air patrols over the Baltic states under NATO command, the French defense ministry said. NATO said last week it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Crimea and its massing of troops on the border with eastern Ukraine.
  • Angry Muslims in Central African Republic call for partition

  • A general view of the town of BambariBy Emmanuel Braun BAMBARI, Central African Republic (Reuters) - In this dusty town at the heart of the Central African Republic, many angry Muslims advocate a simple solution to the threat of religious violence from Christian militias terrorizing the country's south: partition. Bambari lies near the dividing line separating Central African Republic's Christian south - where mobs have lynched hundreds of Muslims and torn down their homes - from a northern region controlled by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels. But their 10 months in power - a murderous orgy of looting and extortion - sparked a sectarian backlash that is driving Muslims from the south despite the presence of French and African Union peacekeepers. Many people in Bambari say the savagery of the violence, which has displaced nearly a quarter of the country's 4.5 million people, has brought about a turning point.



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  • Mafia killer builds appeal case on Mourinho alibi

  • Italian Police escort camorra mafia organisation boss Cesare Pagano (C) after his arrest in Licola on July 8, 2010A mafia gangster is basing his appeal against a conviction for murdering a fellow mobster on photographs which show his associate was with Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho at the time. Cesare Pagano was convicted to life in prison for shooting dead 43-year-old Carmine Amoruso in 2006 in a bingo hall in Mugnano near Naples. But according to his lawyer, the supergrasses who told investigators he had boasted about the murder at the time with friend Rito Calzone were lying -- because Calzone was in Barcelona, with then Chelsea football coach Mourinho. Pagano won the right to appeal his 2012 conviction based on plane tickets, hotel receipts and photographs showing Calzone posing with Mourinho and Chelsea players in the lobby of a hotel, a source in lawyer Luigi Senese's office told AFP.



  • John XXIII's brief papacy made big mark for church

  • A woman takes pictures of the tomb of Pope John XXIII in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Hundred thousands of pilgrims and faithful are expected to reach Rome to attend the scheduled April 27 ceremony at the Vatican in which Pope Francis will elevate in a solemn ceremony John XXIII and John Paul II to sainthood. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope John XXIII left his imprint on humanity and the Catholic Church he led for fewer than five years, helping propel him to sainthood on Sunday. Here are some highlights, in deeds and words:



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  • European writers' room aims to beat Americans at TV game

  • The "Serial Eyes" course covers aspects of TV production from script writing to special effectsIt could be a scene from a television drama: five Germans, three Frenchmen, a Briton, an Italian, a Bulgarian and a Hungarian, all cooking up a plot together in their London hideout. But this not-so-dirty dozen are on the other side of the small screen, as they are taking part in Europe's first postgraduate programme focused on writing and producing TV series. Dubbed "Serial Eyes", the nine-month course running between Berlin and London is a response to the new generation of TV series such as "Breaking Bad", "Mad Men" and "The Killing". "Watch as many TV shows or movies as you can and you show us what you like," special effects expert Erik Ellefsen tells the class at the London Film School in trendy Covent Garden.



  • 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.



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  • Mafia killer builds appeal case on Mourinho alibi

  • Italian Police escort camorra mafia organisation boss Cesare Pagano (C) after his arrest in Licola on July 8, 2010A mafia gangster is basing his appeal against a conviction for murdering a fellow mobster on photographs which show his associate was with Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho at the time. Cesare Pagano was convicted to life in prison for shooting dead 43-year-old Carmine Amoruso in 2006 in a bingo hall in Mugnano near Naples. But according to his lawyer, the supergrasses who told investigators he had boasted about the murder at the time with friend Rito Calzone were lying -- because Calzone was in Barcelona, with then Chelsea football coach Mourinho. Pagano won the right to appeal his 2012 conviction based on plane tickets, hotel receipts and photographs showing Calzone posing with Mourinho and Chelsea players in the lobby of a hotel, a source in lawyer Luigi Senese's office told AFP.



  • John XXIII's brief papacy made big mark for church

  • A woman takes pictures of the tomb of Pope John XXIII in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Hundred thousands of pilgrims and faithful are expected to reach Rome to attend the scheduled April 27 ceremony at the Vatican in which Pope Francis will elevate in a solemn ceremony John XXIII and John Paul II to sainthood. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope John XXIII left his imprint on humanity and the Catholic Church he led for fewer than five years, helping propel him to sainthood on Sunday. Here are some highlights, in deeds and words:



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  • Canada's FM denounces Russia's actions in Ukraine

  • Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird walks past the gate of the World War II Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland Thursday, April 24, 2014. Between 1940-45, the German Nazis killed over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, in Auschwitz and in neighboring Birkenau. Baird also visited an exhibition that documents the atrocities and preserves the memory of the victims. He placed white and red roses at the Executions Wall, where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were shot. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Thursday that the international community should not accept Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine and committed to help the country develop its democracy.



  • France to send four Rafale fighter jets on Baltic security duty

  • France will send four Rafale fighter jets to Poland next week as part of a show of NATO commitment to Central Europe and the Baltic states, which have been rattled by the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission: to train the Polish air force and stand ready for air patrols over the Baltic states under NATO command, the French defense ministry said. NATO said last week it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Crimea and its massing of troops on the border with eastern Ukraine.
  • Martyrs, miracles and the stuff of making saints

  • Floribeth Mora, a Costa Rican woman whose inoperable brain aneurysm purportedly disappeared after she prayed to John Paul II, walks past a statue of him made by Polish artist Anna Gulak as she leaves after a press conference at the Vatican, Thursday, April 24, 2014. John Paul II will be made saint together with late Pope John XXIII during a solemn ceremony at the Vatican Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Catholic Church makes saints to give the faithful role models. The process is cloaked in secrecy and open to criticism, given that it deals with science-defying miracles and notoriously politicized choices. In Sunday's dual papal canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, it also involves rule-breaking, fast-track procedures.



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  • Cambodia rules out extraditing Russian businessman

  • PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's highest court has ruled that a prominent Russian property developer wanted in his homeland for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars cannot be extradited.
  • Exclusive: Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push - sources

  • U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka guesthouse in TokyoBy Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said. Disagreements among European Union nations on whether to impose new economic sanctions on Russia have held up punitive steps by the United States, said the sources on condition of anonymity, but Washington could also act on its own. U.S. ...



  • Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels; Russia starts drill near border

  • Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in the village of Malinivka, east of SlavianskBy Aleksandar Vasovic and Alexei Anishchuk SLAVIANSK, Ukraine/ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade. The Ukrainian offensive amounts to the first time Kiev's troops have used lethal force to recapture territory from the fighters, who have seized swaths of eastern Ukraine since April 6 and proclaimed an independent "People's Republic of Donetsk." Ukraine's acting president accused Moscow of supporting "terrorism at the state level" against his country for backing the rebels, whom the government blames for kidnapping and torturing a politician found dead on Saturday. "The window to change course is closing," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned in a hastily arranged appearance in the State Department, where he cited President Barack Obama's comments earlier on Thursday that Washington was ready to impose new sanctions if Moscow did not alter its policy.



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