08262016Fri
Last update: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 03pm

Europe

World - Europe

Romania's ex-PM Ponta in court on graft charges BUCHAREST: Victor Ponta, who quit as Romania's prime minister this week after mass protests, made his first appearance in court Friday on corruption charges.As thousands of people again took to the streets demanding the overhaul of a political system they see as corrupt, President Klaus Iohannis said the country may hold early elections or seek to form a government of technocrats.Ponta who resigned on Wednesday after huge street protests sparked by a deadly nightclub fire, appeared at the High Court of Justice for a preliminary hearing on charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.The charges related to a period between 2007 and 2011 when he was working as a lawyer, before he became premier in 2012.The 43-year-old former Social Democrat leader, who denies the charges, ignored questions from the large media scrum that greeted him at the court.Friday's hearing was focused on procedural matters and dealing with lawyers' requests, ...

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Putin associate found dead in Washington hotel: report WASHINGTON: A wealthy Russian close to President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in a Washington hotel, ABC News reported Friday.Mikhail Lesin, the Russian government's former head of media affairs, was found in the Dupont Circle Hotel on Thursday, the TV network said, quoting a Russian and a US official.Washington police would not confirm the death of Lesin, saying only that they were investigating the death of someone on the block where the hotel is ...

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Russian plane black boxes point to 'attack' PARIS: Black box data from the Russian plane that crashed in Egypt last week indicates it was hit by a bomb, sources said, before an Egypt-led probe into the disaster was set to release its first findings Saturday.Both the flight data and voice recorders failed 24 minutes after the plane took off from the Sharm el-Sheikh resort en route to Saint Petersburg, when it plummeted from the sky into the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 ...

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Finnish PM says could resign Friday over healthcare reform HELSINKI: Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipila threatened on Thursday night to resign over to a disagreement with his coalition partners on the Nordic country's long-planned healthcare reform."It is very probable that I will walk to the (office of the) president tomorrow (Friday) morning," Sipila said at a late-night press conference in Helsinki, suggesting he would tender his resignation.The threat came after the 54-year-old leader of the Centre Party failed to win over his coalition partners ...

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Obama says bomb may have caused Egypt plane crash LONDON: US President Barack Obama raised the possibility Thursday that a bomb brought down a Russian plane that crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, undermining efforts by Cairo and Moscow to downplay the suggestion of an attack.With concerns over security mounting, a number of European airlines readied to bring home thousands of tourists from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the plane took off last Saturday.The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility ...

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Portugal pushes more austerity but pares down measures LISBON: Portugal's centre-right minority government on Thursday extended austerity measures for another year, though some were softened, to push through a delayed 2016 budget following October elections."It is clearly impossible to have a budget for January 1, 2016", forcing the government to take "a series of measures to prevent the risk of financial failure", Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque said at a news conference.The bill was adopted by cabinet, but will need to be approved ...

World - Europe

Greek lawmaker beaten by 'fascists' during protest ATHENS: A Greek conservative lawmaker suffered a beating at the hands of suspected far-right activists during a protest in Athens on Thursday, his party said.George Koumoutsakos, 54, suffered facial bruises but did not need to be hospitalised.Speaking in parliament shortly after the incident, the New Democracy lawmaker accused neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn of being behind the attack."Those who did it...are those who have committed murder, they are the purveyors of racism, xenophobia and what is ...