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World News

Global press freedom at 12-year low, watchdog says

Washington - Global press freedom fell in 2015, hit by violence against journalists in the Middle East, intimidation in Mexico and concerns about free expression in Hong Kong, a watchdog said Wednesday.

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

Berlin - Major names in the auto industry found themselves caught in headlights of a global engine-rigging scandal on Friday as Volkswagen booked one of the biggest losses in its history over the scam.As VW announced it was setting aside 16.

Watchdog says press freedom in decline in 'new era of propaganda'

Paris - World press freedom deteriorated in 2015, especially in the Americas, advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday as it released its annual rankings, warning of "a new era of propaganda".

'Deep and disturbing' decline in press freedom since 2013: RSF

Paris - Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday there had been a "deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom" since 2013, as it prepares to publish its annual ranking of countries next week.

Worldwide executions highest since 1989: Amnesty

London - The number of known executions worldwide went up by more than 50 percent last year to at least 1,634, the highest figure recorded since 1989, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Military spending rises again in 2015

Stockholm - Rising tensions worldwide helped push up military expenditure in 2015, the first increase after four years of declining spending, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report published on Tuesday.

U.S. honors 'International Women of Courage'

Washington - The United States issued awards Tuesday to 14 lawyers, activists, humanitarians and reformers said to represent "International Women of Courage.

Op-Ed: Our sphere of sympathy has borders

The Brussels bombing highlighted a symptom of our own conceit much like the Paris attacks before it. It proved that our ability to sympathize for victims of terrorism has geographical limits. The multiple attacks in Turkey last week are all but forgotten.

Asian share rally runs out of steam as oil falls again

Hong Kong - Asia's share rally stalled Tuesday, as a boost from Wall Street was overshadowed by renewed weakness in the price of oil.

U.S. dominates arms trade as Asia, Mid-East boost imports

Stockholm - The global transfer of major arms has risen in recent years, with the United States increasing its dominance of the trade while the flow of weaponry to Africa, Asia and the Middle East has increased, a new study published Monday showed.

13 million pupils in OECD nations 'failing at 15': Report

Paris - Around 13 million pupils in OECD countries have failed to attain a sufficient level of proficiency in either reading, maths or science by the time they reach 15, according to a new study released by the think-tank on Wednesday.

World tourism map redrawn since attacks, epidemics, migrants

Paris - The world's tourism map is being redrawn at lightning speed as holidaymakers switch preferences prompted by terror attacks, epidemics and migrant crises.

West's advantage in military tech 'eroding': Think-tank

London - Western superiority in military technology is "eroding", notably at the hands of China and Russia, a leading think-tank said Tuesday in its annual report on the state of militaries around the world.

At least 2,297 journalists killed since 1990: IFJ

Brussels - At least 2,297 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last 25 years, with Iraq ranking as the most deadly country, the International Federation of Journalists said Wednesday.

Refugee crisis triggering rights clampdown: Human Rights Watch

Istanbul - European governments have responded to fears of terrorism and an influx of Muslim refugees by cracking down on basic freedoms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned Wednesday.

Brazil in steep slide on corruption index: Transparency International

Berlin - Brazil, plagued by a scandal surrounding state oil giant Petrobas, registered the biggest plunge on the corruption index of watchdog Transparency International, which warned that emerging economies are struggling to shake off graft.

Islamic State 'brand' spreading worldwide: Experts

Paris - The Islamic State group may be losing ground in its strongholds of Iraq and Syria but as the attack in Indonesia this month showed, the jihadists are rallying other groups under their banner, analysts say.

North Korean bomb test a setback for arms control

Washington - Even as world powers work to implement the Iran nuclear deal, North Korea's apparent detonation of a new bomb marks a stark setback for global anti-proliferation efforts.

World prepares to welcome New Year despite terror fears

Sydney - Global New Year's Eve festivities are set to begin under tightened security, with Brussels scrapping celebrations as fears of jihadist threats cast a pall, just weeks after brutal attacks in Paris.

Dutch King urges solidarity in 'turbulent times'

Den Haag - Dutch King Willem-Alexander made a passionate appeal to his people to show solidarity with those in need, saying in a Christmas Day message the country must not give way to fear.

In Christmas message, pope speaks out on conflicts, migrants

Vatican City - Pope Francis offered a Christmas message Friday of mitigated hope for an end to the world's conflicts, backing recent accords on Syria and Libya and praising those who shelter migrants."We pray...

Pope expected to call for reconciliation on Christmas Day

Vatican City - Pope Francis was expected to appeal for reconciliation of fractured communities in his Christmas Day blessing Friday, as the world takes stock of a year of violence and suffering that saw hundreds of thousands flee their homes.

Attacks cast pall over Christmas in Paris and around the world

Paris - It was a subdued Christmas Eve in Paris on Thursday, with tourist numbers down, security bolstered at shops and churches, and locals still on edge after last month's jihadist attacks.

Fact file: Same-sex marriage around the world

Paris - Slovenians on Sunday shut down efforts by their national parliament to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples -- the second time they have voted in a referendum against changing the law.

Global disaster costs fall in 2015: Swiss Re

Zurich - The economic cost of disasters across the world dropped in 2015 to around $85 billion (78 billion euros) from $113 million last year, reinsurance company Swiss Re said on Friday.

The Paramount clocks in at No. 11 as highest club venue worldwide

Huntington - The Paramount in Huntington on Long Island keeps on moving up in the Top 100 Club Venues list, compiled by Pollstar Magazine.

World sings, lights up in solidarity with wounded France

Paris - Stirring renditions of "La Marseillaise" rang out Saturday from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colours and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead.

World sings, lights up in solidarity with wounded France

Paris - Stirring renditions of "La Marseillaise" rang out Saturday from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colours and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead.

Obama leads chorus of world outrage over Paris attacks

Washington - US President Barack Obama led a chorus of global condemnation of a wave of attacks in Paris on Friday that left more than 120 people dead, as nations pledged solidarity with France.

G20 fails to deliver on anti-graft pledges: Transparency

Istanbul - World powers have failed to deliver on bold pledges to close down corporate loopholes that allow the corrupt to easily hide their ill-gotten gains, Transparency International said on Thursday.It said in a report that up to $2 trillion (1.
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