Six people died when a helicopter crashed in south-east France on Wednesday, say officials. The civilian helicopter was carrying out a test flight deep in the Verdon Gorge, a popular hiking destination, when it went down. All six on board were employees of Eurocopter, the company which owned the aircraft. The exact causes of the accident are being investigated.
Five police killed by new bombing in southern Thailand
A second car bombing in a week has killed five police officers in Thailand's south. One officer was wounded, police said, blaming Muslim insurgents for Wednesday's ambush in Yala province. The bomb was hidden in a pick-up truck. The victims protected teachers, who are frequently targeted in the violence. But the police were not escorting teachers at the time they were attacked. On Friday, a bombing in Narathiwat province wounded several people when the region's Muslims were starting to honor the holy month of Ramadan.
World Bank says Palestinian economy ‘not ready’ for statehood
The Palestinian economy is not yet strong enough to support a sovereign state, the World Bank said in a report published on Wednesday. “Economic sustainability cannot be based on foreign aid so it is critical for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to increase trade and spur private sector growth,” economist John Nasir said. The PA is facing its worst financial crisis since it was founded in 1994. Debts reached $1.5 billion with an immediate cash shortfall of $500 million, AFP reports. Saudi Arabia last week pledged an emergency $100-million donation after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for help.
Germany starts trial of four Al-Qaeda suspects
Four men charged with plotting an attack in Germany went on trial in the city of Dusseldorf on Wednesday. Prosecutors said the men, aged between 20 and 30, had intended to stage a “sensational terror attack.” The group, also accused of membership of Al-Qaeda, had reportedly not “decided on a specific target.” The ring leader, a Moroccan named as Abdeladim El-K, had allegedly trained at an Al-Qaeda camp in the Waziristan region of Pakistan in 2010, AP reports. He recruited three men he knew and gathered information on the security set-up at public buildings, airports and stations, prosecutors say.
Clashes in northeast India kill 38, displace 170,000
The death toll from ethnic violence in northeast India rose to 38 Wednesday after four days of clashes. At least 170,000 villagers have fled from their homes in the remote state of Assam to relief camps and government buildings, AFP reports. Military personnel have been trying since Friday to quell the fighting between indigenous Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers. They have competed for years in territorial disputes.
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un ‘married’ to Ri Sol-ju - State TV
North Korean state TV has reported for the first time that the county’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, is married. Wednesday’s announcement followed wave of speculation about a mysterious woman who has appeared beside him at recent public events. Kim toured an amusement park with his wife, “Comrade Ri Sol-ju,” the North Korean announcer said. Japan's Yomiyuri daily assumed that Kim and his wife “may already have a daughter, born in 2010.” The short-haired brunette was first shown with the leader during a concert in Pyongyang on July 5.
Suu Kyi makes first speech in Myanmar's parliament
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for laws protecting the rights of impoverished ethnic minorities in her first speech in parliament on Wednesday. She urged lawmakers “to enact necessary laws or amend laws to protect the rights of ethnic nationalities,” AP said. She supported a motion by a ruling-party lawmaker from the ethnic Shan state on upholding ethnic minority rights. Soaring poverty rates especially hit Chin, Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states. The Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi won her first seat in the parliament in an April by-election.