Pope Francis embarked Thursday on a ground-breaking papacy as the first Latin American leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and a Church in turmoil.Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the humble 76-year-old son of a railwayman, kicked off his first full day as pontiff with private prayers at a Rome basilica.The election of the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, who had not been considered a favourite in the run-up to this week's secret conclave, met with widespread surprise and...Read Full Story
The not-so-little town of Bethlehem is to host the West Bank's first-ever marathon next month in a race starting at the Nativity Church and taking in several refugee camps, organisers said Wednesday.The brainchild of two Danish women runners, the Palestine Marathon will take place on April 21 and offer runners the choice of three distances: a full 42-kilometre (26-mile) marathon, a half marathon or a 10-kilometre (six-mile) race.But given the problems of finding an uninterrupted 42-kilometre...Read Full Story
The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Wednesday raised the alarm over increased violence against illegal migrants in Morocco, pointing a finger of blame at both Rabat and Madrid."Violence is a daily reality for most sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco," MSF said in a 40-page report."A serious increase in abuse" was recorded in 2012, it said, urging the Moroccan and Spanish authorities to "take drastic measures immediately" to halt "institutional violence".The European Union has...Read Full Story
Indonesian police said Tuesday they would question dozens of anti-terror officers over the alleged torture of militants after a video posted on YouTube showed a suspect being shot and others abused.The blurry 14-minute video posted by several Islamic groups on their websites and YouTube depicts officers forcing a man to strip to his underwear before they shoot him, apparently in the chest.Several officers continue to question him and repeatedly shout "You're going to die" as he lies on the...Read Full Story
The family of a former US Marine held for 555 days in Iran, mostly in solitary confinement, urged Iranian leaders on Tuesday to show mercy and free him, revealing his father is dying from cancer.Amir Mirzai Hekmati, 29, who is a US citizen born in America to parents of Iranian origin, was detained in August 2011 while visiting his elderly grandmother on his first trip to Iran.He was accused of being a CIA operative, charges which have been vigorously denied by his family and by the US State...Read Full Story
Articles from the Agence France-Presse (AFP). The AFP is the largest French news agency.