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  • Algerian police break up anti-government protest before election

  • Police officers scuffle with protesters during demonstration against President Bouteflika's decision to run for a fourth term, in AlgiersAlgerian police broke up a rare anti-government protest on Wednesday, a day before elections that look set to give President Abdelaziz Bouteflika a fourth term in office although he is still recovering from a stroke. Small groups of demonstrators from Barakat - the name means "Enough" - tried to hold a sit-in in downtown Algiers before uniformed police surrounded them and dragged them off. The ruling Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) and the army have been the main influence on the North African state's politics since independence from France in 1962. "We are just peacefully demonstrating, we are not calling for a revolution or trying to make trouble." Police dispersed several small groups of protesters, some waving Algeria's green and white flag.



  • Media watchdog slams Algeria visa delays to cover polls

  • A woman walks past torn posters of current Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is running for re-election, in the city of Borj al-Bahri, on April 15, 2014Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has criticised Algerian authorities over delays in issuing visas for foreign journalists to cover the country's presidential election on Thursday. Many journalists were "issued visas late in the day accompanied by drastic restrictions", the Paris-based group said in a statement issued on the eve of polling. Several journalists were still waiting for a response on Wednesday to visa applications, including AFP correspondent Simon Martelli although two of his colleagues were granted visas and travelled to Algiers. Martelli put in his visa application on February 28 at the Algerian embassy in Rabat, where he is posted.



  • Yemen Qaeda chief pledges to fight 'crusaders' everywhere

  • An image grab taken from a video released on March 29, 2014 by Al-Malahem Media, the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, shows AQAP chief Nasser al-Wuhayshi at an undisclosed location in YemenAl-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) chief Nasser al-Wuhayshi has pledged in a rare video appearance to pursue the war against the Western "crusaders" everywhere possible. The video posted online shows Wuhayshi addressing scores of jihadists in a rugged terrain as he welcomes 19 militants who escaped a Sanaa prison in February. Al-Qaeda usually uses the term crusaders to refer to Western powers, especially the ones which have intervened militarily in Muslim countries, mainly the United States, Britain and France. In a brazen two-pronged jailbreak, AQAP militants slammed a car bomb into the eastern gate of a Sanaa prison as others attacked the guards at its main entrance.



  • Juncker wants politicians not bureaucrats in new EU executive

  • Former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the Messe fairgrounds in Berlin on April 5, 2014Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - Jean-Claude Juncker, a front-runner in the race to become president of the European Commission, told AFP he was ready to fight to have politicians rather than bureaucrats on his team. And to revive the European Union, it will be vital to get France and Germany back on the same page after May's European elections, the long-time former Luxembourg premier said in an interview. The 59-year-old, who as head of the eurozone finance ministers' group steered the single currency through the crisis, has been nominated by the largest group in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), as its candidate to be the next president of the Commission, the EU's executive. "You'd have to be deaf and blind not to realise that the EU and the Commission are viewed with increasing suspicion," said Juncker, a life-long supporter of the European project as the only answer to centuries of war and upheaval on the continent.



  • EU seeks to cut plastic bag use by 80 percent by 2017

  • Competitors in the 38th Paris Marathon run down the Champs Elysees below the Arc de Triomphe after the start of the footrace in ParisThe European Parliament passed a directive on Wednesday aimed at cutting the use of thin single-use plastic carrier bags by 50 percent by 2017 and 80 percent two years later. EU ministers are due to debate the law in June and the parliament will take it up again later this year following elections in May. Some 100 billion plastic bags are used every year within the European Union and an estimated 8 billion end up as litter that turns up in Europe's seas. The stomachs of 94 percent of all birds in the North Sea contain plastic, according to figures from the European Commission. "Discarded plastic bags are killing millions of marine animals each year.



  • Column: Fuel-careful F1 less of a guilty pleasure

  • PARIS (AP) — As Earth's atmosphere warms alarmingly and fills with heat-trapping gases, and the writing on the wall — "People, we're in trouble!" — looms ever larger, Formula One has steadily become a guilty pleasure, the motorsport equivalent of blue whale burger or wearing panda fur.
  • France targets welfare for big spending cuts

  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls delivers a statement while Finance minister Michel Sapin, right, after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Valls provided details of the government's plan to reduce public spending by 50 billion euros ($ 69 billion) and reiterated that France would honor its European commitments on deficit reduction. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)PARIS (AP) — France's prime minister has announced plans to cut 21 billion euros ($29 billion) from pensions, social care and health care as a part of a 50-billion-euro effort to rein in the country's debt and deficit.



  • Hard-disk firm warns of data breach

  • French hard-disk maker LaCie warns that shoppers' credit cards details and logins may have been stolen from its store over a one-year period.
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