Intrigue swirls anew in court of Pope Francis

Sep 26, 2017 - 10:18 PM

New claims about mismanagement of the Catholic Church's finances and vitriolic attacks on Pope Francis from hardline traditionalists offer a keyhole glimpse of in-fighting simmering behind closed doors at the Vatican, experts say

POPE FRANCIS. This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis leading a mass on September 25, 2017 at Santa Marta in Vatican. Handout photo/AFP

U.S. labels North Korea 'war' claim absurd, as Pyongyang boosts defenses

Sep 26, 2017 - 3:03 PM

White House: 'We have not declared war against North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd'

This picture taken on February 15, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 16, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) attending a national meeting at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang to celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong-Il. KCNA via KNS/AFP

Macron government to unveil belt-tightening first budget

Sep 26, 2017 - 1:33 PM

The young centrist president has pledged to find 16 billion euros ($20 billion) of savings next year, seeing cutting the deficit as key to boosting France's credibility in Europe as he eyes a shake-up of the European Union

The Eiffel Tower and the dome of Les Invalides, are seen along the skyline of the French capital Paris from the tower at the Notre Dame Cathedral on March 14, 2017. Philippe Lopez/AFP

Tensions rise after Iraq Kurds' independence vote

Sep 26, 2017 - 10:25 AM

The vote in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and some disputed areas is non-binding and will not lead automatically to independence, but is seen by the Kurds as a major step towards a long-cherished dream of statehood

CELEBRATION. Iraqi Kurds wave the Kurdish flag as they celebrate in the streets of the northern city of Arbil on September 25, 2017 following a referendum on independence. Safin Hamed/AFP

Top Turkey journalist released after almost year in jail

Sep 26, 2017 - 9:55 AM

The judge rules that Kadri Gursel, one of Turkey's most respected journalists, could go free after 11 months in jail though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups

FREE AGAIN. Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart (L) embraces Kadri Gursel (2nd L) as the representative of the international rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Turkey, Erol Onderoglu (R), holds his hand after the Gursel's release from Silivri prison on September 26, 2017 in Istanbul. Yasin Akgul/AFP

Brazil scraps bid to mine Amazon natural reserve

Sep 26, 2017 - 9:35 AM

The Brazilian government backs off a controversial proposal to authorize private companies to mine a sprawling Amazon reserve after blistering domestic and international criticism

THE AMAZON. This file photo taken on December 04, 2011 shows an aerial view of the Amazonic forest reserve of Trairao, western Para state, northern Brazil on December 4, 2011.  Lunae Parracho/AFP

Israel builds settlements 'at high rate' – UN

Sep 26, 2017 - 7:48 AM

Israel continues to build settlements 'at a high rate,' in defiance of UN Security Council demands for an end to the expansion of Jewish outposts

A picture taken on July 4, 2016, shows buildings under construction in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. Israel has approved 560 new homes for the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, a spokesman for the settlement said on July 4, 2016 in a move likely to raise tensions following a series of Palestinian attacks. Netanyahu also gave approval for the planning of 240 new homes in east Jerusalem settlement neighbourhoods. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX

Puerto Rico governor fears 'humanitarian crisis' over slow U.S. aid

Sep 26, 2017 - 7:39 AM

(UPDATED) With federal aid only trickling in, many Puerto Ricans have already started their own cleanup operations

RAVAGED. A man rides his bicycle through a damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 24, 2017 following the passage of Hurricane Maria. Ricardo Arduengo/AFP

Ex-U.S. congressman Weiner get 21-month jail term for sexting teen

Sep 26, 2017 - 7:19 AM

Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former US congressman and estranged husband of one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Monday, September 25, for sexting a school girl

SENTENCED. Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Manhattan Federal Court, September 25, 2017 in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Brexit negotiators clash as talks resume

Sep 26, 2017 - 7:19 AM

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier insists that he would not discuss Theresa May's call for a two-year post-exit transition deal until there was progress on key issues

European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, Michel Barnier (R) and British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis give a joint press conference during the negotiation of Brexit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on September 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS

Blame starts to fly over Mexico earthquake collapses

Sep 26, 2017 - 7:09 AM

Political analysts say the quake underlines the government's lack of credibility, less than a year out from presidential elections

STILL SEARCHING. Rescuers work in a building toppled by a magnitude 7.1 quake that struck central Mexico almost a week ago, in Mexico City, on September 25, 2017. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP

Republican health plan likely dead as key U.S. senator defects

Sep 26, 2017 - 6:54 AM

(UPDATED) Senator Susan Collins joins Republican colleagues John McCain and Rand Paul as firm no votes on the legislation

STAYING (AGAIN). An Obamacare logo is shown on the door of the UniVista Insurance agency in Miami, Florida on January 10, 2017. Photo by Rhona Wise/ AFP

North Korea says Trump has declared war

Sep 26, 2017 - 12:07 AM

(UPDATED) Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho responds to Trump, who had warned on Twitter at the weekend that North Korea 'won't be around much longer' if it keeps up its threats

NORTH KOREA'S TOP DIPLOMAT. North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho departs after speaking to reporters at the UN Millenium Plaza hotel on September 25, 2017 in New York City. Amir Levy/Getty Images/AFP

Infighting hits hard-right AfD after German vote success

Sep 25, 2017 - 6:55 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The nationalist Alternative for Germany is hit by party infighting just hours after winning its first seats in parliament

SPLIT. Leadership member of the hard-right party AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) Frauke Petry leaves a press conference on the day after the German General elections on September 25, 2017 in Berlin, where she said she refused to join the AfD party's parliamentary group. Odd Andersen/AFP

'The strength of a people is measured by the welfare of the weak'

Sep 25, 2017 - 3:30 PM

'Throughout the years... the Philippines has never expressed collectively, in its Constitution or any other legal instrument, that our strength as a nation depends on how we look after the weakest part of it'

Japan's Abe triggers snap election amid North Korea crisis

Sep 25, 2017 - 3:21 PM

(UPDATED) The prime minister did not give a date for the election but it will reportedly be on October 22

In this file photo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly September 21, 2017 in New York City. Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Malaysia hits ASEAN Chairman's Statement on Myanmar crisis

Sep 25, 2017 - 3:00 PM

Malaysia says the ASEAN Chairman's Statement released by the Philippines is a 'misrepresentation of the reality of the situation' in Myanmar's Rakhine

REFUGEE CAMP. A Rohingya refugee shelters from the sun under an umbrella while looking on at the refugee camp of Balukhali, near the locality of Ukhia on September 21, 2017. Dominique Faget/AFP

Kushner used personal email for White House business – reports

Sep 25, 2017 - 12:44 PM

Citing 4 officials, Politico says Kushner used a personal server to send messages to senior White House officials and outside advisers about media coverage, planning events, and other issues

NEW EMAIL CONTROVERSY? This file photo taken on May 23, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump's senior advisor Jared Kushner during a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Thomas Coex/AFP

Marawi general to evacuees: 'I really apologize for the delay'

Sep 25, 2017 - 11:22 AM

'Until now they are suffering. I really apologize for the delay. Hopefully within a few days [it's over].'

Iraq Kurds defy Baghdad in historic independence vote

Sep 25, 2017 - 10:16 AM

(3rd UPDATE) The non-binding vote on the Kurds' long-cherished dream of independence, initiated by veteran leader Massud Barzani, has angered not only the federal government but also neighboring Turkey and Iran

PUSH FOR INDEPENDENCE. Iraqis drive past posters encouraging people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum for the Kurdistan region on September 24, 2017, in central Kirkuk. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Australia to create national space agency

Sep 25, 2017 - 10:11 AM

It brings Canberra into line with most other developed nations, which already have dedicated agencies to help coordinate the industry and shape development

EYE TOWARDS THE SKY. An undated handout photo received on October 5, 2012 show some of the antennas of the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope. CSIRO/Dragonfly Media/AFP

New Zealand PM says poll deadlock may last 3 weeks

Sep 25, 2017 - 9:26 AM

Maverick MP Winston Peters emerges as kingmaker after Bill English's conservative National Party and the Jacinda Ardern-led Labour both fail to win an outright majority

ELECTION DEADLOCK. Leader of the National Party Bill English speaks to supporters at the party's election event at SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland on September 23, 2017. Michael Bradley/AFP

Dismay as Germany's hard-right AfD marches into parliament

Sep 25, 2017 - 8:56 AM

AfD will now send dozens of lawmakers to the Bundestag opposition benches, giving them a platform to spread their views, including challenging Germany's culture of atonement over World War II and the massacre of 6 million Jews and others in the Holocaust

NEW FORCE. Top candidate of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Alexander Gauland (L) and top candidate of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Alice Weidel celebrate on stage during an election night event in Berlin during the general election on September 24, 2017. John MacDougall/AFP

Wave of protests grip NFL after Trump urges fan boycott

Sep 25, 2017 - 8:10 AM

Trump ignites a firestorm of criticism after comments on Friday, September 22, in which he described NFL players who chose to take a knee through renditions of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' as 'sons of bitches' who should be fired

IN PROTEST. Maurice Smith #27 and Julius Thomas #89 kneel with Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins during the National Anthem prior to an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Steven Ryan/Getty Images/AFP

North Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 countries on new U.S. travel ban

Sep 25, 2017 - 7:42 AM

(UPDATED) Sudan, one of 6 majority-Muslim countries on the original travel ban, is removed from the list, leaving 8 nations with complete or partial blocks on travel to the United States

AIRPORT ARRIVALS. People walk through international arrivals at terminal four at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport on June 26, 2017 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Two more U.S. senators signal opposition to Obamacare overhaul

Sep 25, 2017 - 7:39 AM

It could deal a potentially fatal blow to one President Donald Trump's top legislative goals

OPPOSING GRAHAM-CASSIDY. This file photo taken on March 28, 2017 shows US Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins speaking to a reporter as she makes her way to the Senate subway at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Macron's party suffers setback in French Senate vote

Sep 25, 2017 - 7:33 AM

The outcome, which is not expected to significantly impact Macron's ability to push through his economic reform agenda, comes after months of falling approval ratings for the 39-year-old head of state

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the Round Table on 'Housing First' in Toulouse, southern France, on September 11, 2017. Pascal Pavani/Pool/AFP

Weakened Merkel wins 4th term, hit by nationalist 'earthquake'

Sep 25, 2017 - 1:20 AM

(UPDATED) In a bombshell for the German establishment, the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) captures around 13% of the vote, catapulting it to become the country's third biggest political force

FOURTH TERM. German Chancellor and CDU party leader Angela Merkel (C) addresses supporters after exit poll results were broadcasted on public television at an election night event at the party's headquarters in Berlin during the general election on September 24, 2017. Odd Andersen/AFP

North Korea minister launches tirade against Trump at UN

Sep 24, 2017 - 2:47 PM

Describing Trump as a 'mentally deranged person full of megalomania,' Ri says the US leader who 'holds the nuclear button' poses 'the gravest threat to international peace and security today'

AT THE UN. Ri Yong Ho, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly's 72nd session, September 23, 2017. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Human rights, security go together, Cayetano tells UN

Sep 24, 2017 - 1:01 PM

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also calls on UN member-states to respect Philippine sovereignty and cautions against 'misinformation' on the war on drugs

AT THE UN. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN Headquarters in New York City, USA on September 24, 2017. DFA/Malacanang photo

#ThewRap: Videos you need to watch this week, September 19-24, 2017

Sep 24, 2017 - 12:02 PM

Must-watch videos from this week

Merkel heads for German poll win, hard-right AfD for first seats

Sep 24, 2017 - 10:23 AM

Voting begins at 0600 GMT in Europe's biggest economy and exit polls are announced at 1600 GMT, with few expecting surprises given Merkel's double-digit poll lead

'FOR THE GERMAN PEOPLE' The German national flag is pictured next to the main entrance to the Reichstag building, seat of the German lower house of Parliament Bundestag in Berlin on September 19, 2017. Tobias Schwarz/AFP

Churches show force in biggest rally under Duterte

Sep 22, 2017 - 3:47 PM

From Catholics to Aglipayans to Born Again Christians, church members say the killings in the war on drugs contradict the commandments of God

PRAYER POWER. A Filipino prays inside San Agustin Church on September 21, 2017, during a Mass for a day of massive protests against drug-related killings and other forms of tyranny. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Pakistan tells UN won't be 'scapegoat' in Afghan war

Sep 22, 2017 - 12:56 PM

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi does not explicitly criticize US President Donald Trump's new strategy on Afghanistan but makes clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan

'NOT A SCAPEGOAT.' Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the U.N. General Assembly at the United Nations on September 21, 2017 in New York, New York. Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images/AFP

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Sep 22, 2017 - 10:04 AM

The 15-member council says the planned referendum could hinder efforts to help refugees return home and weaken the military campaign against the Islamic State group

Iraqi Kurds gather in the street flying Kurdish flags as they urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 13, 2017. Photo by Safin Hamed/AFP

New Zealand heads for 'down to the wire' polls

Sep 21, 2017 - 12:50 PM

Conservative Prime Minister Bill English faces a challenge from charismatic young rival Jacinda Ardern

EARLY VOTING. A woman casts her vote for the 2017 general election in Wellington on September 21, 2017. Marty Melville/AFP

Landmark EU, Canada trade deal enters into force

Sep 21, 2017 - 12:17 PM

Observers have said the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could set a model for future ties between Britain and the EU after Brexit

This file photo taken on September 20, 2016 shows a man holding a placard depicting a no entry sign with the TTIP and CETA logos, during a demonstration outside the European Union headquarters in Brussels. John Thys/AFP

#ThewRap: Things you need to know, September 21, 2017

Sep 21, 2017 - 11:09 AM

Hello! Here's a roundup of news you need to know this Thursday.

Brazil court opens door for Congress to vote on Temer trial

Sep 21, 2017 - 9:02 AM

A 7-1 majority on the court voted against Temer's appeal to put the racketeering and obstruction of justice charges on hold

FACING CHARGES. In this photo, Brazilian President Michel Temer attends the inauguration of the country's new Attorney General, Raquel Dodge, in Brasilia on September 18, 2017. Evaristo Sa/AFP

Special prosecutor ups pressure on Trump with broad data requests – reports

Sep 21, 2017 - 8:55 AM

The New York Times and Washington Post report that Robert Mueller recently asked the White House for records and communications covering 13 specific areas, particularly key actions by Trump since he became president in January

In this file photo, US President Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, May 19, 2017. Jim Watson/AFP

Ombudsman indicts Floirendo for graft over Tadeco deal

Sep 21, 2017 - 8:38 AM

The Ombudsman finds probable cause to file graft charges against Rep Antonio Floirendo Jr for having financial interest in the government's deal with Tagum Agricultural Development Company

U.S., Iran meet as Trump threat looms over nuke deal

Sep 21, 2017 - 8:24 AM

(UPDATED) European ministers called the meeting to examine ways to save a deal that US President Trump is poised to denounce, but Tehran and Washington remain far apart

The flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran (center) flying at United Nations headquarters in New York, July 2016. Loey Felipe/UN Photo

Spain police search Catalan gov't headquarters amid referendum row

Sep 20, 2017 - 3:31 PM

The operation comes amid mounting tensions as Catalan leaders press ahead with preparations for an independence referendum on October 1 despite Madrid's ban and a court ruling deeming it illegal

Spanish Civil Guards and Catalan regional police officers 'Mossos D'Esquadra' stand in front of the Economy headquarters of Catalonia's regional government in Barcelona on September 20, 2019, during a search by Spain's Guardia Civil police. Josep Lago/AFP

Bangladesh PM says Myanmar must take back Rohingya

Sep 20, 2017 - 2:51 PM

Sheikh Hasina also calls for greater international pressure on Myanmar over the new crisis which has unfolded in the past three weeks, media reports says

CROSSING OVER. Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state arrive near the Khanchon border crossing near the Bangaldeshi town of Teknaf on Septebmer 5, 2017. K M Asad/AFP

FAST FACTS: How Germany's complex electoral system works

Sep 20, 2017 - 12:28 PM

Things are not so simple under Germany's complex election system

'FOR THE GERMAN PEOPLE' The German national flag is pictured next to the main entrance to the Reichstag building, seat of the German lower house of Parliament Bundestag in Berlin on September 19, 2017. Tobias Schwarz/AFP

Coalition wrangling looms for Merkel after German poll

Sep 20, 2017 - 11:37 AM

Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc is expected to fall short of a parliamentary majority and the kingmakers they choose could shake up Berlin

German Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union's (CDU) main candidate Angela Merkel (C) delivers a speech during an election rally in Schwerin, northern Germany, on September 19, 2017. Odd Andersen/AFP

Trump's fiery UN address redefines U.S. role in the world

Sep 20, 2017 - 11:22 AM

Trump's first stint before the green marble rostrum was everything you might expect from the truculent, norm-shattering businessman-turned-politician

AT THE UN. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, addresses the Assembly’s annual general debate, September 19, 2017. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Scandal-plagued Lula heads Brazil election survey

Sep 20, 2017 - 9:33 AM

Underlining the turmoil in Brazilian politics, the poll also confirmed plummeting support for the current center-right government, with 75.6% saying it is doing a bad job

In this file photo, former Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 15, 2016. Nelson Almeida/AFP

Suu Kyi faces mounting world anger over Rohingya

Sep 20, 2017 - 7:48 AM

Her speech fails to quell international anger at reports that the Rohingya are being burned out of their homes

Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi arrives to deliver a national address in Naypyidaw on September 19, 2017. Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Pro-independence Catalan mayors appear before prosecutors

Sep 20, 2017 - 7:38 AM

Spain's public prosecutor have opened an investigation into more than 700 Catalan mayors who have backed the referendum slated for October 1, which the country's Constitutional Court has ordered be suspended

'SI' A man holding a symbolic ballot marked with a 'Yes' attends a protest against a search for propaganda supporting Catalonia's independence referendum by the Spanish Guardia Civil at the private postal service company Unipost in Terrassa on September 19, 2017. Lluis Gene/AFP