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Norway jails Latvian whisky-drinking airBaltic co-pilot

A Latvian co-pilot who admitted drinking whisky and beer hours before an airBaltic flight from Norway to Crete has been jailed for six months. Two flight attendants were also given prison sentences of 45 and 60 days respectively. The co-pilot, 38, was found to have a blood alcohol level of almost seven times the legal limit. He told the court ...

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Sri Lanka elections: UNP claims victory as Rajapaksa faces setback

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has claimed victory in the island’s parliamentary elections and called on the country to unite. Initial results suggest that his United National Party has won enough seats to form a coalition with its allies. This would thwart former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hopes of returning to office as prime minister. Turnout in Monday’s polls was ...

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Turkey air strikes: PKK targeted by air force jets

Turkey launched a series of overnight air strikes against Kurdish militants, aimed at 17 targets in the south-east, the army says. The targets were in Hakkari province on the border with Iran and Iraq. Turkey has seen increasing violence in recent weeks between the military and Kurdish separatists. The strikes come a day after nine people were killed in a ...

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Japan restarts first nuclear power plant since Fukushima

Japan has restarted its first nuclear reactor under new safety rules following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. All Japan’s nuclear plants were gradually shut down after a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima plant sparked by the tsunami and earthquake. But after passing stringent new safety tests, Kyushu Electric Power restarted the number one reactor at its Sendai plant on Tuesday ...

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China devalues yuan currency to three-year low

China’s central bank has devalued the national currency, the yuan, to its lowest rate against the US dollar in almost three years. The lender said the move was a “one-off depreciation” of 1.9% in a move to make the exchange rate more market-oriented. It comes in the wake of a string of weak economic data from the world’s second largest ...

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Greek bailout deal agreed ‘in principle’

Greece has agreed a bailout deal “in principle” with its creditors, the European Commission has said. The Commission said a technical agreement had been reached with Greece, which now requires political approval. Earlier, Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos had said “two or three small issues,” were yet to be resolved with lenders, following overnight talks in Athens. A deal is ...

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Iraq reforms: Parliament backs PM Haider al-Abadi’s plan

The Iraqi parliament has unanimously approved reforms aimed at stamping out corruption, reducing government waste and easing sectarian tensions. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s programme was pushed through without debate, according to parliamentary speaker Salim al-Juburi. Under the plan, Mr Abadi will cut spending and eliminate senior posts. It follows recent anti-government protests over an unreliable electricity supply amid a major ...

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Ukraine bans 38 Russian ‘hate’ books amid culture war

Ukraine has banned 38 books published in Russia, alleging that they spread “hate ideology” and “separatism”. The ban includes works by Russian nationalists Alexander Dugin, Eduard Limonov and Sergei Glazyev. The blacklist was published by the Ukrainian State Television and Radio Committee. It accused Russia of waging “information warfare” against Ukraine. Ukraine and Western leaders say Russia is fomenting separatism ...

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Australian PM knocks back Indigenous constitution plan

Australia’s Prime Minister has rejected a proposal to consult Aboriginal people first about recognising them in the nation’s constitution. Aboriginal leaders want their own people to agree first on how to move towards constitutional recognition for the country’s first peoples. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said such a move would not gain broader support. Indigenous Australians are not mentioned in the ...

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California fires: Evacuation orders given to 13,000

Evacuation orders have been given to 13,000 people in California as firefighters struggle to contain some 20 wildfires. Some 9,000 firefighters worked throughout Monday in steep terrain and rugged conditions, officials said. The biggest blaze – the so-called Rocky fire north of San Francisco – has already consumed more than 90 square miles (233 sq km) of land. On Monday ...

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