Saturday 21 April 2018

Tunisia introduces permits for visits to Sahara Desert area of country

Tunisia has declared the Sahara Desert area of the north African country a "closed military zone" requiring authorisation to travel there.

A Tunisian defence ministry spokesman said yesterday that special permits are meant mainly for those working there plus tourists and foreigners. He notes that more than 5,500 tourists visited the Tunisian Sahara in May.

Oil removed from grounded freighter

The US Coast Guard is removing oil from a freighter that recently became grounded on a tiny island near Puerto Rico. Spokesman Ricardo Castrodad says crews so far have removed more than 1,300 gallons of an oil-and-water mixture. The Honduran-flagged freighter became grounded on June 21 near Mona Island.

Israel-Palestine meeting postponed

A planned meeting between the Palestinian president and Israel's vice prime minister has been postponed indefinitely, a senior Palestinian official has said. The official did not give a reason for the delay, but President Mahmoud Abbas has been under intense pressure from other Palestinians not to meet Shaul Mofaz.

Mali World Heritage sites attacked

Islamists who control the northern Mali city of Timbuktu are trying to destroy tombs classified as Unesco World Heritage sites, a resident said. Ali Yattara said the Islamists began attacking the saints' tombs with shovels, adding that they said they were responding to Unesco's request last week that the sites be put on the organisation's "in danger" list. Unesco said that two sites in Mali -- Timbuktu and the tomb of Askia -- were threatened by conflict.

Six men held over hijack bid in China

Six suspects arrested over a foiled plane hijack in the Xinjiang region are all Uighur men, Chinese state media reported, adding to ethnic tension in the region days ahead of the third anniversary of deadly riots. State media said the men tried to hijack a plane heading for Urumqi, but their efforts were thwarted by passengers and flight crew.

UK newspaper ceases Irish print run

the UK Independent newspaper is to cease printing and selling the paper in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Yesterday's edition will be the last one available on this island. The paper, which has been published for 25 years, will continue to print and sell the i newspaper. The closure has been blamed on rising newsprint and distribution costs, allied to internet competition.

Filipino army kills 13 rebels in clashes

The Philippines' army has said it killed at least 13 communist rebels during two separate clashes in the biggest loss for the guerrillas in a single day this year. The army said two rebels were killed and one was captured in a clash in Zambales province west of Manila, and at least 11 were killed in a second encounter in Quezon province.

Samsung told to halt US Nexus sales

An American judge has ordered Samsung to halt US sales of its Galaxy Nexus smartphone while the court considers Apple's claim that the South Korean company infringed its patents. The US District Court of Northern California said the Galaxy Nexus smartphone "likely" infringes four patents held by Apple.

Angolans lose their refugee status

Angolans who fled as war raged in their country from the 1960s to 2002 have lost their refugee status. The UN refugee agency announced in January that group refugee status would end yesterday for Angolans living in Botswana, Congo, Namibia and Zambia.

Adele pregnant with her first child

British Grammy-winning singer Adele is expecting her first child with boyfriend Simon Konecki, the singer said on her website on Friday. "I'm delighted to announce that Simon and I are expecting our first child together."

Spider-Man shows his brooding side

When Spider-Man swings into cinemas next week for new film The Amazing Spider-Man, its makers bring out a more brooding web-slinger than fans have seen before. Director Marc Webb and the writers craft a tale that is as much about Peter Parker -- a 17-year-old filled with angst and desire for love -- as it is about catching crooks.

Sheen's new show sets viewer record

Charlie Sheen may have lost a man-and-a-half, but the bad-boy actor has rebounded from last year's television debacle with a record-setting audience for his new TV comedy. More than 5.4 million US viewers watched the debut episode of Anger Management on Thursday.

Hill pleads guilty over tax returns

Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty in Newark, New Jersey, on Friday to three counts of failing to file federal income tax returns. Ms Hill, 37, a former member of The Fugees, pleaded guilty to failing to file federal returns between 2005 and 2007, despite earning more than $1.8m (€1.4m).

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