AFRICA

  • BAGAN, Myanmar (AP) — It was a time of conquest and conversions. Above all, it was a time of construction, on a scale never seen before. Over 250 years, from the 11th century onwards, the rulers of Bagan built more than 10,000 magnificent religious monuments. The stupas, temples and monasteries became the defining emblems of Bagan, the capital of the Pagan (pronounced PUH'-gahn) empire that ruled Myanmar from roughly 1044 to 1287. On Wednesday, scores of the monuments — of which only about 2,200 remain — were damaged in a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake. Yet much of what fell was...

  • Animals evacuated this week from a zoo dubbed the "world's worst" in the Palestinian Gaza Strip have arrived at an animal shelter in Jordan, an AFP photographer said on Thursday. Two turtles, two eagles, two porcupines, a pelican, an emu and a deer arrived late Wednesday near Amman after travelling from Gaza via Israel, said Amir Khalil, a vet from the charity organising the transfer. Animal welfare charity Four Paws on Wednesday said it evacuated 15 animals -- including Gaza's last tiger Laziz -- out of the Khan Yunis zoo, as they headed for a new life outside the Israeli-blockaded...

  • By Magdalena Mis SYRACUSE, Italy (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Isaac, a 17 year-old from Ghana, holds back tears and looks down as he tries to describe the six months he spent in a Libyan jail where he says not a night would pass without someone dying. "They are object of exploitation in different ways," Paolo Rozera, head of UNICEF Italy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

  • By Lin Taylor LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 36,000 asylum seeker claims were made in Britain in the 12 months to June, according to government figures published on Thursday, the highest number in over a decade. In the 12 months to June this year, 36,465 people applied for asylum in Britain, a 41 percent increase on the year ending June 2015, which saw nearly 26,000 claims. The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Britain rose to 3,472, a 54 percent increase on the year ending June 2015, representing 10 percent of all asylum claims in the 12...

  • Kenya's sports minister, under fire after a series of scandals and embarrassments at the Rio games, on Thursday announced the disbanding of the country's Olympic committee. "I do hereby disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) with immediate effect," Hassan Wario said at a press conference in Nairobi. Wario, who was questioned on Wednesday by detectives investigating allegations of corruption and mismanagement relating to Kenya's Olympics performance, said facilities management parastatal Sports Kenya would take over responsibility and organise fresh elections to the Olympic committee.

WORLD

  • By Helen Murphy and Luis Jaime Acosta TACUEYO, Colombia (Reuters) - Jose Toconas picks at branches hanging in rows from the roof of his marijuana drying house and smells their spiky flower buds. In two days he will strip them from their stems, trim the dark green florets into neat little balls and hand them over to dealers working with Marxist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)....

  • The Marine Corps has acknowledged it misidentified two of the servicemen who helped raise the first U.S. flag at Iwo Jima during World War II, an event that was overshadowed by the raising of a larger flag that became an iconic image of the war.

  • The dodo bird is extinct — but one collector can now have their own dodo skeleton. Summers Place Auctions is selling what it describes as a rare composite skeleton of a dodo bird, a creature once found ...

  • PITTSBURGH (AP) — A more than 20-year battle between law enforcement and a Pittsburgh-area man who's repeatedly been convicted of selling drug-related paraphernalia has nearly ended.

  • Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter fought to overturn his six-year football ban on Thursday in a marathon appeal at the world's top sports court, pledging to accept the verdict. Blatter's last and unlikely shot at redemption rests with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is hearing his challenge against a penalty imposed by FIFA for ethics violations. Engulfed by corruption scandals since May of last year and...

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