By Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers ramped up the pace at Tuesday's negotiations over a preliminary deal on the Iranian nuclear program, as their self-imposed deadline approached and both sides warned it was crucial to overcome differences that could wreck an agreement. For nearly a week, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been trying to break an impasse in the negotiations, which are aimed at stopping Iran from gaining the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for easing international sanctions that are crippling its economy. "We only have a few hours left to get a framework agreement or the job is going to become much, much more difficult." Officials in the Swiss city of Lausanne said talks on a framework accord, which is intended as a prelude to a comprehensive agreement by the end of June, could yet fall apart.
By Sami Aboudi and Mohammed Mukhashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Air raids by a Saudi-led coalition again hit Houthi militia targets across Yemen on Monday night, striking the group's northern stronghold of Saadeh, the capital, Sanaa, and the central town of Yarim, residents and media said. "There were huge blazes in the mountains outside Sanaa. The strikes, which began on Thursday, are aimed at stopping the Houthis from taking more territory and pressing them and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to negotiate a power-sharing deal with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis are from a Yemeni Shi'ite sect and are allied to Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival.
By Ed Cropley and Tim Cocks ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's opposition contender Muhammadu Buhari held a sizeable lead as counting in the country's election resumed on Tuesday, raising the prospect of a stunning ballot box victory for a man who first came to power three decades ago via a military coup. According to a provisional Reuters tally collated from 31 of Nigeria's 36 states, the 72-year-old general had more than 13 million votes after campaigning as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up the corrupt politics of Africa's biggest economy and most populous nation.
By Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to allow Tokyo to come to the aid of an ally under attack will pave the way for closer cooperation between U.S. and Japanese forces across Asia, a top U.S. commander said on Tuesday. Expanded training and joint missions could extend from Japan through the disputed South China Sea - claimed in whole or part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations - into the Indian Ocean. Neither the United States nor Japan have territorial claims in the South China Sea, but the Seventh Fleet operates in the area. Abe's government plans to submit bills to parliament in coming months to ratify his cabinet's decision last year to allow Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense.
KUWAIT (Reuters) - The United States pledged $507 million towards addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told an international summit in Kuwait on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia said it was providing an additional $60 million. Earlier, summit host Kuwait pledged $500 million towards a U.N.-backed humanitarian appeal. (Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy and Noah Browning; Editing by Larry King)
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Pracha Hariraksapitak BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he has asked for King Bhumibol Adulyadej's permission to lift martial law, which has been in place since before a coup 10 months ago, replacing it with a law that maintains the army's wide-ranging powers. Critics of the junta warned that the new law could prove more draconian and would allow Prayuth to exercise unrestricted power by citing a risk to national security. It imposed martial law days before the coup. Prayuth told reporters that once martial law is lifted it will be replaced with Article 44 of the interim constitution.
The extremist Islamic State group Tuesday executed at least 30 civilians, including two children, in a raid on a regime-held village in Syria's central province of Hama, a monitor said. IS "executed at least 30 people, including women and children, by burning, beheading, and firing on them" in the village of Mabujeh, said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. IS has regularly targeted minority sects in Syria, especially Shiite Muslims it accuses of apostasy, as well as Sunnis who it alleges have violated its interpretation of the religion.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's government and 16 ethnic armed groups agreed Tuesday on the wording of a draft nationwide cease-fire agreement aimed at ending decades of civil unrest. Though it was lauded as a significant step — the opposing sides have tussled over words and rights over natural resources for months — the continued fighting between the army and small rebel groups along the northern frontier highlighted the many challenges ahead.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Wrapping up six days of marathon nuclear talks with mixed results, Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Myanmar's president Tuesday signed a draft national ceasefire with armed rebel groups that the UN hailed as a "historic and significant achievement" as the country tries to end decades of civil war. Reformist leader Thein Sein, who has placed a national ceasefire agreement at the heart of efforts to shake off the legacy of military rule, said an end to the fighting was within reach -- even though unrest continues in northern border areas. This action will ensure the peace builders a place in Myanmar's history," he said at the gathering.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — New research by the Anne Frank House museum shows that the Jewish girl whose World War II diary about her life hiding made her a symbol for all Holocaust victims likely died earlier than previously thought.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet says China is using land reclamation to create "a great wall of sand" in disputed areas of the South China Sea, causing serious concerns about its territorial intentions.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan police said Tuesday that they have arrested three navy personnel over the 2006 assassination of an ethnic Tamil lawmaker, a killing that had been blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels.
BOSTON, England (AP) — Boston is a typical English town — ancient church, traditional shops, Polish supermarkets, Baltic bakeries. Amid the bargain-hunting crowds on market day, eastern European languages are almost as common as the local east-of-England accent.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's military-installed prime minister said Tuesday he plans to lift martial law 10 months after staging a coup, but will invoke a special security measure that critics say is more draconian.
BRUSSELS (AP) — Official figures show consumer prices across the 19-country eurozone fell by only 0.1 percent in the year to March, raising hopes that this current bout of deflation may soon come to an end.
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait opened an international donors' conference for Syria on Tuesday with a pledge of $500 million in humanitarian aid as the United Nations issued its largest yet appeal for $8.4 billion in commitments this year for the war-ravaged country.
A key trial in Uganda of 13 men accused of taking part in Al-Shebab bombings that killed 76 people in 2010 was postponed Tuesday after the top prosecutor was shot dead. Police on Tuesday vowed to catch the killers of Joan Kagezi, acting assistant director of public prosecution, who was murdered by men on a motorbike as she drove home with three of her children on Monday evening. She was shot twice through the window of her car after stopping to buy fruit on the side of the road in a suburb of the capital Kampala. "We call upon any member of the public who may have any information relating to the murder of Joan to give it to the police," Uganda's police chief Kale Kayihura said in a statement.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan is not planning to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, its government spokesman said Tuesday, while Taiwan announced it would apply for membership, joining dozens of countries in signing up to an initiative opposed by Washington.
Nigerian opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari held a lead of more than two million votes Tuesday in the country's general election, but with President Goodluck Jonathan's strongholds yet to report, the final result was too close to call. Just over half of Nigeria's states have declared returns in the vote pitting Jonathan against former military ruler Buhari in the closest election ever in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and biggest economy. Buhari built his early lead in northern states dominated by the mainly Muslim, Hausa-Fulani ethnic group of which he is a member. So far, Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) has won 10 states, with Jonathan, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) taking eight plus the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday he was planning to take part in marathon talks aimed at curtailing Iran's nuclear programme, saying chances of a deal were significant. "Indeed I am planning to return and take part in the final part of the ministerial meeting of the six powers," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. Moscow had said earlier that Lavrov, who participated in the talks on Monday, would only return if there was a realistic chance of a deal.
Kuwait's emir Tuesday pledged half a billion dollars at the start of a major donor conference for Syria, describing the crisis unfolding as the "biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history". "I am pleased to announce the pledging of $500 million (464 million euros) from Kuwait's government and private sectors to support the humanitarian efforts in Syria," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said.
Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home-improvements retailer, said Tuesday it would close 60 stores in Britain and Ireland, a day after pulling out of a takeover for French chain Mr Bricolage. British group Kingfisher, which owns the chains B&Q and Screwfix in Britain as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said it would close the stores over the next two years at a restructuring cost of Â£350 million ($517 million, 481 million euros). "Kingfisher has said for some time that B&Q UK & Ireland can adequately meet local customer needs from fewer stores and that some of the stores should be smaller," the group said, while revealing the departure of B&Q chief executive Kevin O'Byrne.
Thailand's junta chief said Tuesday he has asked King Bhumibol Adulyadej for permission to end martial law, but added that an executive order retaining sweeping powers for the military would soon replace it. "I have already submitted permission to the king to lift martial law. The king will have to approve whether martial law is lifted," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters. "A new order (to replace martial law) will be issued very soon," he added.
Marathon talks aimed at stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons entered their final scheduled day Tuesday with global powers racing to agree a framework deal by a midnight deadline. US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Lausanne since Wednesday in the latest in a series of meetings around the world with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, late Tuesday said there "still remain some difficult issues". Absent was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who left on Monday. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was however present.
Long-serving New Zealand cricketer Daniel Vettori called time on his international career Tuesday, saying the World Cup final was his last appearance for the Black Caps. "It was my last game for New Zealand so it was a lovely way to finish," the former captain told reporters as the team returned from Sunday's final to a heroes' welcome despite being beaten by seven wickets by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The 36-year-old's announcement was no real surprise after an 18-year international career. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum revealed that Vettori pulled a calf muscle when exercising between innings in the World Cup final but still managed to send down five overs taking none for 25.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Rescue workers pulled 15 bodies from two houses hit by a landslide triggered by three days of incessant rain and floods in Indian-controlled Kashmir, just six months after the worst floods in half a century devastated the Himalayan region.
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Some homes on a western Pacific Ocean island have been destroyed by typhoon-force winds, which were expected to bear down on a neighboring island in the Federated States of Micronesia.