Yahoo (International News)

· Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of 'abyss'

Pro-Russian protester seats at barricades at the police headquarters in SlavianskBy Aleksandar Vasovic and Alexei Anishchuk MARIUPOL, Ukraine/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Separatists attacked a Ukrainian national guard base overnight and Kiev said three of them were killed, the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising, accompanied by tough words from Vladimir Putin that overshadowed crisis talks. Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats held an emergency meeting in Geneva, seeking to resolve a confrontation that has seen pro-Russian fighters seize swathes of Ukraine while Moscow masses tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. The United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union were working on a joint statement on the crisis but had not reached agreement and talks were continuing, a Western official said. Seeking to put pressure on Moscow, NATO announced it was sending naval ships to the Baltic.



· Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry survivors

Rescue ships take part in a rescue operation around the Sewol passenger ship, which sank in the sea off JindoBy Jungmin Jang and Narae Kim MOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people, most of them teenagers from the same school, still missing after a South Korean ferry capsized 36 hours ago. The vessel, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized on Wednesday during a journey from the port of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju. Another 179 passengers have been rescued, leaving 282 unaccounted for and possibly trapped in the vessel.



· Exclusive: Syria submits more 'detailed' list of chemical weapons

A U.N. chemical weapons expert holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Ain TarmaBy Dominic Evans and Anthony Deutsch BEIRUT/THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Syria has submitted a "more specific" list of its chemical weapons to the global regulator overseeing the destruction of its stockpile after discrepancies were reported by inspectors on the ground, officials said. Damascus agreed to give up its chemical arsenal after Washington threatened military action following the death of hundreds of Syrians in a sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus during Syria's civil war last August. A diplomat said questions had been raised by member states at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) about the details of its chemical arsenal submitted by President Bashar al-Assad's government last year. The officials said the original list had been based on estimates, not exact amounts of toxic agents found in storage and production facilities across Syria.



· Iran cuts sensitive nuclear stockpile, key plant delayed: IAEA

Iran's national flags are seen on a square in TehranBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has acted to cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by nearly 75 percent in implementing a landmark pact with world powers, but a planned facility it will need to fulfill the six-month deal has been delayed, a U.N. report showed on Thursday. The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has a pivotal role in verifying that Iran is living up to its part of the accord, made clear that Iran so far is undertaking the agreed steps to curb its nuclear program. Japan has made two more payments totaling $1 billion to Iran for crude imports, two sources with knowledge of the transactions said. Under the breakthrough agreement that took effect on January 20, Iran halted some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of international sanctions that have laid low the major oil producer's economy.



· Jordanian jihadis returning from Syria war rattle U.S.-aligned kingdom

Handout photo of a pickup truck on fire after it was hit by a Jordanian warplane following failure to heed warnings not to cross into Jordan from SyriaBy Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordanian Islamist Ahmad Mahmoud fought with rebels in Syria for six weeks earlier this year, then slipped back across the border to seek treatment for a war wound - even though the authorities had warned him not to return. Within a week the bearded 23-year-old fighter found himself in the dock at a military court, facing terrorism charges filed by authorities who are taking an increasingly tough stance against homegrown militants fighting in Syria's civil war. Amman treats returning jihadists as a security threat to be nipped in the bud and, with an eye to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's potential to tough out the uprising against him, wants to keep channels open to a government with which it retains diplomatic and trade ties. Three years into Syria's civil war a growing number of Jordanian jihadists are coming home, some disillusioned by infighting within rebel ranks, others seeking a break from a draining and largely inconclusive conflict.



· Search for Malaysia jet refocuses on drone scans of sea floor

The Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is craned over the side of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean during the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370By Byron Kaye PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Footage taken by a deep-sea drone should determine sooner than previously thought whether a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean is the final resting place of a missing Malaysian jetliner, Australian search authorities said on Thursday. After the U.S. Navy robot submarine Bluefin-21 completed its first full scan of the seabed some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, authorities said they had reduced the search area based on further analysis of what they believe may be signals from the plane's black box. It came as an air-and-sea search was expected to be scaled down almost six weeks after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens mid-flight with 239 people on board. However, with no pings received in more than a week and the black box's battery now 10 days past its approximate expiry date, authorities are relying on the Bluefin drone.



· Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine as diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union gather for discussions in Geneva Thursday, April 17, 2014. Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. (AP Photo/Jim Bourg, Pool)GENEVA (AP) — Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.



· Three Britons in custody over hammer attack on UAE women

This picture taken on April 7, 2014 shows signage at the Cumberland Hotel in central LondonThree men were remanded in custody by a British court Thursday in connection with a hammer attack at a London hotel on three wealthy tourists from the United Arab Emirates. The attack happened in the early hours of April 6 in a room on the seventh floor of the four-star Cumberland Hotel, next to Hyde Park and the main Oxford Street shopping area. Philip Spence, 32, of no fixed abode, appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London charged with three counts of attempted murder and one of aggravated burglary, Scotland Yard said. Also in court were Thomas Efremi, 56, of Islington, north London, who is charged with handling stolen goods and fraud by false representation, and James Moss, 33, of Finsbury Park, north London, who is also charged with handling stolen goods.



· Putin's choice of words shed light on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine as “nonsense,” but voiced hope for success of four-way talks on settling the crisis. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)MOSCOW (AP) — To understand Russian President Vladimir Putin's intentions in Ukraine, it helps to pay close attention to his choice of words and his reading of history. Here is what Putin had to say Thursday in a nationally televised call-in program:



· Ex-Senegalese president's son to face graft trial

FILE - In this Friday, March 15, 2013 file photo, Karim Wade, center, the son of former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, is blocked by police as he tries to approach journalists and gathered supporters outside the office of the special prosecutor investigating him on charges of embezzled funds, in Dakar, Senegal. An official says the son of Senegal’s former president will be tried for illicit enrichment following an investigation into how he amassed his multi-million dollar fortune. Soro Diop, an adviser to the Justice Ministry, said Thursday, April 17, 2014 that Karim Wade’s case will be tried in two months, ending speculation the charges might be dropped. (AP Photo/File)DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — An official says the son of Senegal's former president will be tried for illicit enrichment following an investigation into how he amassed his multimillion-dollar fortune.



· Armed men put Putin on the air in eastern Ukraine
By Thomas Grove ANDRIYIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) - Armed men took over a television tower in eastern Ukraine on Thursday and switched it to Russian channels playing an almost non-stop stream of sound-bites from a marathon TV phone-in by Russian President Vladimir Putin. TV engineers accompanying the men then took Ukrainian channels off the air and replaced them with five Russian channels. The channels included Russia 1, Russia 24 and ORT - some of the most popular state-controlled channels - which were broadcasting clips of Putin's TV phone-in.
· Row over plan to merge Asia's top posts

Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, FIFA vice-president, poses for a photograph after the unveiling of the FIFA World Cup trophy during the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, in the Jordanian capital Amman, on November 12, 2013Prince Ali bin Al Hussein has savaged plans to hand his current role as FIFA vice-president to Asia's football boss in a row which threatens to plunge regional soccer into a fresh round of infighting. In an open letter, the Jordanian royal "strongly opposed" the proposal backed by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, which will be put to the vote in June. "I stand firm by my conviction that all sport... should be free from politics and completely devoid of politicos and self-interest individuals and groups that exploit the sport and all its stakeholders for their own personal gains," Prince Ali wrote. Four of football's six global confederations combine the role of regional president and FIFA vice-president, with the AFC and South America's CONMEBOL the two exceptions.



· U.S. sending nonlethal aid to Ukraine military

FILE - This Feb. 7, 2014 file photo shows Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel holds a briefing at the Pentagon. The U.S. will send medical supplies, helmets and other non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military in response to Russia’s “dangerously irresponsible” efforts to destabilize the country, Hagel said Thursday. Hagel told a Pentagon news conference that he telephoned Ukraine’s acting defense minister to tell him that President Barack Obama had approved the assistance, which does not include weapons. Hagel said the Obama administration will “continue to review” additional aid requested by Ukraine. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will send medical supplies, helmets and other nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian military in response to Russia's "dangerously irresponsible" efforts to destabilize the country, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.



· Israel, Palestinians hold peace talks with US envoy

A Palestinian shouts slogans as he takes part in a demonstration to mark Prisoners' Day in Gaza City on April 17, 2014Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met Thursday with US envoy Martin Indyk to try to find a way to extend faltering peace talks, with one Palestinian source calling the discussion "difficult". Israel implied that the delay had been caused by the killing of an Israeli police officer in the West Bank this week, but the Palestinians said the meeting was pushed from Wednesday to Thursday to enable Indyk to take part. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met on their own on Sunday and held a three-way meeting with Indyk a week ago in last-ditch efforts to save the stagnant peace process launched by US Secretary of State John Kerry in July for a period of nine months. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said this week that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are striving to reach an agreement to extend the talks beyond their April 29 deadline.



· U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report
The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said.
· Top Asian News at 6:00 p.m. GMT
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday. Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.
· Iranian woman forgives son's killer at the gallows

This picture provided by ISNA, a semi-official news agency, taken on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 shows Samereh Alinejad, right, and her husband Abdolghani, left, removing the noose from the neck of blindfolded Bilal who was convicted of murdering their son Abdollah in the northern city of Nour, Iran. Bilal who was convicted of killing Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, was pardoned by the victim's family moments before being executed. (AP Photo/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)The execution of an Iranian convicted of murder was halted at the very last minute in a dramatic scene this week when the mother of his victim forgave him as he stood on the gallows with the noose around his neck, according to Iranian media.



· Obama, Merkel discuss Ukraine crisis in call
President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Thursday about the situation in Ukraine, the offices of both leaders said. Obama and Merkel agreed during the call that Russia should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation, a German government spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Both shared their worries given current developments in eastern Ukraine, so they called on Russia to help contribute to a de-escalation," the spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, said in an email. "They said Russia in particular should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation," Wirtz said.
· NY trial of British radical hears opening arguments

Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri addresses followers during Friday prayer in near Finsbury Park mosque in north London, on March 26, 2004To US government prosecutors, British hate preacher Abu Hamza was a global exporter of terrorism. A Manhattan federal court heard Thursday opening arguments in the trial of the 56-year-old Abu Hamza, accused of 11 kidnapping and terror charges that predate the 9/11 attacks. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty but faces the rest of his life in a maximum security US prison if convicted. Prosecutor Edward Kim told the 12-member jury that Abu Hamza had "recruited" and "indoctrinated" men whom he dispatched from a mosque in north London to all around the world to wage war.



· Putin, Erdogan discuss Ukraine crisis, Crimean Tatars and energy
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday discussed the turmoil in Ukraine and the situation in Crimea including issues involving the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Tatar minority, the Kremlin said. In a telephone call initiated by the Turkish side, Putin and Erdogan also discussed bilateral ties between the two Black Sea nations, including in the energy sector. Crimean Tatars largely opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last month. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
· Growing jihadist threat in Tunisia border area

Smoke is seen billowing from Mount Chaambi during a Tunisian forces air operation against Islamist militants near the Algerian border on August 2, 2013Tunisia faces a growing jihadist threat in the mountainous region near the border with Algeria where several soldiers have been killed battling militant Islamists, the defence ministry said on Thursday. The presidency on Wednesday declared Mount Chaambi, as well as some surrounding areas including the mountains of Sammama, Salloum and Mghilla, "zones closed for military operations". Defence ministry spokesman Toufik Rahmouni said on Thursday the decision was prompted by the "growing number of threats made by terrorist organisations based in the area" and was designed to contain and limit their activities. Since late 2012, security forces have been battling dozens of militants hiding in the Mount Chaambi region just a few kilometres (miles) from the border.



· Turkish parliament approves law expanding snooping powers

Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviews the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony in Ankara on April 17, 2014 for his Malaysian counterpart who is on an official visit to TurkeyTurkey's parliament on Thursday approved a controversial law expanding the powers of the spy agency and setting prison terms for publishing leaked information as the government fights back against a widening corruption scandal. The legislation, passed after a heated debate in parliament, was first introduced by lawmakers from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party in the run-up to last month's local elections. It also sets prison terms for journalists and others who publish leaked information, according to local media reports. Last week, Turkey's constitutional court annulled sections of another controversial law intended to tighten the government's control over the judiciary.



· Kosovo PM urges vote on new war crimes court but calls it insult

Kosovo's PM Thaci speaks to Reuters during an interview in PristinaBy Fatos Bytyci PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo's premier has summoned parliament to vote on creating an EU-backed special court to try ethnic Albanian ex-guerrillas accused of harvesting organs from murdered Serbs during the Balkan state's 1990s war, but criticized the plan as an insult. The move stems from a 2011 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty alleging that Kosovo Albanian guerrillas fighting a war of independence from Serbia had smuggled the bodies of Serbs into Albania and removed their organs for sale. "This issue is completely unfair and an insult for the state of Kosovo," Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who was the political chief of the old Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), said on Thursday.



· Britain's Robson out of Wimbledon and French Open

Britain's Laura Robson plays a shot against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins during their women's singles match on day one of the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2014Britain's Laura Robson on Thursday revealed she will miss Wimbledon and the French Open after opting to have surgery on her troublesome wrist injury. Robson has been plagued by the left wrist problem throughout 2014 and has completed just one match this year, losing 6-3, 6-0 to Kirsten Flipkens in the first round of the Australian Open. She had retired hurt with a recurrence of the long-standing injury in her opening match against Yanina Wickmayer at a warm-up event in Hobart. The world number 64 used her Facebook page to announce she will have the operation, forcing her to miss her home Grand Slam at Wimbledon as well as the French Open, which precedes the grasscourt major in June.



· Obama says U.S. will provide South Korea any help needed in ferry accident
President Barack Obama on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the South Korean ferry sinking and said the U.S. military will provide the country with any help it needs to perform rescue operations. "South Korea is one of our closest allies, and American Navy personnel and U.S. Marines are already on the scene assisting with the search and rescue efforts," Obama said. "As I will underscore on my visit to Seoul next week, America's commitment to our ally South Korea is unwavering - in good times and in bad," he said.
· Syria rebels attack army barracks in Aleppo

A tank belonging to the rebel Islamic Front during reported clashes with government forces in the Hanano district of Aleppo on April 17, 2014Nearly 50 people were killed on Thursday when Syrian rebels attacked one of the largest military barracks in the country, in northern Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Rebels, including fighters from Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Front, launched an assault today on the barracks in Hanano in Aleppo," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. Abdel Rahman said the barracks is one of the largest in Syria. "It's strategically important because it's on a hill that overlooks parts of northern Aleppo," he added.



· Barca's Neymar & Alba out for month with injuries

Barcelona's Neymar, left tries to get past Real's Xabi Alonso during the final of the Copa del Rey between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona will be without Neymar and Jordi Alba for the final month of the season after both were injured during the Copa del Rey final loss to Real Madrid on Wednesday.



· Hotel magnate, Democratic fundraiser pleads guilty
NEW YORK (AP) — A wealthy hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser who supported Hilary Clinton for president pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates and coached someone to lie about it.
· Two-week strike ends at 2016 Rio Olympic venues
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Over 2,000 construction workers returned to their jobs at the Olympic Park on Thursday, ending a two-week strike that further slowed the trouble-plagued 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
· Barcelona faces end of winning era

Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after Real Madrid won the final of the Copa del Rey between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barring a drastic turn of fortune, Barcelona is on the brink of finishing its worst season since former coach Pep Guardiola molded it into one of the most successful sides to play the game.



· Armed mob under guise of peaceful protest attacks U.N. in South Sudan
A mob of armed civilians pretending to be peaceful protesters delivering a petition to the United Nations in South Sudan forced their way into a U.N. base sheltering some 5,000 civilians on Thursday and opened fire, the world body said. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said dozens of civilians were wounded in the attack on the U.N. base in the market town of Bor in northern Jonglei state, but the exact number of people killed or wounded had not yet been confirmed. Two U.N. peacekeepers were wounded repelling the armed mob, Dujarric said. "This attack on a location where civilians are being protected by the United Nations is a serious escalation," Dujarric said.
· Turkish ruling party wants Erdogan presidential bid: officials

Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in AnkaraBy Orhan Coskun ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's ruling party would overwhelmingly back Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's candidacy in the nation's first direct presidential election, senior officials said on Thursday, a move his opponents fear would feed his autocratic instincts. But Erdogan has said the popular vote will give the post more authority, and he has vowed to exercise its full powers if elected. A majority of the 300 deputies in Erdogan's AK Party voted in a secret ballot on Wednesday in favor of him running in the August presidential election, party officials told Reuters. His party's strong showing in local elections last month, despite a corruption scandal dogging his inner circle, has strengthened expectations he will do so.



· Kerry: Russia made no commitments on Ukrainian debt, gas prices
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday Russia had not promised to ease Ukraine's debt or gas prices and suggested any withdrawal of Russian troops from its borders depended on steps to protect the rights of minorities. "(Russia made) no commitments with respect to the debt, no commitments with respect to the gas payments overdue, but a commitment to engage in a dialogue ... which will begin to tackle the whole question of energy," Kerry told reporters.
· Top Asian News at 5:30 p.m. GMT
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday. Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.
· Clear Kiev protesters first, says pro-Russian sit-in group
Pro-Russian separatists occupying a local government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk said on Thursday they would not leave until supporters of Ukraine's new government quit their camp around Kiev's main square, known as the Maidan. Asked how his group would react to an international accord in Geneva under which the Ukrainian and Russian governments agreed that illegal occupations of buildings and squares must end, Alexander Zakharchenko, a protest leader inside the Donetsk regional government building, told Reuters by telephone: "If it means all squares and public buildings then I guess it should start with the Maidan in Kiev.
· Nigeria: Fate of 115 abducted girls unknown

Security men stand guard in front of a bus conveying All progressives Congress opposition governors after visiting victims of at the Accident and Emergency unit of Asokoro hospital where injured people from Monday's explosion at a bus station are receiving treatment in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Scores of peopledied in the the blast that destroyed more than 30 vehicles and caused secondary explosions as their fuel tanks exploded and burned. The Monday attack just miles from Nigeria's seat of government increases doubts about the military's ability to contain an Islamic uprising that is dividing the country on religious lines as never before. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — The fate of 115 female students abducted by Islamic extremists was thrown into uncertainty Thursday when their school principal denied the Nigerian military's report that almost all the pupils had been freed.



· Text of joint statement on Ukraine
GENEVA (AP) — Here is the joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and European Union after seven hours of talks Thursday in Geneva:
· Guinea-Bissau presidential favourite to pursue dialogue with army

Former finance minister and PAIGC candidat Jose Mario Vaz attends his closing political rally in the capital Bissau, on April 11, 2014The favourite in Guinea-Bissau's presidential election run-off said on Thursday he wants to pursue "ongoing dialogue" with the all-powerful army as the west African nation seeks to recover from a two-year-old coup. Jose Mario Vaz won Sunday's first-round election, which aims to turn the page on years of instability and military violence, but didn't get an outright majority and will face army-backed runner-up Nuno Gomes Nabiam in a second round on May 18. "Our relations are based on ongoing dialogue," Vaz, of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), said of his plan to engage military chiefs. Vaz was the finance minister in the cabinet of prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who was overthrown by a military coup two years ago.



· Arab Israeli journalist arrested after Lebanon visit

An Israeli flag flutters in Jerusalem's Old City on April 17, 2014An Arab Israeli journalist has been arrested after making a visit to Lebanon, his mother said Thursday, on suspicion he could have joined a "hostile organisation". Majd Kayyal, 23, from the northern coastal city of Haifa, crossed into Jordan on March 23 and travelled on to Lebanon for a conference organised by As-Safir newspaper, Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said. A Shin Bet spokeswoman stressed Lebanon is defined as "an enemy country" and Israelis are prohibited from visiting. Public radio said Kayyal was suspected of contacts with the pro-Syrian Shiite militant group Hezbollah, an archfoe of Israel.



· 2 ex-Anglo Irish Bank directors convicted of fraud

Sean FitzPatrick, the former chairman of the Anglo Irish Bank, arrives at the Circuit Criminal court, Dublin as the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank executives continues Wednesday April 16, 2014. A jury Wednesday cleared former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick of all fraud charges related to a loans-for-shares scheme that preceded the bank’s 2009 collapse. The 65-year-old FitzPatrick had denied providing illegal financial help to selected clients. (AP Photo/Brian Lawless/PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUTDUBLIN (AP) — Two former executives of Anglo Irish Bank were found guilty Thursday of committing fraud in a loans-for-shares scandal — the first convictions to stem from a banking crisis that brought Ireland to the brink of national bankruptcy.




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