Violence escalates in east Ukraine ahead of talks

Ukraine’s military accused pro-Russian rebels on Monday of using heavy weapons that were meant to have been withdrawn under a ceasefire deal, after one Ukrainian serviceman was killed and six wounded in rebel-held territories. With fighting intensifying once more, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany were due to meet in Berlin later on Monday to discuss the next steps in implementing a ceasefire agreement signed in the

Obama meets Raul Castro in highest-level U.S.-Cuba talks in decades

By Matt Spetalnick and Dave Graham PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – President Barack Obama met Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday in the highest-level talks between the two countries in nearly 60 years, and the two men agreed to push ahead on improving relations after decades of hostility. Describing their private meeting as “historic,” Obama said the two countries can now end the antagonism of the Cold War era, although he

Saudi Arabia dismisses Iran calls for Yemen ceasefire

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Angus McDowall ADEN/RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia dismissed Iranian calls to end air strikes on neighboring Yemen on Sunday as Saudi-led attacks hit a military camp in the Yemeni city of Taiz, killing eight civilians according to a medical source. Riyadh said Tehran should not interfere in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began air strikes against Iranian-allied Houthi militia fighters over two weeks

Monitor says Syrian army bombs Aleppo school, military denies

A group monitoring the Syrian war said at least nine people including five children were killed in a Syrian army air strike on a school in a rebel-held area of the country’s second city Aleppo on Sunday, though the army denied the report. A Syrian army source told Reuters the army had stepped up attacks on rebels since the insurgents bombarded a government-held residential area in the northwestern city on

Clashes with Taliban take growing toll on Afghan civilians in 2015

KABUL (Reuters) – Ground clashes between Afghan government forces and the Taliban claimed 8 percent more civilian casualties in the first three months of 2015, the United Nations said on Sunday, and the approaching summer could match last year’s deadly record. Since most foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan last year, following more than a decade of inconclusive war against the Taliban ousted from power in 2001, the conflict has intensified

Gunmen attack South Korea embassy in Tripoli, two guards killed

Unidentified gunmen fired shots at the South Korean embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday killing two local security guards, South Korean and Libyan officials said. Militants claiming loyalty to Islamic State said they were behind the attack, according to a statement on social media. The gunmen fired from a car at the embassy compound, killing two security officers who were Libyan government employees and wounding another, Tripoli security

Pope sparks row with Turkey by calling Armenian massacre genocide

By Steve Scherer VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic row on Sunday by calling the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago “the first genocide of the 20th century,” prompting Turkey to accuse him of inciting hatred. Muslim Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians died in clashes with Ottoman soldiers beginning in 1915, when Armenia was part of the empire ruled from Istanbul, but