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US alleges tanker hit by mine resembling Iran's

Fujairah - A Japanese-owned tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week was damaged by a limpet mine resembling those used by Iran, the US military said Wednesday, as the Islamic republic slammed accusations against it.

Who are the four men charged with downing of MH17?

Moscow - International investigators have charged three Russians and one Ukrainian with murder over the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 above rebel-held eastern Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.

Gun 'that ended Van Gogh's life' sells for nearly triple estimate

Paris - The revolver with which Vincent van Gogh is believed to have shot himself sold for 162,500 euros ($182,000) at a Paris auction on Wednesday -- nearly three times the estimate.

Drones close runway at Singapore airport

Fpo - Singapore's main airport temporarily closed a runway after drones were spotted in the area, causing dozens of flights to be delayed, authorities said Wednesday.

Xi pens friendship letter to North Korea before rare visit

Bejing - Xi Jinping will burnish China's fragile alliance with North Korea by making his first trip to Pyongyang as president this week -- and on Wednesday he sealed their friendship in ink, offering a "grand plan" for regional stability.

Ex-French president Sarkozy loses bid to halt corruption trial

Paris - Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has lost his final bid to avoid a trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling, and will likely have to appear in court in the coming months, sources close to the case told AFP Wednesday.

Chaos and tragedy in Indian 'brain fever' outbreak

Connaught Place - The stench of urine, chlorine, vomit and death fills the main hospital in Muzaffarpur, the epicentre of a brain fever outbreak in India that has killed over 100 children since June 1.

Sudan generals must transfer power to regain trust: UK envoy

Khartoum - Sudan's ruling generals must swiftly hand power to civilians if they are to regain the trust they lost after a deadly crackdown on protesters this month, Britain's envoy to Khartoum has told AFP.

'Credible evidence' linking Saudi crown prince to Khashoggi murder: UN expert

Geneva - There is "credible evidence" linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert said Wednesday, calling for sanctions on the prince's personal foreign assets.

Japan tanker hit by mine resembling Iran's: US army

Fujairah - A Japanese tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week was damaged by a limpet mine resembling Iranian mines, the US military in the Middle East said on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson wins key Brexit backing in Tory leadership race

London - British leadership favourite Boris Johnson won the endorsement of a key Brexit-backing rival on Wednesday despite accusations he was softening his rhetoric on leaving the EU.

Get your fax right: Bungling officials spark Japan nuclear scare

Apo - Bungling Japanese officials sparked a nuclear scare after a violent, late-night earthquake by ticking the wrong box on a fax form -- inadvertently alerting authorities to a potential accident.

Court releases ex-ETA boss after France arrest

Paris - A Paris court on Wednesday ordered the conditional release of a former Basque separatist leader who was arrested in France last month after 16 years on the run.

A slow road to recovery for Eastern Ghouta farms

Jaramana - Outside the Syrian capital, Radwan Hazaa is preparing to plant hundreds of pomegranate seeds on his land in Eastern Ghouta, hoping to replace some 3,000 trees lost in years of war.

Weary Brussels braced for a second bout with Boris

Apo - The frontrunner to become Britain's prime minister, former Brussels journalist -- and foreign minister -- Boris Johnson has not left a positive impression in Europe's capital.

Iran 'categorically rejects' US tanker attack allegations

Tehran - Iran's defence minister "categorically rejected" Wednesday accusations that Tehran was behind two tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, describing evidence presented by Washington as "unsubstantiated", official news agency IRNA reported.

Versailles' Royal Chapel gets painstaking restoration

Versailles - The Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles, the final great building work undertaken in the reign of Louis XIV, is undergoing a painstaking restoration that is expected to be finished within 18 months.

US interests come under repeated fire in Iraq: officials

Baghdad - US assets in Iraq have been targeted at least five times in as many days, officials said Wednesday, amid a tense standoff between Baghdad's key allies, Washingon and Tehran.

Reforms and transparency needed for Belt and Road success: World Bank

Washington - China's global Belt and Road Initiative could boost economies and reduce poverty rates in dozens of developing countries, but risks environmental damage, debt and corruption if improvements aren't made, the World Bank said Wednesday.

ASEAN leaders told to get serious on Rohingya issue

Bangkok - Southeast Asian leaders must use an upcoming summit to hold unvarnished talks on Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya, rights groups urged Wednesday, after a report by the bloc was pilloried for whitewashing the persecution of the Muslim minority.
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