By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Nobuhiro Kubo TOKYO (Reuters) - Islamic State militants said they had beheaded a second Japanese hostage, journalist Kenji Goto, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to vow to step up humanitarian aid to the group's opponents in the Middle East and help bring his killers to justice. The hardline Islamist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, released the video showing a hooded man standing over Goto with a knife to his throat, followed by footage of a head put on the back of a human body. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the video appeared to be genuine. The video was released exactly a week after footage appearing to show the beheaded body of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.
By Andrei Makhovsky and Richard Balmforth MINSK/KIEV (Reuters) - Peace talks on Ukraine collapsed on Saturday after just over four hours with no tangible progress towards a new ceasefire but with Ukraine's representative and separatist envoys angrily accusing each other of sabotaging the meeting. Ukraine's representative, former president Leonid Kuchma, left the talks in Minsk, Belarus, telling Interfax news agency that separatist officials had undermined the meeting by making ultimatums and refusing "to discuss a plan of measures for a quick ceasefire and a pull-back of heavy weapons". Denis Pushilin, one of the separatist officials, told the Russian news agency RIA that they were ready for dialogue "but not ready for ultimatums from Kiev while shelling by their forces is going on in the background of towns in the Donbass (industrialised eastern Ukraine)". The meeting of the "contact group", which also involves a Russian envoy and an official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, took place in the Belarussian capital even as fighting between Kiev's forces and the Russian-backed rebels raged on in Ukraine's east, claiming more civilian and military lives.
By Morag MacKinnon PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Australia's conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott came under renewed leadership pressure on Sunday, a little over a year into office following a voter backlash in a state poll and a slump in his personal approval rating. Abbott said he was determined to stay on as leader, adding government was "not a popularity contest", but conceded Saturday's rout of the Liberal-National party (LNP) in the Queensland election had delivered a jolt. "The people of Australia elected me as prime minister and they elected my government to get on with the job of governing our country," he told reporters in Sydney. "I accept that we need to learn from the difficulties that we've had, but in the end, government is not a popularity contest, it is a competence contest." In an embarrassing result for the Queensland LNP, closely aligned to Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition, the party surrendered the largest political majority in Australia's history after just one term in office.
The Australian and British foreign ministers Sunday slammed the killing of a Japanese journalist by the Islamic State (IS) group as they vowed to tackle the jihadist threat at defence talks in Sydney. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond is in Australia for the annual meeting with his counterpart Julie Bishop, with efforts to counter terrorism and foreign fighters high on the agenda. "I wanted to extend Australia's deepest condolences to the people and government of Japan," Bishop told reporters.
James Ward-Prowse has added to the upbeat mood at Southampton by agreeing a new five-and-a-half-year contract ahead of the visit of Swansea City to St Maryâ s Stadium on Sunday. The midfielder, 20, has been rewarded for his impressive efforts during a campaign that left Saints in third spot, five points adrift of second-placed Manchester City, heading into the latest round of Premier League matches. Ronald Koemanâ s side have defied expectations in overcoming the loss of former manager Mauricio Pochettino and several key players during pre-season. Ward-Prowse, tipped as a future England international, credits Dutch great Koeman with improving a Southampton side that was already on the up.
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Worried relatives of a Jordanian fighter pilot asked their government Sunday to be more open about negotiations for his release, after a second Islamic State group hostage was shown beheaded in a video purportedly from the militants.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The International Criminal Court should drop or suspend charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto until African concerns about the court and proposals to change its founding treaty are considered, African leaders say.
Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - Boko Haram fighters on Sunday stormed the northeast Nigeria city of Maiduguri, sparking an hours-long battle with troops for control of the strategically crucial Borno state capital, witnesses said.
TOKYO (AP) — Appalled and saddened by news Sunday of journalist Kenji Goto's beheading, apparently by Islamic State extremists, Japan ordered heightened security precautions, but vowed not to give in to terrorism.
Indonesian rescuers on Sunday resumed their search for 86 victims still missing from the AirAsia plane that crashed on December 28 with 162 people on board, an official said. National search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo last week said search and rescue teams were being given two days' break after weeks searching in inhospitable conditions. Sixty-eight divers from the national search and rescue agency as well as others from companies and clubs would focus on scouring the fuselage of Flight QZ8501 and the seabed for remaining bodies, he said. Our focus today is to find bodies that could be trapped in the fuselage, or buried in mud," S.B. Supriyadi, a search and rescue agency official who has been coordinating the hunt, told AFP.
BEIJING (AP) — A gauge of China's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in January amid economic slowdown, according to official data Sunday, although January typically is a month of slower activities as China's factories prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Martina Hingis won her first Grand Slam title since returning from retirement, combining with Leander Paes of India to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Kristina Mladenovic of France and Daniel Nestor of Canada.
Behind a wooden counter in downtown Yangon's Coffee Club, the unmistakable hiss of a barista steaming milk briefly drowns out a funky soundtrack piped through a store filled with students glued to their smartphones. Long absent from the region's booming cafe culture, Myanmar's commercial capital is now witnessing a surge in swish coffee bars providing an alternative to the treacly instant coffee served by thousands of street carts. It is a trend that points both to the changing tastes of Myanmar's emerging middle-class but also the widening gap between them and the nation's poor. Nyi Nyi Tun, a doctor, is typical of the newly aspirant customers relishing consumer goods that were either far beyond their reach or simply unavailable under Myanmar's brutal and economically incompetent military dictatorship.