World News

Belgium starts trial over 2016 suicide bombings

Belgium launched its biggest-ever criminal trial on Wednesday, the landmark prosecution of alleged jihadists accused of directing or aiding 2016 suicide bombings in Brussels' metro and airport that killed 32 people.. Both the November 13, 2015 Paris attacks and the March 22, 2016 suicide bombings in Brussels were claimed by the Islamic State group, and investigators believe they were carried out by the same Belgium-based cell, including Abdeslam. 

S.African panel files report into Ramaphosa's cover-up scandal

A special panel investigating whether South African President Cyril Ramaphosa should face impeachment for allegedly covering up a crime submitted its findings to parliament Wednesday, two weeks before he faces a crucial party election.. The panel was set up in September to probe the 2020 alleged cover-up of a theft at Ramaphosa's farmhouse -- a scandal that has tarnished the president's reputation and overshadowed his bid for re-election at the helm of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Former China leader Jiang Zemin dead: state media

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who steered the country through a transformational era from the late 1980s and into the new millennium, died Wednesday at the age of 96, state news agency Xinhua said.. "Jiang Zemin passed away due to leukemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai at 12:13 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2022, at the age of 96, it was announced on Wednesday," Xinhua reported.

Former China leader Jiang Zemin dead at 96

Jiang Zemin led China through an era of stunning transformation after coming to power in the traumatic aftermath of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.. Viewed by many as a transitional figure, Jiang was politically hamstrung in the Tiananmen aftermath.

Half of world's democracies in decline: report

Half the world's democratic countries are experiencing an erosion of democracy, intensified by war in Ukraine and economic crisis, an international think tank said in a report on Wednesday.. "We're seeing extraordinarily severe headwinds for democracy now, intensified by the political fallout from the economic crisis that started with the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine", International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora told AFP. "It might be that the credibility of elections is challenged.

Climate's toll on trees threatens the sound of music

Stroking a tiny spruce sapling, Swiss forest ranger Francois Villard fears the tree will not withstand global warming and live to a ripe old age like its ancestors.. "I have never seen so many dry trees," says Villard, who is now approaching retirement.

Self-driving lorries hit the road in Sweden

Barrelling down a motorway south of Stockholm in a 40-tonne lorry and trailer, the driver keeps a careful eye on the road but, jarringly, no hands on the wheel.. "We take their goods from point A, drive them to point B, fully autonomously," Peter Hafmar, head of autonomous solutions at Scania, tells AFP outside the company's transport lab in Sodertalje, south of Stockholm.

Fresh clashes in south China as authorities warn of 'crackdown'

Fresh clashes have broken out between police and protesters in a southern Chinese city, part of a wave of Covid lockdown-sparked demonstrations across the country that have morphed into demands for political freedoms.. But demonstrators have also demanded much wider political reforms in communist China, with some even calling for President Xi Jinping to stand down.

Belgian port city terrorised by drug violence

In Belgium's port city of Antwerp, residents live in fear of eruptions of violence between the gangs that control Europe's vast cocaine trade.. The city is the main port of entry into Europe for Latin American cocaine, a business controlled by transnational cartels with an increasing reputation for the most extreme violence.

Cracking the covert app that exposed Europe's drug gangs

From torture and murder in the Netherlands and Serbia to an unprecedented web of corruption in Belgium, the Sky ECC investigation has shone a light into some of Europe's darkest corners.. After English, the most common language used on Sky ECC was Albanian, investigators found.