World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia is not considering changing its stance on Syria and any attempts to apply pressure on Moscow are "hardly appropriate", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Wednesday.
"It would make sense to expect a continuation of the Russian Federation's consistent and well-argued line" on Syria during Putin's visit to Germany and France on Friday, Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
Putin will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in brief visits to Berlin and Paris, part of his first foreign trip since he returned to Russia's presidency for a six-year term on May 7.
Russia, which has blunted efforts to condemn President Bashar al-Assad and push him from power over 15 months of bloodshed, has been urged to stop supporting the government after a massacre Western nations blame on Assad's forces.
"Russia is a country with a consistent foreign policy and any pressure is hardly appropriate," Peskov said when asked whether Arab and Western countries were pressing Moscow to change its position.
"Nobody has unambiguous information" about the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla and Russia believes "one should not give in to emotions at such an important moment," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said both the Syrian government and its opponents were to blame for the killings, and Moscow has called for an investigation under the aegis of the U.N. observer mission in Syria.
Russia says it supports envoy Kofi Annan's U.N.-backed peace plan, not Assad or his government, and that nations with influence over government opponents must use it more effectively to get them to abide by a ceasefire.
Speaking in France almost a year ago, Putin said Russia has no special relationship with Syria and did "not intend to give anybody cover" but emphasized Moscow's opposition to foreign interference in sovereign states.
Witness Yusuf Suleiman, a trader, said that he counted 15 bodies in a police van after the explosion.
Tawfiq Okasha said "The children of Israel completely control the media in Egypt."
"There is a framework... to end the violence, and that framework is the Egyptian initiative," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
"The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemns the forced expulsion of the Christian brothers of Iraq from their homes, cities and provinces," the group said in a statement
Firefighters used foam spray to douse the flames at the fuel storage facility, bringing the blaze under control
Iraq's politicians have been deadlocked over forming a new government since an election in April
Ukraine's military operations spokesman said the two were downed near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine. No details were known about the pilots.
With so many of their countrymen dead, the Dutch have been taking a leading role in the international effort to recover and identify the bodies and investigate the cause of the crash.
It is Damascus's first reaction to the appointment of Staffan de Mistura by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon two weeks ago
At least 12 Palestinians were killed in Israeli artillery shelling of eastern Khan Younis city in southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
The Obama administration has been seeking to deal with a surge of undocumented children across the southern border.
Last month, rumours sprang up of a plot against the Aquino administration because of the fund scandal
The TRNC Prime Minister's office on Tuesday released a statement sayings that all flags on official buildings will be flown at half-mast until Thursday, July 24.
"Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated," Pillay said in some of her strongest comments on the conflict.
Trafficked children in the region were typically sold either for use in voodoo practices or to crooked adoption agencies
The intelligence officials said they did not know at this stage who had actually fired the missile.