France24

Thu
21
Jun
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Pressure on Messi against Croatia after Ronaldo scores again at World Cup

Lionel Messi is under increased pressure to redeem himself when Argentina face Croatia in Thursday's pivotal match after eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo scored his fourth goal of the World Cup to send Morocco packing.

France will be looking for a second World Cup Group C win against Peru Thursday while Australia need to bounce back from their heart-breaking defeat to Les Bleus against Denmark.

Messi's teammates have rallied around their superstar captain after his spot-kick was saved in the 1-1 draw against minnows Iceland on Saturday.

Messi is bearing the weight of expectations as Argentina seek a first World Cup trophy since 1986, desperate to crown his glittering career with a major international tournament success.

However so far in Russia, Messi has been overshadowed by Ronaldo, who took his tournament goal tally to four on Tuesday with the winner in Portugal's 1-0 defeat of Morocco, which condemned the Africans to an early exit.

Sun
24
Sep

Voters torn between stability and change in Germany

Faced with the near-certainty of Chancellor Angela Merkel's re-election, voters in Germany headed to the polls Sunday divided between a hankering for stability and a hunger for change.

"It's a bit frustrating that Merkel has been around for so long," said 30-year-old Christian as he went to cast his ballot in central Berlin under an overcast and drizzling sky.

"This election is not about who wins the chancellery, it's already clear that she's going to continue," he told AFP, in a nod to the surveys giving Merkel's conservatives a commanding lead.

Although Merkel's fourth term appears all but assured, voters also walked into polling booths with warnings ringing in their ears that the hard-right nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) could emerge as the largest opposition party.

Wed
30
Aug

Brazil court suspends decree allowing Amazon reserve mining

A Brazilian court on Wednesday suspended a controversial decree that would open up a huge natural reserve in the Amazon rainforest to commercial mining.

The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it had "partially granted an injunction to immediately suspend any administrative act" aimed at scrapping the Denmark-sized reserve, known as Renca.

The order signed by Judge Rolando Spanholo "suspends possible administrative acts based on the decree" signed by President Michel Temer.

The decision follows an outcry from environmental activists, celebrities and the Catholic Church in Brazil, among others.

The Renca reserve in the eastern Amazon is home to indigenous tribes and vast swaths of untouched forest, covering more than 17,800 square miles (46,000 square kilometers).

Fri
25
Aug

1.4 million pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia before hajj

More than 1.4 million Muslims have so far arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, authorities said Thursday, with the annual pilgrimage marked by the return of Iranians after Tehran's boycott last year.

More than two million people are expected to participate in this year's hajj, a pillar of Islam that capable Muslims must perform at least once in their lives, which starts next week.

"So far 1,313,946 pilgrims have arrived by air, 79,501 by land, and 12,477 by sea -- an increase of 33 percent compared with the same period last year," the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, citing passport officials.

That includes more than 400 Qatari pilgrims, local media reported, despite an intensifying row between Doha and Riyadh over arrangements for the religious event.

All Qatari pilgrims arrived through the Salwa border crossing with Qatar.

Tue
18
Jul

7.7-magnitude quake hits off Russia: US scientists

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 struck Monday off the eastern coast of Russia, according to the US Geological Survey, causing officials to initially warn of a tsunami threat in parts of the Pacific.

But the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted that forecast a short time later, saying it did not expect "a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami," and adding there was no threat to Hawaii.

"Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas near the earthquake over the next few hours," the center said.

Waves had been initially forecast to be less than 0.3 meters (1 foot) above the tide level for coasts in the area ranging from Russia to Hawaii, the tsunami authority said.

The quake at 2334 GMT hit 123 miles (199 kilometers) east-southeast of Nikol'skyoe, Russia, the US Geological Survey said, noting that it struck at a depth of 11.7 kilometers.

Tue
04
Jul

Boko Haram kill nine, kidnap dozens in Niger village

Boko Haram jihadists have kidnapped 37 women and slit the throats of nine other people at a village in southeastern Niger, the regional governor said Tuesday.

The attack happened on Sunday at the village of Ngalewa, near the border with Nigeria, the governor of Diffa region, Laouali Mahamane Dan Dano, told state TV.

“Boko Haram elements... slit the throats of nine people... they took women, 37 women, and departed with them,” he said.

“The defence and security forces are already in pursuit, and we hope that in the coming days these women will be found and freed,” he said.

The governor, who went to Ngalewa on Monday, said the village had been singled out because it was known for its resistance to the jihadists.

The assailants came by foot for greater stealth, he said.

The village’s mayor, Abari El Hadj Daouda, told AFP by phone that the attack happened on Sunday evening, “between 10 and 11pm.”

Tue
20
Jun

Lightning kills 22 in Bangladesh

Lightning strikes have killed at least 22 people in Bangladesh in the last 48 hours, authorities said Tuesday, a week after monsoon rains triggered a series of deadly landslides in the country.

The deaths came as storms swept the country on Sunday and Monday, the head of the disaster management department Reaz Ahmed told AFP.

Among the dead were a couple and their young daughter who were were working on a peanut farm when they were struck by lightning.

Hundreds of people die every year from lightning strikes in Bangladesh and experts say climate change has exacerbated the problem.

They also blame deforestation and the loss of taller trees like palms that used to act as lightning conductors.

Last year authorities declared a natural disaster when the official toll topped 200 deaths, with 82 people dying on a single day in May.

Tue
13
Jun

Heavy rains kill at least 35 in Bangladesh

Heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 35 people in southeast Bangladesh most of them buried under landslides, authorities said Tuesday.

Police warned that the death toll would likely rise as emergency workers reached remote parts of the affected area, where telephone and transport links had been cut.

"The recovery work is still going on," the head of the Department of Disaster Management Reaz Ahmed told AFP.

Most of the deaths occurred in two districts, Rangamati and Bandarban, which the meteorological office said had been pounded by heavy rains since early Monday.

Bazlur Rashid, a weather official, told AFP Rangamati had been pounded by 343 millimetres (13.5 inches) of rain on Monday.

"It is still going on today," he said.

Heavy monsoon rains also pounded the capital Dhaka and Chittagong, a major port city, disrupting traffic movement for hours.

Sat
23
May

Burundian opposition leader murdered

The leader of a small Burundian opposition party was on Saturday shot dead along with his bodyguard, residents said, the latest unrest in a country gripped by weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
Zedi Feruzi, the head of the Union for Peace and Development (UPD) was killed near his home in Bujumbura's Ngagara district, according to an AFP reporter who saw the bloodied bodies of both Feruzi and a police bodyguard lying outside the house soon after the incident.

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