World Bulletin / News Desk
Tuareg-led Mali rebels who seized the north of the West African country in April declared on Sunday they had dropped claims for a separate state after the rebellion was hijacked by fighters now holding sway in the north.
"We are seeking cultural, political and economic independence but not secession," Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, a senior member of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), told Reuters by telephone.
Azawad is the name which the MNLA gives to the northern territory of Mali in which it declared an independence.
A second MNLA official, Hama Ag Mahmoud, told Reuters in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott: "Independence has been our line since the start of the conflict but we are taking on board the view of the international community to resolve this crisis."
Contacted by telephone in Timbuktu, Ansar Dine spokesman Sanda Ould Boumana said he was not aware of any change in the MNLA position but added: "What I can tell you is that it is us who control the three regions of the north."
Nigeria have freed 20 women and children from the Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest.
The Burundi National Security Council has called for all protests to cease.
19 Malian soldiers have been captured by opposition soldiers in Mali.
The leaders of Turkish and Greek communities have put aside peace negotiations toured Lefkosa.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that today they were on the last stretch of negotiations that will release 7.2bn euro's to prevent bankruptcy
Anti-drug officers have raided the house of Kashamu Buruji, wanted by the US for drug related offenses.
The Congress of Journalists of the Turkic World will meet in Russia on May 26.
Germany's relations with the US intelligence NSA have apparently cooled after secret documents were leaked to the media by a German parliamentary committee.
Five asylum seekers from two boats have died off the Tunisia coast after the boats capsized.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that if Ukraine defaults, Russia will take a tough position against them, including defending any national interests.
A number of small towns and villages have been taken over by the al-Shabaab in southern Somalia.
The Bank of England has confirmed that it is researching all possible implications of a possible British EU exit.
Two people, including the senior transport officer in Mogadishu have been killed in a drive-by shooting.
Two provinces are now under state of emergency have clashes over a mining project turned violent.
After a campaign by teacher and student unions, the University of Helsinki has cancelled the G4S contract, followed by North Carolina also dropping their contract that provided security services in civic buildings which has now been replaced by a local company.
UN members have failed to agree on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East.