By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters in Thailand pinned their hopes on winning support from the powerful security forces on Thursday as they push to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and install an unelected administration. A small group of protesters scaled the walls into the grounds of Yingluck's Government House office on Thursday but soon left without a confrontation with police stationed there. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy premier accused of murder during widespread 2010 protests, has asked police and military chiefs to meet him by Thursday evening and to choose their side in the latest crisis engulfing Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy. The politically powerful army has staged or attempted 18 coups in the past 80 years - including the ousting of Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in 2006.
South Africans will get a second chance Thursday to pay their last respects to Nelson Mandela, a day after his distraught widow joined thousands of mourners at his open casket. Later, presidents, royalty and thousands of South Africans made their own pilgrimage. As if I can say 'Mr Mandela, how are you?'" said 44-year-old Anna Mtsoweni, who had joined the queue before dawn. Among the dignitaries were Mandela's former political foe FW de Klerk, ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and musician and activist Bono.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The investigation into the crash-landing of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco's airport last summer has highlighted problems with cockpit culture and the trainee pilot's lack of confidence in his ability to safely land the Boeing 777.
By Miguel Gutierrez and Dave Graham MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress on Wednesday gave general approval to an energy reform that would permit the biggest oil industry opening in 75 years, moving the bill close to final approval after the Senate signed off on it earlier in the day. Lawmakers in the lower house voted to bypass committees for energy and constitutional matters after leftists, who are railing against the bill in the world's No. 10 oil producer, padlocked doors to the chamber to prevent a debate. The impromptu shift of venue meant lawmakers were without their electronic voting system, and had to pass a microphone around the auditorium to vote out loud in a rowdy session. Dozens of leftist lawmakers have lodged objections against the reform, but their stalling tactics are unlikely to derail the bill, which has the backing of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and the opposition conservative National Action Party (PAN), who make up the required majority.
Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was indicted for murder Thursday in connection with a deadly military crackdown on mass opposition protests in Bangkok three years ago, prosecutors said. The move comes as fresh political turmoil rocks the Thai capital, with protesters backed by Abhisit's opposition party seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and rid the kingdom of the influence of her brother, deposed former leader Thaksin. "We have indicted him (Abhisit)," Nanthasak Poonsuk, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, told AFP outside the Bangkok court where the closed-door hearing was held.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Thousands of Paraguayan immigrants living along the polluted Riochuelo river in Argentina's capital celebrate their "Blue Virgin" every year with a grueling but joyful 10-hour procession that winds through every corner of their slum. Last year, their feast day's Mass was led by none other than Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has since become their beloved "slum pope."
By Sara Webb AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Every year Singaporeans and Malaysians choke on smoke when farmers and plantation firms in neighboring Indonesia clear the land with fires during the dry season. Last summer, Philips diverted stocks of air purifiers from Hong Kong and China to the area in time for the worst pollution in 16 years. The switch of supplies was emblematic of a more nimble approach fostered by Chief Executive Frans van Houten that has helped Philips reinvent itself in healthcare, lighting and consumer goods and revived the company's fortunes. ...
BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. and Britain said Wednesday they were suspending deliveries to rebels in northern Syria of nonlethal aid such as communications equipment and laptops after some of the gear was seized by Islamic militants.
LA HABRA HEIGHTS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have recovered a huge haul of high-end swag that thieves snagged during a party at an empty mansion — including armor, shields and a stuffed snow leopard worth $250,000.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A call from a student who spotted a man wearing a gun holster on an American University shuttle bus prompted a lockdown of the campus for nearly an hour-and-a-half Wednesday night, police said.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Asian stocks extended losses Thursday after an apparent budget deal in the U.S. Congress reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will cut its monetary stimulus as early as next week.
"Big step tonight," EU Commissioner Michel Barnier wrote on Twitter. We are learning lessons of crisis," he said after the agreement was reached by representatives of the European Parliament, the European Council -- the EU's executive arm -- and the 28 member states. "This is a fundamental step towards the completion of the Banking Union," Barnier said in a separate statement. The "bail-in" will primarily require important hits to be taken by shareholders and bond holders of a financial institution in trouble.
By David Lawder and Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday were falling in line behind a bipartisan two-year budget deal, indicating that the normally rambunctious group of lawmakers is not spoiling for a year-end fiscal fight. Despite conservative groups' denunciation of the plan and public opposition from some members associated with the conservative Tea Party movement, the Republican-controlled House was planning to vote on Thursday to pass the deal, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranking Republican told Reuters. A key House panel, on a 9-3 vote, cleared the legislation for debate and votes in the full House. The Republican-controlled Rules Committee refused to allow Democrats to offer an amendment to extend federal unemployment benefits that expire later this month.
Swansea City and Wigan Athletic are on the road on Thursday as they bid to seal their berths in the first knockout round of the Europa League. They will be joined by the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage. Another English representative, Tottenham Hotspur, are already through along with Spanish clubs Valencia and Sevilla, France's Lyon and Fiorentina of Italy. The north London outfit host Russians Anzhi Makhachkala at White Hart Lane with both sides having already qualified from Group K.
The United States has voiced concern about a ruling by India's Supreme Court which reinstated a colonial-era ban on gay sex which could see same-sex lovers imprisoned. "We oppose any action that criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct between adults," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. "The United States places great importance on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people. A two-judge bench in India earlier Wednesday struck down a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court ruling which had found that a section of the Indian penal code prohibiting "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" was an infringement of Indians' fundamental rights.