Government and politics
PYONGYANG, North Korea - Led by a Japanese pro wrestler-turned-politician, about 20 mixed martial artists from around the world — including a former NFL lineman — arrived in North Korea on Thursday to put on a series of exhibition matches this weekend.
SANTA FE, N.M. - The Santa Fe City Council has voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
City officials said in a news release that the council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to approve the pot ordinance
The measure makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25. It had been a criminal misdemeanour.
Activists had submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on the matter.
BRUSSELS - Don't be fooled by Angela Merkel. The German chancellor may be the most powerful leader in the European Union, but she hardly paints a true picture of the place of women in EU politics.
EU leaders meet on Saturday to divide top jobs for the next half decade, and after years of paying lip service to increasing equality between the sexes, the problem of inequality is still plain for all to see at these meetings — where are the women?
MEXICO CITY - Relatives of people missing in Mexico blasted authorities Wednesday as seemingly more interested in manipulating the data on the disappeared than on conducting thorough investigations.
The government last week revised the number of people believed to have disappeared since Mexico launched a war against drug traffickers in 2006, reporting that 22,322 had been reported missing. That was significantly higher than earlier estimates. In May, the government had said 8,000 people were missing.
NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine - Pushing west in a new offensive along Ukraine's strategic coastline, heavily armed Russian-backed separatist forces captured new territory Wednesday far from their previous battles with government troops.
The bold offensive along a new southeastern front raised the prospect that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Azov Sea.
JERUSALEM - Both Israel's prime minister and Hamas declared victory Wednesday in the Gaza war, though their competing claims left questions over future terms of their uneasy peace still lingering.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska voters have retained a new petroleum production tax system that offers hope of increased investment and jobs but drew criticism as a giveaway to already profitable oil companies.
The state Division of Elections counted 17,721 absentee and early votes Tuesday, giving repeal opponents the victory. The "no" side increased its lead from 6,880 to 8,443 votes. The unofficial overall count was 90,150 to 81,707, giving the no side a 52.5 per cent edge.
Libya's ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday of "full-blown civil war" if the chaos and division in the North African country continue.
Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the U.N. Security Council that he had always excluded civil war as a possibility, "but the situation has changed."
The council unanimously approved a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire and extending sanctions against people threatening Libya's stability.
PARIS - Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, was put under official investigation for negligence in a French corruption probe that dates back to her days as France's finance minister.
After a fourth round of questioning before magistrates on Wednesday, Lagarde said she was returning to her work in Washington, and called the investigation "without basis." She is the third IMF managing director in a decade to face legal troubles.
MADRID - Spanish fashion retailer Inditex said Wednesday it has withdrawn a children's shirt that triggered an outcry from people who said it was reminiscent of the clothes Jews were made to wear at Nazi concentration camps.
The long-sleeved shirt with horizontal dark stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the left side of the chest prompted a storm on social media, with many people finding the shirt distasteful because it conjured up memories of the Holocaust.