Gunmen have killed at least 30 people in fresh attacks this week in the strife-torn Central African Republic, UN peacekeepers said on Thursday.

Several dozen people were also wounded in the attacks on the central village of Yamale on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the gunmen pillaging and burning down houses, UN force MINUSCA said. Central Africa has recently seen a spike of violence pitting Christians against Muslims after a period of relative calm.

Canada’s prime minister vowed the country would “not be intimidated” after a reported Muslim convert stormed parliament and killed a soldier, the nation’s second ‘terrorist’ attack in days.

The gunman, whose name was on a terror watch list, attempted to force his way into Canada’s parliament Wednesday before the assembly’s sergeant-at-arms shot him dead.

The attack — the second this week targeting Canadian military personnel — came as Canadian jets were to join the US-led bombing campaign against Islamist militants in Iraq.

“Canada will never be intimidated,” premier Stephen Harper told the nation in a televised address after the shootings on Wednesday.

“In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe,” he said.

The spectacular security breach came two days after an alleged Islamist ran over two soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them, in what officials branded a terrorist attack.

In audio of the attack on parliament, repeated shots could be heard booming through its chambers.

The suspect, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who was said to be a convert to Islam, had a record of drug offences and robbery.

Dave Bathurst, who met the 32-year-old Zehaf-Bibeau in a mosque about three years ago, said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

France’s interior minister said Thursday he had dispatched 100 extra police to the port of Calais where an influx of illegal migrants trying to get to Britain is causing more and more havoc.

The town has been struggling for months to cope with a tide of migrants trying to slip onto trucks and cross the Channel to Britain, despite a slew of recent measures to tighten security.

And this week, violent fights between migrants in an industrial district where many have taken refuge, saw police fire tear gas and seal off the area to try and restore calm.

The migrants — many of whom are from Eritrea and Sudan but also from Syria and other conflict zones — have several times mobbed a zone in the port where trucks wait to be checked before they board ferries.

They are desperate to scramble onto the vehicles to make their way illegally to Britain, where many already have family.

Foreign maids from impoverished countries endure physical, sexual and emotional abuse in the United Arab Emirates, trapped by a system that denies them protection, an international rights group said Thursday.

Human Rights Watch called on the UAE to reform a restrictive visa system and pass a labour law for domestic workers to stop the abuses.

“We already bought you. You don’t have the right to complain,” Filipina Marelie Brua said in a video interview with HRW, recounting her former employer’s words.

Brua said she was paid 800 dirhams ($218) per month instead of 1,000 dirhams ($272) as stated in her contract.

“As I pretended to clean the playroom, I was punching the floor, crying. Is this all I get for taking a chance here? I kept on blaming myself,” she said.

At 800 dirhams, Brua’s pay is roughly equivalent to the Philippines’ minimum wage.

Brua is one of 99 domestic workers who shared her harrowing experiences for a multimedia HRW report on the abuse, released in Manila.

The UAE hosts 146,000 female maids mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia, according to HRW.

The rights group said the UAE must reform its visa system to allow maids to transfer employers without penalty.

Under the current system, domestic workers face being banned from future employment if they try to switch jobs.

Employers acts as the maids’ visa “sponsors” and this leaves them “exposed to abuse”, according to HRW.

Aside from passing labour legislation for maids, the UAE must cap maids’ work hours and enforce a regulation granting them one day off per week, as well as mandating eight hours of rest in any 24-hour period, it said.

Maids are not covered by existing UAE labour law and were also excluded from recent visa reforms, HRW said.

A member of Tunisia’s security forces was killed in a firefight with a “terrorist group” at its hideout in a town near the capital Thursday, a police official said.

“Our agent died of a bullet wound in the eye sustained in clashes with a terrorist group,” the official told  reporters at the scene.

Four women in Saudi Arabia have been jailed for preparing their sons to wage war and for supporting Al-Qaeda, official media said, in the kingdom’s latest “terrorist” convictions.

They were sentenced to between six and 10 years in prison, the Saudi Press Agency reported following the verdicts.

It said a court convicted the women on charges including “preparing some of their sons to fight in conflict areas believing that it is required by Islam”.

They were also found guilty of “supporting Al-Qaeda”, accessing blocked Internet sites, and downloading “audio-visual material related to fighting.”


The Lebanese army raided a house on Thursday at dawn in the town of Asoun in northern Lebanon and clashed with its members, The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported.

According to sources , the raided apartment was used to videotape members who defected from the Lebanese army. Abdel Qader al-Akoumi, who defected 10 days ago to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was arrested at the scene.

The raids also resulted in the killing of Adel al-Atri and the arrest of Ahmed Salim Mikati “-who is suspected of murdering kidnapped Lebanese soldiers in the outskirts of Ersal.

The body of another militant was also found at the scene, an NNA field reporter added in a later report. Two others militants holding the Lebanese nationality were able to run away.

Following a wave of bloody attacks against the army by extremist groups, Lebanese security forces raided various Syrian refugee camps all over Lebanon in the past two months, arresting hundreds. Several of those arrested were charged with belonging to the al-Nusra Front and ISIS militant groups currently occupying the outskirts of Ersal.

Kurdish political parties in northern Syria signed Wednesday the “Dohuk agreement” to defend Rojava, a Kurdish-majority area in northeast Syria, against ISIS.

After 10 days of negotiations, the agreement was announced between the Kurdish National Assembly in Syria, or the ENKS, and the Western Kurdistan Democratic Social Movement or Democratic Society Movement, or the TEV-DEM. Both sides also held a meeting with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday he had been informed that agreement was reached for 200 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters to pass through Turkey into Kobane.

The Turkish president was speaking at a news conference in the Latvian capital Riga after Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers on Wednesday approved the deployment of peshmerga forces to help Syrian Kurds battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists in Kobane.

On Wednesday, before leaving to Lativa, Erdogan claimed he “personally made the offer” of sending peshmerga forces, the armed forces of northern Iraq’s Kurdish regional government, to Kobane.

He also stated that Turkey did not approve of delivering foreign arms to “outlawed” groups, in reference to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is considered the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

Brendan Rodgers says his Liverpool team were punished by a top quality side after they lost 3-0 at home to Real Madrid the current Champions League holders:

“We made an excellent start for the first 20 minutes but after they got that first goal, they showed their quality.

“We defended poorly on one or two of the goals but I can’t ask for any more – we probably needed to get a goal in that opening period.

“In the second half we were playing for pride, the players kept going, they didn’t stop – they were playing against a top-quality team.

“We’ll look at it and learn but we were punished by a top-class side.”

Nepal on Wednesday called off a search for any more survivors of a Himalayan snowstorm that claimed some 43 lives, after more than a week of scouring the popular trekking region.

Emergency workers have airlifted 518 people to safety, including 310 foreign tourists, since the snowstorm struck the Annapurna Circuit during peak season, catching trekkers, their guides and porters unawares.

Thirty five bodies have been pulled from the snow since the storm hit last Tuesday, while rescuers believe another eight are still buried in Manang district, officials have said.

Thousands of people head to the Annapurna region every October, when the weather is usually at its best for trekking.

South Korea on Wednesday welcomed North Korea’s release of a US citizen, but immediately urged it to free two other American detainees and a South Korean missionary who was arrested on espionage charges.

Jeffrey Fowle, who was detained in April after apparently leaving a Bible in the bathroom of a nightclub in the North, flew out of Pyongyang on a Pentagon plane on Tuesday.

“Our government welcomes Fowle’s release,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said.

The North has rejected repeated requests to free Kim, who was arrested last October after he entered North Korea from China.

One civilian was killed and five inujured in shelling in east Ukraine’s rebel-controlled city of Donetsk over the past day, local authorities said Wednesday.

Heavy shelling hit the Kirov and Kalinin districts southwest and north of the city centre on Tuesday and throughout the night, although Wednesday appeared calmer, AFP correspondents said.

“One civilian was killed due to the fighting, and five more received injuries” on Tuesday, Donetsk city hall said.

Although fighting between Kiev’s forces and pro-Russian rebels has been less intense since they signed a ceasefire on September 5, several locations are seeing near daily crossfire, including Donetsk airport.

Hong Kong student leaders said Wednesday they may shun further talks with the government, accusing it of failing to make any meaningful offers to end weeks of mass pro-democracy rallies and roadblocks.

The comments are a blow to the city’s Beijing-backed leaders who had expressed hopes for fresh rounds of talks after meeting face-to-face with students on Tuesday night for the first time.

The negotiations are widely seen as the only way to end nearly a month of protests — calling for full democracy in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city — without a police crackdown or further violence.

Fresh confrontations broke out Wednesday afternoon between protesters and opponents who tried to remove demonstrators’ barricades in the Mongkok district.

The first talks on Tuesday night made little headway, with students calling the government “vague” in its commitment to finding a genuine compromise.

The two sides are at loggerheads over how the city’s next leader should be chosen in 2017, when a direct election for the post will be introduced.

But Beijing ruled in August that only those vetted by a loyalist committee would be allowed to stand — something protesters dismiss as “fake democracy”.

Legendary former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who oversaw reporting on the Watergate scandal that brought down US president Richard Nixon, died Tuesday. He was 93.

Bradlee, who died of natural causes at his Washington home, leaves a lasting legacy at the Post and in the wider media, and has been hailed as a genius and for having “the courage of an army.” He was also a friend to John F. Kennedy.

President Barack Obama, who awarded Bradlee the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, led the tributes, saying that for the newspaper man, “journalism was more than a profession — it was a public good vital to our democracy.”

During Bradlee’s leadership of the Post from 1968 to 1991, he inspired reporters who “told stories that needed to be told — stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better,” the president added.