NFL Cowboys quarterback Romo to retire: reports

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has ended speculation about his future by opting to retire from the NFL, reports said Tuesday.The fate of Romo has been one of the biggest talking points of the close season with the 36-year-old mulling a move after…

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has ended speculation about his future by opting to retire from the NFL, reports said Tuesday.

The fate of Romo has been one of the biggest talking points of the close season with the 36-year-old mulling a move after losing his starting role last year to Dak Prescott.

Romo, who has spent his entire professional career with the Cowboys, had been linked to a move to the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans in an attempt to reignite his career.

However ESPN and several outlets reported that the four-time Pro-Bowler had instead decided to walk away from the sport to pursue a career in broadcasting.

ESPN reported that Romo had an agreement with CBS to be the network's analyst, replacing former NFL quarterback Phil Simms.

Last month Romo said goodbye to the Cowboys even though his fate remained unclear, taking to social media to thank his fans.

"Thanks for all the support everyone," Romo tweeted, adding on Instagram, "Thanks for everything cowboy nation."

Romo, who turns 37 this month, fractured his back last August and spent most of the season in rehabilitation only to find his place taken by Prescott, who led the Cowboys to the playoffs.

Romo is the Cowboys' all-time leader with 34,183 passing yards and 248 touchdowns but has not played a full season since 2012 due to injuries, missing 21 games over the past two seasons.

Matsuyama tries to recapture form of magic run at Masters

Fourth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama will try to become Japan’s first male major golf champion by winning this week’s Masters, but admits his form has cooled from a sizzling late-2016 run.The 25-year-old Asian number one ended last year with wins at the Japa…

Fourth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama will try to become Japan's first male major golf champion by winning this week's Masters, but admits his form has cooled from a sizzling late-2016 run.

The 25-year-old Asian number one ended last year with wins at the Japan Open, the World Golf Championships event in Shanghai, the Taiheiyo Masters in Japan and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

And while he also managed to defend his PGA Phoenix Open crown in February, Matsuyama says he has not been able to recapture the magic he enjoyed just a few months ago.

"Compared to last November and December, my game isn't at that same level right now," Matsuyama said Tuesday. "I've been working hard and seeing some improvement. That's one of the reasons I'm really looking forward to this week, to see how my game stands up."

In some ways, Matsuyama said, he has been working too much on his approaches and chips at the expense of his longer shots.

"I've been working on my short game a lot, almost too much, because my longer shots, iron shots, drivers, have suffered a bit," Matsuyama said. "And because of that, I've gone back to the full swing now and working a lot more on that than I have been."

Matsuyama, who was fifth in the 2015 Masters and shared seventh last year, comes off his best major finish, a share of fourth, at last year's PGA Championship.

"I'm really not hitting it as well as I would like, so whether or not my confidence level is where it should be, I'm not sure," Matusyama said.

"But one thing I am looking forward to is for the bells to ring on Thursday and see how I do. I hope I can play a lot better than I have been the last couple weeks."

Matsuyama will tee off Thursday morning alongside eighth-ranked American Rickie Fowler and Scotland's Russell Knox

"I'm really looking forward to this week. This is the first major of the year and I've put a lot of energy, a lot of work into preparing for this week, and hopefully on Sunday, when I walk off the 18th green, I can be satisfied with how I played."

- Masters special in Japan -

Matsuyama has learned more about Augusta National with every year he has tried to capture the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy.

"Every year you play the course, you learn a little more, especially where not to hit it. That has been one of the keys, playing five times before, that I've been able to learn and to understand," he said.

"Last two years, I didn't hit it that well but I was able to get it in the hole. I guess course management is what has really helped me. Even though I'm not hitting it well, I can still hit it around OK."

Matsuyama's earliest memory of the Masters came 20 years ago when he watched Tiger Woods roll to victory by shooting an Augusta National course record.

"I was five, so I didn't know much about golf, but he sure looked good in that red shirt and black pants. I mean, I can still see it," Matusyama said. "The one thing I remember about Tiger's play was how far he hit it."

Matusyama said the Masters has a special place in the hearts of Japanese fans because it has global stars and familiar holes, being the only major played on the same layout every year.

"Japanese golf fans and TV viewers are familiar with the course and so for them, it's a lot easier to turn the TV on and know what's going on," Matsuyama said.

"They see all the great players from around the world. And in that sense, it's a special tournament among all the majors."

Paris destined for Olympics: mayor

Paris is destined to host the Olympics, city Mayor Anne Hidalgo insisted Tuesday as she presented the French capital’s project for the 2024 Games to gathered sports federations in Aarhus, Denmark.”It’s the city that brings the best out of everyone,” Hi…

Paris is destined to host the Olympics, city Mayor Anne Hidalgo insisted Tuesday as she presented the French capital's project for the 2024 Games to gathered sports federations in Aarhus, Denmark.

"It's the city that brings the best out of everyone," Hidalgo said in a ten-minute speech. "And for that reason we believe the city is destined for the Olympics," she said.

"The Games are much more than a show and much more than just show-business," continued Hidalgo, in an apparent dig at rival bidder Los Angeles, who have produced a slick campaign so far.

Hidalgo's administration is involved in several projects to develop transport, leisure and housing in Paris including a massive revamp of leisure facilities along the banks of the river Seine.

Paris and Los Angeles delegations met with Olympic chiefs and sports delegations in Aarhus as the IOC explores the option of giving them both an edition.

The idea of awarding two Games at once has gained currency after the price tag of hosting the Olympics scared off rival bidders for 2024, leaving the IOC wondering who will step forward for 2028.

Both cities are rich enough to take on the financial and logistical responsibilities of staging an Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympic canoe champion Tony Estanguet, who is Paris bid co-president, said: "We are the right city, with the right vision at the right moment."

A decision is scheduled to be made on September 13 at a IOC meeting in Lima.

‘Crackpot idea’: German govt dismisses ‘Islam law’ proposed by Merkel’s party

Preview The German government has slammed a proposal put forward by Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party, which would see a Muslim registry introduced and the country’s mosques monitored, as nothing but a “populist crackpot idea” incompatible with freedom of religion.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview The German government has slammed a proposal put forward by Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party, which would see a Muslim registry introduced and the country’s mosques monitored, as nothing but a “populist crackpot idea” incompatible with freedom of religion.
Read Full Article at RT.com

EU slams ‘occupying power’ Israel over plans to demolish Bedouin village in West Bank

The European Union has delivered a public diplomatic rebuke to Israel, which plans to demolish 42 homes in a Bedouin village in the West Bank that are expected to make way for Jewish settlements, accusing it of breaking the Geneva Convent…

Preview The European Union has delivered a public diplomatic rebuke to Israel, which plans to demolish 42 homes in a Bedouin village in the West Bank that are expected to make way for Jewish settlements, accusing it of breaking the Geneva Convention.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Retro and modern collide as Milan Design Week kicks off

Milan Design Week, one of the world’s largest gatherings showcasing cutting-edge furniture designs and other exciting innovations in home accessories, got under way Tuesday in the Italian business capital.More than 300,000 people are expected to attend…

Milan Design Week, one of the world's largest gatherings showcasing cutting-edge furniture designs and other exciting innovations in home accessories, got under way Tuesday in the Italian business capital.

More than 300,000 people are expected to attend the event through the next six days, which the locals love more than the exclusive fashion shows the city is known for.

Over 2,000 trade members have booked space to ply their trendy wares in a vast space of 200,000 square metres.

Attendance last year topped 370,000 people from 165 countries, including designers, buyers, journalists and others along for the ride.

"Some say the capital of design is in the process of shifting to elsewhere in the world," French designer Philippe Starck told AFP. "It's not true, the major publishers are still here, the major publishers have the major designers and the best distribution."

"Milan is still the design centre," he added.

Contemporary elegance is one of the big trends this year, according to organisers, with the timeless skill of craftsmen blending with digital know-how and technological innovation.

Intriguing items this year include the "Fountain - Glass Table" by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, who revisits old glass pouring techniques for the Glas Italia brand.

The "Mineral Structures" bookshelves by Arik Levy for Citco, fashioned from a single block of marble using state-of-the-art technologies and finished by artisanal specialists, are another item to watch.

There are numerous nods to the 1950s, typified by the Aleta chair created by Jaime Hayon for Viccarbe Habitat and inspired by the lines of a shark's fin.

Keeping with the same retro-inspired lines, Shinsaku Miyamoto's high and wingback Beatrix armchair for Ritzwell has an escape-from-the-world feel paired with the modernist lines of 1950s Danish furniture.

Tensions as Spain ship enters disputed Gibraltar waters

A Spanish warship sailed into disputed waters off Gibraltar on Tuesday, the British overseas territory said, at a time of high tension between London and Madrid over the fate of the Rock.Incidents of this nature are not uncommon, but this one comes aft…

A Spanish warship sailed into disputed waters off Gibraltar on Tuesday, the British overseas territory said, at a time of high tension between London and Madrid over the fate of the Rock.

Incidents of this nature are not uncommon, but this one comes after a row broke out over Gibraltar last week when the European Union said that Spain should have a veto on extending any trade deal to the territory after Britain leaves the bloc.

Fearing that Spain is trying to take advantage of Brexit to impose its control over the 32,000-strong rocky outcrop on the country's southern tip, Gibraltar reacted angrily, and London pledged its support for a territory ceded to Britain in 1713 but long claimed by Madrid.

Spain, meanwhile, voiced surprise at Britain's tone, and the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier urged London to "keep calm and negotiate."

On Tuesday, the Spanish Navy corvette Infanta Cristina sailed slowly past the Rock about a mile from shore, prompting the Royal Navy to dispatch a patrol boat to the area.

Britain claims three miles of sea around Gilbraltar but Spain says the waters are Spanish.

"Today's illegal incursion by a Spanish naval vessel is a timely demonstration of the way in which Spain routinely conducts itself in breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," a spokesman for Gibraltar's government said.

A British government spokesman, meanwhile, said "the Royal Navy challenges all unlawful maritime incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters."

"We back this up by making formal diplomatic protests to the Spanish government."

These types of incursions are fairly common in Gibraltar.

Last November, in response to a question from Conservative peer Lord Patten in the House of Lords, the British government said there had been 434 incursions by Spanish state vessels into Gibraltar waters in the 12 months to October 31, 2016, the most recent data available.

Argentina ex-leader Kirchner charged with fraud

A judge on Tuesday announced fresh charges against Argentina’s ex-president Cristina Kirchner, the latest twist in a running legal saga as the country prepares for mid-term elections this year.Federal judge Claudio Bonadio brought formal charges agains…

A judge on Tuesday announced fresh charges against Argentina's ex-president Cristina Kirchner, the latest twist in a running legal saga as the country prepares for mid-term elections this year.

Federal judge Claudio Bonadio brought formal charges against Kirchner, 64, for alleged money laundering in real estate dealings, the Judicial Information Service said in a statement. She already faces trial in a separate case for alleged financial mismanagement in office.

Kirchner -- who served as president from 2007 to 2015 -- has been charged with "illegal association and money laundering" in connection with real estate dealings, the statement said.

Her son Maximo and daughter Florencia also have been charged, together with businessmen Cristobal Lopez and Lazaro Baez.

All five have been barred from leaving the country and Kirchner's assets amounting to $8 million have been frozen.

Lopez, who owns a casino and the Indalo Media group, has been close to Kirchner and her husband Nestor, who served as president from 2003 to 2007. He died in 2010.

Baez is a construction businessman who won government contracts during the Kirchners' rule in the province of Santa Cruz, the Kirchner stronghold.

Kirchner faces separate investigations into alleged corruption.

She also faces trial on charges of financial mismanagement as president, accused of ordering the central bank to sell dollar futures at artificially low prices, causing Argentina to lose hundreds of millions.

She denies wrongdoing.

A string of cases targeting Kirchner and her rival, current President Mauricio Macri, are clouding Argentine politics ahead of this year's elections.

‘Gas attack’ in rebel-held Syrian town sparks worldwide outrage

The United Nations, along with the European Union and the United States, on Tuesday condemned a suspected chemical attack that left dozens of people dead in Syria’s northwest, pointing an accusatory finger at President Bashar al-Assad.

The United Nations, along with the European Union and the United States, on Tuesday condemned a suspected chemical attack that left dozens of people dead in Syria’s northwest, pointing an accusatory finger at President Bashar al-Assad.

White House condemns Syria chemical attack, blames Assad

The White House condemned what it called a “reprehensible” and “intolerable” chemical attack in Syria Tuesday and pinned the blame squarely on Bashar al-Assad’s regime. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said an “extremely alarmed” President Donald Tru…

The White House condemned what it called a "reprehensible" and "intolerable" chemical attack in Syria Tuesday and pinned the blame squarely on Bashar al-Assad's regime.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said an "extremely alarmed" President Donald Trump had been briefed extensively on the attack, and suggested it was in the "best interest" of the Syrians for Assad not to lead the country.

"Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible," Spicer said, adding that the administration was "confident" in its assessment that Assad was to blame.

Spicer said it was a "political reality" that Assad is in power and there was no "fundamental option of regime change."

But the White House comments signaled a tougher tone against the Russian and Iranian-supported regime in Damascus.

"The idea that someone would use chemical weapons on their own people, including women and children, is not something that any civilized nation should sit back and accept or tolerate," he said.

"I think it's in the best interest of the Syrian people to not have anybody who would do the kind of heinous acts," said Spicer.

"Any leader who treats their people with this kind of activity, death and destruction. Yeah. I don't think anyone would wish this upon anybody."

The suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in Syria's northwest Idlib province has left at least 58 civilians dead, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian army has categorically denied involvement.

Spicer refused to speculate on how the US would respond. "I'm not ready to talk about our next step, but we will get there soon."

Tragedy of suspected chemical attack seeps into Syria conference

For Diaeddin Al Zamel, the call to save Syria at a EU-UN conference in Brussels was not supposed to be a punch to the gut.The gathering was meant to be an all-too-typical plea for aid from rich donors — but then came the text message from the world’s …

For Diaeddin Al Zamel, the call to save Syria at a EU-UN conference in Brussels was not supposed to be a punch to the gut.

The gathering was meant to be an all-too-typical plea for aid from rich donors -- but then came the text message from the world's bloodiest battleground.

A source on the ground said the town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib Province had been hit by a chemical gas airstrike that left many dead and dozens others vomiting, fainting and foaming at the mouth.

Zamel, of the Syrian UOSSM hospital network, said he had no choice but to share the tragedy being played out on his phone screen.

Facing delegates assembled in a packed conference room, Zamel said warplanes had just unleashed the suspected toxic gas attack on the town in northwestern Syria.

He told the audience of a terrible scene: haunting images of the dead, mainly children, eyes coal-black and lifeless but open.

"They are still counting the dead," Zamel told AFP in Arabic via an interpreter.

"Most killed were children, which is normal because their bodies do not tolerate the chemicals," he said.

Hours later, air strikes hit a hospital in the town where doctors were treating victims of the attack.

"The type of gas or chemical has not been confirmed but the symptoms seem like sarin," Zamel said.

- 'There are no red lines' -

"The hospitals on the ground can't take everyone and are not prepared to deal with these cases. The biggest problem is the lack of special suits and masks," he added.

With zero warning, the worst that six bloody years of conflict in Syria had to offer had muscled its way into the conference in Brussels.

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that it could be seen as "surreal" to be talking about the post-conflict prospects for Syria with attacks still going on.

"I know these people, we all know each other," said Manal Fahham, a neurologist who works with Al Seeraj, a Syrian medical NGO.

"This is supposed to be a red line in the conflict but you know that there are no red lines in this conflict," she said, referring to the suspected gas attack.

Fahham studied medicine in Damascus before working for 20 years in Saudi Arabia. In early 2011 she moved with her husband to Syria and set up a network of clandestine doctors as the war raged.

"You know what people tell me on the ground? They say they want a quick death, not a slow death," she said.

"Lately the attacks have been using chlorine gas which is almost worse. Chlorine doesn't kill you, it just makes you suffer, causing psychological problems," she said.

Zamel said the most pressing problem was the lack of training and supplies after years of conflict that have seen doctors experienced doctors killed or choosing exile.

"These attacks require a lot of medication. There were only 50 injections of a Atropine antidote available at the hospital" in Idlib, he said.

"There is a lack of experience to deal with chemical-type attacks. There is lack of oxygen, medication and most important proper chemical suits, gloves and masks," he said.

"We need properly trained medical personnel to deal with these attacks. We need support," he said.

- 'The worst' -

The gathered officials from embassies, aid agencies and NGOs could only listen, with even the most war-weathered veterans dumbstruck by the latest news.

"This sixth year of the conflict has been by far the worst in the conflict. Today is the worst type of violation," said Justin Byworth of World Vision, a Christian NGO with many missions in Syria.

"I've worked in humanitarian work for thirty years -- Africa, Asia the Middle East -- and I've never had a experience like the Syrian conflict," he said.

"Today, sitting in that conference room with the head of all these major institutions: UN, EU... for everyone in the room, who have seen the horrific situation in Syria, it really hit home," he said.

"The problem is, Are the right people in the room who need to hear that message?"

Russian PM rejects Navalny’s corruption allegations

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed for the first time on Tuesday allegations of corruption made against him by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which sparked nationwide protests.Speaking to journalists after meetings with the agriculture…

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed for the first time on Tuesday allegations of corruption made against him by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which sparked nationwide protests.

Speaking to journalists after meetings with the agriculture industry in central Russia, Medvedev said claims he controlled a vast property empire were "malarkey" that somebody had paid to make into a "quality product".

He said it had been done "to try to pull people out into the streets and reach political ends."

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who plans to stand in presidential elections next year, issued a detailed video report last month alleging that Medvedev was the ultimate owner of an array of luxurious properties managed through obscure foundations.

"This character openly says that 'everyone is horrible, choose me for president'," Medvedev said in televised remarks, referring to Navalny.

"For that he drags people out to the streets, often minors, which is practically a crime, making them hostages of his political programme."

Navalny's report on Medvedev was behind the wave of protests that swept the country on March 26 in one of the biggest challenges to President Vladimir Putin's rule in years.

Over a thousand people were detained in Moscow alone, with dozens sent to jail for up to 25 days, including Navalny, who will remain behind bars until next week.

But the timing of Medvedev's first public reaction to the allegations is likely to raise eyebrows.

It comes as the country's attention is focused on the aftermath of the deadly bombing of the metro in Saint Petersburg that killed 14 people.

Paraguay suspends re-election amendment after riots

Paraguayan lawmakers Tuesday suspended a controversial bill altering the constitution to allow the president to stand for re-election following riots and the death of an activist.The decision by the Chamber of Deputies, where President Horacio Cartes h…

Paraguayan lawmakers Tuesday suspended a controversial bill altering the constitution to allow the president to stand for re-election following riots and the death of an activist.

The decision by the Chamber of Deputies, where President Horacio Cartes has a majority, went towards a key condition set by the opposition before talks could begin Wednesday involving parties and the church.

The violence broke out last Friday after senators approved a bill that would allow Cartes to run again for office in 2018 when his current term ends.

After rioters stormed Congress, police hunted down protesters. One 25-year-old activist was apparently shot by police as they searched the offices of the opposition Liberal Party.

After firing his interior minister and police chief over the death, Cartes on Monday reached out to the opposition, proposing negotiations to calm tensions.

Pope Francis on Sunday lent his support to the talks and the Catholic Church has made available one of its buildings close to the presidency for the meeting.

Liberal Party leader Efrain Alegre -- a probable presidential candidate in 2018 -- said the talks could only go ahead if the bill were withdrawn.

Continuing public anger at the amendment push resulted in some 10,000 people protesting late Monday in front of Congress. Other protests took place in the capital.

The specter of a long run of dictatorships throughout most of the 20th century hangs over the tiny South American country, population nearly seven million.

For some, the moves to change the constitution revived memories of authoritarian power grabs.

The 1992 constitution underpinning Paraguay's young democracy fixes a one-term limit on presidents.

Briton aims to cycle around the world in 80 days

A British adventurer is hoping to “redefine the limits of human endurance” by attempting to cycle around the world in 80 days from July 2, smashing the current record by over six weeks.Mark Beaumont, who began a warm-up tour of Britain on Tuesday to pr…

A British adventurer is hoping to "redefine the limits of human endurance" by attempting to cycle around the world in 80 days from July 2, smashing the current record by over six weeks.

Mark Beaumont, who began a warm-up tour of Britain on Tuesday to prepare for the feat, will attempt to travel 18,000 miles (28,968 kilometres) under his own steam, cycling for 16 hours a day.

"I want to redefine the limits of human endurance by proving what seems impossible really is possible," Beaumont said in a statement.

The first leg of his journey will see him cycle from Paris to Beijing through Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia and China.

He will then cycle across Australia and New Zealand, before heading to North America where he will travel from Anchorage in the United States to Halifax in Canada.

On the final leg, he will cycle from Portugal though Spain and back to Paris.

To complete his gruelling challenge, Beaumont will need to cycle 240 miles a day and consume a daily diet of 8,000 calories and up to 10 litres of water.

With this attempt, Beaumont is hoping to reclaim a world record title.

In 2008, he travelled the globe by bicycle in 194 days. The current record is held by New Zealander Andrew Nicholson who did it in 123 days in 2015.

Beaumont is confident he can halve his own time, explaining to BBC television on Monday that he had not had any back-up the first time around, and had to "find clean water and a safe place to sleep".

"This time it's almost Tour de France style, I've got a support vehicle behind me, it's just about performance and that makes a huge difference," he said.

Beaumont listed border crossings as one of his main concerns.

The death of fellow British ultra-distance cyclist Mike Hall on Friday after being hit by a car during a race in Australia also brought home the dangers for Beaumont.

"I understand what I'm taking on, it scares me, it's hugely intimidating" Beaumont told the BBC.

Eiffel Tower to dim its lights for St. Petersburg attack victims after public outcry

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced in a Twitter post that the Eiffel Tower will turn off its lights to pay tribute to the victims of the St. Petersburg Metro terrorist attack, apparently after she faced massive public pressure on soci…

Preview Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced in a Twitter post that the Eiffel Tower will turn off its lights to pay tribute to the victims of the St. Petersburg Metro terrorist attack, apparently after she faced massive public pressure on social networks.
Read Full Article at RT.com

O’Reilly sex allegations prompts advertisers to pull out

Major auto brands have decided to pull advertising from a popular Fox News program following reports of sexual harassment involving host Bill O’Reilly.Companies dropping advertising with “The O’Reilly Factor” included BMW North America, Mercedes-Benz a…

Major auto brands have decided to pull advertising from a popular Fox News program following reports of sexual harassment involving host Bill O'Reilly.

Companies dropping advertising with "The O'Reilly Factor" included BMW North America, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, according to statements to AFP.

"While it's hard to tell what the facts are, the allegations are disturbing," Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland said.

"Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don't feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now."

The moves came after a New York Times report saying the cable news giant and O'Reilly had paid five women a total of $13 million in the cases that span 15 years, in exchange for their silence and agreeing not to pursue litigation against Fox News, a favorite among conservatives.

While two of the cases were previously known, the Times said it had unearthed three more cases of harassment, two of a sexual nature and one alleging verbally abusive behavior by O'Reilly.

"The O'Reilly Factor" is the most widely viewed cable news show with an average of 3.98 million viewers in early 2017, according to Adweek.

From January 2015 to September 2016, the program pulled in some $297 million in ad revenues, according to the research firm Kantar Media.

A BMW spokesman said the German auto giant was suspending ads for the program "in light of the recent New York Times investigation."

Hyundai said it had no current ads on the program but had scheduled some.

The South Korean firm is "reallocating them (to other Fox programs) due to the recent and disturbing allegations," according to a statement to AFP.

"As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity," Hyundai said.

"We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions."

A Toyota spokeswoman said Lexus ads appearing on the O'Reilly Factor were "part of a wide ranging media package, with ads appearing on a variety of cable television programs" and that the Japanese auto giant would "monitor the situation."

"We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously, and seek to partner with organizations who share our company culture and philosophy of respect for all people," the statement said.

The reports on O'Reilly came as Fox News and its ousted chief Roger Ailes were hit Monday with a fresh sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a female contributor who says she was denied a job after refusing the chairman's advances.

The lawsuit by Julie Roginsky, a political strategist who was a contributing commentator, came eight months after Ailes, a confidant of the cable network's founder Rupert Murdoch, was forced out over an earlier harassment suit.

Brighter Day dreams of Masters win with mom watching

Third-ranked Jason Day, overjoyed at his mother’s progress after lung cancer surgery 10 days ago, yearns to win the Masters this week with her watching at Augusta National.The 28-year-old Australian, who won his first major title at the 2015 PGA Champi…

Third-ranked Jason Day, overjoyed at his mother's progress after lung cancer surgery 10 days ago, yearns to win the Masters this week with her watching at Augusta National.

The 28-year-old Australian, who won his first major title at the 2015 PGA Championship, withdrew from the World Golf Championships Match-Play event two weeks ago to be with his mother, Dening, as she faced a five-hour left lung operation in Columbus, Ohio.

"Mom told me go out and just play. Unfortunately I can't think like that," Day said. "I felt selfish being out there. I wanted to be with my mom making sure the surgery goes well. I felt between two places. It was a roller coaster of emotions. I was torn... I just knew I had to be back home."

Day learned Monday that she would not need chemotherapy and that the woman who bolstered his golf dreams can watch him this weekend at the Masters for the first time, a perfect scenario to win the green jacket he has long sought.

"I was very emotional when I won my first major. You can just multiple that by 100," Day said about what winning Sunday would mean.

"It would be great to have my mom here. She's never had the opportunity to come over here before. It gets me excited to think about it, about the possibility of winning it."

Day's father, Alvin, died of stomach cancer when his son was only 12. Dening took out a mortgage on the family home to finance Jason's tuition at a golf academy, her son inspired by seeing Tiger Woods win the 1997 Masters in record-setting fashion.

"She is the reason why I'm playing professional golf now," Day said Tuesday. "She sacrified a lot. So did my sisters. I owe everything to her. She's the one who got me from where I was to where I am now."

Day's joy at his mother's improvement has put worries of an inadequate Masters tuneup out of his mind.

"She doesn't have to go through chemo, which is really, really exciting stuff," Day said. "I'm very pleased, very happy with how things have progressed."

- 'Little bit underprepared' -

Day said he went two weeks without picking up a club while with his family.

"I'm a little bit under prepared to be honest," Day said. "Maybe it's a good thing. I'm just going to do the best I can."

Day practiced from Friday through Monday at Augusta National as he waited for news of his mother's condition.

"Ultimately I think I still would have played, but if it had come back another way my thinking would have been elsewhere," Day said.

"I needed to make sure my mom was OK. Once I knew the surgery went well, I was OK to calm down.

"Cancer, it affects so many people. It's a very painful thing to go through. You don't really expect you or your loved ones to go through it. We're very pleased to get through this stage."

- 'I feel lighter, refreshed' -

Day feels relief on the course now after before feeling sad about his mother some days and guilty others for not feeling sadder.

"This week I feel lighter, feel refreshed in a way. All the hard stuff is off my mind. I can kind of get back to physically just focusing on golf," Day said. "If you don't have that it's difficult to compete against the best players in the world."

Day's mother wants to return to Australia after the Masters.

"She's worried about work," he said. "She wanted to get back to it. Even before surgery and after surgery she wants to get back home. I'm like, 'What are you thinking?'

"It was tough just getting her over here. She was coughing up blood for three months without telling me. That's how stubborn she is."

A lesson to seize the day isn't lost on Day.

"I know we take it for granted. Golfers as a whole, we're very selfish. We need to be selfish to get better at our craft," he said.

"But when you sit there and think about it... Maybe you should have spent more time with your family. We're all going to go some time."

Mosaddek, Mahmudullah take Bangladesh to 155-6

Mosaddek Hossain top-scored with 34 not out as Bangladesh made 155-6 in their first Twenty20 International of a two-match series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Tuesday.Mosaddek helped revive the innings with a 57-run sixth wicket stand with Mahmudulla…

Mosaddek Hossain top-scored with 34 not out as Bangladesh made 155-6 in their first Twenty20 International of a two-match series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Tuesday.

Mosaddek helped revive the innings with a 57-run sixth wicket stand with Mahmudullah after some disciplined bowling by Sri Lanka left the visitors reeling at 82-5 at one stage.

Mahmudullah made 31 off 26 balls runs while Soumya Sarkar chipped in with 29 in Bangladesh?s stop-start innings at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who announced his retirement from Twenty20 International cricket before the game, won the toss and opted to bat first but the side was rocked by Lasith Malinga?s second ball strike.

Making a comeback in international cricket after weeks of injury lay-off, Malinga bowled opener Tamim Iqbal for a duck, though Sri Lanka could not capitalise on the start.

Soumya and Sabbir Rahman put on 57 runs for the second wicket to power Bangladesh back on track before a run-out of Sabbir for 16 triggered a Bangladesh collapse and choked the visitors in the middle overs.

Soumya left in the same over before quick dismissals of Mushfiqur Rahim (11) and Shakib Al Hasan (11) threatened to have derailed Bangladesh completely.

Malinga finished with 2-38.

Albasini claims second Basque stage

Swiss rider Michael Albasini edged a sprint finish to claim victory on the second stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on Tuesday.Albasini beat Argentine Ariel Maximiliano Richeze and Belgium’s Sean de Bie into second and third respectively in a tim…

Swiss rider Michael Albasini edged a sprint finish to claim victory on the second stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on Tuesday.

Albasini beat Argentine Ariel Maximiliano Richeze and Belgium's Sean de Bie into second and third respectively in a time of 4hrs 35mins 22secs for the 173.4km from Pamplona to Eltziego.

Australian Michael Matthews was fourth and maintains the overall lead after winning Monday's opening stage.

Pre-race favourites Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador remain on the same time as Matthews, although Contador had another eventful day as he overcame a puncture after crashing inside the final kilometre on Monday.

Wednesday's third stage gives the climbers a first chance to separate themselves from the pack with six climbs on the 160.5km ride from Vitoria to San Sebastian.

French far-right candidate Le Pen faces new ‘fake job’ probe

A French prosecutor is investigating the activities of the far-right National Front on a regional council in northern France, a judicial source said on Tuesday after a newspaper reported a top party official was suspected of being paid for fake work.

A French prosecutor is investigating the activities of the far-right National Front on a regional council in northern France, a judicial source said on Tuesday after a newspaper reported a top party official was suspected of being paid for fake work.

St. Petersburg Metro bombing: What we know so far

More than a day since a deadly blast rocked a train car in the St. Petersburg Metro, investigators have established and reported on some of the details pertaining to the apparent terrorist attack. RT wraps up what is known about the incid…

Preview More than a day since a deadly blast rocked a train car in the St. Petersburg Metro, investigators have established and reported on some of the details pertaining to the apparent terrorist attack. RT wraps up what is known about the incident so far.
Read Full Article at RT.com

EU parliament urges new checks to stop emissions cheating

EU lawmakers on Tuesday urged European authorities to quickly establish new checks to prevent automakers from cheating on emissions testing following the Volkswagen “dieselgate” scandal.In a non-binding resolution, the European Parliament called on the…

EU lawmakers on Tuesday urged European authorities to quickly establish new checks to prevent automakers from cheating on emissions testing following the Volkswagen "dieselgate" scandal.

In a non-binding resolution, the European Parliament called on the European Commission, the 28-nation EU executive, and the member states to set up new controls, a decision welcomed by a major consumer organisation.

"They should now act swiftly to improve tests and checks on new cars on EU roads," MEPs recommended based on a report from the committee that launched a probe into the scandal last July.

The dieselgate scandal blew open when Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that it installed software devices in 11 million diesel-engine cars worldwide that reduced emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides when it detected the vehicle was undergoing tests.

The EU parliament said the commission and member states had known for 10 years that emissions were much higher on the road than on laboratory simulators, and yet had failed to act.

It recommended that future emissions legislative proposals be handled by the office of a single European commissioner to boost oversight.

"EU legislation on real driving emissions should be adopted swiftly," the parliament added.

It also called for manufacturers to compensate car buyers hurt by the scandal and urged the commission to propose rules for a collective and harmonised EU redress system.

The parliament also recommended centralising car-type approvals in Europe.

The recommendations would also boost the role of the commission by giving it more oversight and sanctions powers.

The European consumer organisation BEUC said the parliament heeded its call to fix a flawed testing system and put tougher measures in place.

"Today?s vote shows the parliament has drawn the right lessons from the emissions scandal and is standing on the consumer?s side," BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said.

Euro business must be moved from London after Brexit: Top MEP

London should cede financial transactions denominated in euros to EU cities like Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt following Britain’s exit from the bloc, an EU Parliament leader said Tuesday.Manfred Weber, the German head of the conservative European Peop…

London should cede financial transactions denominated in euros to EU cities like Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt following Britain's exit from the bloc, an EU Parliament leader said Tuesday.

Manfred Weber, the German head of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) group, the parliament's biggest bloc, underscored the threat London could lose such access on the eve of a parliamentary resolution on Brexit.

Huge volumes of euro-denominated trade pass through Britain thanks to so-called "passporting" rules, which allow the UK to host transactions in the single currency despite not itself being a part of the eurozone.

"When Great Britain is leaving the European Union, for us it is not thinkable that, at the end, the whole euro business is still managed in London," Weber told reporters at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

"Then the euro business should be managed on EU soil," he said.

"I have the obvious interest that places like Amsterdam, like Paris, like Dublin, like Frankfurt can win and others can lose," said Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"There is already competition going on about who can win in this process," he added.

He declined to go into specifics about what euro-denominated business he was referring to.

The EU has warned Britain that it will not be allowed to cling to advantages for its financial industry while blocking free movement of labour in the wake of Brexit.

London's financial district has benefited from Britain's EU membership as a foothold in the single market for British and non-EU banks.

Several major players in the sector, including US giant JP Morgan and Swiss UBS, have warned that thousands of jobs could leave the "Square Mile" financial district for the continent if that happens.

Weber was speaking before the European Parliament, which will have the final say on any Brexit deal, votes Wednesday on guidelines for the negotiations with Britain, after the starting gun was fired by British Prime Minister Theresa May last week.

However, a draft of the negotiating guidelines seen by AFP contained no reference to euro-denominated business in London.

‘No defense’ against multiple Russian missiles: US general

The United States and its allies would have “no defense” against large numbers of ground-launched cruise missiles of the type recently deployed by Russia, a top US general warned Tuesday.The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of deploying a la…

The United States and its allies would have "no defense" against large numbers of ground-launched cruise missiles of the type recently deployed by Russia, a top US general warned Tuesday.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of deploying a land-based cruise missile system in contravention of a 1987 US-Russia arms control deal, known as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF.)

General John Hyten, who heads the US military's Strategic Command, told lawmakers that a single ground-launched cruise missile is not a significant threat, but the calculus changes if multiple missiles are launched.

"We have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies," Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. ... It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how deal with it as a nation."

US officials have not described the missile deployed by the Russians, but experts say it could be easily tipped with a nuclear warhead.

The 1987 INF treaty put an end to a mini-arms race triggered by the Soviet Union's deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles targeting Western European capitals.

Russia says it has not violated the INF treaty, but has accused Washington of doing so itself.

Russia is modernizing its entire nuclear force, and Hyten said the breaching of the INF treaty was a "concern" that "we're going to have to consider as we look forward to how we deal with Russia."

The general also warned about the growing threat to America's satellites, an essential component of its global security apparatus.

China and Russia are developing technologies to target the satellites in the event of a conflict, he said.

UN says stalled Cyprus peace talks to resume

Rival Cypriot leaders have agreed to restart stalled peace talks next week on reunifying the island, the United Nations said on Tuesday.The announcement came after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met UN chief Antonio Guterres in Brussels.”Special…

Rival Cypriot leaders have agreed to restart stalled peace talks next week on reunifying the island, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The announcement came after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met UN chief Antonio Guterres in Brussels.

"Special Adviser of the Secretary-General (SASG) on Cyprus, Mr Espen Barth Eide, has announced the Cyprus Talks will resume following consultations with both sides and today's meeting between the Secretary-General and the Turkish Cypriot leader," a UN statement said.

"The leaders will resume negotiations at 10am on Tuesday 11 April 2017. The meeting will be held under the auspices of SASG Eide," it added.

The announcement comes after Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Akinci met for dinner on Sunday for the first time since talks were suspended in February.

The four-hour dinner was held at the Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone in the divided capital, Nicosia.

Outside the venue, scores of Greek and Turkish Cypriots chanted for a "solution now".

Earlier on Tuesday before the UN announcement, Anastasiades told reporters the Greek Cypriots were ready to resume talks at any time.

"Our position remains that we are ready at any given moment to continue the dialogue... The whole effort is focused on our desire for a solution to the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said.

Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in fragile peace talks since May 2015 that observers saw as the best chance in years to reunify the island.

- Climate of trust crumbled -

But the UN-backed process came to a standstill in February in a row over Greek Cypriot schools marking the anniversary of an unofficial 1950 referendum supporting union with Greece.

Akinci suspended his participation in the talks after the Cyprus parliament approved a move for Greek Cypriot schools to commemorate the poll.

Since the bill passed, a previous climate of trust between the two sides has crumbled, with each blaming the other for the impasse.

Parliamentarians are now expected to amend the bill, allowing the education minister, rather than parliament itself, to decide on such issues.

Much of the progress in recent talks was based on the strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Obstacles to progress will remain even when the negotiations resume, as the leaders are still far apart on core issues such as power sharing, territorial adjustments and property rights.

Also added into the mix is a Greek Cypriot presidential election next February and the republic's search for oil and gas.

New exploratory drills are expected in June, but Ankara wants to see these stopped until peace talks have reached an outcome.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking Enosis -- the Greek term for political union between Greece and Cyprus.

After a failed referendum on a UN peace plan in 2004, the Cyprus republic now headed by Anastasiades joined the European Union as a divided country.

The self-declared republic in the Turkish-held north is recognised only by Turkey.

Ukraine expects another $4.5 bn from IMF this year

Ukraine expects another $4.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of the year, the National Bank said Tuesday, one day after the fund granted $1 billion for the cash-strapped country.”According to our forecasts, we expect the r…

Ukraine expects another $4.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of the year, the National Bank said Tuesday, one day after the fund granted $1 billion for the cash-strapped country.

"According to our forecasts, we expect the receipt of approximately $4.5 billion -- these are three tranches from the IMF -- by the end of this year," the National Bank's deputy head, Oleg Churiy, told journalists.

Just a day before, the IMF had announced the release of a $1 billion loan disbursal to Ukraine, which had been postponed following the trade blockade imposed by Kiev on Russia-backed separatist eastern regions of the country.

Ukraine's pro-western leadership has been desperately waiting for the next instalment of a $17.5-billion rescue programme that has been held up repeatedly since it was agreed in 2015 over delays by Kiev to carry out reforms.

The World Bank released a fresh forecast on Tuesday, projecting Ukraine's economic growth at two percent for 2017.

"There are significant headwinds from the weak global economy and the conflict in the east of Ukraine," said World Bank economist Faruk Khan.

"The coal and trade blockade in the uncontrolled areas of the east of Ukraine are expected to primarily impact two key sectors -- steel production and electricity generation," the expert said in Kiev.

"As a result, our projection of economic growth for 2017 remains modest."

The World Bank also underlined "the instant need to further accelerate reforms" that can make Ukraine's economic recovery "durable".

"So much more needs to be done," said Satu Kahkonen, the World Bank's country director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.

On Monday, the IMF issued a similar outlook, calling on Kiev to privatize more state-owned companies, create a market for farmland, and overhaul its retirement pension system by making people work longer. The IMF also said Ukraine must fight corruption.

In a fresh forecast released Tuesday, the IMF also predicted two percent growth in the country this year but expressed more optimism about 2018, with an expected economic expansion of 3.2 percent.

"The strength and durability of the recovery depend critically upon the pace and depth of structural reforms in the coming years," the IMF said in its annual review of the Ukrainian economy.

"Rapid and more inclusive growth of at least four percent will be needed over the medium term to recover the lost ground and noticeably improve incomes. Even then, it would take more than a generation for Ukraine to catch up with its regional peers," the IMF said.

Masters Champion Willett prepares an Augusta feast

Masters champion Danny Willett, who won the green jacket against all odds last year, is planning an Augusta feast Tuesday for fellow champions ahead of his bid to retain the title.The current champion traditionally chooses the menu and hosts a dinner f…

Masters champion Danny Willett, who won the green jacket against all odds last year, is planning an Augusta feast Tuesday for fellow champions ahead of his bid to retain the title.

The current champion traditionally chooses the menu and hosts a dinner for past winners and the 29-year-old Englishman from Sheffield is bringing a taste of home to the 81st Masters.

The menu includes roast beef and Yorkshire pudding washed down by Yorkshire tea, and "hopefully they will enjoy this little taste of Yorkshire," said Willett.

Willett won the Masters last year on the final nine holes after a spectacular collapse at Amen Corner by rising US star Jordan Speith, who went into the back nine five shots up but hit an incredible quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th hole.

Willett held his nerve to win the green jacket but has struggled to reach those heights again, failing to win since his Augusta triumph.

"You have achieved the greatest high in your sport," he explained. "You have climbed Everest and put up your flag there. You have to stay up there or climb down."

"The past 12 months has made me impatient," Willett admitted, saying it was hard to accept playing at a lower standard compared to the peak he reached at the 2016 Masters.

"If you can't do that every time, you become a bit impatient. This is where this game jumps up and bites you.

"It is not that easy. You can't just do it week in week out."

But Willett, ranked 17th, said that he has put in the hard yards in the tune up to this year's Masters and is back playing some of his best golf -- more than ready to defend his crown.

"Practice is world class right now," he said. "Unfortunately, it's not quite carrying over into competition."

That carry over, he says, is only a question of time.

"If you put in the hard work, there is an inevitability that you will get back up there again," he said.

Willett was the first Englishman to win the Masters since Nick Faldo in 1996 but he suggested that more countrymen are waiting in the wings to become Masters contenders.

He said English golf was enjoying something of a golden age at the moment with a record 11 players in the Augusta field.

"There is a new race of guys my age or under," he said. "I don't think it will be long before you see these guys step it up again in major championships."

Syria attack believed to be chemical, from the air: UN envoy

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Tuesday that a “horrific” attack on a rebel-held town in the country that killed at least 58 people was believed to be chemical and launched from the air.”What we have understood, it was a chemical attack and it c…

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Tuesday that a "horrific" attack on a rebel-held town in the country that killed at least 58 people was believed to be chemical and launched from the air.

"What we have understood, it was a chemical attack and it came from the air," de Mistura told reporters in Brussels, adding that there should be a "clear identification of responsibilities and accountability."

De Mistura, fresh from the latest round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva between the rebels and Damascus, said that every time there was a sign of progress, someone -- unnamed -- always tried to sabotage it.

"Every time we have a moment in which the international community is capable of being together, there is someone, somehow that tries to undermine that feeling of hope by producing a feeling of horror and outrage," he said on the sidelines of a Syrian aid conference in Brussels.

"But we are not going to give up. On the contrary, we make use of all these horror moments to show they cannot prevail," de Mistura added.

Separately, the UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria said it had begun investigating the attack on a rebel-held town in northwestern Idlib Province.

"Reports suggesting that this was a chemical weapons attack are extremely concerning," it said in a statement.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, meanwhile also said it was "gathering and analysing information from all available sources" about the attack.

‘All covered with blood’: Survivor of St. Petersburg Metro bombing to RT

Having miraculously survived the fatal St. Petersburg Metro bombing, people shared their first-hand experiences with RT as they recall the moments following the explosion. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Having miraculously survived the fatal St. Petersburg Metro bombing, people shared their first-hand experiences with RT as they recall the moments following the explosion.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Spotify, Universal sign global licence agreement

Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming company, and Universal Music Group said Tuesday they have signed a new multi-year global licence agreement. Under the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, Spotify’s paying subscribers can have access…

Spotify, the world's largest music streaming company, and Universal Music Group said Tuesday they have signed a new multi-year global licence agreement.

Under the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, Spotify's paying subscribers can have access to a new album by a Universal artist for a period of two weeks after its release, the two companies said in a joint statement.

But "singles are available on Spotify for all listeners," its chairman and CEO, Daniel Ek, said in the statement.

Since it was founded in 2008, the online music listening service has never been able to generate a net profit, with the majority of its turnover going to the rights holders such as artists, producers and record majors.

For its part, the Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's largest record label, will also get unprecedented access to data, "creating the foundation for new tools for artists and labels to expand, engage and build deeper connections with their fans."

Lucian Grainge, UMG's chairman and CEO, underlined the need for the music industry to make Spotify profitable, as record music companies seek to limit its free services.

"Today, streaming represents the majority of the business. Our challenge is transforming that upturn into sustainable growth," Grainge said.

Spotify, which is available in 60 markets, exceeded 50 million paying subscribers in early March.

The company is growing and consolidating its position as the world's number one compared to competitors like Apple Music or Deezer.

It did not mention progress in negotiations with the two other majors companies, Sony and Warner.

Swiss watchdog contacts Credit Suisse over tax fraud probe

Switzerland’s financial watchdog said Tuesday it was “in contact” with Credit Suisse after authorities in the country were kept in the dark about a massive international fraud probe targeting the bank.The five-country tax evasion and money-laundering i…

Switzerland's financial watchdog said Tuesday it was "in contact" with Credit Suisse after authorities in the country were kept in the dark about a massive international fraud probe targeting the bank.

The five-country tax evasion and money-laundering investigation focusing on clients and top employees of Switzerland's second-largest bank came as a surprise to Swiss officials when it was announced last week.

The head of financial watchdog FINMA, Mark Branson, told reporters that Swiss regulators were now "in contact with the bank", but declined to discuss details, including whether Swiss investigators were weighing their own inquiry.

Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia have mounted a probe targeting hundreds of people and thousands of Credit Suisse accounts possibly linked to tax evasion.

The Swiss attorney general has voiced concern that "Switzerland was specifically excluded when this operation was organised".

"The customary practises and rules of international cooperation and mutual assistance were clearly not followed in this case," the attorney general's statement said.

Bern has demanded a written explanation from Dutch authorities, who have made arrests and seized property in the case.

The investigation, which British officials say is targeting senior bank employees and its clients, comes as Switzerland is trying to build more transparency into its notoriously secretive banking sector.

Credit Suisse, like other Swiss banks, has begun implementing an information sharing programme that automatically sends tax information about its clients to relevant authorities in a long range of countries.

The bank has insisted it has done nothing wrong and has a "zero tolerance" approach to tax evasion.

It is not yet clear if the probe is focused on new Credit Suisse accounts or older ones opened in an era of less tax scrutiny at the bank.

FINMA's Branson suggested the latter may be possible.

"Wealth managers in Switzerland may need more time to deal with the past," he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg News.

Paul Dembinski of the University of Fribourg said Swiss banks may have shady tax dealings built into their "culture".

The best solution could be to "recruit new people", he told Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

Pope Francis reaches out to Catholic fundamentalists

Pope Francis has extended a new olive branch to a breakaway group of Catholic ultra-traditionalists, the Society of St Pius X, by allowing their priests to celebrate marriages.The move follows his recent move to let priests in the Society hear confessi…

Pope Francis has extended a new olive branch to a breakaway group of Catholic ultra-traditionalists, the Society of St Pius X, by allowing their priests to celebrate marriages.

The move follows his recent move to let priests in the Society hear confessions.

The conditions attached to the wedding authorisation were outlined in a letter to the Society approved by Francis and published by the Vatican on Tuesday.

They include having an officially recognised priest in attendance at the wedding or, if that is not possible, the Society priest must have express authorisation from the local bishop.

The letter said the latest step was part of "efforts to bring the Society of St. Pius X into full communion" and had been taken "despite the canonical irregularity in which for the time being (it) finds itself."

The Society was established in 1970 as a Church-approved group of clerics opposed to a package of liberalising Church reforms known as Vatican II.

In 1988, just under three years before his death, the group's leader Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained a number of like-minded priests as bishops with the intention they could continue his battle.

He did so without the pope's permission and he and the new bishops were automatically excommunicated as a result.

The surviving Lefebvre loyalist bishops were allowed back into the Church in 2009, including Richard Williamson, a notorious British holocaust-denier.

Williamson was subsequently expelled from the Society and excommunicated for a second time last year after illicitly ordaining another bishop in Brazil.

New app helps French diners gauge hygiene of favourite restaurants

French diners are now able to gauge the cleanliness of their favourite restaurants or bistros with the help of a handy new app which reveals the scores received during the latest official sanitary inspection at the venue.

French diners are now able to gauge the cleanliness of their favourite restaurants or bistros with the help of a handy new app which reveals the scores received during the latest official sanitary inspection at the venue.

Staples shares surge after report of takeover talks

Shares of Staples surged Tuesday following a report that the office supplies retailer was in talks with potential acquirers.Shares were up 12.9 percent to $9.78 in mid-morning trade after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter,…

Shares of Staples surged Tuesday following a report that the office supplies retailer was in talks with potential acquirers.

Shares were up 12.9 percent to $9.78 in mid-morning trade after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Staples had held talks with private-equity bidders.

The talks are at an early stage and may not result in a transaction, the newspaper added.

The move comes almost a year after a federal judge blocked a proposed merger between Staples and rival Office Depot due to antitrust problems.

Like other kinds of retailers, Staples has been hammered by rising competition from e-commerce companies like Amazon.

Staples declined in response to a query from AFP.

Ralph Lauren to close flagship Polo store in Manhattan

Ralph Lauren Corp. plans to shut its flagship Polo store on New York’s Fifth Avenue and cut some staff as it shifts more resources to e-commerce, the American fashion label said Tuesday.The company will shutter other retail locations and upgrade its e-…

Ralph Lauren Corp. plans to shut its flagship Polo store on New York's Fifth Avenue and cut some staff as it shifts more resources to e-commerce, the American fashion label said Tuesday.

The company will shutter other retail locations and upgrade its e-commerce system. It did not say how many jobs would be slashed.

Goods from the Fifth Avenue store will be sold at other Ralph Lauren stores in New York. The moves will result in $370 million in one-time expenses.

"We continue to review our store footprint in each market to ensure we have the right distribution and customer experience in place," said chief financial officer Jane Nielsen.

"The decision will optimize our store portfolio in the New York area and allow us to focus on opportunities to pilot new and innovative customer experiences."

New ideas under review include "Ralph Coffee" at retail locations and "developing new store formats that connect the brand to loyal and new consumers," the company said.

The moves are the latest as the retail industry responds to the consumer shift to e-commerce that has led many to conclude that the US brick-and-mortar retail footprint is too big.

Gap and Macy's have also announced store closures in recent months, and on Monday, J.Crew announced that its longtime creative director Jenna Lyons would leave the company.

In February, Ralph Lauren announced that chief executive Stefan Larsson would step down on May 1 following creative disagreements with the label's founder.

Shares of Ralph Lauren fell 2.8 percent to $79.13 in mid-morning trade.

Turkey seeks long jail terms for opposition daily journalists

Turkish prosecutors said Tuesday they were seeking jail terms of up to 43 years for 19 journalists and employees of opposition daily Cumhuriyet, in a case that has intensified concerns over press freedom under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The journal…

Turkish prosecutors said Tuesday they were seeking jail terms of up to 43 years for 19 journalists and employees of opposition daily Cumhuriyet, in a case that has intensified concerns over press freedom under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The journalists, most of whom have been held in jail for the last five months, are accused of membership of a banned "terror group" and aiding outlawed organisations.

Turkey's oldest national daily, the staunchly secular Cumhuriyet daily has been a thorn in Erdogan's side in recent months as the president seeks to expand his powers in an April 16 referendum.

Its former editor-in-chief Can Dundar was last year handed a five-year-and-10-month jail term and has now fled Turkey for Germany over a front-page story accusing the government of sending weapons to Syria.

The indictment by Istanbul prosecutors, which has taken five months to produce, accuses Cumhuriyet of being under the control since 2013 of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher blamed for the July 2016 failed coup.

It also accuses the paper of cooperating with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as well as ultra-leftist militants.

The newspaper has rubbished the allegations, saying it has been constantly critical of Gulen's group even before the failed coup bid.

Those held under arrest include some of the biggest names in Turkish journalism, including the paper's current editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, commentator Kadri Gursel, writer Ahmet Sik, cartoonist Musa Kart and Dundar himself.

Prosecutors want Sabuncu and Gursel to face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty while the paper's chairman Akin Atalay faces up to 43 years, according to the indictment.

Kart faces up to 29 years and Sik, an expert on the Gulen movement who wrote a book hugely critical of its operations, up to 15.

Since their arrest, Cumhuriyet has continued to keep the sections of the jailed columnists but with a blank space as they are not allowed to write in prison.

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 141 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained within the state of emergency imposed after the failed coup.

Critics have accused the government of using the state of emergency to crack down on all forms of opposition. Turkish authorities insist that those held are jailed for crimes other than their journalism.

Hungary passes bill targeting Soros university

Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday approved controversial higher-education legislation that could force the closure of a prestigious Budapest university founded by US billionaire investor George Soros.The respected English-language Central European Univers…

Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday approved controversial higher-education legislation that could force the closure of a prestigious Budapest university founded by US billionaire investor George Soros.

The respected English-language Central European University (CEU), set up in 1991 after the fall of communism, has long been seen as a hostile bastion of liberalism by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government.

MPs in the 199-seat parliament, dominated by Orban's Fidesz party, voted 123 in favour and 38 against the legislation, which will place tough restrictions on foreign universities operating in Hungary.

The new rules ban institutions outside the European Union from awarding Hungarian diplomas without an agreement between national governments.

They will also be required to have a campus and faculties in their home country -- conditions not met by the CEU.

Failure to comply would mean the CEU could not accept new student intakes from 2018, and possibly close by 2021.

The CEU said Tuesday it would contest the constitutionality of the bill.

"The new law puts at risk the academic freedom not only of CEU but of other Hungarian research and academic institutions," the university said in a statement.

The bill is seen as a fresh attack on the Hungarian-born philanthropist Soros, 86, often accused by Orban of seeking to undermine the continent by backing open borders and pro-refugee policies.

- 'Unfair advantage' -

The legislation, put forward last week and rushed through parliament in a fast-track procedure, triggered a large protest in Budapest on Sunday and has drawn international condemnation.

The US State Department had called for the proposal to be withdrawn, while an open letter was signed by over 900 academics around the world including 18 Nobel prize-winning economists.

"If we want to be a shining beacon of human rights in the world... then Europe can't remain silent when civil society members like the Central European University in Budapest are being stifled," German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday in a speech to European MPs in Strasbourg.

Orban said Monday the future of the CEU depends on the conclusion of a treaty between the governments of Hungary and the United States within the next six months.

The strongman has accused the university of "cheating" and of having an "unfair advantage" over local institutions -- allegations rejected by the CEU as "defamatory".

Registered in New York state, the CEU teaches over 1,400 students from more than 100 predominantly central and eastern European, as well as post-Soviet Union nations.

It ranks among the top 200 universities in the world in eight disciplines, including top 50 rankings in political science and international studies.

Supporters are set to organise a human chain protest around its downtown Budapest campus later Tuesday.

Within five days, President Janos Ader must either sign the legislation into force or order a review by the constitutional court.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on Ader not to sign the bill, denouncing what it said was Hungary's "contempt for critical voices in society".

Since coming to power in 2010, Orban has launched contentious sweeping reforms targeting independent institutions like the media and the judiciary.

A law clamping down on foreign-funded non-governmental organisations, including many by Soros, is expected to go before parliament later this month.

London to impose new charges to cut ‘lethal’ pollution

Drivers of the most polluting cars will be charged to travel into the centre of London from 2019, Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday, describing his city’s air as “lethal”.

Khan hopes the move will halve harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in central London, where air pollution is thought to cost 9,000 premature deaths per year.

Under the scheme, vehicles will be charged £12.50 ($15.50, 14.60 euros) to enter a planned “ultra-low emissions zone” (ULEZ) around the city centre.

Diesel cars more than four years old in April 2019 and petrol cars more than 13 years old will face the charge 24 hours a day.

Private buses, coaches and trucks failing to meet emissions standards will have to pay £100.

“The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing,” Khan told AFP.

The ULEZ will have the same boundary as the current congestion charge zone, where vehicles pay £11.50 to enter the city centre between 7:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

The pollution charge would come on top of the congestion charge.

Khan said he wants to extend the ULEZ to a far wider area of London in 2021.

“One of the big reasons that the air in London is lethal is because of the emissions of vehicles,” Khan said.

“We’ve estimated that more than half of the air pollution is caused by transport.

“It’s really important to recognise that poor quality air is one of the reasons why there are 9,000 premature deaths in London each year, more than 40,000 premature deaths across the UK and children having defective lungs, plus adults suffering poor health.”

Last week, Khan joined his counterparts from Paris and Seoul to launch an initiative to rate the most polluting vehicles in a bid to keep them off the roads of their cities.

The aim of the “Air’volution” scheme is to help drivers to avoid buying the most harmful diesel vans and cars.

Drivers of the most polluting cars will be charged to travel into the centre of London from 2019, Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday, describing his city's air as "lethal".

Khan hopes the move will halve harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in central London, where air pollution is thought to cost 9,000 premature deaths per year.

Under the scheme, vehicles will be charged £12.50 ($15.50, 14.60 euros) to enter a planned "ultra-low emissions zone" (ULEZ) around the city centre.

Diesel cars more than four years old in April 2019 and petrol cars more than 13 years old will face the charge 24 hours a day.

Private buses, coaches and trucks failing to meet emissions standards will have to pay £100.

"The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing," Khan told AFP.

The ULEZ will have the same boundary as the current congestion charge zone, where vehicles pay £11.50 to enter the city centre between 7:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

The pollution charge would come on top of the congestion charge.

Khan said he wants to extend the ULEZ to a far wider area of London in 2021.

"One of the big reasons that the air in London is lethal is because of the emissions of vehicles," Khan said.

"We've estimated that more than half of the air pollution is caused by transport.

"It's really important to recognise that poor quality air is one of the reasons why there are 9,000 premature deaths in London each year, more than 40,000 premature deaths across the UK and children having defective lungs, plus adults suffering poor health."

Last week, Khan joined his counterparts from Paris and Seoul to launch an initiative to rate the most polluting vehicles in a bid to keep them off the roads of their cities.

The aim of the "Air'volution" scheme is to help drivers to avoid buying the most harmful diesel vans and cars.

‘Cynical and despicable’ media allegations

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a press conference following a deadly suicided attack on the St Petersburg metro.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a press conference following a deadly suicided attack on the St Petersburg metro.

Michelangelo crucifix gets pride of place in Florence

A wooden crucifix sculpted by Michelangelo at 18 has been restored to pride of place in Florence’s Santo Spirito, the church the Renaissance master had created it for.After the death of his first benefactor Lorenzo de Medici in 1492, Michelangelo lived…

A wooden crucifix sculpted by Michelangelo at 18 has been restored to pride of place in Florence's Santo Spirito, the church the Renaissance master had created it for.

After the death of his first benefactor Lorenzo de Medici in 1492, Michelangelo lived for a year with a community of Augustine monks associated with the famous basilica, studying anatomy in the hospital they ran.

As a thank you for their welcome, he left them a 1.40 metre (four and a half foot) sculpture of a nude Jesus Christ on the cross.

The masterpiece was thought lost for decades before it was found in the 1960s, in a convent corridor and so badly overpainted it was barely recognisable.

Now restored, it recently went on tour in Italy before returning Tuesday to take up a new setting in Santo Spirito: suspended above the church's old sacristry in a way that allows visitors to inspect it from all angles.

"The Santo Spirito district, with its extraordinary basilica, is a place that needs protecting and to be brought to life," said Simonetta Brandolini d'Adda, president of the Friends of Florence group which helped organise the new installation for "this serene, sublime Christ."

Ukraine’s Poroshenko upholds Russian singer’s Eurovision ban

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday defended the decision to ban a Russian singer from the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev over a past performance in Crimea, saying admitting her would be against the law.Speaking in Riga, Poroshenko said th…

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday defended the decision to ban a Russian singer from the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev over a past performance in Crimea, saying admitting her would be against the law.

Speaking in Riga, Poroshenko said the three-year entry ban on 27-year-old singer Yuliya Samoilova was justified as she had illegally entered the Russian-annexed peninsula to perform a concert in 2015.

"Ukraine allows people to visit Crimea only with a special permit. To do otherwise is against Ukrainian law. This is well known by the Russian side," Poroshenko told journalists, saying the law must be applied equally to all.

"We offered several ways of addressing this question, starting with the possibility of video broadcast and finishing with the possibility of sending another participant."

Russia's Channel One state channel, which selected Samoilova as Russia's contestant, refused Ukraine's offer last month for her to participate remotely, saying that would go against the essence of the event.

"Russia didn't want to participate in Eurovision but wanted a provocation. I'm pleased that thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian government this provocation will not be realised," Poroshenko added.

Organisers of the Eurovision song contest have threatened to ban Ukraine from future competitions unless it allows Russia's entrant to enter the country and take part in this year's show in the Ukrainian capital.

Moscow and Kiev has been at loggerheads since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and over Russia's subsequent involvement in a conflict pitting Ukraine troops against pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the start of a Russia-backed insurgency.

The Eurovision song contest final will be held on May 13.

US trade deficit narrows on falling imports

February saw the US trade gap fall to its lowest level in four months as Americans imported fewer goods while exports held steady, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.In its biggest monthly drop since September, the trade gap fell 9.6 percent to a…

February saw the US trade gap fall to its lowest level in four months as Americans imported fewer goods while exports held steady, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

In its biggest monthly drop since September, the trade gap fell 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted $43.6 billion on falling imports of cars, consumer goods, fuel and semiconductors.

Analysts were expecting a decrease after the deficit ballooned in January, with revised figures putting it at the highest level since March of 2015, or $48.2 billion.

In the year to date, however, the deficit was still up 3.1 percent over the same period in 2016.

President Donald Trump's arrival in the White House on an agenda of economic nationalism and revitalized manufacturing and industry has drawn a bright political spotlight onto the question of trade.

Trump has pledged to turn prevailing trade policy on its head, vowing to renegotiate or scrap trade deals, possibly reversing much of the trade liberalization of recent decades.

Overall US exports of goods rose 0.2 percent for the month to $192.9 billion, with exports of cars, auto parts and engines hitting their highest level since July 2014 and industrial supply exports rising to the highest point in 14 months.

But imports fell 1.8 percent to $236.4 billion, down $4.3 billion, driven in part by a $2.6 billion decrease in car imports.

The deficit with China gained $1.6 billion to $31.7 billion but fell $600 million with Japan to $4.9 billion. The deficit with Germany was the lowest in more than four years at $3.9 billion.

The deficit with Mexico rose 11.3 percent to $6.2 billion

Sadio Mane’s season could be over, says Liverpool’s Klopp

Leading scorer Sadio Mane’s season could have run its course dealing a huge blow to Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday.The 24-year-old Senegalese winger — who has scored 13 goals this season …

Leading scorer Sadio Mane's season could have run its course dealing a huge blow to Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Senegalese winger -- who has scored 13 goals this season and whose absence when on Africa Cup of Nations duty coincided with a slump in Liverpool's form -- is due to have his swollen knee examined further.

Mane suffered the injury after scoring in Liverpool's 3-1 Merseyside Derby win over Everton on Saturday and had to come off.

Liverpool have eight matches remaining in their Premier League campaign -- beginning with Wednesday's home game with Bournemouth.

Presently they are third but only a point ahead of Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, who have two games in hand.

"Unfortunately that is possible but why should I say it now when I don't know?" said Klopp when asked at his eve of match press conference whether Mane could miss the rest of the season.

"The knee is swollen and we have to wait for the final assessment. It is not 100 percent clear.

"The only thing I can say for sure is that he will not be available for tomorrow (Wednesday).

"It is not very positive when it is like this. I cannot say at this exact time so we have to wait."

Aside from Mane, Klopp will also have to do without key players in English international duo Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, against a side who came from 3-1 down to beat them 4-3 in their previous meeting.

"As a manager I can't really remember the last time I had all the players available and the decisions to make were really difficult," said Klopp.

"My job is to find solutions. This is a good situation: we have 59 points, we are in a nice position -- yes a few teams have played less games than we have but they cannot win them all because they have to play each other.

"The whole season is to prepare the finish and this is the finishing part of the season. Eight games to go. We expect results from ourselves.

"It is not about thinking 'How can we play perfect football?'. We need to get results, and the first thing I will think about is how we can defend (against) Bournemouth not how can we create 27 chances?"

Luis Enrique eyes time out, not new job after Barcelona

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hinted he will follow Pep Guardiola’s lead by taking a sabbatical rather than seeking a new job when he steps down at the end of the season.Enrique announced last month he will not renew his contract at Camp Nou despite win…

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hinted he will follow Pep Guardiola's lead by taking a sabbatical rather than seeking a new job when he steps down at the end of the season.

Enrique announced last month he will not renew his contract at Camp Nou despite winning eight trophies in his three-year reign and with the possibility of adding three more in La Liga, Champions League and the Copa del Rey in his final months in charge.

"If I am leaving Barca, which is my home, and with a great relationship with the club, my players and more, it is not to go to another team," Enrique said on Tuesday on the eve of his side's clash with Sevilla.

"I have been clear that it is simply due to fatigue and the need to rest. Where am I going to go that is better than here?"

Manchester City manager Guardiola also took a year out following his glorious four-year spell in charge between 2008 and 2012 citing fatigue before taking over at Bayern Munich.

Both Enrique and Guardiola also started their coaching careers at Barca B and won the treble in their first season in charge with the senior side, but Enrique was less successful than his former teammate in one-season spells at Roma and Celta Vigo.

Enrique's route to a second treble is a difficult one as Barca trail Real Madrid by two points, who also have a game in hand, in the La Liga title race and face Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals this month.

Alaves stand between the Catalans and a third straight Copa del Rey in the final on May 27.

Russia names suspect of deadly St Petersburg metro blast

A 22-year old suicide bomber born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan was behind a blast on the St. Petersburg subway that killed 14 people, Russian investigators said Tuesday.

A 22-year old suicide bomber born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan was behind a blast on the St. Petersburg subway that killed 14 people, Russian investigators said Tuesday.

‘Keep calm’ over Gibraltar, EU’s Barnier tells Britain

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier urged Britain Tuesday to “keep calm and negotiate” after a row broke out over the fate of the rocky outcrop of Gibraltar.Britain reacted angrily after the European Union said last week that Spain should have a …

The EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier urged Britain Tuesday to "keep calm and negotiate" after a row broke out over the fate of the rocky outcrop of Gibraltar.

Britain reacted angrily after the European Union said last week that Spain should have a veto on extending any trade deal to Gibraltar after the British leave the bloc.

"Keep calm and negotiate," France's Barnier said, in English, to reporters in Luxembourg when asked what he would say to London to reassure them on the issue.

British authorities coined the phrase "keep calm and carry on" in World War II to motivate the populace and it is regarded as an example of British stoicism in crisis.

Asked if he believed Gibraltar would remain under British sovereignty, he added in French: "Legally speaking, Gibraltar will leave the European Union at the same time as the United Kingdom, that's what I can say."

Barnier, a former European Commissioner and French minister, will lead the negotiations for the EU side which are expected to start in late May.

He stressed that "unity of the 27" remaining EU member states was crucial to the success of the Brexit negotiations ahead of its exit on March 29, 2019.

British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the formal divorce process last week, nine months after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the EU.

London and Madrid have had a long and bitter dispute over the huge rock off Spain's southern coast, which has been a British territory for more than 300 years.

British rhetoric quickly heated up after the EU's Brexit negotiating guidelines released on Friday included a section saying Spain must have a say on any future trade deal involving Gibraltar.

Michael Howard, a former leader of the ruling Conservative Party, noted on Sunday that former PM Margaret Thatcher took military action after Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands 35 years ago and said current leader May would "show the same resolve" on Gibraltar.

Spain voiced surprise at Britain's tone on Monday, with Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis saying "the traditional British phlegmatism is conspicuous by its absence."

‘Both my eardrums burst’: Saint Petersburg metro passenger recalls blast

When student Vladimir Zakharchenko hopped onto the third carriage of a Saint Petersburg metro train on Monday, he could not have imagined that his daily commute would finish in hospital.The 22-year-old was in the train carriage hit by a blast that kill…

When student Vladimir Zakharchenko hopped onto the third carriage of a Saint Petersburg metro train on Monday, he could not have imagined that his daily commute would finish in hospital.

The 22-year-old was in the train carriage hit by a blast that killed 14 and injured dozens in an "act of terror" Russian authorities said was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Zakharchenko and fellow passengers of the third carriage escaped from the wreckage through the train's windows once it arrived at the station platform.

"I just got on the train, not paying attention to anyone," he told reporters Tuesday at Saint Petersburg's Dzhanelidze hospital, where some of those injured in the attack are being treated.

"It happened in a second. I didn't expect anything."

Zakharchenko was standing in the middle of the carriage when "the blast happened to the right of me."

"Both of my eardrums burst," he said. When the train pulled up to the platform, "people took out the emergency escape windows and got outside one by one without panic."

"We were all dirty and covered in blood," he said of his fellow commuters.

He ran up the escalator from one of the world's deepest underground systems as emergency workers gathered above ground to assist the injured and distraught passengers.

"As soon as I got out, I started calling my loved ones, but the connection was bad," said Zakharchenko, whose parents live in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

"I called my father. He was panicked because I was panicking too. I was trembling all over."

At the hospital on Tuesday, a haggard-looking Zakharchenko seemed serene, calmly speaking with reporters who had gathered around him.

Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said the death toll from the blast had climbed from 11 to 14 Tuesday as three people succumbed to their injuries, adding that 49 more people remained hospitalised.

The head of the Saint Petersburg metro, Vladimir Garyugin, praised employees and passengers for staying calm and helping one another out during the evacuation.

Garyugin said the train driver, 50-year-old Alexander Kaverin, was a "hero" for having driven the train through to the next station despite smoke from the blast in the third carriage, saving lives.

Russian investigators have launched a probe into an "act of terror" and said Tuesday they think they have found and identified remains of a suicide bomber on the train.

Kyrgyzstan security services said Tuesday the attack was staged by a "suicide bomber" named Akbarjon Djalilov, a naturalised Russian citizen born in southern Kyrgyzstan in 1995.

Russian authorities confirmed the alleged bomber's identity but it was not clear whether he counted among the 14 dead.

Brazil court meets to rule on whether Temer election valid

Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court met Tuesday on whether to invalidate the 2014 presidential election because of illegal campaign funding — a ruling that could in theory force out President Michel Temer.Sessions were scheduled over three days, with a f…

Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court met Tuesday on whether to invalidate the 2014 presidential election because of illegal campaign funding -- a ruling that could in theory force out President Michel Temer.

Sessions were scheduled over three days, with a final vote by the panel of judges Thursday. However, analysts say there is a high chance that the procedure will be put on hold, staving off the judgment day.

At issue are allegations that when then president Dilma Rousseff ran for re-election in 2014, with Temer as vice president, their ticket was financed by undeclared funds or bribes.

The leftist Rousseff was herself removed from office last year in an impeachment vote on an unrelated matter, shifting Temer, her conservative coalition partner, to the top seat.

Both Temer and Rousseff deny any wrongdoing.

If the court, known as the TSE, rules that the election was fatally compromised by suspect donations, Temer could find his presidency declared invalid.

That could force either a snap election or a vote in Congress to pick a new interim leader in Latin America's biggest country.

This would be a bombshell for a country already wallowing in two years of recession and the fallout from the massive "Car Wash" corruption investigation into embezzlement from state oil company Petrobras and high-level bribery and use of political party slush funds.

Brazilian media report that the judge overseeing the case, Herman Benjamin, will recommend that the full panel order new elections.

However, analysts say there is little chance of a majority vote to bring down Temer. He would then keep his seat until regularly scheduled presidential polls at the end of 2018.

Temer's center-right PMDB party and allied parties control Congress and they have the backing of big business.

Following the Rousseff impeachment, there is little appetite for yet another abrupt change of president just when economic reforms are underway.

- 'Total calm' -

One way of kicking the can down the road would be if defense lawyers succeed in asking for more time to answer the case. A judge on the court may also decide he needs more time to study the huge quantity of evidence.

Another option is that the court could decide that Rousseff and Temer did take illegal donations but that the evidence does not support annulling their victory.

It is also possible that the court will rule to scrap Rousseff's victory, while finding Temer not guilty and able to carry on.

"There's total calm. The president has time on his side, because there are many legal options," said a government source, who asked not to be named.

Since he took over, Temer has been plagued by rock-bottom approval ratings and a wave of corruption allegations against his close allies.

Despite his unpopularity, Temer says he will push through far-reaching austerity reforms to fix the broken budget and serve out the rest of Rousseff's original term.

Outcry in Sweden as Muslim school segregates boys and girls

A Muslim elementary school in Sweden, which separated boys and girls on a bus and during sports lessons, sparked controversy on Tuesday with the prime minister condemning it as “despicable”. As part of a documentary, Swedish broadcaster TV4 filmed secr…

A Muslim elementary school in Sweden, which separated boys and girls on a bus and during sports lessons, sparked controversy on Tuesday with the prime minister condemning it as "despicable".

As part of a documentary, Swedish broadcaster TV4 filmed secret footage of the privately-run Al-Azhar Primary School in a Stockholm suburb where boys are seen entering a bus from the front and girls from the back.

Aged between six and 10, the students take the school bus in the mornings and evenings to go to and from school in the working-class neighbourhood of Vallingby, northwest of Stockholm.

"I think this is despicable. This doesn't belong in Sweden," Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters in Stockholm.

"We take the bus together here, regardless if you're a girl or a boy, woman or a man."

This isn't the first controversy surrounding the school. In August last year, Swedish media revealed that teachers had agreed to gender-segregated sport lessons.

The school argued that gender-mixed sports courses would cause some parents to stop their children from attending.

The school's vice principal said it had no intention of carrying out gender-segregated activities.

"I don't know why it still turned out that way," Roger Lindquist told TT news agency.

"It was a mistake."

But the school says on its website that "boys and girls have separate courses in swimming and sports".

Lofven has asked Education Minister Gustav Fridolin to contact the school and propose measures on what can be done to prevent segregation.

"The school has a duty to end outdated segregation norms," Fridolin told public broadcaster SVT.

"This must concern all schools."

Dutch cyberbully loses bid against Canada extradition

A Dutchman convicted of cyberbullying lost his appeal on Tuesday against being extradited to Canada to face charges linked to the suicide of a teenager who suffered online harassment.”The appeals court rejects the request,” the judges said in a stateme…

A Dutchman convicted of cyberbullying lost his appeal on Tuesday against being extradited to Canada to face charges linked to the suicide of a teenager who suffered online harassment.

"The appeals court rejects the request," the judges said in a statement. The man has only been identified as Aydin C. due to strict Dutch privacy laws.

Dutch authorities agreed in June he could be extradited to Canada, where he is wanted on charges linked to the death of 15-year-old Amanda Todd, after his trial in The Netherlands.

Arrested in 2014 after Facebook alerted the Dutch police, he was found guilty of harassing dozens of young girls and women from as far away as Britain, Canada, Norway and the United States.

He was sentenced last month to almost 11 years in jail, after being found guilty of 72 charges including computer sex crimes such as making and storing child pornography, as well as extortion, fraud and hard drug possession.

Todd committed suicide in October 2012 after being tormented by an anonymous cyberbully. Before killing herself, she posted an online YouTube video in which she detailed the abuse written out in felt-pen on a series of flashcards.

It is not yet clear when Aydin C. will be extradited to Canada, as the Dutch justice ministry now has to set a date. He may also yet appeal his first conviction.

Todd's mother Carol flew from British Columbia to The Netherlands to attend part of Aydin's trial earlier this year.

He is suspected of having persuaded Amanda Todd to expose her breasts via her computer's webcam and putting a photo online after she refused to do it again.

Her suicide triggered an outcry in Canada and a debate about the dangers of cyberbullying.