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Russian prosecutors call for jailed actor to be freed
AFP, Moscow
Russian prosecutors on Thursday asked a court to free a jailed actor and give him a non-custodial sentence in a case that has sparked protests and a star-studded solidarity campaign, in an apparent climbdown for the authorities.
Actor Pavel Ustinov, 23, was this week sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for violence against police at an opposition protest, despite his insistence he was simply a bystander.

US expels 2 Cuban diplomats, citing 'influence operations'
AP, Washington
The U.S. announced Thursday that it is expelling two Cuban diplomats and restricting travel of members of Cuba's permanent mission to the United Nations as leaders gather from around the world for the annual U.N. General Assembly.
The Cuban diplomats who are being expelled are attached to the U.N. mission and tried to "conduct influence operations against the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. She provided no details on the allegations and the diplomats' names weren't released.

Blast in Yemen kills 6 govt troops, Saudi officer
AP, Sanaa
Yemeni security officials said Wednesday an explosion targeting a government military convoy killed at least six Yemeni troops and one Saudi Arabian officer.
The blast took place in the eastern Hadramawt province, far from the part of Yemen controlled by the Houthi rebels, and also wounded at least 13 soldiers, many of them Saudi. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but al-Qaida's branch in Yemen has carried out similar attacks in the area.

Tropical storm kills two in Houston, halts flights
Reuters, Houston
Tropical Storm Imelda dumped torrential rains over the Houston-area, killing at least two people, while rescuers in boats pulled hundreds from flooded cars, the airport temporarily halted flights and tens of thousands of people lost power.
Heavy rains had abated by Thursday evening, although flash flood watches remained in effect through Friday morning and rescuers were still working to reach stranded motorists and those trapped in homes late into the night as floodwaters were slow to drain off.

Turkish coast guards rescue 15; child missing
AP, Brussels
Turkish coast guards have rescued 14 migrants and their Turkish smuggler after their rubber boat sank off Turkey's Aegean coast while trying to reach Greece. A search-and-rescue mission is still underway to find a missing infant.
The Turkish Coast Guard said the boat went down Friday off Turkey's Aegean resort of Yalikavak, on the Bodrum peninsula.

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Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

AFP :Panic over the spread of the coronavirus sparked a prison riot in Colombia that killed 23 inmates on Sunday, as Chile became the latest Latin American country to announce

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

AFP :The Afghan government and the Taliban on Sunday held their first discussion on arranging prisoner exchanges, a key step in a broader push for peace, the US special envoy

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

AFP  :US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, a pool report said, amid an ongoing political crisis, a raging Taliban insurgency and rising

Queen Elizabeth II moves out of palace as aide tests virus positive

NDTV :The 93-year-old monarch shifted out of the palace to Windsor Castle indefinitely on Thursday as a "precaution" and reports are that she is healthy.The aide is believed to have

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Al Jazeera News :Denpasar, Indonesia - Authorities in Bali will allow tens of thousands of people to attend Hindu ceremonies for the island's new year, or Nyepi, celebrations this week

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

AFP :North Korea has said it has released almost all the foreigners it quarantined as a precaution.With international focus on the coronavirus, North Korea has doubled down on its missile

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

AP, Dubai :Iran's supreme leader Sunday refused U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

AP, Seoul :President Donald Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the viral pandemic, Kim's

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

AP, Jerusalem :Israel's prime minister Saturday said he is ready to step down next year as part of a proposed power-sharing agreement with his chief rival meant to steer the

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

AP, Jefferson City :First, Oklahoma lawmakers excluded the public from the Capitol because of coronavirus concerns.Then with the public gone, lawmakers made an emergency change to the state's open-meetings law