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Biden to host Macron for White House state visit

France's Emmanuel Macron was set to be hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House Thursday for a state visit mixing sumptuous ceremonies with hard-edged talks on transatlantic trade and how to manage a rising China.. The White House responded by insisting that the state visit is about the two presidents' "warm relationship."

Virtue or signalling? World Cup protests get mixed reaction

Human rights protests at the World Cup have drawn everything from sympathy to indifference and outright hostility, with Qatar's critics often finding themselves in the firing line.. The highly charged, often offensive exchanges on social media follow a bad-tempered build-up to the World Cup, when European officials and media led criticism of Qatar's rights record.

China signals zero-Covid relaxation after protests

China's top Covid official has signalled a possible relaxing of the country's strict zero-tolerance approach to the virus, after nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedom.. Sun's remarks -- as well as relaxations of rules by local authorities -- "could signal that China is beginning to consider the end of its stringent zero-Covid policy," analysts said.

India's Bishnoi community, the original eco-warriors

Surrounded by deer and antelopes, Ghevar Ram caressed an injured fawn at a rescue centre run by India's Bishnoi community, who have been fighting to protect the environment for more than 500 years.. The community followed the case assiduously for 20 years until Khan was sentenced to five years in jail by a local court for violating the Wildlife Protection Act.

Bankman-Fried apologizes, says didn't 'try to commit fraud'

Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried apologized Wednesday for a "lot of mistakes" in the abrupt collapse of the cryptocurrency firm and said he did not knowingly behave fraudulently.. Bankman-Fried, appearing by video from the Bahamas, said he was "shocked" by many of the details that have surfaced since the cryptocurrency platform's collapse. 

Prince William, Kate, arrive in US for visit overshadowed by new racism row

Prince William and wife Kate began their first visit to America in eight years Wednesday under the cloud of a fresh racism row after his godmother quit the royal household for repeatedly asking a Black British woman where she was "really" from.. However, the start of the visit -- which comes after racism claims from William's brother Harry and mixed-race sister-in-law, Meghan -- was overshadowed by the resignation and apology of 83-year-old Susan Hussey, one of William's six godmothers.

US House approves bill to avert freight rail strike

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to prevent a potentially catastrophic freight rail strike, stepping in to break an impasse between workers and executives during a critical pre-holiday period.. Graves said he was voting on the resolution to avert an "economically ruinous" rail strike as he blamed the Biden administration for the issue, saying it had "failed" to lead on the impasse. jmb/mlm

Germany, Norway seek NATO-led hub for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.. The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted "the need to better protect our critical infrastructure". fec/hmn/imm

Airbus pays 15.9 mn euros to close French corruption probe

A French judge on Wednesday allowed European aerospace firm Airbus to pay 15.9 million euros ($16.4 million) to avoid a corruption probe into aircraft deals in Libya and Kazakhstan between 2006 and 2011.. But the company said earlier this month that the Libya and Kazakhstan probe had not been covered by that agreement "because of procedural issues".

HSBC shuts more UK branches as banking goes online

HSBC on Wednesday announced plans to permanently shut more than a quarter of its remaining bank branches in the UK as customers increasingly switch to making transactions online.. The global bank will from April close 114 branches, it said in a statement, having shut around 150 since last year.