A powerful earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns in central Italy on Wednesday, trapping residents under piles of rubble, killing at least 38 people and leaving thousands homeless. A family of four, including two boys aged 8 months and 9 years, were buried when their house in Accumoli imploded. Aerial photographs showed whole areas of Amatrice, voted last year as one of Italy’s most beautiful historic towns, flattened by the 6.2 magnitude quake.
By Humeyra Pamuk and Umit Ozdal KARKAMIS, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish special forces, tanks and jets backed by planes from the U.S.-led coalition launched their first co-ordinated offensive into Syria on Wednesday to try to drive Islamic State from the border and prevent further gains by Kurdish militia fighters. A column of at least nine Turkish tanks crossed into northern Syria with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels to push Islamic State out of the border town of Jarablus, military sources said. President Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was targeting Islamic State and the Kurdish PYD party, whose gains in northern Syria have alarmed Turkey.
By Ju-min Park and Jack Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea fired a submarine-launched missile on Wednesday that flew about 500 km (311 miles) towards Japan, a show of improving technological capability for the isolated country that has conducted a series of launches in defiance of UN sanctions. Having the ability to fire a missile from a submarine could help North Korea evade a new anti-missile system planned for South Korea and pose a threat even if nuclear-armed North Korea's land-based arsenal was destroyed, experts said. The ballistic missile was fired at around 5:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) from near the coastal city of Sinpo, where a submarine base is located, officials at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defence Ministry told Reuters.
By Matt Siegel and John Irish SYDNEY/PARIS (Reuters) - French naval contractor DCNS said on Wednesday it may have been the victim of "economic warfare" after secrets about its Scorpene submarines being built in India were leaked. India opened an investigation after The Australian newspaper published documents relating to the submarine's combat capabilities, raising concerns over another major contract with Australia. The leak contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the details of six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
By Manolo Serapio Jr MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States, or neighboring China, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday. An arbitration court in the Hague infuriated China in July by ruling that China had no historical title over the South China Sea and that it had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights with various actions there. "We want to make close friendship with China.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he would tell U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Washington has "no excuse" for not handing over the Pennsylvania-based cleric blamed for last month's failed coup. Erdogan, who is due to meet with Biden in Ankara later on Wednesday, said Turkey would continue to provide U.S. officials with documents to demand the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Gulen, once an Erdogan ally, denies any involvement in the July 15 coup attempt and has condemned it.
By Shwe Yee Saw Myint and Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) - A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least three people including two children, local officials said, and damaging some of the famous pagodas in the Southeast Asian nation's ancient capital of Bagan. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake hit near the town of Chauk, southwest of Mandalay. Tremors were felt as far away as Thailand, where witnesses reported high rise buildings swaying in Bangkok, and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
The world's longest aircraft, the Airlander 10 airship, has crash-landed after a test flight in Bedfordshire, central England, its British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles said on Wednesday. The airship, which is bigger than the size of six double-decker buses, sustained damage on landing from its second test flight, Hybrid Air Vehicles said, adding that all crew were safe and well following the incident. Privately owned Hybrid Air Vehicles denied a report on the BBC that the airship had hit a telegraph pole.
BERLIN (AP) — Walter Scheel, who helped shape West Germany's policy of reconciliation with the communist bloc as foreign minister and later served as his country's president, has died, his party says. He was 97.
MONACO (AP) — The IAAF says Athletics Kenya president, Isaiah Kiplagat has died after a long illness. He was 72.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A powerful earthquake measuring magnitude 6.8 shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, damaging scores of ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist attraction, officials said. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, an area west of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth's surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage. However, at least 65 centuries-old brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs said in a statement.
The head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) will meet Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Wednesday to discuss the burkini bans at the centre of a bitter row over Muslim integration. The CFCM "is concerned over the direction the public debate is taking," the president of the body, Anouar Kbibech, said in a statement calling for an urgent meeting with Cazeneuve, citing the "growing fear of stigmatisation of Muslims in France". The CFCM said it was also worried about the photos that have emerged of a Muslim woman removing her tunic on a beach in Nice while surrounded by four police officers.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will probably send to the United States next week an extradition request for the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen related to last month's attempted coup, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday. Turkey blames Gulen followers for the July 15 failed putsch. The United States said on Tuesday that Turkey had filed an extradition request but it wasn't linked to the coup attempt. (Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia says it has thwarted a terrorist attack by a Pakistani resident who was planning to bomb a mosque during sunset prayers in the predominantly Shiite eastern governorate of Qatif.
The Philippines could suspend more mines amid an environmental crackdown that has so far halted operations of 10 mines, a government minister said on Wednesday. "Yes," Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez told Reuters when asked if there is a risk of more mines being suspended. The agency is on track to complete an audit of the country's 40 metals mines this month, Leo Jasareno, who is leading the review, said separately.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A powerful earthquake measuring magnitude 6.8 shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, damaging scores of ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist attraction, officials said.
BERLIN (AP) — Former West German President Walter Scheel has died at age 97, his party says.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — By reducing historic mausoleums in Timbuktu to dusty piles of rubble, Islamic extremists left residents feeling shame at the desecration of their saints and ancestors, a lawyer said Wednesday at the trial of the man accused of leading the destruction.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — China has sought information from Filipino authorities to help capture suspected Chinese drug traffickers in the Philippines and wants to forge a stronger anti-drug pact to fight the menace, the Chinese ambassador said, adding it's "utterly wrong" to say all the drug lords are Chinese.
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and opted to bat against England in the first one-day international on Wednesday.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Negotiators for Colombia's government and leftist rebels are putting the final touches on a historic peace deal that they hope to announce in the coming hours.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official IRNA news agency says a gas explosion in a residential building has killed six people and wounded 11.
North Korea on Wednesday test-fired a submarine-launched missile 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions. The flight distance, which was tracked by South Korea's military Joint Chiefs of Staff, far exceeded any previous SLBM tests, suggesting significant progress in technical prowess. A proven SLBM system would take North Korea's nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
The world's largest aircraft suffered cockpit damage on Wednesday after nosediving while landing on its second test flight, but there were no injuries, according to the craft's manufacturer. The 92-metre-long Airlander 10, part helicopter and part airship, came down at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, south east England. "Airlander sustained damage on landing during today's flight," said Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV).
A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar Wednesday, killing at least one person and damaging around 60 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan, officials said. The quake, which the US Geological Survey said hit at a depth of 84 kilometres (52 miles), was also felt across neighbouring Thailand, India and Bangladesh, sending panicked residents rushing onto the streets. At least one man was killed in Magway region where the quake struck, said Han Zaw Win, a local MP from Pakokku township.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Kusal Mendis scored 69 runs from as many balls and was backed up by aggressive 50s from captain Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera, as Sri Lanka recovered from a poor start to score 288 in the second one-day international against Australia on Wednesday.
A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday and was shot dead, the army said. An army statement said Israeli forces had been chasing a group of alleged rock throwers who were in a car. The attack took place close to the Israeli settlement of Ariel, near the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
The Syrian government condemned Wednesday's Turkish incursion into the Islamic State group-held border district of Jarabulus as a "flagrant violation" of its sovereignty. The foreign ministry said it "condemns the crossing of the Turkey-Syria border by Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles towards the town of Jarabulus with air cover from the US-led coalition and considers it a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty. The Syrian opposition in exile, however, welcomed the intervention.
By Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine put on a show of military strength on independence day on Wednesday amid fresh tension with Russia over Crimea and President Petro Poroshenko said the country had to rely on its own might rather than international guarantees. A march-past of army, navy and airforce units and hardware in the capital was intended to highlight the capability of Ukraine's military, which the government has had to overhaul since pro-Russian eastern separatists rose up against a new Western-backed leadership in 2014. The fresh tension over Crimea, which Russia annexed in March 2014, has reignited fears that a fragile ceasefire deal brokered in February 2015 with the help of Germany and France, could collapse following the deadliest month of fighting in eastern Ukraine in a year.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military says a Palestinian was shot and killed after he stabbed and wounded a soldier in the West Bank.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Former Arsenal forward Park Chu-young had a goal and an assist as FC Seoul beat Shandong Luneng 3-1 in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.
A powerful earthquake in Italy on Wednesday is not likely to force a 200 million euro ($225.56 million) bond issued to cover such risk into default as the bond has low exposure to the affected region, investors said. The earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns in central Italy, trapping residents under piles of rubble, killing at least 38 people and leaving thousands homeless. Issued last year by insurer UnipolSai, the Azzurro Re bond was the first so-called catastrophe bond to cover earthquake risk in Italy.
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's government is getting tougher with prisoners who publish books in jail to reduce their sentences, limiting the maximum reduction to 20 days.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Bastian Schweinsteiger has ruled out a move to another European club and still hopes to play for Manchester United.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish authorities fired more than 2,800 judges and prosecutors on Wednesday, in the latest purge related to the July 15 coup, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. Turkey has sacked or suspended some 80,000 people from the civil service, judiciary, police and courts following the attempted putsch, which it blames on followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government says Gulen's followers spent years infiltrating institutions with the goal of overthrowing the state. ...
By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Norway is putting up a steel fence at a remote Arctic border post with Russia after an influx of migrants last year, sparking an outcry from refugees' rights groups and fears that cross- border ties with the former Cold War adversary will be harmed. This is seen too in Sweden, Norway's neighbor, which was once touted as a "humanitarian superpower", but is setting up border controls this year and has toughened asylum rules. Refugee groups and some opposition politicians say Norway's fence will deter people fleeing persecution and is an unwelcome echo of the Cold War in a region where relations have generally flourished since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.