Monks at historic Kyiv monastery defy eviction order

In a Kyiv monastery that has played a crucial role in both Ukrainian and Russian history, scores of monks accused of allegiance with Moscow are defying eviction.

The government has said they must leave the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra by Wednesday but the monks say the order has no basis and plan to stay "as long as physically possible".

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Parthenon fragments from Vatican return to Greece

Three fragments of Athens' Parthenon temple, kept by the Vatican for centuries, were returned to Greece on Friday in what Pope Francis has called a gesture of friendship.

"The gifting of the fragments of the Parthenon, which have been held in the Vatican Museums for more than two centuries, shows itself as an ecclesial, cultural and social gesture of friendship and solidarity with the people of Greece," Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary for promoting Christian unity, told a ceremony at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

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Entire towns evacuated as climate-fueled wildfires start 'very early' in Spain

A large wildfire raging in Spain's eastern Valencia region forced more than 1,500 people to flee their homes on Friday, providing further evidence of life-threatening consequences of the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis and bolstering the case for meaningful mitigation efforts.

Since it broke out in the municipality of Villanueva de Viver on Thursday, Spain's first major wildfire of the year has destroyed more than 7,400 acres of forest, prompting evacuation orders in eight communities across the Castellón province.

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Himalayas: The climate time bomb threatening India

In the world's highest mountain range, global warming threatens thousands of glaciers, resulting in increasingly frequent natural disasters: landslides, avalanches and glacier collapses. Our reporters Alban Alvarez and Navodita Kumari travelled to the small northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, where these disasters are compounded by a rush to develop infrastructure such as hydroelectric dams.

Up in the foothills of the Himalayas, the region of Uttarakhand is getting the Indian government’s attention. The state of 10 million inhabitants, bordering both China and Nepal, has become a vast open-air building site. The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi fully intends to take advantage of the region’s geographical position to make it a hub for renewable energy.

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Taiwan president reviews troops ahead of sensitive U.S. visit

CHIAYI, Taiwan (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visited army engineers on Saturday and reviewed their training, saying that defending democracy is the armed forces' "great" mission, ahead of a trip next week to the United States and Central America.

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up its military and political pressure over the past three years or so to try and force the island to accept Chinese sovereignty, viewing Tsai as a separatist.

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Drug dealer admits backing plot in first guilty plea in assassination of Haiti’s president

MIAMI — A convicted Haitian drug trafficker pleaded guilty Friday to providing money to pay for weapons, food and lodging for Colombian commandos and others suspected of executing the fatal shooting of Haiti’s president, marking the first guilty plea in the murder conspiracy case in Miami federal court. Rodolphe Jaar, 50, who cooperated with U.S. investigators in a major cocaine smuggling probe a decade ago, is hoping that same strategy might help him avoid a potential life sentence for providing “material support” in the conspiracy to kidnap and kill Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on July 7,...

US, Canada strike deal on illegal migration during Biden trip

US President Joe Biden addresses the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

Ottawa (AFP) - President Joe Biden laid out a vision of world-leading US-Canadian economic cooperation in a speech to Canada's parliament Friday, and announced that the giant neighbors had reached a deal on curbing illegal migration.

Standing ovations by Canadian lawmakers punctuated Biden's roughly half-hour speech in Ottawa that was thick on praise for North American unity -- a sentiment matched earlier when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his own address.

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US evangelicals helped 'radicalize' anti-LGBTQ hate in Uganda

Uganda has passed one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ laws in the world, and U.S. evangelical groups had their hands all over it.

The East African nation has long pursued criminalizing homosexuality, and a draft version calls for the death penalty for "serial offenders" and other cases involving gay sex, and American religious organizations have invested millions of dollars to deepen homophobic views commonly held in the region, reported the Washington Post.

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DeSantis' struggles to be taken seriously ridiculed by former GOP governor

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," newly-hired contributor John Kasich (R-OH) laughed at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his most recent stumble as he appears to be in the process of establishing his credibility as a possible GOP presidential candidate.

Speaking with the "Morning Joe' co-hosts, the former GOP Ohio governor hammered some of his fellow Republicans for not backing Ukraine and for parroting Russian talking points before he was asked about the Florida governor who changed his tune on Ukraine just days ago.

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Islamic State group kills 15 truffle hunters in Syria: monitor

The Islamic State group killed 15 people foraging for desert truffles in conflict-ravaged central Syria by cutting their throats, while 40 others are missing, a war monitor said Friday.

Since February, at least 150 people -- most of them civilians -- have been killed by IS attacks targeting truffle hunters or by landmines left by the extremists, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Israel’s Netanyahu heckled by hundreds of protesters during London visit

Hundreds of protesters rallied Friday outside Downing Street in central London to heckle the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak.

Netanyahu has faced weeks of escalating protests in Israel over his government’s judicial reform programme, which would increase politicians’ power over the courts and critics argue is a threat to democracy.

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China detains staff, raids office of US due diligence firm Mintz Group

By Michael Martina and Yew Lun Tian

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities raided the office of U.S. corporate due diligence firm Mintz Group in Beijing and detained five local staff, the company said, putting foreign companies in China on alert just as the country hosts an international economic forum.

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