World Bulletin / News Desk
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany's most populous state, exit polls showed, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up attacks on her European austerity policies.
The election in North Rhine-Westphalia, a western German state with a bigger population than the Netherlands and an economy the size of Turkey, was held 18 months before a national election in which Merkel is expected to fight for a third term.
She remains popular at home for her steady handling of the euro zone debt crisis, but the sheer scale of her party's defeat respresents a heavy blow that could tilt the German political landscape and leave her more vulnerable to domestic critics.
According to an exit poll for public broadcaster ARD, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) won 39 percent of the vote and will have enough to form a stable majority with the Greens, who scored 12 percent.
The two left-leaning parties had run a fragile minority government for the past two years under popular SPD leader Hannelore Kraft, whose decisive victory on Sunday could propel her to national prominence.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) saw their support plunge to just 26 percent, down from nearly 35 percent in 2010, and the worst result in the state since World War Two.
The Free Democrats (FDP), a pro-business party that rules in coalition with Merkel's conservatives at the federal level, looked to have made it back into the state assembly, in what many will see as a rebound for the party after a collapse in support in recent years.
The upstart Pirates, a new party that campaigns for internet freedom, continued their strong run at regional level, making it into their fourth straight state parliament, the exit polls showed.
Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said she was preparing new laws to tackle militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight.
Forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar who has launched a military campaign against rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi claimed the attack.
Police said Stephen McLaughlin and Timothy Murphy, both aged 34 and from Northern Ireland, were charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the United Kingdom.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's call comes after Palestinian lawmakers accused Israel of an anti-democratic crackdown as the Gaza war rages, with dozens of elected officials detained, placed under investigation or restricted in their movements.
Two civilians were killed and four others injured in a border clash between the two nuclear powers.
Only 17 of the illegal migrants have been rescued so far.
The return of the trucks may help ease the tension to some extent in time for talks in Ukraine's capital on Saturday between visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian leaders over how to end the crisis in the ex-Soviet republic.
At least seventeen people were killed in the attack.
Prayuth did not mention his appointment as prime minister.
Germany's Vice Chancellor, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, said "A clever concept of federalisation seem to be the only practicable way."
Over the past two days, Sanaa has been at the center of intense protests and sit-ins – called for by al-Houthi – to demand the dismissal of the current government.
The White House publicized details of the raid on Wednesday, a day after IS fighters posted a video showing Foley being beheaded.
A largely peaceful group had initially stuck to the established route before marching nearly three miles (4.8 kilometers) to the police station.
Lithuania also requested a UN Security Council emergency session on what is deemed to be a Trojan-horse style invasion of Ukraine.
European leaders are expected to face greater pressure for involvement at a NATO meeting in Wales next month. Some politicians say it is time to take the fight to Syria, where the group has its power base, and even work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite condemnation of his regime.
The latest fatalities from the bombing of a home brought to 2094 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since July 7.